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post #31 of 37
The constitution and the bill of rights most certainly were designed to keep religion out of government. It was never the intent of the creators of the constituion to dictate or legislate morals as should already be clear by the quotes I've already included.

However, if further supporting evidence is needed about the intent to limit the power of the government, period, here is part of the argument put forth by James Madison in the debates about whether or not amendments to the constitution were needed

Debates on the Bill of Rights
House of Representatives,
Amendments to the Constitution

8 June 1789
Annals 1:424-50, 661-65, 707-17, 757-59, 766

James Madison: "It cannot be a secret to the gentlemen in this House, that, notwithstanding the ratification of this system of Government by eleven of the thirteen United States, in some cases unanimously, in others by large majorities; yet still there is a great number of our constituents who are dissatisfied with it; among whom are many respectable for their talents and patriotism, and respectable for the jealousy they have for their liberty, which, though mistaken in its object, is laudable in its motive. There is a great body of the people falling under this description, who at present feel much inclined to join their support to the cause of Federalism, if they were satisfied on this one point. We ought not to disregard their inclination, but, on principles of amity and moderation, conform to their wishes, and expressly declare the great rights of mankind secured under this constitution. The acquiescence which our fellow-citizens show under the Government, calls upon us for a like return of moderation. But perhaps there is a stronger motive than this for our going into a consideration of the subject. It is to provide those securities for liberty which are required by a part of the community; I allude in a particular manner to those two States that have not thought fit to throw themselves into the bosom of the Confederacy. It is a desirable thing, on our part as well as theirs, that a reunion should take place as soon as possible. I have no doubt, if we proceed to take those steps which would be prudent and requisite at this juncture, that in a short time we should see that disposition prevailing in those States which have not come in, that we have seen prevailing in those States which have embraced the Constitution.

But I will candidly acknowledge, that, over and above all these considerations, I do conceive that the Constitution may be amended; that is to say, if all power is subject to abuse, that then it is possible the abuse of the powers of the General Government may be guarded against in a more secure manner than is now done, while no one advantage arising from the exercise of that power shall be damaged or endangered by it. We have in this way something to gain, and, if we proceed with caution, nothing to lose. And in this case it is necessary to proceed with caution; for while we feel all these inducements to go into a revisal of the Constitution, we must feel for the Constitution itself, and make that revisal a moderate one. I should be unwilling to see a door opened for a reconsideration of the whole structure of the Government — for a re-consideration of the principles and the substance of the powers given; because I doubt, if such a door were opened, we should be very likely to stop at that point which would be safe to the Government itself. But I do wish to see a door opened to consider, so far as to incorporate those provisions for the security of rights, against which I believe no serious objection has been made by any class of our constituents: such as would be likely to meet with the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses, and the approbation of three-fourths of the State Legislatures. I will not propose a single alteration which I do not wish to see take place, as intrinsically proper in itself, or proper because it is wished for by a respectable number of my fellow-citizens; and therefore I shall not propose a single alteration but is likely to meet the concurrence required by the Constitution. There have been objections of various kinds made against the Constitution. Some were levelled against its structure because the President was without a council; because the Senate, which is a legislative body, had judicial powers in trials on impeachments; and because the powers of that body were compounded in other respects, in a manner that did not correspond with a particular theory; because it grants more power than is supposed to be necessary for every good purpose, and controls the ordinary powers of the State Governments. I know some respectable characters who opposed this Government on these grounds; but I believe that the great mass of the people who opposed it, disliked it because it did not contain effectual provisions against encroachments on particular rights, and those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercises the sovereign power; nor ought we to consider them safe, while a great number of our fellow-citizens think these securities necessary.

It is a fortunate thing that the objection to the Government has been made on the ground I stated; because it will be practicable, on that ground, to obviate the objection, so far as to satisfy the public mind that their liberties will be perpetual, and this without endangering any part of the Constitution, which is considered as essential to the existence of the Government by those who promoted its adoption.

The amendments which have occurred to me, proper to be recommended by Congress to the State Legislatures, are these:
First, That there be prefixed to the Constitution a declaration, that all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.

That Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.

Secondly. That in article 1st, section 2, clause 3, these words be struck out, to wit: "The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand....

Thirdly. That in article 1st, section 6, clause 1, there be added to the end of the first sentence, these words, to wit: "But no law varying the compensation last ascertained shall operate before the next ensuing election of Representatives."

Fourthly. That in article 1st, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.

The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrances, for redress of their grievances.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor at any time, but in a manner warranted by law.

No person shall be subject, except in cases of impeachment, to more than one punishment or one trial for the same offence; nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor be obliged to relinquish his property, where it may be necessary for public use, without a just compensation.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The rights of the people to be secured in their persons; their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation, to be confronted with his accusers, and the witnesses against him; to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

The exceptions here or elsewhere in the Constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people, or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the Constitution; but either as actual limitations of such powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.

Fifthly. That in article 1st, section 10, between clauses 1 and 2, be inserted this clause, to wit:

No State shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.

Sixthly. That, in article 3d, section 2, be annexed to the end of clause 2d, these words, to wit:

But no appeal to such court shall be allowed where the value in controversy shall not amount to ------ dollars: nor shall any fact triable by jury, according to the course of common law, be otherwise re-examinable than may consist with the principles of common law.

Seventhly. That in article 3d, section 2, the third clause be struck out, and in its place be inserted the clauses following, to wit:

The trial of all crimes (except in cases of impeachments, and cases arising in the land or naval forces, or the militia when on actual service, in time of war or public danger) shall be by an impartial jury of freeholders of the vicinage, with the requisite of unanimity for conviction, of the right of challenge, and other accustomed requisites; and in all crimes punishable with loss of life or member, presentment or indictment by a grand jury shall be an essential preliminary, provided that in cases of crimes committed within any county which may be in possession of an enemy, or in which a general insurrection may prevail, the trial may by law be authorized in some other county of the same State, as near as may be to the seat of the offence.

In cases of crimes committed not within any county, the trial may by law be in such county as the laws shall have prescribed. In suits at common law, between man and man, the trial by jury, as one of the best securities to the rights of the people, ought to remain inviolate.

Eighthly. That immediately after article 6th, be inserted, as article 7th, the clauses following, to wit:

The powers delegated by this Constitution are appropriated to the departments to which they are respectively distributed: so that the Legislative Department shall never exercise the powers vested in the Executive or Judicial nor the Executive exercise the powers vested in the Legislative or Judicial, nor the Judicial exercise the powers vested in the Legislative or Executive Departments.

The powers not delegated by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.

Ninthly. That article 7th be numbered as article 8th.

The first of these amendments relates to what may be called a bill of rights. I will own that I never considered this provision so essential to the Federal Constitution, as to make it improper to ratify it, until such an amendment was added; at the same time, I always conceived, that in a certain form, and to a certain extent, such a provision was neither improper nor altogether useless. I am aware, that a great number of the most respectable friends to the Government, and champions for republican liberty, have thought such a provision, not only unnecessary, but even improper; nay, I believe some have gone so far as to think it even dangerous. Some policy has been made use of, perhaps, by gentlemen on both sides of the question: I acknowledge the ingenuity of those arguments which were drawn against the Constitution, by a comparison with the policy of Great Britain, in establishing a declaration of rights; but there is too great a difference in the case to warrant the comparison: therefore, the arguments drawn from that source were in a great measure inapplicable. In the declaration of rights which that country has established, the truth is, they have gone no farther than to raise a barrier against the power of the Crown; the power of the Legislature is left altogether indefinite. Although I know whenever the great rights, the trial by jury, freedom of the press, or liberty of conscience, come in question in that body, the invasion of them is resisted by able advocates, yet their Magna Charta does not contain any one provision for the security of those rights, respecting which the people of America are most alarmed. The freedom of the press and rights of conscience, those choicest privileges of the people, are unguarded in the British Constitution.

But although the case may be widely different, and it may not be thought necessary to provide limits for the legislative power in that country, yet a different opinion prevails in the United States. The people of many States have thought it necessary to raise barriers against power in all forms and departments of Government, and I am inclined to believe, if once bills of rights are established in all the States as well as the Federal Constitution, we shall find that although some of them are rather unimportant, yet, upon the whole, they will have a salutary tendency.

It may be said, in some instances, they do no more than state the perfect equality of mankind. This, to be sure, is an absolute truth, yet it is not absolutely necessary to be inserted at the head of a Constitution.

In some instances they assert those rights which are exercised by the people in forming and establishing a plan of Government. In other instances, they specify those rights which are retained when particular powers are given up to be exercised by the Legislature. In other instances, they specify positive rights, which may seem to result from the nature of the compact. Trial by jury cannot be considered as a natural right, but a right resulting from a social compact which regulates the action of the community, but is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature. In other instances, they lay down dogmatic maxims with respect to the construction of the Government; declaring that the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches shall be kept separate and distinct. Perhaps the best way of securing this in practice is, to provide such checks as will prevent the encroachment of the one upon the other.

But whatever may be the form which the several States have adopted in making declarations in favor of particular rights, the great object in view is to limit and qualify the powers of Government, by excepting out of the grant of power those cases in which the Government ought not to act, or to act only in a particular mode. They point these exceptions sometimes against the abuse of the Executive power, sometimes against the Legislative, and, in some cases, against the community itself; or, in other words, against the majority in favor of the minority.

In our Government it is, perhaps, less necessary to guard against the abuse in the Executive Department than any other; because it is not the stronger branch of the system, but the weaker: It therefore must be levelled against the Legislative, for it is the most powerful, and most likely to be abused, because it is under the least control. Hence, so far as a declaration of rights can tend to prevent the exercise of undue power, it cannot be doubted but such declaration is proper. But I confess that I do conceive, that in a Government modified like this of the United States, the great danger lies rather in the abuse of the community than in the Legislative body. The prescriptions in favor of liberty ought to be levelled against that quarter where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power. But this is not found in either the Executive or Legislative departments of Government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority.

It may be thought that all paper barriers against the power of the community are too weak to be worthy of attention. I am sensible they are not so strong as to satisfy gentlemen of every description who have seen and examined thoroughly the texture of such a defence; yet, as they have a tendency to impress some degree of respect for them, to establish the public opinion in their favor, and rouse the attention of the whole community, it may be one means to control the majority from those acts to which they might be otherwise inclined."


The whole point is separation of power to provide a process of checks and balances to prevent the majority acting against the minority to infringe upon their rights as intended by the Constitution and subsequently outlined in the Bill of Rights.

A religious government violates the very principle.
post #32 of 37
...and about porn filters... like I mentioned earlier, at work they use filters. ...and they know we need to conduct medical research. Despite this, we constantly had to get permission to access sites that had information about the problem or statistics related to the problem... (We were recommending a company that has a topical product to treat erectile dysfunction and female sexual arousal disorder).

I agree with Christy's concerns - especially when it comes to young people, looking for help. I think they'd be too embarassed to ask a librarian to "unlock" a site... especially if they don't even know what's on the site, but it turned up in a search for support re: being gay or being pregnant.
post #33 of 37
I think you have taken something and run with it. At no time did I suggest a religious government or a "Christian" government. I, however, did say that I felt this country was based on "Christian" principles. I did say or implied that pornography in our tax funded libraries was not what our founding fathers had in mind as one of our liberties because it adversely affects other citizens, i.e. minors. I agree with John Adams that you cannot regulate religion, but we have freedoms regarding religion and the government that are slowly being eroded. Such as the liberty to say and write about what we believe in the public schools. I heard about a class in a public school that was reading the Koran and that was perfectly fine. Take out a Bible and your being suspended or worse (I'm not talking about preaching or forcing beliefs on another person). That is what I meant about the separation of church and state. I don't think it is against the constitution to say a prayer in school, no matter who you pray to.
post #34 of 37
Nora wrote on 07-03-2003 04:02 PM
I just read that John Adams (one of the signers of the constitution) said he and the others based the consitution on the basis that they wanted a Christain nation.

Nora wrote on 07-07-2003 08:07 AM
The constitution does not provide for a seperation between church and state. ....It was never meant to protect the government from religion.
These were the statements you made. I disagree most heartily with them, and think they are dangerous. I simply did my homework to see whether or not I was right or wrong. The information I read, written or spoken by our founding fathers, reinforced my opinion that they neither desired a Christian Nation nor that they desired a religious government. In fact, the message I read is that while religious themselves, they studied governments and their structures throughout history, historic laws and their implementation, and learned from them in order to implement what they believed to be a government with checks and balances that would enable the minority to be protected, and the rights of all to be protected in a government free of religious designs or persuasions.

I know of Christian study groups that meet on school campuses. Perhaps you read that the koran was being studied... in a class about religion? I know that in High School we studied (shortened versions) of many religious texts, including those of buddhists and hindus, muslims, christians and jews.
post #35 of 37
Well, I've been doing some more thinking about this subject.... and here's the latest.

Do libraries carry porn magazines?

None that I know of.

Most libraries are opened, run and operated by communities. They may receive federal funding, but the communities manage them, like schools.

Now, what I don't know, is if the communities can decide if they want prayer in schools or no porn in libraries. Federally, the minute of silence has been accepted in lieu of prayer - those who want to pray can, those who don't want to pray aren't made to feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the filter issue isn't so easy to resolve.

But the question I asked myself was this... what if there was a community of Puritans today... would they be allowed to do this? Could a community of puritans ban certain stores, have bible study in the local school, etc? Not in federally funded public schools, but if they bought land and ran their own community, in the way that many Amish do, then they could do whatever they want. Like private clubs... can still have men only memberships.

If libraries accept federal funding, I don't know if they can legally put on filters or not. It may be that it is legally a community's decision. But they certainly didn't have to provide porn magazines.

As to the specific issue of filters on library computers, I think Christy raised some legitimate issues. I think the communities must weigh the advantages of access to info by people looking for support groups, etc., that would probably be blocked by such filters.
post #36 of 37
i think there should be a filter, if not for text, then at least for graphics.
post #37 of 37
Where I live you couldn't look at anything, much less porn, without others seeing you, so I don't understand the need to pay millions for filters.

Kids have no right to be on the computers without parents supervison and approval. Parents need to take more care, if this is a real problem in their homes, or out. It's tough, but that's why one is called parent/guardian. It isn't supposed to be easy.

Children are not really being protected here, or maybe they are. If you know children; you know that they are the ones doing alot of the porn searches. So maybe it's really to protect children from themselves. They are so curious at these ages.

I guess I won't be able to find my kittie(cat) sites anymore. And college art is probably out- not to mention research on urinary tract and body cancers, diseases and the like.

The net is a gift, not a right- as yet. So, if filters are used at the library, we have to just go with it. Lucky for most of us, we don't need to goto library for net use anyway. Let the kids have the library, I say.

I'll go to the college, if I really need to research weird words like "the whitehouse".... get it, that's a joke. That used to be a porn site. I learned that in my Child Development Teaching Class about sites not to let children goto.
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