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SB_Mig
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« on: July 12, 2007, 04:25:58 PM »

...as long as it's the right religion.  embarassed

Christian Right Activists Disrupt Hindu Chaplain In The Senate
By Eric Kleefeld

Today was a historic first for religion in America's civic life: For the very first time, a Hindu delivered the morning invocation in the Senate chamber — only to find the ceremony disrupted by three Christian right activists.

The three protesters, who all belong to the Christian Right anti-abortion group Operation Save America, and who apparently traveled to Washington all the way from North Carolina, interrupted by loudly asking for God's forgiveness for allowing the false prayer of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.

"Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight," the first protester began.

"This is an abomination," he continued. "We shall have no other gods before You."

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), serving as the presiding officer for the morning, immediately ordered them taken away — though they continued to yell at the Hindu cleric as they were headed out the door, shouting out phrases such as, "No Lord but Jesus Christ!" and "There's only one true God!"

The cleric, Rajan Zed of Reno, Nevada, was visibly nervous and uncomfortable as he then delivered the morning prayer. But to his credit, he soon regained his footing and was able to make it through in a dignified fashion.

For their part, Operation Save America put out an interesting press release, claiming responsibility for the protests and castigating Senators for not joining in:

Theology Moved to the Senate and was Arrested

Theology has moved from the church house onto the floor of the United States Senate, and has been arrested.

Ante Pavkovic, Kathy Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar were all arrested in the chambers of the United States Senate as that chamber was violated by a false Hindu god. The Senate was opened with a Hindu prayer placing the false god of Hinduism on a level playing field with the One True God, Jesus Christ. This would never have been allowed by our Founding Fathers.

"Not one Senator had the backbone to stand as our Founding Fathers stood. They stood on the Gospel of Jesus Christ! There were three in the audience with the courage to stand and proclaim, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' They were immediately removed from the chambers, arrested, and are in jail now. God bless those who stand for Jesus as we know that He stands for them." Rev. Flip Benham, Director, Operation Save America/Operation Rescue

A call for comment to Benham has not been returned as of this writing.

http://www.breitbart.tv/html/2957.html
« Last Edit: July 12, 2007, 04:32:41 PM by SB_Mig » Logged
G M
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2007, 06:17:14 PM »

S B,

A quick point. The constitution regulates the interaction between gov't and citizens while civil and criminal law regulates the interaction between citizens. You'll note that they were arrested. If you'd like, I can find lots of cases where hindu prayers were interrupted by muslims, only a lot more blood is involved.....
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2007, 06:31:30 PM »

I just find it embarrassing that this kind of behavior even exists.

Nothing like evangelists wanting more prayer and then disrupting someone else's.
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G M
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2007, 09:13:49 PM »

It's STUPID and missing the point of the theology they claim to espouse. rolleyes
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rogt
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2007, 12:31:57 PM »

Why is it necessary to even have a "morning invocation" (from any religion) in the Senate?
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2007, 03:28:10 PM »

Probably tradition more than anything else at this point.

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Howling Dog
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2007, 04:48:49 PM »

Woof Rog, I agree with SB....Its probably traditon
Probably also based on the founding fathers strong Christian roots.
I'am sure for this very reason it should be abolished, since its really not fair to the .0001% atheists that make up the U.S. pop.
Would you not agree that most people beleive in a god or higher power....and as long as refrence is made as such....the onley ones that should be offended would be the atheist?
As for those "Christians" who disrupted the prayer....It is my opinion they were wrong in doing so and were more harm to the cause of Christ than they were help.
It was they're right to NOT engage in the prayer and there was also in my opinon no charge agaisnt them by God for the prayerful actions of those who did pray in the Hindu prayer.
We will all give accounts for ourselves when we stand before God......We will not give accounts for others......Thats my argument for why they should have allowed the prayer to continue uninterupted...... wink
Of course if there were no prayer....then there would be no problem....which I have really no problem with either, because then there is still equal representation for faiths...that being NONE.
                                                                                   TG
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Howling Dog
rogt
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2007, 07:14:01 PM »

Woof Tom,

Woof Rog, I agree with SB....Its probably traditon
Probably also based on the founding fathers strong Christian roots.

I'm curious as to who started this tradition.  Was it actually Ben Franklin, George Washington, etc. or did it come later?

Quote
Of course if there were no prayer....then there would be no problem....which I have really no problem with either, because then there is still equal representation for faiths...that being NONE.

My point exactly.

Rog
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2007, 07:29:49 PM »

Woof Rog, I have no idea who started the tradition or when.....my guess though it was a mutual agreement among the masses.
My point exactly is why change tradition, just because of a single person.
Notice my sarcasm in the .0001% who may object.....As I stated and I think you would agree MOST Americans beleive in a god or higher power and would not object if said being were refrenced as god or higher power......making them refrenced....in themselves to their particualr "god'
It would onley be the non beleiver in any "god" who would object. that being a very small number and the number who would take the time out of their life to object to this would be even smaller or nonexsistent.
After all why object to something that in their particualr minds does not exsist anyway.....would that not like be objecting to nothing? cheesy
Seems silly to me.
                                                                                 TG
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Howling Dog
rogt
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2007, 12:51:41 PM »

Woof Tom,

Woof Rog, I have no idea who started the tradition or when.....my guess though it was a mutual agreement among the masses.

I was just curious.  Don't forget that a lot of people assumed the "under God" part of the Pledge of Allegiance had been there from the days of the FFs, when in fact that particular "tradition" had only come about sometime in the 1950s.

Quote
My point exactly is why change tradition, just because of a single person.

Agreed, but I'd say if it's gotten to the point where the only reason you observe a tradition is because it's a tradition, then you probably don't need it anymore.

Quote
Notice my sarcasm in the .0001% who may object.....As I stated and I think you would agree MOST Americans beleive in a god or higher power and would not object if said being were refrenced as god or higher power

I agree that most Americans believe in God, but I'm not necessarily convinced that most Americans feel the need to have daily prayers in the Senate.  I mean, if they were to just quietly stop doing it, who (besides the kind of wackos who felt the need to interrupt the Hindu prayer) would even notice?

I'd actually think the daily prayers were a good thing if it were a genuine spiritual expression for most of the Senators who take part in it, as opposed to a stage-managed show they put on to connect with their "base"?  I wouldn't be surprised if this "tradition" only started when C-SPAN began broadcasting the Senate sessions.   wink

Rog
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2007, 03:23:42 PM »

Woof Rog, A quick google points to 1789......didn't read the whole article but heres the link.
http://www.senate.gov/reference/Sessions/Traditions/Chaplains_Prayer.htm

I agree that most likely the prayers deleivered on the senate floor are onley heard by those speaking them.....and that they are more or less done  "just because we always have" and your right thats no reason to pray.
Kinda like giving the same word of thanks before a meal.......not a lot of heart felt substance there most times. Does that mean they should stop?
There is a certain degree of revrence in a tradition like this.....even if its not necassarily in the given prayer.

My point though is why allow a single voice dictate the policy or the will of the masses........All too often we see this and I for one am quite sick of it....esp as something as harmless as a word of prayer on the floor of the senate.....who is that adversly affecting and what happend to the  accepting of diversety?
                                                                                          TG

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Howling Dog
rogt
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2007, 06:14:33 PM »

Woof Tom,

I agree that most likely the prayers deleivered on the senate floor are onley heard by those speaking them.....and that they are more or less done  "just because we always have" and your right thats no reason to pray.

I think it's actually more insidious than that.  These were the exact words of former Republican political operative and lobbyist Michael Scanlon to Jack Abramoff, in a memo made public by the Senate Indian affairs committee during an investigation into their lobbying scam to shut down and then reopen a casino run by the Tigua tribe in El Paso, TX:

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees. Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."

According to the Tigua tribe's spokesman Marc Schwarz, Abramoff admitted he was friends with Ralph Reed (former head of the Christian Coalition), but that Reed was "crazy, like other folks in the Christian Coalition".

While I'm sure not all of our politicians are this cynical, it's hard to read stuff like that and not draw the conclusion that their displays of religious observance are more for public consumption than any genuine personal beliefs.  I'm sure it's occurred to even the most liberal politicians that they too may need "the wackos" on their side someday.

Quote
My point though is why allow a single voice dictate the policy or the will of the masses........
All too often we see this and I for one am quite sick of it....esp as something as harmless as a word of prayer on the floor of the senate.....

I personally don't see the prayer as harmful in and of itself.  The problem is the political decision of whose prayer it should be.  It seems fair to me that if you must have a prayer, then it should rotate through Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc. prayers, but how long do you suppose the extremely vocal and politically-active Jerry Falwell types (and their megachurches-full of devout followers) would tolerate this?  That's why I say everybody's better off if we just leave religion out of public life altogether.
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2007, 06:41:25 PM »

Rog, Ok so Scanlon and Abramoff view
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Howling Dog
Howling Dog
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2007, 07:16:54 PM »

Woof Rog, Crap I just vaporized my whole post sad....anyway.....Everyone whos a nonChristain pretty much views Christians as whackos. Thats a given.....and in a lot of cases with good reason.
Try not to make too much out of the "Christian conspiracy" thing....Christians are not that tight knit and besides how in the world do you get something out to the Christians without the rest of the world finding out. cheesy
I agree with a lot of what your saying as for the equal time and all that....yea why not.  wasn't that what happend when the whackos interputed it and got arrested?
If you read the link I posted it talks about giving time to other faiths.
My point still is why throw out something traditional with out good reason?
Do you have good reason to discontinue this practice?
Why or how is everyone better off leaving religon out of public life?
Besides who is "EVERYONE"
                                                                          TG
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Howling Dog
Tom Stillman
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2007, 09:25:32 PM »

When I first started reading this post I immediately began to think about the separation of church and state and had to question ,"what does that really mean" and how much weight does that carry legally or for that matter constitutionally. I'm not a devout religious person myself. Because of this  I  can decide what I feel is logical and not have to worry as much about contradictions crossing over to other belief systems set in my life. Some people may make the argument that without religion good morals and values can not be learned and sustained.  I for one would argue that family and community (Tribe) could provide the same morals and also cultivate good values. I'm not saying I don't believe in a higher power and if one wants to give it a name be it God, Allah or any other name I have no problem with that. If basic human respect for each other came first above all else what a wonderful world this could be!  As far as the senate incident is concerned, who's right and who's wrong will probably be decided with a swift dose of political correctness.  I did a quick search and thought this might shed some light on the subject.       (haven't finished reading yet myself) wink   Woof!  Dog Tom                                     http://www.jeremiahproject.com/culture/ch_state.html
« Last Edit: July 14, 2007, 10:48:35 PM by Tom Stillman » Logged

Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.  dalai lama
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2007, 07:12:39 AM »

From another forum:
=====================

Somewhere along the way, the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court have misinterpreted the U. S. Constitution. How could fifty States be wrong?
THIS IS VERY INTERESTING! Be sure to read the last two paragraphs. America's founders did not intend for there to be a separation of God and state, as shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state constitutions:


Alabama 1901, Preamble. We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution ...

Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land ....

Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...

Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...

California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .....

Colorado 1876, Preamble. We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.

Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy ...

Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences ...

Florida 1885, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty establish this Constitution...

Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...

Hawaii 1959, Preamble. We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance .. establish this Constitution.

Idaho 1889, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings ...

Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana 1851, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to chose our form of government.

Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings . establish this Constitution.

Kansas 1859, Preamble. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges . establish this Constitution.

Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...

Louisiana 1921, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine .. acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... and imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776, Preamble. We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God or our civil and religious liberty...

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe ... in the course of His Providence, an opportunity ..and devoutly imploring His direction ..

Michigan 1908, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom ... establish this Constitution.

Minnesota 1857, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings.

Mississippi 1890, Preamble. We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri 1845, Preamble. We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness ...

Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty. establish this Constitution ...

Nebraska 1875, Preamble. We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. establish this Constitution ..

Nevada 1864, Preamble. We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution...

New Hampshire 1792, PartI. Art. I. Sec. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

New Jersey 1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors ...

New Mexico 1911, Preamble. We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty .

New York 1846, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

North Carolina 1868, Preamble. We the people of the State of North Carolina grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those ...

North Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...

Ohio 1852, Preamble. We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common ....

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty ... establish this ..

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, ArticleI. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences..

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble. We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance.

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble. We, the people of he State of South Carolina, grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

South Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties ... establish this

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI. III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...

Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah 1896, Preamble. Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution ....

Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to ... enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man...

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI ... Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator ... can be directed only by Reason ... and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other ..

Washington 1889, Preamble. We the People of the State of Washington, grateful! to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution .....

West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia .. reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God...

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble. We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility ..

Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties ... establish this Constitution...

After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control Federal Courts are wrong!

===========

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Article I Section 3: All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship.

Section 4. No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account
of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth

~~~~~~~~~~~

Rhode Island Constution Article I Section 3: Freedom of religion. -- Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; and all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness; and whereas a principal object of our venerable ancestors, in their migration to this country and their settlement of this state, was, as they expressed it, to hold forth a lively experiment that a flourishing civil state may stand and be best maintained with full liberty in religious concernments; we, therefore, declare that no person shall be compelled to frequent or to support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatever, except in fulfillment of such person's voluntary contract; nor enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in body or goods; nor disqualified from holding any office; nor otherwise suffer on account of such person's religious belief; and that every person shall be free to worship God according to the dictates of such person's conscience, and to profess and by argument to maintain such person's opinion in matters of religion; and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect the civil capacity of any person.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Commonwealth of Virginia Article I Section 16. Free exercise of religion; no establishment of religion.

That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other. No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. And the General Assembly shall not prescribe any religious test whatever, or confer any peculiar privileges or advantages on any sect or denomination, or pass any law requiring or authorizing any religious society, or the people of any district within this Commonwealth, to levy on themselves or others, any tax for the erection or repair of any house of public worship, or for the support of any church or ministry; but it shall be left free to every person to select his religious instructor, and to make for his support such private contract as he shall please.
__________________
Ohio Constitution;

§ 1.07 Rights of conscience; education; the necessity of religion and knowledge (1851)

All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or maintain any form of worship, against his consent; and no preference shall be given, by law, to any religious society; nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience be permitted. No religious test shall be required, as a qualification for office, nor shall any person be incompetent to be a witness on account of his religious belief; but nothing herein shall be construed to dispense with oaths and affirmations. Religion, morality, and knowledge, however, being essential to good government, it shall be the duty of the general assembly to pass suitable laws to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship, and to encourage schools and the means of instruction.
__________________

Thomas Jefferson's letter referring to separation of Church and State:

http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html
-------------------

http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/...emocrac/42.htm

And please note the exclusion of the name "Jesus Christ" from the document and instead the use of Almighty God.

"Jefferson drafted the following measure, but it was Madison who skillfully secured its adoption by the Virginia legislature in 1786. It is still part of modern Virginia's constitution, and it has not only been copied by other states but was also the basis for the Religion Clauses in the Constitution's Bill of Rights. Both men considered this bill one of the great achievements of their lives, and Jefferson directed that on his tombstone he should not be remembered as president of the United States or for any of the other high offices he held, but as the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and as the founder of the University of Virginia."

Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as it was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow-citizens he has a natural right; that it tends only to corrupt the principles of that religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
And though we well know that this assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such act shall be an infringement of natural right."

Jefferson in commenting on the act clearly states that the term "Almighty God" DOES NOT include "Jesus Christ" because in doing so would exclude Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. Thus, you contention that the use of the word "God" as Trinitarian finds no basis in history. And also note that "denomination" here means different religion. Jefferson stated:

"Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."


-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2007, 07:24:48 PM »

Knowing that Guro Crafty won't allow a religon discussion to take place on the media thread(at least not for long grin)
Lets move this to a more appropriate thread.
I think in a realsitic context when it comes to extremism......One fundimental consideration should be, What are the teachings of the particular religon.
I for one am a pretty devout, born again Christian. One who actually reads the Bible.
No where in scripture could you point to any thing remotely condoning Bombing abortion clinics or any such acts of taking life.
Besides the modle of a Christian is Jesus Christ and I just don't see him blowing up an abortion clinic. rolleyes
As for the Muslim religon adn the teaching of the Koran......I make no claim to knowing what it says to any degree....but the actions of a lot of Muslims tend to give much to consider.
                                                                          TG
Bear in mind if anyone wants to debate Christianity that old and new testament are two totally different convenants and we are now in the day of grace. The law being old testement.
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2007, 08:07:07 PM »

Private Papers
www.victorhanson.com

August 19, 2007
In Their Own Words
Newly translated writings of the al Qaeda leadership.
by Bruce Thornton
Private Papers

The Al Qaeda Reader, ed. Raymond Ibrahim, Introduction by Victor Davis Hanson, Doubleday.

Given that war, as both Sun Tzu and Mohammed preached, is deception, it behooves us to understand accurately the enemy’s motivations and not be fooled by his deceiving propaganda. Yet in the current war against Islamic jihad, the West has stubbornly refused to take seriously what the jihadists tell us, believing instead what Thucydides called the “pretexts” with which an enemy rationalizes his aggression. Osama bin Laden and his theorist Aymin al Zawahiri in particular have provided us with numerous texts outlining the Islamic foundations of their war against the West. A few of these pronouncements and manifestoes have long been available, but now thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, writings previously unavailable in English can be studied and analyzed. Such study will provide powerful evidence that contrary to the deceptions of apologists and the naïve delusions of some Westerners, the bases of the jihadists’ actions lie squarely within Islamic tradition, not in the alleged Western crimes against Islam.

Fluent in Arabic and trained as a historian in the ancient Middle East, Ibrahim is currently a technician in the Library of Congress’ Near East Section, where he discovered al Qaeda documents that had not been translated into English. He has organized these writings into two sections: theology, writings intended for fellow Muslims that ground al Qaeda’s war against the West in the traditional Islamic doctrine of jihad; and propaganda, writings meant for Westerners that cast bin Laden’s war as a just response to the depredations of Western powers.

The documents in the first section make a sustained, coherent argument for offensive jihad based on the Koran, the Hadith (the traditions of the words and deeds of Mohammed), and the Ulema (past and present scholars of Islam). Indeed, as Ibrahim notes, “Zawahiri’s writings especially are grounded in Islam’s roots of jurisprudence; in fact, of the many thousands of words translated here from his three treatises, well more than half are direct quotations from the Koran the Sunna [words, habits, and practices] of Mohammed, and the consensus and conclusions of the Ulema.” This extensive grounding weakens the “highjacking” charge apologists use to explain Islamic jihad. On the contrary, al Qaeda’s arguments are unexceptionally traditional — which is why, of course, millions of Muslims accept them.

In these writings addressed to fellow Muslims, bin Laden and Zawahiri argue against the notion of “moderate” Islam; the compatibility of Sharia (laws governing Islamic society) with democracy; the idea of accommodation with the enemy; and the prohibition against killing women and children. In other words, they meticulously attack as distortions of Islam all the popular assertions about Islam’s nature promulgated by apologists, Westernized Muslims, and even many Christians. As bin Laden himself writes in “Moderate Islam Is a Prostration to the West” — a letter written to the Saudi theologians who in 2002 publicly advocated coexistence with the West — such moderation necessitates the adoption of Western values: “They [the Saudi theologians] first acknowledge their [Westerners’] values and ideologies in their entirety, while shying away from evoking the truth valued by the Religion [Islam] and its foundations.” Even the notion of “co-existence” is a Western idea contrary to Islam: “As if one of the foundations of our religion is how to coexist with infidels!” Quite the contrary: the traditions and foundations of Islam urge believers to “wage war against the infidels and the hypocrites, and be ruthless against them” (Koran 66:9), a verse Zawahiri quotes along with the commentary of al Qurtubi, 13th-century author of a 20-volume exegesis of the Koran: “There is but one theme — and that is zeal for the religion of Allah. He commands the waging of Jihad against the infidel by use of sword, sound sermons, and the summons to Allah.”

So too with other Western notions such as tolerance and “dialogue,” which bin Laden correctly asserts are “built on Western conceptions, which themselves rest upon the most loathsome, secular principles.” Indeed, bin Laden has a strong case, for he appeals for evidence to the life and practices of Mohammed and his companions — along with the Koran the Muslim’s guide to every aspect of life — and asks sarcastically, “What evidence is there for Muslims for this [dialogue and shared understanding]? What did the Prophet, the companions after him, and the righteous forebears do? Did they wage jihad against the infidels, attacking them all over the earth, in order to place them under the suzerainty of Islam in great humility and submission? Or did they send messages to discover ‘shared understandings’ between themselves and the infidels in order that they may reach an understanding whereby universal peace, security, and natural relations would spread — in such a satanic manner as this?”

History shows that bin Laden has the better understanding of Islam than do Western apologists; as Ibrahim summarizes the argument, “‘radical’ Islam is Islam — without exception.” In this same vein, Zawahiri argues in his “Loyalty and Enmity” that the only relationship one can have with the infidel is enmity. Zawahiri buttresses this argument with numerous quotations from Islamic theology, the most important coming from the Koran 60:4: “‘We disown you and the idols which you worship besides Allah. We renounce you: enmity and hate shall reign between us until you believe in Allah alone.’” On this authority comes the necessity to wage jihad against the infidel.

Perhaps the most important document in Ibrahim’s collection is Zawahiri’s “Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents.” For years, we have been told that terrorism is un-Islamic because Islam forbids suicide and the killing of non-combatants. Zawahiri, however, teases out from Islamic tradition a perfectly rational and coherent argument in support of terrorism and suicide bombings.

Zawahiri starts by repeating Islam’s acceptance of deception in war as justified, thus legitimizing suicide bombings, which are deceptive by nature. Next, he builds his argument on selected hadiths, which as Ibrahim notes requires some interpretive stretching. Zawahiri gets around this difficulty by resorting to analogy, “a legitimate tool of Islamic jurisprudence,” as Ibrahim reminds us. Zawahiri focuses on intention, why the Muslim kills himself, not who kills him: “Thus the deciding factor in all these situations is one and the same: the intention — is it to service Islam [martyrdom] or is it out of depression and [despair]?” As for killing women and children, Mohammed himself provides a precedent during the siege of Ta’if, where he used catapults. The Prophet’s response to the question of killing women and children, which of course catapult missiles would do perforce, was “They [women and children] are from among them [infidels].” Again, the ultimate intention is the key: referring to al Shafi’ and the Hanbalis, two schools of Islamic jurisprudence, Zawahiri argues that it is permissible “to bombard the idolators even if Muslims and those who are cautioned against killing are intermingled with them as long as there is a need or an obligation for Muslims to do so, or if not striking leads to a delay of the jihad.”

Zawahiri’s reasoning in defense of suicide bombing may be ultimately unconvincing to many Muslims, or unsustainable by more careful exegesis. But the mere fact that such a case can be made — something impossible to do in the Christian, or Hebraic, or Hindu, or Buddhist traditions — and that millions of faithful Muslims accept the case, speaks volumes about the “religion of peace.”

The next section of The Al Qaeda Reader comprises selections Ibrahim calls “propaganda,” arguments designed for Westerners that exploit all the self-loathing pathologies of Western intellectuals. Every distortion of history repeated in thousands of American college classrooms, every lurid lie peddled by the Chomsky-Moore cult is repeated by bin Laden, the only difference being a much more explicit indulgence in anti-Semitism. Thus in “Israel, Oil, and Iraq,” Bin Laden really doesn’t sound much different from your typical college professor off on a rant about the Halliburton-Cheney-Bush-neocon [read Jews] nexus. We hear about the “Jews — who direct you [Americans] through the lie of ‘democracy’ to support the Israelis and their machination and in complete antagonism to our religion,” which is basically the same argument American academics continually make about the “Israeli lobby.” Bush is castigated in Chomskyean terms for “concealing his own ambitions and the ambitions of the Zionist lobby in their desire for oil.” Western guilt is massaged by statements like, “He [Bush] is still following the policy of his ancestors who slew the American Indians in order to seize their land and wealth” — this coming from a devotee of the most ruthlessly imperial religion ever. And our old leftist bogey, the “military-industrial complex,” appears when bin Laden tells our troops, “You are spilling your blood to swell the bank accounts of the White House gang and their fellow arms dealers and the proprietors of great companies.”

These leftist bromides appear over and over in subsequent speeches and manifestoes, and testify to bin Laden’s shrewd recognition of the West’s Achilles heel: the appeasing proclivities of its elite intellectuals who, riddled with self-loathing guilt, are incapable of defending their way of life and its highest goods. So our Saudi millionaire businessman rants on about “providing business [contracts] for their [the Bush administration] private corporations,” the 2000 presidential election “stolen” by the Bush clan, the “contracts acquired by large and dubious corporations, such as Halliburton,” and the stupidity of our troops, who “convinced of injustices and lies of their government . . . fight only for the sake of capitalists, the lords of usury [code for Jews], and arms and oil dealers — such as that gang of criminals in the White House.” Even the failure to sign the Kyoto agreement, the dropping of a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, and the supposed flouting of international law — standard anti-American leftist charges — are trotted out by bin Laden, who mentions not one of these complaints when talking to fellow Muslims, for the simple reason that traditional Muslims care nothing for them. But guilt-ridden, self-loathing Westerners of the sort currently agitating for withdrawal from Iraq care very much.

The Al Qaeda Reader, simply by letting our enemies speak in their own voices, explodes the popular delusion that Western crimes and policies are responsible for the “distortion” of Islam that al Qaeda represents. As Ibrahim writes, “This volume of translations, taken as whole, prove once and for all that, despite the propaganda of Al Qaeda and its sympathizers, Radical Islam’s war with the West is not finite and limited to political grievances — real or imagined — but is existential, transcending time and space and deeply rooted in faith.” This means that the fight will be long and hard, that leaving Iraq or creating a Palestinian state will not buy peace, and that the side that accurately understands its enemy and has confidence in its own beliefs will ultimately triumph. Thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, we have the means for achieving that understanding.
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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2010, 08:49:51 AM »

Secularity vs secularism: an enlightening distinction
Who invented the secular state? A professor of religious philosophy from the Sorbonne gives a surprising answer.



In the wake of Pope Benedict's warning about atheism while visiting the UK, a debate has broken out about secularism.  Journalist Jerome di Costanzo interviews the arabist and medievalist, Rémi Brague, who sheds much light on the question.

1) Secularists tend to deny the mediaeval origin of the notion of secularity. From your point of view is it possible to ignore it?

First, a quick glance at the reasons that lead those people to dodge or camouflage this medieval origin could be apposite. Generally speaking, there has been since the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment a widespread negative prejudice against whatever is or is supposed to be, medieval. The received wisdom tells us: Good things arose in Modern Times, full stop. The Middle Ages were a period of darkness, fuller stop.

As for the case of secularity, its advocates specifically want, or pretend to, ignore that it appeared in the Middle Ages, a period that was emphatically not secularist. The dividing line drawn between the Church and the State is a Christian invention that began among the Church Fathers, as a reaction against Constantine’s claim to control the Church and further culminated in medieval times. Moreover, this line was drawn by the Church, not by the State. The Holy See’s constant policy from the Investiture Controversy in the late 11th century consisted in sending the State (i.e. the Emperor or the Kings) back to its own merely this worldly—“secular” if you want—task: enforcing peace, justice, good social order. The State, on the other hand, was not merely “secular”, but claimed its share in sacrality. Just think of the adjective: “Holy Roman Empire”. Secularity was a conquest of the Church.   

2) The recent papal visit in Britain has re-awakened the debate about secularity in our society. What exactly is your definition of secularity?

“Secularity” may have many meanings, but it designates in any case a fact, not an ideology or a program of action, unlike “secularism”, which I will deal with presently.

Secularity qualifies a certain realm of things on which unaided human reason can, in principle at least, reach an agreement that enables cooperation towards the common good. Religion can leave alone scientific, technical, political matters, etc. because it could not be of any specific help. Scientists, technicians, politicians, or, for that matter, anglers, plumbers or jellied-eels sellers can become saints if they do their job properly. But Christianity won’t give them many hints on how to ply their trade in their technicalities.

Let me sketch a general rule: for a Christian, subsidiarity as a principle brooks no exception and obtains in the relationship between God and His creatures, too—or even in the first place. The Creator gives each and every creature the means that it needs for it to get its own good by its own exertions. For instance, God does not have to tell men what they should do. Since they were endowed with reason, they possess, at least in principle, the necessary tools for them to choose what is right and avoid what is not. God does not have to tell men what they should eat, how they should dress, where they should spend their holidays, etc. According to Aquinas, the Ten Commandments are nothing more than a reminder of what we should be able to know by ourselves. By this token, “secularity” is a good thing, and it is correct to avoid any interference of “religion” where it is not necessary. On the other hand, it is foolish not to accept its aid where we enter a realm in which religion alone is competent, for instance giving us the power of forgiving, assuaging our fear of death, leading us towards salvation. 

As for secularism as an ideology, I have two definitions. One attaches to the way in which people who define themselves as “secular” look at themselves. The word, together with “agnosticism”, “humanism”, etc., was coined in the Victorian era, when declaring oneself an “atheist” was hardly the thing. Secularism has over the latter word the advantage of a positive ring, whereas a-theism expresses a mere negation: not believing in God. Secularism, then, consists in limiting one’s ken to this-worldly matters, to what the Bible calls ha-‘olam haz-zeh.

But I have another definition up my sleeve. It is at the same time etymological and ironical. “Secular” comes from saeculum, the Latin for “century”, which originally meant the longest duration of human life. Secularity is the attitude of people who think that human hopes can’t exceed one century and therefore—perhaps unwittingly and unwillingly—act so that mankind will last exactly as long... Secularists are unable to explain why it is good that there should be human beings on earth. Since they contend that human life is the product of chance, they can’t tell us why it should be good for us, who can decide consciously to carry on with the experience, to do so. 

3) Benedict XVI said during his visit: "As we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny." If so, are atheists potentially totalitarian?

Thank goodness, what is potential does not always become actuality. And all atheists are not prone to totalitarianism. Many even loathed it, nay fought against it. Think of people like George Orwell.

Yet, the assumption gains in plausibility when we shift from individuals to the collective level. A massive fact bears witness to that, namely the massacres of the 20th century. They simply dwarf whatever havoc religion may have wrought in the past. The worst bloodsheds of the last century, and probably of history at large, were not caused by religious faith, on the contrary. Even the so-called “wars of religion” in the 16th century can be chalked up for a large part to the rise of the Modern State under its earliest historical form, i.e. the absolute monarchy. The killing fields of World War I were due to nationalism, to self-idolatry of the national and/or imperial states. World War II was a consequence of nazi ideology, that was, to quote Hitler, “a sober theory of reality grounded on the sharpest scientific knowledge and its expression in thought” (eine kühle Wirklichkeitslehre schärfster wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnisse und ihrer gedanklichen Ausprägung) (Talk in Nuremberg on the Day of the NS-Party, June, 9th 1938). Lenin and his followers understood their version of marxism as “scientific” in nature.

4) In Westminster Hall the Holy Father talked about the necessity to respect the “right of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square”. This comes after the closure of a Catholic adoption agency following Labour’s Sexual Orientation Regulations and is a very practical illustration of the practice of secularity. How should the moral or ethical teaching of the Churches function in the political debate?

I don’t know the details of this story, so that I would rather not comment upon it.
Let me content myself with a general observation: Catholics do not defend something like “Catholic morality”. By the way, I am reluctant to call morality by any adjective whatsoever: Christian, Buddhist, progressive, even secular, etc. Moral rules have obtained since the outset; they vary very little. There are, on the other hand, Christian, Buddhist, etc. interpretations of moral life.

We should endeavour to get a clearer picture of the reasons why Christians—and not only the Pope, even if his voice, for obvious reasons, is more widely heard—have to speak up from time to time. They don’t preach up their own stuff, pro domo. They warn of dangers that menace mankind at large, and they have to do so when they think that some behaviour, be it individual or collective, is lethal for mankind. The supreme rule in those matters is some sort of a duty to rescue.

5) On the other hand, the government has refused to ban the Burqa in the name of this freedom. What do you think about this apparent difference of treatment?

In the name of the individual freedom of women, French government came to the opposite conclusion. Let me emphasize only one point: our idea of what a religion is, hence, of what freedom in religious matters should be, arose many centuries ago, and it was tailored to a definite religion, i.e. Christianity. Our governments have the know-how as far as dealing with Christians is concerned, even when they act against Christians... On the other hand, they are at a loss in front of a religion like Islam that does not clearly distinguish between the public and the private. Hence, they understand wearing the Burqa or, for that matter, any kind of obedience to she Sharia, as a private decision.

As for the precise question, Christianity is the first religion that did not bring new or special commands but contented itself with common, “pagan”, run-of-the-mill morality. The so-called “Christian morals” is none other than the Ten Commandments that are already in the Old Testament (Exodus, 20), and in other cultures. Little wonder, since they are the basic survival kit of mankind. The Burqa is a definite interpretation of Islamic Law, grounded on two verses of the Qur’an asking women to be veiled (XXIV, 31; XXXIII, 59). The problem is that a pious Muslim believes his Holy Book to have been dictated word for word by an omniscient God, who outsoars time and space. If this is the case, you have to obey without further ado. The only loophole left for interpretation will be the precise meaning of the words: how long must be the veil, how opaque, etc.?     

6) In the conclusion of your book Eccentric Culture you preached in favour of a new "Romanity", which you define as a strict separation between the spiritual and the politic and the need for roots from “Natural Law”, could you tell us more? Does Nature remind us of the reasonable way?

I hope I did not preach. I simply pointed out some elements that might help us recover what I called “Romanity”, a stance that might be the key to Europe’s success story. I was given the opportunity to delve more extensively on those legal and political topics in my “The Law of God” (2005). There, I argued that the real question is less the separation between the spiritual and the politic than the one between the spiritual and the whole realm of human action: not only politics, but individual morality, ethics, together with what ancient philosophers called “economy”: relations between husband and wife, parents and children, leaders and subordinates.

The trouble, when we mention “nature” in phrases like “natural law”, is that we more often than not mistake two concepts for one another. For us, “nature” means first what natural sciences like astronomy, physics or biology tell us about what there is. Now, mentioning “natural law” certainly does not mean that we should behave in the same way as natural beings do, still less that we should not try and modify natural processes to our advantage—what technology does every day. The concept of nature that underlies the idea of “natural law” is worlds apart from the first. It is rooted in ancient, particularly Stoic philosophy, so that it has become hardly understandable for our contemporaries, unless they have undergone a philosophical training. Perhaps we should speak in its stead of “rational law”, i.e. a law that can be discovered by human reason. Since reason defines man’s nature, we would save a great deal of the idea by means of a less misleading phrase.

There is at least a way in which nature “reminds us of the reasonable way”, to quote your very apt formula. Natural beings have their own laws—the word being taken here as designating a law of nature. This means that you can’t do anything with them if you want to keep them living. You have to sort of “respect” them, although this word is used here only as a metaphor, or as a prefiguration of what will deserve the name of “respect” between men as free and rational beings.

7) In the same book you want to rediscover the “kindness of the body”– la bonté du corps in French – what do you mean exactly by this kindness?

The French bonté means in common parlance something like “kindness”, “generosity”, etc. I took it as an awkward equivalent of “goodness”, the quality of what is good, an idea for which the French has no proper substantive.

As for the body, we live in a paradoxical situation: At first blush, we are enamoured of it. Just think of what we spend on cosmetics, fitness, now the so-called “wellness”, not to mention plastic surgery, etc. In fact, we select an extremely narrow aspect of the body: it must be young, healthy, attractive and, when it is female, for Pete’s sake not pregnant! Now, Christianity contends that the body is called to an unheard-of destiny, since it is due to experience a resurrection. The body in its whole, our history from A to Z, is reclaimed by God. Interestingly, Pagans like Celsus in the 2nd century or Porphyry in the 3rd criticized Christians by poking fun at their exaggerated “passion for the body”. They conceived of salvation in a Platonic key-tone: it consisted in being salvaged from the body, not saved with it. I must smile when I read Nietzsche’s attack on the Christians as “despising the body”...     

Cool Jacques Maritain thought that “integral humanism’, un-rooted from the natural law, is “anti-human” and a denial of the person. Does this analysis fit with our situation today?

If I were to look for a far-reaching and convincing critique of atheistic humanism, I would not name Maritain. You alluded to the title of a book that he published in 1937. I read it last year and I found it rather disappointing. Father Henri de Lubac did a much better job in his The drama of atheistic humanism, written during the war and published in 1944. He does not try to refute what he calls “exclusive humanism” from the outside. Instead, he shows that its inner logic renders it self-defeating.

Today, what is wrong with exclusive humanism is not only that it can’t do justice to the person. Things have grown far worse: What is menaced is not the status of man as a personal being; it is the very existence of mankind.

In conclusion 2 questions:

9) The National Secular Society says that “supernaturalism is based upon ignorance” and assails it as the historic enemy of progress. For you, is this “historically” true?

Such statements are hopelessly muddled. At the bottom of all that, you find Auguste Comte’s idea that religion can’t explain the world as well as science does. This is very true. But who ever said that explaining the world is what religion is about? The fact that we know more and more things about nature does not prove that there is nothing else than nature.

The use of the word “progress” betrays a naive faith that no believer would share, an identification of what is new with what is good. Atomic weapons, global warming, AIDS are new phenomena. They are not exactly good things.

The common ploy of secular journalists, since the Enlightenment, has consisted of ascribing to themselves the betterment of human condition, thereby neglecting the long-term part played by Christianity in de-legitimizing slave-trade, slavery in general or torture. Think of the Pope’s ban on trial by ordeal in 1215, or of the jesuit von Spee putting a stop on the witch trials. 

10) I know you are a friend of Roger Scruton. In your search for the solution for our Society, does Beauty matter?

Calling me a “friend” of Roger Scruton is an honour that I hardly deserve: If my memory serves me right, I met him only twice, once in Warsaw, and once in Rome. “Admirer” would capture the situation more adequately. Furthermore, I’m afraid I haven’t yet watched the TV program that you are alluding to. Be that as it may, Scruton is probably right in pointing out the importance of Beauty.

Let me shed some light on the historical background. A massive fact is that beauty is not the central concept in our relationship with art any longer. It was replaced by other concepts, for instance “interesting”, “moving”, “exciting”, etc. This is a very long process whose inception can be situated in early German romanticism, in the last years of the 18th century, say, with the young Friedrich Schlegel. Contemporary works of art are seldom beautiful, not because artists are incompetent, but because they don’t want to produce beautiful things. The mere fact that one is talking of beauty nowadays has a reactionary ring about it that renders it provocative.

To be sure, we won’t heal the wounds of our societies by building bigger museums or that sort of thing. The deeper issue is the relationship between Beauty, Truth and Being, which verges on metaphysics. Technically speaking, the question is whether “transcendental” properties of things, like the three that I have just mentioned, are convertible into each other. In other words: is Beauty the expression of the deepest nature of what is? Or is it only, on the one hand, a trick, a colourful mask that conceals a cruel Truth—say, struggle for life, will to power, etc — or, on the other hand, something than can give us pleasure by tickling our sentiments?

The point is whether we are still able to recover a sense of the beauty of the world, and that this beauty is not cheating, that it points to an intrinsic goodness of Being. Unless we can do that, we will be at a loss how to answer the question: why should there be anything and not nothing? In the teeth of all appearance, this is not an Academic issue. In the long run, we need a positive answer if the human adventure is to go on.

Rémi Brague is professor of Arabic and Religious philosophy at the Sorbonne. He is the author of The Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea. Jerome di Costanzo is a French writer, analyst and journalist now living in Yorkshire. He specialises in politics, religion and philosophy. This interview has been reproduced from openDemocracy.net under a Creative Commons licence.

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« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2010, 09:21:07 PM »

"As long as it's the right religion..."
As someone 1st posted on this site.

Democracy and religion seem to have a problem....




ISRAEL: Rabbinical ruling sparks controversy, racism charges
December 9, 2010 | 10:01 pm
When the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, with a large ultra-Orthodox population, banned renting apartments to migrant workers and moved to evict those already living there, it met with mild public objection. When the municipal rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, warned against renting apartments to Arab students in town, again, the response was limited.

But a religious ruling signed by dozens of rabbis banning renting or selling apartments to non-Jews has met with dismay and anger, prompting reaction across the board.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the ruling, saying people would be outraged if the shoe was on the other foot and Jews were barred from renting property anywhere in the world. Moderate rabbis condemn the assault on Judaism and democracy. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum and education center in Jerusalem, condemned the ruling as a blow to Jewish values, while Arab lawmakers likened the rabbis to skinheads. Even Amnesty International joined the fray.

The rabbis defend their ruling. It's not racism, it's halacha -- Jewish law -- that prohibits allowing Gentiles a foothold, Rabbi Eliyahu told Israel Radio: "We've seen what happens in mixed towns, our girls are tempted and this leads to assimilation." "We don't want this happening in Safed or anywhere else," he said. Rabbi Dov Volpe was blunter. "State laws contravening halacha count as dust," he said, making clear that the Torah trumps democracy.

Israel has laws against incitement to racism. The fine line between freedom of expression and violation of such laws makes officials wary of enforcing them; additional sensitivities make investigation of rabbis relatively rare. It's not so much the legal aspect as it is the public aspect, says Justice Dalia Dorner, president of Israel's press council, who called the religious decree an "abomination."

As the storm brewed in recent days, many felt one voice was missing from the fiery debate: the legal system. Why isn't the attorney general investigating, people demanded. The answer came Thursday evening, when the legal system responded to a petition by left-leaning lawmaker Ilan Gilon. The statement from the attorney general's office acknowledged the rabbis' statements were "problematic in several aspects" and "inappropriate for public officials" and that possible criminal aspects would be examined.

Racism is a lethal disease, writes Arab Israeli lawmaker Ahmed Tibi. A month ago, he sent the attorney general a letter of complaint about the Safed rabbi's ban. He's still waiting for an answer.

Israel's long years of conflict have bred intolerance, even hatred. Somewhere down the slippery slope, many have expanded their definition of "the enemy" to include anyone different who threatens their way of life, whether political, national or religious. Diversity is less easy to apply where the narratives of different groups are perceived to be mutually exclusive.

The 2010 Israeli Democracy Index finds that nearly half of all Jewish Israelis do not want Arabs as neighbors. A significant number do not want to live next door to "others" either, including gay people, migrant workers, the mentally ill or the ultra-Orthodox. To this, some commented that if one counts all the right-wingers who don't want to live next door to leftists and vice versa, Israelis just don't want to live next to any other Israeli, period.

A number of rabbis have begun withdrawing their signatures from the ruling, taking their cue from  Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv, who pointed out that the same rabbis have no problem selling land to Arabs during shmita, the Bible's command that the land lie fallow every seventh year. (The state of Israel sells its leavening to Arabs during Passover too.) "I've said for some time that there are rabbis who must have their pens taken from them," Elyashiv was quoted as saying.

But others want more than just pens taken from the rabbis -- they want their jobs. Many of those who signed the decree serve as municipal rabbis, their salaries funded by taxpayers. The Haaretz editorial calling for their dismissal was only one of many. "Racism at the expense of Israeli citizens," its headline  said.

-- Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem

 

 
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G M
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« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2010, 09:10:52 AM »

Wow, they should have a law like Oklahoma's or something.
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JDN
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2010, 10:37:15 AM »

Wow, they should have a law like Oklahoma's or something.

Yep, it sounds like that is what this suburb tried to do.
Pass a discriminatory racist law....   wink

Unlike Oklahoma, others in Israel had common sense....

The Haaretz editorial calling for their dismissal (rabbis) was only one of many. "Racism at the expense of Israeli citizens," its headline  said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the ruling, saying people would be outraged if the shoe was on the other foot and Jews were barred from renting property anywhere in the world. Moderate rabbis condemn the assault on Judaism and democracy. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum and education center in Jerusalem, condemned the ruling as a blow to Jewish values
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G M
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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2010, 08:40:23 PM »

Putting a smiley face next to your stupid comment doesn't make it any less stupid, JDN. What race is islam?
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JDN
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2010, 09:32:47 PM »

Putting a smiley face next to your stupid comment doesn't make it any less stupid, JDN. What race is islam?

I believe the Israeli Haaretz editorial headline stated, "Racism at the expense of Israeli citizens,"
Did you read the article?  Most everyone in Israel seems to call it "racism" except you...

By the way, that was a wink!  This is a smiley face.   smiley
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G M
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2010, 09:58:26 PM »

Oklahoma's law was to prevent the imposition of the oppression of sharia law and other non-american legal systems on the people of Oklahoma. Funny how you target Israel over and over again. What don't you look at the oppression of non-muslims under sharia? Look how the Copts are doing in Egypt. Far better to be Muslim in Israel than a Copt in Egypt.
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G M
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« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2010, 10:23:00 PM »

JDN,

Notice the little problem in Stockholm with the sharia advocate?
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JDN
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« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2010, 10:27:41 PM »

Oklahoma's law was to prevent the imposition of the oppression of sharia law and other non-american legal systems on the people of Oklahoma. Funny how you target Israel over and over again.

Oklahoma's law was specifically designed to prevent one religious belief; Sharia Law; "OTHER non-american legal systems" i.e. Beth din and others were barely addressed or ignored altogether.  

As for Israel, I applaud Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who rejected the ruling, saying "people would be outraged if the shoe was on the other foot"
And Yad Vashem, of the Holocaust memorial museum and education center in Jerusalem, who condemned the ruling "as a blow to Jewish values".

More Americans should have spoken up against the Oklahoma law as did respected people in Israel speak up against racism.  Racism exists everywhere; it
takes good people like what happened in Israel to stand up and oppose it.  And if I was a Jew, even though I may have good reasons to hate Muslims I would reject this law for the same reasons given by Netanyahu and Vashem.  And as an American I reject the Oklahoma Law for the same reasons.

One day the shoe will be on the other foot; and for the Jews, terribly, it has been on the other foot, so they understand better than anyone else.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 10:33:22 PM by JDN » Logged
G M
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« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2010, 10:39:18 PM »

I'm not sure how to dumb this down for you, since this forum doesn't allow for crayons or hand puppets.

Sharia law is oppressive. It specifically oppresses non-muslims and women in particular.

It is wholly incompatible with the US constitution or any state constitution.

Oklahoma's law forbade judges from considering sharia law. It in no way prevents a muslim from practicing the 5 pillars of islam.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 09:33:20 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2010, 10:41:39 PM »

Sharia mandates that those that leave islam are to be killed. Should a judge consider that in a murder trial?
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G M
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« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2010, 10:47:57 PM »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/mar/23/germany.islam

A German judge who refused a Moroccan woman a fast-track divorce on the grounds that domestic violence was acceptable according to the Qur'an has been removed from the case following a nationwide outcry.

The judge, Christa Datz-Winter, said the German woman of Moroccan descent would not be granted a divorce because she and her husband came from a "Moroccan cultural environment in which it is not uncommon for a man to exert a right of corporal punishment over his wife," according to a statement she wrote that was issued by a Frankfurt court. "That's what the claimant had to reckon with when she married the defendant."

The 26-year-old mother of two had been repeatedly beaten and threatened with death by her husband.

When the woman protested against the judge's decision, Ms Datz-Winter invoked the Qur'an to support her argument. In the court she read from verse 34 of Sura four of the Qur'an, An-Nisa (Women), in which men are told to hit their wives as a final stage in dealing with disobedience. The verse reads: "... as to those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping places and beat them".

The woman's lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk, protested, saying: "When Christians are arguing for a divorce they don't use the Bible."

Commentators, politicians and Muslim leaders criticised the judge's decision, saying that choosing sharia above civil law was a threat to jurisprudence. Wolfgang Bosbach, of the Christian Democratic Union, said: "One thing must be clear: in Germany only German law applies."
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G M
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« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2010, 10:51:30 PM »

So, a muslim wants to exercise his allah-given right to put his disobedient wife in her place, then a judge should feel free to crack open the koran or other islamic text to decide if sharia gives the thumbs up?
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G M
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« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2010, 10:54:51 PM »

http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/083.sbt.html#009.083.017

Volume 9, Book 83, Number 17:

    Narrated 'Abdullah:

    Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."

**So, say a muslim becomes a buddhist and another muslim decides to enforce allah's law on the topic. Is this a defense? a Mitigating factor?
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JDN
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« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2010, 11:11:47 PM »

I'm not sure how to dumb this down for you, since this forum doesn't allow for crayons or hand puppets.


Given your futile comments (wrong) yesterday on the Citizen-Police Interactions Forum, your supposed area of expertise, I presumed you were already an expert with crayons and hand puppets; logic though and acknowledging the error of your post seems to allude you.  You are like a blind bull in a china shop;
no focus/answer to the subject/question, but you make a lot of irrelevant noise.

May I suggest when you don't have the cards; just fold?

Good night...
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G M
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« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2010, 11:14:30 PM »

I explained it, you have no response.
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« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2010, 11:17:40 PM »

Simple questions, why can't you answer them, JDN?
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G M
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« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2010, 11:20:53 PM »

A muslim's wife gets lippy. He blackens her eye and then says "allah says so" in court. What should the judge do?
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G M
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« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2010, 11:22:59 PM »

C'mon JDN, what does the judge do? Quote the koran?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2010, 09:40:52 AM »

GM:

"I'm not sure how to dumb this down for you, since this forum doesn't allow for crayons or hand puppets."

You are a bright, well-educated man.  This sort of commentary is not necessary to presenting your case.  Please don't.

Thank you,
Marc

@JDN:

What does the judge do?

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JDN
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« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2010, 10:28:16 AM »


@JDN:

What does the judge do?


Since they are addressing an issue of assault and are therefore in a criminal court,
the Koran is not applicable.  Nor can the Torah or the Bible be used to justify any
criminal action.
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G M
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« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2010, 10:39:55 AM »

You mean a judge shouldn't be allowed to consider sharia law in an American courtroom? That's pretty bigoted, JDN. So when do you move to Tulsa?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2010, 12:55:57 PM »

It reads to me like he is leaving civil law issues open , , ,
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G M
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« Reply #41 on: December 12, 2010, 01:01:26 PM »

Those that wish to bring sharia law to America (as well as the rest of what's left of the western world) understand incrementalism.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2012, 11:42:56 PM »

I started to post this on Founding Fathers while listening but they never in this interview really got to Jefferson.  So let's call it Freedom of religion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmJcUI_wSy8

I heard David Barton on a re-run of Glenn Beck radio over the weekend.  One thing he said was that Jefferson's Koran had some writing inside the front cover and I wanted to know what it was.  Didn't find out.  Searching, 'The Blaze' said this interview was the number one google search of the day.

Keith Ellison took his oath on the Koran and said it was Thomas Jefferson's Koran, thus making it okay?  But as I suspected, Jefferson had the first English translation of the Koran to read in order to understand the enemy he would go to war against that killing and enslaving Americans (and people from other non-Islamic countries) that would pass through the Straits of Gibraltar.

Barton is a conservative Christian historian involved with 9 Supreme Court cases.  Stewart is a liberal Jew, a comedian, trying partly to do a Charlie Rose style interview and partly to debate him.  Odd interview/debate but interesting.

A point Barton makes is that Freedom of Speech should not exclude religious speech.  Stewart can't comprehend how if America is 84% Christian that they could ever think they get unfair treatment.

On the radio, Barton defended Jefferson against quite a few myths that are out there about him; that is the core of the book.  Buy the book and tell us the rest: http://www.amazon.com/The-Jefferson-Lies-Exposing-Believed/dp/1595554599
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #43 on: May 03, 2012, 12:27:06 AM »

A theme of interest to some of us.  Related posts can be found on the First Amendment thread as well on SCH.  Perhaps we should merge the two threads?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #44 on: May 03, 2012, 11:22:51 AM »

"Perhaps we should merge the two threads?"  - Yes.  Many including me think of the First Amendment as freedom of speech but of course it is much more than that:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The follow up to Barton's book about Jefferson can go in the Founders thread, but this interview was all about Stewart trying to challenge the author's personal views on free exercise of religion.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #45 on: May 03, 2012, 12:40:45 PM »

So then, lets take Freedom of Religion to the First Amendment thread.
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