"To argue against any breach of liberty
from the ill use that may be made of it,
is to argue against liberty itself,
since all is capable of being abused."
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 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
Hence the need for Religion and Morality in government. Not the establishment of a national religion nor the forced coercion of morality - but the two pillars of government that exist in the heart of a man that keep him from usurping the Liberty of another.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Morality (virtuous conduct) may indeed be useful when not facing tyrants. Religion in government has, as a matter of historical record, NEVER improved its functioning. To the contrary, religion has always, inevitably led to the mistreatment and marginalization of some subset of the population as a whole by virtue of the high-handed behavior of the majority religion's notion that their way is the 'Right' way. The trouble is that every religion thinks this is so - they have it right and the 'others' have it wrong. Technically this is referred to as sanctimony.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Said like a good agnostic. You confuse religion with compulsion... While it is true that secular religion, when coupled with government, has led to national decay - it is not true that Religion is the culprit and stands to blame. You are partially right, but for all the wrong reasons. Governments have suffered from compelled and forced virtue long before Christianity came into play, this is true - Sparta and Grecian history, Roman history, Babylonian, Egyptian, and a slew of other western civilizations have faltered for what seems, on the surface, to be established Religion. But to say that it was "religion" that destroyed the civilization is inaccurate, to say the least. Any true historian can look at the facts of history and see the pattern of society - All civilizations are built on the same principles and they all commit suicide by the same principles... Strong and independent nations are brought about on the strength of the morality and a belief structure of religion; albeit, these nations never FORCED the people to belong to these virtues but allowed them their own agency of choice. Freedom and Liberty, brought about by the agency of man in choosing his own path, are what made these nations great. However, it always follows that as soon as the civilization becomes powerful, men come along who claim that you can have religion without morality or that you can have morality without religion and that society will stand strong. They divorce these two pillars from each other and teach an idea that it's okay. Once a civilization starts down a path of religion without morality, you have the foundation of tyranny. Mark it, this has happened to every failed civilization: Religion and Morality are divorced by an establishment of a particular political denomination – Since there is no more morality, immorality abounds (rape, drugs, murder, abuse, crime, broken families, etc.), which causes more strict laws and “forced virtue” upon the heads of the people to save society – This is done because the people “cannot be trusted to govern themselves” due to the “immorality” that has ensued. On the same note, when you have someone professing that they can have morality without Religion associated, the same, historically, has proven just as fatal. The facts don't lie. These two standards, once divorced, will prove the downfall of a nation. You can't have one without the other or slavery is all that is left. So while you say that Religion has been the historical reason of national decay - you're only half right - and not for the reason you think. It’s not religion’s fault – after all, religion is merely a belief held by men – it’s the fault of the men who believe that they can govern themselves without morality.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Logan: I don't recall saying that "it was 'religion' that destroyed the (any) civilization." I also don't recall saying that "Religion has been the historical reason of national decay". I'm at a loss as to just exactly how you've managed to arrive at the supposition that I "confuse religion with compulsion...". Examples to support your contentions would be helpful. I'll make you a deal; You provide one example supporting your contention(s) and I'll provide one in turn to support my (actual) contention(s). I'll go first, OK? Let's take one of the most eggregious examples in MODERN history: In Germany, during (among other times not mentioned here) the early years of the 20th century (1900s) the majority religion (Christianity-protestant mainly) justified the murder of millions of Jews and other minorities under the banner of the superiority of Christianity and the (purported) 'race' that practiced it. With your permission, I'm going to be so bold as to label that 'mistreatment and marginalization' so as not to overstate the issue. Your turn.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Terry, you missed Logan's point all together. I have given ad nauseam the definition of religion here on this blog. The short version is; religion is; real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to . . . our fellow men.” (Bouviers Law Dictionary). Religion is an object of conscience, an ethic(s), a moral(s), a value (system) or an orientation of correctness / enlightenment, believed sufficiently conventional and sacrosanct as to enable an attributable action. The Atheist and Socialist religions, when administered (singly or in concert) in a formal organization, mingled with force during the 20th Century, manifested the deadliest and most heinous religions ever known to man. The morals and ethics (religion) Logan was speaking of had nothing to do with a formal organization of force but rather, the individual's morals, ethics (religion), etc. that harmonize with natural law and justice.

    Your argument against that breach of liberty from the ill use that religion made of it, is to argue against liberty (law, morality, ethics, religion, justice, etc.) itself, since all is capable of being abused.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Meaningless gibberish.

    And what has this to do with religion ???
     -- TheMANwithNoName, Tampa, FL     
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    Hitler was one of the worst tyrants in history, perhaps only second to Stalin. Hitler was not an Atheist, he was a Catholic and was never excommunicated. Read "Hitlers' Pope" and see why it was easy for Hitler to pick on the Jews.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
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    jim, though Hitler was into the occult more than Christianity (I've not read where he came out in favor or a major belief in any religion other than socialism), it was the socialist religion that he used to do the unthinkable. Mao killed and tortured more than both Hitler or Stalin in pursuit of his atheistic / socialist utopia. The point was, it is the formally organized theocracy(s) of force that breach liberty ("A"theism, "B"uddhism, "C"hristianity, etc. the ABCs of theocracies of force are antithetical to freedom and liberty)

    TheMANwithNoName, the quote didn't come out and directly address anything specifically about religion except, religion just happens to be one of those elements that is used to breach freedom and liberty. Another element or breach or liberty would be legal positivism. To argue in legal positivism's defense is to argue against liberty. There are many examples that would fit the quote.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Secular religion with out moral constraint. Doctrines of Moral Responsibility. Have and are torn to pieces in the courts, leaving the natal agent to wonder, if it is ok to be merciful. Passion without compassion, is only lust, covetousness. Religion, the word itself being one of the most misused words in human language. Ceremonial observance, religion. Threskeia, signifies religion in its external aspect. religious worship, especially the ceremonial service of religion. An officious parade. On the other hand, the word religion, Threskos, as used in James 1:26,27. The contrast is set forth between that which is ( unreal and deceptive,) and the ( pure religion ) which consists in visiting the fatherless and widows in their afflictions and in keeping oneself unspotted from the world. Pious-religious used 1 time. KJB. I do like your definition Mike, and the phrase attributable action. And that phrase having a broader base than most can comprehend, or perceive. For the secular unbelieving, it is like trying to chase a man down in a round house. So well said Logan, The two Pillars. Religion and Morality, Mercy and Truth. Those that chew on doctrines of law to cast doubt and deceive are as those in times past who were religious, Threskeia. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. The weightier matters of the law are always left out. Judgment, mercy and faith." The Holy cause of Liberty, We shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, Our chains are forged " ! Patrick Henry. So we stand in one accord with our founding fathers and their Christian fundamentals, and principals. of decency, respect and knowledge of moral responsibility.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
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    Brilliant !! Simple and to the point. The perfect response to any dictate from church or state in order to 'protect us from ourselves.'
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Kiss the Son, most beautiful, Keep It Simple Stupide. I am, and He is Most Humbling. God Bless you all. Amen.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
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    I disagree. To argue against any breach of liberty, -( due to ill use-of it), does not argue against liberty. It is disputing an infringement of a right...a freedom.
     -- ValerieN, Richmond, VA.     
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    I needed to edit my above comment, stars. I felt it deserved 0 stars, not 5.
    --A liberty abused, becomes less of a liberty,- a violation of such, & needs to be corrected, - not accepted - simply because it is capable of happening.
     -- ValerieN, Richmond, VA.     
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     -- DENNIS KOLB, WARRENTON, NC      
    Good point Valerie. I think substituting 'liberty' with 'power' makes your argument. How much power can we 'permit' another to have? This is the age-old question for a voluntary association of people -- how they answer will determine Nature's response.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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