"It had become an universal and almost uncontroverted position in the several States, that the purposes of society do not require a surrender of all our rights to our ordinary governors; that there are certain portions of right not necessary to enable them to carry on an effective government, and which experience has nevertheless proved they will be constantly encroaching on, if submitted to them; that there are also certain fences which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious against wrong, and rarely obstructive of right, which yet the governing powers have ever shown a disposition to weaken and remove. Of the first kind, for instance, is freedom of religion; of the second, trial by jury, habeas corpus laws, free presses."
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
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Same as it ever was. Jefferson knew of what he spoke.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Crime takes place in the contexts of business, politics, education, and even religion. Freedom of religion does not mean the freedom to commit crime under the apron of religion. For example, forcing students to study or attend classes on the pseudo-science that is taught in public schools is a violation of the First Amendment right of freedom of religion, since this pseudo-science is actually more a faith-based philosophy than a science. And while we are at war, which we are, enemy combatants do not qualify to enjoy the habeus corpus rights.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    The Boy Scouts not being able to camp on government ground because they give religious medals to all faiths is by itself enough to show the freedom of religion is waning. For those that understand the biblical basis of the separation of powers and the Constitutional application thereof knows we are not at war but rather, a tyrants executive action. As I commented in this blog, I've witnessed first hand the demise of habeas corpus on a private U.S. citizen. Judges for years have been scoffing at habeas corpus when it comes to political prisoners within the U.S. And as to the press, I have too many experiences to believe the press hasn't become anything other than the 4th official branch of the government.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    When the radical religous right steals our very language from us, we know that they are running scared. Science is a well defined term, and it is not a "faith-based philosophy". Likewise, war is a well defined term, and it is not what we are engaged in at this time either in Iraq or any other place on this planet.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    David is right. the THEORY of Evolution (which is taught in government schools as fact to the exclusion of any other possibility) is not science. It is full of holes. It actually takes more faith to believe in Evolution than in Intelligent Design. Reston, just how has the "radical religous right" stolen our very language from us? That's a very dramatic statement.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
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    You point out government infringement (camping Boy Scouts), yet "the people" don't bother to correct this injustice. People are sheep who see two similar views, republicans and democrats are different sides of the same coin. There are more than two political parties, and dozens more than two ways to view issues. Tired of "staying the course?" Vote Libertarian, regain your rights, explore real options for freedom.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    I absolutely,positively, 100% agree with this this statement byThomas Jefferson.
     -- Me Again     
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    Um, hasn't anyone remembered that the federal government is not supposed to own land (except for a few parks and monuments)? All land of the republic belonged to the States and of course the People. That is why the feds were given a tiny plot for their government offices. Prior to independence, the common man could not own land outright -- it all belonged to the Crown and the most subjects could get was a 'title' to it granted by the crown; however, the land still belonged to the crown and the subject was responsible for paying tax on it. Most of what religionists complain about is that federal funding is not available for churches. Nevermind that the government is not really supposed to be borrowing left and right to buy votes. These so-called federal lands are declared as 'parks' -- millions and millions of acres -- never the intent of the founders, far from it. If the boy scouts want to camp, why don't they buy their own land and camp on that? Or get permission to camp on private property. No the churches want MORE money than their tax-exempt status already provides and claim federal funds as a 'right'. Get with it -- freedom of religion is alive and well -- they just want more and more. You want religion in schools? Pick a school that teaches it. What do you think this is, a free ride?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Freedom of religion is alive and well? That is ridiculous. You can't make abuses disappear by denying them, which is irrational. much of today's science is faith-based philosophy, lacking proof, full of wholes, based on traditional but unprroved assumptions, and often disproved after a couple of generations. Get your facts straight, because you look silly denying facts.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    Archer, when you lose it, you're pretty funny? The original case against the Boy Scouts was because they were camping on a military base (authorized by the Constitution). With permission, anyone can now camp on the base except recognized religious related entities. The Boy Scouts do have their own land and do get permission to camp on private property. It is clearly religious persecution and the loss of the freedom of religion that denies such activities to anyone or entity based on mere religion and when an organization such as the Boy Scouts is considered a religious organization (they give merit badges to atheists, Jews, Buddhists, etc. - that makes them an organization embracing and enhancing all constructive lifestyles.) LOL You oopsed again, what church is asking for federal funds as their right beyond their exempt status. My church isn't. As to religion being alive and well: My child was not allowed to play with certain neighborhood kids because he was Christian; and, several children at church have complained about multiple teachers ridiculing them because of their beliefs. I could go on and on, but enough said.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Freedom of religion includes freedom FROM religion. It does not guarantee that one's beliefs are either true or right, or that others must embrace them. For whatever reason, the Boy Scouts are recognized as a religious non-profit organization and enjoy the tax breaks that come with that -- therefore according to federal law, federal funds cannot be used to further specific religious causes (no matter how spurious). Personally I could care less about the Boy Scouts -- I learned a lot more from my family and 'bush men' about trekking, camping, hunting, respect for nature, etc. Why the hell would someone be crying about not being able to camp on an army base?! It is not really camping, then, I do not think. As far as your children not being allowed to play with others, who says? And who wants to play with people who do not want to play with you? What, we have no choice as to who we may allow our children to associate with? Please, quit yer whining. Maybe people don't believe what you believe and they don't want you influencing their kids -- would you like atheist families to indoctrinate your children and have them provide their evidence that the Bible is merely a compilation of very old stories most of which come from Babylon, the Egyptians and the Phoenicians? (The Egyptians have an IDENTICAL story of an immaculate conception by 'god' of a virgin, the son of god, and the sacrifice of the son of god for the atonement of sins, resurrected on the 3rd day, etc. -- thousands of years before Christ.) So carry on the good fight for what you believe in -- but others have the right to their opinion, too. I think you expect to much from public education -- find a school that teaches what you believe in and compensate those teachers for doing the job that is ultimately yours anyway. The freedom of religion is not the right to impose it upon others -- only to hold it for yourself as your guide. The Boy Scouts and all Churches are commercial corporate entities thus if they wish to use public property to further their aims, they must pay the public for the use of those public lands (that is why the drivers licence first came about -- for commercial use of public roads). It is only fair. Yes, freedom of religion is alive and well in America. The problem comes about when the religionist wants everyone else to share their views -- the oldest conflict in human history.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    You get denser by the minute, Archer: The point is that we already have atheists incdoctrinating our children through the faith-based philosophy taught in public schools. Get your facts straight.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    If property is "public" property and owned by the public, why should the "public" have to pay to use it? Also, you talk about finding a school that teaches what you believe and pay to go there. I do that. My school is at home taught by my wife and I, but I still have to pay for government education. How is that right? And even though I pay for their schools and their teachers, I can't use their facilities or classes, and my children can't participate in any of their activities.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
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    My facts are quite straight, thank you. There is no free ride -- if you want your kids to learn something, then teach it to them or hire someone to do so -- it is not the purpose of government to teach religious doctrine nor even to choose which religion is the 'right one'. Science is not atheism, sorry. But it certainly does challenge fundamentalist doctrines -- always has, always will -- I suppose the Earth really is the center of the universe because the church said so... (c'mon).

    As far as the use of public property, there are lots of common law reasons why public property may be used for non-commercial purposes, but commercial use of the public trust is regulated. I don't see why the Boy Scouts could not rent the army base for the Jamboree and let that money help keep the public trust maintained. Why should tax payers be paying for Jamborees anyway? If people want to take a walk through the park, no problem, but if they want to set up shop on public property, they should have to pay for that privilege or be refused for any number of reasons for trying to use public property for personal financial gain.
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    Archer: Since you choose voluntarily to ignore facts, your responses are irrelevant. You change the subject at the drop of a hat, ignore facts, contort ideas, introduce invalid arguments, false information, and sophism. Therefore, what you have to say is invalid.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    LOL OK, David, whatever you say. I do not expect you to alter the ideology in which you have invested so much. I respect your beliefs, it's too bad you do not respect others'.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    You disrespect, obviously, openly, and joyfully.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    Religions are all bad. In fact a belief in "God" is irrational and selfish.
     -- NIck, Drexel Hill     
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