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  #51  
Old 01-08-2004, 12:39 PM
far_born far_born is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by El_Kabong
The OP apparently wants to beleive that there is some sort of fundamentalist Christian cabal currently at the seat of power in the US
As a resident of the US, I would say that's only a mild exaggeration. Sure, Bush, may really just be a cold-hearted liar when he talks about religion, but the fact that he depends upon a rather large segment of the population that is affecting his policy decisions and whose beliefs are being exploited to support other policies is notable to me.

As far as militancy goes, you can't get more militant than the Bush administration. While they've hardly been "holy wars" they've certainly had their sickening appeals to God and country. Our chief warmonger, Bush, making frequent references to God and his characterization of "crusade" has hardly helped matters in the realm of world opinion.

Quote:
I mean, really, that's the evidence is not a secular society?
hmm I thought we were discussing the degree of secularity regarding presidential elections not trying to prove that the US is not a secular society.


Quote:
Bottom line is, there is no specific, legal requirement that I know of to be a member of any specific Christian church in order to run as a candidate for political office in the US,
Is this a legal debate? I don't think anyone made an allegation that the law requires a christian president.

That's not the bottom line to me.

To go back to some of the other issues you brought up such as race. In the old south, it wasn't a legal requirement that black men accused of raping white women in the south to get lynched, but it was still a problem worthy of discussion.

The culture inevitably affects the government no matter how the laws are written.

IMO, the election of the president of the US has very important religious overtones. Is gay marriage, for example, really a secular issue? People's rights and recognition are at stake, the bill of rights only goes so far against the tyranny of the majority.

Some may dismiss the "under god" reference as meangingless, but I didn't fail to notice that house of representatives voted 401-5 in favor and the senate voted 99-0 in favor of reaffirming its presence. Something with that much overwhelming support can hardly be seen as meaningless. I think in many districts, it could definitely affect electability.

While currently I would say that secular attitudes are becoming more prevalent, that doesn't mean the struggle is over by any means. Prayer in schools, creation science, censorship, are examples to me of the religious right's very current, persistent and noticeable influence in our society.

The issue has obvious significance in the US and it seems to me people are trying to downplay the issue, either out of wishful thinking or because they have problems with Aldeberan's purported motivations.
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  #52  
Old 01-08-2004, 12:43 PM
Mehitabel Mehitabel is offline
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You're not under the impression that these Bible-study meetings are mandatory at all, are you?

And thanks, asrivkin, for the cites. Most modern nations seem to be very comfortable with both a secular and religious identity, which intertwine in different spheres at different times, interpreted by each citizen as their own consciences dictate, something our friend doesn't seem to grasp, as his nation is organized in very different lines.
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  #53  
Old 01-08-2004, 12:46 PM
Aldebaran Aldebaran is offline
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Asrivkin

The quesiton about the examples you bring up should be then first of all: Do those nations oficially declare themselves to be secular or not.

And the question here is that the USA declares itself to be secular.
Or does the USA declares itself to be non-secular? In this case we don't need to discuss what we are discussing.

As for Iran: I would be indeed surprised if you could bring even there example of politicians who have the habit of organising themselves reading/study of Al Qur'an for their administration and eventual other co-workers, as part of the job's requirements so to speak.

And sorry, but I don't do "cites" as seems to be understood on this message board as forming a "trustworthy source of information" = place a link to websites of whatever type that may be.


Salaam. A
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  #54  
Old 01-08-2004, 12:51 PM
Aldebaran Aldebaran is offline
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Mehi,
No, they are not mandatory, but it seems that htere is a lot of "social pressure" on people to show up even if they aren't religious at all.
One doesn't always need to explicitely make something a command to be obeyed. Suggestion can have similar or even greater effect in dozens of cases.

Salaam. A
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  #55  
Old 01-08-2004, 01:00 PM
Mehitabel Mehitabel is offline
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Quote:
No, they are not mandatory, but it seems that htere is a lot of "social pressure" on people to show up even if they aren't religious at all.
Damn, I was gonna ask for a cite for that, but...*

Neither Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, or Condie Rice attend these prayer sessions, yet they still seem to have the President's ear. Funny that. And I think if there was evidence that the President was having guards frog-marching Jews and Quakers and Catholics into his office to pray weird Methodist prayers, it just might have leaked out by now, the press being a curious little beast.

* And maybe if you don't like to do cites you shouldn't start threads in GD?
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  #56  
Old 01-08-2004, 01:01 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is online now
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Here's a recent Reason article that seems helpful:

http://www.reason.com/links/links010704.shtml

Quote:
Perhaps we see religion as an answer to one of the oldest political problems. If we prefer the rule of law to the rule of men, we must ask, with the Roman satirist Juvenal, quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Who watches the watchmen? In other words, when we cede power to political authorities to protect us, who will ensure that they don't use that power to serve their own interests at our expense? Democracy itself provides one check, but a highly imperfect one.

The answer religion provides is that perhaps nobody needs to be actually watching the watchmen, so long as they believe that they are always being watched—and being held accountable—by a power more informed and perceptive than even the electorate.
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  #57  
Old 01-08-2004, 01:42 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Alde wrote:
And the question here is that the USA declares itself to be secular.
You are the only one who says the US declares itself to be secular. Look, the Constitution is the basis for the US gov't. Can you show any of us where it says the US is "secular"? There are precisely two sections that are relevant to religion:

Article VI: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. " [my bolding]

and

Amendment 1: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

There is a constant debate in the US about what the true scope of the 1st Amendment is, but that's it.

Where do you get this "the US claims to be secular" from? No such claim exists. The Constitution makes an effort to draw the demarkation between the gov't and religion. In a free and open society, it should be expected that there would be tension and debate about exactly where to draw that line. Big freakin' deal.
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  #58  
Old 01-08-2004, 01:58 PM
asrivkin asrivkin is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aldebaran
The quesiton about the examples you bring up should be then first of all: Do those nations oficially declare themselves to be secular or not.
Well, I'd hate to come across as rude, but given this:

Quote:
And sorry, but I don't do "cites" as seems to be understood on this message board as forming a "trustworthy source of information" = place a link to websites of whatever type that may be.
If you're so curious, look it up yourself.


Quote:
And the question here is that the USA declares itself to be secular.
Or does the USA declares itself to be non-secular? In this case we don't need to discuss what we are discussing.
No, that was not the question. You asked if there was another nation with "In God We Trust" or a pledge of allegiance including God. I responded with something that can be seen as a functional equivalent from three European countries, two of them in the EU.

As far as I know, and I am discinclined to look further, the only "official" statement on religion in the USA is in the Constitution where the government cannot establish a state religion or interfere with an individual's freedom to worship or not worship. Religious figures are free to take part in politics, as people as distinguished as Dr. Martin Luther King (PBUH) did. Though he did not run for office, others have. In some cases, I personally believe being too associated with religion doomed some presidential campaigns, like Pat Robertson's.

We are a secular country in that we are not a theocracy. And even if Pat Robertson were to become president with 100% of the vote, as long as he did not attempt to establish a theocracy, we would remain secular in that sense.


Quote:
As for Iran: I would be indeed surprised if you could bring even there example of politicians who have the habit of organising themselves reading/study of Al Qur'an for their administration and eventual other co-workers, as part of the job's requirements so to speak.
The supreme leader of Iran is an ayatollah. Thus, he is a politician. Are you really telling me that you don't think he attends prayers in an offical capacity? Are you really telling me that a non-religious person can hold a high office in Iran?

I won't bother asking for a cite.
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  #59  
Old 01-08-2004, 02:16 PM
El_Kabong El_Kabong is offline
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Quote:
hmm I thought we were discussing the degree of secularity regarding presidential elections not trying to prove that the US is not a secular society.
So did I, but the OP seems intent on drawing wider conclusions which, IMO, are not necessarily warranted. See, read this line from his last post:

Quote:
And the question here is that the USA declares itself to be secular. Or does the USA declares itself to be non-secular? In this case we don't need to discuss what we are discussing.
Well, being as "the USA", as an official entity, does not post here, the question is unanswerable in any way that would satisfy the OP.

As for this:

Quote:
The issue has obvious significance in the US and it seems to me people are trying to downplay the issue, either out of wishful thinking or because they have problems with Aldeberan's purported motivations.
Or maybe because some may object to the degree of hyperbole with which he tries to hype his conclusions, or his instant dismissal of any reasoned rebuttal as off-topic. In any event, I for one have no vested interest in "downplaying the issue".

Also, I see no reason why the OP's motivations should not be subject to consideration, given that they seem to so brightly color the subjects of most of the threads to which he contributes.

Me, I'm done here. Carry on.
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  #60  
Old 01-08-2004, 03:45 PM
Aldebaran Aldebaran is offline
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From the link in English:

Quote:

From the creation of the Belgian state in 1830 and throughout most of the 19th century, two political parties dominated Belgian politics:
the Catholic Party (Church-oriented and conservative)
and the Liberal Party (anti-clerical and progressive).
In the late 19th century the Socialist Party arose to represent the emerging industrial working class.

These three groups still dominate Belgian politics, but they have evolved substantially in character.

After World War II, the Catholic (now Christian Democratic) Party severed its formal ties with the Church. It became a mass party of the center, somewhat like a political party in the United States.

In 1968, the Christian Democratic Party, responding to linguistic tensions in the country, divided into two independent parties:
the Parti Social Chrétien (PSC) in French-speaking Belgium
and the Christelijke Volkspartij (CVP) in Flanders.
The two parties pursue the same basic policies but maintain separate organizations. The CVP is the larger of the two, getting more than twice as many votes as the PSC....

.. Following the 1999 general elections, the CVP and PSC were ousted from office, bringing an end to a 40-year term on the government benches.
In 2001, the CVP changed its name to CD&V (Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams).
In 2002, the PSC also changed its name to cdH(Centre démocrate humaniste).

The modern Belgian Socialist parties have lost much of their early Marxist trappings. They are now primarily labor-based parties similar to the German Social Democratic Party and the French Socialist Party.
The Socialists have been part of several postwar governments and have produced some of the country's most distinguished statesmen.
The Socialists also split along linguistic lines in 1978. Steve Stevaert is head of the Flemish Socialist Party and Elio Di Rupo is president of the Francophone Socialists .
In general, the Walloon Socialists tend to concentrate on domestic issues....
....The francophone Socialists are mainly based in the industrial cities of Wallonia (Liège, Charleroi, and Mons).
The Flemish Socialists' support is less regionally concentrated. The Flemish Socialists changed their party's name to SP.a (Socialistische Partij anders) in 2002.

The Liberal Parties chiefly appeal to businesspeople, property owners, shopkeepers, and the self-employed, in general. In American terms the Liberals' positions would be considered to reflect an economically conservative ideology.
There are two Liberal parties, formed along linguistic lines:
The Flemish Liberals and Democrats (VLD, Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten) who opened up their ranks to Volksunie defectors some years ago, are the largest political force in Belgium. The VLD is headed by Karel De Gucht, member of the Flemish regional parliament.
The Party of Reform and Liberty (PRL) on the francophone side is headed by Antoine Duquesne, although Louis Michel, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is generally considered to be the strong man. The PRL has formed an alliance with the christian-democratic split-off MCC. Brussels-based FDF and is particularly strong in Brussels. This alliance has taken the name 'Reformist Movement', Mouvement Réformateur.

A postwar phenomenon in Belgium was the emergence of one-issue parties whose only reason for existence was the defense of the cultural, political, and economic interests of one of the linguistic groups or regions of Belgian society.

The most militant Flemish regional party in Parliament in the 1950s and 1960s, the Volksunie (VU), once drew nearly one-quarter of Belgium's Dutch-speaking electorate away from the traditional parties. The Volksunie was in the forefront of a successful campaign by the country's Flemish population for cultural and political parity with the nation's long dominant French-speaking population. However, in recent elections the party has suffered severe setbacks. In October 2001 the party disintegrated. The left-liberal wing founded Spirit, while the more traditional Flemish nationalist wing continued under the banner Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (NV-A). A year later, a number of prominent Spirit politicians left the party to join the VLD.

Another special-interest party is the Front Democratique des Bruxellois Francophones (FDF).

The Flemish (Agalev) and francophone (Ecolo) Ecologist parties made their Parliamentary breakthrough in 1981. They focus heavily on environmental issues and are the most consistent critics of U.S. policy. Following significant gains made in the 1999 general elections, the two green parties joined a federal coalition cabinet for the first time in their history, but were ousted after the next elections.

Another one-issue party is the far right Vlaams Blok (VB--Flemish Block) which broke away from the Volksunie in 1976.
Originally a mainly Flemish regionalist and republican party, it has developed into the Flemish equivalent of the French National Front, concentrating on immigration positions, often tinged with xenophobia and racism.
Many studies shows that a major party (if not a majority) of the party's electorate oppose its separatist and republican standpoints.
Long dismissed as a "fringe" party by mainstream politicians, the VB shocked observers when in the 1991 elections it posted respectable scores in much of Flanders, but especially in Antwerp, and in the following elections it scores even better.
Party President is Euro-MP Frank Vanhecke, but Filip Dewinter is said by many to be the party's real leader.

Equally opposed to the presence of immigrants is the Front National. Officially, it's a bilingual party, but in reality, it's a purely French-speaking group.

The German speaking parties do not play an important role on federal level. The main German speaking parties are the CSP (christian-democratic), the PFF (liberal), the SP (social-democratic) and PJUPDB (regionalist).

Voilà.

And where did say that no nome of a political party refers to its original religious root?

I said that a politician, talking/acting in his function as politician, shall not refer to religion in public speeches.

There is one party with a historical Catholic background. It is not an off-shoot, it is how the party presents itself now. This party is splitted in French and Flemish section (now in the opposition role)

The existence of this party with roots in Catholicism however doesn't mean that they only have voters who are Catholic/Christian. Nor does it mean that Catholics don't vote for other parties.
There was a time that such was the case, especially in rural aerea's but that time is long gone.

The political landscape in a country like Belgium is very diverse and the programs of the parties accordingly. Results of elections has little to do with the name of the parties and depends on how parties profile themselves and in how much their program makes appeal to the public.

There are a lot of smaller political parties that are not mentioned in that report, yet have a role to play, especially in local politics.

By the way, since when is "humanism" a religion?

And by the way: the description of the Liberal parties is incorrect when labelling them as "conservatist". They are Liberal which is the opposite of conservative.

If you want to debate Belgian politics, may I suggest you to open an other topic for those interested in the issue.
Thank you.

Salaam. A
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  #61  
Old 01-08-2004, 03:50 PM
Aldebaran Aldebaran is offline
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If other members want to take this thread for starting debates on politics in other nations then refered to in the OP, may I ask you also to your own thread about it.
Thank you.

Salaam. A
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  #62  
Old 01-08-2004, 04:00 PM
Mehitabel Mehitabel is offline
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Hope it's warmer in Riyadh than it is here. Brrrr!

Anyway, asrivkin wrote in his wonderful post:

Quote:
...the only "official" statement on religion in the USA is in the Constitution where the government cannot establish a state religion or interfere with an individual's freedom to worship or not worship. Religious figures are free to take part in politics, as people as distinguished as Dr. Martin Luther King (PBUH) did. Though he did not run for office, others have. In some cases, I personally believe being too associated with religion doomed some presidential campaigns, like Pat Robertson's.

We are a secular country in that we are not a theocracy. And even if Pat Robertson were to become president with 100% of the vote, as long as he did not attempt to establish a theocracy, we would remain secular in that sense.
Perfect. Your questions is answered. Unless you wish again to discount the information provided by people who live in a country that you admit you have never been to and whose language you understand rather imperfectly. Since you have failed to give us an example of what you mean by a secular state, I don't see what else we can do besides bring on examples of other countries to compare the US too.

I'm done too.
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