Yes, That would be a Wonderful, Yet Imaginary Place.

This is a response to a friend that was basing his reality on powerful people doing good for us all and that if that were not the case, they would be punished.

Man o man would I like to live in that world. Where powerful, wealthy, greedy people don’t successfully conspire and collude to make sure they stay on top of the heap. Where those same powerful people don’t spend a good deal of that power and wealth to undermine the laws and agencies set up to police them. Where the agencies that are there to give us voice and protect our interests, were not under the control of the aforementioned ruling class. Agencies that are not starved of the needed money and power, to actually do the job they were created to do. A place where those that are kept in check by strong laws and powerful government agencies did not have the power to render those tools useless. A place where our leaders have humanity’s best interests at heart.

Yep, that surely would be a wonderful, yet imaginary, place.

Sadly we don’t live in that place.

To your point. We know the technology exists to fill our skies with chemicals, whether it be weather modification, warfare, climate change remediation, or simple communications enhancement. The patents are there. The government manuals are there. The potential for gaining or keeping great power and wealth are there. They openly talk of this technology. The ONLY thing, the ONLY thing, that keeps them from doing it, is the honesty and humanity of those that make the rules. If that fails, and we know it has, then the laws and agencies that protect us are our last hope. (See first paragraph).

As with any technology that would not be popular, but benefits those described above. They will employ it when they can, and tell you about it when it’s safe for them to do so. If they tell you the truth at all. What it does to humanity and our planet are not on the top of the list.

We live in a place where there is a substantial divide between what those on the top of the heap can get away with, compared to those on the bottom. They have the power to do illegal things and buy the justice they need or change the rules in their favor.

We live in world where most people know what’s going on, or worse, what could be going on, based on visible reality. They simply do not have the freedom to change things without running into the above described class of greedy humans. Dissent, even in large groups, will be penalized and/or marginalized one way or another. Don’t forget who makes the rules, hint – it’s not us.

Neutrality, Our Government and Religion

“Nothing stands behind the Court’s assertion that governmental affirmation of the society’s belief in God is unconstitutional except the Court’s own say-so, citing as support only the unsubstantiated say-so of earlier Courts going back no further than the mid-20th century,” Scalia wrote.”

What the courts have said, and yes their ‘say-so’ actually has weight of law, is that the government cannot show favoritism toward one religion, or another, or no religion, unless it passes certain tests, usually requiring some secular purpose. I suspect the justices would argue the accusation of ‘unsubstantiated’. Interpreted from the Constitution and quite substantial in its own right.

Justices can and have been on the wrong side of issues many times, that is the nature of interpreting founding documents when the founders are all gone. Times change, and it is up to them to decide what stays and what leaves.

The phrase “respecting an establishment of religion” is not so clear cut that it only comes into play if the government wants to actually create ( or sanction ) a national religion. In which one particular belief system is ok and the rest are second class, or worse. It has been interpreted to mean that the government cannot support or favor any particular belief system, it must remain neutral in those matters. It cannot promote or hinder the individual with respect to religion or lack of religion. The courts have the job of deciding what that neutrality should look like. The common sense answer would be to not support, either with money or power, any particular belief system. Neutrality. No religious symbols on public property, no religious reference on the money, no tax dollars supporting religion, no special privileges or tax breaks for religion, and certainly no religious coercion of children in publicly financed schools. I suspect if the public schools were to offer a true objective course on comparative religion, it could do so. I also suspect it would be the last thing the dominant religion(s) in this country would want. Talk about a generation of freethinkers.

Families are free to exercise their belief system at whatever institution they wish, teach their kids, give their money and time, etc. But the government should stay neutral. That is to avoid ‘respecting the establishment of religion’.

“Historical practices thus demonstrate that there is a distance between the acknowledgment of a single Creator and the establishment of a religion,” Scalia wrote in McCreary. “Publicly honoring the Ten Commandments is thus indistinguishable, insofar as discriminating against other religions is concerned, from publicly honoring God. Both practices are recognized across such a broad and diverse range of the population — from Christians to Muslims — that they cannot be reasonably understood as a government endorsement of a particular religious viewpoint.”

Justice Scalia may be right with respect to most religious observances in this country, but publicly honoring God and The Ten Commandments ( surely he can’t say that with a straight face ) only applies to the majority and that is exactly what the Constitution was trying to avoid, the majority deciding what religion is acceptable. He only reinforces the reason why the government must remain neutral. The Justice may have unwittingly became the poster child for the principle he was trying to refute.

And given the Establishment Clause is followed directly by the Free Exercise Clause (“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”), one might also infer that the Founders felt that the ability to exercise one’s religion freely is a fundamental natural right. If that is the case, when it comes down to disputes over public displays of religion, it seems that the FFRF are the only party in these disputes actually threatening anyone’s constitutional rights.

Just the opposite, organizations like FFRF are working to make sure everyone, non-religious and religious, can practice their beliefs freely without government coercion.

The notion that the Constitution guarantees “separation of church and state” is an insidious myth, employed by militant atheists to keep Christian communities and individuals from celebrating their faith publicly.

The myth here is that this concept is to keep anyone from practicing their beliefs. Rather it is to keep that freedom safe. Perhaps a little reading on the works of Thomas Jefferson and others on their interpretation of the establishment clause. An ideal to keep everyone safe from the dominant religion using the government as a sponsor. Neutrality, plain and simple.