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Alpha_ProgDes

So, is this a violation of First Amendment rights?

31 posts in this topic

[quote][i][url="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_alabama_governor_christians"]From Yahoo![/url][/i]
"Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother," Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day, according to The Birmingham News.
[/quote]
Now he's the newly inaugurated Gov. Bentley of Alabama. I don't know why you would choose to say such a thing on the first day on the job. And he seems to be coming dangerously close to promoting if not pushing Christianity on his constitutents.

Does anyone think, regardless of the Constitution, this was appropriate or even intelligent to do?
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It's certainly not appropriate for a governor to be making statements like this, but I don't think it's a violation of your rights just yet, not until he actually does something to violate the establishment clause. Leaders are certainly allowed to express their religious beliefs. A deeply faithful society such as our own needs to reasonably accommodate this.
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Dude is a complete asshole and is using his position of power as a bully pulpit.

However, I wouldn't be particularly surprised if he could get away with it in Alabama; it's not a very diverse state. My guess is that his jab is aimed mostly at Muslims and atheists/agnostics and not so much Jewish people, though I would say that Jews definitely fall outside of his criteria as stated.

If you have faith in the democratic system, you'll hope that he will be smacked down if he tries to introduce discriminatory legislation, but be free to speak from his position of ignorance. It is a little worrying that he managed to make it through the gauntlet of American political life without someone using this kind of belief to destroy his career, but that might be an artifact of the environment and the severe "with us or agin' us" political polarization, and not so much a failure of the system.

I'm not too familiar with the American federal government - I assume the Supreme Court would have the authority to eventually override whatever he introduced if it were discriminatory and challenged in court repeatedly?
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Preventing him from [i]saying[/i] such things would be a violation of [i]his[/i] First Amendment rights.

It doesn't seem like a smart thing to say, though. He's already been elected, so I don't see what he's got to gain by it, and it's definitely going to antagonize some people, like Alpha_ProgDes.
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[quote name='superpig' timestamp='1295454267' post='4761294']
He's already been elected, so I don't see what he's got to gain by it
[/quote]

Could it be that, based on said statement, he might not be out for any particular gain, but rather good old politicized evangelism?
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1295453329' post='4761283']
1) I don't know why you would choose to say such a thing on the first day on the job.
2) And he seems to be coming dangerously close to promoting if not pushing Christianity on his constitutents.
3) Does anyone think, regardless of the Constitution, this was appropriate or even intelligent to do?
[/quote]
1) Most likely he has many reasons to say it, more than just one. Possibly because certain religious groups were key to getting him elected. Possibly because he has strongly held religious beliefs and wants to share them. Hopefully because he holds or at least agrees with those beliefs. It is fairly unlikely, but possibly because he is just pandering to the crowd.

2) Not at all. There are unfortunately many people in this nation who hear a political official state their opinion and interpret it as government establishing a religion. The establishment of religion is not, nor was it ever, designed to keep religion out of government. Quite the opposite, founding documents and a huge body of evidence show that it is preferable for our nation's leaders to have religious convictions. The complete so-called "separation of church and state" is a recent popular concept with no basis in our nation's actual law.

As with many systems, policies tend to drift from one extreme to the other, then back and forth, as a pendulum. There have been many times in our nation's history where leaders would not get elected without support from pastoral leaders. Other times leaders needed to publicly eschew portions of their religion. Consider JFK needing to publicly state that he is not controlled by the Pope, while at the same time pleading for support at the Ministerial Association where he gave the speech. The policy pendulum has most recently swung away from religion, but over the past few decades has been moving back toward the more religious side.

3) It could be. He was elected to represent the people of his state. The state is right in the center of the "bible belt", where most everyone has deep religious beliefs. Wikipedia lists some of the state demographics: "In a 2007 poll, 92% of Alabamians reported having at least some confidence in churches in the state. In the 2008 Ameican Religious Identification Survey, 80% of Alabama respondents reported their religion as Christian (other than Catholic,) 6% as Catholic, and 11% as having no religion at all."


Re-reading the quote with that in mind, he is saying that he is firmly part of the 86%+ of the population, and asking for the 11% minority to join him. He is establishing himself as a part of the group that has 92% approval and 86%+ representation. Politically that can be a very wise move.
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He's a hard core conservative Christan.. they are like that. I doubt he's going to pass Christan Law anytime soon, the US is too secular for that and too many non-Christan.. It's all just politics until they start mandating prayer service in schools.. then I would be worried..
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Being a brother or a sister of a governor sure has its benefits...

Also:
... one nation under God[i][b],[/b][/i] indivisible, with ....
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I work for the government and this surprises me... In private you may hear people discussing religion, but you never hear about it just roaming the hallways and nobody pushes it on you either. For instance, we talked about Masons yesterday at lunch because someone running for Mayor here is a Mason and proud of it. Would he ever publicly say something like that to the citizens? Highly doubt it... Does he talk about it in private? Sure does! He's going to get every Mason's vote just because he belongs to the "club" so of course he's going to make sure that leaks out.

This guy has no benefits though, as someone mentioned, and is borderline crazy to do such a thing. His popularity rating just went down most likely because of it. I see him making it one term...
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[quote name='superpig' timestamp='1295454267' post='4761294']
Preventing him from [i]saying[/i] such things would be a violation of [i]his[/i] First Amendment rights.

It doesn't seem like a smart thing to say, though. He's already been elected, so I don't see what he's got to gain by it, and it's definitely going to antagonize some people, like Alpha_ProgDes.
[/quote]
I read something that arches my brow and now suddenly I'm getting jabbed at. Nice.
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[quote name='Antheus' timestamp='1295457791' post='4761329']
Being a brother or a sister of a governor sure has its benefits...

Also:
... one nation under God[i][b],[/b][/i] indivisible, with ....
[/quote]

Interestingly enough "under God" wasn't added until after world war 2.(1954 according to wikipedia)
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[quote name='stonemetal' timestamp='1295461383' post='4761363']
[quote name='Antheus' timestamp='1295457791' post='4761329']
Being a brother or a sister of a governor sure has its benefits...

Also:
... one nation under God[i][b],[/b][/i] indivisible, with ....
[/quote]

Interestingly enough "under God" wasn't added until after world war 2.(1954 according to wikipedia)
[/quote]
Even more interesting is the fact that the government put that in there to counter USSR's official religion of atheism. One can argue that the government declaring the US a "Christian" nation (though admittedly it's a bit ambiguous) is a way of forcing religion onto the populace. Also note that dollar bills added references to God as well.
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Well, he [i]was [/i]addressing a church crowd. It's not like he called a press conference and said, "I hate atheists". He was (according to the article) talking to a crowd in a church, and all I take his statement to mean, is that he's not going to be a Christian in word only but in practice, i.e. that he's conservative. I think mostly it was a dumb statement to say, and that the media was quick to jump onto it (as he should've realized).
Christians all the time refer to each other as 'brothers in Christ' - It was Jesus Himself who made that statement first.
The governor made a stupid statement, by trying to explain the negative. But I don't think his intended meaning was, "I hate atheists", more that, while [b]speaking to people [u]in a church[/u][/b], "I'm your brother in Christ, and I'll do my best to hold to Christian values in office".

My guess is, what his speech said (if he had one) was, [font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]"[i]If the Holy Spirit lives in you that makes you my brothers and sisters.[/i]" full pause, realizing that there might be non-Christians in the audience, "[i]Anyone who has not accepted Jesus, [b]I want to be your brother[/b]s and sisters, too,[/i]". Then trying to clarify, but digging himself deeper, [/size][/font][font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]"[i]Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ[/i][/size][/font][i] as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother,[/i]"</span>
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]Which is part of his beliefs. Everyone is his neighbor, and if you're saved, you're his brother. The only potentially offensive remark is, "you're not my brother", but I doubt he actually wrote that into his speech, and was trying to explain his previous statement but putting his foot in his mouth while doing so.[/size][/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"] [/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]That's my guess at how it went, but I can't find a video of his speech, so I can't be sure.[/size][/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"] [/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]Note this is [b]not[/b] his inauguration speech. He gave his inauguration speech at the capitol. This is a speech he's giving to a bunch of people in a church, [/size][i]after[/i][size="2"] he gave his inauguration speech. ("[/size][/font][font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"][i]Speaking at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church [b]after the official inaugural ceremony[/b][/i]")[/size][/font][font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"] The article tries to make it sound like this was his inauguration speech, even posting a picture of the inauguration speech next to the article, and emphasizing several times, "just moments after inauguration", "inauguration day", etc...[/size][/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]If I walked up to someone and said, "You're not my brother", they'd say, "duh". It's not offensive, it's an obvious statement of what is true. It only became offensive when people think he was intentionally trying to exclude people in his statement, when in reality, it seems to me that he was trying to say to a group of people that "I'll hold to our common values when in office", and "You're like family to me". Only in trying to qualify his statement did he switch from making a positive statement, to trying to explain the negative, and even then, he was saying, "[i]but I want to be[/i]".[/size][/font]
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[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1295468400' post='4761434']
Well, he [i]was [/i]addressing a church crowd. It's not like he called a press conference and said, "I hate atheists". He was (according to the article) talking to a crowd in a church, and all I take his statement to mean, is that he's not going to be a Christian in word only but in practice, i.e. that he's conservative. I think mostly it was a dumb statement to say, and that the media was quick to jump onto it (as he should've realized).
Christians all the time refer to each other as 'brothers in Christ' - It was Jesus Himself who made that statement first.
The governor made a stupid statement, by trying to explain the negative. But I don't think his intended meaning was, "I hate atheists", more that, while [b]speaking to people [u]in a church[/u][/b], "I'm your brother in Christ, and I'll do my best to hold to Christian values in office".

My guess is, what his speech said (if he had one) was, [font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]"[i]If the Holy Spirit lives in you that makes you my brothers and sisters.[/i]" full pause, realizing that there might be non-Christians in the audience, "[i]Anyone who has not accepted Jesus, [b]I want to be your brother[/b]s and sisters, too,[/i]". Then trying to clarify, but digging himself deeper, [/size][/font][font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]"[i]Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ[/i][/size][/font][i] as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother,[/i]"</span>
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]Which is part of his beliefs. Everyone is his neighbor, and if you're saved, you're his brother. The only potentially offensive remark is, "you're not my brother", but I doubt he actually wrote that into his speech, and was trying to explain his previous statement but putting his foot in his mouth while doing so.[/size][/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"] [/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]That's my guess at how it went, but I can't find a video of his speech, so I can't be sure.[/size][/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"] [/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]Note this is [b]not[/b] his inauguration speech. He gave his inauguration speech at the capitol. This is a speech he's giving to a bunch of people in a church, [/size][i]after[/i][size="2"] he gave his inauguration speech. ("[/size][/font][font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"][i]Speaking at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church [b]after the official inaugural ceremony[/b][/i]")[/size][/font][font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"] The article tries to make it sound like this was his inauguration speech, even posting a picture of the inauguration speech next to the article, and emphasizing several times, "just moments after inauguration", "inauguration day", etc...[/size][/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][size="2"]If I walked up to someone and said, "You're not my brother", they'd say, "duh". It's not offensive, it's an obvious statement of what is true. It only became offensive when people think he was intentionally trying to exclude people in his statement, when in reality, it seems to me that he was trying to say to a group of people that "I'll hold to our common values when in office", and "You're like family to me". Only in trying to qualify his statement did he switch from making a positive statement, to trying to explain the negative, and even then, he was saying, "[i]but I want to be[/i]".[/size][/font]
[/quote]
If that's what actually happened, then yeah, he has a case of "Kerry-itis". But all you're doing is filling in a large hole with an assumption and saying, "See it's not what you thought. It's not that bad."

If you went up to someone and said, "you're not my brother", most people would likely respond with "WTF?!" as opposed to "duh".

Plenty of politicians, laymen, and clergymen have expressed the concept of "brothers in Christ" without having to say "you're not my brother, you're not my sister." Also, I'm pretty sure and I could be wrong that church doctrine (at least my church) says that "we are [b]all[/b] children of God, in the eyes of God." So the bit that he said was really unnecessary and I personally don't think it was a Kerry moment or slip-of-the-tongue either.


(note: I don't want to make this a religious argument, so I'll make one rebuttal to whoever and continue this thread as a "First Amendment/WTF was that politician thinking?" thread.)
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[quote]Well, he [i]was [/i]addressing a church crowd[/quote]

Now imagine he were talking at a mosque... What if he referenced some other prophet, more suitable for such occasion.
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First Amendment violation, no. Separation of church and state, debatable. He isn't forcing his religion on anyone. It's more of a request.
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[quote name='Dragonsoulj' timestamp='1295481369' post='4761542']
First Amendment violation, no. Separation of church and state, debatable. He isn't forcing his religion on anyone. It's more of a request.
[/quote]
I do think what he said was like political suicide and stupid. If he replaced christianity with a college fraternity, his meaning would be practically the same, but the motivation would be association/organization based rather than religious.


Just goes to show how religion can make non-controversial things incredibly controversial.
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[quote name='Antheus' timestamp='1295480516' post='4761536']
[quote]Well, he [i]was [/i]addressing a church crowd[/quote]

Now imagine he were talking at a mosque... What if he referenced some other prophet, more suitable for such occasion.
[/quote]

Based on my experience, people would be tripping over themselves to stand up for his first amendment rights and imploring me to read the Quran to "understand" the Religion of Peace. Then they would tell me how all problems in the middle east can ultimately be traced back to the West and Christianity, so in a way, America's chickens are just coming home to roost.
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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1295482116' post='4761548']
[quote name='Dragonsoulj' timestamp='1295481369' post='4761542']
First Amendment violation, no. Separation of church and state, debatable. He isn't forcing his religion on anyone. It's more of a request.
[/quote]
I do think what he said was like political suicide and stupid. If he replaced christianity with a college fraternity, his meaning would be practically the same, but the motivation would be association/organization based rather than religious.


Just goes to show how religion can make non-controversial things incredibly controversial.
[/quote]
Yeah.... those two things are so much alike [rollseyes]
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1295495401' post='4761655']
[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1295482116' post='4761548']
[quote name='Dragonsoulj' timestamp='1295481369' post='4761542']
First Amendment violation, no. Separation of church and state, debatable. He isn't forcing his religion on anyone. It's more of a request.
[/quote]
I do think what he said was like political suicide and stupid. If he replaced christianity with a college fraternity, his meaning would be practically the same, but the motivation would be association/organization based rather than religious.


Just goes to show how religion can make non-controversial things incredibly controversial.
[/quote]
Yeah.... those two things are so much alike [rollseyes]
[/quote]
the meaning of the sentence is pretty much a like.

All he's saying is that anyone in some group A is his brother/sister. Anyone who is not in some group A is not his brother/sister, but he wishes they were. The group is unimportant, but because it's religious and he's a politician it's bad.

It's not like the ideas he's preaching are that radical. Poorly said, but not radical. There are far far worse things said on a daily basis by politicians all over the world. This just made headlines because this one happened to be about religion.

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[quote name='MaulingMonkey' timestamp='1295495640' post='4761659']
It's okay. I didn't want to be that guy's brother anyways.

I don't have a problem with the statements themselves, only the mindset they [b]may [/b]imply, and I'm not willing to hang a dude for that.
[/quote]
Let me be clear. The guy can say whatever he wants. The guy can practice whatever religion wants us. He can profess his faith however and whenever he wants. That's his right as an American citizen. But like you said, it's the mindset that goes along with those words. Conservative christian in alabama which is in the bible belt says right after his inauguration. For me, that's wild. The message he's sending out comes off a little more than just "hey, i'm a christian like you guys. let's break bread."
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1295460805' post='4761360']
[quote name='superpig' timestamp='1295454267' post='4761294']
Preventing him from [i]saying[/i] such things would be a violation of [i]his[/i] First Amendment rights.

It doesn't seem like a smart thing to say, though. He's already been elected, so I don't see what he's got to gain by it, and it's definitely going to antagonize some people, like Alpha_ProgDes.
[/quote]
I read something that arches my brow and now suddenly I'm getting jabbed at. Nice.
[/quote]
I wasn't jabbing at you. Are you claiming that his saying such things [i]doesn't[/i] antagonize you? I figured that it did because you made the effort to post about it.

You're a nice example of one of the people he might antagonize, because most of the people he antagonizes are going to do exactly what you've done - talk about it and question whether him saying such things is appropriate or even legal.
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[quote name='superpig' timestamp='1295550554' post='4761974']
...
[/quote]

Superpig, you're correct. The far right wing has been going on and on with covert bigotry for a long time now, and so this is nothing new.

Whenever someone calls the far right out about their radical behaviour (like that sherriff from Arizona did), the far right just lies and says that the Tea Party is a "grassroots" effort, which is just a feeble attempt to diffuse the blame for heinous political behaviour. We all know it's not grassroots if the people are rounded up and funded by the rich. Ditto for the far right in Canada. They were/are trying to push warrantless wiretapping to counteract terrorism. Bigotry through "caution", just like the far right in the US does it.

Fear and hate, it's all the far right has to go on, and Thank God people are starting to realize that they are being deceived. I mean, the Tea Party fizzled because it was just hot air, and not even millions of dollars in funding could keep it from utterly collapsing. People just aren't dumb enough for that kind of thing to happen successfully.

So please don't try to marginalize Alpha (even if he's a treehugger, haha, I kid, I kid), because in reality, only a very tiny fraction of the billions of people in this world willingly accept this right wing type of behaviour -- my guess is like, maybe 100 million people or so, at the very maximum.
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