Saturday, January 23, 2010

Peabody on the Stone, Tillman et al., Christian Nation Debate

Bruce G. Peabody has posted his response to the debate among Geoff Stone, Seth Tillman and others on the "Christian Nation" controversy. His paper is titled "Analogize This: Partial Constitutional Text, Religion, and Maintaining Our Political Order," 2010 Cardozo L. Rev. de novo (forthcoming), available here.

5 comments:

Joe Winpisinger said...

I read Peabody and Tillman's articles and some interesting stuff here. I got into this over at Dispatches and Ed Brayton stated this in response to a statement I made:

"King of Ireland wrote:

It proves that the "Godless Constitution" argument is absurd in the sense of trying to postulate that America was founded to be some sort of secular nation as many of your READERS seem to think. I am not sure if you ever use this line of reasoning but many of them do. When I talk about "air time" I am not so much talking about you as much as some of the readers in their comments."

Ed Brayton stated:

I think this is a non sequitur, but it's also far too vague to really mean anything. The phrase "some sort of secular nation" can mean such a variety of things that it can mean everything or nothing. I would absolutely argue that America was founded to be a secular nation, while also agreeing that it left religion to the states. Those are not necessarily incompatible ideas. Let me suggest that you define what you mean by "secular nation" and then allow others to define what they mean by it; I suspect you'll find that what you mean by it is entirely different than what your opponents in this debate mean by it. This is identical to the problem with the phase "Christian nation" -- it can mean very different things. To be a nation made up mostly of Christians is an entirely different idea than being a nation founded explicitly on Christian ideas or based upon a Christian covenant. The same is true of a secular nation. It could mean an officially atheist nation like the Soviet Union (which no one here advocates) or it could mean a nation where the government leaves religion to the discretion of its citizens and avoids entanglements with religion. Clearly very different concepts.

How can one claim that religion is left to the states and that America was created as a secular nation? I think Tilman does a good job at exposing the flaws of this argument. I asked Ed to explain this but he never responded. Anyone, that thinks this nation was created secular want to respond for him?

I would add that I do respect Ed for at least acknowledging the fact that religion was left to the states. Many of his readers that exhibit the same "cognitive dissonance" that they deplore in Christians fail to acknowledge this indisputable fact.

Joe Winpisinger said...

I should have highlighted the part of Ed's quote that is most relevant to articles cited:

"I would absolutely argue that America was founded to be a secular nation, while also agreeing that it left religion to the states. Those are not necessarily incompatible ideas."

Joe Winpisinger said...

As usual I forgot to log at of my Real Estate blog and into King of Ireland. Sorry I will try to remember to do so.

Tom Van Dyke said...

King of Ireland wrote:

It proves that the "Godless Constitution" argument is absurd in the sense of trying to postulate that America was founded to be some sort of secular nation as many of your READERS seem to think. I am not sure if you ever use this line of reasoning but many of them do. When I talk about "air time" I am not so much talking about you as much as some of the readers in their comments."

Ed Brayton stated:

I think this is a non sequitur, but it's also far too vague to really mean anything..


Heh. What did you expect, Joe? You're buried here under the attack of the first sentence.

What, did you expect fair play? You went to the wrong place for that, dude. You were fucked from the start.

Joe Winpisinger said...

Tom stated:

"What, did you expect fair play? You went to the wrong place for that, dude. You were fucked from the start."

He definitely dodge my point and then gave no explanation of what he said or how a secular nation was different from "some sort of secular nation". He did at least admit that religion was left to the states.

I far more enjoy reading these legal briefs about the subject than people railing against or defending Barton. The level of discussion is a catalyst to more truth coming forth. But I have to admit I like the challenge of going into the wild of people that a opposed to your point of view. I think it helps me sharpen my arguments. Magic had Bird and Bird had Magic.