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Americans are saying, "We're willing to move pretty far on this issue, we're much more tolerant than we used to be, but don't mix it up with religion and God."
A cult is a religion with no political power.
The being cannot be termed rational or virtuous, who obeys any authority, but that of reason.
In fact, it is a farce to call any being virtuous whose virtues do not result from the exercise of its own reason.
In this metropolis a number of lurking leeches infamously gain subsistence by practicing on the credulity of women.
Slavery to monarchs and ministers, which the world will be long freeing itself from, and whose deadly grasp stops the progress of the human mind, is not yet abolished.
What, but the rapacity of the only men who exercised their reason, the priests, secured such vast property to the church, when a man gave his perishable substance to save himself from the dark torments of purgatory; and found it more convenient to indulge his depraved appetites, and pay an exorbitant price for absolution, than listen to the suggestions of reason, and work out his own salvation: in a word, was not the separation of religion from morality the work of the priests...?
Probably the prevailing opinion, that woman was created for man, may have taken its rise from Moses's poetical story; yet, as very few, it is presumed, who have bestowed any serious thought on the subject, ever supposed that Eve was, literally speaking one of Adam's ribs, the deduction must be allowed to fall to the ground; or, only so far admitted as it proves that, from the remotest antiquity, found it convenient to exert his strength to subjugate his companion, and his invention to shew that she ought to have her neck bent under the yoke, because the whole creation was only created for his convenience or pleasure.
Men neglect the duties incumbent on man, yet are treated like demi-gods; religion is also separated from morality by a ceremonial veil, yet men wonder that the world is almost, literally speaking, a den of sharpers or oppressors.
I love my man as my fellow; but his scepter, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.
Man preys on man; and you mourn for the idle tapestry that decorated a gothic pillar, and the dronish bell that summoned the fat priest to prayer. You mourn for the empty pageant of a name, when slavery flaps her wing, ... Why is our fancy to be appalled by terrific perspectives of a hell beyond the grave? -- Hell stalks abroad; -- the lash resounds on the slave's naked sides; and the sick wretch, who can no longer earn the sour bread of unremitting labour, steals to a ditch to bid the world a long good night.
Can you explain scientifically what is the biological or genetic mechanism which permits all manner of "variation" within a "kind" but somehow slams the door shut at the "kind barrier", preventing one "kind" from "varying" into another "kind"?
The secular state stands as a bulwark for religious liberty in its denial of the state's giving religious means for the accomplishment of political ends.... The secular state is one which the church should welcome, since the secular state is not an enemy of religion, but a protector of religious liberty.
Today religious liberty has become an international necessity. The international dimension of contemporary life inevitably requires all world faiths to espouse religious liberty for all men everywhere since an international community could not prosper without some minimum assurances of tolerance and religious liberty. Special privileges have become a practical impossibility. The growing interrelatedness among all nations has underscored in the modern world that if peace and harmony are to be established and maintained among mankind, it is essential that guarantees of religious liberty be constitutionally provided everywhere. Hence, religious liberty has become a practical necessity.
The present trend to repudiate the concept of America as a secular state and officially to identify this nation with God and certain sectarian religious views does not bode well for religious pluralism in the United States, in which virtually all of the world's religions are represented among its citizens, along with new religious movements that are making substantial gains. America is a state in which church and synagogue, religion and irreligion are equal before the law and where citizens are neither to enjoy any advantages nor to suffer any disadvantages because of their religion. America is a state which seeks neither to promote nor to hinder the free exercise of religion, in which neither religion nor irreligion is to enjoy any official status or support on the part of the government.
As a secular state America is a nation in which neither religion nor irreligion enjoys any official status and where no church or religion is to enjoy any advantages or to suffer any disadvantages because of an establishment of religion. Religious identity is made irrelevant to one's right of citizenship, e.g., the right to vote and to hold public office. One's religion or irreligion may not be made the basis of political privilege or discrimination.
The hired preachers of all sects, creeds, and religions, never do, and never can, teach any thing but what is in conformity with the opinions of those who pay them.
We have seen that no religion stands on the basis of things known; none bounds its horizon within the field of human observation; and, therefore, as it can never present us with indisputable facts, so must it ever be at once a source of error and contention.
I am not going to question your opinions. I am not going to meddle with your belief. I am not going to dictate to you mine. All that I say is, examine, inquire. Look into the nature of things. Search out the grounds of your opinions, the for and against. Know why you believe, understand what you believe, and possess a reason for the faith that is in you.
I am neither Jew nor Gentile, Mahomedan nor Theist; I am but a member of the human family, and would accept of truth by whomsoever offered -- that truth which we can all find, if we will but seek -- in things, not in words; in nature, not in human imagination; in our own hearts, not in temples made with hands.
It was in this year, 1828, that the standard of "the Christian Party in Politics" was openly unfurled.... This was an evident attempt, through the influence of the clergy over the female mind -- until this hour lamentably neglected in the United States -- to effect a union of Church and State.
Instead of establishing facts, we have to overthrow errors; instead of ascertaining what is, we have to chase from our imaginations what is not.
As a regular churchgoer who has voted both Democratic and Republican, I believe that my great-grandfather got it right. A Pledge of Allegiance that does not include God invites the participation of more Americans.
Self-righteousness and presumptive moral judgments pose a great danger in the political arena. To become convinced of the divine infallibility of one's personal predilections on a secular political issue is to play God, to assume to oneself the attributes of deity. It cultivates an arrogant intolerance of dissenting viewpoints and relegates one's political adversaries to the category of evil per se.
The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea
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