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Yes (D)   -7 (8.3%)
No (D)   -22 (26.2%)
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No (R)   -3 (3.6%)
Yes (I/O)   -13 (15.5%)
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Author Topic: Is having "In God We Trust" on money, buildings, etc. constitutional?  (Read 16536 times)
Vepres
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« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2009, 10:24:45 am »
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As an agnostic I say, who cares?

Anyway, they're not suppressing a religion or keeping somebody from exercising their religion with this.
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« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2009, 11:36:41 am »
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Yes (D)

This would still be your answer if the motto was "In Allah We Trust"... right? Because otherwise, you'd be a hypocrite.

No, because Allah is a specific Deity, while "God" is a far more general term.
Lol Dumbsh!t. It's the specific name of the same specific deity, just in different languages.
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« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2009, 02:36:15 am »
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Yes (R)
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« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2009, 04:54:45 am »
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Yes (R)

Could you at least attempt to present an argument?

Or is something constitutional just because you agree with it?
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« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2009, 09:19:28 pm »
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Perhaps one should read the first two paragraphs of the  Declaration of Independence.  In the second paragraph, one reads:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  “— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Now, let’s look at the words used by the writer of this document.  “These truths” means that it is not a lie.  It is fact or correct.  “To be Self-evident” means that it is obvious.  Also note that the writer lists those truths.  One of these items is that man is endowed (given) unalienable (not transferable) Rights.  Who gave man these rights?  God gave man these rights.  These rights are protected by the Constitution.  They are NOT rights given to us by the Constitution, but rather rights that are given to us by God and PROTECTED by the Constitution. 

The Founding Fathers created a government based on God’s Laws which goes back to what may be referred to as foundational law.  This foundational law is known as God’s law.  For example, thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not steal, etc.  These are GOOD laws and government should be in place to punish the evil doer.  If there was no foundation for law, then how chaotic would the world be?  Laws must be founded upon something that determines what is right (good) and what is not right (evil).  Man must learn the difference by knowing God’s law (the word).  So who should we trust to give us the correct information on being good?  God of course.  So having “In God We Trust” on currency should not be an issue to anyone.  Whether or not an individual believes in God the Creator is one thing they must decide for themselves.  Just know that our land’s laws are established on a principle set in place by the Creator. 

By the way, “allah” and God are not the same.  Studying such matter will prove this fact.  The Bible never uses this word as a name for God.  Moses asked God for his name, and God answered “I AM WHO I AM”… that should be sufficient for all of us. 

I hope this has been helpful.
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« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2009, 10:18:37 pm »
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Don't care. Biggest non-issue ever.
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« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2009, 10:48:01 pm »
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Potentially sacrilegious to be profaning God by implying that God can be wielded as a talisman to back up our money.  What our money needs is a copy editor, so that it reads: "In Gold We Trust". Grin

Since the dollar will soon plummet due to inflation, I wouldn't be surprised.
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« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2009, 11:13:55 pm »

Vindex, in Arabic, ﷲ has the same meaning as God, so open up any Arabic Bible and where an English Bible uses God, it will will typically have ﷲ as the chosen translation.  So much for your Bible explanation.

Of course, you are correct that in the original, Allah is never used, but neither is God, instead you'll find, יהוה , אֲדֹנָי. or the like.  and instead of I AM WHO I AM, you'll find אהיה אשר אהיה .
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« Reply #33 on: June 26, 2009, 11:38:56 pm »
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Yes (R)

Could you at least attempt to present an argument?

Or is something constitutional just because you agree with it?

I'm agnostic. I've been to a sermon a grand total of once in my life. I said yes. Let me offer up my reasoning.

The first amendment states that congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. By printing "In God we trust" on the dollar, they are not prohibiting one from exercising their religion, nor are they legally favoring a religion or  creating a state religion. Clearly, "In God we trust", while yes Christian in nature, is not endorsing a specific religious establishment. Legally, "In God we trust" has no affect on any religion or the exercise of religion. Just because you mention a specific religion, does not mean you violate the first amendment. Otherwise, whenever the government printed anything referring to religion, they would have to make sure they would cover every religion, or none at all.
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« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2009, 02:37:40 am »
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Yes (R)

Could you at least attempt to present an argument?

Or is something constitutional just because you agree with it?

It's Constitutional because it's not unconstitutional.  It doesn't create a national church, and therefore doesn't violate the separation of church and state rule.
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« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2009, 08:53:04 am »
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Vindex, in Arabic, ﷲ has the same meaning as God, so open up any Arabic Bible and where an English Bible uses God, it will will typically have ﷲ as the chosen translation.

The important thing is the term's meaning in English.
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« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2009, 11:31:15 am »

Vindex, in Arabic, ﷲ has the same meaning as God, so open up any Arabic Bible and where an English Bible uses God, it will will typically have ﷲ as the chosen translation.

The important thing is the term's meaning in English.

Which meaning Allah has in English depends on the speaker and context just as God does.  Some take God to mean the supreme deity of any religion, while others take it to mean God specifically in the Christian sense of God the Father.  Similarly, Allah can be viewed as the supreme deity of any religion, while others take it to mean Allah specifically in the Muslim sense of Allah, whose last prophet is Muhammad.
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« Reply #37 on: June 27, 2009, 12:02:56 pm »
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Dictionaries provide, at most, extremely guarded and ambiguous support for that definition. Popular usage, meanwhile, is flatly inconsistent with it.

If English speakers were actually prone to use the terms "Allah" and "God" synonymously, then "In Allah We Trust" and "In God We Trust" would indeed be constitutionally indistinguishable under any sensible standard. Problem is, they would also be semantically indistinguishable. The reductio ad absurdum, in order to make any sense, must positively presuppose that "Allah" is associated with Islam. Why else would it frighten anyone?
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« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2009, 01:57:02 pm »
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Arab Christians refer to God as "Allah" as well. Even Christians in some non-Arab Muslim countries do (like Indonesia.)
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« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2009, 02:47:16 pm »
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While speaking English? Even if that's true, the peculiarities of foreign dialects are beside the point. What matters is that Americans are not accustomed to using the term in this generic sense. Consider, e.g., Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th ed. 2007) (defining "Allah" exclusively as "[t]he name of God among Arabs and Muslims").
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« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2009, 03:06:44 pm »

While speaking English? Even if that's true, the peculiarities of foreign dialects are beside the point. What matters is that Americans are not accustomed to using the term in this generic sense. Consider, e.g., Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th ed. 2007) (defining "Allah" exclusively as "[t]he name of God among Arabs and Muslims").

Note that usage includes Arab Christians.
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« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2009, 05:33:16 pm »
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It's not exactly a model of clarity, but the entry seems to suggest that the broader usage is peculiar to Arabs. In any case, this more "generic" definition certainly isn't commonplace, which is why the "In Allah We Trust" hypothetical is viewed as a reductio ad absurdum to begin with.

For what it's worth, Wiktionary agrees with me: "While the Arabic الله is used generically to refer to God in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic contexts, current English usage almost always restricts the corresponding term Allah to Islamic contexts only. Various newspaper style manuals recommend translating the Arabic word as God, as this better reflects Arabic usage, but the term is often left untranslated in Islamic contexts. Thus either 'Allah is great' or 'God is great' may be seen."

Admittedly, though, it cites no source. I'll check my AP Style Manual later.
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« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2009, 06:29:32 am »
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You're rather missing the point of the original objection, which is that both terms refer - and quuite unambiguously, too - to the same divinity, not that the two sentences were exactly equivalent in their semantical connotations etc (I'm looking for an english translation of the nice word "wirkungsäquivalent" here. Doesn't seem to be listed in any internet dictionary) - that they are of course not - no more than, say "I eat potatoes" and "I eat solanum tuberosum tubers".

As to the constitutionality of the phrase, I have no real opinion. It's certainly odd - not really in keeping with the spirit of the contemporary US definition of the "establishment of religion" clause, though whether that definition is what the framers intended is a separate matter - and it's also pretty dumb, but that doesn't make it unconstitutional.
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« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2009, 08:31:32 am »
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The term "God" (capital 'G') refers to a divine, immensely-powerful Creator, but has little in the way of more specific content. "Allah," in popular usage, is more precise: it refers to God as understood by Islam. English-speaking Christians and Jews deny believing in Allah, precisely because the term has this more specific content. (Whether you want to call it definitional or connotational is beside the point; so long as there's a meaningful difference, it's not incoherent to distinguish between "In God We Trust" and "In Allah We Trust.")
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« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2009, 08:42:28 am »
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The term "God" (capital 'G') refers to a divine, immensely-powerful Creator, but has little in the way of more specific content.
To a specific divine, immensely-powerful Creator recognized (despite sizable differences of opinion regarding his exact character) by Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

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English-speaking Christians and Jews deny believing in Allah
No - they deny believing that he is correctly understood by Islam (or they just have no clue what they're talking about, and therefore arguably cannot be considered Christians at all - not in a theological sense, that is). Not that it matters at all for a constitutional argument - there is no reasonable distinction between discriminating against all but Muslims and discriminating against all but Muslims, Christians and Jews. (Whether putting a sentence on money represents such discrimination is a separate matter.)
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« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2009, 09:35:31 am »
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Well, Deists also use the term God. But have it your way; it doesn't really matter.

There is certainly common ground between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam with respect to the Creator, known generically as "God." It does not follow, however, that there cannot be a more specific term describing God as understood by one of these traditions. As it turns out, "Allah" (in popular English usage) is such a term.

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Not that it matters at all for a constitutional argument - there is no reasonable distinction between discriminating against all but Muslims and discriminating against all but Muslims, Christians and Jews.

And why not? Perhaps the Establishment Clause recognizes a trade-off between the rights of conscience and the desire to praise God as a people. Certainly, it might strike the balance at precisely that point. (I agree that history undermines this reading, though.)

Or is your argument that the text of the Establishment Clause doesn't allow for that distinction? I'm not so sure—law is full of terms of art, and "establishment of religion" might be one of them. (Even setting that aside, "religion" is vague enough that monotheistic pronouncements could conceivably be excluded from the term's reach. Admittedly, though, "In God We Trust" would still be in trouble, as it's clearly incompatible with Deism.)

Anyway, my point isn't to defend the constitutionality of placing "In God We Trust" on dollar bills. I just don't think the "In Allah We Trust" hypothetical can be treated as functionally identical to "In God We Trust." It may be that they're constitutionally equivalent on other grounds—but they aren't semantically equivalent.

(Sorry for the "choppy," long-winded post—I have to leave for church, so I can't edit it.)
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« Reply #46 on: June 28, 2009, 11:21:14 am »
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I'd lean no based on the Constitution and Church/State Separations, but I don't really care. I'm not personally offended by it and anyone who is thinks far too highly of themselves.
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« Reply #47 on: June 28, 2009, 01:05:38 pm »
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Well, Deists also use the term God. But have it your way; it doesn't really matter.

There is certainly common ground between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam with respect to the Creator, known generically as "God." It does not follow, however, that there cannot be a more specific term describing God as understood by one of these traditions. As it turns out, "Allah" (in popular English usage) is such a term.
Yeah, that's quite right. Smiley (You're right about deism, o/c)

And why not? Perhaps the Establishment Clause recognizes a trade-off between the rights of conscience and the desire to praise God as a people.
Huh? And where does that leave the poor atheists and Hindus and Buddhists and Hopi Traditionalists? Not part of the people?
That's where I was coming from.

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Anyway, my point isn't to defend the constitutionality of placing "In God We Trust" on dollar bills.
Which is good, because my point isn't to defend its unconstitutionality... simply because I don't think that a silly, somewhat discriminatory, phrase on money is an "establishment of religion".

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It may be that they're constitutionally equivalent on other grounds—but they aren't semantically equivalent.
No, just close enough semantically to make the comparison valid (apart from the hilarity of actually thinking of putting that language-mixing phrase on money, of course) - equivalent in the aspect under discussion here, but not generally equivalent.
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« Reply #48 on: June 28, 2009, 09:49:10 pm »
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Thus either 'Allah is great' or 'God is great' may be seen."

I've never seen "Allah is great". Either "God is great" or "Allah akhbar", aka a translation or the actual phrase. Worth noting that the Iranian protestors are shouting "Allah akhbar" and Iran is not an Arabic seaking country.
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« Reply #49 on: July 20, 2009, 12:01:39 pm »
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The first amendment states that congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion ... 

Actually the wording of the Constitution is "an establishment" not "the establishment", a subtle but i think very significant distinction.
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