The purpose of Our Conscience weblog is to facilitate a greater discussion and understanding of church and state separation in our community and in others. Underlying this is the value that each individual should be allowed to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience without influence, coercion, or direction from the State when it comes to matters of religion.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Good Quote from the Dover Case

"To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions." U.S. District Judge John Jones, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, December 20, 2005.

Monday, December 12, 2005

SWMO Locals Refute an Arguement that was never made, Dishonestly

Galen McKinley of Joplin (Globe, Dec. 12th) recently expressed concern that the Pledge Protection Act would conflict with our government’s separation of powers by limiting the jurisdiction of federal courts to review specific types of cases. Rather than having a healthy debate about this, some local on-line readers attacked Galen (and liberals in general) for trying to “force the word ‘God’ from everything in this country.”

Not only does that not relate at all to what Galen was saying it distorts a position that Galen did not even express. Social and civil libertarians that support a strong separation of church and state do not generally oppose religion or prayer; they oppose the government’s involvement in them.

We would much prefer that people insert “under God” in anything they like and the government not force teachers to recite what they have chosen to make religious with the force of law. Religion will always be more vibrant when the government leaves its vitality to the people.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Militant Creationists are Beating Scientists Now

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after an apparent roadside beating.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki told the Lawrence Journal-World that two men who beat him were making references to the class that was to be offered for the first time this spring. Originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies," the course was canceled last week at Mirecki's request.

The class was added after the Kansas Board of Education decided to include more criticism of evolution in science standards for elementary and secondary students. "I didn't know them," Mirecki said of his assailants, "but I'm sure they knew me."

One recent e-mail from Mirecki to members of a student organization referred to religious conservatives as "fundies," and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a "nice slap in their big fat face." Mirecki has apologized for those comments.

More at this Link.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Arrogance in the Ozarks

In an oped in the Springfield News-Leader Joan Covington of Springfield Missouri makes the case that morality is not possible without her religious beliefs.
Stop and think, folks. Since Bible reading and teaching have been removed from our public areas, crime has increased at an alarming rate. They (the ACLU and others) are greatly responsible for this horrible turn in the minds of people who have no conscience.
Look at what happened the next year when in 1989 the Supreme Court ruled that a Christian nativity scene display at Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburg was a violation of the Establishment Clause:

Of course, another graph and court case could be found to support the opposite conclusion. Other factors likely account for greater movement in the national crime rate than upholding the First Amendment.

But, imagine the ethnocentrism and arrogance you have to have in order to make such a strong connection with ones own religious beliefs and the morality of a nation. It was a connection our founders knew well not to make:
“The number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church and the State.” ~James Madison, Father of the Constitution
Of course, Joan just couldn't help passing the misinformation that fundamentalists and their conservative allies have been spreading for years. American citizens can pray in public whenever they like. They can read the bible just as they can read anything else. What has been unconstitutional is the actions of the government in making laws and taking actions that promote or favor various religious viewpoints.