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 30, 2008

"Freedom of Conscience"

“At one time it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.” WALLACE v. JAFFREE, 472 U.S. 38 (1985).

Monday, December 08, 2008

In the hands of the people

There is a nativity scene hanging from my Christmas tree in my living room. I don't need to obtain the blessing of the State and hang it on public land. This is precisely where our Constitution wants religion, in the hands of the people, not the State. Nothing is more vital to religious liberty than that.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Suggested response for the warriors of paternalism

Let me suggest an appropriate response for those of us in the majority who feel provoked by speech that differs from our own: Pray diligently that the Constitution protects infidels when they express their viewpoints because when viewpoint discrimination becomes the law of the land, our viewpoint is next.

How establishment hurts religion and society: A holiday reminder for non-separationists

When government provides a public forum for religious expression, it can not just invite a particular sect. The number of those offended by that endorsement is irrelevant. How many does it take? Answer: One.

Your own freedom weakens the minute you attempt to limit the umbrella of liberty to your majority. You end up damaging both Christianity and our democracy.

If as a Christian you could obtain the State's sole preference toward your beliefs and symbols, what would happen? Would you obtain more converts? Would you spread your beliefs and save the world from all the infidels? No, you would burn your own power and influence, divide even your own peers, create a system that honors paternalism, and then get to watch your brothers and sisters sail to a new land.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Who are the enemies of religious expression at the public square?

(CNN) -- An atheist sign criticizing Christianity that was erected alongside a Nativity scene was taken from the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington, on Friday and later found in a ditch...

The incident will not stifle the group's message, Gaylor said. Before reports of the placard's recovery, she said a temporary sign with the same message would be placed in the building's Rotunda. Gaylor said a note would be attached saying, "Thou shalt not steal."

"I guess they don't follow their own commandments," Gaylor said. "There's nothing out there with the atheist point of view, and now there is such a firestorm that we have the audacity to exist. And then [whoever took the sign] stifles our speech."