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Obama: US Not a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim Nation — Agree?

American citizens enjoy both freedom of and freedom from religion. The Constitution forbids a religious requirement for holding office, but also guarantees citizens the freedom to practice their chosen religions. Speaking in Turkey, a predominately Muslim country that works hard to remain secular, President Obama highlighted America's secular strengths. He said yesterday:

I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is – although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population – we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.

Obama praised the idea of a secular country, "respectful of religious freedom, respectful of rule of law, respectful of freedom, upholding these values and being willing to stand up for them in the international stage."

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Rather reflective, if not to say damn near the same, as one of my favorite John Adams quotes.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I lvoe reading the comments on here.
JessieSP JessieSP 8 years
I love it when he speaks. Most of the time Barack says exactly what most of us want to say. I think he's going in the right direction to restore our reputation. It takes time to correct all the wrong that was done, especially with the economy and the war. I think in the end all will come out well.
stephley stephley 8 years
"It wasn't what Jefferson had intended to be law." "Jefferson intended for his letter to the Danbury Baptists to reassure them that the new federal government would not endanger the free expression of their religion." He didn't intend it to be law and just wanted the Baptists to take his word that the new government was no threat?
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
I said yes, because we aren't a solely christian nation, but he should watch his words closely as he is alienating a hell of a lot of people here in the hopes of making friends abroad.....
babaloo babaloo 8 years
"thus building a wall of separation between church and state". And still it is not in the Constitution. Interesting what people will choose to justify their agenda. People have trotted out this ruling from a KKK Supreme Court Justice, who hated Catholics, for 60 years from a letter that a Founder wrote years after the Constitution was ratified. Jefferson, and the other Founders, wrote volumes of correspondence and like all men had differing opinions. That doesn't mean that they intended their use to change the Constitution intent. BTW - Jefferson intended for his letter to the Danbury Baptists to reassure them that the new federal government would not endanger the free expression of their religion. Interesting that "separation of church and state" was not originally coined by Jefferson. It was from Roger Williams. Long explanation short: "In a sermon the Baptist had envisioned a "wall" separating church and state and being a device of God. Most importantly, the purpose of that wall was to protect the church from the state. It was not, as Hugo Black would have it, to protect the state from the church. Justice Black turned this meaning on its head." Like most things, the original intent of the statement has gone through the revisionist historian's grinder. Government would prefer its people to remain ignorant of such things.
stephley stephley 8 years
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions," Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state." ("I contemplate with soverering reverence" is a pretty strong lead in to 'incidental' words) James Madison explained that: "The Constitution of the U.S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion." And Thomas Paine observed: "All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
Oops Modus, I'm sorry for spelling your user name wrong.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
Mondus Venvendi: I agree with Hypno that Christian holidays are nationally recognized for practicality, but anyone can take time off of work or school to recognize a religious holiday without punishment. So clearly are government and ant-discrimination laws aren't playing favorites. "i am always surprised by this none of the muslim girls ever wore a head scarf to any of our schools but away from school it was different, they wore them and with pride.there is no law prohibiting head scarves but no muslim parent ever pushed for their child to cover their hair." Ahhh, this drives me up the wall. The Qu'ran does not state that head scarves must be worn for modesty. Just a garment form chest to knee for women and from navel to knee for men. Headscarves are a cultural development, not a religious one, and aren't consistent for Muslims all over the world. Many young Muslim women in France, Australia and the US go without while still upholding the rules of modesty and living their faith.
babaloo babaloo 8 years
"lines of Church and State have been being blurred especially in recent history. " Really? When you can't even put a baby in a manger on school grounds. When Christmas is not allowed to be used for the celebration. And by the way, "separation of church and state" is not in the constitution. The phrase does not appear in the document. What that amendment says is: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." You can thank Justice Hugo Black in 1947 for his interpretation of the amendment. He found some incidental words written by Thomas Jefferson written in 1802 that spoke of the "wall" between church and state. It wasn't what Jefferson had intended to be law. It is based on the words of Thomas Jefferson written 14 years later in an incidental letter not specifically on the Constitution. Therefore as far as the Constitution goes, "separation of church and state" is a work of fiction from a Supreme Court Justice that just also happened to be a member of the KKK in the 20's.
BrandHonney BrandHonney 8 years
I agree with him too. Meanwhile in Turkey girls go to school without turban (it's headscarf, Turk's call like that). Turkey is a secular country but Turkey has lot problems with neighbors. I just learnt these from my friend who visited Turkey.
sarrah922 sarrah922 8 years
Technically, he is right because technically, we seperate church and state. HOWEVER, that is a false statement, especially for a country who includes "In God We Trust" in our money and "One nation under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance. And especially not for a country who was reluctant to accept Obama because of his supposed Islamic religion, and having all our presidents sworn in on a Bible. Would the great public ever vote in a non-Christian president? I highly doubt that.
briglass briglass 8 years
origin and value are different things (see: william james)
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
I agree with him
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
True but the two are intermingled and more so in our time than ever. Way back when the celebration of Christmas was not always when it is, the celebration was moved to coincide with Winter Solstice in hopes of winning over some seculars. Just good old religious diplomacy that's all.
stephley stephley 8 years
Christmas has been a holiday since 1870, not since the founding of the nation.
Myst Myst 8 years
Zeze yes I do think it's better for religious freedom, but I'm not one who believes in any organized religions. However in Turkey the girls do attend school and enter government buildings without the scarves and they are perfectly fine. There's a reason why Turkey is so secular. They've had a long battle over religion for generations, especially with their neighboring Armenians. Being Secular is what works for them and allow their citizen to have more freedom in comparison to other Muslim nations. The girls are not exactly sacrificing their education for religious freedom.
zeze zeze 8 years
Myst, for the large majority of Muslims, the headscarf is a requirement, not a suggestion. That said, different people practice differently, and this requirement is overlooked, especially in the west, for many reasons. bastyle, Muslim girls cannot go to school if they want to wear their headscarves, so their either commit sin by not wearing a headscarf in school, pay for private school, or no go to school.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
As far as I know no city, state, or federal agencies shut down on Winter Solstice.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I think where holidays are concerned we have to understand that back in the day pretty much all but maybe a handful recognized Christian holidays in their personal lives there for what good would it be practical to have government open when every one is at home celebrating their religious beliefs whether it was Christianity or the more secular Winter Solstice.
janneth janneth 8 years
Obama is making friends and influencing people, so to speak, around the world.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I don't think it's black and white like that. I mean, sure there's no official religion, but at the same time, Christmas is a Federal Holiday, not Ramadan or anything else.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
In the perfect world, no. In the real world, there is not as much separation as people like to say.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
ZeZe,Muslim Girls can't go to school in Turkey?
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