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Friday, March 14, 2008

Fatheaded Ed again contradicts Judge Jones' "true religion" speech

Fatheaded Ed Brayton said,
Steven Waldman, editor-in-chief of Beliefnet, has a new book out called "FOUNDING FAITH: Providence, Politics and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America". I haven't read the book yet, though I hope to do so and to write a review of it, but he has two essays at the TPMCafe that seem quite reasonable to me. He seems to stake out much the same territory that Jon Rowe and I (and many others, of course) have for the last few years, arguing that the key founders do not fit easily into the simple categories of deist or Christian. (emphasis added)

Judge Jones said in his Dickinson College commencement speech,
.
. . . .this much is very clear. The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.

"This much is very clear," my eye.

Fatheaded Ed Brayton has never repudiated Judge "I am not an activist judge" Jones' "true religion" speech.
.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

Chuckles continues his mindless repetition, this time again proving that he does not understand Judge Jones' "true religion" speech.

Then again he rarely shows a sign of understanding anything.

Post something new for a change. This blog is becoming even more non-notable and crappy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008 3:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is somewhat of a mystery how Larry can copy the words of Judge Jones so many times and yet not have a hint of their meaning.

Saturday, March 15, 2008 1:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the long hiatus. Work has had me keeping 12-hour days.

Ed's quote does not contradict Judge Jones's speech. The fact that the key Founders can't be easily categorized as to their individual religious beliefs does not contradict with how they believed "true religion" should be defined.

The essence of Jones's quote (taking only the single sentence) is that the (key) Founders believed "true religion" was not defined by the same characteristics that define organized religion. Without any other context, there are two possible interpretations. The first is that an organized religion can not possibly be a true religion. The second is that an organized religion may not necessarily be a true religion. Larry (and J. West) would have us believe that Jones meant the first interpretation.

But when put in context, it is clear that Jones meant the second interpretation. Although there are a number of places that support the second interpretation, the following quote from Jones's speech makes it quite explicit:

"As I hope that you can see, these precepts and beliefs, grounded in my liberal arts education, guide me each day as a federal trial judge. I am daily exposed to many disciplines, I must learn and relearn things constantly, and I am at risk of deciding a case incorrectly if I accept that which is presented to me at face value."

In the context of this statement, as well as the rest of the section, it is clear that Jones is stating that the (key) Founders believed in free rational inquiry to the point that even an organized religion should let itself be scrutinized, rather than taken at face value, to determine whether it is a "true" religion. Furthermore, the book that Jones is quoting makes clear that it is the second interpretation being used.

In light of the preceding analysis, it is worth noting that not only does Ed not contradict Jones's speech, he actually affirms it (modulo "key Founders"). From the final paragraph:

The touchstone idea they shared was that all claims had to be submitted to the test of reason, including claims of revelation.

That is a restatment of the second interpretation. Let's replace the sentence that so offends Larry with Ed's language (in bold) and see whether it fits in with the context of the whole section:

As has been often written, our Founding Fathers were children of The Enlightenment. So influenced, they possessed a "great confidence in an individual's ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason." And that reason was best developed, they clearly believed, by a broad based liberal arts education that caused its recipients to engage the world by constantly questioning and persuading others.

Ironically, but perhaps fittingly for my purposes today, we see the Founders' ideals quite clearly, among many places, in the Establishment Clause within the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This of course was the clause that I determined the school board had violated in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. While legal scholars will continue to debate the appropriate application of that clause to particular facts in individual cases, this much is very clear. The touchstone idea they shared was that all claims had to be submitted to the test of reason, including claims of revelation. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, "to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state."

As I hope that you can see, these precepts and beliefs, grounded in my liberal arts education, guide me each day as a federal trial judge. I am daily exposed to many disciplines, I must learn and relearn things constantly, and I am at risk of deciding a case incorrectly if I accept that which is presented to me at face value.

Monday, March 17, 2008 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

By the way, that last comment was left by me, W. Kevin Vicklund. The blog software forced me to post anonymously for some reason. Hopefully, it is just a glitch.

Monday, March 17, 2008 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

Looks like a glitch.

Correction: perhaps an extra space in my name? Could just be a typo on my part.

Monday, March 17, 2008 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Kevin, you are making this much too complicated. My interpretation of Judge Jones' statements is the only reasonable one. In supporting your interpretation, you are citing things that Judge Jones' audience was not even aware of. And any way you cut it, Judge Jones showed hostility towards organized religion. Also, his statements were inconsistent with the establishment clause histories given in Supreme Court decisions (despite his emphasis on the importance of judicial precedent). He even quote-mined his source in order to give this "true religion" more importance than his source gave it.

Monday, March 17, 2008 5:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> My interpretation of Judge Jones' statements is the only reasonable one. <

Yes. You are sane. The rest of the world is crazy.

> you are citing things that Judge Jones' audience was not even aware of. <

The audience didn't make the decision.

> And any way you cut it, Judge Jones showed hostility towards organized religion. <

That is your interpretation, not a fact. And we all know how wrong your interpretations of anything usually are.

Friday, March 21, 2008 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>> My interpretation of Judge Jones' statements is the only reasonable one. <

Yes. You are sane. The rest of the world is crazy. <<<<<<<

Let's hear your interpretation, dunghill. Put up or shut up.

Friday, March 21, 2008 10:24:00 AM  
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Friday, March 21, 2008 10:26:00 AM  
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Friday, March 21, 2008 12:07:00 PM  
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Friday, March 21, 2008 1:30:00 PM  
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Friday, March 21, 2008 1:32:00 PM  

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