Virginia prayer case is reversed / Wiccan in Chesterfield loses

Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by Charles, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Actually, Nosborne's unedited remark read: "Apparently Judaism is but wicca is not, a part of the American "Civil Religion".

    I'm pleased that you agreed. Unfortunately, what you agreed with wasn't my point.

    My concern was basically with what you snipped out of Nosborne's remark. The fact that while Judaism is accepted by the majority, "wicca" isn't, and that it's apparently acceptable to exclude it.

    I think that religious discrimination remains a danger in this country. But the most likely victims probably aren't going to be Jews. Instead, the victims are more apt to be smaller groups that aren't major players in the Western and Biblical traditions. Groups that are unpopular and perceived as strange or alien.

    I mean, if a court had ruled that it was legal to exclude Jews, there would have been an immediate nationwide uproar. (And rightly so.) But the exclusion of "wicca" passes without a peep and even Degreeinfo seems impatient to change the subject to something more mainstream (and Judeo-Christian).

    But it's always the small and unpopular guys that most need the equal protection of the law.

    My point is that if courts can approve the exclusion of minorities in order to strengthen the solidarity of majorities, then we have some very real problems.

    My reason for writing "At least for now" was to express my belief that if the small and unpopular can be excluded, then the protections that defend larger and more mainstream minorities like Jews are threatened as well.
  2. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    little fauss,

    Read you own answer very carefully and you will see what I mean.

    "Didn't Moses say that the strangers among them were to be accepted as one of the chosen people if circumcised and voluntarily observant of the Law?"

    "Were to be accepted" means accepted BY someone in authority, to wit: the Court. Listen, Moses' father in law Jethro told Moses to establish Courts to relieve Moses of the obligation of hearing all cases himself. I know of NO evidence or authority that has EVER allowed questions of personal status to be determined solely by one's own declaration without competent witnesses (meaning the Court), any more than one can become a U.S. citizen in the privacy of one's own home.

    Judaism has always accepted converts, even in the face of the Christian Church's death penalty threats but it has NEVER, EVER been the Law that a person became a Jew simply by announcing his intent to do so or even undergoing circumcision. There has always been a requirement of a public (meaning before the Court) renunciation of all other gods and an acceptance of the burden of the Law (as the particular Court conceives it) and the swearing of the appropriate oaths, which cannot be done except before an official representative of the Jewish people.

    Even Ruth pleads to be accepted. We don't really know what formal steps, if any, she eventually took.

    Keep in mind, please, that there were, and are, barriers to accepting certain potential converts.

    Now the technical requirements for conversion have varied in history even to the extent that there was at one time a sort of "intermediate" position. A stranger agreed to live according to the laws of the community but did not undergo conversion. It is of this person that Jewish law says that there must be one law both for ourselves and for the stranger amongst us.

    There is an illuminating discussion of the process of accepting a convert found in Sanhedrin.

    As to birth and blood, Torah Israel was a TRIBAL religion. One's father determined, not only one's membership in the House of Israel itself, but also one's tribe and even one's personal status as Cohen, Levite or Israel. This is still true except that Jewishness now descends from the mother, not the father.

    Now, as to women in general...this is not a particularly pleasant subject but:

    Even today, a female convert has a much easier time gaining legal status than a male does. There are two big reasons why:

    -There is no (thank God) female circumscision; and
    -Whereas the Court must satisfy itself that the male possesses sufficient knowledge of the ritual and moral requirements of the law, it need only EXPLAIN the basic commandments to the woman.

    This difference still obtains among Orthodox rabbis, as I have heard tell.

    There are reasons for this, none of which really satisfies:

    -women are bound only by the negative commandments whereas men are bound by all commandments;

    -women do not teach their sons to fulfil the commandmants and do not therefore require th same depth of knowledge as men;

    -women may not serve as judges

    -women have restrictions on their ability to testify;

    You get the idea.
  3. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    I don't think we disagree here; I know that no person becomes a Jew merely by announcing it. Circumcision wasn't even sufficient, without more, for children of Abraham, much less gentiles!

    I also believe that being a child of Abraham is more than blood, it's something spiritual as well or more so. G-d is fully capable of making children of Abraham out of stones, as a famous but unfortunately disregarded rabbi once said.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    It is true that my undergraduate Constitutional Law classes are older than I might like to admit (though anyone interested might guess by my signature line). I seem to have some recollection that there was something called the incorporationist doctrine. This held that, because the both the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment said that one could not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law (the Fifth Amendment being applicable to the national governmentand the Fourteenth Amendment being applicable to the state governments), the Bill of Rights applied to the states (which was accomplished through a series of decisions that incorporated one amendment at a time).
  5. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    You know, I thoroughly enjoy Eugen Weber's PBS series "The Western Tradition." In one of his lectures on World War II he says, "Appeasement is the fine art of throwing your friends to the wolves in hopes that the wolf's hunger may be sated by the time the wolf gets to your door."
  6. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Well, Decimon,

    If the good people of Chesterfield County were to elect a member of the National Socialist Workers Party to the Board of Supervisors (or if that Nazi were duly appointed to fill out an unexpired term), then I don't see how the current supervisors could exclude him/her/it.
  7. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Ted Heiks,

    Your memory stands you in good stead. No less a conservative personage than Justice Rehnquist considers it well settled law that the anti establishment clause DOES apply to the states.

    Even if it did not, every state constitution also forbids the establishment of religion.
  8. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member


    I see that the LlM that you're working on is from University of London. Does British law allow for freedom of speech? If so, how broadly is that interpreted? Or is it just royal screwballs three heartbeats from the throne who get in trouble for showing up in National Socialist Workers Party regalia?
  9. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    Of course much of the Bill of Rights--but not all!--has been incorporated to the states by the Supreme Court on a case-by-case basis. I personally think the jurisprudence that did so is perfectly absurd and turns the original understanding of federalism on its head, but nonetheless, we seem to be stuck with it. My original post was intended to make a point about how far afield we've come from anything approaching an original understanding of the Constitution, but of course, those are apparently quaint notions nowdays. (hint, hint, Nosborne!)
  10. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Pardon me if my terminology seems a bit politically incorrect. But I couldn't find the Old Testament reference. The New Testament does, however, say, "And Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king (Matthew 1:5-6)." In other words, David was great-grandson to a Moabitess and great-great-grandson to a Canaanite prostitute.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2005
  11. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    Well after all, we did used to burn them.

    It seems amazing to me the byzantine web of fraile reasoning the courts will go through to affect an acceptable judgement. I think its time to amend the constitution so that government officials can look for spiritual guidance without being sued by satanists and druids.

    Its just so sad...
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2005
  12. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Prayer is commonplace in federal government and it's not inclusive.
  13. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    We're not speaking of who may be elected but of what may transpire.
  14. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    No, I understand, I plead guilty to using your remark in a tangential way to make a point I wanted to make about the disturbing rise of antisemitism among this country's intellectuals and elites. I never do this--or at least never intentionally--when I'm engaging in a debate. I don't like to set up straw men that I can easily knock down by misstating someone's point, but I'm guilty of misstating your point in this case.
  15. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    We have a family conceit that the second witch executed at Salem was Sarah Osburn (alternate spelling), a distant relative.

    Probably false but fun nonetheless.
  16. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    Hopefully it wasn't one of my forefathers responsible for the burning!

    By the way, here's a really bad inside joke, let me be the 8,365th person to offer my condolences for your untimely demise at the hands of Mr. Parker.

    I "Martindaled" you. BV rated, not bad!
  17. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    What's scary about the Parker joke is, the comic book charactor was first popular at about the time I was born.

    I wasn't named after any relative, alive or dead.

    My father always had a puckish sense of humor.

    Can't help but wonder...

    B/V isn't bad but it IS a bit mysterious. I have been a publc sector lawyer for all of my career but for a few months in the aggregate. How did I end up being rated at all?

    For those who wonder what we're talking about:

    Martindale-Hubble publishes the country's largest directory of lawyers and law firms. About half of all Martindale listed lawyers are "peer rated".

    The ratings may not be used in advertising to the public. They are for other lawyers' use only.

    There are three ratings:

    A/V, B/V, and C/V.

    The "V" means having a reputation for (ahem) unquestionable ethics. No ethics rating below "V" is given.

    "A", "B", and "C" are professional skill ratings.

    I refer you to for an explanation of each rating. Suffice it to say that a Martindale rating is either favorable or it is not given and that the rating is based solely on periodic, extensive, and anonymous written surveys of the Judges and lawyers in the ratee's judicial district.

    An A/V rating is a Very Big Deal and potentially worth a great deal of money to a private firm in out-of-district referrals.

    A B/V rating is not a kick in the teeth but Craveth, Swaine and Moore won't be sending me any insurance defense cases anytime soon.

    There are other rating systems out there. If you see, for instance, an advertisement for a firm as an "A" rated firm, rest assured that whatever virtue that rating may reflect, it isn't a Martindale rating and Martindale ratings are the only ratings that LAWYERS pay any attention to.
  18. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    In my experience, a BV rated lawyer is one who's achieved a certain distinction above the common rabble. There are a lot of CV rated attorneys out there or attorneys who are not rated at all (like me). I thought it was odd that they rated you also, given your public law career; I thought ratings were primarily for the privates, but I guess you learn something new every day. Interestingly, the best trial attorney I've ever seen or been associated with (a gentleman named Rick Fritz in Minneapolis/St. Paul, who's been listed in the Minnesota State Bar Association's "Super Lawyer" List, given to the top 5% of state peer voting) isn't even listed in Martindale Hubbell!

    BV rated means, in my opinion, that you should be proud (in a good way) of a fine professional accomplishment. AV ratings are rare with the exception of huge firm hotshots or venerable pillars of the legal community.

    P.S.: I'm glad to see you respond with civility, I was concerned you'd think I was some kind of stalker, Martindaling "N Osborne" as I did. I was just curious. BTW: Have a good seder? Mine was great: mom, dad, sis, niece, wife and 5 kids made for a fine dinner--and, given the five children and the young niece, an even more wild afikomen search!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2005
  19. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I did, thank you very much.

    No, I have never attempted to keep my "real identity" secret.

    You could ask them to rate you; frankly, though, unless you run an A/V rated commercial firm, I don't think it's worth much.

    God is unlikely to be impressed with anything under an "A/V", for instance.
  20. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    I doubt G-d would even be impressed with AV! :)

    I'd not likely get much of a rating if I did request it; I'm not primarily a litigator, just a small-town hack who has a couple small corporate clients and teaches at whatever community college or small university will have me to make ends meet. No Clarence Darrow I.

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