Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The Supreme Court has no business ruling on religion or religious symbols in the public square. To support this, I'll cite the text of the first amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

This should be the limit of their jurisdiction. Period.

What law has Congress passed that put the ten commandments in those courthouses? For that matter, when did Congress pass any law "establishing" school prayer, or religious displays in any public space? The closest thing I can think of is when Congress "established" Christmas as a national holiday. The rest of these things came about through individual initiatives, at the local or state level.

Even if one accepts the proposition that state and local governments are held to the same restrictions as the Congress is under the Constitution, none of the religious issues the Supreme Court has ruled on come close to "establishing" a state religion. The current contrary rulings on the ten commandments show this idiocy perfectly.

Either Congress or a State has established a religion, or it hasn't. If such an establishment has been made, where is it recorded, and under what government authority? These questions must be answerd to prove establishment of religion. How could one courthouse's display of the ten commandments be an establishment of religion, while the other's wasn't?

The Supremes, in their half-assed way, split the difference. They explain this by gleaning the "intent" of the officials who put up the commandments initially. They should look at the "intent" of the men who wrote the Constitution, as well as reread that first amendment to it. The establishment of religion is a far cry from anything going on in the courts, or most of the public sector these days.

Let's look the case of the judge who ran for election on the promise of bringing a monument with the ten commandments on it into the courthouse. He won, and followed up on his promise. After the higher courts forced it's removal, he is considering running for the state legislature, hoping to get it back there through legislative means. Now that might violate the first amendment! (Not really, if the legislation puts it in the context of the history of our most basic of laws, such as laws against murder and stealing, etc.)

The higher courts had no jurisdiction to rule on his choice of monuments for his courthouse. He presumably would have had no problem had he put in a statue of lady Justice with the blindfold and balancing scales. The religious nature of the ten commandments is no reason to ban the display of the historical foundation our legal system. He didn't put a statue of Christ in there, or something with only a religious meaning. The right course for his opponents would have been to run someone else for his (elected) post, on the platform of removing the monument.

None of the rulings about courthouses affect the people very much, to tell the truth. Their importance is that they are examples of the poisonous declining of moral standards, under the guise of "separating church and state." If we continue on this course, how long will it be until murder laws are declared unconstitutional because they are based on the ten commandments? That is an over the top example, but notice how widely Judao-Christian religious beliefs are being labeled as "intolerable bigotry" in both the culture and the courts.

One real repression imposed by the Supreme Court is the banning of prayer in public schools, even denying the children a "moment of silence" for personal prayers. However, in some NYC public schools, Muslim students are provided space in the school auditorium to pray more than once a day. I don't have a problem with letting the Muslim children pray, except that the Supreme Court banned it around the year I was born (1962). Again, they had no jurisdiction for that ruling either, and actually violated the "prohibiting the free exercise thereof (re: religion)" part of the first amendment in that and subsequent rulings regarding public prayer. The school officials violating the law are doing the right thing, just not for everybody.

The problem is with the secularists, some of whom even profess to be Christians. The secularists are what's known as a "disgruntled minority," which naturally gives them Constitutional protection. Or does it? In my reading of the first amendment, there is no freedom "from" religion, only a prevention of the state to establish one. The secularists have the right to free speech denouncing religion, but they have no constitutional remedy to stifle religion in the public square, whether by elected officials or public school students.

(Ask as secularist if they mind their children being taught about Mohammed, and they'll probably say no. Ask the same question, substituting Jesus for Mohammed, and they will likely object strenuously. This is the hypocrisy of the secular movement. They are not against all religions, just Christianity, and often Judaism. Disney even made an animated movie of Moses without once mentioning the Jews, but that's another topic. The point is that no-one is suing to keep the Muslim children from exercising their freedom of religion.)

This is why the whole court system needs reform. Pres. Bush and the Congress need to reign in this out-of-control judiciary. Appointing justices like Janice Rogers Brown is a start, but more needs to be done. The problem is that the secularists are a large constituent of the Democrat party. They both have been happy to see the courts advance their agenda, which was already losing popular support (as well as destroying our families, culture, and nation) decades ago. Then the courts took over, passing laws by judicial fiat that would not pass legislative muster.

The answers for Republicans are twofold: to use their control of the other two branches to limit the scope of the judiciary to the Constitution's original intent, and to limit the liberal activists by appointing as many conservative judges as possible. Those who think that either option won't raise all manner of charges, from racism to Naziism, need only look back at the crude comments about our President over his term, and about Republicans and conservatives over the last generation or so to dispel that naiive notion.

The time has come for us to stand up for what's right, and not be afraid of name-calling from our opponents. Even if I were a "right wing bigoted homophobe," my religious beliefs would be protected by the Constitution. The secularists must learn to tolerate beliefs they find offensive, as Christians and other religions have had to do for many years. The Supreme Court has no role regarding the place of religion in the public sphere, save that which it is given by the Constitution. Let's keep electing people who believe that, until we prevail.


Rosemary said...

You need to re-read it. All 13 colonies had their own State Churches at the time. The letter that Jefferson wrote was to a Pastor in MA to let him know that Jefferson was not going to make any laws that would hurt or affect the Church in MA. That is where the separation comes in.

Also, the press can tell lies and not be held accountable. People can protest and break things without going to jail. But God forbid we should teach our children the difference between right and wrong! The people need to start protesting in a manner that tells the Supremes what we think of their rulings. lol.

Chris said...

I know that the States had Established religions. I did use the qualifier: "Even if one accepts the proposition that state and local governments are held to the same restrictions as the Congress is under the Constitution". The part about States being included in the Constitutional prohibition of establishment of religion was totally theoretical. I do not subscribe to this theory, and perhaps I gave it too much credence in this piece. Sorry.

On your second point, the press can be held accountable as liars, as you and I (and others) so often expose them for. Enough of our protesting will get results, either with better coverage, or with the death of the networks who spin, rather than report both sides' spin. The upcoming battle over the next Supreme Court nominee should be an interesting media battle, being the first since the ascention of FOX NEWS to the top of the cable news stations.