“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.” (The First Amendment of the United States Constitution)
It seems as though my beloved United States of America has lost its ever-loving collective mind. Never in my lifetime, have I seen such asininity on full display from entertainers, athletes, so-called community leaders, and the men and women we elect to represent us. Our President types out more Tweets than an emo teenager, NFL players, take a knee during the National Anthem, disrupters of all kinds try to impede the Democratic process, and rioters destroy their own neighborhoods. Politicians and community organizers pander to any group they can label as a victim, and the white supremacists pander to the only group left, white Christian males. Feelings trump facts; everyone wants to be heard, but nobody wants to listen; right and wrong are whatever you want them to be, and the truth no longer matters. It makes me want to stand up and shout as loud as I can “Can’t we all just grow up and get along?!”
The participants in all this insanity believe that their words and deeds are sanctioned by the Constitution; that the First Amendment is a protective shield that gives them the right to say and do whatever they want without consequence. Well, no, it doesn’t. Since apparently, the Constitution and the mindset of the men who wrote it are no longer taught in public school, it looks like it’s up to me, the Middle Aged Housewife, to give you all a common sense, middle class, refresher course.
Let’s start with “freedom of religion”. This part of the amendment was created to prevent the Federal Government from establishing an official national religion. Many people came to this land to escape from religious persecution in their homelands, and being able to worship G-d how they saw fit was important to them. Interestingly, this amendment makes no mention of the “separation of church and state”. That statement was made by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, confirming that there is a wall between the government and religious practice. This was meant to assure religious leaders that the government could not dictate religious practices.It was not meant to infer that politicians, public officials and educators, could not rely on their personal principles, religious or otherwise, to guide them in their decision-making. When public schools ban prayers, and public buildings remove copies of “The Ten Commandments”, they in reality are violating the First Amendment. However, we Christians must realize that while this amendment was meant to protect our religious rights, it also protects the rights of non-Christian belief systems. This means that a ridiculous statue of a Satanic goat ministering to children has just as much a right to be in front of the courthouse as a stone with The Ten Commandments, a Cross, a Nativity Scene or a Menorah. As individuals, we have the right and the responsibility to practice our beliefs, and to bring our children up with the knowledge that under our secular form of government, all religions have an equal right to exist, but that doesn’t mean that all forms of religion are equally benevolent or beneficial.
In my next post, I’ll explain my take on Freedom of Speech.
Saw this video on Chicks On the Right. When will those in the government learn that they work for us. There are those who understand what this country was founded on and will not stand by and let our Constitution be trampled.
On Thursday, March 1st, the Florida State legislature passed SB, 98 www.flsenate.gov /Session/Bill/2012/0098/BillText/Filed/PDFwhich gives individual school districts the freedom to allow student led “inspirational messages” during mandatory assemblies and other school sponsored events. The bill was sponsored by a Democrat,
State Senator Gary Siplin, and was overwhelmingly passed with bi-partisan support. A fact that might surprise many conservatives and Evangelicals. The bill now awaits the probable signing from Governor Rick Scott. Other states are taking notice and waiting to see how this law will play out in the practical application of public school policy.
As a Christian and a mother, I should be elated about this. Over the past few decades we have seen the First Amendment being twisted and perverted into an instrument to deny Christians the right to freely practice our beliefs in public. Activities that are actually a positive influence on campus such as the annual See You At The Pole or groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are routinely banned from school property even though these activities are completely voluntary and take place outside of regular class hours. Teachers are forbidden to acknowledge their Christian beliefs on their school website bios and are reprimanded for publicly expressing their beliefs even when they are outside of the school setting. This is wrong and is in opposition to the true intent of the First Amendment.
This bill, however, is a bad idea. The bill’s only strongpoint is that it puts the authority for implementation in the hands of the individual school boards. This is right because the boards are better able to determine the needs and beliefs of their communities better than the state government can. The bill seeks to protect the schools from First Amendment litigation by giving the responsibility for choosing, who delivers the message and its content, to the discretion of the students. School officials and employees are forbidden to interfere in any way with the students’ decisions. There is absolutely no way a school board can define what constitutes an “inspirational message” without violating the rights of one group or another. These messages could be anything from a prayer or devotional to an anarchist rant, or hate group rhetoric. Any student who has an ax to grind or just simply enjoys stirring up trouble will now have a platform. Time and precious school resources would be wasted on the litigation that is sure to ensue if any school board tries to implement rules to curb the chaos.
The school system in Florida has many challenges. Fixing a broken system of accountability is one. Though it is a well-intentioned attempt at restoring morality in the school system, this law will not work. The only way to improve the quality of education in Florida or anywhere else in this country is to remind the schools that their purpose is to serve their students, parents and taxpayer supporters, not the other way around. The only way to accomplish what this bill is trying to do, is to implement school choice.
I have been thinking about the controversy behind the teaching of intelligent design in the public school system. My opinion is that the classroom should be a place where the free exchange of ideas can take place. That cannot happen in an environment of political indoctrination. That being said lets examine some of the reasons for the controversy.
We are told that intelligent design is not taught because it promotes a religious viewpoint. To determine if that is true we first have to define what constitutes a religion. My Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary’s fourth definition of a religion is, ” A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” This same dictionary’s second definition of faith is, ” A belief in something for which there is no proof.” The third definition is, “Something that is believed esp. with strong convictions.”
There is nothing in the Bible, no sermon, no theological study that can prove concretely, without the shadow of a doubt that God does in fact exist. My belief in God is the result of my faith, based on my study of the Bible, my observations of the world around me and the sum of my experiences. That element of faith is what makes my belief a religion.
On the other hand, there is nothing that science can produce, no controlled experiment, no theory, that can prove concretely, without the shadow of a doubt that God in fact does not exist. People choose to believe there is no God based on their study of scientific theories, their observations of the world around them and the sum of their experiences. Without proof of the non-existence of God their believe is also based on faith. This defines Atheism as a religion.
I do not disagree that the theory of intelligent design leaves open a door to the theory of Creationism, but Evolution by its implied indorsement of Atheism also promotes a religious belief. The public education system cannot use the Constitution to allow one belief but not another.
Let’s take a look at the first amendment. It states” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.
According to this principle, Public schools cannot compel nor forbid the teachings of evolution or intelligent design. I say let out teachers truly educate our children by giving them a well thought out lesson on both theories, then teach them how to have a civilized debate on the subject and then draw their own conclusions.