“…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 & State.”
Where do you think I pulled this excerpt from? If you said the U.S. Constitution, you’re in one of two categories. You either have heard something similar to this excerpt somewhere and have been told that it was in the Constitution and as a result have believed it your whole life, or you have never heard anything like the above before and took what seemed like an appropriate guess. Either way you’re wrong. This excerpt is from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist association in 1802.
Jefferson wrote this letter to ensure the Baptist Church of Connecticut, who at the time was the minority, that their right to practice their religion would not be infringed upon by the federal government. Jefferson’s letter to Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, and Stephen S. Nelson was to inform them that they had the right to freely practice their beliefs and the law would not persecute them, but those who hindered them from doing so. It seems today that phrase, which doesn’t appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, is used to persecute Judeo-Christians for publicizing their beliefs in any way.
So the goal is to protect the individuals rights to freely practice their religion. My concern lies within the public schools. The Supreme Court first ruled against public school prayer in the 1962 in the case of Engle v. Vitale. The decision struck down a New York State law that required public schools to begin the school day either with Bible reading or recitation of a specially-written, nondenominational prayer. One year later, in Engle v. Vitale (1963), the Supreme Court struck down voluntary Bible readings and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools. Public schools, being a government institution, should not enforce a curriculum in which every student is forced to take any kind of religions based class.
I know many people that complain about biology classes teaching the Big Bang theory. All of these people understand that science has helped us understanding many wonderful things, but the fact that a theory is taught as truth in most schools to many people is absurd. However, when these people lash out and say they don’t want their child learning about an unproven and improbable theory, they get labeled as religious bigots who’s voice has no place in determining any kind of policy.
University of California Los Angelos, more commonly referred to as UCLA, has a class called Queer Musicology, and Georgetown University in Washington has a class called Star Trek. How is it that classes like this are unquestioned and anytime anything remotely religious is involved the ACLU and FFRF get uptight and demand change? In case you were wondering, this has happened before, in fact, it happened in February of 2013. The ACLU has sued an Ohio School District for a portrait of Jesus that has been hanging in a middle school since the Young Man’s Christian Association, or YMCA, donated it in 1947.
This is a story of a high school graduate, NOT a school employee or government official, who gave thanks to Jesus for the accomplishment of he and his fellow classmates.
Does Mr. Reimer deserve to have his future at the Naval Academy destroyed for his speech?
A wise man once told me that the idea of the “separation of church and state” was not to keep the Church out of the government, but to keep the government out of the Church. This doesn’t mean that we should establish a theocracy, but it also doesn’t mean that anytime an individual, even if they do work for the state or federal government, should have their beliefs silenced. In some cases their religious beliefs might be why they got elected in the first place.