Two stories today just have my head spinning. We live in a country that was established with freedom of religion. The Constitution specifically says that the Government shall not ESTABLISH a religion anyone remember this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
That would be the first line from the first amendment. Seems quite specific to me. The Government can not create a religion. Last I checked there is currently no Church of the United States of America. But the Supreme Court has created a limitation on the free exercise thereof.
This story is the direct result of that decision by the court. This from NJ.com on the banner in the town of Pitman that says “Keep Christ in Christmas”.
PITMAN — Borough attorney Brian Duffield said, at this point, the borough is treating the controversial “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner situation as a possible zoning violation and nothing more.
On Friday, the Freedom from Religion Foundation — a national organization committed to keeping religion separate from government — contacted Mayor Mike Batten and requested the banner be removed because it promoted the Christian faith. According to Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF, several other municipal departments were also contacted but did not return calls.
“In the letter FFRF sent, the suggestion is that the banner is on public property so we looked into it,” said Duffield. “We found out that the banner is attached on one end to the old bank — which is privately owned — and on the other end it’s connected to an Atlantic City Electric or Verizon pole which the borough does not own. Also, Broadway is a county — not a borough — road. Everything related to the sign is not on Pitman public property.”
Read that carefully the town of Pitman actually considered abridging the right for the banner to fly. They actually researched whether they could order the banner to be removed. We have gone from a country of freedom of religion to a country were people of no faith can demand we not publicly show our faith. Now that takes me to this little gem. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton hosted a conference called the Istanbul Process. This was the beginning of her speech:
Well, good afternoon, everyone, and I want to thank you all for participating in this conference where we are working together to protect two fundamental freedoms – the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.
I’m delighted to see so many members of the diplomatic corps. I welcome all of you here to the State Department. I especially wish to acknowledge Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, who has been leading our efforts, and also Ambassador Eileen Donahoe, the U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, who has also been tireless in pursuit of America’s fundamental and the world’s universal values.
Now this year, the international community in the Human Rights Council made an important commitment. And it was really historic, because before then, we had seen the international community pit against one another freedom of religion and freedom of expression. And there were those in the international community who vigorously and passionately defended one but not the other. And our goal in the work that so many nations represented here have been doing, with the adoption of Resolution 1618 and then again last month in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, was to say we all can do better. And this resolution marks a step forward in creating a safe global environment for practicing and expressing one’s beliefs. In it, we pledge to protect the freedom of religion for all while also protecting freedom of expression. And we enshrined our commitment to tolerance and inclusivity by agreeing to certain concrete steps to combat violence and discrimination based on religion or belief. These steps, we hope, will help foster a climate that respects the human rights of all.
Well how about those folks in Pitman who put up a sign acknowledging a religions belief in a private site? Do a bunch of radical atheists have the right to block the free expression of religion? Of course not and the Supreme Court years ago was wrong too for not allowing prayer in school. In Abington School District vs Schempp the Supreme Court ruled that forced prayer in school violated the First Amendments establishment clause. In so doing they cited the Fourteenth Amendment as justification for limiting states power to enforce readings from the bible. That is fodder for another post.
Free expression of religion means if a child wants to read a bible verse in school they have that right. It means if my son wants to pray before class he should be allowed. I am fine with not forcing children of other faiths but shouldn’t they all have an equal opportunity to express themselves with prayer if the so feel?
Clinton is a joke and the Freedom From Religion Foundation is a bunch of tools.
God Bless American and Merry Christmas to all. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ bless all of your days.