There is a case before SCOTUS that is of considerable interest to the tired claim of State separation from religion. This particular case focuses on opening prayers at Government institutions. Atheists and Jews are against it as it is a violation of First Amendment Rights. Thirty years ago SCOTUS had a similar case and pretty much closed the door on the argument as being not founded in the 1st and rather has been the country’s policy for over 200 years, and they saw no reason to over rule the practice.
The atheists argue that it impedes their freedom of not being subjected to a ritual they wish no part of. The Jews argue because it is a Christian prayer through Christ that they are forced to bow and pray to someone they wish not to and do not like being told what to do by a Christian Minister (stand and bow their head). Both arguments are senseless because the counter argument is simple. Don’t like it, tough. Minority does not dictate to the majority in this country. Never will. Special disposition for minority opinions has always been accepted and certain conveyances have been put in place to appease. That is what freedom is all about. Hear all, but the majority rules the day.
The Atheist argument becomes invalid for any number of reasons, the first and foremost is what harm does it do? It does no harm but does start the proceeding on a high note of morality, purpose, truth and fellowship. Atheists evidently find that sort of thing repulsive. So did Satan. Another point is it ignores the fact that atheism is in of itself a religion. A religion of no God exists, is a belief system, in as much as being Christian, is a belief system of a God that does exist. Someone should explain that to the atheists sometime so that they get it right. The other strong point and probably the most important is that the USA is a Christian nation and the majority of the population by an overwhelming margin are Christian believers. what that says in my book of rules.. go find another country if you don’t like the way this one prays as you have no standing in the majority. The one filing this case claims she is embarrassed because all stand, she doesn’t and sticks out like a sore thumb. Evidently she has more mouth than substance as a believer of her faith, a serious problem with convictions of her non-believer status.
The Jewish argument is also ambiguous as her claim of exclusion is invalid. Rabbis are asked to participate, they tend to not choose to do so. Clergy that do, tend to keep the prayers very non denominational and generic to God, who is recognized by all faiths. Why a Jew finds that repugnant is way beyond my understanding of being faithful to God and not just a particular practice. If you can’t pray to a God that you believe in what does that make you? In my book of rules .. faithless and a heretic to Old Testament teachings and commandments.
I am an Interfaith Minister in that my belief system is founded on one principle. Service to God/Allah/Jehovah/ and the other 25 or 30 names God goes by. I also teach the wisdom of Christ and all of the Prophets including Mohammad (PBUH) and Moses. These are Holy Men from times long ago who spoke only goodness and taught the ways of leading ones life on the path of righteousness. What ill will towards humanity is this? None. So why not teach it all? Exclusion is ignorance. Exclusion is intolerance, and quite frankly agenda driven foolishness I will not allow in my Church.
The case can be made that religion is the cause for wars and divisions within humanity and therefore has no place in the political machine through influence. I would agree to that if this was 2000 years ago and democracy was non-existent. Back then Popes could influence Kings. Popes called for Crusades and war and wished to control the world through force. For a time they succeeded and sent many of humanity to an early grave, all in the name of God. The problem then was not of religion, but of church corruption. Because a man wears the cloth of sanctity does not mean he is sanctified. Actions of the man speak of his sanctity not his clothes. I should point out that wars in modern times were not started by religion. World War 1 was started by an atheist. World War 2 was started by another atheist. The Korean War was started by Communists who are anything but believers in God and Vietnam were started also by Communists and agenda driven mad men. The Iraq war was started by another mad man who forsakes his Muslim religion and desired conquest for profit not religion. Sectarian violence or “the cleansing of Islam” is attributed to agenda driven mad men that totally ignore the religion they claim to be leaders of. Other lesser conflicts in this world are not caused by religion but are supposedly fought in the name of God to rid the planet of the infidels by men that denounce God by their very actions. That is not very hard to see or understand, that this in of itself bespeaks of faith corruption by man and not God or the Prophets teachings on righteousness. The mess in Israel and Palestine continues as a conflict of corruption by man of God’s will. We as a race of beings will never advance our goals if we continue to allow the despots within humanity to invoke corruption of the teachings of God, in the name of God, and are not exposed and denounced by the leaders of all the faiths.
Presidents are sworn into office with their hand on the Bible. The reason this is done is simple. It humbles the man or woman taking the oath. He or she is made aware by this action that there is one far more powerful and that the oath they take is under the watchful eyes of God who wishes you to lead through righteousness and truth. How is this a bad thing I ask? I can make the argument that reminding a guy or gal with a nuclear trigger in their hand that One with a snap of His finger can destroy all of humanity in a brief moment, and your nuclear toys are nothing compared to His wrath. It is not a matter of religion this takes place, this is a matter of humanities propensity to get to big for its britches which is not a good thing and has consequences. Real or perceived matters not. The matter is left to the individual to cause reflection on purpose. Not a bad idea in my book as humans have a tendency to easily forget it’s purpose for momentary glory not eternal glory.
Religion has been taken out of schools and the courts. Through legal actions. Morality cannot be taught in school systems, but we are allowed to teach them about non marital sex and how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Genius no? No. It is OK to teach immorality, but not morality. This advances humanity how? This makes sense in what manner I ask? Look at the pregnancy rate by children and tell me that message of immorality taught in schools is a good thing. Yes. Teach them about sex and abstinence but also teach them morality and leading ones life the proper way. How is this not a good thing I ask? Should prayer be allowed in public schools? I think not. I think the concepts of religion, the teachings of religion, and its history should be however. Prayer should be left to the individual and not dictated to the mass’ assembled in a learning environment. Save the prayers for the faithful in a church surrounding, not in an educational institution. To not teach religious history is to ignore the richness of the human history on this planet. How does this benefit those that seek to become educated in man’s existence? Like it or not, religion is and always has been, entwined with human history since the beginning of the written word. To ignore, denounce or prevent its teaching in schools is not to me a benefit to those that seek education. To me it is a failure to educate. To what means does the end result? Intolerance and ignorance of a history rich in the cultural foundations of belief and morality of human kind. This serves Satan and not humanity. It fails in that the ignorances of cultures and the tolerances of others are not taught to the young who are left to interpret others without a foundation of knowledge to support an opinion that could be very prejudicial to all. Who in their right mind could possibly think for a moment that this benefits humanity. I certainly can’t.
In the court system taking an oath to speak the truth was seriously compromised when swearing before God became a defacto no. I ask one simple question. Taking away the possibility of eternal damnation to a place one does not wish to go for lying before God was removed as the impetus for making one speak truth. This benefits who? The liar. This is a good thing? I fail to see how. The liar prevails under the guise of political protection and therefore has no motivational reason to speak the truth. Therefore, the court of absolute truth becomes a mockery to support agenda driven individuals desires to codify evil. Relying on one’s honor to be the impetus is ludicrous as an honorable man or woman would not be in a situation where they must be sworn to tell the truth. It is the dishonorable that are on trial and therefore suffer not for lying. How did humanity fall into such a ridiculous abyss I ask?
Before the Supreme Court is a case that has a far-reaching impact towards tolerance and acceptance of the 1st Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion and acceptance of public prayer during assembly in this country. Liberalization is a word with the root of liberty as the basis. Does this mean minority factions will prevail over the majority desires? Does this mean to appease the few we will ignore the many? Does this mean a simple act of prayer which could very well be ignored by the dissenters needs to be put into law as an intolerable act? What will we become if we legislate intolerance as an acceptable standard in the land? Will we also legislate intolerance to those that are over weight? Wearing perfumes in restaurants that destroy the senses of smell and taste through powerful odors? Where does intolerance stop? This case has no merit because no one holds a gun to ones head to pray in this country. No one. If you have the conviction of a non religious life then so be it, don’t pray, you’re not required to do so. You have the alternative to not participate as it is your right to not do so. But those of us that do also have the right that it should be allowed and accepted by law. In this case it is a personal desire to not stand out in the crowd like a baboon at a gathering of cats. That is a personal lack of commitment to ones convictions and should not be put upon the mass’ who are not baboons. The Supreme Court should toss this thing back into the bin of irrelevance and agenda driven lunacy and make it plainly clear that starting a political meeting with an uplifting and morally based message is a good thing and not some evil subversive speech to control the proceedings or anyone at one.
I am reminded of a personal moment of this separation question at one of our local parks. I had a small gathering of homeless folks sitting around me listening to some of my teachings on Bible history and the foundations of belief. I had a Bible on my lap and was reading to them some scripture to emphasize a point on why we should help one another in our great time of need. Not a bad idea considering the many struggles homeless folks face daily. I was interrupted by the park police. Told that we couldn’t do this sort of thing in a public park, and we were breaking the law and needed to move along. Yeah, that was not a very smart thing to say to an American who understands the law and fought in foreign lands to protect the Constitution of the United States with his life. I pointed out to the officer that we are the public and we the public are exercising our legal and Constitutional right to assemble and be free to discuss religion on property obtained with our tax dollars which therefore by rights makes US the land owner and not the government legislature which has erred in passing a really bad law that he is trying to enforce on publicly owned land. I also pointed out to him that a city class action lawsuit involving a civil rights issue as well as a Constitutional guarantee violation by some 15 million of the faithful would collapse the city wallet to oblivion and he could quite possibly be looking for work in some other city capable of paying his salary if he wanted to pursue the matter. Eyes went dim, uncertainty of position and perhaps a revelation of not pressing the issue with someone wearing a collar prevailed, and he simply walked away. A minor victory. I wish to test this law however and see it expunged from the books as it is bad law. That day will come, and we will prevail. Amen