Friday, January 23, 2009
Church & State and the gray area in between
As reported by the Associated Press, a federal judge has ruled that a state law requiring a moment of silence in public schools across Illinois is unconstitutional, saying it crosses the line separating church and state.
"The statute is a subtle effort to force students at impressionable ages to contemplate religion," U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman said in his ruling Wednesday.
The ruling came in a lawsuit designed to bar schools from enforcing the Illinois Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. It was filed by talk show host Rob Sherman, an outspoken atheist, and his daughter, Dawn, a high school student.
As passed by the Illinois General Assembly, the law allows students to reflect on the day's activities rather than pray if that is their choice and defenders have said it therefore doesn't force religion on anyone.
Gettleman's ruling comes as no surprise, as he’s already ruled in favor of Sherman in two previous decisions. To me, that smacks of a biased judge who seems to get a favored plaintiff on his docket on a regular basis.
The "teacher is required to instruct her pupils, especially in the lower grades, about prayer and its meaning as well as the limitations on their 'reflection,'" Gettleman ruled. "The plain language of the statute, therefore, suggests and intent to force the introduction of the concept of prayer into the schools," he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union says the law is a thinly disguised effort to bring religion into the schools. Adam Schwartz, senior staff counsel of the ACLU, said the organization was pleased with the decision "to strike down a statewide law that coerced children to pray as part of an organized activity in our public schools."
Get real, you liberal socialist fruitcake. While there may be a part in the Constitution that talks about the separation of church and state, that’s better off being looked at as a method for keeping us from becoming a religious state like, say, Iran or Saudi Arabia, where clerics beat you on the street with sticks for supposed trespasses against Allah.
The truth is, there really is no complete separation of church and state in the United States of America. It’s a matter of practicality. This nation was founded upon the bedrock of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Like it or not, America was founded by devout Christians as a Christian country, with allowances made for the freedom and tolerance of others to practice their religious customs without fear of persecution.
I’m not a religious person by any means. But if that’s your bag, I’ll gladly respect your right to worship (or not to worship) as guaranteed by the Constitution which I swore an oath to uphold and defend, against all enemies foreign and domestic, at 18 years of age. Almost 22 years later I still take that oath seriously. But I’m also a pragmatist. I know full well that Americana and Americanism is chock full of God references.
You ACLU lawyers are in court enough to know that when you’re sworn in, you generally place your hand on a Christian Bible and end with “so help me God”. And I know damned well that you have no problem making or spending American money festooned with “In God We Trust”, which coincidentally is the motto of our great nation. The Pledge of Allegiance that your ilk keeps seeking to suppress lists us as one nation under God. I’d be willing to guess that a judge’s robes trace their origins to priestly robes, back during medieval times when lawyers retained the tunic worn by men as a sign of learning until the middle of the 14th century. Of course, during those days, the vast majority of the people were uneducated an illiterate, and the only learned scholars were the clergy.
You fought for, and won, the right to burn the American flag under the auspices of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression, and I as a former soldier have spent my entire adult life biting back my personal distaste for such a disrespectful and despicable act, and now you want to strip away some more of the foundation of the country that gives you both a home and a living. Now, if it was some Muslim group trying to push Islamic teachings and prayer rugs and foot-wash basins into the schools, you ACLU douchebags would eat your own young to force-feed that to the public.
And by no means whatsoever do I advocate forcing religion down the throats of school kids. But a moment of silence to think and reflect isn’t going to undermine the universe. No one is saying that you have to pray. You can ponder the periodic table of elements. You could think up an excuse for why you skipped out on your homework to play World of Warcraft. You could memorize another word in Spanish since English no longer applies. You could entertain impure thoughts concerning that chica with the hootchie top on from your 6th period History class. class. I’m forced to be tolerant of some assclowns burning the very symbol of my nation, so maybe your snot-nosed brats can be forced to sit there with their festering gobs shut for all of 60 seconds while their fellows think whatever thoughts they privately may.