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Old 10-30-2010, 12:53 AM
 
Location: Right here; Right now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALS_2009 View Post
Why was my analogy way out in left field? I used that analogy to illustrate the quite clear fact that we cannot pray whenever or whereever we choose, without restrictions. There are restrictions, pretty universally accepted, within the first amendment in general. This is one restriction with respect to the free exercise clause.


And i'll briefly address school graduation prayers here. I believe it was actonbell who cited to the Sante Fe opinion and the Doe v. DIDS case a few posts back. I briefly read through the latter (already was familiar with Santa Fe) and it appears that the coach was actively participating in the prayers during school-sanctioned events (basketball games). This is entirely different from prayers at graduation ceremonies.

At these ceremonies, potentially hundreds are in attendance. A prayer, even led by a student, results in a large captive audience during a religious exercise. This should not happen. Those who do not believe in god must not, in essence, be forced to sit through any religious exercise simply because "most people here are Christian so it's ok" (paraphrasing a common argument).

Again, these same students are not prohibited at all from praying, even in large numbers, before or after the ceremony. This is constitutional. It is ridiculous, frankly, to argue that this is not true.

The difference, as I noted above, is when the prayer is held before large captive audiences who did not voluntarily choose to find themselves in the middle of a religious exercise.

Again, your right to pray is not absolute, and the restrictions I have discussed are so inconsequential that to argue that your free exercise is being trumped here is absurd.

The final point is this: no one can possibly have the absolute right to exercise their first amendment rights whenever they want, as this frequently would interfere with the rights of others. Thus, compromises will have to be made. There is no other solution. Everyone cannot claim the absolute right at the same time. This is impossible.
I found your analogy to be an actual event under the prayer timeline page I linked to. When I saw it I thought about comparing it to the Lemon Tests, but I didn't follow up on the thought.

There is another graduation prayer other than the Santa Fe that is undergoing fire by the ACLU. The one I had in mind to post about is not available to me. I did post about it in another thread many months back, but it isn't available now. So...you (we, I) addressed school sports events. I have found two that are undergoing fire and the first one, just breaks my heart.
Quote:
ACLU questions Gate City High about prayer before football game - Kingsport Times-News Online
The prayer Friday night was completely student-led, Scott said, and was not sanctioned by the school.

The point of the service, officials said, was to simply pay respect to victims of the terrorist attacks and to the loss Sullivan South experienced.

“We were just trying to reach out and honor (Sullivan South),” Ervin said. “This was a special case — we wanted to honor our neighboring community and the memory of 9/11, and I was proud of my students for doing so.”
They are not allowed to pay proper respect. This hurts and this is painful and goes beyond sad and grief.

The next one is sad as well, but in a different manner.
Quote:
Tenn. High School Bans Pre-Game Prayers - US - CBN News - Christian News 24-7 - CBN.com
"I think before a football game everybody should get together for a prayer to God for everyone to make sure nobody gets hurt and nothing goes wrong," student Taon Harris said.

"Everybody that I know is all for it," another student said. "They see that good things come from prayer. It's what we do around here."

Jim Rogers is the father of East Hamilton School's football team manager. He told the Associated Press that public prayer is protected under the U.S. Constitution.

"Our country was founded on the principle of religious suffrage and the freedom to express that religion," he told the newspaper.
This is why we need more O'Donnells in this world. To posse the question, 'it's in there?'. Because I want some one to tell me where this is right. As I see it, is so wrong on so many levels, there is no right to it at all.
We know it isn't in there, the words from the letter...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"
And, an establishment is a building or something that is already built.
Quote:
The final point is this: no one can possibly have the absolute right to exercise their first amendment rights whenever they want, as this frequently would interfere with the rights of others. Thus, compromises will have to be made.
Where is the compromise coming from those to allow a prayer to be said, so as to pay proper respect for a fallen student. Where is their, compromise. They don't have one, they never did. (end of rant)

Thank you ALS_2009 for reading my links. The Doe vs. DISD, I thought about that child and how that would feel if that were me. Then I thought about, what if the scenario is changed.

The students of unbelievers go to the basket ball court and the believer steps aside alone, and kneels to pray. What then?
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:22 AM
 
25 posts, read 31,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actonbell View Post
I found your analogy to be an actual event under the prayer timeline page I linked to. When I saw it I thought about comparing it to the Lemon Tests, but I didn't follow up on the thought.

There is another graduation prayer other than the Santa Fe that is undergoing fire by the ACLU. The one I had in mind to post about is not available to me. I did post about it in another thread many months back, but it isn't available now. So...you (we, I) addressed school sports events. I have found two that are undergoing fire and the first one, just breaks my heart.
They are not allowed to pay proper respect. This hurts and this is painful and goes beyond sad and grief.

The next one is sad as well, but in a different manner.
This is why we need more O'Donnells in this world. To posse the question, 'it's in there?'. Because I want some one to tell me where this is right. As I see it, is so wrong on so many levels, there is no right to it at all.
We know it isn't in there, the words from the letter...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"
And, an establishment is a building or something that is already built.
Where is the compromise coming from those to allow a prayer to be said, so as to pay proper respect for a fallen student. Where is their, compromise. They don't have one, they never did. (end of rant)

Thank you ALS_2009 for reading my links. The Doe vs. DISD, I thought about that child and how that would feel if that were me. Then I thought about, what if the scenario is changed.

The students of unbelievers go to the basket ball court and the believer steps aside alone, and kneels to pray. What then?

AB, I just read that link regarding student-led prayer before football games. This is completely legal. The link says the ACLU wrote a letter to the principal, initially saying that the prayers were unconstitutional. This was in error, IMO, because it appears they did not have all the facts and were being a bit too pre-emptive.

The link states that no lawsuit is planned, and that the ACLU was reassured that, after speaking with the principal, this was entirely student led and not sanctioned in any way by the school.

I have no problem with this at all. This is precisely what I was talking about in my posts above (student led prayer, before/after school or school-sanctioned events, without any reason to believe the school is endorsing or supervising it).

Assuming for a moment that there are no important facts which have been left out, this is entirely constitutional. Based on the information in the link, I believe the ACLU realized that no violation had occurred here after speaking with the principal, and it says they believe the issue has been resolved.

I hope this does not (perhaps further) damage your opinion of the ACLU. If I did not have massive student loans as a result of law school i'd highly consider working for them =)
But back to the point, someone posted a link in another thread here that included a myriad of news stories wherein the ACLU intervened on behalf of Christians or Christian organizations, in order to uphold their civil rights.

Just want to make sure that people don't believe the ACLU is some type of atheist-organization hell bent on ridding the country from religion. They represent all types of minorities, not just non-believers.


As for your point about 'establishment' being a building or something similar, I acknowledge that the wording of the establishment clause is far from clear. Keep in mind the FF also chose to use the word 'respecting,' which broadens the reach of the EC to anything perhaps touching upon or representing an establishment of religion.

I can argue that establishment simply could mean "setting up a preferred status of religion or religious belief," as opposed to actually erecting a building. But this gets us no where fast. People far smarter than I have debated this for decades and quite frankly, IMO no one will ever be able to prove what the FF were thinking when they chose this language.

I believe it was you who acknowledged that gov't employees relinquish some of their civil rights when they assume their positions, correct? In that case I believe you and I are on the same page when it comes to permissible and impermissible conduct, as I mainly direct my rantings to government endorsed religion or religious belief.

I support instances of student led prayer such as the story you linked to just now. If I was a player on that team (i'm an atheist FYI) I might be annoyed and become angry if the believers on the team derided me for my lack of belief, but there wouldn't be any legal recoure against the school - the students would just be execising their rights in this instance.
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:24 AM
 
25 posts, read 31,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actonbell View Post

The students of unbelievers go to the basket ball court and the believer steps aside alone, and kneels to pray. What then?

This is entirely legal, and the student is exercising his first amendment right, no different than the student who kneels at his locker prior to going into home room, or says a prayer before the teacher begins her lesson, or at the lunch table, etc, etc.

I would only hope the unbelievers would not deride or disparage the student because he happens to believe in God. Because all too often, especially in the south, that same courtesy is not given to members of different faiths and beliefs.
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:45 AM
 
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By the way acton, I read the link you provided on the timeline of prayer, including the section about the proposed Georgia bill which would have "evidently" allowed a student to pray during class over a teacher's objection that he, for instance, answer a question from the teacher.

This would have been unconstitutional. Keep in mind that state legislators are ALWAYS trying to pass unconstitutional laws. Sounds odd, but it's a fact. There are many instances of legislators at both the state and federal level who attempt to introduce initiatives or bills that would fail under the law.

This is one example. Here, the applicable analysis is "strict scrutiny." SS applies whenever the gov't attempts to restrict a fundamental right, such as the rights given in the first amendment.

The gov't would have to show:
1. there is a compelling governmental interest at stake;
2. the restriction is narrowly tailored

Requiring a 'compelling' government interest sets the bar very, very high. The gov't almost never wins these cases, except in limited circumstances. This is one.

It is settled law that school children do not shed their first amendment rights at the school-house gates, to the extent that the exercise of their rights do not interfere with the compelling government interest of carrying out the school's legitimate functions, i.e., to educate students without unnecessary disruption.

The restriction here (not allowing a student to say 'not now, i'm praying') is narrowly tailored to obtain the compelling government interest. The student can pray at many other times of the day, including during school hours, just not when the teacher needs to be able to call on the students during class time.

So, such bill, even if passed, would have been struck down - eventually.

Sorry for the long posts =)
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:34 AM
 
Location: Right here; Right now
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When in 1962 the United States Supreme Court, banned...excuse me, regulated school prayer they did so utilizing the letter of Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Church.

When I was a child growing up, I was told that prayer was banned from the schools. I was told this by people and I trust people to tell me the truth. It was my understanding that Madeline Murray O'Hare, marched in with the letter so as to set the record straight. As it turns out, she did take part in a court hearing, yet one year later.

I have taken the time to look up the court cases. The first one, Engel V. Vitale, Justice Black
Quote:
ENGEL V. VITALE, 370 U. S. 421 :: Volume 370 :: 1962 :: Full Text :: US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez
The petitioners contend, among other things, that the state laws requiring or permitting use of the Regents' prayer must be struck down as a violation of the Establishment Clause because that prayer was composed by governmental officials as a part of a governmental program to further religious beliefs. For this reason, petitioners argue, the State's use of the Regents' prayer in its public school system breaches the constitutional wall of separation between Church and State.
What I have underlined, does not appear in the 1st Amendment. There are unconstitutional laws that are made to be constitutional, by the U.S. Supreme Court and passed down by their decisions. imho, This is one of them. However, imagine if you will for just one moment that this letter did not exist. If it was not in existence, then how would one define, respecting an establishment?

(Joe's Bar and Grill, an establishment that has been around since 1903, was set fire to and burned down yesterday afternoon.)

As I continued to read the courts opinion I found that prayer had not been removed, but accommodations were made for those of other faiths.
Quote:
Nonparticipation may take the form either of remaining silent during the exercise, or, if the parent or child so desires, of being excused entirely from the exercise.
Now one would think that it would stop there, yet it does not. The following year Bible reading the second so-called “school prayer” decision.
Quote:
SCHOOL DIST. OF ABINGTON TP. V. SCHEMPP, 374 U. S. 203 :: Volume 374 :: 1963 :: Full Text :: US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez
The rule provided for the holding of opening exercises in the schools of the city, consisting primarily of the "reading, without comment, of a chapter in the Holy Bible and/or the use of the Lord's Prayer." The petitioners, Mrs. Madalyn Murray and her son, William J. Murray III, are both professed atheists. Following unsuccessful attempts to have the respondent school board rescind the rule, this suit was filed for mandamus to compel its rescission and cancellation.
In this case being the 'odd man out' is addressed.
Mr. Justice Brennan
Quote:
I join fully in the opinion and the judgment of the Court. I see no escape from the conclusion that the exercises

Page 374 U. S. 232

called in question in these two cases violate the constitutional mandate.
And there it is, 1963, the banning of prayer and/or Bible reading from public schools.

Since that time there have been many court hearings. In 1985 a 'moment-of-silence' was brought to the courts and was found to be unconstitutional.

Yet, it seems that it is okay now to have voluntary prayer in schools. The Muslims are having special rooms built just for them and their foot baths. Yet, all in all, if one was to google up the controversial religion and public schools, Bible in the schools, pupil lead prayers, etc. they would find many cases that are being either brought before the courts or the ACLU is doing a follow up.

So as it turns out, in the beginning special accommodations were made for those of other faiths and the same practice is being implemented again 4 decades later.

One thing still remains unchanged though, the words, separation of church and state, does not appear in the 1st Amendment. It does however appear in the U.S. Supreme court case Engel V. Vitale, thereby making and unconstitutional clause, constitutional.

(they have respect for the establishment)

Last edited by Ellis Bell; 11-01-2010 at 02:37 AM.. Reason: comma
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Somewhere on Earth
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What I don't understand is that opponents against the whole "Separation of Church and State in the Constitution" continue to argue that just because it's not there, it should mean yada yada.

It was clarified in a letter.

Yet that doesn't make it "legit". So why's that? Religious agenda?

Not to put Christians on the spot, but there are verses in the Bible that are very clear-cut, yet those same people do not follow them, but have no problem arguing the ambiguity of a sentence in the Constitution.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Lune View Post
What I don't understand is that opponents against the whole "Separation of Church and State in the Constitution" continue to argue that just because it's not there, it should mean yada yada.

It was clarified in a letter.

Yet that doesn't make it "legit". So why's that? Religious agenda?

Not to put Christians on the spot, but there are verses in the Bible that are very clear-cut, yet those same people do not follow them, but have no problem arguing the ambiguity of a sentence in the Constitution.
One could stand to reason that if the United States Supreme court utilized a letter to interpret the 1st Amendment thereby changing the protection that is it's intent, what other constitutional protection may have been changed, as well?

Quote:
Thus, from a simple correspondence, the American notion that religion and government should be kept separate in order to maintain its system of checks and balances emerged. It should be noted that modern interpretations of both the Establishment Clause and Jefferson's creation of the dicta, "separation of Church and State," have been a driving force behind both legislative and judicial decisions, an intention the drafters (President Jefferson and the drafters of the Establishment Clause) may not have considered.
The Separation of Church and State: Have We Gone Too Far?
Say, Freedom of Speech granted to some and not to others, in a form of regulation that is more of a political gain, rather than a protection to the American people, from the government whose goal maybe to control people rather than protect them from each other.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:17 PM
 
40,008 posts, read 24,268,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actonbell View Post
One could stand to reason that if the United States Supreme court utilized a letter to interpret the 1st Amendment thereby changing the protection that is it's intent, what other constitutional protection may have been changed, as well?

Say, Freedom of Speech granted to some and not to others, in a form of regulation that is more of a political gain, rather than a protection to the American people, from the government whose goal maybe to control people rather than protect them from each other.
This from the person who thinks that "establishment" can only mean a physical building. Evidently, the religion of Christianity was never "established" until its first Church was built. I'm sure all those Christians in Rome when Christianity was still illegal would be happy to learn that they were exterminated for practicing a religion that didn't exist, because it had never been "established."
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Right here; Right now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
This from the person who thinks that "establishment" can only mean a physical building. Evidently, the religion of Christianity was never "established" until its first Church was built. I'm sure all those Christians in Rome when Christianity was still illegal would be happy to learn that they were exterminated for practicing a religion that didn't exist, because it had never been "established."
What you just said, made no sense to me.
Religion is just a word that power has been given to it by people. A church is a group of people, gather in His name. (Christ is not interested in brick or mortar only people are.)

If you got from my posts that an 'establishment' can only mean a physical building, it may be because I am discussing a topic with people who only believe in physical worlds.

Since you called me out on it, then you know the 1st Amendment is not about a physical building. You know what I know and understand, the interpretation is hinky at best. (church and state)

Further more that wall....divides people. An invisible division among the people of the United States. Now isn't that just...peachy.

If Mikhail Gorbachev can tear down the Berlin Wall, why is it the American people can not do away with their wall of separation?

Building walls, is what we're good at.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Lune View Post

Not to put Christians on the spot, but there are verses in the Bible that are very clear-cut, yet those same people do not follow them, but have no problem arguing the ambiguity of a sentence in the Constitution.
Like owning slaves.
women shouldn't wear the clothes of man
women shouldn't work or use their hands to work.


all the stuff that is in the BIBLE, yet they ignore....
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