Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Can’t Our Judges Just Read the Constitution?

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Western Wisconsin to prevent block the engraving of the pledge of allegiance and “In God We Trust” from at the capital visitor’s center. Their argument; that the words “In God we trust” and “Under God” would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Let us examine this argument based upon what the Constitution actually says.

First, let us examine the Constitution from the premise that words mean something. To put it another way, each word that we use has a definition. The definition of a word is not implied, it is what it is. That being said, this is what the first amendment to the Constitution says.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There have been many rulings by the Supreme Court regarding the government and it role, or lack of a role, in regards to religion. The overwhelming consensus in most of the decisions has pull government and religion away from each other. First, almost all of the church/state cases that end up at the Supreme Court do not concern just religion, they concern the Christian religion. Second, the Constitution does not prevent the government, its leaders, or institution from endorsing a religion or from openly acknowledging God. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” Let’s examine these definitions.

Endorse - to approve openly <endorse an idea>; especially: to express support or approval of publicly and definitely <endorse a mayoral candidate>

Establish - to approve openly <endorse an idea>; especially: to express support or approval of publicly and definitely <endorse a mayoral candidate> to introduce and cause to grow and multiply <establish grass on pasturelands>

These are two different words with two different definitions. The first amendment says that the government shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. What does that mean? It means that the government can not pass a law that would establish a government religion or state church. When the government puts engravings on its currency a pledge is recited that references God there is no establishment of religion. The Christian religion is several thousand years old. One can not establish what is already in existence. The Constitution does not say that the government can not endorse religion. Our founding fathers time and time again tied the establishment of this republic and its founding principles to the religious principles that they held so dear. Separate the republic from their faith, in fact they wrapped the republic with the tremendous regard that they had for their faith and used their Christian principles in establishing this country. Most of our founding documents refer to God and the personal writings of our founding fathers confirm their beliefs that this was to be a Christian nation. Our judges need to read the Constitution and the writings of these great men whose signatures reside on that document. If our judges would read the Constitution with the understanding that the framers chose their words carefully so that this would remain a free nation with an open and embracing attitude toward the Christian faith on which it was established.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. The word "endorsement" does not appear in the First Amendment. The prohibition is "establishment" which had a clear meaning. The writings of the Founders are full of references to God (not Allah, Buddah, or Zeus), which clearly meant the God of Abraham. Every writing that reference religion emphasized the Judeo-Christian tradition. This is fact, not opinion. Judges who marginalize Christianity do violence to America's history and traditions.


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