I need some assistance, I am debating whether to ignore the following e-mail or seek assistance from this audience to generate an adequate reply:
[quote:464cc59e5f]In response to your comments, for your information only, I do request there is no reply, you should probably be aware of the HISTORY of the dogmatic statement you used on the listserv
[u:464cc59e5f]This is what I posted:[/u:464cc59e5f]
[i:464cc59e5f] believers and non believers need to support that separation, because you never know when the winds of faith will change and how this may affect the recent minority, it does not even have to be a different faith in a God, just a different way of worship ( i.e. Protestants and Catholics in Ireland). That separation must extend to medical care, I respect my patients beliefs, and I expect reciprocity from my patient. I cherish the scientific basis of Medical practice, Faith and Science do not overlap. I also understand and cherish civility and urbane behavior, we greet strangers on the street or hallway, and sometimes the right thing is not to mention Faith[/i:464cc59e5f]
March 26, 2004
by Perry L. Glanzer
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
Focus on the Family is deeply concerned about the ways the religion clauses of the First Amendment are being interpreted so that they threaten to deny religious persons their rights or to exclude religion and religiously grounded values from public expression and debate. The following statement highlights our particular concerns.
The Free Exercise of Religion
Traditionally, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that in order for a law to prevail over an individual╠s free exercise of religion it must have a compelling state interest. However, in 1990 the Court rejected this traditional interpretation and essentially placed the burden on individuals to prove why their free exercise rights had been violated. Seven years later in Boerne v. Flores, the Court threw out Congress╠s attempt to remedy the Supreme Court╠s trampling of religious liberty. As a result, the religious liberty of Americans is more unprotected than ever.
Focus on the Family calls for the Supreme Court to recover the high vision of religious freedom envisioned by the founders. In light of the Court╠s low view of religious freedom, we endorse state-level RFRA╠s that do not include prisoner exemptions as needed remedies to assure persons of their religious liberties. These acts would reaffirm that government does not grant religious liberty and that it should not burden the free exercise of religion without a compelling state interest.
The Establishment of Religion
The ¤Wall Of Separation Between Church And StateË
Current interpretations of the Establishment Clause (¤Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…Ë) are also undermining the rights of religious individuals and groups. The primary reason concerns the phrase ¤the wall of separation between church and state.Ë The phrase is not found in the Constitution. It came from a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson to some Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut. However, the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and other organizations have used this phrase to promote a dogmatic interpretation of the First Amendment that discriminates against or disadvantages traditional religious believers in three major ways.
1. Excluding Religiously Grounded Moral Positions From Informing Law
From the acts of the founders through the work of the abolitionists to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, religious citizens have played an important role in agitating for beneficial social change. Through the leadership of people like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., the Christian ethic has motivated important legislative change and reform in America. Yet, a strict separationist interpretation would inhibit a person with traditional religiously based moral positions from influencing the nation╠s laws while allowing secular philosophies free reign over our legal system.
For example, the California branch of the ACLU wrote in a letter: ¤It is our position that teaching that monogamous, heterosexual intercourse within marriage is a traditional American value is an unconstitutional establishment of a religious value in public schools.Ë1 Simply because a moral insight has a religious origin is no reason at all to exclude it from the public square.
2. Denying Religious Persons The Equal Rights Of Expression In The Public Square
Second, a strict separationist interpretation denies religious persons equal rights of expression. For instance, recent lower court cases have taken the following actions:
* Upheld a principal╠s decision to prohibit a class valedictorian from speaking who was planning to devote a portion of her speech to the importance of Jesus Christ in her life.
* Upheld a teacher╠s refusal to allow a student to write a research paper on ¤The Life of Jesus ChristË even when other papers on ¤SpiritualismË and ¤ReincarnationË were approved.
* Upheld a principal╠s order asking a fifth grade public school teacher to refrain from reading the Bible during a class silent reading period and to remove a Bible from the top of his desk.
All of these decisions uphold the erroneous assumption that the public sphere, especially publicly funded education, must be secular. This radical interpretation of the First Amendment, which would exclude religion from public life, is a far cry from the framers’ intent. As John Adams stated (1798): ¤Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.Ë
3. Denying Benefits Because Of Religion
Third, a strict separationist interpretation of the Establishment Clause denies government benefits to religious persons or institutions solely because of their religion character. For example, the courts have often used a strict separationist view to prohibit parents from receiving financial relief for choosing religious educational options. The government should not be allowed to use the power of the purse to favor secular over traditional religious perspectives and choices.
Establishment Clause Reinterpretation
Focus on the Family calls for the courts to recover the original vision of pluralism envisioned by the founders that does not discriminate against religion but affirms its importance in our public life. We suggest it follow the advice offered by legal scholar Michael McConnell:
"The beginning of wisdom in this contentious area of law is to recognize that neutrality and secularism are not the same thing. In the marketplace of ideas, secular viewpoints and ideologies are in competition with religious viewpoints and ideologies. It is no more neutral to favor the secular over the religious than to favor the religious over the secular.
It is time for a reorientation of constitutional law: away from the false neutrality of the secular state, toward a genuine equality of rights. . . . The Establishment Clause . . . may not be used as a sword to justify repression of religion or its adherents from any aspect of public life.Ë2
We call on judges and lawyers to recognize that what is currently considered neutrality actually ends up supporting a secular public square free of religion. We call on them to return the interpretation of Establishment Clause to its rightful and original place as a protector of equality for all religions in public square and not as a weapon to shield public life from religion.
1James Dobson and Gary Bauer, Children at Risk (Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1990), p. 315.
2Michael McConnell, Testimony on Religious Liberty and the Bill of Rights, Submitted to the Congress of the U.S. House of Representative Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, 7 June 1995.
I am very concerned that this is a pervasive attitude in our society, I feel guilty for not being a member of the ACLU!