First Amendment ... What it REALLY says.  

Sunday, March 13, 2005

I didn't start this blog to pick on Robert Lindsay, but we've had such revealing "discussions" here, and his ultra-left-wing positions are important to note and compare to the more America-friendly conservative positions. Here is what Mr. Lindsay says about the First Amendment:

#1- Religious freedom - The First Amendment:

My take on the 1st Amendment is ... that the Constitution mandates that the US Govt must not have any connection at all with any religion, even deism, or simple belief in God. Therefore, the US govt may not discrimate against atheists. I can't answer the rest of your arguments about the FF wanting to have a religious foundation for our society - most of them were Deists, which is virtually an atheist. My line on this is the same as Barry Lynn, ACLU. (edited for grammatical purposes)

Before I get into this I have to laugh at the idea that somone who is willing to toe Barry Lynn's line on anything is willing to call himslf a "moderate". At least Bob is willing to admit he is a left-wing socialist. Bill Clinton never admitted that, true as it were, and you had better believe Mrs. Clinton will follow that same path in her effort to get elected to the Presidency. "New Democrat"? Nah ... just a stealth Liberal. For his admission to at least lean that way, Bob deserves a little credit, but "moderate"? No, Bob, that's not you.

Now here is what the First Amendment ACTUALLY says:

Amendment I:
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.

"No law respecting an establishment of religion" simply means that CONGRESS cannot establish in law one specific religion that all people must follow, such as Jaudaism, Catholicism, Islam, or, as in the case of England at the time, Episcopalianism. This did not in any way prohibit individual states, such as Virginia or Massachusetts, from establishing state religions, as many states did have established state religions at the time. Wisely, all of the states eventually did away with state religions.

The Ten Commandments are permanenetly engraved in the very chamber in which the Supreme Court convenes, as a tribute to their contribution to the development of law in America. Every congress that has ever convened has started with a prayer. Every President has taken his Oath of Office with his left hand on a copy of Scripture. These truths stand as evidence that the Founders would have wanted at least some recognition of the value of religion in American life to be prominent.

The Federal Government cannot favor one religion over another, and doesn't. This does not mean that religion is to be excluded from public display or discourse, as Mr. Lynn advocates. Mr. Lynn's opposition to public displays of religion, including setting aside quiet time in schools during which students may CHOOSE to pray (or not to pray for that matter) if they want to is a direct violation of the First Amendment.

The Federal Goverment may not in any way infringe upon anyone's free practice of religion. As uncomfortable as those campus preachers that often approached me back in my college days made me, it is clearly part of their religion that they do this. I know God and revere him, but my personal faith does not require that of me. Do I therefore have the right to interfere with THEIR practice of THEIR religion, simply because it makes ME uncomfortable? The answer is an emphatic NO. Religion is the basis of our morals, and our Constitution is completely unacceptable for a people without that moral structure. That is why you will not see conservatives interfering with Islamic students' desire to conduct prayer in school. You WILL, however, see conservatives opposing many schools' efforts to force non-moslems to follow the Islamic prayers, as we have in California. It is completely unacceptable that schoolchildren must be forced to follow the customs of a religion which is not theirs, while at the same time being barred from practicing the customs of their own religion. I'm sure you would at least agree with that, now wouldn't you, Bob?

Furthermore, we do not govern the United States based on your "take" on the First Amendment, nor Barry Lynn's. Those who WROTE the First Amendment and saw to its passage are the ones we look to for guidance...

A deist emphasizes morality, Bob. This is not an atheist. Also, in the 18th century, when all of this was written, a deist was one who believed that God simply did not interfere with the laws of the universe. This is not to say that God did not set forth a set of absolutes. Rather, it means that deism was basically the belief that God got everything going, gave us the tools we would need to know how to fulfill our destiny (scripture or nature, depending on the deist), and basically entrusted us with our own ability to succeed using the guidance he gave us. By this definition of deism, Bob, I personally qualify as a deist. Though my method of worship is Catholicism, I believe that my destiny is my responsibility, and anything that I do that interferes with what God wishes for me is my responsibility to deal with between God and myself. Note that my deistic belief does not exclude God from my life. It merely acknowledges that God has put the responsibility on me to do what is right based on his guidance, and that any initiative that needs to be taken in squaring up for any sins must be mine exclusively. Not even close to an atheist.

I must thank you for one thing, though, Bob. You have motivated me to diverisfy my posts to make my blog more interesting. I will still, however, use FREQUENT rants just because I like to. You should probably expect one thrown at you soon, as I haven't done one like that in a while. Nothing personal.