No right to freedom from religion

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This is how far we've slipped in this country:

- A Portland, Ore., elementary school dropped the Pledge of Allegiance from a year-ending ceremony in order not to offend some folks with the word "God."

A mother at Capitol Hill Elementary School said the principal told her in an e-mail that the pledge was dropped "out of respect for the diversity of religious faiths."

In other words, mentioning the word "God" might be offensive to some.

- A school district in Wisconsin is being sued for allowing the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Wisconsin the same access to after-school meeting facilities it grants to all other nonprofit organizations.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has brought the suit, claiming that allowing a religious organization to use public facilities is unconstitutional.

In short, it's not enough to get God and prayer out of schools. Some people want to ban religious people, as well.

The name of the organization itself -- the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" -- indicates a fundamental ignorance of the U.S. Constitution. There is nothing in the words of the founders of this great nation that provides anyone a guarantee of freedom from religion.

In fact, it is utterly the opposite; you have the freedom of religion, as expressed in the opening phrase of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."

Barring religious groups such as the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Wisconsin, and singling them out based upon their religiosity, is clearly and blatantly "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion.

So, too, incidentally, is the occasional school district's attempt to prevent valedictorians from mentioning their faith in commencement speeches.

The Constitution transparently orders government to be neutral to religion -- not hostile to it. Prohibiting the use of public facilities based solely upon religion is being hostile to religion.

Bright minds, legally educated minds, know this. And still some of them persist in attempting to drive not just God and prayer from the public square and school, but to drive out religious people as well.

The good folks of faith in Wisconsin need to know that they are not alone, and that those of us who know, understand and honor the Constitution will not allow our fellow people of faith to be banished from public life.

As for saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school: When the word "God" is so offensive that the Pledge of Allegiance is dropped, we have fallen far indeed.

Comments (113) Add comment
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DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 06/15/08 - 03:18 am
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Wow, I am so happy and

Wow, I am so happy and impressed that someone else like me understands this, and I am NOT going to be silent about it! Thank YOU for honoring God in this way!

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 06/15/08 - 06:11 am
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This editorial does not

This editorial does not "honor" God. Forcing religion into the public arena does not "honor" God or uphold the Constitution. The freedom OF religion clause in the U.S. Constitution is in fact freedom FROM religion if that is what the individual citizen chooses. Forcing religion however non-denominational upon the collective body politic is not freedom of religion. The Augusta Chronicle editorial staff in this reactionary nod to its Bible-belt, Bible-thumping readers gets it dead wrong in the headline to this editorial: Freedom of religion DOES guarantee freedom from religion because religion cannot be forced on free-thinking Americans, adults or children, who stand up for their rights & choose not to have religion forced on them. Freedom of the press does not give high school students the right to publish anything they want in a school newspaper. Similarly freedom of religion does not guarantee the right of children in a group like the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Wisconsin unfettered after-school-hours access to public facilities & concomitant during-school-hours recruiting, proselytizing & peer pressure associated with evangelism. Let those so inclined attend private schools.

SoonerorLater
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SoonerorLater 06/15/08 - 06:38 am
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Christianity is taking a

Christianity is taking a beating in this country, and thus our moral compass is certainly leading many in the wrong direction. This country was founded on Christianity, God, and the freedom to practice any religion of your choosing. However, because of our battle with the radicalists that have hijacked Islam, many think it is ok to study Islam in our schools. A school district in Maryland (I think it is Maryland) has ordered school books that give their students lessons in Islam so the students can understand this religion. Thus, is the same afforded for Christianity, Budhism, the Jewish faith, and all the other worlds religions? Of course not. The symbol of Christianity, the Cross, has been removed from public places but other symbols remail. Their are many schools that are teaching the radical Islamist brand of religion here in this country, we are being overtaken from within. All because their is an all out attack on Christianity, the religion this country was founded on. All those who want to attack it, and the use of God, should then not be paid American money, that so proudly bears "In God We Trust". This is why our county is in moral decay.

Jefe
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Jefe 06/15/08 - 07:22 am
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Cain, how does a Christian

Cain, how does a Christian reconcile your statements with Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus told His disciples essentially to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel. This would include the public arena. I think I'll have to follow God's instruction rather than yours. Sorry.
Many have gone before you who in the name of "honoring God, "have persecuted Christians to the point of death. If you are willing to go that far to silence us then so be it. I am willing to face my creator and give an account for my life. I hope that you are as well. May God bless you as you wrestle with the meaning of life.

CyndiCk
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CyndiCk 06/15/08 - 07:42 am
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What do we do, folks, to get

What do we do, folks, to get our country back?

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 06/15/08 - 07:51 am
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George J, I should have

George J, I should have written the "publicly funded arena". The founding fathers understood that religion can be divisive so they inveighed against any government involvement in the establishment of religion. That includes all government funded bodies including the public schools. Your sanctimonious "blessings" really wear thin and are not appreciated by this autonomous individual. Christians are by no means the only people who have been persecuted because of their religion, and all too often it is Christians who do the persecuting. Christians often talk about a "personal relationship" with God and/or Jesus. Well, that is what I have - a personal and PRIVATE relationship. No two people have the exact same religious convictions and personal relationships because no two people are the same. Trying to straitjacket individuals into conformity only results in resentment and rejection. You want me to "be saved" because otherwise I'm going to hell. If you want me to follow you than set the example. Trying to force compliance only results in rebellion and negates any pretension to free will. Proselytizing in government funded forums is counterproductive to your religious goals AND unconstitutional. Maybe YOU want to live in a Christian theocracy. I don't. If the Kingdom of God isn't living within you right now, it never will be, and no pie-in-the-sky promise of Jesus returning to earth with change things because that will never happen.

SisterAbdullahX_
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SisterAbdullahX_ 06/15/08 - 07:56 am
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Defend terrorists, and defend

Defend terrorists, and defend anything that barrs christianity. That's the Johnny Cain way. And Cain....what does this sentence mean? "If you want to me follow you than set the example." It's either a poor word choice, or you have gone crazy.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 06/15/08 - 08:02 am
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Another ad hominem attack

Another ad hominem attack from SisterAbdullahX who has many aliases and nothing of substance to add to the discussion. If have NEVER "defended terrorists". You are a liar. You are a DAMN liar. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the U.S. Constitution when they decided 5 to 4 that detainees in Guantanamo have the right of habeas corpus and the right to have their cases heard before a U.S. federal judge. You and the Augusta Chronicle editorial staff BS about a "power grab" by the Supreme Court. The right not to be imprisoned without charges and without evidence presented in court is a Constitutional right. The right not to be badgered by religious fanatics in publicly funded venues is also a Constitution right. I and the Supreme Court neither "defend terrorists" or "defend anything that bars Christianity" . We are merely upholding Constitutional principles and Constitutional rights.

SisterAbdullahX_
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SisterAbdullahX_ 06/15/08 - 08:04 am
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This isn't about forcing

This isn't about forcing religion on anyone. It's about ALLOWING the free exercise of religion, but some of the arrogant atheists seem to think that we can't have that either. Only a few of the constitutional rights apply. The first ammendment guarentees a freedom OF religion, not the freedom to never be exposed to religion.

SisterAbdullahX_
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SisterAbdullahX_ 06/15/08 - 08:06 am
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Well....at least my "nothing

Well....at least my "nothing of substance" posts come from my own head, not cut and paste from left wing blogs. And just because Cain says it's nothing of substance, does not mean it's so. He's blinded by his own self importance and arrogance.

shivas
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shivas 06/15/08 - 08:15 am
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I wonder if the AC would feel

I wonder if the AC would feel the same if it was the Radical Islam of America wanting to use those school facilities. If you allow one, you must allow all. The AC likes to play upon peoples emotions by minimizing issues and their consequences. They support the govt. recognizing Christianity as our official religion.

christian134
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christian134 06/15/08 - 08:18 am
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Christians who really believe

Christians who really believe in God's complete and utter sovereignty will stand up and make this statement loud and clear..."Our God is in control and therefore we will not sit quietly by while our right to worship, pray in public and private, speak God's name at any and all occasions anytime we please; shout loud and clear NO you cannot stop us we will be heard." For if we deny our God and Jesus Christ He will deny us and lest any forget how Jesus suffered and died on that Cross in order that our sins may be forgiven and give us the right to eternal life with Him and God so therefore Christians tell those who seek to take God out of the picture to back off as we will defend our God no matter what laws are passed...To those groups I say... "If it is offensive then hide your heads and plug up your ears because we who love our God will no longer stand for this infringement of our God given and American rights to be heard"....

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 06/15/08 - 08:23 am
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You just aren't very smart

You just aren't very smart are you, SisterAbdullahX nee JohnCarlStrauss? You berate me for switching the order of two words "to me" instead of "me to" while you write "barrs" for bars and fail to capitalize Christianity. Nothing written in this Reader Comments has been "cut and paste". I challenge readers to compare my arguments and my composition to yours, SisterAbdullahX. It is your comprehension, your composition, and your grammar which is lacking. And why do you make ad hominem attacks on me for each and every post I make? I don't bring up your name. I argue my case. You often post that people can expect to hear from me before I even post something. Yet you don't address the subject yourself in a meaningful way. You are a classic "lightweight" and a flag waving fool who wears his religion on his sleeves.

SisterAbdullahX_
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SisterAbdullahX_ 06/15/08 - 08:23 am
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shivas, I for one would feel

shivas, I for one would feel EXACTLY the same. Fredom of religion means just that. The question is would the leftists feel the same?

SisterAbdullahX_
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SisterAbdullahX_ 06/15/08 - 08:27 am
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Well, for starters John, I

Well, for starters John, I wasnt' berating you for switching 2 words, it was for using "than" when you should have used "then". And as for my spelling, I'm not the one who proclaims to be some sort of intellectual on here who knows every damn thing in the world. My opinions are just that, while yours are facts. Isn't that right SYNERGY? You berate me for using a seudonym, yet you use them plenty. Clean up your own back yard.

nightraiders
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nightraiders 06/15/08 - 08:28 am
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cain and shivas, bite me!

cain and shivas, bite me! Shivas, what was the name of the street you lived when you were growing up in Harrisburg?

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 06/15/08 - 08:29 am
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Christian134. There is an

Christian134. There is an expression in Yiddish: "Jesus didn't die and Jesus didn't fly". Jesus, if he lived, was a man just like Gandhi or any other moral mortal. If you focused on that instead of supernatural myth, you might get somewhere with what Jesus actually taught. The religion of Jesus and the religion about Jesus are likely very different entities. There was the Protestant reformation against the Catholic Church. You are witnessing a reformation against the oppressive and close-minded dogma of Christian fundamentalism and evangelism. You can expect backlash here and in other public forums in which you we seek to preach but not to model Christian behavior.

SisterAbdullahX_
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SisterAbdullahX_ 06/15/08 - 08:34 am
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So now, since Cain doesn't

So now, since Cain doesn't believe it, it must be a myth. I wonder if it has ever occurred to him that he could be wrong? Probably not, Even when proven wrong, he has never admitted it.

bone
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bone 06/15/08 - 08:44 am
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instilling the values and

instilling the values and morals of some religions is certainly worthwhile; the public schools should not be the place for this. instead, public schools and institutions should strive to be as secular as possible in all aspects of operation and allow community resources to deliver religious guidance. the phrase "under God" isn't offensive to me, but if i were an atheist adult with a child in public school i would most likely have a problem with a public school using the blatantly religious pledge. i only studied a little school law, but i am doubtful that the school can be compelled to deny access to a religious group after school hours; after all, the facilities are public meeting places if so designated by the school district.

SisterAbdullahX_
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SisterAbdullahX_ 06/15/08 - 08:47 am
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Churches are used for polling

Churches are used for polling places. Maybe this "separation of church and state" comment that people think is in the constitution should BAR that from happening?

Patriot08
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Patriot08 06/15/08 - 08:55 am
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I am all for the separation

I am all for the separation of church and state. But, as the Chronicl states, it must be that the government is neutral, not hostile. That said, the brand of evangelistic christianity that you find in the south believes that if society does not give them the opportunity to testify and bear witness to the conversion of the entire country, that somehow their rights are being infringed. This is the type of far right lunacy that has pushed people like me from the republican party, even though I am firmly behind their economic policies. I cannot give my vote to a party that so obviously panders to these people.

Patriot08
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Patriot08 06/15/08 - 08:59 am
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And we can go over this whole

And we can go over this whole " separation of church and state " not being anywhere in the constitution or bill of rights, but only in letters from the founding fathers to each other, but that clearly shows their thoughts on the matter. The fact that no religious test shall be administered as a pre-req to holding public office should tell all those of rational thought the meaning of the 1st amendment.

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 06/15/08 - 09:03 am
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John Quincy Adams: "The

John Quincy Adams: "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 06/15/08 - 09:03 am
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As the Declaration of

As the Declaration of Independence was being signed, 1776, Samuel Adams declared: "We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 06/15/08 - 09:04 am
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Ben Franklin: "I therefore

Ben Franklin: "I therefore beg leave to move--that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 06/15/08 - 09:04 am
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Alexander Hamilton: "I now

Alexander Hamilton: "I now offer you the outline of the plan they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated 'The Christian Constitutional Society,' its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. second: The support of the United States."

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 06/15/08 - 09:05 am
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Patrick Henry: "It cannot be

Patrick Henry: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 06/15/08 - 09:05 am
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Thomas Jefferson: "God who

Thomas Jefferson: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 06/15/08 - 09:06 am
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Benjamin Rush "By removing

Benjamin Rush "By removing the Bible from schools we would be wasting so much time and money in punishing criminals and so little pains to prevent crime. Take the Bible out of our schools and there would be an explosion in crime."

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 06/15/08 - 09:06 am
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George Washington: "Of all

George Washington: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens."

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