No right to freedom from religion

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.

More