The Separation of Church and State may be one of the most deliberately misrepresented and (sadly) misunderstood foundational aspects of our nation today.
All together now: there is a Sistine Chapel-sized difference between the terms “Freedom OF Religion” and “Freedom FROM Religion”. We’ve certainly talked about this subject here before, but further examples of secular intolerance keep popping up with a weed-like persistence. And since they won’t stop, neither will we.
The most recent example is courtesy of the Washington Times:
Atheists are outraged that a Bible sits right next to the mayor’s desk, inside a Pinellas Park City Council chamber, and they’re demanding its removal.
City officials, however, say that’s a no-go. The Bible’s been there for more than 30 years, and laws don’t prohibit its presence, The Blaze reported. The book was an Oct. 19, 1975, gift to council members from the Kiwanis club, and it’s been a traditional fixture ever since.
Freedom From Religion Foundation officials say they don’t care. They sent a letter to city officials, saying the Bible needs to go because it violates the principle of separation of church and state.
“It’s on display. And that certainly is improper,” said president Annie Laurie Gaylor…
This is nothing less than an attempt to have all instances of Christianity closeted off. The Bible has been there for 30 years: has Christianity somehow been imposed upon the citizenry of this town? Are there new laws on the books demanding a 10% tithe to the local parishes, perhaps? Are there Priests listening in on telephone conversations, keeping track of everyone’s sins?
(Ha-ha: of course, that’d be ridiculous. The NSA would never allow the competition…)
But it’s not just religious symbols or texts which are under attack in every corner of the country: it’s even the free expression of thought, and the act of living our faith.
Do you remember this, from February 2013?
Earlier this month, Summer Schreiner, a 15-year-old student at Clearlake Middle School in Cocoa, Fla., was told to change her pro-abstinence t-shirt after officials deemed it “inappropriate.” The teen acquired the shirt, which read, ”Don’t drink and park… accidents cause kids,” at a Christian conference she recently attended.
But the message was apparently too offensive for education officials — so they took action.
“I got through lunch, and on my way back, the assistant principal tells me I need to go to the office and change my shirt,” she told WOFL-TV. ”I was pretty upset. I thought it was silly. It’s not like I was wearing a curse word or something that was promoting violence.”
The school district has doubled-down on its decision to force the young girl to change her shirt, citing a dress code policy that disallows any clothing “which contains sexually explicit or oriented wording.” There is also a restriction on any dress that “infringes on the rights of others.”
“This is not a situation of whether or not the district agrees or disagrees with sexual abstinence among teenagers,” explained Michele Irwin, director of communications for the district. “It’s about the fact there is sexual innuendo on the shirt, and so we believe it violated our dress code policy.”
Now there’s a unique way to look at things: a Christian-based message supporting abstinence is actually just “sexual innuendo”. And these are TEACHERS making this argument? What, is Reading Comprehension only offered as an elective at this school?
With this logic, a shirt saying “Don’t Do Drugs” or “Don’t Drink & Drive” (like the ones handed out in schools from SADD and DARE) could actually be said to be suggestive of drugs and drinking, …correct?
Of course, all this paled in comparison to when we heard about the IRS’ targeting of Conservative groups. Among the many horrifying examples of intimidation was this one, from Alliance Defending Freedom:
Pro-Life Revolution is a Texas-based organization dedicated to helping women in abusive pregnancy situations and presenting the truth about abortion. Like all non-profit organizations, Pro-Life Revolution applied for tax-exempt status in January, 2011. It filled out the necessary paperwork and described the charitable activities it undertook. It expected to receive tax-exempt status with little difficulty.
What it didn’t expect was to be confronted with an IRS bent on silencing its pro-life viewpoint as a condition of obtaining tax-exempt status.
IRS agent Sherry Wan contacted the organization several times requesting more information and telling it on more than one occasion that it must remain “neutral” on the subject of abortion and that it could not “confront” other people with different beliefs on the subject.
At one point, Ania Joseph, President of Pro-Life Revolution recorded a phone call by Agent Wan who told Ania, “You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else.”
Ania told Agent Wan that simply handing a brochure to a woman was not forcing her religion on them. Agent Wan told her in the phone call, “you have to know your boundaries. You have to know your limits. You have to respect other people’s beliefs.” And lest there be any confusion on the subject, Agent Wan ended the phone call by stating:
“We want you to be aware that, you know, when you conduct religious activities, meanwhile you have to respect other people’s beliefs, other people’s religion.
You cannot use any kind of, you know, confrontation way, or to, or against other groups or devalue other groups, other people’s beliefs. OK?”
There’s much more info on this, along with a video, at the bolded link above.
Such ridiculous intrusions into our free practice of religion is astounding and troubling, which means that we have to be even more vigilant (and vocal) than ever before.
Thus, a reasonable place to start is to make sure that everyone knows about this mysterious ‘Separation of Church and State’ thing. You know, the one that Liberals always misconstrue as: “if there’s anything even remotely religious near me, I instinctively feel oppressed and offended! Waaah!!”
Dennis Prager brought in John Eastman, Professor of Law at Chapman University, to do a quick video primer on the subject at Dennis’ “Prager University”. It’s well worth a look. More importantly, I’d suggest sharing it with any teenaged kids in your circle of family and friends.
Lord knows: they aren’t being taught any of this in school…
Another article of bold sound truth. The heathens, libs, left, progressives, (take your pick or add your own) are NOT on the same intellectual level, they are far below (unable to think critically, research, examine, investigate, oh heck, READ) so, they must be told over and over and over again… *sigh* they just cannot seem to grasp reality. <— and if THAT offends anyone, to darn bad. You do not have the right NOT to be offended, grow up and realize not everyone is the same… and we don't want to be.
^ too much? I’m in a mood. Really sick and tired of the stupid.
Not too much at all, Teach. After awhile, it gets tiresome for anyone, and we just do this as a hobby!
Our world is at a crossroads of sorts, and the prevailing societal wind seems to be pushing us in the wrong direction. I bet that Jonah was thinking HE had no chance of success the first time he was asked to face a similar obstinacy.
And since I don’t wish to be swallowed by a great fish, I’m just gonna keep on pushin’ towards where I believe we’re called to follow.
Ooooh did I ever need to hear this reply… I get tired, and I mean fed up, freakin’ TIRED of the hypocritical, the lies and the downright evil. BUT, your comment is one of perseverance and hope… 😀 and it helped to give me that *push* I needed to get over it, pick up and run on! After all, we cannot stop until the race is finished… and we believers know who wins 😉 AMEN.
First let me say I am not the most religious person. I used to say I was athiest, but now I take the admitted cop out of agnostic. I find this insane, how can people somehow think that someone does not have the right to discuss their views of religion. As far as I understand freedom of religion is a right protecting from religious persecution. That goes both ways. You cant FORCe religion OR athiasm on others. You have a right to express your beliefs. I dont understand how some athiests and some people of other religions think it is ok to force thier beliefs. My beliefs are mine, I will be happy to discuss my beliefs with anyone. In fact I love to do it, the act of discussing my beliefs help me confirm what I belive or helps me see where I may be wrong. Sorry if I’m on a bit of a tangent. All I mean to say is a bible on a desk does not force anyone to read it, and I dont realyy understand how it offends anyone. No one is forcing anyone to read that bible. I’m not sure how these athiest groups can talk about being persecuted and then turn around and do the same thing to someone else. I belive you have the rigts to your beliefs. Honestly you can believe in the flying spagetti monster for all I care. Just don’t try to force that beliefe on me. On the other hand I dont want people to keep their beliefs to themselves either, I want a world were we can actually discuss religion without someone ending up dead. Thats just me though.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.- Beatrice Hall
Hear, HEAR! Man, you are the type of person I would be honored to be acquainted with! I do not bash anyone over the head with a Bible (for the believer, we know that *forcing* belief upon someone does not result in true belief anyway), but the opposite side of that coin is… I don’t want anyone forcing me not to practice my belief! You said it very well darkdragon885, and even though you choose to be agnostic, my comments above were NOT directed at someone like you… rather, the type of people that this article is referring to.
Thanks for the compliment. I agree, no one should be told what they believe is wrong. Thats what I think. I’m glad to hear someone understands there is a differance between “belief” and TRUE belief. And I agree no one should be able to tell you not to practice your belief. No one has that right and no one should. 🙂
Your view used to be commonly held, Dragon. It’s only in the past 50 years or so that we have seen “tolerance” being transmogrified into “our way or the highway”.
I actually linked this post over on Reddit, and you’d think I’d just shown a crucifix to a vampire: it was pretty funny, actually.
In the musical ‘1776‘, Stephen Hopkins of New Hampshire has a great line (one of my favorites, actually): “….in all my years, I ain’t never HEARD, SEEN nor SMELLED an issue that was SO dangerous it couldn’t be TALKED about. Hell yeah! I’m for debating anything….”
IMHO, more people should take that approach, instead of seeking to silence those whose opinion differs from theirs.
Maybe a course in reading (as you suggest) IS warranted. After all, they draw a ridiculous (and wrong) amount of information from one Constitutional Right, (In the case of Separation of Church and State) and then, in the case of the 2nd Amendment, want to tell you that: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” DOESN’T really mean what it says.
Maybe someone will make a MOVIE about what the Founders meant with “Separation of Church and State”, and the Left can learn from that. Lord knows they won’t be able to READ about it…..
Well, I’d probably differ with you on the reading aspect: some of the biggest Libs I know are quite well read. What they lack is real world common sense.
That’s their biggest problem: the confuse Book knowledge with Life knowledge, and Life knowledge with Truth. Thus, the equate Book knowledge as Truth.
Which it CAN be, but would depend entirely upon the Book, now doesn’t it?
Good morning! Check out this lunacy!
Thanks for the story, Cry&Howl.
I can actually see his point, to a degree. I certainly wouldn’t be offended, but I see how he is equating the two. It just happens to be a comparatively small religious group.
However, I’d throw it out on principle, since I want to see LESS hyperventilating about separation of C&S, not MORE.
But I do see where he’s going. If you happen to see an update to this, please let me know; I’ll be curious to see how this plays out.
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