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U.S. Constitution and modern day freedoms.
Originally Posted by teckk
We are told what speech we can use as free speech and what speech is not allowed. Political and religious speech are the two types of speech specifically mentioned by name in the first amendment to the US Constitution that the government can't stop. Try to talk about Jesus in your graduation speech. Try to wear a "I like Jesus" T shirt in the public schools. Where is their free speech? And where did government get the authority to quench it?
The Bill of Rights:
Article the third ...... 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.
The other side of the coin, when it comes to "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" is freedom from religion. By definition, public bodies (commissions, boards, legislatures, councils, and others) may not impose religion. That includes public education (private education can do what it likes, not public); no prayers at school, no prayers at football games, no declarations on T-shits -- all those violate establishment. Establishment protects those who are not of "your" religion (as well as "you") from the beliefs of others who are not of your particular belief system. Free exercise is yours, you just can't impose on others. The price of freedom is that everybody has to be free of everybody else.
That includes public education (private education can do what it likes, not public); no prayers at school, no prayers at football games, no declarations on T-shits -- all those violate establishment. Establishment protects those who are not of "your" religion
How on earth did you come to believe that? There is no constitutional basis for that argument. The so called establishment clause is that government can not restrict establishment or practice of religion, or establish a state religion. If the school was promoting one religion over another then that would be the state establishing a religion. When kids are restricted from praying if they want to then it is a violation of their 1st amendment constitutional rights. And they should tell the school to go to a hot place.
Or are you suggesting that someone can demand that the counseling psychology religion, the religion of humanism, the feminist religion, and the religion of atheism be removed from the schools also?
The public school system is a good example of an entrenched ideology hypocritically imposing it's religious beliefs on other people.
Free exercise is yours, you just can't impose on others
Unless you are the public school system imposing restriction on the people that you want to restrict?
There also isn't a constitutional amendment for the right to not be offended. If free speech is only allowed for those that you agree with them it's not free speech.
The price of freedom is that everybody has to be free of everybody else.
Where did you get that from? So if I don't like feminism, evolution, witchcraft, homosexuality, historical revisionism, etc, I can tell the schools to shut up and not speak? And they can't talk about it any more because I am offended?
No, it's only certain groups that are told to shut up. If you don't agree with us then you can't speak. A violation of the 1st amendment. I don't loose my constitutional protections for liberty when I walk through the doors of the public school system, although it is one of the most dangerous places in the land for a child to be.
Contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, this clause prohibits the government from establishing an official religion. It also prohibits the government from preferring one religion over another, preferring religion over nonreligion, or vice versa.
Additionally, The Oxford Companion to American Law, a thick book on my shelves, provides insight as to the history of and case law (beginning in 1947) pertinent to the Clause.
However, Nolo's definition pretty much says it: "It also prohibits the government from preferring one religion over another, preferring religion over nonreligion, or vice versa.
I usually stay away from these discussions, but there seem to be some misperceptions here which need to be cleared up.
First off, I teach constitutional law at the university level (I'm about 9 months away from a PhD in political science).
The First Amendment has two religion clauses. The Establishment Clause "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion;." And the Free Exercise Clause "or restricting the free exercise thereof."
The religion clauses do not mention speech, they just kind of get rolled in with the Free Speech clause "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech."
Pretty simple, the state may not make any law establishing the Church of the United States. It gets somewhat complicated when you have state entanglement with religion. For instance, a prayer at graduation has the express approval of the school (Lee v. Weissman 1992). In your example above, a reference to religion in a graduation speech, which has been approved by the school is an establishment violation (Santa Fe v. Doe 2000; Hazelton 1986). Now, if a student giving a speech were to veer off of his approved speech and start referencing religion, that would not be an establishment violation since that was not approved by the school.
The state can't stop you from practicing your religion. So, you can wear a "I love Jesus" shirt if you want. That is actually more of a free speech case; the state cannot restrict views which it finds objectionable on religious grounds (Cantwell vs. Connecticut 1942; Cohen v. California 1971).
The one area where free exercise can be limited is when there is a valid reason to make something illegal (ie: natives smoking peyotee for religious reasons (Employment Division v. Smith 1996).
If anything, the state has a lot of Christian references infused throughout. The Supreme Court ceiling is covered with scenes of the great lawgivers, including the Christian god, Abraham, etc). The Court opens in part with "God save the United States and this Honorable Court." Congress opens with a prayer.
Schools are, however, a particularly impressionable area where the presence of state sponsored religion can exclude and force conformity (e.g. Murray 1963). One is free to read the Bible, pray at the flagpole, where a Jesus shirt etc. What is not permited is to have the teacher (read: the state) lead said prayer, or for the school to give its tacit consent to an outside group coming into the school for religious purposes (e.g. Weisman 1992).
The things which you post about, such as the right to wear a shirt with a message, which we the people know to be protected, are the very freedoms that public schools have been guilty of violating over and over and over again. They have had to be sent letters from attorneys, they have had to be brought into court repeatedly, and yet they still persist in their discrimination and forcing their false political slant on the rights of free speech and religious liberty.
They have been told if anyone prays during graduation we will turn off the mic on you. This isn't school sponsorship of prayer, this is a students 1st admin right to speak.
They have had to be sued to stop harassing kids who pray at flagpoles. This isn't school sponsorship of a religion, this is 5 kids who are exercising their right of free speech.
It's also done on a discriminatory basis. You can't talk about Jesus but can talk all you want about Mohamed. You can not say that abstinence will keep you from getting pregnant, but can demand that girls put things on a banana in front of the boys in the class. These are facts that we read in the news almost weekly. The ACLJ has been up to it's ears for years defending these students against the unlawful demands of school admins.
The reason why I posted any of that in the first place was to show there to be a political bias, a political indoctrination with an agenda going on in the public schools. So much so that there are a generation of kids that actually believe that it is illegal to mention God in public, instead of their guaranteed unalienable God given right.
It isn't government that gives us our rights, says the US Constitution, they come from God. So if God gives them then only God can remove them. And that would be whatever God you like.
It's the same arrogant, elitist, mentality we are seeing in government. We don't have to obey the law, we are government.
state sponsored religion can exclude and force conformity
My point exactly. Psychology, humanism, atheism are all religions. And they are diametrically opposed to the teachings of the new testament for example. But the Christians are told that they have to conform to humanism, but the humanist and atheist do not need to conform to the Christians. I would call that state sponsorship of a religion.
I disagree with your assessment- where people see conspiracy there is usually nothing more than selective information consumption which usually conforms to a worldview. That being said, I don't know your local context, nor am I an attorney (to my father's great dissapointment). If you're observing that in your locality, I encourage you to discuss the matter with a lawyer; you may have an actionable suit. I may not be a religious person myself, but the Constitution is clear that all religious views can be expressed in a public forum.
You seem to be basing your position on information the ACLJ. I actually do research on the activities of interest groups before the Court, they (interest groups writ large) often stretch the truth, sensationalize their press releases. I wouldn't take their press releases as gospel (it holds on both sides of the ideological spectrum). In fact the vast majority of free exercise cases these days are from minority religions, natives, pagans, etc.
Psychology is not a religion, it's a science. Trained as I am as a social scientist, I can assure you our findings are based on emperical testing. For example, my research includes some pretty intensive statistical modeling before I can even think about saying "there is a link between X and Y.
The Constitution does not come from any higher power. It's a compact the states entered into. The preamble, which references a creator, actually has no legal force. There are multiple views on how to best interpret it (original intent, textualism, living constitution etc). Few (including Justices Scalia and Thomas) actually follow original intent all that closely. In fact, most justices use a mix (including the poster justice for living constitutionalism, Justice Brennan).
The fact is the Court has made a very detailed description of what is and is not permissable with the First Amendment. The reality is a lot "playing dumb" at the local level. Consider this example from just about every semester I've taught:
Me: How many of you went to public high school?
Them: Apx. 75% of hands go up
Me: How many of you had prayer at your public high school graduation? Like a minister or priest?
Them: Apx. 80% of hands stay up.
Me: That actually violates the Constitution.
Caveat: The "turn the mic off" policy you described would probably be okay at a graduation provided that it is applied equally to the Hindu kid, the Christian kid, and the pagan kid etc. Nothing of the sort has been brought to the Court, but precedent seems to point that way to me.
Hope this helps. I can reccomend a couple of texts that elaborate my points further. I could even scan some and send them via e-mail. Let me know.
It isn't government that gives us our rights, says the US Constitution, they come from God. So if God gives them then only God can remove them. And that would be whatever God you like.
I am not that knowledgeable about the US constitution, but a text search over it revealed not one occurrence of the words god or creator, so I have to ask you to share a links to the part where it says that. Also, isn't this offending to people that don't believe in a god and imposes the existence of a god on them?
^ TobiSGD, there no constitutional right to not be offended. However, the state cannot impose ANY religion, be it majority or minority on anyone. Most of the legal cases about this fall into technicalities... is a moment of silence prayer (yes says the Court).
The reference to God in the Constitution tekk refers to likely comes from the Declaration of Independence, which has no legal weight. I mistyped above, which reads in part,
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
On the political right there is a strong push toward viewing the Constitution as from God. Interestingly, most of the founders were deists.
Atheism is a religion in the same sense that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
People who self-identify as atheists are often assumed to be irreligious, but some sects within major religions reject the existence of a personal, creator deity. In recent years, certain religious denominations have accumulated a number of openly atheistic followers, such as atheistic or humanistic Judaism and Christian atheists.
Counseling psychology, not to be confused with clinical psychology, is most certainly a religion. It is a belief system based on humanism. Atheism is also most certainly a religion. A belief system that demands others show no beliefs, in spite of the Constitution stating that all have a right to do so.
The Constitution does not come from any higher power.
It does not say that it does. The declaration of independence shows what exactly the framers has in mind as to where our rights come from.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government
Rights come from a higher power, not government. That's important. The government is not the originator of rights, the higher power is, so only it can take them away. The constitution is not a document that describes what the government is going to give to you. But tells the government what it's limits are in infringing on the higher power given rights of citizens.
The second part of that quote is interesting, we have a right to dissolve a government when it doesn't obey We The People.
I think that this thread could go on for a while until a mod shuts it. We won't agree, I did't think that we would. But I wanted to post that we are not beholding to government for rights, they have nothing to do with it. They are limited for our liberty. They have no say in us worshiping a God or a frog. They are prohibited from prohibiting.
What the OP was about was the government violating the 4th amendment, which is unlawful for them to do, and doing what they want to. And the supporters of them doing it telling us that the end justifies the means.
Thanks for letting me participate.