Thursday, October 30, 2008

Court Rules it OK to Pray in Jesus' Name

The 11th Circuit Court has ruled that it is OK for a county government to open its meetings with prayers in Jesus' name, so long as other constitutional protections are met. They said courts should not "parse the content" of prayers.

In one sense it is a victory for freedom of religious expression, but even the principle that the federal courts have standing to rule in this case is an extra-constitutional usurpation of state power. Further, it re-enforces the abhorrent doctrine that the federal courts are the sole arbiters of what religious practices are allowed.

I believe it was Daniel Webster or James Madison who said that "the very definition of tyranny is when all powers are gathered together in one place". By this sensible standard it is clear that current judicial practice is religious tyranny, even if our black-robed masters lengthened our leash a bit in this one case.

Even a child could read the constitution and see that this view of things is wrong. The first amendment specifically says that "CONGRESS shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". It is crystal clear that this amendment was a restriction on the power of the FEDERAL government, and not that of the several states.

The amendment does not restrict the power of the several state governments in any way, either to practice religion or to ban such practice. Instead, it prevents the federal government from meddling by prohibiting Congress from making any laws in this sphere. Where the federal legislative can make no law, the federal executive can take no action, there being no law to enforce. Likewise, there should be no law for the judiciary to interpret. Were the Constitution respected, the federal courts should acknowledge that they have no standing in the case of restrictions on the religious practices of the people, or their state and local governments. Unfortunately, the Federal government of the United States does not adhere to the constitution.

The amendment has been twisted to make the federal power the sole authority to determine what religious practices are allowed in states and localities by the people. This turns the intent of the amendment completely on its head. Its whole purpose was to keep the federal power out of the people's business when it comes to practices of faith- including practices within local governments.

State legislatures can and did have their own state churches for many years after the constitution took effect, and it was never seen as a violation of the first amendment of the federal constitution. Since that time, most states have enacted similar provisions in their constitutions, and that is the rightful place to determine what local government behaviors cross the line vis-a-vi religious liberty.

The idea that Washington D.C. is the place where all matters are to be decided is against the spirit, history, and constitution of this nation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post is quite wrongheaded. Is it truly your impression that the only place that the First Amendment should apply -- to protect freedom of speech from government action, for instance -- is Washington DC? That is the implication of your post.

Go read about 'incorporation' and get back to us. I for one do not like it when government tries to establish a religion, and anyone who is a true friend of liberty agrees with me on this.

11:34 AM, November 02, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Friend how else CAN you interpret an amendment that reads "CONGRESS shall make no law"?

Does that mean that I want to impose a state religion in my state? Not at all. Arkansas, and most states, have similar wording to protect religious freedom. Do I want freedom of speech and of the press in my state? Of COURSE I do. That is why I approve of the inclusion of language for such rights in our STATE constitution.

The fact that those rights are included in almost every state constitution is proof that what I am telling you is in line with the original intent of the Founders. Why would the Arkansas constitution of 1874 need such protections spelled out if they were already in place because of what was in the FEDERAL constitution?

Look at what has happened by expanding the jurisdiction of the federal courts to every nook and cranny of life. The right of citizens to organize their counties as they see fit has been destroyed. Every question must now be settled in Washington. THIS IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF LIBERTY.

Any friend of liberty will disavow a view of the Constitution which would have every local question decided some distant capitol.

6:50 PM, November 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark -- you think Americans are not entitled to living in a society where free speech and a free press is protected. You think these rights are "local questions." I disagree. If every state had a constitution protecting these rights, your position would have merit. But they don't, and it doesn't.

My diagnosis is that you have an interpretation of what the federal government is and how it is supposed to work that is a far piece from reality.

5:40 AM, November 09, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Do you mean the "reality" of courts redefining marriage via undemocratic means and legislators shoveling trillions of dollars in bail-outs to their Wall Street buddies? That IS the "reality", but it is not the way the Founders INTENDED this country to work.

You are correct that my view of what the Federal government should be is far from the "reality" of what it is- a bloated monster that is a threat to all of our freedoms. You are incorrect in your view that this reality is the way it is "supposed" to work. The people who set this thing up did not intend for it to work the way it is.

And exactly what business is it of yours to tell people in a state half-way across the continent that you are not going to let them govern their affairs as they see fit? Daniel Webster wrote that the very definition of tyranny is when all powers are gathered together in one place. Yes I do believe that in a free society localities have the right to make many of their own rules independent of the central authority.

5:17 AM, December 29, 2008  

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