"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

9.28.2006

liberty and justice for all

The guy who made this has some issues, clearly, and I'm not endorsing his views (ht via Andrew Sullivan). That said, the House's passage of H.R. 2679 this week echoes the view expressed in this poster, and not in an ironic way. The bill attacks the First Amendment by making it more difficult for you to sue the government over violations of the establishment clause. Rob Jeopardy! Marus has a good explanation of what the bill would do here.

Do we really want to live in a world where the government can establish favoritism towards one religion? There are certainly people in our country who do.

But think about this. Government's purpose is not to advance the kingdom of God - its purpose is to keep society organized. Public policy is subject to the whims and trends of politics, which is a struggle for power. And Jesus taught us to do many things, but fighting for power was not one of them.

Here's what I think: I don't want government-sponsored prayer in my childrens' schools. I don't want a government teacher telling my children what they are supposed to believe about God, church, and faith. These vitally important matters - the ones that define a person's faith and practice - are so significant that I don't want my government involved in them. Period.

Some people argue that communities should be able to implement whatever kind of educational policies they want - after all, if everyone in our town is a Christian, why is it objectionable to have a prayer at the football game?

Here's the problem with that. Politics change, prevailing political views change, demographics change, and the United States we see today won't be the same as the one we'll see in fifty, or even twenty years. Religious plurality is increasing. And in twenty years, your town's religious makeup may be nothing like what it is today.

As Congressman Chet Edwards put it in his speech on the bill, "...what if that courthouse in Alabama had had a judge that put a 2 1/2 ton statue of Buddha in there. Would one not give the citizens of that community the right to respond?"

We forget that, in the Pledge of Allegiance, the words right after "one nation under God" are "indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." (did you know the original pledge was written by a Socialist Baptist preacher? Huh.) Liberty for all. It's one of the cornerstones of the American republic, and one that we should be doing all we can to ensure. Instead, our majority party wants to take away part of the religious liberty we all enjoy.

Do we really want to set a precedent as a nation that part of our constitution shouldn't apply? Do we really want to say that parents shouldn't have the right and ability to respond if a public school tries to teach their children what their faith should be? I don't.

1 Comments:

Blogger Emily said...

"I don't want government-sponsored prayer in my childrens' schools. I don't want a government teacher telling my children what they are supposed to believe about God, church, and faith...I don't want my government involved in them. Period."

Amen, Laura. Amen.

Thursday, September 28, 2006 7:32:00 PM

 

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