Rediscovering and recovering lost and endangered American liberties by studying our Founders' ideas, contemporaries, and etymology – because our united States "…are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…"
A Satanic Temple, based in New York, is claiming the right to fund a satanic monument to be placed at the Oklahoma City statehouse, next to a Ten Commandments monument.
This news article reports, “In their zeal to tout their faith in the public square, conservatives in Oklahoma may have unwittingly opened the door to a wide range of religious groups, including satanists who are seeking to put their own statue next to a Ten Commandments monument on the Statehouse steps.” In addition to erecting the Ten Commandment statue, “the Oklahoma Legislature has taken other steps that many believe blur the line that divides church and state. The House speaker said he wants to build a chapel inside the Capitol to celebrate Oklahoma’s ‘Judeo-Christian heritage.’ Several lawmakers have said they want to allow nativity scenes and other religious-themed symbols in public schools.” The ACLU has also stuck their nose into this issue: “Brady Henderson, legal director for ACLU Oklahoma, said if state officials allow one type of religious expression, they must allow alternative forms of expression, although he said a better solution might be to allow none at all on state property.”
The confusion that surrounds the subject of state-endorsed religious expression abounds. it seems that most of the public have been brainwashed into thinking that state and federal government officials are forbidden from endorsing or favoring a particular religion (usually Christianity), or if a particular religion IS endorsed, then any and all other religions must be recognized as well. Let’s see why this is complete hogwash:
1) The Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution only prevents the Federal Government from establishing a national religion, or in a very broad interpretation, making any law pertaining to religion.
The Establishment Clause is the first clause of the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,”
The Establishment Clause is immediately followed by the Free Exercise Clause:
“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
This means that Congress cannot set up and establish a state religion, and is forbidden from prohibiting religious practices. Even in its most liberal interpretation, the Establishment Clause forbids government from enacting any law regarding religion – and this is very broad view. The Establishment Clause is the only possible Constitutional justification for arguments made in favor of the popular interpretation of ‘a wall of separation between church and state,’ which is a phrase that originates from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association representatives, simply assuring them that he agreed with the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. However, it’s clear that the Establishment Clause does not restrict government officials from favoring a particular religion – for example, nothing in the Clause forbids Supreme Court officials from hanging the Ten Commandments on the courthouse wall – and act which of course would not require legislation. Dr. Ron Paul, in his article “The War on Religion” says:
“The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.”
To underscore Dr. Paul’s point, it’s interesting to note that “…the same First Congress that proposed the Bill of Rights also opened its legislative day with prayer…” The very same folks who created the Establishment Clause had no problem with expressing religious sentiment in Congress.
2) The Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution restricts the Federal Government, not state governments.
The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, but the Establishment Clause is a restriction on the Federal Government only, not state governments. This means that even if the broadest possible interpretation of the Establishment Clause were upheld, it cannot apply to state legislature. Therefore, as in the case of the Oklahoma City monuments, state lawmakers are free to make laws that show a favoritism toward Christianity or another religion, provided the said state does not have a preventative clause in its state constitution or other laws. The Oklahoma State Constitution, Article I, Section II, says:
“Perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitant of the State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; and no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. Polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.”
Nothing in this “Religious Liberty” article restricts religious laws or religious expression by state officials. The ACLU has taken an idiotic stance on this issue, wrongly declaring that since state officials have passed a bill that favors one religion, they are obligated to favor others as well. This argument simply holds no water.
Finally, it’s very interesting to see the religious overtones in the Preamble to Oklahoma’s State Constitution:
“Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of liberty; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”