Fundamental Law Has Been Ignored In Church, State Cases
“The Constitution won … Rev, why do you hate America and our values?” responded MJ in The Post-Journal’s online comment section to “Outsider Anti-Religious Bigotry ‘Wins’ in Clymer,” (McGinnis, May 12, 2019), a thought-provoking commentary on the loss of liberty in Clymer. MJ’s was a thoughtless response to McGinnis.
Other digital responses were worse. Incivility, ignorance, and utter arrogance hallmarked BW’s attack on McGinnis. “Ignorant of the law” and “his comments on what the constitution means are woefully misinformed,” he wrote. BW’s boorish behavior was evident in name-calling: “a fascist authoritarian” and “ranting [pejorative term] to boot” he labeled McGinnis.
What does the Constitution say about religion and rights and schools? According to David Horowitz, author of “Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America,” our genius Founding Fathers regarded Religious Liberty as the most important right guaranteed in the first amendment to the Constitution. It preceded rights to free assembly, a free press, even freedom of speech.
To BW and the other online tiraders, here are the crucial words in our Constitution. “Establishment Clause” (first clause): “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Forbidden is the formation of a state religion. The crucial “Free Exercise Clause” (second clause): “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The first amendment was written to prevent suppression of religious freedom. According to our foundation document, individuals are free to express their religious beliefs – anywhere.
This means that children are free to say grace before meals in school. They are guaranteed the right to talk about Christmas and their religious symbols and beliefs during “Show and Tell.” Teens are permitted to meet for Bible study after school or gather around the flagpole for prayer. Their liberties are guaranteed in the “Free Exercise Clause.”
Clymer, a tight-knit rural community, is permitted to hold Baccalaureate services for any graduating student who chooses to attend. “Chooses” is the key word. Most do attend. The whole community celebrates. As Tevye says in Fiddler on the Roof, “It’s Tradition!” Woe, then, to the individual who destroyed what had been a meaningful school event for decades. Ostracism and exclusion by one’s community can be painful to the culprit when he or she becomes known.
Engel v. Vitale (1962) was the first attack on the Establishment Clause and thus the Free Exercise Clause. Three Jews and two atheists objected to a voluntary prayer written by the New York State Board of Regents. The plaintiffs, represented by the radical ACLU, said that the 23-word voluntary prayer violated their “religious beliefs.”
Although the plaintiffs were denied in three lower courts, outrageously, the Supreme Court ruled that the prayer was a violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
Was this supported by the Constitution? No. Were legal precedents cited? No – there were none. Incredibly, these left-learning, politically appointed lawyers with lifetime tenures, made their decision based on a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut (Jan. 1, 1802). Jefferson quoted the first amendment, then added, “thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”
Horowitz wrote: “Jefferson coined the metaphor of a wall of church-state separation to assure the Baptists in Connecticut that the government would never infringe on the free exercise of their religion.” The ACLU, however, along with sympathetic justices, interpreted Jefferson’s “wall” to be a rationale for the suppression of free exercise of religion in schools.
The justices failed We the People. They did not exercise a plain reading of our Constitution. They ignored our fundamental document.
Nor did they consult Federalist 78 of “The Federalist Papers” where Hamilton warned: “No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.” The task of SCOTUS is “the interpretation of the laws” and “a constitution is and must be regarded…as a fundamental law.” The power of the people is superior, Hamilton says, and justices “ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental.”
Fundamental law, then, was ignored. The justices own left-leaning biases affected their decision-making. They disregarded more than 170 years of tradition, even dating back to the 1620 Mayflower Compact. Madalyn Murray, a deeply flawed woman and the symbol of atheism, also entered the SCOTUS arena. Murray v. Curlett further stripped personal liberty and tradition. Roe v. Wade followed with sympathetic justices imposing abortion on an entire nation.
The Supreme Court was the instrument. Radicals were the force behind the assaults. Justice Scalia recognized the radicals’ tactics: go right to the Supreme Court; “forclose all democratic outlets”; “banish the issue from the political forum”; prevent participants from a “fair hearing” and “honest fight.” With Roe v. Wade, legal teams even invented phony rights not found in the Constitution (e.g., “right to privacy”). Further, a “rigid national rule” was imposed by these laws, no matter the huge diversity or beliefs found in communities across the nation.
Religious liberty is the foundation of all American liberties. Its demise has led to “identity politics,” also known as “cultural Marxism”; the radical tactics of Saul Alinsky, mentor to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; Clinton’s “War on Women” campaign; political correctness in our colleges and universities; and much more. The ill-conceived decisions by SCOTUS have led to a nation divided.
We are grateful to McGinnis for opening our eyes and educating us to the fallout of disastrous legal decisions affecting Clymer’s Baccalaureate service.
Deann Nelson is a Jamestown resident.