The Dumbbell's Dictionary HTML version
innocently about your daily activities without fear of violating one or more of a myriad of
laws you don’t even know exist, are you truly free?
Freedom Fighter, n. One who risks his life in attacking armed troops of the reigning
administration to which they are, justly or unjustly, opposed, and not to be confused with
a terrorist, who murders innocent civilians, including unarmed men, women, and
children, in a supposedly just cause.
Freedom of Religion, American Style, n. The relevant clause of the First Amendment to
our federal Constitution reads: „Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ The key word is clearly „an,’
forcefully displaying the Founders’ intention never to allow the establishment in America
of a state-supported Church analogous to the Church of England.
The clause means what it says, which is that Congress, and by extension the other
branches of the National Government, shall do absolutely nothing either pro or con a
religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise of religion. That is why the proper emphasis is
on „an establishment of religion,’ which is the same thing as saying establishment of a
religion. The so-called Wall of Separation between Church and State only exists in that
the government can do nothing constitutionally either pro or con religion. This means
that, just as the Congress can pass no law on religion, the President can neither issue an
Executive Order nor sign a treaty that would have any effect on religion, and the
Judiciary can issue no decisions respecting religion.
On a sensible reading of the establishment clause, it is constitutionally impermissible for
any federal (and, in light of the fourteenth amendment, state) court to issue any ruling
whatsoever dealing with religion. If the Congress can’t touch the free exercise of religion,
neither can the courts. This is the true separation of the wall between church and state.
(Thomas Jefferson has been radically misunderstood. See, for example, his notes on the
establishment of the University of Virginia, one of which notes deals specifically with the
rotation of Baptist ministers to that institution.)
In any rational universe, the consequences of such an interpretation means that is
perfectly ok for a high school’s football team to bow their heads before a game. Those
who do not wish to participate don’t have to do so. It is also perfectly ok to set up a
crèche on public property. Public property is, after all, the people’s property. In our
present multicultural, politically correct, overly sensitive culture, the only religious
communities one need have no fear of offending are the Judaic and the Christian.
Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Native American sky worshipers, or
Satanists need not be concerned.
Why haven’t Christian attorneys spoken up more vigorously in support of this or a
similar position? For that matter, why haven’t fair-minded secular attorneys and
constitutional scholars made themselves heard, Ann Coulter being a notable exception?
American constitutional law badly needs not only revisiting, but rewriting. John Adams
reminds us that a government with no moral underpinnings, which means a government
that denies religion will not last – no matter the eloquence of its constitution.