Freedom OF Religion - not Freedom FROM Religion


As a confirmed agnostic, I have no "axe to grind" with anyoneís freedom to express their religious belief(s) as they see fit. I do have an "axe to grind" with anyone who would attempt to suppress anotherís expression of their belief(s).

(In case the term "agnostic" is not clearly understood, this link offers the definition applicable to me: http://www.leprechaun0124.com/agnostic/ )

The current war on the expression of religious beliefs, by definition, is clearly against the United States Constitution.

Stories pop up every day relating to someone being "offended" by Christmas Tree displays, displays of a Menorah, etc. States, local municipalities, and companies are reported to be "folding" to the mandates of the few against the wishes of the many. They do so, in a large part, due to the fear of lawsuits and the resulting associated costs. While such submission is understandable from a cost-effective view, it should be fought vigorously. Such demands for the subverting of religious expression is clearly wrong, in opposition to our democratic way of life, and, as stated above, not supported by the US Constitution.

The 1st Amendment to our Constitution emphatically states that there shall be no prohibition of the free exercise of religion (see below, "The Free Exercise Clause").

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (see below) and through the doctrine of incorporation, establishes that this restriction (i.e., 1st Amendment) is to be held applicable to state governments as well.

Further, The Privileges and Immunities Clause (U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1, also known as the Comity Clause) applies as well:

This clause prevents a state from treating citizens of other states in a discriminatory manner. The text of the clause reads:

"The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States."

The "few against the many" consistently make their "case" by quoting a "separation of church and state". Not one instance of the "separation of Church and State" may be found in our Constitution. It does not exist. If you donít believe me, read the US Constitution yourself:

The Constitution of the United States of America

Now, with the above being stated, some now argue that Thomas Jefferson was the first to use the term "Separation of Church and State" as an interpretation of the 1st Amendment.

Jefferson, most likely, was the first to use the term. However the current use has been taken out of context with Jeffersonís full statement and intent:

In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, Jefferson wrote:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

His intent was to reinforce the 1st Amendmentís prohibition on the government from religious interference. Remember, the 10th Amendment states:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people".

Therefore, by association, Jefferson was applying the 10th Amendmentís meaning to protect the 1st Amendment.

Or 40th President, President Ronald Reagan, put this subject in a simple but elegant way: See Clip

Further, the "few against the many" reference a decision by the Supreme Court, under Justice Earl Warren, as that which "interpreted" the 1st Amendment as fully separating Church and State. Actually, the Warren Court's decision ONLY dealt with outlawing mandatory school prayer in Engel v. Vitale (1962) Ė Not establishing a "Separation of Church and State" as some might claim.

I would advocate that any potential law suits re: religious expression be deemed "frivolous" and anyone desiring to pursue such legal action be held responsible for all associated costs Ė ALL costs. As the ultimate outcome of any such suit would be deemed "frivolous" it would be thrown out of court by definition - i.e., it would become cost-prohibitive to bring such a suit.


Relevant US Constitution References:

First Amendment of the US Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (i.e., The Establishment Clause), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (i.e., The Free Exercise Clause); or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The Privileges and Immunities Clause (U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1, also known as the Comity Clause):

This clause prevents a state from treating citizens of other states in a discriminatory manner. The text of the clause reads:

"The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States."