Beating a dead horse
distinct religious minority and they probably had their own ways of dealing with this uncomfortable situation. But it’s a different world today with more and different players.
In many American communities today there are Muslims, Hindus and other faiths. But there are also those of no religion at all, atheist and agnostics. And they also have their rights which some might express as “freedom from religion.” Our courts have consistently ruled in the original and subsequent “school prayer” decisions that publicly-sanctioned religious activities of any kind conducted on public property are in violation of the First Constitutional Amendment providing for the separation of religion and government.
Personally, I am a believing, practicing Christian. I am also an evangelical who believes in changed lives through a conversion experience. I have
known of these experiences or spiritual awakenings taking place through the personal testimony of other Christians, at regular Sunday church services, at revival services (if there still are any), at street corner preaching and even in bar rooms. Statistically, more conversions take place though personal testimony than by any other effort. But I’ve never known of one taking place in a public school classroom, ceremony or athletic event. And for religious institutions to expect schools to “carry the message” is a tacit admission that they are not up to the job.
Our founding fathers, most all Christians, knew what they were doing when they composed the First Amendment. The faith
prescribed by Jesus was pure, simple and unfettered. But when religion gets in the hands of ambitious clergy and uncritical, compliant congregations it can quickly become corrupted and oppressive.
As I said previously, various courts have been amazingly consistent in their interpretation and application of the Separation Clause. For local authorities to continue to test the First Amendment without introducing some new or innovative evidence is anything but faithful or heroic. It is an expensive exercise in futility. To repeatedly do the same thing, but expecting different results is not smart.
George B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.