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← The Lord’s Army Comes to America’s Public Schools

Carney's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Carney

The First Amendment, with the word "Congress", restricts solely the activities of the federal government. It is utterly silent on the states, which it is clear, with the implicit structure of the rest of the Constitution, made explicit and unmistakeable with the 10th amendment, can do anything they are not explicitly forbidden to do. In fact much of the historical impetus for the establishment clause came from anti-federalists wedded strongly to states' rights and specifically to their states' established churches, such as the Congregationalist Church in MA, and fears that if the federal government officially endorsed a given denomination that would supersede and overshadow their state church. The Establishment Clause was NOT intended, written, and ratified to impose a federally enforced zealously strict secularism on all levels of government right down to the local neighborhood school - it would NEVER have been ratified were that the case.

Too many people, especially on the secular left, consistently make the fundamental error of assuming that their personally preferred public policies are constitutionally mandatory, and their disfavored policies are constitutionally forbidden. Such a delusion is enjoyable and helps rationalize an end run around the vexing and slow process of convincing fellow citizens to pass laws or amendments, straight to judge shopping for a like minded judge who will wink at you and ram through your mutually preferred policies on some spurious pseudo--legal grounds. But it has the fatal flaw of being historically, logically, legally, and morally wrong.

And that's entirely apart from whether strict secularism at all levels of government is a wise, sound, helpful public policy. It is possible to be such a policy and yet NOT BE CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATORY. It is also possible for a given policy to be unfair, destructive, foolish, and ignorant, while still being perfectly constitutional.

Do you get it now??

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 21:47:56 UTC | #934257