Archive for Friday, January 16, 2004

Religious freedom?

January 16, 2004

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To the editor:

Religious freedom was so important to the framers of the Constitution that they wanted to ensure it by inserting two clauses into this amendment: "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It clearly means the federal government is prohibited from establishing a national religion. The framers wanted to promote all religions and not suppress any religion. George Washington said: "True religion affords government its surest support. The future of this nation depends on the Christian training of our youth. It is impossible to govern without the Bible."

I am not advocating that schools promote or endorse religion. However, neither should they suppress free speech if someone wants to demonstrate his or her faith. A school in Missouri disciplined a fourth-grader because he said a personal prayer before eating his lunch! Two students in a Texas middle school were not allowed to attend class because they each had their personal copy of the Bible with them! Students in an Ohio high school were told to remove their bracelets with the letters "WWJD." It was considered offensive!

Finally, after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, school administrators gave students the opportunity to paint tiles with images or words above student lockers. This was part of the student healing process. School officials removed 90 of the 2,100 painted tiles because they contained objectionable phrases. The courts ruled phrases such as "God is Love" and "4/20/99 Jesus Wept" over the lockers were inflammatory and divisive speech! Religious freedom? The Founding Fathers would not recognize their great country today!

Ken Phipps,

Lawrence

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