Friday, June 3, 2011

Eh, We Don't Much Care For That First Amendment Thingy

A federal judge has ordered a Texas school district to prohibit public prayer at a high school graduation ceremony.  Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery's order against the Medina Valley Independent School District also forbids students from using specific religious words including "prayer" and "amen." ...  Judge Biery's ruling banned students and other speakers from using religious language in their speeches. Among the banned words or phrases are: "join in prayer," "bow their heads," "amen," and "prayer."

He also ordered the school district to remove the terms "invocation" and "benediction" from the graduation program.  "These terms shall be replaced with 'opening remarks' and 'closing remarks,'" the judge's order stated. His ruling also prohibits anyone from saying, "in [a deity's name] we pray."

Should a student violate the order, school district officials could find themselves in legal trouble. Judge Biery ordered that his ruling be "enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District official (sic) and their agents." about a refresher on the 1st Amendment to the Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 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.

While I suppose it's technically true that this isn't Congress making a law against the free exercise of religion, isn't it still a mandate from a legal authority?  Here's the argument for such an obvious infringement upon free speech:

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Christa and Danny Schultz. Their son is among those scheduled to participate in Saturday's graduation ceremony. The judge declared that the Schultz family and their son would "suffer irreparable harm" if anyone prayed at the ceremony.


This is something I've never understood about the whole argument against using certain 'religious' words in certain 'public' situations.  If it does 'irreparable harm' to one kid to have to hear the word 'God' (or, in this case, 'amen', 'prayer', and so on), can't it be argued with equal clarity and force that it does 'irreparable harm' to another kid to not be allowed to hear those words?  Would someone tell my why one side of this argument carries more water than the other?

Also...seriously?  'Irreparable harm' for hearing the word 'benediction'?  Give me a break, you idiot.  If hearing certain words is causing you 'irreparable harm', then you need to do yourself and everyone around you a favor by sealing yourself inside a small padded room for the rest of your life.  It could not be more transparent that they're simply conducting a surgical strike against Christianity in any form.  Fortunately, the Attorney General of Texas has stepped up to help:

"Part of this goes to the very heart of the unraveling of moral values in this country," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Fox News Radio, saying the judge wanted to turn school administrators into "speech police."

"I've never seen such a restriction on speech issued by a court or the government," Abbott told Fox News Radio. "It seems like a trampling of the First Amendment rather than protecting the First Amendment."

The Texas attorney general called the ruling unconstitutional and a blatant attack from those who do not believe in God -- "attempts by atheists and agnostics to use courts to eliminate from the public landscape any and all references to God whatsoever."

"This is the challenge we are dealing with here," he said. "(It's) an ongoing attempt to purge God from the public setting while at the same time demanding from the courts an increased yielding to all things atheist and agnostic."

Let's hope the added clout of this office can set things right in a hurry.  And let's use this incident to once again remind ourselves that we must be vigilant at all times and fight against the restriction of our freedoms in all cases.  We all enjoy freedom of speech and religion, but even on a broader scope, this fight is your fight.  Remember:

First they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Let's not let this warning from Nazi Germany become our reality today, shall we?  After all, last I checked we were still living in the United States of America.  Despite the liberals' best efforts, this is still a (mostly) free country, if Americans are willing to fight for those freedoms as our ancestors did before us.

From enemies foreign and domestic.

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