Category Archives: Freedom of Religion
Essays on Freedom of Religion
In Maryland, a high school Student objects to an assignment on the basic tenants of Islam. Her father claims that the School is violating the 1st Amendment, specifically in that it is forcing his daughter to profess Islam by learning about the Shahada, the 1st Pillar of the Islamic faith. The Father tells his daughter to refuse to do the assignment and he files suit against the school.
Once upon a time (1997), I went to Israel and the Temple Mount where I had the opportunity to visit the Dome of the Rock and the Mosque that is there. Several people in our group strenuously objected to going inside (they were not forced to do so) and they refused to go in. But they also made it clear to those of us who did go inside that we were somehow or another denying our faith and insulting G-d.
So which is it? Is a school lesson about the basic fundamentals of Islam as a part of a course on world History from 1500c.e. to the Present a violation of the establishment clause or is it just an academic exercise?
The Supreme Court will hear the Bladensburg Cross case after the 4th Circuit ruled that public expenditures used to maintain the monument violated the 1st Amendment prohibition against the establishment of religion by the Government. It is always a touchy subject, and the debates are always passionate. From Bladensburg to Texas to San Diego, the debate rages as to what exactly constitutes “establishment” and whether or not the long history of various monuments has any sway in the question of the monument’s status.
Like most things, it’s not as simple as it seems. Nor is the hyperbole – on both sides – helping to sort through the real issues.
“Congress shall make no law… respecting the establishment of religion…
or preventing the free exercise thereof…” – 1st Amendment
In Danbury, Connecticut, the local Baptist congregation is deeply concerned about the ability to freely practice their religion. Sure, the Constitution says they can, but those words are only as good as the men who uphold them. They are pleased that Thomas Jefferson, a well-known fighter for religious freedom is now President. Still, they want to make sure where he stands, so they write him a letter. Read the rest of this entry