Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who Needs to Use the Courts to Suppress Freedom?

There is great article on Renew America that discusses the many ways our First Amendment rights can be infringed without a case gong to court. Groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State often just send a letter to a school or civic group and intimidate them into a certain action. Few small organizations can afford to fight the ACLU or Americans United in court, so they acquiesce.

Non-Litigation Establishment Clause Fights

Fortunately, there are groups like The Rutherford Institute that sometimes jump in to help in these battles. They often assume some of all of the financial burden to help level the playing field.


Travis said...

Thanks for reminding readers that all is not lost—and that there are still ways to fight back and protect our First Amendment freedoms. In fact, The Rutherford Institute regularly “jumps in” to fight these constitutional battles and is also often able to resolve matters with just a letter or phone call.

T. Dyer-The Rutherford Institute

quick profile said...


Don't tell me that you are actually expecting people to buy this argument. These so called First Amendment arguments are nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to push Christianity on the state. And to try to pretend that it was our Founders who agreed to these principles is ludicrous. Just listen to Thomas Jefferson, "I have examined all of the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our superstitions of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all founded on fables and mythology. Christianity has made one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites." Does that sound like a guy who wants the Bible taught in schools, forced into public policy, or designated as above other religions?

You are doing nothing more than trying to justify your beliefs through the courts. Please keep your specific personal beliefs personal and stop trying to force them on others.

History Matters said...

Quick Profile: I can only speak for myself, not Travis, but mostly I am not hoping people will "buy my argument" - I would like them just to read the history.

Jefferson certainly does not meet typical definitions of a Christian, although he said that he was a Christian. Buy you are missing the point again. I am not really focused on Jefferson's faith. What I am using as an example is what he thought the First Amendment did NOT restrict. It is not my opinion but historic fact that he specified the Bible as reading material for public schools. The fact that Jefferson was not a true Christian (by my definition, at least) makes this even more impressive. He certainly was not trying to sell Christianity, was he?

And I am not inventing out of thin air the concept that the Founders showed their faith in their public life - there are already numerous historic examples in this blog and there are more to come. I only use Jefferson as an example because he is the one from whom we got "separation of church and state" as a metaphor. He was not in the country when the Constitution and First Amendment were ratified. He was not an official part of the debate. None the less, I do NOT necessarily disagree with the way he interpreted the First Amendment. He refused to declare a national day of fasting an prayer as President Washington had done. However, that was because he felt that the FEDERAL government should not do this. He DID choose to declare a day of fasting and prayer as Governor of Virginia. I don't have a problem with the manner in which he employed "separation."

But your last paragraph is the most interesting. Yes, the Rutherford Institute does work through courts in many cases. However, they are using the courts to try to restore what previous courts have taken away from THE PEOPLE as a whole. For example, in California when one athesiest parent sues to stop practices that are popular and were passed by large margins of votes by the whole public, it is a court that reversed the policies. It was not the people's choice; it was the choice of the court. In most of the cases I mention (look at the keywords Discrimination Examples) a small number of people on the court restricted actions that were popular among the people.