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Constitution protects our religious traditions
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Editor:
Does the Constitution require a separation of church and state? What is the true meaning of our First Amendment?
Are the religious traditions of celebrating Christmas in our public schools a violation of any law, or are these traditions protected by the law?
The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Congress cannot pass a law establishing a government religion, and Congress has never passed a law establishing a government religion. Equally, Congress can make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion by the citizens — “We the People.”
If a lawsuit is brought against our school system, it should have no legal standing to be filed, because it is asking to stop what our Constitution guarantees is a right of the people. If a court rules in favor of a lawsuit, it is saying that the second part of the Freedom of Religion guarantee “or the free exercise thereof” does not exist. But it does exist.
This second part of the religious clause protects the Christmas traditions that have been in place in our public schools since the beginning of public schools in Bulloch County. They are an expression of “We the People,” not the federal government.
These traditions are no different than the statue of Moses holding The Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court of the United States. These traditions are no different than the fact that both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have chaplains who open each day’s legislative session with a prayer.
This tradition has been going on since the First Congress during George Washington’s presidency. George Washington had chaplains in his Army during the Revolutionary War.
Today, our armed forces have chaplains to provide religious services to our men and women in uniform. This is done to guarantee the second part of the religious clause in our Constitution to the members of our armed forces.
Finally, the religious clause in our Constitution prohibits Congress from passing a law establishing one religion as the government’s only acceptable religion. All other religious activity that “We the People” engage in, is protected by the “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” clause.
Our Founding Fathers warned us that to have a free nation we must first have and maintain a moral nation. That is why the “First Amendment” in The Bill of Rights protects our religious rights!
Tom McElwee
Brooklet

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