Federal Judge Usurps State Rights and Misrepresents First Amendment

Nov 11, 2009 by

A federal judge ruled recently that South Carolina can’t issue license plates showing the image of a cross in front of a stained glass window along with the phrase “I Believe.”

U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie ruled that the license plate was unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment ban on establishment of religion by government. Apparently Judge Currie needs to take a remedial course on Constitutional law or else she is deliberately misrepresenting the true meaning of the First Amendment to promote a political agenda.

Let me just quote the First Amendment and then I will endeavor to explain why Judge Currie’s ruling is unconstitutional and misguided.

First 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.

That doesn’t seem so hard to understand, yet it seems many Liberals have their own special interpretation of those simple words. As long as Congress doesn’t make a law that tells Americans that a particular religion is the official state religion to which all people must belong or passes a law that prohibits us from worshiping or not worshiping the religion of our choice, the First Amendment has not been violated. It is as simple as that.

So where does the much abused term “separation of church and state” come from? It is certainly not in the Constitution. The phrase actually came from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a Baptist Association fifteen years after the Constitution was written. The Baptists were afraid that the state of Connecticut had not granted them an inalienable right to worship their religion, rather the state was allowing them to worship as a “favor.” So they wrote to Jefferson seeking guidance and comfort that they could continue to worship as they would.

Jefferson responded with the words of the First Amendment and also mentioned the “establishment clause” created a “wall of separation between church and state.” What Jefferson meant by those words was that religions were protected from the state, not the other way around. There is also no constitutional protection from being offended by a religious display on government property.

So when a spokesperson for Americans United for Separation of Church and State said government must never be allowed to give favorable treatment to one faith above others, that is not what South Carolina is doing and not what the First Amendment protects against. Putting a cross on a license plate is not the equivalent of the state of South Carolina making a law telling South Carolinians that Christianity is the official state religion to which all South Carolinians must belong. Neither is it passing a law preventing Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or Atheists from practicing their religion. South Carolina is not prohibiting placing religious symbols of those faiths on license plates and only permitting Christian symbols to be used.

So if the agenda of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is to separate church from state, all I can say is good luck because you certainly cannot use the First Amendment as the tool to further your goals. What groups like this really want is to eliminate religion altogether from our country. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are replete with statements that show that the Founding Fathers believed that religion was vital to the continuation of our Republic. To quote President George Washington in his Farewell Address:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.

So when groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State attack religion on false grounds, what they are really advocating is the very destruction of our Republic.

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