Judge Sides with Atheists, Orders School Board to Stop Praying Before Meetings

PrayerCHINO, Calif. – A California judge has ordered a public school district to stop allowing prayers at its board meetings and is demanding that the school district reimburse the atheist activist group that filed suit for all court costs and plaintiff fees.

In November of 2014, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a 49-page lawsuit against the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education. As previously reported, the FFRF routinely opposes public displays of Christianity, including prayers by a high school football coach, a public Ten Commandments monument, cross decals on police officer vehicles, and a poster in a county clerk’s office promoting biblical marriage.

FFRF’s most recent efforts against the five-member Chino school board stem from the board’s practice of opening meetings with invocations. These prayers, the atheists argued in court, are a violation of the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

“The Chino Valley School Board begins each meeting with a prayer,” they state in their lawsuit. “Indeed the meetings resemble a church service more than a school board meeting, complete with Bible readings by the board members, Bible quotations by board members, and other statements by board members promoting the Christian religion.”

The FFRF argued that the “blatantly religious” school board prayers violated both the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution. In a letter to the board of education, one of the FFRF’s attorneys described the invocations at “unnecessary, inappropriate, and divisive.”

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a non-profit organization committed to defending religious freedom, stood with the Chino school board and defended the prayers in court. PJI President Brad Dacus said “some of the board members are very committed to their faith” and argued that their religious freedoms were protected by law.

“In a free society we can’t have freedom from religion but freedom of religion, and that’s what this lawsuit’s all about,” Dacus told One News Now.

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Even though the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of invocations at government meetings, a U.S. district judge on Thursday sided with the FFRF, saying the prayers at the school board meetings “constitute unconstitutional government endorsements of religion.”

“[M]embers of the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education … are hereby enjoined from conducting, permitting or otherwise endorsing school-sponsored prayer in oard meetings,” District Judge Jesus Bernal wrote in the ruling.

Regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s Greece decision, Bernal said, “The legislative exception does not apply to prayer at school board meetings.”

FFRF members celebrated the district court’s decision.

“This stops some of the bleeding from the Greece decision and is a welcome reaffirmation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state,” said FFRF staff attorney Andrew Seidel in a press release.

Others believe the atheists’ activism is not upholding the Constitution but rather undermining values and practices that have long been integral to the nation’s history.

“The FFRF has a track record of filing lawsuits that are not firmly grounded in existing law but rather try to change the law to conform to their philosophical views,” Dacus said in a statement.


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  • Steven

    “Indeed the meetings resemble a church service more than a school board meeting, complete with Bible readings by the board members, Bible quotations by board members, and other statements by board members promoting the Christian religion.”

    What’s fascinating is that the statement above would’ve been describing the average school day; back around the time the Constitution was penned. Interesting how the authors of the first amendment had no problem with and even encouraged such behavior.

    a U.S. district judge

    And thus is the evils of precedence. An ability for one law official to bring all of their prejudices and biases in affecting future decisions everywhere from a perverted grafting of a fallacious “wall of separation.”

    • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

      What’s fascinating is that the statement above would’ve been describing the average school day; back around the time the Constitution was penned.

      Because back then states could have official state religions paid with tax money.

      I prefer religious freedom instead of having the government decide what religion(s) to favor and which ones to condemn.

    • Cady555

      Yes children of Jewish parents certainly look back with fondness on the days when public school was a protestant church service. As do catholics. And protestants yearn for the days when teachers taught their 6 year olds to pray to the Virgin Mary.

      Just like evangelicals in Utah are pining for the days when public schools included daily Mormon instruction.

      Ah. The evils of precedence. The same rules applying equally. Nobody gets to use public schools to proselytize other people’s kids.

  • Frank Dorka

    Atheists:1, Christians:0…again.

    • afchief

      If your an atheist then you better enjoy your win now, because if you continue on this path you will lose forever and there is no second chance.

      Hebrews 9:27 (NASB) And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

      • Giraffe-Junk

        A threat from the God that doesn’t exist, isn’t really a threat. I can prove that this God doesn’t exist, but first let’s make sure that we are talking about the same God, the Christian God. Let’s take a look at His Book. Is man made of Dirt? No. Is woman made from the rib of a man? No. Is the moon a little light? No, it is a reflector. Is there enough water to flood the Earth to the top of the mountains on Earth? No. Can a Wooden Ark the size of Noah’s, when measured using the Ancient Egyptian cubit, float? No. Are skyscrapers currently taller than the tower of Babel could have been? Yes. Can donkeys and serpents talk? No.
        Maybe these are parables that I just don’t seem to understand. Let’s take a look at this Omnipotent Being’s Moral values, surely those must be superior than human morals. Is it moral to kill everyone, save eight, in the largest genocide ever known? No. Is it moral to kill the first born, even though they have nothing to do with your disagreement? No. Is it moral to kill your neighbor for working on the Sabbath? No. Is it moral to allow a rapist to marry his victim, if the rapist agrees to pay the victim’s father an amount of silver? No.
        If you are talking about another God, I would have to take a look at what you are calling the evidence of It’s existence. But, I haven’t seen ANY evidence of ANY God. I see things that I don’t know the answer to and not knowing the answer isn’t God.

        • afchief

          Romans 1:18-28 (NASB)

          Unbelief and Its Consequences

          18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

          24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

          26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

          28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

          • Giraffe-Junk

            So you do believe the moon is a little light, that it is moral to kill your neighbors for working on the Sabbath. Okay then.

  • Josey

    FFRF is an organization that is filled with hate, it spews out of them.

    • Psygn

      When you don’t get your way say bad things about other people.

    • Frank Dorka

      How would YOU know? As an atheist I have been told so many horrible things by Christians that I wouldn’t want to be associated with that kind of hatred…ever.

      • Peter Leh

        “As an atheist I have been told so many horrible
        things by Christians that I wouldn’t want to be associated with that
        kind of hatred…ever.”

        yep. i would not either

      • Josey

        How do I know? Because I see their fruit of hatred against Christ and anything related to God.

        • Frank Dorka

          Do you hate Unicorns? How can I hate something that I don’t believe exists? I detest the belief, not the gods.

          • afchief

            Then why are you here?

        • acontraryview

          How is not wanting public entities, which represent all the people of all faiths as well as no faith, to not promote and give a place of privilege to a single religious belief equivalent to “hatred against Christ and anything related to God”?

        • DisFan

          I bear no hatred toward your god, not to you. I just prefer that public meetings not be prefaced by proselytizing and prayer.

    • afchief

      So true!

    • acontraryview

      For example?

  • Peter Leh

    as long as the prayer is available to ALL… the judge has no say in the matter.

    • Michael Hill

      WRONG.

      • Peter Leh

        it is all or nothing. but i dont have to be right. 🙂

        • Frank Dorka

          Good, cuz you aren’t. ;( How can a prayer be available to a non-believer?

          • Peter Leh

            did i not see a story of an invocation here lately given by an atheist? by a satanist? by a muslim woman?

          • Frank Dorka

            Invoking what?

          • Peter Leh

            whatever is invoked?

          • Frank Dorka

            As an atheist I have never invoked a thing…except respect.

          • Peter Leh

            other atheist have. Like i have said it has been document on this site: “atheist invocations”

          • Frank Dorka

            noun
            1. the act of invoking or calling upon a deity, spirit, etc., for aid, protection, inspiration, or the like; supplication.
            2. any petitioning or supplication for help or aid.
            3.a form of prayer invoking God’s presence, especially one said at the beginning of a religious service or public ceremony.
            4.an entreaty for aid and guidance from a Muse, deity, etc., at the beginning of an epic or epiclike poem.
            5.the act of calling upon a spirit by incantation.
            6. the magic formula used to conjure up a spirit; incantation.
            7. the act of calling upon or referring to something, as a concept or document, for support and justification in a particular circumstance.
            8.the enforcing or use of a legal or moral precept or right.
            I guess number eight might cover it but only through semantics. I’m thinking Constitution?

          • Peter Leh

            talk to the atheists giving the invocation. 🙂

          • Cady555

            Christians act as if the invocation is a magic formula, even redoing invocations that didn’t include the correct magic words.

            Atheist invocations tend to focus on shared values and mutual respect.

          • Cady555

            Our shared humanity. Our shared values. Our willingness to come together to work to benefit the community.

          • Cady555

            Not in this city.

          • Peter Leh

            Does it matter? Is this a states judge or federal? Equal protection is a federal issue… but i could be mistaken.

      • afchief

        No! He is right!!!

    • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

      as long as the prayer is available to ALL.

      It isn’t. Read the article. All the religious statements are from board members only.

      • Peter Leh

        that does seem to be the problem.

  • http://www.stupidatheist.com J. Gravelle

    When local school boards begin chanting from the Q’uran, more people might understand the problem…

    • Peter Leh

      I agree. the knife cuts both ways.

    • Nidalap

      And when they do and the FFRF sees no reason to complain, even you might begin to see it…

      • http://www.stupidatheist.com J. Gravelle

        Good point: Muslims haven’t been nearly as intent on co-opting domestic municipal governments as the Xtians have. It’ll be nice to have some opposing test cases to validate/falsify your assertion when they do.

        Well, IF they do. Your team has quite a head start.

        When they do though, you’ll be supporting their right to start every government function with a hearty “Allahu Akhbar!” for consistency’s sake, yes…?

        • Nidalap

          If they want to pray that way, they certainly may. If their constituents are content with it, they certainly have gained what they deserve. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to see the religion you accuse of trying to form a theocracy played out beside the one that actually will…enjoy…

          • http://www.stupidatheist.com J. Gravelle

            I’m hard-pressed to find where I’d done that, but I won’t deny you the pleasure of arguing with your imagined version of me and whatever enjoyment you wish to assume I’d garner from the impending domestic holy wars…

      • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

        And when they do and the FFRF sees no reason to complain

        No, they would complain. The reason they complain about Christian hegemony so much is because it’s almost always Christians who dishonestly try end-runs around the constitution.

      • Bob Johnson

        The FFRF is a bunch of lawyers, just like Ambulance Chasers they look for cases where there is a person with standing who is willing to file a complaint. FFRF looks for easy to win cases, clear cut violations, just the opposite of what Dacus states in the article’s closing statement. After a few letters to hopeful make the government organization obey the law, FFRF will go to court. Usually FFRF wins, after all they are trying to get easy cases. And this means the losing party, in this case the school board has to pay the court costs – that is pay the FFRF’s lawyers salaries.

        FFRF can be self funding only as long as Christians defy the US Constitution.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Hey! 🙂

      • Cady555

        The FFRF will be there when this happens protecting the Constitutional rights of Christians as well as the rest of us. It hasn’t happened much yet because about 95% of elected officials in the US are Christian. So it is Christians who use government authority to give preference to Christianity. This is changing.

        What would you want the standard to be if you were in the minority? No government favoritism, right? Now is the time to reaffirm that standard.

      • acontraryview

        What would leave you to believe that the FFRF would not complain if such a situation occurred?

  • Dio Jones

    satan is alive and well on planet earth, and the Church is asleep… WAKE UP…

    Always be a light that is shininginthedark.

  • robertzaccour

    They’re not hurting anyone. What are the atheists so afraid of?

    • Frank Dorka

      It’s not just atheists, it’s agnostics, Jews, Buddhists and any other American that does not consider themselves Christian. You thought your group was the only group, right?

      • Cady555

        And once it becomes accepted that the government can promote Christianity in general, excluding non Christians, then the fight will begin to promote only the “correct” version of Christianity (the version practiced by those with the most power.) It doesn’t end.

    • gogo0

      gays getting married doesn’t hurt anyone.
      masturbation doesn’t hurt anyone.
      safe sex doesn’t hurt anyone.
      what are christians so afraid of?

      • Semp

        They spread AIDS and kill millions.

        So “doesn’t hurt anyone” is a sick joke.

        • gogo0

          heterosexuals also spread HIV

          • Original Chum

            They also kill millions.

        • Giraffe-Junk

          But, your God killed every single person on planet Earth, save eight. He killed the first born, whom had nothing what-so-ever to do with Him and the Pharaoh. God has bears maul 42 children that made fun of a bald man. Do you consider this God a “sick joke” or is He righteous?

    • Doug Indeap

      We’re not talking about the freedom of individuals to say or do something others find offensive; each of us has that freedom, and none of us has a right not to be offended. We’re talking about the government weighing in to promote religion. Under our Constitution, our government has no business doing that–REGARDLESS of whether anyone is offended. While this is primarily a constitutional point, it is one that conservatives–small government conservatives–should appreciate from a political standpoint as well.

    • Cady555

      They are afraid of exactly what the authors of the Constitution worked to avoid – the use of government authority to drive religious exercise.

      No individual can use government to promote one religion. All religious views must be afforded equal respect.

  • susan

    Once again, people must follow along with those who believe in nothing. What really does this hurt?
    I am beginning to believe the Atheist group/s go looking for things like this in order to push THEIR agenda.

    • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

      Once again, people must follow along with those who believe in nothing.

      No, it’s people who believe in the constitution.

      • susan

        I didn’t know whining was part of the Constitution.
        We’re not going to agree. I chose to pray. You don’t. I get it. Who is right? We both are.

        • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

          No, you’re wrong. That’s why the judge ordered them to stop.

          • Original Chum

            Boom, facts.

          • DanH

            Boom, fgts.

          • Original Chum

            Wow, now you’re following me to other websites. Classy.

          • susan

            No.
            I’ll pray for you.

          • Frank Dorka

            Might as well. No one is doing any thinking on your behalf.

          • susan

            I can take care of myself, thanks.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            And I’ll think for you.

          • susan

            Don’t hurt yourself

          • Frank Dorka

            And don’t bend over backwards praying for me. I can take take care of myself as well.

          • susan

            No worries

          • Frank Dorka

            No free will, either.

          • susan

            No, we have free will. Do as you will. As will I.
            Part of what made this country great. Free will.
            Enjoy.

          • Frank Dorka

            I will. I am enjoying our win…again.

          • susan

            You do that

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            Thinking for you doesn’t take much effort, believe me.

          • susan

            I’m sure it doesn’t. Trust me, I’m not offended.

    • Frank Dorka

      A belief in “nothing” is so much better than a belief in something that has never had a shred of proof, truth, evidence, believability or even trustworthy hearsay.

    • Giraffe-Junk

      Oh, no Susan, you have it all wrong. No one, not one single person is making anyone “follow along with those who believe in nothing.” The people who say their prayers and Bible readings at the Board Meetings, can still say their prayers and Bible readings, just not on the taxpayer’s dime. Why wasn’t each and every taxpayer’s religion represented in the Board Meeting? Each and every Board Member can say all the prayers and Bible readings that they want on their own time in their cars, homes and Churches. Further, these prayers go against the very religion that they say that they stand for, hypocrites the who lot of them. Matthew 6:5-7, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

      • afchief

        No, they CAN pray anytime they want to. The 1st amendment says so.

        • acontraryview

          While people are free to pray anytime they want to, the manner and location of their praying has restrictions.

          • afchief

            Ahhh yes, more proof that YOU are a LIAR!!!!

          • acontraryview

            What did I say that was a lie, Russ?

          • afchief

            You lied about restrictions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            SHOW ME THE LAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Giraffe-Junk

            It was right there at the beginning of the article, “A California judge has ordered a public school district to stop allowing prayers at its board meetings”

          • afchief

            That is not what I’m asking. This person said “While people are free to pray anytime they want to, the manner and location of their praying has restrictions.”

            There is NO law to restrict prayer. Anywhere!!!

          • Giraffe-Junk

            I’ll try again, “A California judge has ordered a public school district to stop allowing prayers at its board meetings” So, I guess that a judge interpreted the LAW to mean that there IS a restriction on where prayer cannot be held. In this instance, while at a board meeting held by public officials.
            But, you should be thanking the judge for helping these wayward souls who are disobeying God’s requirement that they pray in private and not in public (Matthew 6:5-7)

          • afchief

            It’s called Judicial Tyranny!!! The 1st amendment states ONLY CONGRESS cannot establish a religion. The right to freely express one’s faith is an unalienable right. Unalienable means CANNOT be taken away. The right to pray is unalienable. The First Amendment calls it “free exercise.” The God-haters (and their cops) like to point us to the “establishment clause”, but “establishment” and “free exercise” are connected by “or”.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Honestly, with your encyclopedic knowledge of the law, I don’t know why you don’t represent your own clients or teach law school.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            “Sensors detect sarcasm, Captain.”

          • Ambulance Chaser

            A sarcasm detector? Oh, that’s REEEEAL useful!

          • Bob Johnson

            Or he could be a writer for Judge Judy.
            (They say LIAR!!! all the time.)

          • afchief

            With your lack of knowledge you should be selling used cars

          • Ambulance Chaser

            You’re right. I should defer to the knowledge of a real lawyer like…

          • afchief

            Just the fact that you do not know that the SCOTUS has no authority to strike down any laws shows your lack of knowledge. It is not in Article lll of the Constitution but you refuse to believe that.

            Yes, I question everything you state!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Okay, which lawyer’s opinion do you NOT question?

          • afchief

            Ones that know the law!!!!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Such as?

          • Giraffe-Junk

            You can call it whatever you want, “Judicial Tyranny” or what-not, I’ll call it the law (for now). The reason I say for now is because the Supreme Court got it wrong in 1896 when they stated that “separate, but equal” was the law of the land, until it was overturned in 1954. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the laws forbidding public officials from praying on my tax dollars (as opposed to doing their jobs) will ever be overturned, but who knows maybe we will get all theocratic in this country and the only prayers being done at a board meeting will involve facing Mecca. But, let’s not forget that the board members unalienable rights haven’t been taken from them, they can pray all they want on their own time or even in silence, which their religion dictates (Matthew 6:5-7), before commencing board meetings.

          • afchief

            Then show me the law!!!!

            Waiting……………………………………………

          • Giraffe-Junk

            So laws are interpreted by courts. A court is presided over by a judge, “A California judge has ordered a public school district to stop allowing prayers at its board meetings”, means that the law was interpreted by a court to mean that prayer cannot be held at a public school district’s board meeting. Which, since the law was interpreted by a court, means that the law says that. In the interim you can either ignore it and proceed to tell me that there is “no law” AND live with it OR you can talk to your Government Representative and see about getting the law changed.

          • afchief

            Yes, more proof that liberalism truly is a mental disorder!!!

            Again, I will ask…………SHOW ME THE LAW!!!!!

            Waiting………………………………………………………

          • Giraffe-Junk

            In the interim you can either ignore it and proceed to tell me that there is “no law” is so much easier for a computer jockey such as yourself than actually contacting your Government Representative.

          • afchief

            Wait for it……..here it comes……..are you ready? Ohhhhhh show me the law, yes show me the law, oh yes showwww me the law.

            Still waiting……………………………………………………………………….

          • acontraryview

            Here are a few examples, Russ:

            It is not legal for me to go out in front of my house at 3 am and start praying through a bullhorn.

            It is not legal for me to come on to your property and start praying out loud.

            It is not legal for me to stand up in the middle of a restaurant and start praying out loud.

            There are restrictions as to the manner and location of prayer. I am not legally allowed to express my religious beliefs in a manner which infringes upon the rights of others.

          • afchief

            It took you this long to go find garbage on your liberal/homo sites.

            I asked you to show me the law that applies to these people praying before a meeting.

            Waiting………………………………………………………………………………

            Yes, YOU are a LIAR!!!

          • acontraryview

            I never suggested it was illegal for these people to pray before a meeting. It is not. Provided, of course, that they do so in a manner which does not infringe upon the rights of others.

      • susan

        Trust me, when I pray you will not even know I am.

        • Giraffe-Junk

          The actions of one are more powerful than the prayers of millions.

    • Doug Indeap

      It should not be supposed that the government, by remaining separate from and neutral toward religion in keeping with the Constitution, somehow thereby favors atheism over theism. There is a difference between the government (1) remaining neutral in matters of religion and leaving individuals free to choose, exercise, and express their religious views without government intrusion and (2) taking sides in matters of religion and promoting one view (whether theism [in one, any, or all its various forms], atheism, or whatever) to the detriment of others. It is one thing for the government to endorse the idea that god(s) exist or, alternatively, endorse the idea that god(s) do not exist; it is quite another for the government to take no position on the matter and respect the right of each individual to freely decide for himself.

      • afchief

        Wrong! There is NO separation of church and state. NONE! It is NOT mentioned in the Constitution. Where you liberals get if from is Thomas Jefferson when he made this statement;

        Here are Jefferson’s words to the Baptists in Danbury:

        I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.

        Notice who Jefferson credits with having built the wall: “the whole American people.” Congress cannot build the wall separating church and state. It is not allowed to. Congress, in fact, “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That is what the amendment specifically states. According to Jefferson, it is the people who have built the wall of separation between church and state through the process of amending the constitution.[ii]

        There is a stunningly beautiful symmetry in Jefferson’s reasoning that has gone largely unnoticed. The congress agreed, through the amending process, that it had no power either to respect a specific religion or to prohibit the practice of any specific religion. Because it agreed to this via constitutional amendment, the congress cannot readdress its right to retain its power over religion. The congress has no power over religion. None.

        • Frank Dorka

          He also said that America is in no way a Christian nation

          • ZappaSaid88

            I think that was John Adams in the Treaty of Tripoli.

          • Frank Dorka

            I stand corrected. Thomas said something very similar, right? I know that Madison, Payne and Franklin did as well.

    • The Skeptical Chymist

      Believe me, it is not the atheists who are pushing their agenda. It is the Christians who insist on marking their territory by government-enforced prayers, telling everyone who is non-Christian that they are second class citizens. I prefer religious freedom, where the government displays no favoritism toward one religion, or toward atheism.

      • susan

        Everyone has an agenda. I too prefer religious freedom. One where I am allowed to worship as I feel and not being told I cannot because someone will be offended.
        I believe, we both want the same thing, to a degree.
        As it is, I am just going to continue on and watch this country fall apart from within. We’re just destroying ourselves.
        Have a good life.

  • afchief

    Another example of our godless and lawless courts!!!! There is no law against praying anywhere. There cannot be a law. The right to freely express one’s faith is an unalienable right. Unalienable means CANNOT be taken away. The First Amendment calls it “free exercise.” The God-haters (and their cops) like to point us to the “establishment clause”, but “establishment” and “free exercise” are connected by “or”.

    The courts and their legal miscreants have separated the terms. Establishment doesn’t trump free exercise. Free exercise cannot be inhibited by lawyers or judges. If it is restricted, it is not “free” exercise. Technically only Congress can take away the right to pray, and they are expressly forbidden to do so. In case you’re interested, here is the pertinent section of the First Amendment:

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

    • TheMadProfessor

      When public officials include religious dogma as part of the way they conduct official duties (at taxpayers expense), it’s illegal – period. What part of that don’t you get?

      • afchief

        What part of the 1st amendment do you not understand?

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

        • TheMadProfessor

          Point 1: Congress had nothing to do with it.
          Point 2: The SCOTUS (you know, the guys who deal with that self-same Constitution) have consistently sided with Federal judge orders EXACTLY like this that reference the Establishment clause.
          Point 3: A school board member has no business wasting meeting time pushing their religious views.

          What part of THIS don’t you understand?

          • disqus_SUijHfDO8w

            If they all agree to prayer then they should be allowed to conduct it. Not allowing people to pray is a violation of the free exercise of religion period. If the students agree to pray on the football court they have the right to do so whether the judge says so or not. It is not pushing ones religious views when one prays. It is however pushing ones views when atheist start attacking what is tradition in this country in order to promote their atheistic agenda.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            If they all agree to prayer then they should be allowed to conduct it. Not allowing people to pray is a violation of the free exercise of religion period.

            A school board is a government entity and is restained by the first amendment.

            If the students agree to pray on the football court they have the right to do so whether the judge says so or not.

            No judge has said that — however, school employees are again government employees and are restrained by the first amendment also.

            Next time compare apples to apples.

            It is however pushing ones views when atheist start attacking what is tradition in this country in order to promote their atheistic agenda.

            Stopping unconstitutional prayers makes it neutral — to promote atheism, the school board would have to state “gods are myths” or something similar at board meetings.

          • Mike Laborde

            Poor reading and comprehension skills by you of the constitution. Activism by unelected jurist does not change the meaning of the first amendment.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            Hmmm, who to believe….actual supreme court justices (who must also have poor reading and comprehension skills of the constitution), or some random person on the internet…

          • Mike Laborde

            The jurist that you hold so dearly to your misplace interpretation of the constitution are well known activist with an agenda of using their misplaced power to circumvent the true meaning of the 1st amendment. And you follow them because you are really ilierate of the meaning of the 1st amendment and I do discern that you also hate religion, especially Christianity. How do you stand up against the muslim “religion”. Usually liberals like you keep their mouths shut about them because liberals are cowards and are afraid of them.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            The jurist

            THE jurist? It takes a lot more than one to create a supreme court opinion.

            that you hold so dearly to your misplace interpretation of the constitution

            Says the guy who thinks “freedom of religion” is a phrase in the constitution.

            How do you stand up against the muslim “religion”.

            Well, here in MN a Muslim school was sued by the ACLU for violating that first amendment that you don’t know what it actually says, and the school lost and went out of business.

          • afchief

            Do you have a hard time reading to? What does the word “Congress” mean to you?

            Do you need some help?

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            What does the 14th amendment mean to you?

          • afchief

            The 14th amendment was placed into the Constitution to provide Freed Slaves with US Citizenship. Due Process Right before the Ratification of the 14th Amendment was not conferred to Slaves. The Equal Treatment was to confer Citizenship Rights to FREED Slaves. The Context of the Amendment was to Freed Slaves Rights, NOT to Homosexual’s Marriages or ANYTHING ELSE!!. That Power is left to the States under the 10th Amendment, as the States have never Enumerated that power TO the Federal Government BY Amendment.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            The Context of the Amendment was to Freed Slaves Rights, NOT to Homosexual’s Marriages or ANYTHING ELSE!!

            Ah well, the supreme court disagrees with you, so you’re out of luck, no matter how many exclamation points you use.

          • afchief

            It’s called Judicial Tyranny!!! Besides a SCOTUS ruling is only an opinion. It means NOTHING!!! It does not carry the weight of law!

            The most decisive reason that 14th amendment does not apply is the fact that when the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868, homosexual behavior was a felony in every state in the union. So if the 14th Amendment was intended to require same-sex marriage, then every state in the union intended to throw the new couple into prison as soon as the marriage was consummated!

            The U.S. Constitution requires the Court to leave this issue to the states. If you believe otherwise, then amend the Constitution.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            It’s called Judicial Tyranny!!!

            By people who want to ignore the constitution.

            Besides a SCOTUS ruling is only an opinion. It means NOTHING!!!

            No, it really means something. You can live in your imaginary world where supreme court opinions have no effect.

            The U.S. Constitution requires the Court to leave this issue to the states. If you believe otherwise, then amend the Constitution.

            Gays can really, legally, get married in the US now. Because supreme court opinions really mean something.

          • Bob Johnson

            This is an article on religion at school board meetings. Can you stay on topic? You are the only person on this tread mentioning same-sex marriage.

            As soon as you see “14th” you always go right to this issue. The 14th Amendment has broader implications than your fears about marriage.

          • afchief

            One thing I know is true with you liberals homos and atheists is you try to manipulate the conversation with lies. I will talk about anything I want to

          • Cady555

            That is a toughy. If only the Constitution had established a body to settle Constitutional questions. It could even have been called a Supreme Court, since it is the highest court whose rulings apply nation wide.

          • Cady555

            “If the students agree to pray on the football court they have the right to do so ….” Yes. Exactly. But no government employee can tell any student which God to pray to. No government employee can use his control over practices, playing time and college recommendation to “encourage” his style of prayer to his preferred diety.

          • gogo0

            if they all agree to pray to cthuhlu then they should be allowed to conduct it.
            if a town agrees to sharia law, then they should be allowed to conduct it.
            if they all agree to expel Christian students then they should be allowed to do it.
            if they all agree to segregate black kids from the whites then they should be allowed to do it
            if they all agree…

          • Cady555

            Let’s say you lived in Utah. 80% Mormon or so. Local school board is 100% Mormon. You and your child attend a school board meeting to fight for something in the music program that matters to you. Before they get down to business, they say a prayer that contradicts your understanding of the right way to pray to God. Your child is right there too, praying along. You notice a couple board members paying attention to see if anyone holds back and doesn’t participate in Mormon worship. Do you stop your child from praying in a way that contradicts your religious beliefs? Do you yourself pretend in fear that a government official will base his judgment on your compliance with his religious practice?

            Wow. If only our Constitution, as amended, prevented elected officials from using government authority to favor one religious view.

            Do you not see that the FFRF is protecting every individual by preventing anyone from using government authority to promote personal religious beliefs?

            Please think about this example. It is not make believe. Non Christians face this every day.

            Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

          • Mike Laborde

            Your points come straight from the communist manifesto. You make my point exactly. 1. A school board is no congress, leaving it free to make it’s own rules. 2 SCOTUS is not the law making body as congress. 3. You and the FFRF hasn’t elected that school board. 4. The constitution sates freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

          • TheMadProfessor

            “Communist manifesto”? Way to open with a mind-numbingly stupid comment. A school board is an ELECTED group, not a PRIVATE one as you state. An elected official that is pushing a religious agenda at an official function is blatantly defying the separation of church and state. Freedom of religion means you are free to worship as you please (or not at all) PRIVATELY. It is no more universal in scope than freedom of speech is. Next time, try not to make such a fool of yourself (if possible).

          • Mike Laborde

            You make my point exactly.
            1. You or the FFRF did not elect his school board.
            2. Communist manifesto is exactly correct as communist ant stand Christianity (freedom)
            3. Separation of Church and state is no where to be found in the Constitution.
            4. Or not or privately s also not found in the constitution.
            Son, you have no idea about how , who, when why the constitution was written. It is not a living document. It is a contract and can’t be changed to what you want it to believe or say.

          • afchief

            Show me separation of church and state in the Constitution?

            Waiting………………………………………………..

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            4. The constitution sates freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

            Says the same guy who accuses me of having “poor reading and comprehension skills of the constitution”…

            Here’s what it says:
            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.

            Notice it does NOT say “freedom of religion” OR “freedom from religion”.

          • afchief

            Silly liberal, a SCOTUS ruling is ONLY an opinion. It means NOTHING! If you believe otherwise, then show me here in the Constitution.

            What part do you not understand????????

            Article III.

            Section. 1.

            The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

            Section. 2.

            The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;— between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

            In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

            The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

            Section. 3.

            Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

            The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/CgntvDssdnt CgntvDssdnt

          They are free to pray on their own time!

          NOT while spending MY taxpayer dollars!

          • afchief

            Nope, they can pray anytime they want to!!! The 1st amendment says so!!!!

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/CgntvDssdnt CgntvDssdnt

            Sure they can. And then can be fired for it too.

          • afchief

            Under what law?

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/CgntvDssdnt CgntvDssdnt

            Establishment Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the California Constitution.

          • afchief

            Establishment clause? You mean where it says Congress? WRONG!

            Equal Protection Clause? Show me where it stats that people cannot pray on public grounds.

            California Constitution? Where in the Constitution?

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/CgntvDssdnt CgntvDssdnt

            I’m not saying they can’t pray.

            They can pray all they like.

          • afchief

            What? You said they would get fired!

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/CgntvDssdnt CgntvDssdnt

            that’s correct. They are free to pray. The bosses, in this case the judge, is free to fire.

          • afchief

            Under what grounds can their boss fire them? What law did they break?

          • acontraryview

            “The 1st amendment says so!!!!”

            Please cite where the 1st Amendment says that people are free to pray at any time, in any manner, and in any location they care to.

          • afchief

            Let’s see if you can read? I know homos and liberals have a hard time at it. But let’s see!!!

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

            Do I need to translate for you? I know it’s hard for you to understand what Congress is? LOL!! And I know it’s hard for you to understand what “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

            I will help you if you cannot understanding!!! LOL!!

          • acontraryview

            Let’s see if you understand English. “Let’s see if you can read?” is not a question. It is a statement.

            What part of the 1st Amendment that you cited means that people are free to pray at any time, in any manner, or in any location they care to?

            Apparently you misunderstand what that portion of the 1st Amendment was intended to accomplish. Its purpose was to ensure that Congress would not pass any law which PROHIBITED the expression of a particular religious belief. For instance, Congress is not allowed to pass a law which says that it is illegal for people to express their beliefs in Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Islam. It does NOT provide the right for citizens to express their religious beliefs at any time, in any place, and in any manner they care to.

            “I know it’s hard for you to understand what Congress is?” That is not a question. That is a statement.

            “And I know it’s hard for you to understand what “prohibiting the free exercise thereof””

            That is an incomplete sentence.

            “I will help you if you cannot understanding!!!” is not a grammatically proper statement.

            Before you go accusing people of not being educated enough to read and understand English, you should consider better educating yourself on the English language.

          • afchief

            I’m still waiting for you to show me where the law is written that these people cannot pray?

            Waiting…………………………………………………

          • TheMadProfessor

            “Homos”? Sorry, much as you might prefer otherwise, I’m straight, so troll elsewhere for your hookups. As for your claim that a person can “exercise prayer anywhere one wants”, that’s true if one does so privately, for yourself only. In a public forum of elected officials, not so much. (BTW, try standing up in a public library and pray loudly…see where it gets you. Hint: out the door.)

          • afchief

            Silly liberal, show me the law!!!

            If everyone agrees to say a prayer in a government setting, there is NO law to stop them!! NONE!!!

          • TheMadProfessor

            Obviously, everyone did NOT agree. Otherwise there would be no challenge. Furthermore, it’s not simply a matter of opening invocations – if it were, there wouldn’t be an issue (assuming that non-Christian invocations are also allowed.) There was far more egregious proselytizing going on, especially from the chairman, who frequently preached DURING the meetings.

          • afchief

            Then show me the law where it states they cannot do this.

            Waiting……………………………………………….

          • TheMadProfessor

            Court rulings in SCOTUS and numerous Federal courts including the one on this matter. If the Supreme Court rules something is unconstitutional, no law required. Haven’t you been paying attention?

          • afchief

            Another product of our indoctrination centers we call public school I see. The SCOTUS can strike down no laws. They are only opinions. They do not carry the weight of law. Only Congress can make, change or strike down laws.

            “The power of the Court to implement its decisions is limited. For example, in the famous 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the justices ruled that racial segregation (separate but equal) in public places is unconstitutional. But, it took many years for school districts to desegregate.

            The Court has no means (such as an army) to force implementation. Instead, it must count on the executive and legislative branches to back its decisions. In the Civil Rights Movement, the Court led the way, but the other branches had to follow before real change could take place.”

            http://www.ushistory. org/gov/9c.asp

            “Courts also have limited power to implement the decisions that they make. For example, if the president or another member of the executive branch chooses to ignore a ruling, there is very little that the federal courts can do about it.

            For example, the Supreme Court ruled against the removal of the Cherokee from their native lands in 1831. President Andrew Jackson disagreed. He proceeded with the removal of the Cherokee, and the Supreme Court was powerless to enforce its decision.”

            http://www.ushistory. org/gov/9e.asp

          • TheMadProfessor

            “The SCOTUS can strike down no laws.” You have no clue do you? That is one of their primary functions – to determine whether a law is unconstitutional. If they deem it so, the law is dead, period.

          • afchief

            Really? Then show me where it states that in the Constitution? Show me where they can strike down laws

            Waiting………………………………………………………………………………

            Article III.

            Section. 1.

            The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

            Section. 2.

            The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;— between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

            In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

            The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

            Section. 3.

            Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

            The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

          • TheMadProfessor

            Right there in Section 2. “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority” Thanks for the cut and paste.

          • afchief

            LOL! Come on man!!!! Are you telling that means they can strike down laws? Is that what you are telling me. Please don’t make me laugh!!!

            That means they have the power to hear all cases arising under the Constitution.

            Come on man, THINK!!!!

          • gogo0

            it is ironic, you telling others to “think”…
            here is a simple scenario:
            1. after ohio is overrun by muslims, their state legislature enacts a state law saying that cristians are not allowed to marry
            2. the supreme court rules that the constitution states all men are equal and must be treated equally by the state, the state’s law violates the constitution
            3. the state law is overturned for being unconstitutional
            do you see how this works?

          • afchief

            I have already told you the law. I’m not playing your silly liberal game.

          • gogo0

            you clamor to get SCOTUS rulings in your favor yet until that happens you claim they have no authority.

            sorry chief, calling you out as a hypocrite is not a liberal game.

          • afchief

            Then show me where is says the SCOTUS can strike down laws in the Constitution?

            Waiting…………………………………………………………………..

            Article III.

            Section. 1.

            The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

            Section. 2.

            The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;— between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

            In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

            The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

            Section. 3.

            Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

            The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

          • gogo0

            no one has said that, everyone repeats the fact that SCOTUS makes rulings on what is and isnt lawful in accordance with the constitution.

          • afchief

            That is correct, they make a ruling on the Constitutionality of a law. If they rule that a law is unconstitutional it is then up to the Legislative branch to change the law. If the Legislative branch does not agree with the ruling, nothing changes.

            “The federal courts’ most important power is that of judicial review, the authority to interpret the Constitution. When federal judges rule that laws or government actions violate the spirit of the Constitution, they profoundly shape public policy. For example, federal judges have declared over 100 federal laws unconstitutional.”

            http://www.ushistory. org/gov/9e.asp

          • acontraryview

            “Now what does “free exercise” mean?”

            It means the practice of religious beliefs.

            “I’m still waiting for you to show me where the law is written that these people cannot pray?”

            I never said they couldn’t pray. I said that there are restrictions on the manner and location of prayer.

          • afchief

            Then show me the law or leave with your lies!!

            Now go to your liberal/homo websites and find a lie!!!!

            LOL!!!!

          • acontraryview

            What law do you want me to show you, Russ?

          • afchief

            Ok Oshtur show me a law where people are forbidden to pray on government property or time.

          • acontraryview

            I never said there was any such law.

            Who is “oshtur”?

          • afchief

            Do you ever stop lying Oshtur? This article is about a school board praying at school. You said there were restrictions and now you are changing the subject.

            Yes, YOU are a LIAR!!!!

          • acontraryview

            I’m not sure what you are referring to when you call me “Oshtur”.

            “This article is about a school board praying at school.”

            No, this article is about a school board including Christian prayer as a formal part of the school board meeting.

            “You said there were restrictions and now you are changing the subject.”

            I said that there are restrictions on the manner and location in which people are allowed pray.

            Since the subject is a school board having prayer as a formal part of the school board meeting, and you changed that subject to “forbidden to pray on government property or time”, it is you who has changed the subject.

            “Yes, YOU are a LIAR!!!!”

            Again with the bearing of false witness, Russ. Tsk, tsk.

          • afchief

            Let me repeat it; YOU are a LIAR!!!

          • acontraryview

            You can repeat it all you care to, Russ, but until you provide proof of your accusation you are nothing more than a liar.

          • Eric Goberman

            //Then show me the law or leave with your lies!!/

            RESPECTING the establishment of religion.
            The verb respect means that Congress (and thanks to the 14th all levels of govt) cannot ESTABLISH a religion nor can it respect one religion over another or religion over non-religion.

            If you would like to read the supreme court’s statement showing that, it can be provided

          • afchief

            Will you stop with your lies on the 14th amendment!!! You have NO idea what you are talking about. The 14th Amendment was specifically proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War. Nothing else. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the issues it has been since cited for with lots of creative interpretations.

            The 14th amendment was placed into the Constitution to provide Freed Slaves with US Citizenship. Due Process Right before the Ratification of the 14th Amendment was not conferred to Slaves. The Equal Treatment was to confer Citizenship Rights to FREED Slaves. The Context of the Amendment was to Freed Slaves Rights, NOT to Homosexual’s Marriages or ANYTHING ELSE!!.

            Even women had to wait until the 19th Amendment for a constitutional right to vote.

            And the SCOTUS rulings are ONLY opinions. It changes NOTHING!!! It does NOT carry the weight of law!

          • Doug Indeap

            And here you (unwittingly) reveal both your own modus operandi and the depth (i.e., lack) of your knowledge.

          • afchief

            The truth is always the enemy of liberals and homos. ALWAYS!!!

      • disqus_SUijHfDO8w

        When atheist try to force their ideologies down everyone else’s throat, that is religious dogma.

        • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

          Well, it’s lucky atheists aren’t doing that here — they’re getting a school board to stop pushing Christianity and be neutral.

          • disqus_SUijHfDO8w

            I agree, there would be a revolt. Saying a prayer before a meeting is not pushing Christianity, its making a statement of faith. I have sat in with muslims when they prayed, while i did not agree with their position I sucked it up and dealt with it.

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            Saying a prayer before a meeting is not pushing Christianity

            Jesus disagrees with you.

            I have sat in with muslims when they prayed, while i did not agree with their position I sucked it up and dealt with it.

            Goody for you. If they tried to incorporate Muslim prayers into government functions, I’d fight against that, too.

        • gogo0

          would you have a problem with people getting muslim prayers out of the school board meeting?
          because you understand that if it was muslims pushing their prayers down your throat, us atheists would be criticizing and fighting them the same as we are now, right?

          • disqus_SUijHfDO8w

            Good question. When I was in high school I said a short prayer and was told to stop. A Buddhist did a chant and nothing was said. I think that’s pretty ironic.

          • gogo0

            sorry, I wasn’t there to say anything in that situation. if they wanted to hear buddhist chants then they should also be ready to hear cthulhu screams, muslim, and christian prayers as well

      • Mike Laborde

        You or the FF did not elect that school board. The people from that district elected them. You and the FFRF have no business coming frorn another district and try to take over the district. You and FFRF are communist.

        • TheMadProfessor

          Neither did you. But a member of the area that DID elect them brought the objection, so your lame-brained comment is null and void (much like your intellect…’communist’ is not a verb.)

          • Mike Laborde

            And these board members were elected by a majority right. Answer-yes. And only one member protested. So tell me id that member vote for his board member. And if he did, did his vote elect one of the members on that board. Seems to me that he is jt one in that district. But , my friend, majority is in power. Your one voter has no standing. AND the constitution’s 1st amendment garentees freed of the practice of religion not freedom from religion. So you, the FFRF and that “one” person has NO STANDING.

          • TheMadProfessor

            Logic fail. Majority rule does not grant the power to impose a single religion on anyone.

          • Mike Laborde

            Yes, you surely do have logic fail to the max. No one is imposing religion on anyone. Why does mere words bother you if you don’t believe. You are only hurting yourself and freedom with your hate of good. And you can’t say that Christianity has not done good for man. There is too much evidence against your religion of hate. And yes you do have religion. Look up the meaning of religion.

          • TheMadProfessor

            First off, you need a new dictionary: re·li·gion rəˈlijən/ noun
            the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

            Secondly, like a number of brain-dead biblethumpers, you have trouble with the concept that you can’t hate something you don’t believe in.

            Thirdly, when the board chairman is using his position to rail against homosexuality, berate people because they won’t “get with Jesus” and other such prothylizing BS that has no part in a school board meeting, that IS hurting people. Now back under your bridge, troll.

          • Mike Laborde

            Firstly; religion 3td definition is, and you cannot deny , “a set of beliefs” LGBTers rail against christians all of the time , Atheism has already said that they have a religion. Re read the definition. There are 3 seperate definitions, you are either 1, 2. or 3. Your religion is a religion of hate and even hate of free speech. You are in denial. Plus you don’t know what you are talking about.

          • TheMadProfessor

            Oh, “Atheism” said so? I was unaware it had a voice. LGBTers have reason to rail against Christians…so would you to anyone who tries to deny you basic rights. However, they have no more reason to do so as part of their official duties in a publicly-elected office than this board chairman does. Do try to stay on topic..

          • Mike Laborde

            Yes, atheist have joined together in England and have declared that they have religion, their own religion. No LGBTers have no standing to rail against Christians because the constitution does not give them special rights. Want a special right, go to congress, the law making body and get congress to pass SSM. Otherwise quit holding your breath on the issue.

          • TheMadProfessor

            “Special rights”? Oh, you mean the same rights YOU have? How is wanting what you have – no more, no less – “special?” As for some atheists in England, they hardly speak for all. Why don’t you just admit you have zero leg to stand on and go away. Oh, that’s right…that would require you to actually be able to think for yourself instead of what you’ve been told by an ancient book written by sheepherders.

          • Mike Laborde

            I have read the constitution over 50 times and I didn’t see any mention of marriage, especially SSM as a right.That is because the constitution makes congress’s law making capabilities the only way to grant special rights to any group. It is not SCOTUS that makes law. It is supposed to call the balls and strikes not the game. Atheist all think within the same realm of hating God and Christianity but fear that religion of Islam because they are cowards,

    • gogo0

      yep, more proof of godless and biblically-lawless courts.
      thank goodness!

    • Doug Indeap

      It is important to distinguish between “individual” and “government” action and speech about religion as the Constitution protects the former and constrains the latter. The First Amendment assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school board members holding a board meeting), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical. Here it was an easy call–as the board members were plainly acting in their official capacities at a board meeting.

      • afchief

        Why do people have a hard time reading? Can you tell me where in the 1st amendment is says it constrains anyone but Congress? Does Congress equal all governments? Is that what you are saying. Hmmmm….when I read the 1st amendment is says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

        Congress? Hmmmm…The founders meant exactly what they said: “Congress,” as in the United States Congress, “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

        In a letter to Benjamin Rush, a fellow-signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, often touted by the left as the great church-state separationist, spelled out exactly what this meant then, and what it means today. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause was simply intended to restrict Congress from affirmatively “establishing,” through federal legislation, a national Christian denomination (similar to the Anglican Church of England).

        As Jefferson put it: “[T]he clause of the Constitution” covering “freedom of religion” was intended to necessarily preclude “an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States.”

        The individual states, however, faced no such restriction. In fact, until as late as 1877, and after religious free exercise became absolute with passage of the 14th Amendment, most states did have an official state form of Christianity. Massachusetts, for example, sanctioned the Congregational Church until 1833.

        Even so, today’s anti-Christian ruling class insists on revising history. The ACLU’s own promotional materials, for example, overtly advocate unconstitutional religious discrimination: “The message of the Establishment Clause [to the U.S. Constitution] is that religious activities must be treated differently from other activities to ensure against governmental support for religion,” they claim.

        This is abject nonsense. It’s unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination—a twisted misrepresentation of the First Amendment. Secular “progressivism” depends upon deception as much as it relies upon revisionism. Yes, “separation” applies, but only insofar as it requires the state to remain separate from the church. That is to say, that government may not interfere with the free exercise of either speech or religion.

        • Doug Indeap

          You would make much of the First Amendment referring only to “Congress.” By your literal reading, are we to suppose the President could, by proclamation, establish a national religion? Or direct all federal agencies to use stationery bearing statements touting the virtues of Scientology? Nonsense. First, Congress itself cannot make any law whatsoever without the approval of the President, except in the instance of overriding a President’s veto, so to read the language as simplistically and literally as you suggest would actually do violence to the intent of the Amendment. As laws in the ordinary course are “made” by actions by both Congress and the Executive, the establishment clause is reasonably understood to constrain both branches of government. By the literal reading you suggest, it would, I suppose, only stop Congress from overriding a veto to make a law establishing a religion–a manifestly silly result. If the clause were interpreted to leave the Executive free, by proclamation or some such, to establish a religion, what really would be the point of the clause? No, such an interpretation would enable the Executive to eviscerate the purpose of the clause.

          Observing further that Congress does not equal all governments, you suggest that applying the Amendment to states is far removed from the original intent of the founders. While the First Amendment, as is well recognized, limited only the federal government, you leave unmentioned that the Constitution was later amended to protect from infringement by states and their political subdivisions the privileges and immunities of citizenship, due process, and equal protection of the laws. The courts naturally have looked to the Bill of Rights for the important rights thus protected by the 14th Amendment and have ruled that it effectively extends the First Amendment’s guarantees vis a vis the federal government to the states. While the founders drafted the First Amendment to constrain the federal government, they certainly understood that later amendments could extend the Bill of Rights’ constraints to state and local governments.

          While the First Amendment undoubtedly was intended to preclude the government from establishing a national religion as you note, that was hardly the limit of its intended scope (and Jefferson said nothing to suggest otherwise). The first Congress debated and rejected just such a narrow provision (“no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”) and ultimately chose the more broadly phrased prohibition now found in the Amendment. During his presidency, Madison vetoed two bills, neither of which would form a national religion or compel observance of any religion, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. Separation of church and state is hardly a new invention of modern courts. In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by government doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion–stopping just short of cutting a ribbon to open its new church.

          • afchief

            Are you really ignorant of how law is made? What you have said is a bold face lie!!!! The president can make NO law. Only Congress can. That is why the 1st amendment was addressed to Congress, not the president!!!! Laws can only be made by one of two ways in America: by an act of the Legislative Branch, or by a citizen’s initiative through a direct vote of the people.

            The Separation of Church and State

            In 1947, in the case Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court declared, “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” The “separation of church and state” phrase which they invoked, and which has today become so familiar, was taken from an exchange of letters between President Thomas Jefferson and the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, shortly after Jefferson became President.

            The election of Jefferson – America’s first Anti-Federalist President – elated many Baptists since that denomination, by-and-large, was also strongly Anti-Federalist. This political disposition of the Baptists was understandable, for from the early settlement of Rhode Island in the 1630s to the time of the federal Constitution in the 1780s, the Baptists had often found themselves suffering from the centralization of power.

            Consequently, now having a President who not only had championed the rights of Baptists in Virginia but who also had advocated clear limits on the centralization of government powers, the Danbury Baptists wrote Jefferson a letter of praise on October 7, 1801, telling him:

            Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your election to office, we embrace the first opportunity . . . to express our great satisfaction in your appointment to the Chief Magistracy in the United States. . . . [W]e have reason to believe that America’s God has raised you up to fill the Chair of State out of that goodwill which He bears to the millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence and the voice of the people have called you. . . . And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator. [1]

            However, in that same letter of congratulations, the Baptists also expressed to Jefferson their grave concern over the entire concept of the First Amendment, including of its guarantee for “the free exercise of religion”:

            Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor. But sir, our constitution of government is not specific. . . . [T]herefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights. [2]

            In short, the inclusion of protection for the “free exercise of religion” in the constitution suggested to the Danbury Baptists that the right of religious expression was government-given (thus alienable) rather than God-given (hence inalienable), and that therefore the government might someday attempt to regulate religious expression. This was a possibility to which they strenuously objected-unless, as they had explained, someone’s religious practice caused him to “work ill to his neighbor.”

            Jefferson understood their concern; it was also his own. In fact, he made numerous declarations about the constitutional inability of the federal government to regulate, restrict, or interfere with religious expression. For example:

            [N]o power over the freedom of religion . . . [is] delegated to the United States by the Constitution. Kentucky Resolution, 1798 [3]

            In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the general [federal] government. Second Inaugural Address, 1805 [4]

            [O]ur excellent Constitution . . . has not placed our religious rights under the power of any public functionary. Letter to the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1808 [5]

            I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions . . . or exercises. Letter to Samuel Millar, 1808 [6]

            Jefferson believed that the government was to be powerless to interfere with religious expressions for a very simple reason: he had long witnessed the unhealthy tendency of government to encroach upon the free exercise of religion. As he explained to Noah Webster:

            It had become an universal and almost uncontroverted position in the several States that the purposes of society do not require a surrender of all our rights to our ordinary governors . . . and which experience has nevertheless proved they [the government] will be constantly encroaching on if submitted to them; that there are also certain fences which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious [effective] against wrong and rarely obstructive of right, which yet the governing powers have ever shown a disposition to weaken and remove. Of the first kind, for instance, is freedom of religion. [7]

            Thomas Jefferson had no intention of allowing the government to limit, restrict, regulate, or interfere with public religious practices. He believed, along with the other Founders, that the First Amendment had been enacted only to prevent the federal establishment of a national denomination – a fact he made clear in a letter to fellow-signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush:

            [T]he clause of the Constitution which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly. [8]

            Jefferson had committed himself as President to pursuing the purpose of the First Amendment: preventing the “establishment of a particular form of Christianity” by the Episcopalians, Congregationalists, or any other denomination.

            Since this was Jefferson’s view concerning religious expression, in his short and polite reply to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802, he assured them that they need not fear; that the free exercise of religion would never be interfered with by the federal government. As he explained:

            Gentlemen, – The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association give me the highest satisfaction. . . . Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association assurances of my high respect and esteem. [9]

            Jefferson’s reference to “natural rights” invoked an important legal phrase which was part of the rhetoric of that day and which reaffirmed his belief that religious liberties were inalienable rights. While the phrase “natural rights” communicated much to people then, to most citizens today those words mean little.

            By definition, “natural rights” included “that which the Books of the Law and the Gospel do contain.” [10] That is, “natural rights” incorporated what God Himself had guaranteed to man in the Scriptures. Thus, when Jefferson assured the Baptists that by following their “natural rights” they would violate no social duty, he was affirming to them that the free exercise of religion was their inalienable God-given right and therefore was protected from federal regulation or interference.

            So clearly did Jefferson understand the Source of America’s inalienable rights that he even doubted whether America could survive if we ever lost that knowledge. He queried:

            And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have lost the only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? [11]

            Jefferson believed that God, not government, was the Author and Source of our rights and that the government, therefore, was to be prevented from interference with those rights. Very simply, the “fence” of the Webster letter and the “wall” of the Danbury letter were not to limit religious activities in public; rather they were to limit the power of the government to prohibit or interfere with those expressions.

            Earlier courts long understood Jefferson’s intent. In fact, when Jefferson’s letter was invoked by the Supreme Court (only twice prior to the 1947 Everson case – the Reynolds v. United States case in 1878), unlike today’s Courts which publish only his eight-word separation phrase, that earlier Court published Jefferson’s entire letter and then concluded:

            Coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it [Jefferson’s letter] may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the Amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere [religious] opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order. (emphasis added) [12]

            That Court then succinctly summarized Jefferson’s intent for “separation of church and state”:

            [T]he rightful purposes of civil government are for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In th[is] . . . is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State. [13]

            With this even the Baptists had agreed; for while wanting to see the government prohibited from interfering with or limiting religious activities, they also had declared it a legitimate function of government “to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.”

            That Court, therefore, and others (for example, Commonwealth v. Nesbit and Lindenmuller v. The People), identified actions into which – if perpetrated in the name of religion – the government did have legitimate reason to intrude. Those activities included human sacrifice, polygamy, bigamy, concubinage, incest, infanticide, parricide, advocation and promotion of immorality, etc.

            Such acts, even if perpetrated in the name of religion, would be stopped by the government since, as the Court had explained, they were “subversive of good order” and were “overt acts against peace.” However, the government was never to interfere with traditional religious practices outlined in “the Books of the Law and the Gospel” – whether public prayer, the use of the Scriptures, public acknowledgements of God, etc.

            Therefore, if Jefferson’s letter is to be used today, let its context be clearly given – as in previous years. Furthermore, earlier Courts had always viewed Jefferson’s Danbury letter for just what it was: a personal, private letter to a specific group. There is probably no other instance in America’s history where words spoken by a single individual in a private letter – words clearly divorced from their context – have become the sole authorization for a national policy. Finally, Jefferson’s Danbury letter should never be invoked as a stand-alone document. A proper analysis of Jefferson’s views must include his numerous other statements on the First Amendment.

            For example, in addition to his other statements previously noted, Jefferson also declared that the “power to prescribe any religious exercise. . . . must rest with the States” (emphasis added). Nevertheless, the federal courts ignore this succinct declaration and choose rather to misuse his separation phrase to strike down scores of State laws which encourage or facilitate public religious expressions. Such rulings against State laws are a direct violation of the words and intent of the very one from whom the courts claim to derive their policy.

            One further note should be made about the now infamous “separation” dogma. The Congressional Records from June 7 to September 25, 1789, record the months of discussions and debates of the ninety Founding Fathers who framed the First Amendment. Significantly, not only was Thomas Jefferson not one of those ninety who framed the First Amendment, but also, during those debates not one of those ninety Framers ever mentioned the phrase “separation of church and state.” It seems logical that if this had been the intent for the First Amendment – as is so frequently asserted-then at least one of those ninety who framed the Amendment would have mentioned that phrase; none did.

            In summary, the “separation” phrase so frequently invoked today was rarely mentioned by any of the Founders; and even Jefferson’s explanation of his phrase is diametrically opposed to the manner in which courts apply it today. “Separation of church and state” currently means almost exactly the opposite of what it originally meant.

            http://www.wallbuilders. com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=123

          • Doug Indeap

            Ahem, if you check article I, section 7, of the Constitution, you’ll find that enactment of a statute requires the approval of both the Congress and the President, unless Congress overrides a President’s veto.

            As for Barton, who wrote the article you pasted from his Wallbuilders site, this zealot’s “work” has been so thoroughly, repeatedly, and authoritatively debunked by so many who have demonstrated it to be riddled with slipshod research, shoddy analysis, and downright dishonestly that I can but wonder how you can admit to have read his stuff, let alone resort to him as an “authority” on this subject, without turning red from embarrassment. Perhaps the handiest debunking is Chris Rodda’s book, Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History (2006) (available free on line), where she conveniently collects and directly refutes his many mistakes and lies.

          • afchief

            That’s right Congress writes the laws the president signs them into law. The president cannot make, change or strike down any laws.

            For you to discredit David Barton shows me your “true colors”……a lying godless liberal. I see this EVERY TIME from liberals. When confronted with the truth they lie!!! The truth IS the enemy of liberals. All of Barton’s writings are backed up with sources.

            Everything you have stated IS a lie!!!!

          • Doug Indeap

            Your resort to ad hominem attack suggests we are about at the end of your rope.

            Now that you’ve recognized that it generally takes both Congress and the President to make a law, reread, reconsider, and respond to my earlier comment, predicated on that very fact, noting the illogic of all you would make of the term “Congress” as used in the First Amendment.

            Also, note that I never said the President can make laws, but rather noted that Presidents can take effective action other ways, e.g., by proclamation, executive order, or management of the departments of government–none of which you have so far addressed. Again, can the President, under your view, promote religion by any or all of the actions I mentioned earlier?

            (And if you persist in ad hominem attacks, I’ll take my answer off the air.)

          • afchief

            Your right! You attacked a man on the basis of NO facts. Only hearsay!! I find this from almost EVERY liberal when confronted with the truth….they smear and lie 99.99% of the time! I could careless if you take your answers off the air.

            Again, the 1st amendment STILL applies only to Congress. It does not apply to any other form of government. As yet proof that there is no separation of church and state the founders recognized God as the ultimate authority for our government and our society, consider the symbolism of the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. It shows a 13-step pyramid representing the 13 original states, placed under what the designer described as “the Eye of Providence.” The Latin words Annuit Coeptis, meaning “He [God] has favored our undertakings,” float above the scene. The seal was approved after six years of deliberation over various designs. Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson reported to the Congress that “The Eye over & the Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favor of the American cause.”

            If the doctrine of separation of church and state had been intended by the Founders to keep God and religion out of government, does it seem reasonable that such direct references to deity would have been approved for the official signature of our nation? Of course not!

          • Doug Indeap

            You dodged–didn’t respond to my earlier comment and didn’t answer my question.

          • afchief

            Which comment and question?

          • Doug Indeap

            Here are pertinent excerpts: You would make much of the First Amendment referring only to “Congress.” By your literal reading, are we to suppose the President could, by proclamation, establish a national religion? Or direct all federal agencies to use stationery bearing statements touting the virtues of Scientology?

            Also, note that I never said the President can make laws, but rather noted that Presidents can take effective action other ways, e.g., by proclamation, executive order, or management of the departments of government–none of which you have so far addressed. Again, can the President, under your view, promote religion by any or all of the actions I mentioned earlier? [To those earlier possibilities, I might add: Or could the Executive declare the views of a particular sect of Christianity to be true, but stop short of officially declaring that sect to be our national religion?]

            [Y]our supposition that a freedom is necessarily absolute has no basis in reality or law. Go ahead and try to think of even one freedom or right that is absolute. (And if you think you’ve found one, think again.) A moment’s reflection will disclose the silliness of the notion. For instance, is one free to pray (or otherwise exercise one’s religion by any number of practices, e.g., stopping whatever one is doing and standing, kneeling, dancing, animal sacrificing, whatever) any time and any place? How about in the middle of a school class? Or school exam? Or the left-hand turn lane of a busy intersection? Or shouting out a prayer through a bullhorn at 2:00 a.m. on a quiet residential street? Or . . . you get the idea.

          • afchief

            No, the president cannot. No where in the Constitution does it give him that authority. An EO or proclamation has NO authority of law. I would advise you to read Article ll of the constitution.

            “For instance, is one free to pray (or otherwise exercise one’s religion by any number of practices, e.g., stopping whatever one is doing and standing, kneeling, dancing, animal sacrificing, whatever) any time and any place? How about in the middle of a school class? Or school exam? Or the left-hand turn lane of a busy intersection? Or shouting out a prayer through a bullhorn at 2:00 a.m. on a quiet residential street? Or . . . you get the idea.”

            Are you for real? Use some common sense. We are talking about praying in government settings. Again, the right to freely express one’s faith is an unalienable right. Unalienable means CANNOT be taken away.

          • Eric Goberman

            Barton’s book was withdrawn from publication by the publisher and he was drawn and quartered by both the NYTimes and NPR for flagrant lying – quote mining. and making up quotes.

            He has no qualifications as an historian – he’s a preacher

          • afchief

            More proof that truth is the enemy of liberalism.

            Everyone of Barton’s articles are backed up with references.

          • Bob Johnson

            Cut & Paste from page 55
            Debunking David Barton’s JEFFERSON LIES
            by Chris Rodda

            Barton’s lie about this school is also a good example of his tricky footnoting. His paragraph about Jefferson’s wanting to bring this school to America contains two footnotes. But, if you look at where in his paragraph his footnotes are, and go look up these footnotes (they’re actually endnotes, so you don’t even see them unless you flip to the back of the book), you’ll see that they have absolutely nothing to do with the claim he’s making about Jefferson. One of his footnotes is at the end of the sentence where he says that John Calvin founded the Geneva Academy in 1559, and the other is where he says that students from this school became missionaries. The source Barton cites in these two footnotes is a biography of John Calvin. But where isn’t there a footnote? At the end of the last sentence, where he claims that Jefferson wanted to import a religious school to America. So Barton, by throwing in two footnotes for facts that are completely unnecessary to document, gives his readers the impression that his claim about Jefferson is documented while not actually documenting this claim at all.

            http://www.liarsforjesus. com/downloads/Debunking_Bartons_Jefferson_Lies_2. pdf

          • Eric Goberman

            The 14th applies ALL of the amendments to all levels of govt. The 2nd amendment cannot be overturned by a lower level govt – ie – no level of govt can ban the ownership of firearms in it’s purview. (See Washington DC and its attempt to ban firearms)

            State and towns cannot outlaw voting.

            /Again, the right to freely express one’s faith is an unalienable right. Unalienable means CANNOT be taken away./

            Their rights have not been taken away – they give them up freely when they wear the mantle of a govt representative. While working they are speaking for the govt. You think it’s OK for any level of govt to dictate that christian churches must pay full taxes but no other group ? What about closing all christian churches in a town by order of the town govt ?

          • afchief

            Wrong! The 14th amendment was placed into the Constitution to provide Freed Slaves with US Citizenship. Due Process Right before the Ratification of the 14th Amendment was not conferred to Slaves. The Equal Treatment was to confer Citizenship Rights to FREED Slaves. The Context of the Amendment was to Freed Slaves Rights, NOT to Homosexual’s Marriages or ANYTHING ELSE!! That Power is left to the States under the 10th Amendment, as the States have never Enumerated that power TO the Federal Government BY Amendment. Not even the SCOTUS has the Power to even hear this case as the Power is left to the States.

            “Their rights have not been taken away – they give them up freely when they wear the mantle of a govt representative. While working they are speaking for the govt.”

            Wrong! Show me where in the Constitution people give up their rights to pray when they work for or on government property?

            Waiting…………………………………………………………………….

          • afchief

            Also, with you lying about David Barton, get your facts straight before you state false accusations like this;

            “this zealot’s “work” has been so thoroughly, repeatedly, and authoritatively debunked by so many who have demonstrated it to be riddled with slipshod research, shoddy analysis, and downright dishonestly that I can but wonder how you can admit to have read his stuff, let alone resort to him as an “authority” on this subject, without turning red from embarrassment.”

            DAVID BARTON WINS MILLION-DOLLAR DEFAMATION SUIT (against atheist)

            WND. com ^ | 20DEC2014 | John Aman

            David Barton critics beware: There’s now a price to pay if you want to defame the popular historian, author and speaker with false and outlandish charges.

            Barton won a $1 million defamation judgment in August against two left-leaning candidates for the Texas State Board of Education. The pair, Rebecca Bell-Metereau and Judy Jennings, charged in a 2010 campaign video that Barton, a consultant to the Board, was “known for speaking at white-supremacist rallies.”

            That highly charged claim stems from two 1991 speeches Barton gave to groups linked to the racist and anti-Semitic “Christian Identity” movement. Barton, recognized as a strong friend of Israel, acknowledges speaking to the groups but said in court filings he did not know in advance about the racist ideology of his hosts.

            (Excerpt) Read more at wnd. com …

        • The Skeptical Chymist

          By your reading of the First Amendment, only Congress is forbidden from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. I, and most constitutional scholars, believe that the prohibitions on Congress in the First Amendment were extended to other levels of government when the 14th Amendment was enacted. Under your interpretation, state governments, local governments, school boards, and public school administrators could prohibit the “free exercise thereof”, just so long as Congress is uninvolved. Is that really the position you want to adopt?

          • afchief

            Don’t make me laugh!!! Constitutional lawyers? More like professional atheists, liberals and homos. I have seen NO expertise from any of you on this site. NONE!!! The founders meant exactly what they said: “Congress,” as in the United States Congress, “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

          • The Skeptical Chymist

            OK, then. The full text of the first amendment, as it pertains to religion is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” If this only pertains to Congress, as you claim, can all other government entities (such as state governments, local governments, school boards, and school administrators) prohibit the free exercise of religion? You see, if you limit the Establishment clause so that it only pertains to Congress, you ALSO have to limit the Free Exercise clause so that it only pertains to Congress. Under your interpretation of the First Amendment, any other government entity could prohibit the free exercise of religion as to whatever extent they like. When the Dearborn city council prohibits churches anywhere in the city, you’ll agree that they’re acting in keeping with the Constitution. Likewise, when the state of Utah forbids all religions but Mormonism within the state, you’ll agree that they are acting constitutionally.

            Otherwise, your insistence that the First Amendment only limits what Congress can do is revealed to be inconsistent and self-serving.

          • afchief

            “If this only pertains to Congress, as you claim, can all other government entities (such as state governments, local governments, school boards, and school administrators) prohibit the free exercise of religion?”

            Yes they can! The individual states face no such restriction. In fact, until as late as 1877, and after religious free exercise became absolute with passage of the 14th Amendment, most states did have an official state form of Christianity. Massachusetts, for example, sanctioned the Congregational Church until 1833.

            Even so, today’s anti-Christian ruling class insists on revising history. The ACLU’s own promotional materials, for example, overtly advocate unconstitutional religious discrimination: “The message of the Establishment Clause [to the U.S. Constitution] is that religious activities must be treated differently from other activities to ensure against governmental support for religion,” they claim.

            This is abject nonsense. It’s unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination—a twisted misrepresentation of the First Amendment. Secular “progressivism” depends upon deception as much as it relies upon revisionism. Yes, “separation” applies, but only insofar as it requires the state to remain separate from the church. That is to say, that government may not interfere with the free exercise of either speech or religion.

            For decades, hard-left anti-theist groups like the ACLU, People for the American Way (PFAW) and Barry Lynn’s Americans United (AU) have employed a cynical disinformation scheme intended to intimidate clergy into silence on issues of morality, culture and Christian civic involvement—issues that, as Falwell noted, are not political so much as they have been politicized; issues that are inherently “religious.”

          • The Skeptical Chymist

            There is a contradiction (again!) in your view. Above you say that the individual states face no restriction and can prohibit the free exercise of religion (your 2nd paragraph, second sentence). Yet in the third sentence of that same paragraph, you mention the 14th amendment and state that it made “religious free exercise … absolute.”

            How can one discuss anything with a person who contradicts himself in two sequential sentences?

            If the 14th amendment made free exercise of religion absolute, it also made government establishment of religion absolutely prohibited.

          • afchief

            What I meant is the First Amendment’s clause prohibiting an establishment of religion applied to the federal government, not the states. It clearly says “Congress [not the states] shall make no law…” It was publicly understood and acknowledged that the Constitution was intended to govern the federal government itself, not the people. The states were to be left alone to govern themselves as they saw fit in their pursuit of happiness.

            Why didn’t the First Amendment apply to the states? Many of them already had establishments of religion. At the time of the War for Independence, Massachusetts had a state church, Puritanism (or Calvinism). Connecticut’s official religion was Congregationalism. Rhode Island’s established church was Baptist. Pennsylvania’s was Quakerism. Maryland’s was Roman Catholicism. Virginia’s was the Anglican Church of England (which, after the war, became the Episcopal Church of America).

            In fact, most of the thirteen states at one time had their own official churches/establishments of religion and five of the thirteen had their own at the time the First Amendment was ratified. When James Madison was writing the Constitution, no mention of a guarantee of religious liberty was at first included because he feared that states such as Massachusetts and Virginia, with their strong state churches, would otherwise not accept the Constitution. However, he was persuaded to include the “no religious test” clause of Article VI. The Bill of Rights, Amendment I, which he later supported, provided the final corrective to the situation. The last of the state religions was disestablished in 1833. They were disestablished not by the Supreme Court but by the states’ own free will. The states voluntarily gave up their establishments of religion in the name of freedom of conscience.

  • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

    You seem to have put “Atheists” in the title where it should be “the constitution”.

  • FoJC_Forever

    Faith filled prayer cannot be stopped by anyone. Christians don’t need to fight over publicly led “prayers”, because they are just for show anyway. Those who know Jesus, pray in Faith and what God has promised comes to pass. The religious fight amongst themselves and those whose religion is their own mind and self also fight. You all are just a mob lashing out at one another.

    Follow Jesus, find Peace.

    • gogo0

      yes that is exactly the point, anyone can pray anywhere and any time privately and no one will care.

      matthew 6:5 says “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

      glad to see someone here understands!

  • Mike Laborde

    There is no doubt that the FFRF is a communist orginazation sent from haters freedom and the constitution.

    • gogo0

      the FFRF hates unconstitutional attacks on freedom.
      pray anywhere and any time that you want, just don’t bother anyone else with it. its really quite simple. how about instead of pushing christianity on people all the time, you practice it in ways that don’t affect other people practicing their religion (or none at all)?

      • Mike Laborde

        It’s really quite simple. Freedom is freedom. It only bothers the FFRF from way across the country that doesn’t even hear it but sends in people who don’t live in that school district. You bother me with your religion so don’t come around me. Deny not, because you do have a religion. England atheist have stated that emphatically. And you are organized. So you do have organized religion. Undeniable. It’s a real pity that you don’t know that fact. So go and practice your religion elsewhere where I don’t have to hear your prayers to the air.

        • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

          It only bothers the FFRF from way across the country that doesn’t even hear it but sends in people who don’t live in that school district.

          You don’t even know what they do — they don’t “send people in”, people who live in the area report constitutional violations to the FFRF.

        • gogo0

          so if muslim prayers were preceding city meetings in another state from you, you would be fine with that because you dont live there? somehow i find that hard to believe.

          freedom is great as long as it doesnt infringe upon others, and making government meetings christian themed is unconstitutional.

          atheism is as much a religion as not believing in zeus. do you believe in zeus or or you practicing christianity and non-zeusism? how about non-FSMism, and non-santaism? calling atheism a religion is not an argument anyway. enforcing secular government gives people of all religions equal rights and freedoms

        • Bob Johnson

          And the Pacific Justice Institute also does not have people living in Chino, but sent lawyers 500 miles south from Sacramento.

          • Mike Laborde

            So the district doesn’t have a right to defend against those FFRF thugs from another state. You have run up onto a brick wall that you say FFRF can attack but the board can’t defend. Those comments of your is cowardice.

    • Cady555

      The FFRF defends the Constitution.

    • afchief

      They are evil!!!

  • Mike Laborde

    Without a doubt, the FFRF orginasation comes straight from the 40’s communist Germany Haters f freedom and the constitution.

    • Bob Johnson

      History fail. In the 40’s Germany had a right-wing fascist government. The communists were in Russia and fought with the US in WW II.

      • Mike Laborde

        There are no similarities to conservatiism and Hitler’s fascism. They are dianamically opposed. Someone taught you revisionist history. I suspect that you are a liberal. Which only know what other liberals tell them. Look up the real truth about Hitlers’ Germany instead of trying to rewrite history.

    • Giraffe-Junk

      Would you say the same thing if the Board Members pulled out their carpet in the middle of the meeting and all faced Mecca?

      • Mike Laborde

        They are doing that now in the schools, in government buildings and in the White house. And guess what, you hear crickets from the FFRF and liberals like you who don’t agree with the constitution’s 1st amendment. And you can’t say that it is not happening my friend because it is.

        • Original Chum

          Proof?

          • EverythingYouKnowIsWrong!

            Proof, from an idiot who pedantically claims to explain what the first amendment means without knowing what it actually says?

          • Original Chum

            Yep, you called it.

          • Mike Laborde

            See, that is how people like you operate. Then when someone comes up with the proof, people like you say “it ain’t so” ” I never saw that”. Denial is what will enslave you. California schools, Texas schools, Michigan schools are teach, teaching Islamic religion. You will just say it ain’t so, so Google it Chump.

          • Original Chum

            You’re making the claim, own it. Support it with evidence. It’s not that hard, you can do it.

          • Mike Laborde

            You are a coward. I told you that you would deny any truth, because the truth is not in you. You are worse than a coward. You had better watch out Ahlah’s buddies will hunt you down you coward. You had better not attack them you coward.

          • Original Chum

            Yeah I didn’t think so, nothing but hot air and a tin foil hat.

          • Mike Laborde

            Yea, I knew that you are a Christian hater, Gd hater because you attack Christianity but schrivel up at the sound and sight of muslims and ahalah ha, ha ,ha, No hot air here unlike you who dn, deny, deny an are afraid of your own shadow.

          • Original Chum

            This really shows your maturity level. I haven’t said anything negative about christians, god, or muslims. I just asked for proof. It’s certainly pretty easy to draw some conclusions about you though.

          • Mike Laborde

            You are not telling any truth and you know it. Run you little communist coward. Run to your moma. She will protect you from those muslims that you are so scared of You are a bully When you can get away with it, but a sniveling little coward. Without cause you attack , but only attack those who just poo po you because of your ignorant stance on atheism. You have been found out and found wanting. Your conclusions are non, non. You have no Idea what life and freedom are all about. So you make yourself a itsey bitssey god. Talking to you is like talking to a 3 year old throwing a silent temper tantrum. You are all bound up with your “self” and care nothing for humanity. Little gods like you will inherit death and destruction. You are comiting suicide because you can’t stand yourself. I see right through you and you are a very poor example of a human being. You have no evol, but you do have evil intentions.

          • Original Chum

            If you want to compare someone to a 3 year old you might want some better grammar. Also, you’re the one who feels proof isn’t necessary to back up their claims.

          • Mike Laborde

            Coward You can’t find any evidence because you don’t want to. Is that lie “the dog ate my homework”?

          • Original Chum

            I don’t need to, you’re the one making a claim. If you don’t want to support it stop stating it as fact. I simply have no reason to believe you otherwise.

          • Mike Laborde

            You don’t do anything for yourself. You think you know everything about, the courts and the constitution because that what you were told about them. You are a spoiled brat that thinks you have conquered the world but actually, you have conquered yourself.

          • Original Chum

            Now you’re just getting off of topic, name calling, and making rather terrible assumptions. The good news in all of this is that everyone here can see how petty you are.

          • Mike Laborde

            You are a coward. No assumptions, you are a coward.

          • Original Chum

            You ended up coming back, and you still wont support your argument. And you’re still just name calling. Also, how is it cowardice to ask for proof?

          • Mike Laborde

            You are a coward. It’s not name calling. It’s telling you what you really are.

          • Original Chum

            There you go again, still not adding anything the conversation. You can’t bring any proof to the claim you’ve made so you decide to attack me. Sounds like maybe you’re afraid you wont find any.

          • Mike Laborde

            There is much proff for what I have told you. You are just afraid to look for it as you will find the proff and you will have to apolagize to me . So that not only makes you a coward but also a deviant.

          • Original Chum

            This just keeps getting better, I’m not going to go find proof for YOUR argument. If we can make claims without any evidence then Zeus is real, I slayed a dragon last night, and when I brought its meat home bigfoot and I deep fried it. He’s partial to wings. And apparently now you need to go find evidence I did this, because I’ve stated it’s true. It’s also funny that through all of this you’ve decided I need to apologize to you when you’ve done nothing to add to this conversation but name call and attack my character. Just keep showing us that Christian Love, it’ll pay…sometime. Maybe?

          • Mike Laborde

            This is a monumental step on your part of being the laziest punk on the planet. Now try to tell me there is no prof, you lazy bum. You slayed yourself last night, finished kill your thought process and drowned your intalect. My oh my, what a worthless human being you are. You need to apologize to those in mental institutions because you belong in them more than they do.

          • Original Chum

            See what I mean? Name calling. Each time you reply with more hostility. Each response you still refuse to provide proof for your original claim. Now you can’t even understand the comparison I’ve made. Also, it’s intellect, but please keep feeling superior.

          • Mike Laborde

            Nothing you say will change the fact that you are a coward. You keep sounding like you know everything but are too afraid to find out the truth. That my dear makes you a coward.

          • Original Chum

            Still name calling. I’ve never claimed to know everything, but if I did I’d at least try to support my claim. Where as you make bold accusations as well as claims, don’t defend them with evidence, then personally attack others when they simply ask for proof. You sound like a zealot or simply ignorant.

          • Mike Laborde

            You are still a coward in denial of the truth, willfully denying the truth and trading it for a lie. In which I doubt that you even care because you are a bigot. No name calling, just the truth.

          • Original Chum

            You haven’t even claimed what the truth is! Also, please explain how I’m a bigot. Asking for proof does not make one a bigot, you might want to look up that definition.

          • Mike Laborde

            You are a bigot because you have an agenda of tearing down 1st amendment rights of others but can’t see that your so called right is not in the constitution. In 1957, websters dictionary defined the verb Truth as, now get this straight, ; Jesus Christ. But haters of Christians and their first amendment rights like you, which makes you a bigot and a coward have removed the true definition and replaced it with a secular definition.

          • Mike Laborde

            The truth is , that you are a bigot and a coward. Void of compassion or humanity. And full of yourself.

          • Mike Laborde

            You should rename yourself as Original Chump.

        • Giraffe-Junk

          “in the White house” first Mike, let’s make sure you get the story right…Do you remember Pastor Jeremiah Wright? So, let me make sure I’ve got this right, Obama is a Muslim if I listen to some stranger off the internet or he’s a Christian if I listen and see pictures in the news. Well, that’s the beauty of being in America, Obama can be ANY religion he wants to be and so can you and so can I and that’s why the School Board members should practice their religion when off duty and not being paid with my tax dollars. P.S. everyone who doesn’t agree with you isn’t a liberal, I’ve probably been a republican longer than you’ve been alive.

          • Mike Laborde

            You said that he is a muslim and yes he had E moms to the peoples house and yes they had their prayer rugs and Obama did bow to alah with them so you can deny all you want to. It’s already proven. In the peoples house, a government building so try to make cover for Obama. You do deceive.

          • Giraffe-Junk

            Uh huh! Uh huh! Conspiracy what….now about that Pastor Jeremiah Wright problem? Showing respect to a religion, uh huh!

          • Mike Laborde

            You are a deceiver and only see what you want to see. Grow up or move to the soviet Union. You won’t like it there and will wine that here you are the winner of freedom. In your dreams. You are a looser in the truth department.

          • Giraffe-Junk

            How did I deceive anyone? I didn’t write the news stories. I’m probably older than you, so I don’t need to grow up. I fought for your freedom in a war, use it wisely. It’s spelled “whine” and it means to complain, which I wasn’t, I was just reiterating a news story. Wine is something you drink. You saying “You are a looser in the truth department” is just your projection, but I understand, when things contradict what you WANT to believe, that’s just what you do. It doesn’t make you a loser (again, looser is spelled incorrectly – must be that autocorrect), it just makes you unable to face the truth, a lot of people do that as a coping mechanism.

        • Cady555

          Name one place where a government employee has said to students “turn toward mecca, it’s time to pray.”? Schools should and must permit non disruptive individual student prayer. But nobody gets to tell another to pray – no matter which God is prayed to. Same rule applies equally to all.

        • acontraryview

          “They are doing that now in the schools, in government buildings and in the White house.”

          Doing what?

          “you hear crickets from the FFRF and liberals like you who don’t agree with the constitution’s 1st amendment. ”

          What portion of the 1st Amendment are you suggesting that liberals and the FFRF don’t agree with?

  • Doug Indeap

    The court got it right. It is important to distinguish between “individual” and “government” action and speech about religion as the Constitution protects the former and constrains the latter. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square–far from it. The First Amendment assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school board members holding meeting of the board), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical. Here, it was an easy call–as the board members were plainly acting in their official capacities.

    • afchief

      Wrong! The 1st amendment only constrains Congress! There is NO separation of church and state mentioned in the Constitution. NONE! You misunderstand Separation of Church and State. Our Founders did not intend to protect the State from Religion, but Religion from the State. The Constitution and Bill of Rights was Ratified to Limit Government.

      Saying a prayer at a public meeting does not establish a religion. Only Congress can do that…but they can’t. If the government can inhibit the mention of God, then government has inserted itself ABOVE God. That has been the Christ-haters plan all along. They have used that lie to run Christianity out of the Public Square.

      • Doug Indeap

        Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution. Just as the founders did not simply say in the Constitution that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances, but rather actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances, they also did not merely say there should be separation of church and state, and rather actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of “We the people” (not a deity), (2) according that government limited, enumerated
        powers, (3) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (4) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (5), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day (by which governments generally were grounded in some appeal to god(s)), the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which affirmatively constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

        That the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who once mistakenly supposed they were there and, upon learning of their own error, fancy they’ve solved a Constitutional mystery. The absence of the metaphorical phrase commonly used to name one of its principles, though, is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, majority rule) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

        To the extent that some nonetheless would like confirmation–in those very words–of the founders’ intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820).

        The primary purpose of the First Amendment religion clauses is neither to protect religion nor government from one another, but rather to protect individuals’ religious freedom. The free-exercise clause does this directly by constraining the government from prohibiting individuals from freely exercising their religions. The establishment clause does this indirectly by constraining government from promoting or otherwise taking steps to establish any religion, thus assuring that individuals are free to exercise their religions without fearing the government will favor the religions of others and thus disfavor theirs.

        Some who nonetheless would like to use government to promote their religion have argued that the First Amendment works only in one direction–to protect religion from government, but not the other way around. This, they suppose, would leave them free to insinuate their religion into government and thereby effectively establish it as the nation’s religion. To the extent that the First Amendment prevents that, it can be understood in that respect at least to have the effect of protecting government from religion. Indeed, the notion of a one directional wall is self-contradictory: If any church is allowed to so influence and control government and thereby achieve a favored or established status, all individuals are at risk of their religions falling into disfavor with government and facing discriminatory treatment. One of the primary aims of the First Amendment is to prevent just that.

        • afchief

          Where ever you got this garbage it is a boldface lie. The 1st Amendment, places a limit on what Congress can do, not a limit on what states can do and not a limit on what public schools or individual people can do.

          Congress, the 1st Amendment pointedly states, “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

          The wise and pro-Christian purpose of the 1st Amendment is to keep the federal government from allowing a denomination of the Christian church to become the state church of the United States of America.

          The 1st Amendment thus stands against a national state denominational church – not against Christianity. And not against Christianity in the name of secularism. (Let us not forget that one of the lessons of the 20th century is that, out of its own inner philosophic necessity, unbridled secularism breeds unfreedom and inhumanity.)

          Instead, the aim of the 1st Amendment is to protect the individual states from a federal monopoly of political and ecclesiastical power. It is not designed to unleash and impose a Christian-hating secular terror upon the American people.

          In the constitutional affirmation of liberty, the individual states were – and are – free to create their own denominational state churches, if that is the desire of the citizens of the respective states. It is a matter of choice left to the states and not to the federal government.

          The last thing either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence has in mind is the removal of Christianity from public life and from public influence across the whole of life. That view is secular superstition.

          After all, the entire body politic of the American initiative is rooted in the Biblical concept of there being a real Creator who has created human beings in his image and has endowed human beings with “certain unalienable rights,” and that among them are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is about as unsecular as it gets.

          The point of the U.S. Constitution is to incarnate politically and governmentally those principles of human freedom and dignity, rooted in the Creator, that are expressed in the Declaration. Yes, it is possible to think and act holistically when founding a nation “conceived in liberty.”

          What follows is clear: Public school officials in every state are entirely within their rights as human beings and as U.S. citizens to stage plays that speak clearly and dramatically about the facts and message of the space-time birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

          This is the mainstream and humane position of human freedom and dignity, and of an American citizen’s freedom and dignity, under God, as expressed in the genius of the American founding.

          Against this, secular extremists have created a fairy tale of legalistic mythology to support their ahistorical beliefs regarding the 1st Amendment, the Constitution, and a freedom-denying secularistic society.

          As the news reminds us virtually every day, this extremism wars against who we are as human beings – and against who we are as American citizens – alive to living in liberating community with God and man in the total circle of life, including public life.

          This extremism should be rejected, and must be rejected root and branch, if the tree of liberty is to survive and thrive. Either that or face the fundamental transformation of America into utter regressiveness and lack of humanness.

          America is about freedom to live in the light and to reject the darkness – on stages, in schools, at football games, in the marketplace, and in the halls of Congress. This truly is love without limits.

          This is who we are. And if we would be free tomorrow and the day after, this is who we must forever be.

          • Doug Indeap

            I’ve addressed your notions about Congress and states elsewhere.

            You are right in one respect–and that is that the Constitution’s separation of church and state is not an anti-religion concept. It is instructive to recall that the Constitution’s separation of church and state reflected, at the federal level, a “disestablishment” political movement then sweeping the country. That political movement succeeded in disestablishing all state religions by the 1830s. It is worth noting, as well, that this disestablishment movement was linked to another movement, the Great Awakening. The people of the time saw separation of church and state as a boon, not a burden, to religion.

            This sentiment was recorded by a famous observer of the American experiment: “On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. . . . I questioned the members of all the different sects. . . . I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America, I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835).

            While some also draw meaning from the variously phrased references to god(s) in the Declaration of Independence (references that could mean any number of things, some beyond or different than the Christian idea of God) and try to connect that meaning to the Constitution, the effort is largely baseless. Important as the Declaration is in our history, it did not operate to bring about independence (that required winning a war), nor did it found a government, nor did it even create any law, and it certainly did not say or do anything that somehow dictated the meaning of a Constitution adopted twelve years later. The colonists issued the Declaration not to do any of that, but rather to politically explain and justify the move to independence that was already well underway. Nothing in the Constitution depends on anything said in the Declaration. Nor does anything said in the Declaration purport to limit or define the government later formed by the free people of the former colonies. Nor could it even if it purported to do so. Once independent, the people of the former colonies were free to choose whether to form a collective government at all and, if so, whatever form of government they deemed appropriate. They were not somehow limited by anything said in the Declaration. Sure, they could take its words as inspiration and guidance if, and to the extent, they chose–or they could not. They could have formed a theocracy if they wished–or, as they ultimately chose, a government founded on the power of the people (not a deity) and separated from religion.

          • afchief

            Where are you going with this? The bottom line is there is no law against praying anywhere. There cannot be a law. The right to freely express one’s faith is an unalienable right. Unalienable means CANNOT be taken away. It’s like skin color, or height, or sexual orientation. You is what you is and it cannot be changed. The right to pray is unalienable.

            The courts and their legal miscreants have separated the terms. Establishment doesn’t trump free exercise. Free exercise cannot be inhibited by lawyers or judges. If it is restricted, it is not “free” exercise. Technically only Congress can take away the right to pray, and they are expressly forbidden to do so.

            Only in America, with our un-Godly, un-righteous courts, could such a charade have been foisted upon us. There is no separation between the church and the state. They just tell us that there is and then they use that to dredge our children through the cesspool of secular humanism.

            Free exercise means free exercise, PERIOD!!!

          • Doug Indeap

            First, if you fail to distinguish between individual and government action and speech about religion, then you have no chance of puzzling out how to apply the Constitution–since it protects the former and constrains the latter. If you don’t know whether you are dealing with individual or government action, you can’t even start a realistic analysis or discussion.

            Second, your supposition that a freedom is necessarily absolute has no basis in reality or law. Go ahead and try to think of even one freedom or right that is absolute. (And if you think you’ve found one, think again.) A moment’s reflection will disclose the silliness of the notion. For instance, is one free to pray (or otherwise exercise one’s religion by any number of practices, e.g., stopping whatever one is doing and standing, kneeling, dancing, animal sacrificing, whatever) any time and any place? How about in the middle of a school class? Or school exam? Or the left-hand turn lane of a busy intersection? Or shouting out a prayer through a bullhorn at 2:00 a.m. on a quiet residential street? Or . . . you get the idea.

          • afchief

            Apply the Constitution? As a Constitutionalist and an orignalist the founders meant exactly what they said: “Congress,” as in the United States Congress, “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It is NOT saying any other form of government, period!

            “your supposition that a freedom is necessarily absolute has no basis in reality or law”

            If so.. THEN our “Rights” are merely privileges.. granted by givernment..And the States are not sovereign but instead provinces of a central givernment..

            You know…… like Canada..If no God in the US Constitution then who is the ultimate authority?…-OR- IS there any authority.?..No God THEN…. the US Constitution is butt wipe..exactly like every single other Constitution by any other nation..that constantly wipes themselves with their charters..

            And WHY?… every anarchist(democrat, libertarian, socialist, communist, Rino) HATES the Constitution except as tender to start a populist fire.. hoping praying for mayhem in the streets, flash mobs, and tribal wars..

            The US Constitution was written down for one reason and one reason ONLY.. To limit the scope and power of the Federal Givernment.. As the Constitution “ERODES” the Federal Givernment increases in scope and power..

            NO GOD, No Constitution, less God, less Constitution, a little God, a few privileges, much God, FREEDOM….

          • Eric Goberman

            With religion in the govt you restrict freedoms of the individual.

            The entire is that if the school board as part of their business (in session) is paying homage to a god – let’s pick Allah – then you, assuming you are a christian, are not being represented. You are being told in not so many words that the govt has no respect for christianity and it’s irrelevant.

            I THOUGHT the govt was there to respect and serve all – not just the members of one particular religious group.

            As for your call that the amendment only applies to Congress, you miss the 14th amendment which applies Due Process to ALL citizens. Effectively applying all of the amendments to all levels of govt.

            Point in fact, no state or local govt can ban all guns. This would contradict the 2nd amendment. Case law from Washington DC has borne this out. they tried to outlaw all weapons and they were overturned.

          • afchief

            The 14th amendment has nothing to do with this. NOTHING!! If you think otherwise, why did women need the 19th amendment to vote?

            The 1st amendment applies to Congress and Congress ONLY!!!

    • Cady555

      Yes. Individuals cannot use government authority to promote religion. They are free to promote religion on their own time and dime.

  • Chip01

    Good call by the court.

    Religion has no more place in politics, as politics has in religion.

  • Guzzman

    The Chino Valley School Board just wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, all because they wanted to use government to promote their personal religious beliefs.

    The Religious Right keeps spouting that separation of church and state is a “myth” and yet they keep losing these court cases. How come this “myth” keeps biting them in the backside? The School Board gets a failing grade in Civics 101.

  • acontraryview

    “Others believe the atheists’ activism is not upholding the Constitution but rather undermining values and practices that have long been integral to the nation’s history.”

    How is opening the meeting with Christian prayer and reading from the Bible “integral” to the work of a school board?

    Why do some Christians feel it is so important that their faith be given a place of privilege in government proceedings? Is their faith so weak that it must be reinforced in every possible venue?

    • Josey

      No, actually the opposite, prayer for God’s guidance is wise and takes faith to receive and follow. Where two or more are gathered in my Name (Jesus) there I am in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). But you remain ignorant in your comments so I’ll say no more.

      • acontraryview

        “No, actually the opposite, prayer for God’s guidance is wise and takes faith to receive and follow.”

        That has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Any board member who wants to is free to beseech God for guidance prior to the start of the meeting. Why is it so important to some Christians that there be public displays of their faith during government meetings? To me it is a sign of either weakness in their beliefs or a lack of respect for others.

  • acontraryview

    Well let’s see how this article misrepresents the truth.

    We can start with the headline: “Judge Sides with Atheists, Orders School Board to Stop Praying Before Meetings”

    No, that is not what the judge ordered. What the judge ordered was the School Board is not allowed to include prayer DURING the meeting as a formal part of the meeting. He said NOTHING about members of the board praying before the meeting.

    Next: “and is demanding that the school district reimburse the atheist activist group that filed suit for all court costs and plaintiff fees.”

    He didn’t “demand” anything. His ruling requires that the School District reimburse the plaintiffs for legal fees. This is very common in rulings and is pursuant to 42 U.S.C. subsection 1988.

    ““The FFRF has a track record of filing lawsuits that are not firmly grounded in existing law but rather try to change the law to conform to their philosophical views,” Dacus said in a statement.”

    If their lawsuits are not firmly grounded in existing law, it seems odd that they win so many of them.

    Ironic that the Judge’s first name is Jesus.

    • afchief

      LIAR!

      • acontraryview

        Please cite what I said that was a lie, Russ.

    • Josey

      Then there won’t be a problem with them unofficially gathering together in prayer before the meeting, as long as they don’t lead with a prayer at the start of the meeting…lol…those of you who believe in the power of prayer come a bit early and join hands in prayer, then start your meeting. Problem solved according to oh so contrary.

      • Bob Johnson

        Indeed, I know of a school board that meets informally across the street at a coffee shop before the meeting, then goes to the meeting and conducts the school’s business.

      • acontraryview

        “Then there won’t be a problem with them unofficially gathering together in prayer before the meeting, as long as they don’t lead with a prayer at the start of the meeting”

        That is correct.

        “those of you who believe in the power of prayer come a bit early and join hands in prayer, then start your meeting.”

        Exactly

        “Problem solved according to oh so contrary.”

        Actually, the judge solved the problem.

  • Tree L. Bolling

    I’m sure the Xtians would be screaming to “high heaven” if the school board was opening with an Islamic prayer to Allah.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    I thought they are Christians.

    Why would they want to disobey what Jesus says & pray at the meetings?

    Matthew 6:5-6 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
    “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

  • DisFan

    Pray whenever you wish; just don’t use a publicly funded school board meeting your pulpit. If I were a member of that board, and were subject to constant prayer and calls to “come to Jesus,” I’d be angry too. Public schools are PUBLIC, not private and religiously based. Proselytize on your own time, not on the time my taxes pay for.

    • http://www.broiledtoad.com/ DavidPHart

      Yes, Fuhrer.

  • Diaris

    Amusing to see how intolerant atheists are, especially since they do nothing but bash Christians for being intolerant.

    Supreme hypocrites. Give them political power and we know what they do with it.

    • Original Chum

      How is neutrality intolerant?