This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
INDIANAPOLIS, May 2, 2010 (UPI) -- Public school officials in Indiana say they will not appeal a judge's ruling prohibiting student-led prayer at Greenwood High School graduation ceremonies.
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker granted a preliminary injunction Friday banning student-led prayer at the school's May 28 commencement. Barker found "the process in place permitting a student-led prayer at Greenwood represents a clear violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment, as does the delivery of a specific prayer set to occur as the result of that process during the upcoming 2010 graduation ceremony," The Indianapolis Star reported Sunday.
Students at the school had voted in favor of having prayer at the graduation. Greenwood Superintendent David Edds said the district will no longer hold such votes, the newspaper reported.
"We wanted to make the case that we believe it (prayer) has a place in high school graduations," Edds said. "We think the students … who made the decision to have a prayer should be able to have that voice as well."
Barker found the school "put itself in constitutional duck soup" by violating the rights of students who voted in the minority against prayer at the graduation ceremony.
The decision to allow prayer was challenged in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of class valedictorian Eric Workman, who asserted the prayer would violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. ACLU-Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said the judge's ruling "is what the Constitution demands in this instance."
" I hope everyone understands the scope of the Constitution here," Falk said.
A federal judge and the ACLU vs. The first amendment.
US Constitution; First Amendment:
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.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802
“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. “
We the People:
When you see Jefferson’s quote in full context, it is apparent that he wanted to stop Congress from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. It is also evident that some federal judges misinterpret the US Constitution and that some people intentionally mislead with the phrase “wall of separation between church and State” out of context.
For more information, follow this video link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlfEdJNn15E