I recalled this brillant gem and thought it worth posting again.
Attention Liberal Shoppers: Tissues can be found on aisle 6, next to the Do-It Yourself - fetus be gone Kits.
Source: Mark A. Rose, Right Minded:
To update the Right Minded column that ran on November 29, 2004, a federal judge has ruled that stickers proclaiming the fallibility of evolution must be removed from science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia. The stickers were added after more than 2,000 parents complained the textbooks presented evolution as fact, without mentioning competing ideas about our origins, such as intelligent design.
Six parents and the American Civil Liberties Union sued, contending the disclaimers violated separation of church and state and unfairly singled out evolution from thousands of other scientific theories as suspect. The stickers read "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."
So more than 2,000 parents wanted the stickers, six didn't, and guess who won? Indeed, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper sided with the small minority, ruling the stickers represented an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
In another case, atheist Michael Newdow, who successfully lobbied the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to strike the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in 2002, most recently brought a suit to federal court to have prayer banned from President Bush's inauguration. Displaying the intolerance that has become the trademark of the anti-Christian left, Newdow claimed that hearing religious references in the inauguration would cause "irreparable damage" to him. (Advice to Michael Newdow: buy earplugs.)
Fortunately, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates ruled against Newdow. But it's still ironic that liberals often throw out such lines as "with all the starving children and people without healthcare, I can't believe you're worried about (some conservative cause)." Yet liberals will crawl over the American landscape with a magnifying glass and a scrubbing pad looking for references to God. So I guess the proper retort here is "with all the starving children and people without healthcare, I can't believe you're worried about an inauguration prayer."
Or, to re-phrase a quote from Bill Clinton, "removing a prayer never created a job or educated a child, or helped a family make ends meet. Banning God never cleaned up a toxic waste dump or helped an elderly person."
Seriously, what these two cases illustrate -- among a much larger collection of like instances -- is an absurd miscarriage of what we have come to know as "separation of church and state." It's time for a refresher.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution begins "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The first part is known as the Establishment Clause. The second part is known as the Free Exercise Clause. Overall, it's perhaps the most misinterpreted sixteen words in the entire Constitution.
When the Bill of Rights was written in 1789, several states had their own religions. The Establishment Clause was written to prevent Congress from establishing a national church, which would have trumped the various state churches. The words "separation of church and state" do not appear in the Constitution, explicitly or implicitly. That phrase was found in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists dated January 1, 1802.
The phrase "separation of church and state" wasn't introduced into American jurisprudence until 1947 by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (Everson v. Board of Education). This was 158 years after Congress passed the Bill of Rights.
There are three elements to the Establishment Clause. They are: (1) Congress must (2) make a law that (3) establishes a religion. So let's apply the two aforementioned cases to the First Amendment under its proper context.
In the first case, regarding science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia, Judge Cooper effectively threw out any challenges to evolution because they represented an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Now, the Cobb County school board is not Congress, so right away the First Amendment does not apply.
In the second case, the President had prayer at his inauguration. Again, the President of the United States isn't Congress, so the First Amendment is not applicable. Michael Newdow's suit therefore didn't even deserve a ruling. It should have been thrown out because of its irrelevance to the First Amendment.
That individuals such as Michael Newdow even get attention from the press and the legal system illustrate the serious degree to which the Establishment Clause has been misapplied. That groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and especially their accomplices on the bench, have stretched the First Amendment far beyond its original meaning is the result of a judiciary that is far more intent on imposing its own beliefs than correctly interpreting the Constitution. What we have forgotten is that the court system is not the law of the land. The Constitution is.
Re-defining words is how the Establishment Clause has been misused to the point that "under God," textbook stickers, Ten Commandments plaques, and nativity scenes have all been declared unconstitutional in various places by various judges. Those who push for separation of church and state often produce quotes by our founders which supposedly conform to the present-day separationists' warped point-of-view. However, like nearly every other aspect of liberalism, separation of church and state is a concept that can be easily refuted by scrutinizing evidence and a careful definition of words.