Letters to the Editor 07/01

Separation of church and state a myth

The Oracle’s opinion in Thursday’s edition reinforced the mythical rule of a separation of church and state.

I encourage everyone reading this to pick up a copy of the U.S. Constitution and see with their own eyes that no such language exists.

Instead they will find the First Amendment that states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Since this is part of the Bill of Rights it should be evident that this passage is a limit on the power of the federal government, not the power of the states or the people. “Congress shall make no law,” should be a clear indication of a federal limitation.

At the time of the Constitution’s birth, many states were holding debates regarding whether they should adopt state churches.

Our founders clearly and succinctly created this most important amendment to prevent the federal government from interfering with the establishment of religion by the states or the people, not to empower the government to prevent it.

This may seem like a radical twist on contemporary thought regarding the first amendment, but it is actually the untwisting of a myth forced on the American people for decades.

Just look at the language of current debate surrounding the First Amendment, and you will hear people repeatedly say, “Endorsement of religion” even though the Constitution reads “establishment of religion.”

These two words mean completely different things and are integral in perpetuating the lack of knowledge the American people possess about their sole protector of freedom, the Constitution.

This is just one of many of our rights which have been rearranged on the basis of interpreting the Constitution as a “living document.” This simply means there is no Constitution.

Imagine playing poker with a dealer who invoked “living rules” that can change at any time.

The Constitution needs to be applied to modern functions of government that previously did not exist. It should not be fundamentally changed in its spirit and purpose without amendment.

Our current government school system, perpetuated and guided by federal money and restrictions, is actually a blatant violation of the First Amendment.

It allows the federal government to force religious families to pay for the establishment of “religion prohibition centers” also known as public or government schools. This prohibits religious practice in several ways.

First, it prevents parents from using the confiscated tax money which goes to “religion prohibited” schools for tuition at religious schools of the parents’ choice.

Second, it hampers the competitive functioning of religious schools by flooding the market with zero price “religion prohibited” alternatives.

One way of picturing this is to imagine if the government, through taxes, operated gas stations which dispensed “zero price” gasoline just as government schools dispense zero price education.

Can private industry that does not have the ability to confiscate needed funds by force, really compete in this environment? Would many people pay $1.50 a gallon at Texaco when they can pump for free at the public station?

Robin Windall is a USF junior majoring in social science education.