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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Turning the (Moneychanger?) Tables on the Secularists

Jack Kemp

After writing the blog piece "Crazy Lib Rabbi disgraces self and all Jews one morning - and then having it recommended to all Tea Party Nation readers, there were about 40 comments by this afternoon.

One of them, by my frequent commenter Eugene Levitzky, was brilliant. And it has the makings of a counter intuitive argument to support court cases against those who wish to ban the Ten Commandments and Christmas Mangers from courthouse lawns - or ban private prayer or Christmas or Hannukah plays in schools.

Mr. Levitzky first made reference to a 1961 Supreme Court case that declared secularism as a religion. The case
ruling was:

The U.S. Supreme Court cited Secular Humanism as a religion in the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins (367 U.S.
488). Roy Torcaso, the appellant, a practicing Humanist in Maryland, had refused to declare his belief in Almighty God, as then required by State law in order for him to be commissioned as a notary public. The Court held that the requirement for such an oath "invades appellant's freedom of belief and religion."

The Court declared in Torcaso that the 'no establishment' clause of the First Amendment reached far more than churches of theistic faiths, that it is not the business of government or its agents to probe beliefs, and that therefore its inquiry is concluded by the fact of the profession of belief.

Actually, the Court in Torcaso rested its decision on "free exercise" grounds, not the "Establishment Clause."

Abington v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 264-65 (1962) J. Brennan, concurring.

The Court stated:

We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person to "profess a belief or disbelief in any religion." Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers,10 and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.

I'll first let Mr. Levitsky speak for himself:

Comment by Eugene Levitzky 38 minutes ago

Ross, you said this:"However, under the First Amendment that establishes our nation as a secular nation."

The First Ammendment establishes nothing but it does prohibit the US Congress from making any laws establishing a national religion and prohibits Congress from making any laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The question is what defines a religion, or more to the point, who defines a religion.

The Supreme Court defined Secular Humanism as a Religion. Okay. Secular Humanism = a religion. Secular
Humanism can be freely practiced and Congress shall make no laws prohibiting the free practice of Secular Humanism. Also, Secular Humanism, being a religion, the Congress is prohibited from making any laws establishing Secular Humanism as a national religion.

Yet it does. The U.S. Congress regularly creates and passes laws favoring Secular Humanism, in fact teaches
Secular Humanism in the public schools of America. Since the Congress is and has been establishing a religion (Secular Humanism) as our national religion, can we not say that Congress has been thumbing its nose at the

Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for many, many Progressive decades?

See his point? By banning Christmas displays or The Ten Commandments from a federal courthouse, the national government is in effect declaring Secular Humanism as the Congressionally mandated national religion, something specifically banned by the First Amendment. This I'd like to see argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

As for the state and local level, bans such as bringing candy canes or the Bible - Old or New Testament - to a public school, the state or local government is in effect imposing secular humanism on the regional or local level as the official religion of that individual state. I'm not an attorney, but technically, the states have had legal state religions in the past and may have a right to do this - but it is now done in a stealth manner. Let those that want to argue that the excuse of "not offending" Hindus, Jews, Muslims is really a means of imposing Secular Humanism on a given state have their day in court. Perhaps this fight is not the number one priority in America today, however, for those wish to support a clarification, such a local legal fight would have a cultural impact, even if a remedy could not be found in state court. The argument would definitely be instructive - and it could (and probably would) be followed by attempts at legislating a remedy differing from the many state courts' decisions would be.

But starting today, without the aid of an attorney, some student - and their parents - who are told silent prayer is not allowed in school can counter-argue that the school is attempting to impose secular humanism on them and the entire student body. It is a novel argument that awaits a remedy. But perhaps the remedy may have to wait until the matter of who will be our President on January 20, 2013, is first settled.

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