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Religious Right

In recent news, a Kentucky high school graduation included a student-led prayer despite some objections by a handful of students.  The prayer itself, however, was very well received and was followed by a standing ovation.  One of the six known students to have objected to the school's principal, an atheist, has made his plans of contacting the ACLU known.  The article states that he feels that the public prayer violated the civil rights of students who are not Christian.

The ACLU's website makes it clear that they believe that graduation prayers are unconstitutional regardless of who leads them.  Their site states the following:
Think about it: graduation prayers would give non-believers or kids of other faiths the feeling that their participation in prayer is required. It doesn't matter who leads the prayer -- a minister, a priest, a rabbi, whoever, or whether the prayer is non-denominational -- some kids would feel left out.
The main problem that I see here is that judges keep entertaining these frivolous cases when they should immediately be thrown out.  The first amendment, among other things, strictly prohibits the government from prohibiting the individual's exercise of religion.  No one has the "right" NOT to hear someone else's right to free speech.  Likewise, no one has the "right" NOT to hear someone else's free exercise of religion.

Many people get hung up on the "establishment clause" part of the amendment and thus violate people's rights to freely exercise their religion.  The government is to "make no law respecting an establishment of religion." When a student decides to publicly thank God it's nothing short of a mile-wide stretch to say that this is the government making a law establishing religion.  What's not at all a stretch is to demonstrate that silencing that student is a violation of that student's right to free speech and the free exercise of his/her religion.

I realize that the ACLU has played a good role in years past advocating for the actual rights of people, but they have brought on themselves a bad reputation for advocating for rights that don't exist and, in doing so, violating the actual rights of many in the process.  For example, the ACLU, in it's self-described battle to keep religion out of science classrooms, has fought to keep Intelligent Design out of schools while being just fine with Evolution being taught.  The main difference between the two theories is that Evolution suggests that all things known to exist have come into existence by time and chance and under the influence of Natural Selection while Intelligent Design suggests that all things known to exist came into existence by the design of an intelligent source.  Evolution points to the evidence of similarities between species as well as what we currently know about adaptation.  Intelligent Design points to the evidence of the apparent design of all things and the irreducible complexity of most organisms.  If the ACLU contends that the teaching of Intelligent Design equates to the teaching of the existence of God thus violating the "civil right" of an Atheist, then they must also logically contend that the teaching of Evolution equates to the teaching of the nonexistence of God thus violating the "civil right" of a Theist.  But, they don't do this.  They fail to see their own hypocrisy on the issue.

It's time that the courts stop allowing these kinds of "violated civil rights" issues when the "violator" is someone peacefully exercising their civil right.  To allow these cases to continue to be heard only encourages others to make such claims and ultimately produces upside-down fascism where a small minority makes the rules that remove the freedoms of the majority.


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