Thursday, February 24, 2005

Constitutional Law 101

I got an e-mail petition from a friend who occasionally passes these along; to what end I’m not sure. He’s on the right and he knows I’m not; perhaps he does it to provoke a response. This one did.

Presidential Petition

Please do NOT let this petition stop and lose all these names. If you do not want to sign it, please forward it to everyone you know. To add your name, click on “forward”. You will be able to add your name at the bottom of the list and then forward it to your friends. Or, if necessary, you can copy and paste and then add your name to the bottom of the list. It will produce a cleaner email if you do copy & paste it in a new blankemail.


Dear President Bush:

Many of us were deeply touched to hear you recite a portion of Psalm 23 in your address to this great nation in the dark hours following the terrorists attacks. We, the people of America, are requesting that you lift the prohibition of prayer in schools. As the pledge of our great country states, we are to be “One nation, under God.” Please allow the prayers and petitions of our children in and children in the schools are prohibited from mentioning God unless, ofcourse, His name is uttered as part of a curse or profanity. Madalyn Murray O’Hair is dead. Let her legacy of atheism in our schools die with her!

Sincerely, The People of America!

Mark 10:13-14 “People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but he his disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God”.

There followed a list of names. I don’t think there were anywhere close to 2,000.

My reply to my friend was the following:

Whose god? The god that tells Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson that queers caused 9/11? Or the god that tells Osama bin Laden to attack the infidels? Or could it be the god that gave mankind the sense to know that religion – an invention of man – is something far removed from spirituality; something that does not need a petition to touch the soul.

Worship however you want and to whomever you choose. Keep the government out of the church and the church out of the government. And then there’s the little matter of the First Amendment…

Grace be unto you and peace.

Thinking about it a little further, I noted that the authors of this petition know very little about how the Constitution of the United States works and what powers are vested in the President of the United States. The president cannot “lift the prohibition of prayer in schools.” That would require amending the Constitution, and the executive branch is on the sidelines when it comes to that: the president has absolutely no role in the process. He cannot officially submit an amendment nor does he sign it into law. As much as the right wing worships the ground Bush walks on, even he would not be so arrogant as to propose changing the Bill of Rights.

Oh, wait…