Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Texas State Legislature passed a law that allows for Texas public schools to observe a moment of silence before the beginning of each school day. This moment is exactly as it sounds, a brief period of silent time given to the children to do with as they please. Some children may doodle on their notebook, some may daydream about recess, some may pick their nose. And some children may choose to use this time as a moment of prayer to their personal God, which is why David Croft of Carrolton, Texas has decided to bring a lawsuit contesting this silent moment. Mr. Croft somehow believes that this amounts to state-sanctioned religion and therefore violates the Constitution. How he could even begin to make such an argument is beyond me, but people like Mr. Croft hate religion so much that they find it horribly offensive to think that someone, somewhere may actually be practicing it, their Constitutional right to do so be damned.

It's clear that Mr. Croft doesn't have a case. An identical law in Virginia has already been upheld by the courts. But don't close the book on him yet. There are plenty of activist judges out there who hate religion just as much as he does and I'm sure he will continue filing suits and spending taxpayer dollars on the trials until he finds one of them. Plus, the ACLU is lurking and they have lots of money and fancy attorneys just for these kinds of issues. Don't be surprised if this case makes it to the US Supreme Court.

If people like Croft had their way, religion would cease to exist in our schools in any form. Put them in charge, and our schools would soon be patrolled by government enforcers looking for signs of religious belief. The Muslim child who passes on pork in the school cafeteria will be violating the Constitution. And so would the Catholic who makes the sign of the Cross before eating her lunch. And the Jewish child during Passover? Well, they would have no right to unleavened bread. I know this sounds ridiculous, but don't laugh too much. Isn't it equally ridiculous to claim that silence is unConstitutional? There are plenty of people who would be okay with these ideas, and they're the ones filing the lawsuits. Maybe we could find a way to file a countersuit against Croft seeking to reconcile the taxpayer dollars he is spending on his assault on our Constitution. A guy can dream.


The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Dear Dr. Doctor Washburn,

Forgive me if I am unable to accept all of yoiur assertions on faith alone.

After all, not all of us get our information from Fox News. Kindly supply me w/ a working definition of "an activist judge."

I have note in our brief acquaintance that you do not lack for strongly held opinions. So when you say if people like Croft had their way, religion in any form would cease to exist in our schools in any form, that implies that religion should exist in our schools in some form. Perhaps you could supply me w/ a list of acceptable forms.

Lastly--I will give you the opportunity now to check and make sure that the nasty ACLU is not hiding under the bed. Better check the closet too.

The Fox News article quoted Mr. Cruz as stating that the TX law was identical to the VA law. The VA law was upheld by United States Court of Appeals. The United States Supreme Court refused to hear the VA case. If the laws are identical, why would the S.C. hear the TX case?



Mr Croft appears to be on standing on firm biblical tradition!

The bible-slapping Evangelicals should
read their "good book" from
time to time, whenever convenient.

Get a red-letter version, read exactly
What Jesus Said About...
Praying In Public! Matthew 6:5-8

Here in the South, these pious rascals even pray at High School Football Games from the Hot-dog stand, speakers blaring! Coaches do it too.
Jesus scolded them, referred to them as "hypocrites!"

A sincere prayer, fine; They should go into a private room, close the door, and talk to their God. Doing so in public is abject Showboating!... and those that do it "have already received their reward".

A Moral Compass is fine. We could all benefit,
I would presume. reb
(Loop Garoo seems to intensely dislike the
O'Reilly Factor; Sad! The closed mind is a terrible thing to behold in a sharp, educated fellow). reb

John Washburn said...

An "activist judge" is one who creates law rather than interprets law. Religion in school is, I feel, acceptable if it is private. A moment of silence is about as private as it gets. If a child chooses to pray during that silence, is he violating the Constitution? Depending on how the Court districts are divided, and what judges hear the suit, I think it's possible for this law to reach the level of the Supreme Court. Of course, if they follow precedent, then it would seem unlikely but precedent is sometimes ignored, hence the term activist judges.

Reb, I agree that many people wear their religion on their sleeves and, to some extent, I do not appreciate it. It appears transparent and superficial. But, a simple moment of silence to begin the school day is not the same thing. I support the Texas law.

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Let's get real here. We are talking about children attending school K-12.

What is a moment of silence for the majority of these children except an opportunity to pray for the religious ones and a waste of time for the non religious ones. Is your average 4th grader going to contemplete deep thoughts or do TM during the alotted time? Why is a moment of silence, unless to remember a lost member of the community, necesary or beneficial to public education?

I am afraid I must disagree w/ your definition, Dr. An "activist judge" is one who interprets law in ways w/ which conservatives disagree.

Precedent is known as stare decisis--the thing has been decided. Novel legal questions may not necessarily be decided by precedent but require a new interpretation of law. Any new interpretation of law creates law.

In social or political terms, this interpretation may be liberal or conservative. If the former, people who consider themselves conservative cry: "activists judges." If the latter--well when was the last time you heard a liberal deplore "activist judges>"

You may recall the Terry Shiavo case in which the judge who upheld existing law which allowed the husband to disconnect her feeding tube, was decried as an "activist judge."