By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) The fundamental question of whether the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious expression is absolute or whether it is subject to hijacking by Leftist zealots purposely misinterpreting ‘church-state separation’ doctrine will have to be answered at some point by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Because if the foundational right of religious expression isn’t foundational after all, then no other guarantees in the Bill of Rights are absolute, either.
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As reported by The Epoch Times, former Bremerton (Washington) School District high school football coach Joe Kennedy, a Marine vet, sued the school after he was fired in 2015 for praying on the field before games. Kennedy went to court arguing that the First Amendment’s religious expression guarantee is fundamental, intractable, specific, and not subject to government regulation.
But yet again, another federal judge disagreed, relying once more on the mistaken, purposefully misinterpreted “separation of church and state” doctrine that has been used successfully so many times in the past to shut down prayer (of Christians).
The Epoch Times:
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton sided with Bremerton School District in Washington state, ruling that the district’s right to block coach Joe Kennedy’s religious expression when it violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause came before a public-school educator’s right to free religious expression.
“Although the Court is sympathetic to Kennedy’s desire to follow his beliefs, the former right must give way to the latter in this case,” Leighton wrote in his opinion on March 5.
The legal theory fabricated by Leftists who abhor traditional Christianity, accepted far too often by lower federal courts, is this: Because schools are “government entities,” any public displays of religion are not allowable under the Constitution’s First Amendment, ironically, which states, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion…”
But that clause is immediately followed by “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
— “Congress” isn’t mandating anything in Kennedy’s situation or many similar situations like his. School district officials, because they are uncomfortable with public prayer, have bowed to anti-religious pressure, or both, have forbidden Kennedy’s public prayer.
— As such, how can the argument against him be “the Establishment clause,” when there has been no congressional ‘establishment of religion’ that the school must adhere to? Moreover, why does the first part of this First Amendment passage carry more weight than the second part, which forbids “probing the free exercise” of religion?
Some Supreme Court justices are well aware of this dichotomy — this irony, this hypocrisy:
This ruling comes after the Supreme Court denied to hear Kennedy’s appeal in January 2019 after he lost his case in both the district court and 9th Circuit. Justice Samuel Alito said at the time in a statement (pdf) that the justices did not agree with the lower courts’ decision but could not take up the case because of “important unresolved factual questions.” He was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.
“[T]he Ninth Circuit’s understanding of the free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling and may justify review in the future,” Alito wrote. — The Epoch Times
Whatever those “unresolved factual questions” are, what is obvious is that Joe Kennedy and millions of other Americans are being denied the fundamental right free and open religious expression. What’s more, the entities and institutions denying them the right to said expression or persecuting them for it have never been ‘mandated’ by Congress to accept Kennedy’s religion or anyone else’s.
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There’s another clause in the Constitution — the Supremacy Clause — which states that the U.S. Constitution and federal law supersede state and local constitutions and laws.
It seems clear to us that there is no reasonable argument, legal standard or constitutional prohibition justifying the firing of Kennedy and the denial of his right to pray in public. But it’s up to the Supreme Court to get this resolved.
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