July 10, 2020
Let's see if we can
finish up with a couple of Supreme Court decisions today -- decisions, that is,
that took away more of our First Amendment guarantees to religious liberties in
One thing that
I think you will find interesting in this Coffee Break is a link to Justice
William Rehnquist's argument in the Wallace v. Jaffree case; and
I believe that many of you will find his (lengthy, but) complete argument very
interesting reading. Here's the link: http://www.belcherfoundation.org/wallace_v_jaffree_dissent.htm
case we mentioned last week -- Allegheny County v. ACLU -- was a
departure from cases predicated on lawsuits seeking to remove prayer, the
reading of the Bible, funding (or more accurately, refunds for expenses) for
religious education and funding for teachers who also happened to provide some
religious education, the case of Lee v. Weisman filed with the
Court on November 6, 1991 certainly was a return to the educational scene.
the case before the Supreme Court, the case read in part: "Principals of public middle and high schools in
Providence, Rhode Island, are permitted to invite members of the clergy to give
invocations and benedictions at their schools' graduation ceremonies.
Petitioner Lee, a middle school principal, invited a rabbi to offer such
prayers at the graduation ceremony for Deborah Weisman's class, gave the Rabbi
a pamphlet containing guidelines for the composition of public prayers at civic
ceremonies, and advised him that the prayers should be nonsectarian. Shortly
before the ceremony, the District Court denied the motion of respondent
Weisman, Deborah's father, for a temporary restraining order to prohibit school
officials from including the prayers in the ceremony. Deborah and her family
attended the ceremony, and the prayers were recited. Subsequently, Weisman
sought a permanent injunction barring Lee and other petitioners, various
Providence public school officials, from inviting clergy to deliver invocations
and benedictions at future graduations. It appears likely that such prayers
will be conducted at Deborah's high school graduation."
isn't it? Praying at High School graduation ceremonies! Why, the
very thought of it!
Here was a
case based almost entirely on the concept that the Weisman family would be
offended by the thought of a non-sectarian prayer being offered at a graduation
question for you. Anybody? Can someone please tell me where it is
found in our Constitution that an individual has the right NOT to be
offended? Where did we begin to drift so far away from our Constitution and
Law that we now have somehow derived a right to not be offended? It seems
to me, folks, that if conservatives -- never mind Christians -- rose up and
said, ENOUGH!, we might actually have a return to reason and sanity.
Oh, and in
case you think I'm just making up this concept of "being offended,"
read the following excerpt from the 5-4 majority decision written by Justice
"The Establishment Clause was inspired by the lesson that
in the hands of government what might begin as a tolerant expression of
religious views may end in a policy to indoctrinate and coerce. Prayer
exercises in elementary and secondary schools carry a particular risk of
indirect coercion. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421; Abington School
District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203. The school district's supervision and
control of a high school graduation ceremony places subtle and indirect public
and peer pressure on attending students to stand as a group or maintain
respectful silence during the invocation and benediction.
“A reasonable dissenter of high school age could believe that
standing or remaining silent signified her own participation in, or approval
of, the group exercise, rather than her respect for it. And the State may not
place the student dissenter in the dilemma of participating or protesting.
Since adolescents are often susceptible to peer pressure, especially in matters
of social convention, the State may no more use social pressure to enforce
orthodoxy than it may use direct means.
“The embarrassment and intrusion of the religious exercise
(my accent, RAC) cannot be refuted by arguing that the prayers are of a de
minimis character, since that is an affront to the Rabbi and those for whom the
prayers have meaning, and since any intrusion was both real and a violation of
the objectors' rights."
again, we have a court decision by a bare majority (decided June 24, 1992) who
have taken upon themselves the right to strip Americans of a God-given right, a
historical right, a Constitutional right -- in this case to offer a prayer at a
high school graduation ceremony.
v. Weisman, as decided case
law, then became the basis for the next court decision in Santa Fe
Independent School District v. Doe, which was argued before the Supreme
Court on March 29, 2000.
1 in Justice Stevens' opinion, writing for the majority, pretty clearly spells
out the case, the reliance on Lee v. Weisman in arriving at its
findings, and -- once again -- the Court's errant understanding of our nation's
historical stance as a Christian nation, and the Constitution's ban in the
First Amendment on any legislation restricting both our free speech and our
free and independent exercise of worship.
Stevens wrote (in part), "The Court’s
analysis is guided by the principles endorsed in Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S.
577. There, in concluding that a prayer delivered by a rabbi at a
graduation ceremony violated the Establishment Clause, the Court held that, at
a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to
support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise act in a way
that establishes a state religion or religious faith, or tends to do so, id.,
at 587. The District argues unpersuasively that these principles are
inapplicable because the policy’s messages are private student speech, not
“The delivery of a message such as the invocation here–on school
property, at school-sponsored events, over the school’s public address system,
by a speaker representing the student body, under the supervision of school
faculty, and pursuant to a school policy that explicitly and implicitly
encourages public prayer–is not properly characterized as “private” speech.
Although the District relies heavily on this Court’s cases addressing public
forums, e.g., Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U.S.
819, it is clear that the District’s pregame ceremony is not the type of
forum discussed in such cases. The District simply does not evince an intent to
open its ceremony to indiscriminate use by the student body generally, see,
e.g., Hazelwood School Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 270, but,
rather, allows only one student, the same student for the entire season, to
give the invocation, which is subject to particular regulations that confine
the content and topic of the student’s message.
“The majoritarian process implemented by the District
guarantees, by definition, that minority candidates will never prevail and that
their views will be effectively silenced. See Board of Regents of Univ. of Wis.
System v. Southworth, 529 U.S. ___, ___. Moreover, the District has failed to
divorce itself from the invocations’ religious content. The policy involves
both perceived and actual endorsement of religion, see Lee, 505 U.S., at 590,
declaring that the student elections take place because the District “has
chosen to permit” student-delivered invocations, that the invocation “shall” be
conducted “by the high school student council” “upon advice and direction of
the high school principal,” and that it must be consistent with the policy’s
goals, which include “solemnizing the event.”
A religious message is the most obvious method of solemnizing an
event. Indeed, the only type of message expressly endorsed in the policy is an
“invocation,” a term which primarily describes an appeal for divine assistance
and, as used in the past at Santa Fe High School, has always entailed a
focused religious message. A conclusion that the message is not “private
speech” is also established by factors beyond the policy’s text, including the
official setting in which the invocation is delivered, see, e.g., Wallace, 472
U.S., at 73, 76, by the policy’s sham secular purposes, see id., at 75, and by
its history, which indicates that the District intended to preserve its
long-sanctioned practice of prayer before football games, see Lee, 505 U.S., at
596. Pp. 9—18."
know that the overwhelming majority of you who read these Coffee Breaks are not
legal scholars, and probably find some of this to be pretty boring stuff.
Nevertheless, any individual with any kind of reasoning ability whatever will
see what the Court has set out to do in these decisions. They have -- for
all intents and purposes -- created case law out of whole cloth, inventing
concepts and ideas that are not a part of our nation's foundations, our
founding fathers' intents, nor indeed anything encapsulated in any way in our
that they have gotten away with this is a testimony to the passivity of
Christians, and the inaction of those who see the wholesale theft of liberties
our forefathers bled and died for.
allow minority -- and a very tiny minority at that -- decisions to alter the
course of our nation, its history, and the character of our freedom and
liberty, we allow tyrannical suppression. As Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ
(American Center for Law & Justice) has often stated, our Constitution was
established so that America would allow for people of various religious
persuasions to worship as they saw fit; but America was first and foremost
established as a Christian Nation with Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ
as the centerpiece and guiding force of our laws and character.
people come to America, they come seeking the freedoms and liberties we
have. Those freedoms and liberties were bought with the lives of people
who gladly died so that their descendants would be able to freely worship the
Lord Jesus Christ, and so that the Lord would be honored as the God of this
freely welcome others who do not know Jesus Christ, their entrance into America
must recognize that they are living in a nation that honors the Lord.
They are not required to honor the Lord, and they may follow any religious
belief they so choose. That does not mean that they cannotand will not be exposed to the truths of Christianity.
When you look back at the stated intentions of those early pioneers, this
nation was established specifically for that purpose.
Do I sound
irrational or out of touch with our history? Didn't think so.
commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ to "Go into all the
world and preach the Gospel (make disciples of all nations), baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Matthew
what our founding fathers saw as the prevailing purpose for America's creation
and colonization. While we welcome the stranger and the foreigner into
our land, they have no inherent right to take offense, or to be offended by our
Christian values, and to sue to prevent being offended.
friends, is where our Courts have gone awry. Just because a person is an
atheist, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Hindu, or a member of any religion does not
give them the right to take away from us the freedoms that give us such
prosperity as the world covets. We have no state-sponsored denomination
in America, but we do -- as a nation -- (or at least we used to) honor the Lord
Jesus Christ above all else as He upon whom the government of America rests.
another case that wound its way through the courts just a few years ago.
This time another atheist, Michael Newdow, sought to have the phrase
"under God" removed from our Pledge of Allegiance as an
unconstitutional endorsement of religion. The Supreme Court did not rule
in Newdow's favor when the case finally reached the Court.
keeping today’s Coffee Break a bit shorter than the last few weeks, but I want
to shift gears somewhat in looking at some other court cases.
we'll wrap up this series and take a look at some decisions that should give
our opponents pause in their wholesale theft of our Christian liberties.
In case you
are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday
worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM
Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the
access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings
available on video usingZOOM. If you wish
to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513. If you miss the live voice-onlycall, you can
dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded –
not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76502
Email Contact: CapenerMinistries@protonmail.com
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