In a growing battle nationwide over separation of church and state (never mentioned in the Constitution) prayer at football games are now being shut down with legal action from groups that are not from the local area. One such instance of this is in Bell County Kentucky where the School was informed a Pastor could not pray on the public PA system before the game. One question, what is the difference in allowing a non school affiliated member of the public pray on a public PA system and say a Demonstration on public land or in a Capitol? Either way Kentucky’s Department of Education and the school caved, but the citizens did not. When it came time for a moment of silence they did not follow the suggested course of action, they followed the Constitution and exercised their right to freedom of Speech and Religion.
Here’s a news story about it from WKYT
For reference here is the 1st Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
No religion was ever established when a pastor was allowed to use a public PA, much like a citizens use a public park to demonstrate for their beliefs and politics. Furthermore this really should not be a national issue but a state issue as the Constitution is supposed to restrict the Federal Government not the State Government. However, we have allowed as a society a lot of things to gravitate toward the federal level including prevue over our rights and our education system.
So let’s take a look at the Kentucky Constitution
Section 1 Point 2
“Second: The right of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences.”
“No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.”
So I really don’t see how a prayer at a football game is in violation of the US Constitution or the Kentucky Constitution.
The lesson learned here though, is don’t try and limit Kentuckians rights cause we will exercise them anyway.
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Below is some info about Ron Paul and Religion and Public Prayer etc.
In a December 2003 article entitled “Christmas in Secular America”, Paul wrote, “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life. The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before putting their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.”
Perhaps the phrase, “No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity;” means exactly what it says: Southern Baptist preachers can’t pray at a public school -sponsored event where there will doubtless be Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics, and even more flavors of Baptists than the man giving the prayer.
And, my goodness, what about: “. . . the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or DISBELIEF of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. . .”
It looks like even godless heathens have the right in Kentucky to attend football games and not be bothered with a prayer.
An alliance or coalition between Government and religion cannot be too carefully guarded against……Every new and successful example therefore of a PERFECT SEPARATION between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance……..religion and government will exist in greater purity, without (rather) than with the aid of government. [James Madison in a letter to Livingston, 1822, from Leonard W. Levy- The Establishment Clause, Religion and the First Amendment,pg 124]
I think that James Madison(the father of our constitution) would believe differently .