Letter to the Editor: Failing grade
BY J. Peter Messler, Tulsa
Friday, November 30, 2012
11/30/12 at 2:43 AM
In his letter ("Spell constitutional," Nov. 25) Doug Fishback states the recent placement of the Ten Commandments containing misspelled words was "unconstitutional," and suggests a reading of the "establishment provisions of the First Amendment."
While Fishback may be proud of any spelling bees he may have won, he gets a failing grade in reading comprehension, if he ever read the First Amendment.
In its entirety, it reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
The first 16 words apply specifically to Congress and religion and are pretty easy to understand. Further, in the entire First Amendment, containing a total of 45 words, there is no mention or "creation" of any so-called "establishment provisions."
"Separation of church and state" is a figment of the combined imaginations of a very liberal Supreme Court, sitting in 1947-48. Liberal courts since then have interpreted the first 10 words to mean that no governmental authority - city, county, state or federal - may exhibit any words or images that convey any sort of religious meaning. Those rulings and interpretations violate the next clause of the amendment, which contains six words: "... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
This, of course, was not the first time the U.S. Supreme Court took unauthorized liberty to write laws, rather than interpret existing laws, and unfortunately, it may not be the last.
Editor's note: Messler is an attorney and a former state court special judge.
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