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Proviso Probe

Friday, December 14, 2007

local Right Wing activist wants to violate the Constitution

Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) passed legislation to create a moment of silence for prayer in Illinois schools. Gov. Rod Blagojevich vetoed this legislation. The members of the state legislature, in there wisdom, voted to override this veto.

An private citizen challenged the law in federal court on the grounds that this violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
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.

The court granted an injunction against the moment of silence to pray in the school district where the court challenge originated. Other districts have been left discretion how to interpret the law that seems likely to be ruled unconstitutional.

Paul Barbahen, a Right Wing lawyer in Forest Park, wrote a letter to the editor in the Forest Park Review.
Tom Holmes makes an excellent point ("A second opinion on the moment of silence," Opinion, Nov. 14). I would add a question: Are we better off as a society as religion gets further marginalized? Are we kinder to our neighbors? Is crime declining? Do we treat each other with more or less respect? Are we really more tolerant?

I'm not sure, and I suppose some will be offended the questions are even asked because their presumption is any public display of religion, no matter how loosely associated with a government entity, is, by definition, bad and removal thereof is good. I fail to see the evidence of this.

The folks who file suits to stop things like a Christian song at a school play are usually hostile to religion. They cloak themselves with a self-righteous mantle that they are protecting my rights to be free from hearing "Silent Night" sung at a public school. They claim that we are intolerant of their right to not hear the song. Who is really the intolerant one? Hearing "The Dreidel Song" won't convert me.

My church attendance is nothing to brag about, but I have never been offended, in any way, by someone taking a moment for a prayer or asking for a moment of silence. A moment for reflection does not constitute establishment of a state religion.

The goal of these self appointed protectors of the Constitution is to shove religion so far off the map, it no longer has any meaningful contribution to make. This is what is really abhorrent. They will file suit to protect the right to wear a T-shirt with an obscenity on it, but ask the same court to ban "Here Comes Santa Clause." To be candid, I am simply tired of listening to people who look for offense where none is intended. The umbrage brigades.

The First Amendment protects the right to be heard. It protects the speech you don't like. It is there to insure all voices are heard, it does not require that you listen.

Religion has a right to be a voice at the cultural table. If you're offended, exercise your right not to listen, don't deny my right to hear, even the silence.

Barbahen's letter is annoying for a number of reasons.

Here's the basic explanation.

The United States is governed by a constitution, the U.S. Constitution. The government has no power or legitimacy except the power and legitimacy that derives from the Constitution.

If you don't like what the Constitution says or how it's interpreted there are ways to amend the Constitution or to change how the courts interpret the Constitution.

Barbahen seems to be making a claim that he knows how to better govern society if we just violate the Constitution in ways he finds acceptable. Note, he doesn't provide any data, just cheap emotional arguments.

Barbahen is basically arguing that the violation of the Constitution is so small, it's no big deal. If the violation of the Constitution is so small, then why the need to do it? And the need for Barbahen to take his time defending it?

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3 Comments:

  • Nyberg, you're labeling Barbahen as a "right winger," which clearly is intended as a slur. His letter is very reasonable. You claim that a law supporting moment of silence is unconstitutional. A federal appeals court in Virginia has upheld the constitutionality of Virginia's moment of silence law.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_32_117/ai_67492610

    This case is more than seven years old, and was found with a quick and simple Google search. Please do a little research before you make such ridiculous claims. You look stupid when you do that.

    By Anonymous Groucho Marx, at 9:03 AM, December 15, 2007  

  • I always find it funny that liberals spout off about tolerance all the time, but they do not exercise tolerance themselves. They are only able to "tolerate" things that fall under their agendas and beliefs - anything else is "offensive" or "against the Constitution." Why should conservatives and Christians be expected to sit back and "tolerate" all of the liberal nonsense and offense while liberals are clearly unable to "tolerate" us? Kind of makes you wonder why they are so insecure. What is it that they are afraid of? It tells you a lot about a person when they are quick to put you down but cannot stand it when someone questions what they do - "don't dish it out if you cannot take it."

    By Anonymous FaithHopeLove, at 8:33 AM, December 17, 2007  

  • Of course " right winger " was intended as a slur. It means, intolerant, uneducated, and racist.

    Unless the Virginia law is worded exactly like the one here in Illinois, the appeals court decision is meaningless to us.

    Why don't you do a quick and simple Google search for us and let us know.

    By Anonymous mojojojo, at 9:39 AM, December 19, 2007  

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