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Courts Ban/Allow Crosses/Jesus In Public

First we have these tidings from a surprisingly sanguine Fox News:

New Jersey School and ACLU Compromise on Graduation at Christian-Owned Site

By Lauren Green
May 26, 2011 | FoxNews.com

School officials in Neptune Township, N.J., have bowed to the demands of the ACLU and will cover decades-old religious signs posted in the historic Great Auditorium to allow a 70-year tradition of high school graduations to continue.

Instead of the sign, "Holiness to the Lord," a banner will be posted over it saying, "Neptune Township School District … A Community of Learners." In addition, a banner with the words "So Be Ye Holy" will be covered with another banner saying, “Neptune High School: A School of Excellence and No Excuses."

The new banners are meant to appease the American Civil Liberties Union, which had demanded the school district remove all religious signs and symbols from the Methodist-owned auditorium in Ocean Grove, claiming it made non-Christians attending public school graduations feel uncomfortable…

The conflict began after the grandmother of one of last year’s graduates complained not only about the large white cross adorning the top of the buildings’ facade, but of the religious signs inside, and what she felt was a heavily religious tone to the ceremony, which included student-led invocations and the singing of Christian hymns, most notably "Onward Christian Soldiers."

The school agreed to cut out the student-led invocations and the hymns. But the 6,500-seat Great Auditorium is run by the Camp Meeting Association. It is the iconic, center piece of the Methodist Church-based organization’s property, which comprises the bulk of the land in Ocean Grove

There could be some explanation for the "religious tone" of the proceedings. Ocean Grove was founded in 1869 by a group of Methodist clergymen who wanted to develop and operate a summer camp meeting site on the New Jersey seashore. It became known as the "Queen of Religious Resorts."

And, as the article notes, Ocean Grove is still owned by the Methodist camp meeting association, which leases its property to homeowners and businesses. In fact, Ocean Grove is the oldest Christian camp meeting site in the United States. Which is undoubtedly why it has been targeted by the ACLU.

As a compromise, the ACLU, the school district and the Camp Meeting Association agreed that the religious signs inside would be covered with school banners

What "a compromise" – the ACLU got their way. And what an example of the left’s idea of ‘tolerance.’

In the end, Neptune Township is living out their motto and new banners … "A Community of Learners."

Yes, they have learned that according to the militant atheists of the ACLU and their brethren on our courts, Christians have no rights.

Although, here and there, there are still some holdouts on the federal bench. From a surely annoyed Houston Chronicle:

Judge orders VA cemetery to allow Jesus

Houston pastor fought in court after being told to edit a Memorial Day invocation

By TERRI LANGFORD
May 27, 2011

A federal judge slapped down the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday, saying it can’t stop a pastor from using the words "Jesus Christ" in his Memorial Day invocation at Houston National Cemetery.

"The government cannot gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat’s notion of cultural homogeneity," U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes wrote in his order, granting the Rev. Scott Rainey’s motion for the court to intercede. "The right to free expression ranges from the dignity of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches to Charlie Sheen’s rants."

Rainey, lead pastor at the Living Word Church of the Nazarene, asked Hughes to prevent the cemetery’s caretaker, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, from telling him what he can say in a prayer on Memorial Day after the agency asked him for the first time to submit the prayer for review.

"I was shocked," Rainey said. "I’ve heard of this happening in other states and other locations."

For the past two years, Rainey has given the Memorial Day invocation at the cemetery to honor U.S. soldiers who have fought and died. And each year, he’s mentioned Jesus Christ, without complaint. The invocation is sponsored by a private group, the National Cemetery Council for Greater Houston, but held at the Houston National Cemetery, which is public property.

Rainey’s prayer, less than a page long, includes the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and closes with one reference to Jesus: "While respecting people of every faith today, it is in the name of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, that I pray. Amen."

Rainey was instructed by the cemetery to submit his prayer for review a month ago. Cemetery director Arleen Ocasio then emailed Rainey on May 19, informing the pastor that the prayer was still in need of editingRainey and his attorneys at Plano-based Liberty Institute took the matter to Veterans Affairs attorneys. But on Wednesday, the cemetery director’s stance was backed by her bosses in Washington

Instead, Rainey asked the federal court to grant a temporary restraining order to prevent Veterans Affairs from censoring the prayer. He claims the agency violated his civil protection from being told by the government how to express his religious beliefs.

"It’s private speech that happens to be on public land," said Hiram Sasser, Rainey’s attorney. "The Supreme Court has said on five occasions that the government has no business censoring religious private speech on public land or in a public venue." …

Needless to say, the ACLU and the Department Of Justice (but we repeat ourselves) will find a way to take this matter to a higher court, where they will eventually get their way.

After all, ‘free speech’ might be all well and good for rappers. But surely the framers never meant it to apply to religion.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, May 27th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Courts Ban/Allow Crosses/Jesus In Public”

  1. tranquil.night says:

    “In the end, Neptune Township is living out their motto and new banners … ‘A Community of Learners.‘”

    Once upon a time, the City of Jerusalem was renamed Al-Quds, and a distinctly false and parallel history – not just from thereon, but of its origins – became a reality for billions of people.

    Tyranical revolutionaries, be they Mohammad, Marx, Alinsky, Lenin, Mao, Hitler, Pol-Pot etc knew that you couldn’t just physically overthrow a society. You had to crush the institutions and soul of its heritage as well, refounding its ruins in the image of your beliefs in the aftermath. The classical and pre-classical world seemed to be well aware of this principle too.

  2. Petronius says:

    The First Amendment to the Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thus this Amendment has two joined parts, the Establishment Clause and the Free-Exercise Clause.

    Turning first to the Establishment Clause, it must be remembered that at the time of the American Revolution most of the colonies had an established church. The establishment of a church means a preference given in law for a particular named religion and its affiliated churches. Thus in Virginia the Church of England was the established church. This meant that the church and its clergy were supported from public funds. In addition, membership in the church was usually a qualification for holding public office and for voting.

    In 1791, when the First Amendment was adopted, there were fourteen States (the original thirteen plus Vermont) and half of them had an established church. The strongest establishments were in Massachusetts and Connecticut, where the Puritan (or Congregational) church was established. The Congregational church in those two States was supported by public funds and membership was a qualification for voting and holding public office. New Hampshire, New Jersey, and South Carolina had a more open establishment for “the Protestant faith.” And in Maryland and Delaware, where some of the population were Roman Catholics, the establishment was broader still, and the laws of those States benefitted “the Christian faith.”

    After the adoption of the Constitution, as amended by the Bill of Rights, these seven States continued to have their establishment laws. It was not until 1833 –– forty-two years later –– that the religious establishments in these seven States had been repealed by acts of the State legislatures. Since 1833 there has been no establishment law anywhere in any State in the Union. However, this has been the result of the changing preferences and attitudes of the people and their elected representatives in the State legislatures, and not as a result of the First Amendment or its Establishment Clause.

    The Framers drafted the Establishment Clause to give it two aspects: first, it prohibits Congress from establishing a national church, and second, it prohibits Congress from disturbing the establishment laws then existing in the States and from interfering with the right of the States to make future religious establishment laws. It prohibits the establishment of a national religion, while leaving the States free to make their own decisions. This dual limit on the powers of the Federal government was deemed necessary to obtain ratification of the Bill of Rights by the States, half of which then had religious establishments.

    Turning to the second part of the First Amendment (the Free-Exercise Clause), we see that it prohibits Congress from interfering with the individual right to the free exercise of religion.

    Thus the provision, taken as a whole, prohibits Congress from interfering with religion, by protecting both State rights and individual rights from any interference by the Federal government.

    Now let us fast forward to 1947. Justice Hugo Black, writing for a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court, gave the First Amendment a completely new twist in Everson v Board of Education. Everson involved a New Jersey law that provided reimbursement from public funds to Catholic parochial schools for the cost of transportation of their students. Black wrote that there was a wall of separation between church and State. The Constitution, of course, provides nothing of the sort. There is no “wall.” But Black insisted that there was a wall (and even if there wasn’t, there should be), and so Black continued :

    “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause in the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.”

    Here the Court was only half correct –– the First Amendment does indeed operate to prevent Congress from establishing a national church. However, there was no such prohibition against the States. In fact, the Establishment Clause was designed to prevent the Federal government from interfering in the rights of the States to make establishment laws. And establishment laws by definition include the right to aid one religion or to prefer one religion. Moreover, it is rather odd for Black to suggest that an establishment law might “aid all religions” since an established church is always given a privileged status. After all, if the Court’s reasoning were correct, that an establishment law might “aid all religions,” there would be little or no point in having religious establishments.

    In 1962, the Supreme Court built on Black’s wall-of-separation nonsense. In Engel v Vitale the Court (Justice Black writing for a 6-1 majority) outlawed voluntary prayer in the public schools of the States. There the Supremes gave the Establishment Clause an entirely novel meaning, a meaning exactly opposite to its historical meaning and in direct violation of the intention of the Framers by interfering in the rights of the States respecting religion. Furthermore, the Court’s new definition interfered with the right of individuals to the free exercise of religion. Thus the Court improperly used the Establishment Clause to cancel the Free-Exercise Clause. The end result of Engel stands the First Amendment on its head by giving the Federal government the right to regulate religious practices in the States and by individuals.

    Engel certainly represents one of the most outrageous examples of Liberal judicial activism in American legal history. The Court used a mistaken interpretation of one clause essentially to abolish the religious guarantees of the Bill of Rights.

    Since 1962, the Supreme Court has continued marching down this wrong path by extending its mistaken interpretation in yet one case after another, to ban almost every conceivable religious activity on public property. Thus in 1985, in the tragic case of Wallace v Jaffree, the Court outlawed individual silent prayer in schools. And in so doing, the Court has ignored the fact that school prayer does not confer any government benefit on a particular church, nor does it establish a particular religious denomination with legal rights over other denominations.

    It is a basic legal rule of interpretation of constitutions, statutes, contracts, wills, and other legal documents that words are to be given their plain and normal meaning. And if the meaning is unclear, that it is to be given the meaning intended by the framers, that provisions are to be interpreted as being consistent with each other, and that, in the case of repugnant provisions, the interpretation which removes the conflict should be given.

    In the case of the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has unfortunately ignored these basic rules by separating out the Establishment Clause, giving it a new, false, and unintended meaning, and then using it to defeat the Free-Exercise Clause. Instead of applying the words of the Constitution according to their plain meaning, and as originally intended by the Framers, the Court has drawn upon Liberal ideology, stupid rationalizations, improper readings of the historical record, and faulty logic to render the provisions of the First Amendment inconsistent. And it has created this conflict –– not once, but repeatedly! –– in spite of ample historical evidence that the Framers made the provisions together, to prevent Federal interference with the States’ reserved rights in matters of religion and with individual religious freedom. In so doing, the Court has embarked upon an unconstitutional suppression of religion and religious freedom.

  3. Phil Byler says:

    The ACLU needs to be fought at every turn. The “interpretation” of the First Amendment relied upon by the ACLU is wrong. Petronius recounts some of the history. What needs to be debunked is the ACLU’s misuse of Jefferson’s “separation of Church and State” language. What the ACLU has done is to misuse that phrase, replacing the actual language of the First Amendment with Jefferson’s words, and replacing what Jefferson meant with the ACLU’s own bigoted anti-Christian biases.

    Jefferson wrote the “separation of Church and State” language in a letter 10 years written after the enactment of the First Amendment and addressed to a congregation of Baptists in Connecticut. In his letter, Jefferson was assuring the Baptists, a religious miniority, of their free exercise of religion in a state that had and would until 1818 have an established Church — the Congregational Church. Jefferson use of the phrase of “separation of Church and State” was in reference to the First Amendment’s anti-esatablishment clause — meaning that an established Church could not be legislated by Congress. Jefferson did not mean to exclude religion from the public square. His letter ended with a prayer. He ordered the Marine Band to play at the Christian services then held at the Capitol building. He would walk around Washington D.C. with a Bible in hand.

    The 1947 Everson decision started the modern process of misinterpreting the First Amendemnt.

  4. cats1cowboy says:

    It seems that the only time that the Anti Christian Losers Union (ACLU) allows the words “Jesus Christ” is when someone hurts themself. How do these people think that they are doing any good for anyone?

  5. Osamas_Pajamas says:

    I’m an atheist — but a libertarian — and I see the ACLU as the enemy of our liberties and human rights. The arrogance of the ACLU knows no bounds.

    I refer to the unalienable and perfectly-natural and universally-valid human rights of life, liberty, private property, and the pursuit of personal happiness.

    The first article of private property is “the self” and all other rights are derivatives of and flow from these cardinal rights. These rights —- The Rights of Man —- are the gift of nature or of nature’s god —- and they belong to all human beings, everywhere.

    Surely freedom of religion is prominent among these rights. The school district can always take their celebrations somewhere else, if need be.

  6. canary says:

    The hypocrisy of ACLU and grandmother from planet Mars, complaining of Jesus Christ and his cross and not noticing N.J. Neptune’s school mascot the “god of Neptune” a naked man holding his devil’s tail fork cliff that grace their mission’s statement and the halls.

    http://www.neptune.k12.nj.us/114420313122740640/site/default.asp

    Neptune H.S.’s mission, which will no doubt be read at the graduation.

    … It is our job to create a positive atmosphere, (with a tyrant pervert threatening the sea and earth’s youth with a fork cliff halls with with a forked cliff?)

    …one that encourages understanding of cultural diversity,

    (ACLU & granny’s grade on cultural diversity? “F”

    … a respect for each other, and a respect for our country and its democratic heritage.
    (ACLU & granny’s grade on respect and democratic heritage? Tyranny’s (F- as in going backwards )

    And neither ACLU nor Granny were even happy with the changes. The school has some integrity left to teach their youth

  7. mzk1 says:

    I remember Ocean Grove. There was one street, and a chain was put at each end on Sunday. No problem there.

    Although if I were a Jewish student there, I would probably have severe religious issues going to the graduation. I wish that we could just have all secular education covered by the state, no matter what type of school – then we could pick our school and avoid all of this stuff. My parents sacrificed a great deal to pay my parochial school tuition, but it’s becoming harder and harder to afford.

    • canary says:

      mzk1, well, it goes like this. Most if not all our forefathers were of the Christian faith and found this country to practice Christianity with freedom and without persecution and prosecution to include death.

      After Christ was beat and died on the cross, Christians were often stoned to death like Stephen for preaching Christianity. Christians would draw a fish in the sand with a stick, and then wipe it away as a code to another in secret. They built those long spears pointing to the sun god, which we call steeples today; muslims call them something else on top of mushroom crowns, worshiped ester with bunnies and eggs, while they secretly celebrated Jesus who they believed rose from the dead and went to heaven.
      So, they no longer had to participate in animal sacrifices, human sacrifices, bow to golden cows, queen goddesses, nor bow or worship to Kings and Queens who made them slaves and servants, and determined their status quo. They believed Jesus when he told them magic men with wands, and wicks with spells, clap 5 times and click your heels with frog warts wasn’t the way. Jesus taught them were done away with.
      And so one thing they wanted was freedom from doing such things. Freedom. Liberty. Jesus taught an entire new, kinder, gentler way of life. And when he ate and shared his teachings with everything one it taught against ostracizing others.
      It was like freedom from all that law stuff in order to be rightful.
      Jesus was the greatest leader of all time. He taught to love everyone, forgive. America’s forefathers wanted a better country for all God’s children.
      So, really I would not think a Jew would not mind a sign that says “holiness to the Lord” as Jews worship the same Lord God as Christians do. I would not think the cross would not bother Jews, as it is a reminder of the price Jesus paid for making the world and it’s people better place. A better place for me and you. Jesus was a threat to Kings to Queens and rich leaders who were worried of losing their riches, rules, & status. It was politics. Even Daniel would not bow to the King, as he would only bow to God. The same God the Jews bow to.
      And many Christians risked their lives & died to hide the Jews in Europe. And the U.S.A. soldiers died and were wounded to save Jews lives and defeat the tyrant killing people in order to create a supreme race.
      And many Christians are fighting & dying for the freedom of Israel so they aren’t slaughtered by the muslims. So, I see no harm in a little “Holiness of the Lord” and onward Christian soldiers. I think there is much more that would damage your spirit, being, mental & physical health than a little graduation at a place of tradition and historical meaning to a school, who has had to bend over backwards to honor every belief, mythful god & goddess, or man monkeys’ beliefs. We are in an imperfect world.
      And I would say grandma can teach her child how terrible her school and the church is, and her views. And she can pay for a parochial school, but perhaps she can’t afford it. Making lemon-aid out of lemons, schools can be a learning place for discernment. It’s a hands on place to teach your child of some of the stupidity and evilness in the world.
      It’s a place you can teach your child, where people in authority, teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and yes, preachers can actually be evil. No school of any or no denomination is going to protect children from hard knocks in life, from teachers or students. It can prepare children for the real world. It prepares children not to put their faith and trust in people, and that the very beings that profess to love human beings don’t.
      So, it’s hard for older people to watch the Lords prayer be taken from school; a prayer that doesn’t even mention Jesus, but the Father that Jesus said was the best. It’s hard for many Americans to watch a nation under God disappear.
      I mean look around. We can say that we would have come up with the rules and laws of this country without guidance from God or Jesus in this country, but in reality that is where they came from.
      So, no matter what school you go to, mind who you are. Focus on excellence, and no excuses. (Neptune’s school motto)
      As long as the building or ceremony does not condemn anyone to hell, or chop your head off, or make you bow to a golden cow; feel blessed to be in the U.S.A. Jesus said something like we are in this world, but not of this world.
      It is a blessing to be in the U.S.A. where you can be who you are, and believe in yourself. Most of the laws in this country are based and found on God and Christianity.

  8. Chase says:

    Or, it can be said thusly:

    Taking offense is a willful act on the part of small-minded people.

    I can hear all sorts of abuse heaped on me and mine (ancestors, faith, favorite football team, take your pick) but until someone uses my mother’s or wife’s or daughters’ names and follows it with outright lies and vulgar insinuations, I personally can let it all slide off my back.

    You can choose to understand people have diverging opinions, and less or greater wisdom than you.

    Or, you can be offended. There are a lot of loser lawyers out there looking to hear your ‘woe is me’ story.

    Then there is the community-at-large whose respect you might rather seek to garner. And some from yourself as well.

  9. maloo says:

    Why isn’t the ‘obvious’ up for discussion? Cuz you get fired, blocked, banned? There’s a certain liberal ethnic minority of about 2% running the ACLU, MSM, and now the govt. (thanks to votes bought from our support of their unions, immigration and welfare) who doesn’t like Christmas, Christians, WASPs, Catholics, Repubs, or anything else that says ‘Majority’ USA. They now have control of this ‘Democracy’ and how’s that working out for us? It’s truth you won’t see on their ‘Today’ show or ’60 Minutes’. Stand up, it’s our last chance.


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