Regarding Crèche’s and the First Amendment

Posted By on February 11, 2010

America today is held captive by the tyranny of the minority, and there are few places which bear witness to this better than Charleston this Holiday Season. One man, yes one local citizen in conjunction with an organization based out of Wisconsin has trampled upon the rights of all free persons, and used the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to accomplish this feat.

Let me begin by stating that I am not a Christian, and that celebrating Christmas is not a part of my faith’s religious observance. BUT this in no way changes my view of this situation, and in fact may only strengthen my opinions. I was raised in a world which now often seems foreign and strange to the one I live in today. I was taught that my rights end where yours begin; and that if I assert my rights at your expense, then in the end both of our rights and liberties are damaged.

The current responses to the situation surrounding the removal of the Nativity scene from a local fire station all fall short in their objections to the actions of this one man and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Thus far, the objections I have read and heard center on emotional responses from Christians, and do nothing to address the basic issue which brought us to this ill founded decision by the City and its attorney to have the crèche removed. This decision is supposedly based upon a Constitutional principle found in the “establishment of religion” clause found in the First Amendment. How far we have come from the intentions of the framers of the basic freedom once protected by this Amendment!

Does anyone know what the Amendment really says? Do we wish to remember, or even learn the original context within which the framers and the original 13 states thought it necessary add this to the Constitution? Does the Constitution even lead us to a position which would support this type of assertion? Do we even understand why this was the FIRST 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 redress of grievances.”

Forty-four words the likes of which the world had never seen before the drafting of our Bill of Rights. By a simple reading of the text one should be able to discern its meaning, but in the event the context cannot be understood let’s take a look at it. “Congress” who is this “Congress”, and how is it defined? “Congress” is defined within the constitution in Article I as the corporate body consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is not defined as the various legislatures of the states, nor does it even refer to the various local municipalities. “Congress” is the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, as defined by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. “Law” a bill passed by the “Congress” and signed by the President, and thus enforceable within the boundaries of the United States of America and its jurisdiction. A “law,” by definition of the Constitution, is not a ruling of either the Supreme Court or any other court within the federal court system.

So, the questions now arise, “Did the ‘Congress’ of the United States of America pass a law requiring that fire stations across the nation must display crèches at Christmas time?” “Did the legislation of the State of South Carolina pass such a law?” “Did the City Council of Charleston pass such a law?” The answer to all of these is, “No,” no such law exists and therefore the First Amendment has not been breached by such a display. Further, did any of these bodies pass a law prohibiting such displays? If they have, then this would be a clear violation of the amendment’s “nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof” clause. But no one wishes to even mention this part of the amendment.

If there is no such law in existence then is there anything within the Constitution which might cover the display of the crèche, undertaken by local citizens – albeit firefighters and employees of the city? How about the Ninth and Tenth Amendments? How little is mentioned of these two powerful amendments today.

The Ninth Amendment states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” (Emphasis added) And the Tenth, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (Emphasis added)

There is no right to not be offended delineated anywhere within the Constitution. I may not necessarily like, or even appreciate a crèche, BUT I will defend your right to display it to the death. You may not understand, or appreciate my display of a Chanukah menorah, but that does not give you the power to deny my right to do so.

The “establishment of religion” clause as it is defined in modern America is a travesty and a complete misrepresentation of the meaning and purpose of the First Amendment, as we read earlier. If the Freedom From Religion Foundation is so intent on upholding the Constitution let’s see them raise their voices concerning the entire context of the “establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” clause. Will they also raise their voices for any act which prohibits “the free exercise” of religion? I doubt it. But you cannot have one without the other; they are part and parcel of the same right and freedom protected by the Constitution.

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