Thursday, September 06, 2012


The New York Times reported this yesterday:
Ryan Says Prayer in Schools Is a State Issue

PROVO, Utah -- Prayer in public schools was prohibited by the United States Supreme Court in 1962, but Representative Paul D. Ryan said on Wednesday that he believed that states should have the right to decide whether it should be allowed.

“That's a constitutional issue of the states," Mr. Ryan told a campaign volunteer during a visit to a Romney for President call center in Orem.

The volunteer, Jenny Free, 40, said she was a mother of nine children and asked Mr. Ryan if "we could give back to the states the right to decide if you want prayer or pledge in the schools."

Mr. Ryan called the decision to say a prayer or recite the Pledge of Allegiance a "moral responsibility of parents."

"Exactly," Ms. Free responded, according to footage shot by a television reporter for NBC News, "so I am hoping to try and push that."

"You know, in Utah, I would think you would have a pretty good chance," Mr. Ryan told her....
Here's a question I want a reporter to ask Ryan: Do you believe that the constitution prohibition against establishing a state religion applies only to the federal government? Or does it also apply to the states? Or, put simply: Do you believe an individual state can legally establish a state religion?

I ask because the belief that this is allowed is disturbingly common on the right. It isn't just wackos outside government like Alan Keyes and Ann Coulter who believe church/state separation doesn't apply at the state level -- Clarence Thomas has also suggested that the states can designate official churches. (The Supreme Court has decisively said otherwise, though that may not matter if Mitt Romney gets a few Court picks.)

Now, you'd think a member of the Catholic Church running with a member of the Mormon faith would be a tad wary of the notion that states might designate official religions, given the hostility of many Americans to both churches over the years. But I don't suppose any rock-ribbed conservative would object to a state religion of "Christianity," without greater specificity. That would horrify me, of course, as an American. Would it bother Ryan? I think he ought to be asked.


Victor said...

Methinks they often often confuse the US Constitution for The Articles of Confederation.

It's NOT the Some States, or Most States, Constitution.

And no one in the history of this country has ever stopped a child from praying in a public school.

They can pray anytime they want to.
No child ever got sent to detention for saying a prayer before a test.
Hell, I'm an Agnostic bordering on Atheism, and I was when I was a teegager, and Hell - I sometimes prayed before the NY State Regents exams, or SAT's!

What was that saying from the Bible about not being too public in your prayers?

Oh, here it is - Matthew 6:5:
"When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.

I guess there were overly religious assholes even back in the days of The Old and New Testaments.

Don't mess with Matthew - 6:5 odds are not much in your favor.

Ten Bears said...

The No Religious Test Clause of the United States Constitution is found in Article VI, paragraph 3, and states that:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

This has been interpreted to mean that no federal employee, whether elected or appointed, career or political, can be required to adhere to or accept any religion or belief. This clause immediately follows one requiring all federal and state officers to take an oath or affirmation of support to the Constitution, indicating that the requirement of such a statement does not imply any requirement by those so sworn to accept a particular religion or a particular doctrine. The option of giving an "affirmation" (rather than an "oath") can be interpreted as not requiring any metaphysical belief or as a nod to Mennonites and Quakers who would not swear oaths but would make affirmations.

The clause is cited by advocates of separation of church and state as an example of "original intent" of the Framers of the Constitution of avoiding any entanglement between church and state, or involving the government in any way as a determiner of religious beliefs or practices. This is significant because this clause represents the words of the original Framers, even prior to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Personally, I don't care the "party" affiliation, I'd vote for the first proad atheist to tell the Jew/"Christian"/Muslim/Mormon dogs to fuck off and die. Goddamned animals.

Kathy said...

Mr. Ryan called the decision to say a prayer or recite the Pledge of Allegiance a "moral responsibility of parents."

Yep, and they can require their kids to say the pledge and pray every morning before they go to school. They don't get to force it on all the other kids.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Some states retained established churches nearly until the civil war, as I recall.

The "original intent" is not in dispute.

Only whether we want to be bound by it.