Russell Shorto writes a balanced piece on the place of faith in the Founders’ plans for America and how the fight over whether that is true is being fought in Texas today. Here’s an excerpt:
If the fight between the “Christian nation” advocates and mainstream thinkers could be focused onto a single element, it would be the “wall of separation” phrase. Christian thinkers like to point out that it does not appear in the Constitution, nor in any other legal document — letters that presidents write to their supporters are not legal decrees. Besides which, after the phrase left Jefferson’s pen it more or less disappeared for a century and a half — until Justice Hugo Black of the Supreme Court dug it out of history’s dustbin in 1947. It then slowly worked its way into the American lexicon and American life, helping to subtly mold the way we think about religion in society. To conservative Christians, there is no separation of church and state, and there never was. The concept, they say, is a modern secular fiction. There is no legal justification, therefore, for disallowing crucifixes in government buildings or school prayer.
Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html?pagewanted=all
A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution. The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.”At first, there was a sense of, ‘No way,’ ” said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. “Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation.”
One of the purposes of Retired Judges of America is to call into question the rulings of courts that violate the principles of the American Experiment. This case is a clear example of judicial tyranny over civil liberty. Parental choice in education strikes at the heart of the American pioneering spirit. The argument could be made that educational choices that families make are guaranteed by the birth certificate of our nation, the Declaration of Independence and that home educating one’s students is both a God-given right to liberty and to the pursuit of happiness*.
RJA’s mission is to illuminate how these “organic” foundational laws of our nation still apply and to promulgate them to the next generation.
Dissenting in Moore v. City of East Cleveland, Justice Byron White wrote, “The Judiciary, including this Court, is the most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law having little or no cognizable roots in the language or even the design of the Constitution.”
We, the Retired Judges of America, condemn this act of judicial activism and call on the California Supreme Court to overturn the Appellate Court’s ruling.
*In 1920 the Supreme Court asserted that parent’s rights to raise and educate their children was a “fundamental” type of “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause. See generally, Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925). This liberty includes the “right to the care, custody, management and companionship of [his or her] minor children” which is an interest “far more precious than property rights” May v. Anderson, 345 US 528, 533 (1952).