“There was a time in U.S. history when American school children began each day with public prayer. The entire class prayed together. That is now “illegal.” This is why:
• The Supreme Court first ruled against public school prayer in the 1962 case of Engle v. Vitale. The decision struck down a New York State law that required public schools to begin the school day either with Bible reading or recitation of a specially-written, nondenominational prayer.
• One year later, in Abington vs. Shempp (1963), the Supreme Court struck down voluntary Bible readings and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.
1. In this context, our kids can no longer pray in public. There have been many ensuing court cases over the liberty to engage in public prayer:
“U.S. Supreme Court rules, 6-3, that prayer before football games in Texas is unconstitutional,”
“School Faces Big Legal Fees In Prayer Lawsuit.”
“Florida school officials in prayer case could get jail time.”
“School district faces second lawsuit over prayer”
2. There have been multiple court cases against students who have or open Bibles:
“Lawsuit claims students not allowed to carry Bibles” http://www.adherents.com/misc/school_houston.html
“Bible study banned on playgrounds”
“Gideons Forbidden From Distributing Bibles at School”
“Bibles Banned in Bible Belt”
“Bible Banned From School Football Field”
“High School Cheerleaders Banned From Using Bible Verses”
“The Bible Banned at a New Jersey School” http://smartgirlpolitics.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-bible-banned-at-a-new
“Bibles banned at Stigler Oklahoma library”
3. Display the Ten Commandments in a public place, and you could end up in court.
“U.S. Government bans Ten Commandments from Public Places”
“Ten Commandments monument moved. New poll says Americans disapprove of federal court order.”
“Ninth Circuit Sued For Displaying Ten Commandments”
“Chief Justice Roy Moore removed for acknowledging God–Ten Commandments Inquisition”
American Judicial Alliance is asking judges to return to their Oaths to protect and defend the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land.
The organization successfully argued on behalf of the legality of a display in a public building in Kentucky that included the Ten Commandments among other historical references.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling in the case brought by the ACLU that reversed a lower court’s opinion that said the Ten Commandments were impermissible.
“The Ten Commandments are as much at home in a display about the foundation of law as stars and stripes are to the American flag,” said Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman. “The Ten Commandments are part of the fabric of our country and helped shape the law. It defies common sense to remove a recognized symbol of law from a court of law.
Barack Obama concluded his 9/8/09 speech to a captive audience of America’s government school-educated children with this sign-off: “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.” (emphasis added) If Obama – in his official governmental capacity – can compel the attention of America’s public schools for an affirmation of God’s blessings, shouldn’t we follow his example? Henceforth, God-fearing public school teachers might start their school days with a reminder – verbatim from Obama’s lips – to their students:
“Get serious this year. Put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”
Actually, this language is not unlike the New York Board of Regents’ prayer that was nullified in the extraordinary 1962 case of Engle v. Vitale: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on thee, and we beg thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.” Earl Warren’s supreme Court, in derogation of the free exercise clause those justices were sworn to uphold, nullified that prayer. In that case, Potter Stewart (1915-1985), the only justice with prior judicial experience before taking his position on the U.S. supreme Court, filed this dissent:
“A local school board in New York has provided that those pupils who wish to do so may join in a brief prayer at the beginning of each school day, acknowledging their dependence upon God and asking His blessing upon them and upon their parents, their teachers, and their country. The Court today decides that in permitting this brief nondenominational prayer the school board has violated the Constitution of the United States. I think this decision is wrong.
“The Court does not hold, nor could it, that New York has interfered with the free exercise of anybody’s religion. For the state courts have made clear that those who object to reciting the prayer must be entirely free of any compulsion to do so, including any ’embarrassments and pressures.’ But the Court says that in permitting school children to say this simple prayer, the New York authorities have established ‘an official religion.’
“With all respect, I think the Court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. Continue reading
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).