Thursday, January 06, 2005


* In Texas, a U.S. District judge decreed that any student uttering the word "Jesus" at his school's graduation would be arrested and locked up. "And make no mistake," announced Judge Samuel B. Kent, "the court is going to have a United States marshal in attendance at the graduation. If any student offends this court, that student will be summarily arrested and will face up to six months incarceration in the Galveston County Jail for contempt of court."

* In Missouri, when fourth-grader Raymond Raines bowed his head in prayer before his lunch in the cafeteria of Waring Elementary School in St. Louis, his teacher allegedly ordered him out of his seat, in full view of other students present, and sent him to the principal's office. After his third such prayer "offense," little Raymond was segregated from his classmates, ridiculed for his religious beliefs, and given one week's detention.

* In New York, kindergartner Kayla Broadus recited the familiar and beloved prayer - "God is great, God is good. Thank you, God, for my food" - while holding hands with two students seated next to her at her snack table at her Saratoga Springs school early last year. But she was silenced and scolded by her teacher, who reported the infraction to the school's lawyer, Gregg T. Johnson, who concluded that Kayla's behavior was indeed a violation of the "separation of church and state."

"The constitutional separation of church and state" - a reference to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights - is a phrase Americans hear literally every day from the news media, from legal organizations, from politicians and pundits, and especially from zealous attorneys and judges. "Separation of church and state" was used by the ACLU to demand that a banner proclaiming "God bless America," erected outside a school shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, to honor the 3,000 murdered Americans, must be taken down. "Separation of church and state" was used to deny a little, handicapped girl the right to read her Bible on the bus on the long trip to school. "Separation of church and state" was used to take Justice Roy Moore's 10 Commandments monument out of the Alabama Judicial Building, and it is being used right now to challenge the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The phrase is repeated so often and with such assurance, one would think it is the keystone phrase of the U.S. Constitution. And yet - the words "separation," "church," or "state" are not found in the First Amendment, nor in any other founding document for that matter. In fact, the entire "constitutional separation of church and state" is a recent fabrication of activist judges who have ignored the Constitution's clear meaning. Indeed, says U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, in the stunning November issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine, "There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the Framers intended to build the 'wall of separation' [between church and state]."

More here


A group seeking to end affirmative action in Michigan says it is in the final stages of a petition drive aimed at putting a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2006 ballot. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative must turn in at least 317,757 valid signatures of voters to qualify for the ballot. The group must collect all those signatures within 180 days, which would bring a January deadline for an effort that began last summer. Chetly Zarko, a spokesman for the group, declined to say how many signatures had been collected or exactly when they would be turned in. A posting on the group's Web site said the signature-gathering phase of the campaign would be finished in the next several days. "It's going well," Zarko said Monday. "I feel confident."

The initiative would prevent public agencies and universities from granting preferential treatment based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin or sex. The group's efforts began after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the University of Michigan could consider race to create a diverse student population. The court, however, struck down the university's undergraduate policy for ensuring a mix of students as too formulaic. University officials later revised the policy.

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative originally sought to have its proposed amendment on the November 2004 ballot. But legal challenges slowed the campaign. Opponents include an umbrella group called Citizens for a United Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (BAMN).

An Ingham County judge last year ruled the campaign's petition forms did not clearly state the initiative would change the Michigan constitution's anti-discrimination and equal protection provisions. An appeals court disagreed and overturned that decision. The Michigan Supreme Court, in a 4-3 order issued last week, said it will not review the court of appeals decision. "It's unfortunate," said David Waymire, a Citizens for a United Michigan spokesman. "It looks like we can't go any further with that."

The Supreme Court order said Justices Michael Cavanagh, Marilyn Kelly and Elizabeth Weaver would have agreed to hear an appeal. That indicates Chief Justice Maura Corrigan and Justices Stephen Markman, Clifford Taylor and Robert Young Jr. opposed a review. Waymire said his group may now focus on challenges to signatures on petitions, if they are filed with state elections officials. "They have been deceitful about this campaign from Day One," Waymire said.

The campaign is backed by Ward Connerly, a California businessman and affirmative action opponent. The campaign has used paid signature gatherers. Zarko said the campaign also includes broad financial and volunteer support from Michigan residents.


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