This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Freedom From Establishment: Separation of Church and State?
Going hand in hand with the Freedom of Religion is the Freedom from Establishment. The Establishment clause of the United States Constitution is one of the most often misread and misquoted parts of the Constitution. The clause was created to prevent the government from establishing a formal church for the country, such as the Anglican Church in England. However, because of a misreading by the course of Jefferson’s private letter to the Danbury Baptist Church, we now have this fictitious “separation of church and state” that every high school teacher chirps about.
Freedom from establishment is not about the establishment of secularism as the church of the nation, it is about preventing the government from choosing a religion to make the official religion of the country. Thus, the Theirry Avery Freedom from Establishment Award enshrines people who fight to keep religion in our government in the most inclusive way possible, by giving people (and government workers) a choice.
1st Nominee: Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States
Our first nominee is none other than the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. On December 13th, President Trump signed an executive order that prohibited anti-Semitic hate speech on college campuses. Since the resist movement began, there has been a marked increase in anti-Semitism around the country. Many of these attacks are being conducted by white supremacist, radical Muslims and even radical Jewish groups.
Trump’s executive order establishes that colleges will crack down on hate speech against the Jewish community. This move was not without personal risk to the President. Colleges across the country are claiming that students have the “right” to hate speech. This mirror universe where the Jewish students do not have the right to be safe but bigots have the right to preach hate in the quad hearkens back to Germany in the 1930’s. It is scary that anyone in this country is making the argument that students should not be defended from hate just because of their religion or ethnic origin.
2nd Nominee: The Students of Edmonds Public School
Our second nominee is a sad story. Students from the Edmonds Public School’s elementary school (yes, Atheists targeted elementary children) who had worked to set up a live creche in front of their school. The live nativity was simply Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus celebrating a historical event that over 1/3 of the world population accepts, and historical records back up. The Atheist group wrote an open letter misstating a court ruling on the issue.
The Atheist group stated that it “was always” a violation for any religious activity in any school event, which was a direct lie about the binding law in the case that stated “We are not prepared to say that a nativity scene in a school performance automatically constitutes an Establishment Clause violation.” This form of misleading harassment is normal for the war on Christmas crowd, and while the nativity was taken down and the right of the students were violated, we still support the students of Edmonds Public school and their effort to make the world a brighter place, if even for a short time.
3rd Nominee: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt
Our third nominee for the Rose Taylor Freedom from Establishment Award is Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Like the children at Edmonds, Mr. Schmitt is facing the same type of atheist attacks in his state of Missouri. Atheist groups in the state have begun an attack on any prayer on school grounds. Rather than back down, as so many other state attorney Generals have done, Schmitt is fighting back.
The underhanded tactics used by hate groups against Christians are the same; they lie, they bully, and they misconstrue laws made to protect freedom into draconian texts used to stifle those same freedoms. Schmitt is rising up against the bully, which is causing their “toughness” to fall apart. We all need people who fight for the rights of the little guy, and Schmitt is doing this for the abused Christians across the state of Missouri.
And the Winner is…
With three stellar nominations for this award, the choice was difficult. But there can be only one, and that one is… President Donald J. Trump. The deciding factor in this award was the scope of the award. While Edmonds and Schmitt were fighting the good fight, trump was fighting the big fight, and winning. Each and every American must stand up against judging people by their adherence to peaceful religions.
If a religion is based on hate or the effort to kill off other religions, that is one thing. But when a religion such as Judaism, which just says let people choose to come to God, is attacked, it is a problem for all of us. President Trump embodied this award in his efforts to stop hate speech on campus, and for that we should be grateful in this time of turmoil.