In a recent “Letter to the Editor,” published in the Taney County Times, Bill Stephenson of Kirbyville said, “Both Betty Edwards and Gary Groman [a.k.a. the Ole Seagull] recently opined that my and everyone else’s children should be taught in our public schools to be Christians according to what I must suppose is their personal interpretation of what that means.” As to Stephenson’s assertion that the Ole Seagull wrote that his “and everyone else’s children should be taught in our public schools to be Christians according to what I must suppose is their personal interpretation,” put in its kindest light, the Ole Seagull would suggest that Stephenson is inaccurate.
In a recent column entitled, “An Ole Seagull’s ‘Separation of Church and State 101” The Ole Seagull stated “his basic belief that the ‘created’ have no power or authority to change the laws of the ‘Creator.’” He continued, “The created either follow the laws of the Creator or don’t and must live with the result(s)”
The word “school” was mentioned in the column twice, the first being in connection with a rhetorical question and its answer. The question was, “If the U.S. Constitution, the document upon which our government is based, says there should be no prayer in schools, no nativity scenes on public property, that the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in public buildings, Christmas should be called ‘Winter Solstice,’ etc., shouldn’t that be the law of the land?” The immediate answer was “Absolutely, and if a frog had wings it should be able to fly but a frog doesn’t have wings and the Constitution contains no such language!”
The second mention of the word “school” was contained in the following paragraph, “Can any reasonably thinking person really believe that the same Congress that encouraged the ‘people of the United States’ to acknowledge ‘with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God,’ intended that the First Amendment they had proposed, not two months prior, be used as a tool to take prayer out of schools, remove the ten commandments from the walls of all public buildings etc.? It flies in the face of logic.”
It really takes a special thought process to get from those two paragraphs, or anything else in the column, to the point of saying the Ole Seagull wrote that Stephenson’s “and everyone else’s children should be taught in our public schools to be Christians according to what I must suppose is their personal interpretation of what that means.” From an Ole Seagull’s perspective, as illustrated in the instant situation, the results from that type of process are based on “A fountain bubbling over with misinformation.”
And the “bubbling over with misinformation” doesn’t stop there. Stephenson goes on to say, “Our nations forefathers knew this was a problem too. Who could they possibly appoint to determine what must be taught, and how?… The only right answer to religious teaching is for government to stay out of it. Completely out of it. So they addressed it in the very first amendment to our Constitution with this law of our land: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Wow, so that was the rational for the first amendment? That’s the first time the Ole Seagull has ever heard that rational expressed and, for what it matters, in an Ole Seagull’s opinion it is about as valid as what Stephenson said the Ole Seagull wrote.
As originally written and specifically stated, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits “Congress,” from making a law “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Who does it apply to, local school districts, cities, states, counties” or “Congress?”
Isn’t that the same Congress defined in Section 1 of Article I of the U.S. Constitution? Some might ask, “How did we get from a prohibition against the Congress of the United States doing something down to local government entities, taking prayer out of local schools, removing the Ten Commandments from city buildings, or prohibiting the display of Nativity scenes on public land or a public prayer at a meeting or football game? Come to think of it, why does it make any difference? One thing is for sure though; if that was the intention of our Nations Forefathers it was well hidden and not adhered to for well over the first 100 years of our Nation’s history.