Walter E. Williams

School boards have recently banned songs and music containing references to Santa Claus, Jesus and other religious Christmas symbols. The New York City school system permits displays of Jewish menorahs and the Muslim star and crescent but not the Christian nativity scene.

 According to an Associated Press story (Nov. 26, 2004), "A public school teacher is suing his district and principal for barring him from using excerpts from historical documents in his classroom because they contain references to God and Christianity." The historical documents in question are: the Declaration of Independence and "The Rights of the Colonists" by John Adams.

 Then there's Kandice Smith, an Alabama sixth-grader who was threatened with discipline for exhibiting a cross necklace. Just a few years ago, the city manager of Eugene, Ore., Jim Johnson, banned Christmas trees and holiday decorations with religious themes from public spaces, giving as his reason the need to "put a neutral face on a religious holiday in the workplace." This year, a float proclaiming "Merry Christmas" was banned from Denver's Parade of Lights.

 Under the pretense of the First Amendment's prohibitions against "establishment of religion" and the court's bogus "separation of church and state" interpretation of the same, we're witnessing a part of the ongoing attack on American values. The Constitution's "establishment of religion" clause was written to prevent the formation of anything similar to the official Church of England in the United States.

 So why the attack on religion? Read the Declaration of Independence. You'll read phrases such as: "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," "Laws of Nature and Nature's God," and "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world." The vision held by the framers is that our rights come not from government but from a "Creator" or "the laws of nature and of nature's God." That means the purpose and power of government is rightfully limited to protecting our natural God-given rights.

 The idea that government doesn't grant rights is offensive to those who wish to control our lives. Therefore, to gain greater control, the idea of natural rights, God-given rights and Christian values must be suppressed. The idea that rights precede government was John Locke's natural law philosophy, which had a significant influence on our nation's founders, but they chose to refer to natural law as rights endowed by the Creator.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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