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Even though Christianity remains by far the dominant religious influence in our society, Christians no doubt have occasionally faced instances of unfairness and the like. But persecution? When I hear a member of that dominant religion express feelings of persecution and such, the image of a privileged child comes to mind–one who, faced with the prospect of treatment comparable to that experienced by others, howls in pained anguish at the injustice of it all and pines for the good old days. As an atheist, I know how it feels to hold views not shared and even reviled by many in our society. You may understand then how alarming it is to hear members of the dominant religious group speak of their sense of persecution. History often reveals dominant groups working themselves into a lather about perceived wrongs against them before they lash out to “restore” matters as they see fit. If Christians indulged in less hyperbole about supposed slights and attacks, I wonder if they would shed some of their sense of persecution--and not give the rest of us so much cause for worry.
Good! Now theist and atheist citizens equally can join the Air Force and affirm their loyalty without hypocrisy--as it should be.
So, am I to understand that you're admitting that the assertion in the article is false, and then saying that you're worried instead about what might happen in the future?
Yes, it is fine. The college is choosing which types of student organizations it will subsidize, and refraining from supporting groups that discriminate against gays is an entirely reasonable choice. The college is not telling discriminating groups to stop discriminating or to stop operating on the campus; it is just saying the group won't get freebies from the college.
A group remains free to "operate on campus" regardless of whether it is "recognized" by the college as a student group. religious groups are not being "ousted" or "booted" off college campuses. By declining to officially "recognize" and thereby fund and subsidize organizations that discriminate, a college does not ban them from the campus as Newcombe suggests. If an organization is not officially "recognized" by a college, it just won't get whatever freebies the college gives recognized organizations.
The headline is even more fundamentally false. Religious groups are not being "ousted" or "booted" off college campuses. By declining to officially "recognize" and thereby fund and subsidize organizations that discriminate, a college does not ban them from the campus as Newcombe suggests. Students generally remain free to form any organizations they want with whatever rules and restrictions they want. If an organization is not officially "recognized" by a college, it just won't get whatever freebies the college gives recognized organizations.
Let's correct this article's distortion. The sky is not falling, and religious groups are not being "ousted" or "booted" off college campuses. By declining to officially "recognize" and thereby fund and subsidize organizations that discriminate, a college does not ban them from the campus as Newcombe suggests. Students generally remain free to form any organizations they want with whatever rules and restrictions they want. If an organization is not officially "recognized" by a college, it just won't get whatever freebies the college gives recognized organizations.
It may interest you to learn then that Constitution does not state "freedom of religion." Rather that is a phrase, not unlike "separation of church and state," commonly used to describe one of the Constitution's principles. In any event, this common chestnut about prepositions obscures more than it reveals. Freedom "of" religion encompasses each individual's freedom "to" exercise his or her religion and freedom "from" government established religion. There, all prepositions are fairly represented. Happy?
While the First Amendment undoubtedly was intended to preclude the government from passing a law establishing a national religion as you note, that was hardly the limit of its intended scope. The first Congress debated and rejected just such a narrow provision (“no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”) and ultimately chose the more broadly phrased prohibition now found in the Amendment. During his presidency, Madison vetoed two bills, neither of which would form a national religion or compel observance of any religion, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. Separation of church and state is hardly a new invention of modern courts. In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by government doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion–stopping just short of cutting a ribbon to open its new church. And, the separation of church and state is not a leftie-rightie sort of thing.
The issue is to determine whether the display of religious symbols is by an individual (i.e., a particular member of the team) or the government (i.e., the football team set up and maintained by the public school). The First Amendment protects an individual's actions regarding religion and constrains the government's actions regarding religion.
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