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20 April, 2010

The First Amendment

National Day of Prayer has been ruled unconstitutional. Our President calling our nation to prayer is a violation of the first amendment Establishment Clause. Period. I do not need to be led in prayer and my tax dollars should not be used to endorse any religion or religious act. So why is President Obama going to make a national proclamation despite the ruling? I must admit, I'm disappointed, and it's not because of his appeasement to Christians, but because he will be essentially ignoring the Constitution of the United States.

Also in law this week is the Supreme Court case Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez. The Christian Legal Society club, or CLS, at UC Hastings, a public, University of California law school in San Francisco, is suing because the school will not officially recognize a group that excludes members based on religion, race, or sexual orientation. The Christian Legal Society has decided that non-Christians and gay people are not allowed in their club. Because the school funds clubs, it is argued that the club must follow the rules that apply to all clubs, but the CLS believes their First Amendment rights are being infringed upon. The UC argues that the money for club activities comes from a student fund and therefore, in order to receive those benefits, a club has to follow the same rules that any other club must adhere to. I agree with the UC. No surprise there, right?

What do the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment mean to the reader personally? I'd like to hear. Is there a way to ensure that people can practice their own religion and beliefs without endorsing them? Or, as a co-host of one of my favorite skeptic podcasts put it, can we ensure freedom of religion while promoting one over the others?

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