Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Religious Bill of Rights" Killed by Democrats on Party-line Vote

Imagine a world where religious ideals are not imposed by the State. Imagine a world where religion is not imposed upon the secular, nor secularism imposed upon the religious. These are the ideals America was and is based upon, the ideals held strongly by our Founding Fathers. Fast-forward to 2010 to a small room in the Colorado State Capitol. There in this room the Religious Bill of Rights, SB10-089 is attempting to uphold those ideals within the public school system.

However, with misconstrued facts and obvious anti-Christian ideology, the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to kill the bill, which would have created some clarity into what is and what is not legal in the expression of one’s religious rights within the public school setting. Our Founding Fathers would have been appalled.

At first, it seems understandable that the committee shot down the bill, many members believing that this bill was an attempt to establish Christian “imperialism” in our public schools (although it was obviously religion-neutral). It is also understandable that American history expresses the freedom, which we express in our religion, especially after escaping the Religiously-doctrined Imperial power of Britain. By all means we do not want a return to the days of forcing children into Christianity, Judaism or any other religion. But the Religious Bill of Rights proposed ideas far from these ancient ideas.

What the bill did propose was the allow children, parents, and teachers to understand what religious practice could be exhibited by children and conducted by children. It also allowed for parents to understand how “exposed” their children can be. To provide this information, the bill requested the Commissioner of Education to request clarification of the Attorney General of commonly asked questions by teachers, students and parents and to provide court citations for clarifying answers.

Opposition to the bill came from the usual crowd. The ACLU, the Anti-defamation League (ADL), the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender activists, (GLBT) and a Jewish Rabbi…all appearing to be strongly opposed to Christian ideology, and all attempting to squelch religious freedoms from Christians (since there are more in numbers than all other faiths combined).

Click here to listen to some of the testimony from the ACLU's and GLBT's representatives.

These outside activist groups felt as if they were being alienated from this bill. One opponent that distinguished himself from the others was Rabbi Foster. Somehow, this Rabbi understood this bill to be establishing the dominance of Christianity over his religious view as well as that of Muslims, Buddhists, and Atheists. Rabbi Foster believed this bill conveyed a “sense that Judaism is pitted against Christianity” and continued to attack the bill with all of the opponents missing the point that this bill was only designed to inform citizens of laws already in effect. His strongest argument against establishing a document that clarified pre-established rights was that:

Some peoples' religious traditions believe that it’s important for others to believe what they believe” It seemed obvious that this Rabbi's comments implied that my goal was to impose my religious beliefs upon all of Colorado's K-12 school children, teachers and administration.

Click here to listen to a portion of the Rabbi's testimony.

Democrat Senators, looking for any reason to kill the bill, then used this testimony to express concern that this bill might have some negative affect on students who may feel their religious beliefs were not being expressed as frequently. The apparent consequence of this thinking leads to minimizing the awareness of the 1st Amendment for the majority of Coloradans, thereby not "offending" those of minority faiths and the religiously-intolerant. To be expected, the Democrat-controlled committee conveniently overlooked the degree to which secular ideas infringe the rights of religious children and teachers of all faiths.

The Committee also used the tired argument that laws are already in place to “remedy” issues where students are denied their basic inherent rights. This bill was to make sure that these rights were known; "rights" without one's knowledge of them cannot be exercised. What societal benefit would there be if laws for driving motor vehicles were not known? This bill was designed to provide a preventive measure against the willful or uninformed violation of student’s First Amendment Rights.

Clearly, the Progressive Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee would rather maintain a public school system that refuses to acknowledge the Religious Freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution to its citizens, in the hopes that they will remain ignorant of this important freedom.

"A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins." Benjamin Franklin

"A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins."
- Benjamin Franklin