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Supreme Court avoids talking about God in school

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  • indi ,
    Feb. 27, 2012 9:09 a.m.

    @mcgilim: "Punctuation seems to have escaped you as well." Good one. Actually I cut and pasted the text from the Declaration of Independence. If you are referring to the odd marks in the text it is a result of pasting. I didn't think it was necessary to re-post the comment. If you are a Grammar teacher correcting me on something else, you may be right. However, my reading comprehension is just fine. I did not fail to notice the words in the context in which they were used. (That is why I quoted it in context.) :-)

    The Founders of this nation were Christians; therefore, it is a logical conclusion to believe that they were talking about a Christian God, and not Zeus. The use of Creator is to avoid redundancy. If a student writes, John went to Mary's house after school. John had cake and ice cream. John also went to the store. Somewhere in there they just might decide to use a pronoun to avoid the repetition of John, John, John.

    However, if I remember correctly, your comment stated that there was NO reference to God in the Declaration of Independence, which is clearly not accurate--even if you could argue that it was SOME other God to which they were referring to.

  • mcgilm SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 26, 2012 1:43 p.m.

    @indi

    My education seems to be just fine. Your reading comprehension of what you quoted seems to be lacking.

    "...the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

    Please notice before the word God the possessive form of the word nature. That makes reference to nature's God, not a direct reference to the Christian God. You merely assume based on your beliefs that the reference is to the God in which you believe.

    "...that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,"

    Again, you will notice that the word "Creator" was used. This leaves open to any belief system as to just whom that may be. You simply assume, based on your beliefs, that it means the God in which you believe.

    You have simply searched out a point in the document where the word God or Creator were used, without taking into account the point of context for the entire sentence or paragraph. Punctuation seems to have escaped you as well.

  • indi ,
    Feb. 25, 2012 9:36 a.m.

    "Our Constitution was made for only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to a government of any other." John Adams

    Many of the men and women who fled to the shores of this country were seeking religious freedom. They were persecuted by the crown for their âunorthodoxâ religious beliefs. Many were thrown in prison. Many were killed for just wanting the Bible to be published and read by the populace. The Founding Fathers were quite aware of that history and sought to protect religious freedom in this country. NOT remove religion from the public square, or political thinking. They did not want a Federally mandated church that everyone had to join. They did not want the Federal government to impose ONE church's ideology on everyone else and thus thwart the religious freedom their ancestors had come to America to have.

    President Washington declared a national day of prayer and fasting. Religious services were held in government buildings. Congress approved the printing of the Bible and missionary work to the Indians. These are hardly the actions of men who were against religion influencing the nation and community.

    The term, "separation of Church and State," is not in the Constitution. It comes from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 in response to a Baptist Minister who was concerned that his congregation would be denied their religious freedom by the federal government. President Jefferson then sought to reassure the Minister that the government would not invade his religious liberty. (BTW, Thomas Jefferson was not even a part of the process for writing the amendment which protects religious liberty--he was in France.)

    It is only since our society has become so secular that it refuses to acknowledge that this nation was built on Christian religious principles. Certainly the many symbols displayed of the Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court (and other courts throughout the nation) are some testament to that fact. It is only because those who do not wish to acknowledge any of this Christian influence that we see the push for the silence of the Christian voice and morality in the public arena.

  • indi ,
    Feb. 25, 2012 9:34 a.m.

    @mcgilm: You state, âYou need to go do some history research. Nowhere in the constitution is God mentioned, nor in the Declaration.â

    If you are an example of public education, then we have reason to be concerned. This the text from the Declaration of Independence.

    âWhen, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.â

    No reference to God?

  • indi ,
    Feb. 25, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    Blue, since the atheists are demanding the proof, thatâs their worry--not ours. We have our proof in ways that those who profess the religion of Atheism donât understand. One of our proofs IS by looking in the mirror and seeing that marvelous creation and crowning achievementâman. Now, if that is not a satisfactory proof to you, again, that is your problem. But the jury is still out on proving all that weâve seen is just the result of some random explosion in space that brought about the diversity of life forms and all that allows us to exist on this planet without the direction of a Creator. Evolution is still considered a theory. Being such, atheists have a burden of proof of their own to worry about. Consequently, atheists should not spend so much time trying to silence people of faith from presenting an opposing point of view by calling into question their logic, reasoning, or intellectual skills for having a difference of opinion.

    My guess is that the atheists true intent is to control the thought process of those they think might defect to the other side.

  • Morgan Duel Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 25, 2012 6:02 a.m.

    Hundreds of demonstrators staged peaceful protests in Nangarhar and Paktia provinces, but ones in Laghman, Kunduz and Logar provinces turned violent.

    Here in the US we cannot even raise a banner or sue a teaher regarding religion.

    Who free?

  • Morgan Duel Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 11:12 p.m.

    Wow sure is a lot of difference between courts.

    "The Pennsylvania State Director of American Atheists, Inc., Mr. Ernest Perce V., was assaulted by a Muslim while participating in a Halloween parade. Along with a Zombie Pope, Ernest was costumed as Zombie Muhammad. The assault was caught on video, the Muslim man admitted to his crime and charges were filed in what should have been an open-and-shut case. Thatâs not what happened, though.

    The Judges comments included,

    âHaving had the benefit of having spent over 2 and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact I have a copy of the Koran here and I challenge you sir to show me where it says in the Koran that Mohammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted things. Before you start mocking someone elseâs religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it it makes you look like a dufus and Mr. (Defendant) is correct. In many Arabic speaking countries something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society in fact it can be punishable by death and it frequently is in their society."

    The person who committed the act was let go regardless of the evidence.

    Where is the First Amendment right??

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 6:49 p.m.

    Thanks, Deseret News, for informing us about the brave Rhode Island girl who got the religious banner removed from her school. Alas, she will continue to be ridiculed by Christians as is commonly the case when my fellow Christians don't get their way. I think we refer to this as living the golden rule.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Feb. 24, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    "Ernest T. Bass
    Bountiful, UT
    Gosh those liberals are going to ruin this country."

    Rude and brash statement. For all you know this guy is ultra conservative but doesn't believe in god. You're stereotyping an atheist as liberal which is frankly not true (i'm an excellent example).

    @very concerned,

    "We have an innate yearning for a belief in God. "

    Correction: YOU have an innate yearning for a belief in God. I have no desire once-o-ever anymore and many feel the same way. I hope by WE you meant Christians and not humans because that's inherently false.

    "As far as religion in the *public square*, such as commenting in this newspaper, voting your conscience, blogging, proselyting, religion on TV, etc., etc., etc., reasonable religious dialogue should not be discouraged, but should be open and free."

    I couldn't agree more. Why don't you write to DesNews about their extensive comment moderation? You can beat up atheists all day but 1/10 comments about LDS get approved if you're lucky.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Feb. 24, 2012 4:47 p.m.

    "Blue
    Salt Lake City, UT
    The plain, simple, amply and repeatedly proven fact is that creationism very clearly _is_ "religious, superstitious nonsense." The teacher in question was simply speaking the truth.

    If verifiable facts offend you then you have problems that are far bigger than the US Constitution."

    We should be happy this teacher is so intelligent. We want our children to be taught be the world's best and brightest. Notice how India and China are exploding academically while we're falling behind ... it's time for a change in the education system and this teacher is a start.

  • Gregg Weber SEATTLE, WA
    Feb. 24, 2012 4:35 p.m.

    I see the comments back and forth.
    A real DEBATE. Sorry 'bout the caps but there should be one place where everyone can put their arguments for or against something like this. It would be in a proper manner of expressing and an orderly method of presenting. It would be logical with someone saying if the argument was so or was a fallacy. It would be a debate and not just a shouting and interrupting and 30 second sound bite presentation. It could be done in a newspaper, getting back to the analyzation, or a TV/internet network like GBTV.

  • mcgilm SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 4:25 p.m.

    @ Very Concerned

    The same people who founded the constitution, which so many people use to beat up on religious beliefs, practices, people, and doctrins, also put references to God in our money, made numerous public references to God, and recognized His hand in forming this nation. The first amendment is very simple when it comes to religion. *Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.*

    You need to go do some history research. Nowhere in the constitution is God mentioned, nor in the Declaration. References to God on our money was not there originally, and has actually occured over the course of the 100 years or so. The same with the pledge, which was originally written by a socialist monk. The original version never included the reference to God, which was added in the 1950s after much pressure by the Knights of Columbus.

    And most of the high profile founding fathers that everyone touts, were Deists, not Christians.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 3:46 p.m.

    I'd like to hang a banner in my old high school that says "God is dead." Do you think they'll let me do it? If not, why would this other group get to hang their banner. Do you see the reason schools need to stay out of it?

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 3:18 p.m.

    Blue & IMAM,

    How is it you can be soo intolerant to those who believe in God and choose to worship? It's amazing that society will push to protect porn as freedom of speech. But, praying to God, is attacked, mocked, ridiculed by those who claim superior knowledge.

    If you can't prove your negative, then I will tell you how a positive can be proven. Have you asked God if he exists? Have you tried asking with a sincere heart and with real intent if he exists? I've asked and He listened and responded. If you prepare yoursevles you to can enjoy that knowledge. Again, it's your choice what you do with that.

    I don't see a problem with me worshiping God and you not worshiping him. That's your choice to not worship. However, you do not have the right to take away my choice to worship. Especially where, how and what I may. I won't make an effort to force you to worship. And you shouldn't make an effort to force me, my children, and other believers from worshiping.

    The tolerant silent atheists need to step up, and show society that these radical atheists do not represent all atheists. The atheists that are sue happy and are simply trying to line their pockets with taxpayer dollars, because they were offended by a sign, a prayer, a faith, a pledge of allegiance. It's interesting that these atheists in lawsuits are going for money with the very word written on it that they despise and mock. I suppose in a way, everyone is seeking for God:) even our atheists friends.

    But, please explain how God does not exists. You must have figured it out some way, since you don't believe in him. So go on and explain how you came to that conclusion. Let's be intellectually honest and have a discussion. Don't be offended, and I also won't be offended by all of the shocking "truth" and "revelation" you'll deliver.

    You're first arguement is weak in stating that you are unable to prove a negative. Really? Is that the route such a great thinker is going to take on this issue?

    Don't get me wrong, I understand there are times when religious people have/can be forceful. I don't appreciate that either. But, I see no difference between having faith shoved down your throat and having atheism shoved down ones throat either. Let's allow public discussion on both sides. Instead of creating laws to restrict religion, why not approach the school and see if you can have an open dialogue about the topic.

    Who knows maybe politicians can learn something from that type of behavior. Maybe this will help prepare our future leaders to learn to get along with each other and learn that there are other valid opinions in the world. Instead we teach them that you should be offended over every little thing that comes your way, you solve issues in the court, you sue and take peoples money from them to make a point, you vote for activists for the agenda you agree to, you don't tolerate someone elses thought processes, and the list goes on.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    I'm a member of the LDS Church. I have every right to say that my beliefs aren't based on superstition but on reason and my personal experiences. As long as we accept the teacher who says "there is no God" then we must accept a teacher saying "there is a God" all the same. While I accept this teacher's right to express themselves, in my opinion the public school system should function to serve all belief systems- making such comments from either teacher to be inappropriate. However, does such a comment violate or infringe this student or any other students freedom? Absolutely not. This isn't even remotely logical; it's a joke. From my perspective, it seems that we see more of these claims because of a mentality in our society that "what's yours is mine" or in other words- "I have a right to you doing/saying things the way I want it."

    Others accepting you or what you believe isn't a right. You are free and the existence of "another belief" does not infringe this. A citizen, a state official, or anyone else cannot take this away by stating freely what they believe. Freedom means you can choose what you believe, not that you can choose what others say to you or think about you. I've had professors tell me that all evidence supports God's existence. I've had professors tell me that religion is stupid. Somehow, neither took away my choice and my taxes still paid for an education that taught me to think and write objectively if I need to and so on.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 2:23 p.m.

    RocketScience: "At the same time scientific theory, is theory. A theory is neither, nor can it be true nor false. A theory is simply stated a statement of the understanding of certain phenomena. A theory is either useful or not useful in its efforts to explain."

    You get at best partial credit for that answer.

    Scientists use the word "theory" to identify a way of modeling an array of related phenomena in a way that best fits available observations. The Theory of Evolution is every bit as scientifically valid as Germ Theory or Relativity Theory.

    While it is technically true that it is impossible to declare that the Theory of Evolution is "true," the plain fact remains that no other model of biological phenomena has been found that so simply, elegantly and comprehensively explains the origin of species while simultaneously conforming with other scientific disciplines.

    Religious beliefs that pretend to explain the natural world around us crumble under the most casual rational scrutiny.

    Borrowing your metric then, evolution is "useful," while creationism is "not useful." It should therefore not be deemed offensive for a teacher to say as much to students.

  • trueblue87 Provo, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 1:48 p.m.

    Because one chooses to ignore the evidence or does not understand it, does not mean the evidence does not exist.

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    Feb. 24, 2012 1:37 p.m.

    RE:Liberal Ted "Disregarding religious beliefs because someone doesn't believe, does not mean religion is barred from anything the government has it's hands in"
    I have no idea how you comrehended my post and translated it to your above statement. I make no mention of disregarding anything. Let me try to make a more simple statement for you. My view is that deabte on relious theology, pro or con has no place in the public education system.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 12:55 p.m.

    Belief in a Heavenly Father, God, Supreme Being etc requires faith - enough said, I can neither prove nor disprove to Blue. I can only share my belief through my faith.

    At the same time scientific theory, is theory. A theory is neither, nor can it be true nor false. A theory is simply stated a statement of the understanding of certain phenomena. A theory is either useful or not useful in its efforts to explain. Theories concerning gravity used to include that we could never escape the bounds of earth yet I have been part of developing the mechanized means to do so. We can learn more and refine our theories as we progress.

    I am one who finds much usefulness in understanding the theories of men and also find that many are actually consistent with my belief of a Heavenly Father. I want my children to know and understand theories of men and I teach them the things of our Heavenly Father whom I believe in.

    I believe it is wise to study theory, and while perhaps within constitutional bounds it is likewise very unwise, disrespectful and ignorant to denigrate the faith of another.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 12:26 p.m.

    VC: "But to me, the evidence I've seen for evolution from apes is far from convincing. AS A SCIENTIST myself, I marvel at how much we DON'T know... Also, I myself DO see the hand of God in His creations... But from what I see around me, He did a wonderful job of creating order out of chaos. I'm speaking AS A SCIENTIST and a believer." [emphasis added]

    Are you by any chance an engineer?

    Cf. Salem Hypothesis

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    @Flashback: Does that include when people want to separate church and state? It seems like the cons are the ones who get offended at upholding the constitutional separation of church and state.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 12:23 p.m.

    Gosh those liberals are going to ruin this country.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 24, 2012 12:06 p.m.

    Among all the "I think", "I believe", and "I hope", shouldn't we first look at what the Constitution says?

    1st Amendment:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,"

    It looks like we have two things happening.

    1. Did CONGRESS pass a law respecting an establishment of religion? Nothing in the article addressed that point.

    2. Does a teacher have the right to speak freely and to give his opinions?

    I think that the Supreme Court was right, not because it denied the exercise of religion, but because it allowed free speech.

    - Congress did not deny that student the right to worship.

    - The school is not an establishment of religion.

    - The teacher has the same rights as you and I to express his (erroneous) position. We do not have to have absolute proof before we state an opinion.

    - Nothing in the article tells us that the student's grade depended on that teacher's statement.

    I think that proper public discourse must allow diverging viewpoints to be expressed, even those that contradict our ideas. We learn more by seeing contrasts than by trying to discern subtle shades of gray.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 11:57 a.m.

    VC: "But to me, the evidence I've seen for evolution from apes is far from convincing. As a scientist myself, I marvel at how much we DON'T know."

    If you don't understand that humans did _not_ evolve from apes, but do share a distant common genetic ancestor, then you are not a scientist and should not pretend to be one.

    "But I DO sometimes personally question why one person has so much influence as to stop a practice (prayer in school) that is appreciated by the vast majority."

    Is an idea true because a majority of people believe in it? Are truths decided by popularity contests? Do two wolves and a calf vote on what's for lunch?

    If an idea being represented as science (e.g., creationism) is in fact demonstrably nonsense, why is it wrong to point out in a classroom that creationism is nonsense?

    Painful truths should not be suppressed in order to protect comforting lies.

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    The theory of evolution is science and follows scientific principals and therefore belongs in a science classroom. Intelligent Design is religion and does not belong in a science classroom. Teach it in Sunday school or in a comparitive religion course. Most people forget that every culture has it's own creation myths. If we taught all of the Intelligent Design myth's, (ancient Greek, Norse, Aztec, Hindu, Egyptian, various Native American, Abrahamic religions)then when would our students have time to learn about Dinosaurs and DNA?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 11:36 a.m.

    To "Pete1215" what First Amendment right was was infringed on? Couldn't the students also turn around and counter sue under the same arguement? If Christianity or any belief that includes a supreme being is not allowed in schools, shouldn't the same standard be applied to Athiesm? Why do we allow athiests to push their beliefs into the government.

    The athiests and anti-thiests are making athiesm the state religion and nobody seems to care. Wasn't the US colonized by people escaping countries with state religions?

  • ProudUtahn St. George, Utah
    Feb. 24, 2012 11:12 a.m.

    Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    "Liberal Ted: "I still haven't seen evidence produced by any atheists that God doesn't exists."
    That's not how the burden of proof works. The burden lies on those attempting to prove something _does_ exist. You can't prove a negative."

    In other words athiesm cannot prove any of their thought process? They are suggesting God and religion are man made? If that is the fact then all religious material, talk and action are allowed in the public square under the 1st amendment. Why not it fosters hope and encourages most people to try and be better, all I see of the alternative is nothing matters do as you please once your dead your dead so why try?

    Is education not to teach how to think and to come up with a good reasoning process?
    Today it appears to be I don't agree therefore I am offended so I am going to tie up the courts.
    What are we learning or worse yet teaching our children? adstinance is proven to be safer and works 100% which schools won't or can't teach we have to provide and show how to use contriceptives. Blue try to convince me your way is right don't use the courts to force your opinion! or is it there is not a good argument? and the courts is the only way to get your way?

  • Kdee SLC, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 10:50 a.m.

    @ Very Concerned: "But I DO sometimes personally question why one person has so much influence as to stop a practice (prayer in school) that is appreciated by the vast majority."

    In 1995 an LDS family and a Catholic family sued over school prayers in Santa Fe, Texas. The majority of the students at the school were Southern Baptist and the prayers offered were done so according to that religion. The children of the LDS and Catholic families involved in the case were harassed, discriminated against, and openly mocked for their religious beliefs and unwillingness to betray their personal beliefs and participate in the activities of a religion other than their own.

    Just because the vast majority of people appreciate something, that doesn't mean they have a right to force those who don't appreciate it to participate in it.

  • David in SLC Sandy, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    There is no Constitutional right to not be offended. The rest of the first story is semantics.

    As for the second story, why must the words "Oh Heavenly Father" be a part of the school mantra? The inclusion of those word makes the proclamation a prayer, but the rest of the banner is an admirable motto for a school to have.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Feb. 24, 2012 10:24 a.m.

    There are many belief systems. We call those that include a Deity religions.
    Secular belief systems do not include God.
    Prohibiting religion in the public square has given an unfair advantage to secular belief systems. It also makes it appear that there is something wrong with religion.

    What is prayer but speech to God? The constitution guarantees us freedom of speech (even if the person we are talking to is imaginary or considered to be imaginary by others).
    We are also guaranteed the right to the free exercise of religion.

    I don't mean to start a fight over evolution but at the very foundation of this theory you have living organisms springing from non-living matter. This is called "spontaneous generation", a long discredited theory.

    I have heard evolutionists proclaim that Intelligent Design is not science because it cannot be tested in a laboratory. If a team of scientists created life in a laboratory it would be a test of Intelligent Design.

    1. The experiment was designs.
    2. The designers (scientists) were intelligent.

    That is unless you want to claim that the scientists were not intelligent and volunteers are in short supply.

    To date all purported tests of evolution have been tests of things related to evolution. Even the Miller-Urey experiment that produced an amino acid was an organic chemistry experiment, based upon assumptions now proven to be false. It was not a test of evolution.

    Good luck testing evolution its self in under 2.5 billion years. (Live long and prosper.)

  • Captain Kirk Lehi, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    Amen to Liberal Ted and Flashback!

    I have never been offended by anybody's beliefs because I choose not to be offended.

    I do think this issue becomes heated when people feel their children are being indoctrinated one way or the other.
    This issue also gets heated when a religious/anti-religious or GLBT group wants to meet at school.

    I can certainly understand being concerned about things like that.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    Blue
    Salt Lake City, UT
    The plain, simple, amply and repeatedly proven fact is that creationism very clearly _is_ "religious, superstitious nonsense." The teacher in question was simply speaking the truth.

    If verifiable facts offend you then you have problems that are far bigger than the US Constitution.
    First, even if it were true that creationism is incorrect, it is highly unkind and insensitive for the teacher to use the words he did in his talk. To call a deeply held religious doctrine, *religious, superstitious nonsense*, leaves a lot to be desired in sensitivity and style points.

    Second, you may be convinced there is no evidence of Godâs hand in the formation of earth and life as we know it. But to me, the evidence Iâve seen for evolution from apes is far from convincing. As a scientist myself, I marvel at how much we DONâT know. We are always discovering new things and learning that old theories have to be discarded. Also, I myself DO see the hand of God in His creations. It probably was not a literal seven days that it took Him to create earth, life, and man. But from what I see around me, He did a wonderful job of creating order out of chaos. Iâm speaking as a scientist and a believer.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 9:39 a.m.

    Liberal Ted: "I still haven't seen evidence produced by any atheists that God doesn't exists."

    That's not how the burden of proof works. The burden lies on those attempting to prove something _does_ exist. You can't prove a negative. Or do you want to argue that until I "prove" that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist you'll still believe in it?

    "But, it's okay for a teacher to threaten a child for believing in God."

    Huh? What child has been threatened?

    Unless... are you saying that teaching tested, verifiable facts to students constitutes a "threat?"

    Again, if the truth makes you feel threatend, then the constitution isn't where you should be looking for a solution to your problems. Instead, you need a mirror.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    We clamor and fight for our *rights* so much that we forget our responsibilities. And some of our rights are misunderstood. For example, I truly donât believe that our right to *freedom of speech* includes the protection of pornography. I believe the Founding Fathers are rolling in the graves over that one.

    As far as religion in the *public square*, such as commenting in this newspaper, voting your conscience, blogging, proselyting, religion on TV, etc., etc., etc., reasonable religious dialogue should not be discouraged, but should be open and free.

    The same people who founded the constitution, which so many people use to beat up on religious beliefs, practices, people, and doctrins, also put references to God in our money, made numerous public references to God, and recognized His hand in forming this nation. The first amendment is very simple when it comes to religion. *Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.*

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 9:26 a.m.

    I appreciate your views. In some ways I agree with them. I do believe in recognizing God through prayer in a public place. I think it should be done in a way that is sensitive to all faiths. After all, I believe mostly all of us believe in God. We have different doctrines about Him, but in general, most believe in a supreme being, whether that be Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, or one of several others. We have an innate yearning for a belief in God.

    I respect however those who object to a particular religion and its doctrines being taught in a governmental institution (i.e. public school) where those who do not believe in those doctrines are required to attend. I understand that. I wish though that we would all want all wholesome beliefs championed anywhere and everywhere; things like kindness to our neighbors, sanctity of life, respect for othersâ property and safety, communication with God etc. In the Christian world, it is the ten commandments or the golden rule Iâm describing. But most religions (when they are not killing each other) tend to teach similar doc trine as the ideal.

    But I DO sometimes personally question why one person has so much influence as to stop a practice (prayer in school) that is appreciated by the vast majority.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    It's time to grow up and quit being offended by anything.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 8:52 a.m.

    The fact is, believers are entitled to their beliefs and opinions. Non-believers are entitled to their beliefs and opinions. It seems that the public school would be an excellent place for people to come together and share their beliefs, non-beliefs, opinions etc. in a non-threatening, non-forceful way. Why can't that happen? Is it wrong for people of faith to be challenged? Is it wrong for atheists to see that there are other thought processes out there?

    You'd think if an atheists was intellectually honest, they would welcome the discussion of religion and relish in the opportunity to share their reasoning and why they don't believe.

    What else should be barred from being discussed in school? Should we never mention traditional family, since many people no longer live in a traditional family setting? That might offend somebody.

    Maybe we should not allow kids to go to school that are given rides. Since some kid might believe in global warming. We wouldn't want to offend that child, and make them feel threatened every time they go to school.

    But, it's okay for a teacher to threaten a child for believing in God.

    How is that intellectually honest? That's the teachers opinion. I still haven't seen evidence produced by any atheists that God doesn't exists. It's just a matter of their opinion, and in my opinion atheism is fiction.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    I disagree with IMAN. Disregarding religious beliefs because someone doesn't believe, does not mean religion is barred from anything the government has it's hands in. This seems very simple concept to understand, based on the US constitution. I am very suspect of any individual/organization that seeks to promote their agenda. Especially when they use the government to force their values, beliefs, or non-beliefs on others. History is littered with terrible consequences of government and non-believers destroying those that believe differently and are not allowed to worship how, where, and what they may.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 8:22 a.m.

    If I read this story correctly, there is a law that protects government workers from any financial penalty if they violate a persons constitutional rights. I didn't know that. I guess government workers are better than the rest of us. Then we have the wonderful 9th circuit defending this guy on the "ignorance of the law is no defense." Only they got it wrong. I guess the dog ate the 9th circuits homework.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    The plain, simple, amply and repeatedly proven fact is that creationism very clearly _is_ "religious, superstitious nonsense." The teacher in question was simply speaking the truth.

    If verifiable facts offend you then you have problems that are far bigger than the US Constitution.

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    Feb. 24, 2012 8:03 a.m.

    IMVHO Promotion/criticism and discussion of religious theology should take place in houses of worship, homes or religiously affiliated institutions, not in public schools. Based on the U.S. constitution this seems to be a simple enough concept for me. I am very suspect of any individuals/orginazations that wish to take the promotion/criticism of religion into the public education system. History is littered with the mostly dreadful consequences of this type of effort.

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    Feb. 24, 2012 7:51 a.m.

    That a state representative would call a 16 year old athiest an "evil little thing" because she sought to defend her First Amendment rights should be a major story.