A Prayer Shooting for a School Amendment

A boy writes a letter to God: “Dear God, why do you let bad things happen in our schools?”

God replied: ” Dear Son, I’m not allowed in your schools.”

OK, let’s be clear: school shootings don’t happen because there’s no mandatory school prayer — shootings happen in churches, too [in Texas, you can carry a concealed weapon into any church that doesn’t post a conspicuous notice of prohibition.]

The First Amendment merely sets forth that there will not be a State religion.

Public schools are a secular institution; notwithstanding, for any “Social Studies” curriculum not to include a survey of the World’s great religions, is an incomplete education.

However, mandatory prayer in public schools would [by definition] be coercive, and raises the question: whose prayer?

A non-denominational prayer would be nominally Christian, and constitute a violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment; alternatively, a government approved ‘secular’ prayer would be both an oxymoron and a breach of the Establishment clause.

The claim that we are a “Christian nation” ignores the fact that it is Moses on the pediment of the Supreme Court building, not Christ; and that verses from the Old Testament are inscribed on Federal buildings — not verses from the Gospels.

Why is that?

It is because the tablets of the Ten Commandments are iconic symbols of Law: Hammurabi’s Code, Magna Carta, the Napoleonic Code, and the Geneva Conventions would all be unrecognizable as icons; moreover, there is no iconography of the Gospels — and, even if there were, they would be symbolic of Faith, not Law.

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Sidebar: An Atheist has brought suit, seeking to have “In God We Trust” stricken from US currency — claiming that it violates Atheists’ freedom from religion.

Such a suit is frivolous, because the inscription does not violate either the Free Exercise or Establishment clauses of the First Amendment.

However, the Supreme Court should grant Certiori to hear him argue for a right to howl at the moon.

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Religion ought to be studied, not taught, in our public schools — and it can be done without running afoul of the First Amendment.

It’s called: The Humanities.

Nobody asked … just my opinion.

The Arizona Immigration Law

What happens when there’s no national consensus on an issue?: No coherent national policy.

Chorus: Give me your tired, your poor, your — guest workers, yearning to use the Port-O-San.

It’s no coincidence that the routes used by illegal immigrants are exactly the same routes used by the cartels to smuggle drugs into the US; and, illegal immigration from Mexico is not fleeing from economic opportunity.

So, what’s wrong with States passing laws to enforce immigration laws, if the federal government won’t?

The result would be a patchwork of enforcement that would encourage illegal immigration to states where xenophobia is less rampant, and enthusiasm for enforcement is less rabid — like, Cahly-forn-eyah.

We don’t have true Federalism anymore — it’s more like administrative decentralization: States get to exercise their policy prerogatives, until a national consensus gives Washington policymakers political cover to formulate a national policy.

Chorus: Land of the Home, free of the Brave. [Thank you, Sam Phillips]

It’s not that the Arizona measure is good or bad, unconstitutional, or even racist [which it is] — but, rather, that immigration touches and concerns the Nation: States have no policy prerogatives [nullification] in a federal policy domain [preemption.]

Appeals to patriotism and fidelity to the principles of the founding, ring hollow when among the “long Train of Abuses” cited in the Declaration of Independence, “… obstructing the Laws for the Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migration hither …” was  high on the list.

Nobody asked, just my opinion.

Amendment II

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

(originally published on Blogger, Monday, May 24, 2010)

The Militia contemplated herein, was not a standing army — that any future threat to sovereignty would, as during the Revolution, be met by militias which equipped themselves — that to enact restrictions on arms would be to deprive the fledgling nation of any capacity whatever to repel invasions, or quell disorders.

Indeed, the Constitutional Convention was motivated in part by Shay’s Rebellion, and was much upon the delegates’ minds.

In an age of flintlocks and dueling pistols — rifles and six-shooters would have seemed quite fantastic.

Would the delegates have favored preserving a right to keep and bear an AK-47?

Although the principle of the Common Defense does not connote ‘assault,’ conceivably, the delegates might have found assault weapons deeply interesting to national security.

But such overwhelmingly destructive power in civil society’s midst — wielded by a single hand — would have been an intolerable and appalling prospect, unlikely to ensure “domestic Tranquility.”

The comparison, made by Second Amendment advocates and gun enthusiasts, that an AK-47 is the modern equivalent of the flintlock, is absurd on its face — a false analogy, resting upon an egregious oversimplification.

As with any Right, there is a reciprocal obligation not to exercise the Right in such a way as to cause harm.

Experience has shown that the right is both a menace to public safety, and manifestly repugnant — not merely to any Amendment, nor even to any Article, but rather — to the principle of domestic Tranquility, found in the Preamble.

Should Americans have a right to keep and bear assault weapons?

Robert Press says, No.

Posted by Hardwood Paneling, III at 6:28 PM

[Amendment II: extended -- 12/20/2012]

Since the founding of the Republic, citizens and soldiers alike have given “the last full measure of devotion” to secure these Rights; it is, however, quite another matter for these freedoms to be exercised at somebody else’ expense: any society that can countenance purchasing their Liberty with the blood of innocents, can hardly be considered civilized.

There are those who point to the statistics, that out of a population of more than 300 millions, the percentage of firearm-related homicides (2.98% in 2009) are “negligible.”
Statistics reduce people to mere abstractions — but, a funeral is anything but abstract.

I challenge anyone to comfort the parents of a child murdered in a school shooting with statistics.

The Right, as drafted, did not contemplate entitling those engaged in criminal activities or with a diminished capacity for reason, to its protections.

To suggest that only automatic weapons are assault weapons is ludicrous:

the M1 semi-automatic rifle was used by American soldiers in the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and the Second World War … and this is not an assault weapon?

A Sniper rifle can be either semi-automatic or (more commonly) bolt-action … and this is not an assault weapon?

The fact is, almost any firearm can be used to advance an assault, and restriction on types of weapons or regulations on ammunition are likely to be as effective as the Volstead Act.

A firearm, legally obtained under strict permitting and rigorous background checks, cannot be guaranteed not to be carelessly maintained or that access would be denied to all but the licensee: perhaps, civil and criminal liability for negligence would be more effective in preventing a duly-licensed weapon from falling into the wrong hands.

Nobody asked — just my opinion.