Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and struck down the controversial parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Acts in narrow 5 – 4 votes in both cases bringing uproarious activities from groups both supporting and opposing these decisions. While this was happening, the sheriff of Bossier Parish, Louisiana received notice from the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicating funding from the DOJ for two youth programs would be ceased because he refused to sign a pledge to bar prayer or any mention of God at their meetings.
In a report by Fox News Radio, Sheriff Julian Whittington said the DOJ Office of Civil Rights defunded $30,000 for their Young Marines chapter as well as a youth diversion program. The federal officials objected to a student-led prayer in the youth diversion program and the mention of God in the oath recited by the Young Marines, according to Whittington. Whittington blasted the officials for what he considers "aggression and infringement of our religious freedoms" by the government.
Todd Starnes reported for Fox News Radio:
"We were informed that these are unacceptable, inherently religious activities and the Department of Justice would not be able to fund the programs if it continued," Whittington told Fox News. "They wanted a letter from me stating that I would no longer have voluntary prayer and I would also have to remove 'God' from the Young Marine's oath."
The DOJ and the Office of Civil Rights are aware of the controversy but did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Fox News obtained an email written by an attorney for the DOJ's Office of Civil Rights raised questions about references to God and church along with the phrase "love of God." The attorney also raised questions about one of the five elements of the Young Marines Creed –"Keep myself clean in mind by attending the church of my faith."
The attorney advised that DOJ rules prohibit "funding on inherently religious activities, such as prayer, religious instruction and proselytization.
"And any religious activities must be kept separate in time or location from DOJ-funded activities," the attorney wrote.
The sheriff was told he would not be given any money unless he wrote a letter pledging not to pray or use the word "God."
"I flat said, 'It's not going to happen,'" he said. "Enough is enough. This is the United States of America – and the idea that the mere mention of God or voluntary prayer is prohibited is ridiculous."
The sheriff said the programs have been in place for at least ten years and until now – the prayers and the mention of God have never been an issue.
The Young Marine's oath that the DOJ took issue with states:
"From this day forward, I sincerely promise, I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines. These I will honor and respect in a manner that will reflect credit upon them and myself. Semper Fidelis."
Ironically, both the U.S. military's commissioning oath and enlistment oath include the phrase, "So help me God."
Whittington said he could not understand why the federal government would take issue with the oath or the prayers.
Sheriff Whittington stated it was not the money but the principle involved and questioned who is dictating what can and cannot be said. In a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal, Whittington defended his decision not to compromise. While Gov. Jindal has yet to respond, Rep. John Fleming, R-LA, told Fox News he is very concerned about the defunding stating, "There is a very wide effort coming out of the administration that seeks to stamp out freedom of expressions – particularly religion and especially freedom of Christian expression … they (DOJ) don't want anything to have any sort of religious support – even down to prayer. It's sad and it's inconsistent with the intentions of the framers of the Constitution."
Now, I want to make sure I get this correct: Muslims are allowed prayer during school in Washington, DC, the Supreme Court has ruled numerous times opposing prayer in schools, US Attorney Bill Killian and FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Knoxville Division Kenneth Moore descended on Manchester, Tennessee to inform citizens inflammatory speech against Muslims is punishable by law,
references to jihad or Islam were removed from government training manuals and replaced with Christian extremist as perpetrators of terrorism – now, organizations who use the word God and allow prayer will not receive funding from the DOJ. This sounds like an establishment of religion to me without an "official" legislation from Congress.
It's funny the Supreme Court would rule that any religious activity in schools could be considered an establishment of religion prohibited by the First Amendment, to include handing out sign-up sheets for after-school bible study, but Muslims are allowed to have prayer during school and Christians are now cited as terrorists. But wait, that's not all, with your continued restrictions on liberty, we are going to curb speech and not give you money for your activities unless you comply with what we say. No matter how you slice and dice it, this administration has become the Ginsu knife of liberty – it chops any and every freedom for all Americans but still remains sharp to provide Constitutional protection of special religious groups and government officials.
America, it is time we notified our Senator and Representatives of the sheer audacity this administration has in appearing to institute an established or preferred religion according not to the definition the framers used in the Constitution but to the definition applied to the "establishment of religion" clause issued previously by the Supreme Court in Engel v. Vitale (1962). Here the court defined "establishment of religion" to mean "a religious activity", "a prayer" (p.424), having public school children hear or recite a prayer that "somebody in government composed" (pp.425-427), "writing or sanctioning
official prayers"(p.435), and "government endorsement of a prayer" (p.436). (Bold printing cited from Publius Huldahs' blog)
I hate to stoop to the level of the left, but sometimes you have to get dirty to plant a seed in order to bear fruit.