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Thread: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by jmotivator View Post
    Dang, now all the Atheists will be forced to convert to Christianity.
    Good, it'll put hair on their chests.
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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    I wonder what would happen if all the players defied the lawyer and put the stickers on their helmets again. That would be a protest worth waging, IMHO. I'm sure if they faced sanction some religious-liberty legal group would represent them.
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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by OKgrannie View Post
    1. Is a religious symbol, for instance a cross, intended to respect an establishment of religion? 2. Is equipment owned by a state school and furnished to athletes for use in a state-sponsored activity considered to be government property? 3. Does the placement of said religious symbols on government property constitute an "entwining" of government and religion?
    No, it doesn't.

    You do know that there are other ways to honor fallen teammates, some have been mentioned, ways that do not involve using government property to express religious sentiments.
    Irrelevant. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean you get to limit the freedom of others. Sorry.

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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    The goverment isn't involved, here.
    It involves a STATE school. That means equipment, facilities, leadership by coaches, are all paid for by government. That means people of all religions and of none have contributed to the purchase of said equipment, facilities, and leadership. So the government IS involved.
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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    This is a choice made and funded by the players, not the university.
    The equipment involved belongs to the university, so it is properly a choice for the university. Actually, of course, the university also does not have the right to choose to violate the First Amendment. The players do not have the right to choose to deface government property. They also do not have the right to choose to use government property to make a personal statement.
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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    This is a choice made and funded by the players, not the university.
    If I knew they funded it, I'd forgotten. That tends to change things, but it sometimes doesn't take much--especially where First Amendment issues are involved--to make what private persons do at a public school into state action. The fact the game is a scheduled event that takes place at the university, using school equipment and facilities, tends to involve the school somewhat.

    I personally think all this stuff is nonsense, and that the members of the team should be able to wear crosses to honor these people that died. I would like to see the Supreme Court take a MUCH broader, more permissive stance on student-initiated religious speech at public schools. Let these trivial interactions between religion and government ride. This is not exactly like someone is planning to take the microphone and deliver a half-hour prayer for the souls of the departed to the captive audience who came to watch the game, stopping every minute or two to ask them to join in.

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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by OKgrannie View Post
    The equipment involved belongs to the university, so it is properly a choice for the university. Actually, of course, the university also does not have the right to choose to violate the First Amendment. The players do not have the right to choose to deface government property. They also do not have the right to choose to use government property to make a personal statement.
    So no one has any rights? Have you ever read the 1st Amendment in its entirety?
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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by matchlight View Post
    If I knew they funded it, I'd forgotten. That tends to change things, but it sometimes doesn't take much--especially where First Amendment issues are involved--to make what private persons do at a public school into state action. The fact the game is a scheduled event that takes place at the university, using school equipment and facilities, tends to involve the school somewhat.

    I personally think all this stuff is nonsense, and that the members of the team should be able to wear crosses to honor these people that died. I would like to see the Supreme Court take a MUCH broader, more permissive stance on student-initiated religious speech at public schools. Let these trivial interactions between religion and government ride. This is not exactly like someone is planning to take the microphone and deliver a half-hour prayer for the souls of the departed to the captive audience who came to watch the game, stopping every minute or two to ask them to join in.
    I love it----"Let these trivial interactions between religion and government ride." Because it seems trivial to you, does not mean it is trivial to everyone, and the Bill of Rights was designed to protect individuals and minorities, since, after all, the majority needs no such protection for their views. I'm sure the choice of which Bible to be read in school classroooms seemed trivial to many at the time of the Pennsylvania Bible Wars, but the dispute ended up with people dead and property damaged. FYI, it is very rare for these types of violations to ever be reported and/or acted upon. For every news-making case, there are thousands of violations which just "ride." The repercussions for making waves in small towns in the Bible belt are significant. Sometimes these cases make the news around graduation time because the faithful are unwilling to give up on the tradition of forcing students and families to participate in prayers. But thousands of students across the country are forced to choose between participating in prayers to deities they do not believe in or suffering the persecution of following their consciences. Now remember, this is important, that stopping such public professions of faith does nothing to impede any person from praying or worshipping, it does not interfere with anyone's right to "free exercise", as there are a multitude of alternatives. Those alternatives include praying silently (whenever one wishes), making arrangements to pray with others in homes or churches before the event, meeting early for prayer for those who desire. So it seems the purpose, the very reason, for such public professions is to force the participation of those who would rather not.


    Please read about one young girl's persecution for refusal to participate:
    Atheists struggle in rural Oklahoma - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

    After the first game, the girls gathered to recite the Lord's Prayer, as they always do. However, Nicole did not participate. Nicole is an atheist, she does not believe in God. When she told her teammates their excitement for the California-transplanted freshman turned sour.

    "When I started using ‘atheist,' they thought I worshipped the devil and all around school I was a ‘devil worshipper' and a ‘witch,'" said Nicole.

    Soon school leaders were treating her differently and calling her ‘bad for morale,' Nicole said. She was allegedly accused of stealing another basketball player's shoes and kicked off the team. And that was the start of the ongoing feud between the Smalkowskis and the town of Hardesty.

    "If you're not part of it (Christianity), you at least should be shunned or, at worst, harassed. And when she stood her ground on it and refused, they punished her," said Chuck Smalkowski, Nicole's father.
    "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."
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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by OKgrannie View Post
    I love it----"Let these trivial interactions between religion and government ride." Because it seems trivial to you, does not mean it is trivial to everyone, and the Bill of Rights was designed to protect individuals and minorities, since, after all, the majority needs no such protection for their views. I'm sure the choice of which Bible to be read in school classroooms seemed trivial to many at the time of the Pennsylvania Bible Wars, but the dispute ended up with people dead and property damaged. FYI, it is very rare for these types of violations to ever be reported and/or acted upon. For every news-making case, there are thousands of violations which just "ride." The repercussions for making waves in small towns in the Bible belt are significant. Sometimes these cases make the news around graduation time because the faithful are unwilling to give up on the tradition of forcing students and families to participate in prayers. But thousands of students across the country are forced to choose between participating in prayers to deities they do not believe in or suffering the persecution of following their consciences. Now remember, this is important, that stopping such public professions of faith does nothing to impede any person from praying or worshipping, it does not interfere with anyone's right to "free exercise", as there are a multitude of alternatives. Those alternatives include praying silently (whenever one wishes), making arrangements to pray with others in homes or churches before the event, meeting early for prayer for those who desire. So it seems the purpose, the very reason, for such public professions is to force the participation of those who would rather not.


    Please read about one young girl's persecution for refusal to participate:
    Atheists struggle in rural Oklahoma - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

    After the first game, the girls gathered to recite the Lord's Prayer, as they always do. However, Nicole did not participate. Nicole is an atheist, she does not believe in God. When she told her teammates their excitement for the California-transplanted freshman turned sour.

    "When I started using ‘atheist,' they thought I worshipped the devil and all around school I was a ‘devil worshipper' and a ‘witch,'" said Nicole.

    Soon school leaders were treating her differently and calling her ‘bad for morale,' Nicole said. She was allegedly accused of stealing another basketball player's shoes and kicked off the team. And that was the start of the ongoing feud between the Smalkowskis and the town of Hardesty.

    "If you're not part of it (Christianity), you at least should be shunned or, at worst, harassed. And when she stood her ground on it and refused, they punished her," said Chuck Smalkowski, Nicole's father.

    All sorts of constitutional issues are marvelously clear and simple to the simple-minded. Fortunately for this country, the justices on the Supreme Court realize that the First Amendment does not speak in absolute terms. I may have quoted earlier from Zorach v. Clausen, the 1952 decision in which Justice Douglas made some keen observations about why interpreting the Establishment Clause too strictly would produce absurd, unworkable results. Other justices have noted that such interpretations would probably violate the Free Exercise Clause. One advantage bitter atheists enjoy, I suppose, is that they never have to resolve these very difficult problems. It takes more thinking than most of them are capable of, anyway.

    In his concurring opinion in Van Orden v. Perry, a decision upholding the placement of a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol, Justice Breyer commented on the balances that must be struck in interpreting the Establishment Clause:


    The Court has made clear . . . that government must "neither engage in nor compel religious practices," that it must "effect no favoritism among sects or between religion and nonreligion," and that it must "work deterrence of no religious belief." The government must avoid excessive interference with, or promotion of, religion. But the Establishment Clause does not compel the government to purge from the public sphere all that in any way partakes of the religious. Such absolutism is not only inconsistent with our national traditions, but would also tend to promote the kind of social conflict the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid.

    Thus . . . the Court has found no single mechanical formula that can accurately draw the constitutional line in every case. Where the Establishment Clause is at issue, tests designed to measure "neutrality" alone are insufficient, both because it is sometimes difficult to determine when a legal rule is "neutral," and because "untutored devotion to the concept of neutrality can lead to invocation or approval of results which partake not simply of that noninterference and noninvolvement with the religious which the Constitution commands, but of a brooding and pervasive devotion to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the religious."

    Neither can this Court's other tests readily explain the Establishment Clause's tolerance, for example, of the prayers that open legislative meetings; certain references to, and invocations of, the Deity in the public words of public officials; the public references to God on coins, decrees, and buildings; or the attention paid to the religious objectives of certain holidays, including Thanksgiving.

    If the relation between government and religion is one of separation, but not of mutual hostility and suspicion, one will inevitably find difficult borderline cases. And in such cases, I see no test-related substitute for the exercise of legal judgment. That judgment is not a personal judgment. Rather, as in all constitutional cases, it must reflect and remain faithful to the underlying purposes of the Clauses, and it must take account of context and consequences measured in light of those purposes. While the Court's prior tests provide useful guideposts--and might well lead to the same result the Court reaches today, --no exact formula can dictate a resolution to such fact-intensive cases. (italics mine)

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    Re: Football team forced to remove crosses from helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by matchlight View Post
    All sorts of constitutional issues are marvelously clear and simple to the simple-minded. Fortunately for this country, the justices on the Supreme Court realize that the First Amendment does not speak in absolute terms. I may have quoted earlier from Zorach v. Clausen, the 1952 decision in which Justice Douglas made some keen observations about why interpreting the Establishment Clause too strictly would produce absurd, unworkable results. Other justices have noted that such interpretations would probably violate the Free Exercise Clause. One advantage bitter atheists enjoy, I suppose, is that they never have to resolve these very difficult problems. It takes more thinking than most of them are capable of, anyway.

    In his concurring opinion in Van Orden v. Perry, a decision upholding the placement of a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol, Justice Breyer commented on the balances that must be struck in interpreting the Establishment Clause:


    The Court has made clear . . . that government must "neither engage in nor compel religious practices," that it must "effect no favoritism among sects or between religion and nonreligion," and that it must "work deterrence of no religious belief." The government must avoid excessive interference with, or promotion of, religion. But the Establishment Clause does not compel the government to purge from the public sphere all that in any way partakes of the religious. Such absolutism is not only inconsistent with our national traditions, but would also tend to promote the kind of social conflict the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid.

    Thus . . . the Court has found no single mechanical formula that can accurately draw the constitutional line in every case. Where the Establishment Clause is at issue, tests designed to measure "neutrality" alone are insufficient, both because it is sometimes difficult to determine when a legal rule is "neutral," and because "untutored devotion to the concept of neutrality can lead to invocation or approval of results which partake not simply of that noninterference and noninvolvement with the religious which the Constitution commands, but of a brooding and pervasive devotion to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the religious."

    Neither can this Court's other tests readily explain the Establishment Clause's tolerance, for example, of the prayers that open legislative meetings; certain references to, and invocations of, the Deity in the public words of public officials; the public references to God on coins, decrees, and buildings; or the attention paid to the religious objectives of certain holidays, including Thanksgiving.

    If the relation between government and religion is one of separation, but not of mutual hostility and suspicion, one will inevitably find difficult borderline cases. And in such cases, I see no test-related substitute for the exercise of legal judgment. That judgment is not a personal judgment. Rather, as in all constitutional cases, it must reflect and remain faithful to the underlying purposes of the Clauses, and it must take account of context and consequences measured in light of those purposes. While the Court's prior tests provide useful guideposts--and might well lead to the same result the Court reaches today, --no exact formula can dictate a resolution to such fact-intensive cases. (italics mine)
    I quite agree that the court's decisions have been confusing and contradictory. It appears to me that recent decisions tend to be leaning more toward toleration which I believe is a mistake in a world filled with religious violence. Dominionists, Christian Nationalists, Reconstructionists, all have their own reasons for pushing for a policy recognizing Christianity and accepting expressions of Christianity in the public sphere. A policy of appeasement toward those playing the victimhood card whenever they are not allowed to use public facilities to promote their own religious views will not be effective in the long run, and we will be faced with violence between different sects of Christianity.
    "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."
    ~Anonymous

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