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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

He who laughs last: Mock Tebow, I doubt he cares

Secular Progressives Mock QB Tim Tebow—And Us

WashTebow

Leadership: Even before George Washington is said to have taken a knee in prayer at Valley Forge, men and women of faith and courage endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights have guided this nation to greatness.

Some 45 million people watched Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow complete that 80-yard touchdown pass play to Demaryius Thomas on the first play from scrimmage in overtime to lead his team over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday's wild card playoff game.

They also saw him take a knee and give thanks to the God he believes in, an act that's been dubbed "Tebow-ing."

The act has been mocked by comedians and pundits and derided by the secularists among us, those who've banned prayer from the public schools, and fought Christmas displays on public property, the words "One Nation Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and even the words "In God We Trust" on our coins.

The fact that Tebow had 316 yards passing and averaged 31.6 yards per pass in the game didn't escape notice. Tebow wore "John 3:16" on his eye black in the 2009 BCS Championship game, a Bible passage often seen on signs held at sporting events at every level.

On the postgame show, CBS analysts "Tebow-ed" in unison, mocking the seriousness of Tebow's intent. "Saturday Night Live" has done a skit in which Jesus appears in the Bronco locker room. God does not take sides in football games, Tebow's critics say.

Tebow would agree with that, but he also acknowledges a higher power's influence on his life, win or lose, just as the Founding Fathers did when they acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence that we were "endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights," rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of, not from, religion.

Public expressions of faith are frowned on these days from the war on Christmas to prohibitions on certain words at graduation ceremonies. The desire to preserve the separation of church and state has led the secularists to attempt to drive every last vestige of religious expression from the public square.

In a case that's entered the presidential campaign, U.S. District Court Judge Fred Biery ruled this year that a high school graduation in a San Antonio suburb may not include an opening and closing prayer, even if nondenominational, or the words "invocation" or "benediction." That, he said, would constitute an establishment of religion, something banned, we're told, by the Constitution.

The phrase "separation of church and state" in fact appears nowhere in the Constitution but in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to a group of Danbury Baptists assuring them that the First Amendment prohibited Congress from establishing a national church, such as the Church of England.

Of course, Jefferson also said in a letter written to his friend Dr. Benjamin Rush dated Sept. 23, 1800, the words that are carved into the Jefferson Memorial:

"I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

That statement is rarely quoted.

We are a nation founded by men of faith who felt their actions were guided by a divine providence, a higher authority than governments or men.

Indeed, the day after it approved the First Amendment, the House passed a resolution establishing a national day of prayer and thanksgiving. It too believed in a document that forbade the congressional establishment of religion. But it also believed in not prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Beginning with Washington in 1789, annual presidential proclamations have declared the last Thursday of November as the Thanksgiving date. In 1941, a congressional declaration officially designated the fourth Thursday of November as the date of the Thanksgiving holiday. That Tebow gives his thanks on a Sunday playing football should not make any difference.


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1 comment:

  1. Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of "We the people" (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders' avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

    That the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who may have once labored under the misimpression it was there and, upon learning they were mistaken, reckon they’ve discovered a smoking gun solving a Constitutional mystery. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphor commonly used to name one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

    To the extent that some nonetheless would like confirmation--in those very words--of the founders' intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

    The Constitution, including particularly the First Amendment, embodies the simple, just idea that each of us should be free to exercise his or her religious views without expecting that the government will endorse or promote those views and without fearing that the government will endorse or promote the religious views of others. By keeping government and religion separate, the establishment clause serves to protect the freedom of all to exercise their religion. Reasonable people may differ, of course, on how these principles should be applied in particular situations, but the principles are hardly to be doubted. Efforts to undercut our secular government by somehow merging or infusing it with religion should be resisted by every patriot.

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