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Letter: Tyranny of the majority

Has anyone noticed the perverse use of the 14th Amendment by the U.S. Supreme Court in the past several decades in expelling God from our public school systems?

The 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War in particular to ensure equal treatment under the law for freed black slaves – a purpose that it was seldom diligently applied to, at least until the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, and then it seems we moved quickly from 14th Amendment equal protection, to affirmative action.

Yet around this same time we find the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment being diligently applied – or if we are describing the quality of this diligence, perversely applied – in cases to remove prayer and scripture reading from our public schools, a free exercise of religion, which should have been protected by the First Amendment which should have been further strengthened by the Ninth and 10th Amendments. They did this in the name of protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority, where no tyranny was happening but someone’s hurt feelings.

Yet notice later, in the ban on teaching of Creation in public schools and support for teaching evolution, no such protection was given to the minority. Here there has been a clear tyranny of the majority. An amendment that was intended to guarantee men’s rights has been used to take them away. How perverse is that?

JOHN DEMAKOWSKI

Franklin

Legacy Comments6

One could also say, save the social issues, parenting, dietary rules, etc for the home. I think it is pretty hypocritial to allow just the topics that the left deem acceptable to be the ones that are brought into our school system. Our school system cannot even teach the basics well. So for me just do that and forget about everything else. Our schools are trying to cover too many bases, and that is why they are failing.

The free exercise of religion does not extend to imposing your beliefs on others, much less to forcing taxpayers to pay for your attempts to do so. It's just a guess, but I have a feeling that the letter writer would have a different take on the free exercise clause if someone decided to read the Qu'ran to students in a public school.

The letter writer is simply wrong. Prayer and scripture reading have NOT been banned from public schools. Both are permitted by students, provided they do not disrupt the school day. What is not permitted is prayer and/or scripture reading led by the teacher in front of the class during the school day--it amounts to state-sponsored religion and therefore violates the 1st Amendment. As for the issue of teaching some version of the Biblical version of creation--it's not science, it's religion, and does not belong in any science curriculum. Save the religion for Sunday schools, and courses on creation myths and world religions.

This article highlights the kind of nonsense Mr. Demakowski apparently would have public schools teach. It's bad enough when it appears in private religious schools. And if New Hampshire's school tax credit law stands, this is the kind of stuff New Hampshire taxpayers will have to continue to subsidize. http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/05/09/creationism_in_school_science_quiz_gets_it_totally_wrong.html

What do we do if we don't want Islam being supported in the classroom as the "religion of peace"? What do we do if we don't want "Heather Has Two Mommies" taught in the classroom? What do we do if our kids challenge the religion of global warming and the teacher gives them a hard time? What do we do if we don't want 19th century Darwinism taught in our schools? What if we don't want the "melting pot" replaced with "diversity" in our schools? We are not a socialist state.

Mr Demakowski you're missing the obvious: We are not a theocracy. Religion has no place in a public classroom. You want religion in the classroom send your kids to a private church school.

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