Freedom Of Religion Versus Freedom From Religion

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Re: Bob Tamasy: A Problem Of Prepositions

Mr. Tamasy,

As a lifetime member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, I was sent a link to your article.  Unfortunately, the basis for your pro-religion assertion -- that freedom of religion isn't the same as freedom from religion -- is definitely not the way the Supreme Court has interpreted the Establishment Clause for decades.

See these Supreme Court case law citations: 

"We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a state nor the federal government can constitutionally force a person to profess a belief or disbelief in any 'religion.¹ Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions against nonbelievers." (Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495 (1961)).

"(T)he individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith, or none at all. This conclusion derives support not only from the interest in respecting the individual¹s freedom of conscience, but also from the conviction that religious beliefs worthy of respect are the product of free and voluntary choice by the faithful, and from recognition of the fact that the political interest in forestalling intolerance extends beyond intolerance among Christian sect­or even intolerance among 'religions¹ ­to encompass intolerance of the disbeliever or uncertain." (Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 53-54 (1985)).

Santa Fe Ind. School Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290, 309-310 (2000) and Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S., at 688 (1984) (O'Connor, J., concurring)

As a "veteran journalist" (your words) and hopefully a responsible one, you should make a correction that informs your readers what the law of the U.S. actually is.  

Or at the very least, you should publish my response to your blatantly incorrect assertion that "that our revered Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but not freedom from religion ... If anything, it assures freedom from the establishment of non-religion."

As you've seen from the citations above, that's clearly not the position the Supreme Court (whose primary function is to be the final law of the land in interpreting the Constitution) has taken for over half a century.  You owe it to your readers to be factual, not fanciful, when it comes to legal issues.

Perry Mitchell

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Why To Vote Yes On Amendment One

I am still troubled about an editorial of several weeks ago on how women should not have to have government tell them what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.  Today I saw the advertisement being shown in Chattanooga.  There are so many untruths in it that I can’t just sit by and do nothing.   The editor was misinformed about what the Amendment One actually ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Chattanooga Police Department, And Community Members Reach Out To Group Members To End Violence

The city of Chattanooga held a call-in on Thursday night, as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was ... (click for more)

Man Airlifted To Erlanger After Early Morning Crash In Bradley County

Bradley County EMS responded to an early morning crash Thursday at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and Walker Valley Road in Charleston. Three ambulances and an EMS supervisor responded to the scene. There were three vehicles involved and one car left the roadway.   One adult man suffered serious injuries and it was determined that he needed ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Claims Region 4A/AA Soccer Title

Junior Sofia Olenchek scored twice, including the winning goal in the second overtime (95th minute) period as host Notre Dame defeated crosstown rival Chattanooga Christian 2-1, for the Region 4 A-AA championship Thursday night. In a well-played, physical match, CCS led at halftime, 1-0,  after senior Hannah Henry scored in the 14th minute, but Olenchek's first goal ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats Briarcrest For Shot At Father Ryan, DII-AA State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – OK, Father Ryan.  Baylor’s still hanging around. The Lady Red Raiders stormed past Briarcrest, 3-1, Thursday in the loser’s bracket final at Siegel Middle School and advanced to Friday’s Division II-AA volleyball tournament championship match. The set scores were 26-24, 25-15, 24-26, 25-15. The Lady Red Raiders lost to Father Ryan, ... (click for more)