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; Include Your Full Name, Address, Phone Number For Verification

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. This includes your home address and phone number. We do not post the contact information, but need it for verification. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I am constantly amazed by the many emails that I receive every day. Quite curiously, I get a heavier load than I would ever have thought because the big search engines on the Internet send my Chattanoogan.com stories far and wide. Even the local ones on the Chattanooga area bring comments and I am deeply flattered. I try to read them and lament I haven’t the time to respond the ... (click for more)

Wilkins Found With 2 Stolen Vehicles After Homeowner Catches Him In Break-In

Authorities said Jesse Lee Wilkins was found with two stolen vehicles after a resident on Thursday caught him stealing items from his residence on Cave Lane. Wilkins, 29, of 2906 E. 43rd St., was charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of theft over $1,000. When deputies arrived on a burglary call, they found Wilkins and the resident standing in the driveway. He said ... (click for more)

Jury Finds Milner Guilty Of Lesser Charge In Attack On Cancer Patient

A Criminal Court jury found 27-year-old Michael William Milner guilty of reckless endangerment in an attack on a cancer patient at an East Ridge motel on July 12, 2016. Milner had been charged with aggravated assault, which would have carried a possible prison sentence of 6-10 years because he was a Range II offender due to his prior record, prosecutor Bates Bryan said. The ... (click for more)

Sellout Crowd Treated To Wild Finish As Lookouts Nip Blue Wahoos Saturday, 3-2

With 6,376 fans on hand and the home team behind 2-0 with their final at bat, Chattanooga took advantage of  Pensacola's relief pitcher, Geoff Broussard, to rally for three runs in a walk-off 3-2 win. Broussard was unable to get a single batter out. Dan Rohlfing was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving the Chattanooga Lookouts the victory. Alex Perez scored the ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)