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


Roy Exum: It’s All About People

The leaders of Hamilton County’s Mental Health Court held a heart-warming open house Friday afternoon and it was announced that just since February, the creation has saved the county over $3 million in incarceration costs. But to hear County Mayor Jim Coppinger or Judge Don Poole tell it, that’s not what is important. “Soon after the court started, a kind, quiet man I’ll ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Bill Pennington, a sports writer for the New York Times, was lamenting the “huddle” is slowly disappearing in football due to the faster pace of the game and, during his search for more information, he called former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. Bill wrote that Joe couldn’t stop laughing about the funny things that would happen between plays. Joe told this story: ... (click for more)

Man Shot Multiple Times In Cleveland; Jesus Teague, 14, Is Arrested

On Saturday, at 6:12 a.m., Cleveland Police Department responded to 1210 Elrod Place SE in reference to a domestic disturbance.   A man sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was transported to Erlanger by Life Force. His condition is stable, at this time.   The suspect, Jesus Tyler Teague, 14, was located and was in custody as of 3:25 p.m. ... (click for more)

Travis Caslin, 42, Shot While Walking Along South Willow Street

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot on Friday night while walking along South Willow Street.   The victim was identified as Travis Caslin, 42.   At 7:37 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers were called to a local hospital after a person showed up with a gunshot wound.   Police were informed that the victim's condition was non-life threatening. ... (click for more)

Mocs Mueller Nets Game Winner In 1-0 Soccer Win

Jordan Mueller picked up her own pass and pushed a shot into an empty net to give Chattanooga 1-0 Southern Conference women’s soccer win over Wofford on Senior Day at Finley Stadium on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.   “Pure grit by Jordan Mueller,” Chattanooga head coach Gavin McKinney said. “She is a gritty, tough, hardworking kid and it showed for the goal. She went and pressed ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Alabama Smashes Tennessee 45-7

(This story has been updated) Tennessee, a 34-point underdog in one of college football’s better long-running series, stayed close for one quarter before top-ranked Alabama switched to another gear and pummeled the struggling Vols, 45-7, Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The rock-ribbed Crimson Tide defense locked down Tennessee’s ground game, hounded quarterback ... (click for more)