Right to swing fist stops at my face

July 12, 2013

There have been multiple issues in the press lately relating to religion/prayer in public settings (in council meetings, in schools, and on beaches/public property). What is often missed by the people claiming that their rights are being denied is that there are no laws against people praying during council meetings, at school, on the beach or anywhere else.

What is against the law is the government (including school or government representatives) officially endorsing or promoting a particular religion by sanctioning its teaching or practice in an organized setting or on public property.

The easiest way to appreciate why the separation of church and state is important is to imagine for a moment that it is not Christians doing the praying/teaching.

Would you want your town to allow Islamic religious services on your public beach? Would you want your government officials opening their sessions with readings from the Torah? How about the teaching of Scientology texts in your public schools?

Christians (and Muslims, and Jews, and atheists…) all have a right to practice their religious beliefs - individually or in religious institutions. But as the saying goes: your right to swing your fist stops at my face.

Nancy Sakaduski


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