The news headline I read Tuesday morning caught me offguard. I was surprised that it was happening in the the Bible-belt of Arkansas. The situation I speak of involves the Arkansas Department of Human Services and their decision regarding the activities at state-funded preschools.
The activities of a preschool has become the focus of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. This organization believes a preschool is violating the First Amendment.
How is this being done? The preschool has religious pictures and Scripture hanging on the walls and even has the nerve to sing religious songs, read the Bible, and pray. I seriously doubt this activity is detrimental to the health and well-being of these children.
The action of the Arkansas DHS is a corruption of the intent of the First Amendment. If the State of Arkansas issued a mandate that required parents to send their children to a preschool that espoused religion, then the intent of the First Amendment would be violated.
According to the Pew Foundation, Most legal scholars agree that the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the U.S.Constitution limits at least some government funding of religion, but they disagree sharply on exactly what is permissible. Participants in the debate fall roughly into two camps: On the one side are “separationists,”who broadly interpret the Establishment Clause – which prohibits all laws “respecting an establishment of religion” – to require that government refrain from aiding or promoting religion or religious institutions. Strict separationists therefore claim that most, or even all, government funding of religion is unconstitutional. On the other side are those who interpret the Establishment Clause much more narrowly, contending that government funding of religion is constitutional as long as the funding is neutral, meaning it does not favor religion over non-religion or favor a particular faith over other faiths.
No one is forcing parents to send their children to this preschool and the state funding is not favoring religion over nonreligion. So what is the problem? What is the real motivation and agenda of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State?
The philosophical bent of this group and the intent of President Adams are an interesting contrast. It was Adams who said: Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
I think it is time to say, enough is enough, and I hope this is enough to keep you thinking.