Bible oath, prayer banner confusion — good question

To the editor:

In a Jan. 31 letter, John F. Brady asked Sakonnet Times readers to clarify why the President can take the oath of office on a Bible but a banner “only” referring to “Our Father” was “torn down” in a Cranston school.

In the Feb. 7 edition of the Sakonnet Times, two letters (one quite condescending) appeared with similar thinking to clear up “these relatively straightforward issues.” If they were so straightforward, why does it take “thousands of pages of writings and numerous Supreme Court cases?”  Apparently, the Constitution itself certainly does not clear up the confusion.

The first amendment is quite short (basically “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) and using the Constitution itself one might argue thusly. Congress made no law telling the president to swear on neither a Bible nor anyone to put up the banner.  The President used his personal choice as I would assume someone used their personal choice in putting up the banner.  In mandating the banner be taken down, the court was “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

But then again, our government has evolved, via interpretations of the Constitution, into one that our founding fathers would probably not recognize.  We now have a government that mandates people to pay for so called “heath care” which according to their religion is morally wrong. To this I must say:  “Where is the call for separation of church and state, duh?”

Joseph J. Barek Jr.

Portsmouth

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