Letter: Critics should reread First Amendment

David A. Nealy


To the editor:

As the Supreme Court once again faces arguments regarding the real meaning of the Constitution’s establishment clause, I remain astonished that such a simple, clearly stated statement is still so controversial.

The First Amendment words — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free practice thereof” — reflected an historical perspective of recent European citizens cruelly ruled by oppressive, church-dominated national governments.

As such this clause should be easily understood without much question. The key word here is clearly “establishment,” which by any sense of the English language implies a national, statutory requirement of allegiance to a specific religious belief with serious economic and personal well-being consequences for noncompliance.

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