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Fwd: Re: State to appeal ruling that limits prayers in House

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  • Eric Brooks
    ... Subject: Re: State to appeal ruling that limits prayers in House Date: Thursday 15 December 2005 09:58 am From: Mary.Beth.Schneider@indystar.com To:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2005
      ---------- Forwarded Message ----------

      Subject: Re: State to appeal ruling that limits prayers in House
      Date: Thursday 15 December 2005 09:58 am
      From: Mary.Beth.Schneider@...
      To: eric@...

      Thank you for your comments. And I understand your point on the cost of
      the attorneys. However, that was an issue I checked on and was told the
      attorneys don't do this work instead of other things. They merely have
      more work to do, particularly since three of the attorneys are assigned to
      the Indiana House which is going into legislative session in a couple
      weeks. We mentioned the law firm not as free advertising, but simply to
      let people know, particularly since Bosma is an attorney who is now
      challenging how others, including the Supreme Court, read the
      Mary Beth Schneider
      Indianapolis Star
      307 N. Pennsylvania St.
      Indianapolis, IN 46206
      Phone: 317-444-2772
      Fax: 317-615-2390

      Eric Brooks <eric@...>
      12/15/2005 09:23 AM
      Please respond to


      Re: State to appeal ruling that limits prayers in House

      Dear Ms. Schneider,

      I am writing to share some thoughts on your Indianapolis Star article of
      December 15, 2005, "State to appeal ruling that limits prayers in House."

      I support the decision by U.S. District Judge David Hamilton to prevent
      use of elected, official, platforms of state power essentially as a way of

      amplifying their religious message. Your article gave scant mention to the

      arguments that led to Judge Hamilton's correct decision, and in fact the
      Indianapolis Star could hardly be called even handed as you cast Judge
      Hamilton as controversial for following Supreme Court precedent. Another
      article trumpets in the headline: "Judge has stirred controversy before;
      Experts divided on prayer ruling; prior decisions included abortion, DNA
      cases" (Indianapolis Star, December 2, 2005, found at
      I don't think its helpful to link legal decisions on abortion and state
      prayer issues in people's minds, as if they were somehow based on similar
      premises or presented to Judge Hamilton at his request.

      Judge Hamilton's decision actually reads, in part, "The individuals do not

      have a First Amendment right, however, to use an official platform like
      Speaker's podium at the opening of a House session to express their own
      religious faiths." I grew up believing in the separation of Church and
      I know some people who are very religious who believe that this separation
      important and good for the health of their various churches. I believe it
      important for all of us in this democratic nation to avoid the pitfall of
      slowly developing a state religion, which clearly seems to be the goal of
      some in elected office, despite their self-serving claims to follow the
      of law. The legal system is based on the democratic decisions of the
      electorate. The public sphere is the democratic struggle. Religion is
      private, and should remain so. Judge Hamilton was in fact correct, and
      adhering to normal legal behavior, in basing his decision on prior Supreme

      Court rulings. That is what judges do. To attack him for this, to try to
      paint him as a controversial - maybe implying irresponsible - judge really

      does this man a grave injustice.

      Besides giving a free advertisement to Speaker Bosma's legal firm, you
      that pursuing this case does "not cost taxpayers any additional money
      the attorneys are already paid by the state." Well, that is blatantly
      ridiculous. That's like saying it doesn't cost anything to pursue the war
      Iraq because we've already hired the soldiers. I think the State-paid
      could find something more appropriate to do that might be helpful for
      beyond pursuing at taxpayer expense, with the taxpayers footing their
      salaries to do this, expanding religious intolerance in the Statehouse.

      As you said of the Supreme Court's 1989 ban on a Christmas Nativity creche
      a courthouse: "There, the court ruled that 'government may not
      demonstrate a
      preference for one particular sect or creed.' What is the law?" Good
      question. I hope your readers pursue the question: What is the law? It is
      for people's personal religious beliefs to be imposed either in the State
      House, the Court House, or the School House, on anyone who may happen to
      agree or disagree with that religious belief. That just is not the role of

      state institutions today, yesterday, and I hope tomorrow.

      Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season,

      Eric Brooks


      The philosophers have only interpreted the world in
      various ways; the point, however, is to change it.
      -- Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach
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