RELIGION AND CONSTITUTIONS
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
The Establishment Clause prohibits the federal, state or municipal
establishment of an official religion or other preference for one
religion over another, non-religion over religion, or religion over
The Constitution of the United States of America is arguably the most
progressive Constitution ever promulgated.
This Constitution sets up a wall between government and religion to
avoid religious conflict and wars that have bedeviled many other
But it is under constant attack from, political economic and religious
forces who constantly introduce what appear on the surface to be
innocuous minor issues. These are thin edge of wedges, which we should
be aware of.
These WEDGE ISSUES *(so described by religious organisations,) are used
in an attempt to gradually nullify democratic principles contained in
the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States and
hopefully eventually turn the nation into a theocratic state.
Rights that have been won by grass root struggles against elite
establishments over long periods of time but are under constant threat.
Here are few examples.
THE PATRIOT ACT which removes the need for authorities to secure a
warrant before opening mail, tapping phones, entering private
residences, and where necessary the removal of habeas corpus, to use
torture and removal of the right to due process.
As Supreme Court Justices White, Brennan and Marshall pointed out in
their dissent to Bellotti, the threat to First Amendment interests
already was clear:
..the special status of corporations has placed them in a position
to control vast amounts of economic power which may, if not regulated,
dominate not only the economy but also the very heart of our democracy,
the electoral process ..
The attempt by some religious organizations such as the right wing
fundamentalists to influence governments against the Bill of Rights that
establishes that government should not be seen to be in anyway
preferring one religion over another.
E.G. THE CROSS AND WAR MEMORIALS.
War memorials should honour all those who have served and not exclude
non-Christians by using a clearly religious symbols.
Freedom and Democracy cannot be left in the hands of vested interests.
They can only be protected by GRASS ROOTS organizations that rely for
their existence, not on the wealthy and privileged or the corporate
owned and controlled media but, on the many individual contributions of
This is why the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU) is vital and why
it is under constant attack by the privileged elite and their lick
For further info
But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the
people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you
wish to secure the blessing.
It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in
the Federal Government." -- Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4,
An example of religious interference in the lives of all religions and
the non religious, The Bishops Conference of the Philippines opposition
to the Reproductive Health Bill which would give people the freedom to
access or, freedom to ignore information but which the Church would
deny access to.
So here is a threat by the Church to Section 5 of the Philippine
Constitution, which reads:
No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment
of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or
preference, shall forever be allowed. No political rights
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