Thursday, June 15, 2006
Doing a Dover
Superintendent Mike Hanshaw says none of the 300 students at Mineral Ridge High School was required to say the prayer -- and none had complained.
More frightening still is the response from a Florida-based outfit calling itself "Liberty Counsel," which makes the Thomas More Legal Center, that helped set the Dover School District back a cool million bucks, look like positively responsible advisors. The president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver, says he believes that there is a distinction between what the Supreme Court has said on the issue of separation of church and state and what the U.S. Constitution actually means. Maybe we should have a term for advice like that. "Doing a Dover" sounds about right.
The attorney acknowledges that under the current interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the practice of reciting the Lord's Prayer over the intercom likely is unconstitutional. "[But] on the other hand," he adds, "that's clearly not the intent or purpose of the Constitution itself."While Staver goes on to make the reasonable observations that moments of silence at the start of the school day or students praying together in Bible clubs meet Constitutional muster, you have to ask yourself if some school district out there is going to wind up paying a whole lot of money because of advice they get from Liberty Counsel. Would you trust your Constitution to this man?
People who tell you that there is one "true" interpretation of the Constitution will probably be rigid (and wrong) in all the rest of their thinking.