Letters to the Editor

Bible quote no violation of rights

Johnson County’s school superintendent removed biblical quotes from an elementary school’s Charlie Brown’s Christmas play because of a complaint about the religious references. Why would anyone be surprised to find such references, so why the need to remove them?

The underlying principle of the First Amendment is that it “prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion.” And in Sherbert v. Verner (1963), the court held that “states must have a “compelling interest” to refuse to accommodate religiously motivated conduct.

The reason for the amendment was because many fled to America because of religious persecution evoked by England’s government-mandated religion. Our Founding Fathers wanted to assure that the government could not mandate a particular religious point of view. Quoting from the Bible in a play, or even displaying the Ten Commandments, does not equate to passing a law that establishes a religion; and the state certainly does not have a “compelling interest” to refuse to allow such actions.

Virtually every religion has fundamental teachings that evoke the same principles as the Commandments, although in differing words. The use of the biblical words to express those important teachings does not mean that the state is establishing a religion.

What is the next step for political correctness — outlawing Christmas?

Malcolm Ernst