The price we've paid for 'abridging freedom of speech'


To the Editor:

I was born in New York City in 1948. That would make me part of the “baby boomer” generation. I have read recently letters to the editor asking where has the country that I grew up in gone.

Here are a few examples of how it has become the cesspool we now thrive in and exactly when the nation began its fall into inequity.

In 1955, the New York Board of Regents developed a prayer recommended (but not required) for the school districts under its purview. The prayer was relatively short: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country." Upon us our parents and our teachers. Who in their right minds could find this offensive?

Steven I. Engel did. He was upset to see his son’s hands clasped and his head bent in prayer. He told his son that this was “not the way we say prayers.” Engel, a founding member of the New York Civil Liberties Union, brought action against Union Free School District No. 9 for its adoption and subsequent prescription of the so-called "Regent's prayer,” arguing that it constituted the state-sponsored establishment of religion in violation of citizens’ First Amendment rights via the Fourteenth Amendment. Engel petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court that voted 8-1 to ban the prayer in public schools.

It made its second decision against religious prayer in 1963, the Abington School District v. Schempp ruling, which made the corporate reading of the Bible and recitation of the Lord's Prayer unlawful in public schools.

On October 26, 1999, the school board in Harrisburg, Illinois decided to post three historic documents side by side in its schools: The Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights. The documents were handsomely framed and posted unobtrusively in the principal’s offices. The American Civil Liberties Union soon got word of this outrage, however, and threatened the board with a costly lawsuit unless the offensive Ten Commandments were taken down. Though widely supported by both parents and students and other members of the community, the board caved to the threat, and the documents came down. This was just one of the many battles the liberal traitors of this nation have fought to shout down the rights of those in favor of having some type of religious ideals present in their children’s lives.

The traitors at the Civil Liberties Union gave this as their reasoning for demanding the removal of the Ten Commandments: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech."

So today we no longer have any type of religious ideals displayed and look what we have replaced them with: metal detectors, mass school shootings of both teachers and students, individual attacks on teachers, a drug plague and sexual promiscuousness that would make those of the Woodstock generation blush. That is where and why we lost our country. Just as Germany lost itself to Nazism when all forms of religious worship were banned, so have we set sail on a voyage whereby all that we considered good and decent has been replaced with evil and filth and degradation.

John Cervone

North Providence


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