The second Pillar of the First Amendment’s temple is …
o The “free exercise” clause
… or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …
Compared to both the linguistic subtleties of the “free exercise” clause and the consequent intricacies of the corresponding case law, the language of the “establishment clause” is as transparently simple as “Row, row, row your boat”. This exponential increase in complexity and subtlety is due to the fact that, whereas the “establishment” clause pertains only to government action vis a vis religious institutions, teachings, and doctrine, the “free exercise” clause pertains to the myriad ways in which the exercise of religion impinges, not only upon prerogatives of the government, but also upon those of individuals and groups.
According to Greek mythology, Cassandra, daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, spurned Apollo’s sexual advances and was cursed by the god with the gift of uttering prophecies (about the fall of Troy, the assassination of Agamemnon, etc.) which were unfailingly accurate ... but which no one ever believed. I can sympathize.
If you read nothing else I write in my “Skeptic’s” columns, for your own sake please read this one. If you don’t have the time, then make the time. It really is that important:
If you have children, especially little children, and if your finances and circumstances permit — which I fully realize they may not — if at all possible, leave, or seriously prepare to leave, the United States. And go where? I would suggest Canada (preferably) or New Zealand o
In my experience, most Christians – on the left no less than on the right – believe in whatever kind of God they want, or often need, to believe in. Fine. Fair enough. But in that case, neither left nor right can claim the name “Christian” and, at the same time, cite the Bible as, in any sense, being authoritative. If you are playing tennis, then you must abide by the rules of tennis. Therefore, you cannot play tennis and simultaneously claim to have defeated your opponent with a score of 5 under par. I.e., you cannot claim to worship God according to the dictates of your own private, idiosyncratic conscience, however enlightened such may be, and simultaneously play the “Christianity-game” by the rules of the publicly examinable document known as the Bible. If, as you claim, the Bible