Christopher Baker the 5-4 Supreme Court decision in favor of Daniel Weisman and his daught

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Christopher Baker the 5-4 Supreme Court decision in favor of Daniel Weisman and his daughter, Deborah, breaks down this way: For state/church separation - Blackmun [expected]; Stevens [expected]; O'Connor [expected]; Souter [unknown]; Kennedy [unexpected]. Against state/church separation - Reinquist [of course]; White [naturally]; Scalia [Pope pal]; Thomas [suspected]. Souter has finally emerged as a voice and Kennedy [a Roman Catholic] looked beyond his indoctrination and reaffirmed the premise of separation that led to the finding in Murray vs Curlett in 1963 that took prayer out of public school in the first place. i'm pleasantly surprised and amazed that the Bush bible beaters took a licking on this one in spite of the unprecedented number of 'amicus' briefs filed by several State governments [in another untested breach of separation] to forestall a separation affirmation. this case only applies to elementary and secondary schools, Kennedy was quick to point out [by way of placation?] and has no effect [other than precedent i would think] on public universities nor on government prayer meetings at official functions [that's next on the hit list]. Scalia hyperbolized that this decision has robbed most Americans of their right to pray in typical, theist puffery. his dissent included: "It is a bold step for this court to seek to banish ...from thousands of ...celebrations throughout this land the expression of gratitude to God that a majority of the community wishes to make." he also pontificated that the ruling "lays waste a tradition that is as old as graduation ceremonies [it doesn't and they aren't, of course] themselves." he probably forgot in his Roman Catholic zeal that the Constitution was the law and not the Pope. he obviously forgot that the 'majority' he speaks of can pray their heads off to themselves at any function they wish. he also seems to have forgotten that the protections of democracy and the Constitutional form are designed to prevent the 'tyranny of the majority'. Scalia also carried on about distortion of the facts by the Court majority calling their arguments "incoherent" and infused with "psychology practiced by amateurs." he also claims they are destroying an important, unifying [nothing quite as unifying a religions, each with their own True Faith] American tradition with "the bulldozer of social engineering." [sigh] there was no comment from Bush in either of my print sources and i haven't caught on t.v., yet. In the majority opinion, Kennedy writes, "The First Amendment's religion clauses mean that religious belief and religious expression are too precious to be either proscribed or prescribed by the state." and he writes that "government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion." he allowed that although the graduation ceremonies in question were voluntary, the importance of the occasion and family and peer pressures to attend make a student's choice illusory. Souter concurring in a separate opinion, attacked conservative ideas that the government may promote a diversity of religions and is only prohibited from coercing religious practice or preferring one religion over another. he also said graduation prayers cannot be compared to a president's religious proclamations on Thanksgiving Day. which "inhabit a pallid zone worlds apart from official prayers delivered to a captive audience of public schools students and their families." that distinction seems strange to me but i don't have the full text of the decision, yet. i called American Atheist HQ and requested a copy as soon as they get it. they are also sending me a full copy of the landmark 1963 case for reference. i will convert both to files and post them as multi-part msgs upon arrival. pretty heady stuff considering how often we get quashed in court. [grin] TTFN. Chris [sources: Orlando Sentinel; Section A, pgs 1&4; 25 Jun 92. Florida Today; Section A, pg 1, 25 Jun 92.]

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