Volume 1, Number 1, August 1998

A Few Thoughts From Bob Conover, President

When your rights become permissions

It came as no surprise when President Clinton spoke against passage of a constitutional amendment to allow children to pray in government-owned and -operated schools.

Then he called on the Education Department to re-issue modified guidelines that detail how students can and can not voluntarily practice their religious beliefs.

The need for such a constitutional amendment to return to the original intent of our Founding Fathers is obvious to most religious people, especially Christians.

Our God-given, First Amendment constitutional right to practice our religion has been run over by the Supreme Court so many times that it is hardly recognizable.

But how far our religious rights have eroded was revealed in a comment by Secretary of Education Richard Riley when he was asked whether the guidelines are an assault on the Constitution. He said, "When people don't know what's permitted, they tend to get caught up in divisions." The "permission" Secretary Riley mentioned is what I could call a student's "right" to voluntarily practice his or her religious beliefs.

Do you see what's happened here? Our constitutionally-guaranteed religious rights are no longer rights; the government has given us permission instead.

Can you imagine George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or Abraham Lincoln issuing "guidelines" on how we can express our religious beliefs legally?

Imagine the response to such an outlandish statement 100-200 years ago? Christians would not have allowed it to go unchallenged.

Since when in America did our government start interpreting the First Amendment to mean that our rights are only "permitted guidelines"? When America became a post-Christian society.

Your right to practice your Christian beliefs is under siege. The Christian Defense Fund is here to protect you.