Reactions to "Pledge" & Voucher Cases, Senegal

Reactions to "Pledge" & Voucher Cases, Senegal

In Today's Edition:

Bush Reiterates America's Relationship with God
Institute Decries Ridiculous Ruling on "Unconstitutional" Pledge of Allegiance
CWA Says, "Supreme Court Ruling Vouches For The Constitution"
Muslim Mob Storms Church; Forces Closure Senegal


Bush Reiterates America's Relationship with God

(Baptist Press News Service)--President Bush said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is "out of step with the traditions and history of America" and underscored America as a nation that "values our relationship with an Almighty." Bush made his remarks in the Canadian Rockies at the site of the G8 summit. "(The) Declaration of God in the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't violate rights," Bush said. "As a matter of fact, it's a confirmation of the fact that we received our rights from God, as proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence."

Bush was responding to a national uproar over the Court's decision declaring the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because it contains the words "under God." "I believe that it points up the fact that we need common-sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God," Bush said. "And those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench."

In response to a question about how his faith has impacted his presidency, Bush shared about his visit to the fire-ravaged mountains of Arizona, where hundreds of homes have been destroyed in a raging wildfire. "I was amongst people whose lives were hurting a lot," Bush said. "And I was trying to figure out how to bring a sense of hope, and I thought that the best thing I could say was that there is a God who loves them. And I believe that's the case. And as a result, I feel comfortable in my life because I have that belief and that understanding.

Bush then remarked about a conversation about God he had with Putin, an atheist. "You know, it's interesting, there is a universal God, in my opinion, and the first conversation I ever had with Vladimir Putin was about God -- in Slovenia," Bush said. "It was a way that we -- we'd never met each other, and the first discussion we had was about our personal beliefs."

Bush again expressed his appreciation to Americans who have been praying for Bush and his wife, Laura. "I do, I feel the prayers of the people," he said. "And so there is a -- I think that the Almighty is important -- obviously, important part of my life, but very important part of the life of our country. And that's why the ruling of the courts was out of step with the traditions and history of America. (-- By Todd Starnes, BP)


Institute Decries Ridiculous Ruling on "Unconstitutional" Pledge of Allegiance

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy is outraged by an appeals court decision that found the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools to be unconstitutional. The three-member panel ruled that the pledge was an "endorsement of religion" and should not be allowed in any of the nine states under its' jurisdiction. In the majority opinion, the Court wrote that the pledge makes unbelievers feel "that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community."

"Democracy in America, is based on a system of majority rule with protection of minority rights. This ruling is a perfect example of a Court pandering to the smallest minority with a gross display of judicial activism," argued Institute President Joseph K. Grieboski. "The public outcry across the nation and the political aisle prove what the polls already told us the majority of Americans believe in God."

The Institute is concerned about the precedent that this case could potentially set. "Religious believers could all be in danger of having their rights and their role in American history denied and destroyed by laws following this activist pattern of minority privilege," Grieboski warned. "We call on the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn this outrageous decision, and seek a review of the case next year by the U.S. Supreme Court if the Court of Appeals fails to be on the right side of history."


Concerned Women For America Says, "Supreme Court Ruling Vouches For The Constitution"

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling yesterday in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris reversing a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which held that the Cleveland, Ohio, school voucher program violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The voucher program provides up to $2,250 toward tuition, which is used by low-income parents at participating schools, including public, private and religious schools.

"To say that it violates the Establishment Clause to allow parents to choose whether to use the voucher in a public, private or religious school isn't supportable by either the text of the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent. As the late Justice Thurgood Marshall stated in Witters v. Washington, 'In this case, the fact that aid goes to individuals means that the decision to support religious education is made by the individual, not by the State,'" said Jan LaRue, chief counsel with Concerned Women for America.

"Opponents of parental choice wanted the Court to strike down the Cleveland program because parents may choose religious schools. The Court has said that government is supposed to act with 'benevolent neutrality' toward religion, not malevolent hostility. The teachers' unions and public education lobbies have a vested interest in perpetuating a public school monopoly that has generally failed at educating children. Contrary to the political spin, the program helps public schools - it leaves them with the same amount of money but with fewer students to educate and motivates them to do a better job," LaRue said.


Muslim Mob Storms Church; Forces Closure Senegal

From Barnabas Fund News Service -- A local Muslim politician at the head of a mob of young men stormed a church in Dakar on May 23. Insulting and assaulting Christian worshippers, the youths, armed with knives and stones, drove them out and occupied the building. The church, which has only recently opened, first encountered opposition from the local politician when it met with officials to receive formal approval before beginning to hold services.

Having failed to prevent Christians from establishing the church local conservative Muslims took the law into their own hands and decided to assault the church claiming that Christians were making too much noise during services and disturbing the local community. Despite the involvement of the police and local authorities, and a reconciliation meeting in which church leaders apologized for any noise they may have inadvertently made, the church building has still not been returned to the congregation.

The incident is the latest in a series of several attacks upon Christians and their churches that have taken place in different parts of the country in recent years. Church leaders fear the incidents may be part of a concerted campaign to put pressure on Christians by Islamic extremist factions who want to make Senegal an exclusively Islamic country. Tensions were heightened for Christians and other non-Muslims in the country two years ago when the President announced that "Senegal will be 100 percent Muslim in three years."

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