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moment of silence

"A moment of silence" (a.k.a. "moment of silent meditation") is a code expression for prayer time. The United States Constitution forbids any religion, including Christianity, from being the state religion. It forbids forcing every American to kowtow to the beliefs of any sect. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that requiring prayer in government institutions is unconstitutional, so Christians who want to have a public display of religious worship in places such as public schools, high school football fields, or government offices have created the ruse of the moment of silence. Even though judges and justices know that the moment of silence is code for prayer time, they have encouraged the ruse to flourish by publicly advising that laws requiring moments of silence are constitutional as long as they don't specify what is to be done during the moment of silence. Christian judges have rationalized their rulings by pretending that they don't know for sure that the reason for the law is to have a public display of people praying while pretending to be observing a moment of silence. Encouraging hypocritical behavior has become a pastime among certain Christian evangelists and judges, and the moment of silence marks one of their proudest achievements.

One thing the courts have not requested is proof that these moments of silence, which deprive people of their liberty, are necessary to accomplish some legitimate civic purpose. The moment of silence is a way to shut up those who loudly proclaim their fear of oppression in the name of religion. Those who think that prayer is the answer to our problems should consider that if this were a Christian nation, the Bill of Rights would be gone. The history of Christianity is not the history of liberty, but of repression, oppression, and censorship. The Europeans who first displaced the natives of this country came here because Christian sects controlled governments and oppressed those who didn't share their religious views. Unfortunately, it turned out that most of the pilgrims who arrived here were just as intolerant as those who had oppressed them in Europe. Freedom of religion meant not just freedom to practice your own religion but power to enforce that religion on anyone in your political community. The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree, as they say. Those who stand around in silence while religion is publicly united to our schools, our patriotic songs, our civic meetings, and our sporting events will regret it when they realize that the only silence truly desired by the Christian lawmakers and judges pushing these moments of silent meditation is the silence of the opposition.

The state of Virginia passed a "minute of silence law." It was upheld by a federal district court in 2000 and a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001.

See also creationism.

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further reading

Hayes, Judith. In God We Trust: But Which One? (Madison Wisconsin: Freedom From Religion Foundation, 1996).

Kramnick Isaac and R. Laurence Moore. The Godless Constitution : The Case Against Religious Correctness (W.W. Norton & Co., 1997).

Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty.

websites

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Authors argue the religious right is wrong about the Constitution

Va. Minute Of Silence In Schools Is Upheld and Commentary

Good and Evil

South Rebels Again

Christian organizers in South defy Supreme Court's prayer ruling

Religion and Fiction

"Solemnization" in Texas -- Another Ruse for Majority Dictated Prayer in Schools?

Who's kidding whom?

Marysville City Council opens with a prayer

news

School Prayer: Students lead the Lord's Prayer before ballgames [ by Katie Tammen, Panama City News Herald, Florida] Almost a year after Santa Rosa County schools signed a consent decree with the American Civil Liberties Union agreeing to stop promoting religion students have picked up where educators left off. Using signs, small cards and loud voices, students are now leading the crowd in the Lord’s Prayer at home football games. “These are really less prayers at football games and really protest prayers,” said First Amendment Center senior scholar Charles Haynes. “(They’re saying), ‘We feel that our rights have been taken away and we want everyone to know we are still praying.’” The prayers started with the first football game of the year and have only gained momentum since September when a federal judge found two Pace High School educators not guilty of violating the consent decree."

 

Last updated 20-Dec-2013

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