A Creeping Theocracy?
Bradley P Jacob
bradjac at REGENT.EDU
Tue Nov 27 17:17:21 PST 2001
Religion A: Guns should be forbidden.
Religion B: Individual freedom to bear arms.
Religion A: Government-run programs for the poor.
Religion B: Leave charity for individuals and churches.
Religion A: Make just war on terrorists.
Religion B: Pacifism even when attacked.
Religion A: Flat tax.
Religion B: Graduated income tax.
Religion A: Abortion on demand.
Religion B: Protect babies' right to life.
Yes, I can easily dismiss the question. The Establishment Clause was
written to forbid the creation of a national church. It does not prevent
policy makers from making policy decisions on issues that might coincide
with their religious beliefs. Does a criminal prohibition on murder "run
afoul of the Establishment Clause"? After all, we wouldn't want the
government to prefer Judeo-Christian values over the pro-Jihad, pro-murder
beliefs of Taliban supporters, would we? Context is irrelevant; these
policy issues -- like stem-cell research -- do not implicate the
Establishment Clause. Agree or disagree with the decision; work to change
it if you disagree; but the First Amendment is silent on the subject.
Professor Bradley P. Jacob
Regent University School of Law
1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464-9800
Email bradjac at regent.edu
From: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
[mailto:RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu]On Behalf Of Michael deHaven Newsom
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 1:10 PM
To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: A Creeping Theocracy?
Does it matter that different religions might reach different conclusions
on the question of stem cell research? I think that it does, and that is
the problem. The question is not necessarily one of religion versus
secularism, but may be one of religion A versus religion B. Surely the
Religion Clauses are relevant here. For the government to favor religion
A may, in this instance, run afoul of the Establishment Clause. To
determine whether there is an actual violation requires a careful
analysis of the facts and the context in which the preference manifests
itself. But whatever the answer, one cannot easily dismiss the question.
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