Letter to the Editor

Dale R. Reed (dale-reed@postoffice.worldnet.att.net)
Wed, 09 Apr 1997 12:44:26 -0700

I would be interested in some comments on the following letter that was
published this morning under a big black headline with one half inch
tall letters. Dale


"Religious freedom" is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary as: Within
Constitution (First Amendment) embraces not only the right to worship
God according to the dictates of one’s conscience, but also the right to
do, or forbear to do, any act, for conscience sake…

Blacks’ has a long discussion of the word "act" beginning with: Denotes
external manifestation of actor’s will… In its most general sense, this
noun signifies something done voluntarily by a person; the exercise of
an individual’s power; an effect produced in the external world…
"Conscience" is likewise discussed at length starting with: The moral
sense; the faculty of judging the moral qualities of actions, or of
discriminating between right and wrong…

Using these definitions I conclude that the public school system
violates the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
The establishment and maintenance of the state schools forces the
children of heavily taxed parents who do not have enough money left for
private schools or time for homeschooling to act against their
consciences in order to be educated.

Fifty years ago when I was in school I was forced to agree with teachers
I did not respect and to provide test answers that I knew were
incorrect. I was forced by school authorities and encouraged by fellow
students to act against my own conscience. The number of "right and
wrong" programs has increased since then to the present emphasis on
environmentalism, welfare statism and values clarification. Imagine the
frustration of loggers children having to endure a week in a government
"nature" camp where teachers encourage them to hug trees or the terrible
suffering of future engineers yearning to develop their mathematical and
design skills but required to watch another "how to survive as an animal
without paying the costs" video.

The citizen’s freedom and ability to develop his or her own moral code
was considerably impaired by the adoption of the state constitution over
100 years ago. Fortunately many of today’s students, parents and
educators of good will are using the rapidly improving technology to
create new educational environments where individuals can exercise their
unalienable right to define themselves. Eventually we must accomplish
the important task of separating school and state for everyone.

Dale R. Reed
Boulevard Park