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The Perversion of the Establishment Clause

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acton-commentary-blogimage“Nothing in the Constitution has been so judicially perverted from its original intent as the establishment clause,” says Zack Pruitt in the first entry of this week’s Acton Commentary. “The same clause went from protecting the people from a tyrannical state-run church to punishing those who dare to voluntarily pray on government property.”

A football coach in Washington was recently suspended from his duties because he made a habit of praying at midfield following games. Players or students were never asked or required to participate but some did join him voluntarily for a post-game prayer that typically lasted fifteen to twenty seconds. Prior to his suspension, the coach was ordered to stop praying because school officials, citing the Supreme Court, said they did not want to be seen as endorsing religion. The school district said that “students required to be present by virtue of their participation in football or cheerleading will necessarily suffer a degree of coercion to participate in religious activity when their coaches lead or endorse it.” On the matter of religion, we have moved far from the vision of this nation’s founders.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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