George Phillies for President 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Real Libertarians Support Freedom of Religion
, May 1: “It’s for our children,” Libertarian Presidential candidate George Phillies explained. “No one has ever suggested that students are not free to pray. Do they? Just watch what happens when I hand out an exam. I’ve even found prayers jotted next to answers. However, students should be free to follow their own faiths, not have their teacher’s faith crammed down their throats. That’s why the First and Fourteenth amendments forbid public schools to force their students, while in school, to say the prayers of a particular sect. With younger students, this is especially important. When the teacher speaks, most students are sure they must obey. When a public school teacher leads a prayer, his students are coerced to follow.
“A decade ago, Congress tried to overturn our Constitution’s protection of our children. On June 4, 1998, Congress narrowly rejected the Istook School Prayer Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Istook Amendment guaranteed “… the people’s right to pray…on public property, including schools”. Congresswoman Anne Northrup saw the truth: Teachers are people, and their right to pray out loud in front of their class would be protected by Istook, so this amendment allowed a teacher of one faith to coerce children of other faiths to utter prayers from his faith. Northrup courageously voted against the Amendment.
“That sounds dead and buried, doesn’t it?” Phillies asked. “Fast forward a decade to the 2007 Republican Governor primary, vs. Anne Northrup. Rural Kentuckians receive a Robocall ad for Fletcher, attacking Northrup for this long-forgotten vote. And who recorded that call? Former . Or, it being 2007, sitting Libertarian National Committee member Bob Barr.Protecting school children from coerced prayer should be the libertarian stand. Barr supported an opposing view.
“Support for school prayer is not the conventional libertarian position,” Phillies said. “Certainly, it’s a position I reject.Public schools should not be turned into religious indoctrination centers. Real libertarians don’t believe children should be obliged to pray to someone else’s god. But young children cannot make an informed decision to consent to pray. If their teacher leads a prayer, most of them will follow. “I am delighted to welcome Bob Barr to our party as a member, but his position on this topic, while on our National Committee, is not the position of most Libertarians that I know. Now Barr is trying to decide whether to run for our Presidential nomination. I urge Libertarians to look carefully at his long legislative record.”
For more on the Robocall ad:
‘Northup, who served in Congress for 10 years before losing the seat to a Democrat last year, voted against a 1998 resolution that called for a constitutional amendment that would have allowed voluntary school prayer. One of the co-sponsors of the resolution, former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, took Fletcher’s side in the squabble.
“This amendment, if adopted, would have allowed voluntary school prayer,” Barr said in a recorded statement the Fletcher campaign used in phone calls to Republican voters over the weekend. “Unfortunately,
voted against the school prayer amendment. was the only Republican congressional member from who
At a campaign stop in Liberty yesterday, Northup said she voted against the resolution because it would have allowed teachers to lead the prayers, which meant adults of one religion could have been in a position to lead children of another religion in prayer.’ The text of the Istook School Prayer Amendment:
105th Congress, June 4, 1998
Text of H.J. Res. 78
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:
`To secure the people’s right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: Neither the United States nor any State shall establish any official religion, but the people’s right to pray and to
recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. Neither the United States nor any State shall require any person to join in prayer or other
religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion.’.
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