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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Why the City of Scottsboro Should Not Be Providing Buildings, Materials and Making Repairs on Churches/Religious Institutions. A Continuation of the Failed Property Management Issue, Involving the Wall of Seperation Between Church and State - Scottsboro's Historical Violation of the Alabama and United States Constitution.

Riverside Church is in the old Rec-Com building, City of Scottsboro,  beside the Scottsboro Police Station. Google Earth Street Photo, Fair Use for non-profit news and commentary. In March 2011 the city council approved the new roof and air unit. The congregation began holding services in the building in 2008. 

The (partial) History of the Separation of Church and State by Barbara A.Simon, Esquire (Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary)

"First coined by the 17th century Baptist leader Roger Williams who, in 1636, founded Rhode Island, the phrase "separation of church and state" was used by both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (the father of the Constitution), to describe the meaning of the Constitution's religion clauses. The religion clauses provide for the "free exercise" of religion and prohibit the government from "establishing" religion by favoring one religion over another or favoring religion over non-religion. The U.S. Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution's meaning, first utilized the phrase in the 1878 case of Reynolds v. United States, stating that Jefferson's term 'wall of separation between church and state' "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.""

"The Court has repeatedly held that "separation of church and state" is the constitutional cornerstone of religious liberty. In the 1947 case of Everson v. Board of Education, Justice Hugo Black, in writing for the majority, stated: "In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state." In defining what is meant by the establishment of religion, Justice Black wrote, "Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.... No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.... The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.""

Graphic by warofroses146.wordpress.com Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

References for Graphic: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” – Thomas Jefferson letter to the Danbury Baptists – January 1, 1802

“It will be the Government’s care to maintain honest co-operation between Church and State; the struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the German nation as in that of the welfare of our Christian faith. “- Adolf Hitler, speech to the Reichstag 23 March 1933

August 3, 2016 - City of Scottsboro Property Management Issue – Clouding the Separation of Church and State by Scottsboro City Government

James Madison denounced government attempts to spend even “three pence” of our taxes for religious purposes. And Thomas Jefferson stood up against the “sinful and tyrannical” act of forcing taxpayers to fund any religion (even their own) against their will. A lot has changed since then, but not this longstanding First Amendment principle. The separation of church and state protects against advancing religion with taxpayer dollars.

Riverside Church (the old Rec-Com building) – The church at its current location, according to church officials, has been holding worship services there since 2008. In March of 2011 the City Council of Scottsboro, Al. approved a $65,000 expenditure for a metal roof and air conditioning for the church. The lease was recently extended in May of 2016 for 10 years at the same monthly cost of $250.00, payable to the City of Scottsboro. Compare that with the $3000 per month the City of Scottsboro charges the Scottsboro Municipal Court for it’s so called lease (according to the Scottsboro Magistrate’s Office).

Alabama Constitution, Article 1, Section 3
“That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.”

In March 2011 the City Council of Scottsboro, Alabama approved replacing a roof and air-conditioning unit for the Riverside Church, property owned by the City of Scottsboro and leased to the church for a small amount of money. “…that no one shall be compelled by law to…pay…for repairing any place of worship.” Excerpt from the Alabama Constitution, Article 1, Section 3.

Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Establishment Clause
The First Amendment's Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion. (ACLU position)

The Lemon Test (Supreme Court of the U.S. in Lemon vs Kurtzman)
Government action violates the Establishment Clause unless it:
1. Has a significant secular (i.e., non-religious) purpose,
2. Does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and
3. Does not foster excessive entanglement between government and religion.
(Not all justices agree with every aspect of this test. However, it is the prevailing test of whether there is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.)

Will you allow only specific religious worship on government property? Will you say only those religious bodies who are approved by the State or Federal Government may lease city property or conduct religious services on city government property based on IRS status? You as a government entity are utilizing the Federal government as a determination whether you will allow specific religious entities to worship on city government property in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Religions Other Than Christianity
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469 (Aug. 11, 1978) (commonly abbreviated to AIRFA), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1996, is a United States federal law, enacted by joint resolution of the Congress in 1978. Native American Religions were up to this point prohibited by law. [1]

It was enacted to return basic civil liberties, and to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians. [2] These rights include, but are not limited to, access to sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rights, and use and possession of objects considered sacred.

The Act required policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native American religion, based on the First Amendment, and to accommodate access to and use of religious sites to the extent that the use is practicable and is not inconsistent with an agency's essential functions.[3] It also acknowledges the prior violation of that right.[4]

1.      Powell, Jay; & Jensen, Vickie. (1976). Quileute: An introduction to the Indians of La Push. Seattle: University of Washington Press. (Cited in Bright 1984).

2.      Cornell.edu. "AIRFA act 1978.". Archived from the original on 19 June 2006. Retrieved       July 29, 2006.

3.       United States (2013). Indian Sacred Sites: Balancing Protection Issues with Federal Management. America in the 21st century : political and economic issues. Christopher N. Griffiths (ed.). New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. ISBN 1628082844.

4.      Canby, John C. Jr. American Indian Law in A Nutshell. West Publishing Company, 1988. Pg. 339, 340.

Native American Religions other than Christianity - Earth Lodge Religion; Ghost Dance; Indian Shaker Religion; Longhouse Religion; Mexicayotl; Native American Church; Waashat Religion.

Will you allow Jewish, Buddhists, Hindu’s, Islam-Muslim, Taoists, Bantuists, Berber, Serer, Santeria, Candomble, Vodou,  Orisha, Atheists, Deists, Church of Satan or what some may consider extremist religious groups, KKK or Jihadists to lease city property for religious reasons. Will you allow religious sacrificial worship on city property?

City Government becoming entangled in the lease of city property to a church for religious worship clouds the Wall of Separation between Church and State, Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. Repairing Riverside, or any Church, with tax payer funds, authorized by city council in March of 2011 appears to violate the Alabama Constitution, Article 1, Section 3 in that “……that no one shall be compelled by law to…pay…for repairing any place of worship.”

Furnishing a church city property to conduct worship surfaces via a lease or any other means is wrong, The March 2011 repairs on the church was wrong. The citizens of Scottsboro Alabama are compelled by law to fund repairs and allow government officials to thumb their nose at the Constitution of the State of Alabama and the United States of America to fulfill their personal ideologies regarding the involvement of government in the business of religious worship, that is wrongful behavior

The historical mismanagement of city property and the blatant failure to follow the laws of the State of Alabama in regards to the management of city property is not good governance nor sensible behavior. The willful, flagrant continuing violation of the Constitution of the State of Alabama and the United States of America regarding the separation of church and state moves the leadership of the City of Scottsboro into another realm, that of a government for a few misguided souls embellishing theocracy not the Republic. City Council, you are on dangerous ground where legal action could cost the citizenry of Scottsboro, Alabama dearly. Placing your personal values ahead of good governance and law is the way of foolish, irresponsible behavior.

Face Book link to article with replies :  https://www.facebook.com/garry.l.morgan.5/posts/10210161727583388?comment_id=10210161815305581

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Strong argument...