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It seems that "separation of church and state" are the most understood words in the U.S. The constitution only states that the government shall not endorse any particular religion. That's it.

Don't mention Jefferson - he agrees as well. As have has the Supreme Court on multiple occasions

Nonsense. In this context, the Establishment Clause does mean exactly that. He was 'on the boss' time' and therefore had no business preaching. It clearly IS an endorsement of religion for a public servant to openly proselytize to his audience, especially when it is captive.

High school students are old enough to know what they believe or don't believe, there was no crime commited here.

So far, you seem to be the only one who believes it....meaning that even most people on YOUR side are smarter than you. On this forum, a worse insult is hardly possible.

The athiests in this forum are rediculous with their anti-God antics.

Our 'anti-God' antics? :D Very funny. Say whatever you want, but so far, I've not heard of any atheist teachers preaching in class...and I shudder to think what the people of Kearny would do to any teacher doing that.

Oh, and it's atheist. Please...I don't go around calling you a 'christain' do I?

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It seems that "separation of church and state" are the most understood words in the U.S.  The constitution only states that the government shall not endorse any particular religion. That's it.    The radical left has expanded these words to mean any mention of God or religion in any context is illegal.  There arguments are totally bogus.  The teacher wasn't following a script prepared by the government, he was offering a personal opinion of his own views.  High school students are old enough to know what they believe or don't believe, there was no crime commited here. The athiests in this forum are rediculous with their anti-God antics.

I offer the following information, with sources, as direct evidence on the history and application of the phrases this blogger has highlighted. This is a central issue for many who are blogging on this controversy. I encourage you to use these materials as a test of the credility of this blogger, the ironically-named 2smart4u. As with other issues raised in this blog, like evolution, or the Big Bang, making your own informed judgment requires investing effort to learn important facts, weigh evidence, and apply rathional thinking processes. You could take the easier route, however, and go with the charlatan.

The section of the Constitution in question is normally referred to as the "Establishment Clause" of the First Amendment. Coupled with the Free Expression Clause that follows it, this important Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." You may read historical summaries of the Establishment Clause and its importance, written by reputable and professional sources here and here.

The Establishment Clause was authored by James Madison, and Madison's writings on the relationships between religion and government are often cited when the Establishment Clause is at issue. This is typical of legal procesess in both constational law and elsewhere. The specifics of a given case often must be interpreted by courts where the language of the law appears simple and the circumstances of the case are complex. It is absolutely common in such circumstances to rely on the legislative history and supporting materials to best determine the legislative intent of the lawmakers.

In 1947, the Supreme Court held in the Everson v. Board of Education decision that the 14th Amendment required government at all levels (from federal all the way down to the local level) to comply with the Establishment Clause in their actions.

The principle behind the Establishment Clause is called "separation of church and state" because of a phrase penned by the radical leftist Thomas Jefferson when referring to the motivation for Madison's First Amendment, a phrase quoted in the Everson decision:

"(T)he clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'" http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f...w/estabinto.htm

As with most cases before it, the Supreme Court applies certain "tests" to determine whether the circumstances of a particular case constitute a violation of the given clause of the Constitution. These tests are authored by the court justices and established as precedents through their inclusion in the rulings of the court.

There are four tests currently applied to cases involving the Establishment Clause. The one the Court has most often used in cases involving school curriculum is the endorsement test. It was written in 1984 by Sandra Day O'Conner, who was named to the Court by President Reagan.

According to O’Connor, a government action is invalid if it creates a perception in the mind of a reasonable observer that the government is either endorsing or disapproving of religion. Her fundamental concern was whether the particular government action conveys “a message to non-adherents that they are outsiders...and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders...” http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_li...ment/index.aspx

A second Establishment Clause test is called the Lemon Test (after a person's name in a lawsuit, not the fruit). Two "prongs" of this test determine whether a government action has a primary effect of advancing religion through indoctrination or represents an excessive entanglement between government and religion. http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_li...ment/index.aspx

The endorsement test and the Lemon Test are sometimes combined by the Court in a test that asks if the challenged government act has the purpose or effect of "advancing or endorsing religion." http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_li...ment/index.aspx

A third Establishment Clause test called the coercian test determines if the government action "coerces people to support or participate in religion against their will." This test was authored by [url:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Kennedy]Justice Anthony Kennedy[/url], another Reagan appointee and a devout Roman Catholic.

One important Supreme Court case involving the Establishment Clause was McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71 in 1948. At issue was the provision of voluntary religious education in public school classes. In striking down such classes 8-1, the Court concluded "beyond question a utilization of the tax-established and tax-supported public school system to aid religious groups and to spread the faith" had occurred. http://www.oyez.org/cases/case/?case=1940-1949/1947/1947_90

Summary Comments, and Some of My Opinion

The application of the Establishment Clause in actual court cases does not involve merely the words in the clause, or an undifferentiated absolute phrase like seperation of church and state. There is also the 14th Amendment, numerous Supreme Court Cases over our history, and a limited number of tests to determine the constitutionality of challenged government actions. This supporting body of legal history spans the time from the Bill of Rights to the present. Cases involving religious elements in public school curricula have been matched up against tests that were written by two court justices nominated by one of our most conservative presidents, and themselves indentified as court moderates or even conservatives. Any attempt by the blogger to characterize these justices as "the radical left" would speak for itself.

Readers might find it interesting to review the above description of the Establishment Clause tests, the descriptions and quotes of Mr. Paskiewicz, the links above, and then make their own judgments as to whether constitutional violations took place. Then re-read the originating post at the top of the page.

Obviously it would be up to the judges of a court to determine whether "a crime had been commited," were a case to ultimately be filed. I'm guessing the case would also raise the issue of whether Mr. Paskiewicz's statements represented government action -- that is, whether the Establishment Clause automatically applies because Mr. Paskiewicz was acting within his role as a contract teacher. Would this be so, even if he strayed from the district or state curriculum? Other questions would be whether the administration showed due diligence in operating quality controls to prevent violations of the Establishment Clause from occurring, and further, whether they knew about past violations in Mr. Paskiewicz's case, yet did not take effective action to curtail them.

For those who haven't read the Bill of Rights in awhile, it might also be helpful to remember that the First Amendment also contians another important phrase that may ultimately apply to the Paskiewicz case: the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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I offer the following information, with sources, as direct evidence on the history and application of the phrases this blogger has highlighted.  This is a central issue for many who are blogging on this controversy.  I encourage you to use these materials as a test of the credility of this blogger, the ironically-named 2smart4u.  As with other issues raised in this blog, like evolution, or the Big Bang, making your own informed judgment requires investing effort to learn important facts, weigh evidence, and apply rathional thinking processes.  You could take the easier route, however, and go with the charlatan.

The section of the Constitution in question is normally referred to as the "Establishment Clause" of the First Amendment.  Coupled with the Free Expression Clause that follows it, this important Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."  You may read historical summaries of the Establishment Clause and its importance, written  by reputable and professional sources here and here.

The Establishment Clause was authored by James Madison, and Madison's writings on the relationships between religion and government are often cited when the Establishment Clause is at issue.  This is typical of legal procesess in both constational law and elsewhere.  The specifics of a given case often must be interpreted by courts where the language of the law appears simple and the circumstances of the case are complex.  It is absolutely common in such circumstances to rely on the legislative history and supporting materials to best determine the legislative intent of the lawmakers.

In 1947, the Supreme Court held in the Everson v. Board of Education decision that the 14th Amendment required government at all levels (from federal all the way down to the local level) to comply with the Establishment Clause in their actions.

The principle behind the Establishment Clause is called "separation of church and state" because of a phrase penned by the radical leftist Thomas Jefferson when referring to the motivation for Madison's First Amendment, a phrase quoted in the Everson decision:

"(T)he clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'"  http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f...w/estabinto.htm

As with most cases before it, the Supreme Court applies certain "tests" to determine whether the circumstances of a particular case constitute a violation of the given clause of the Constitution.  These tests are authored by the court justices and established as precedents through their inclusion in the rulings of the court.

There are four tests currently applied to cases involving the Establishment Clause.  The one the Court has most often used in cases involving school curriculum is the endorsement test.  It was written in 1984 by Sandra Day O'Conner, who was named to the Court by President Reagan. 

According to O’Connor, a government action is invalid if it creates a perception in the mind of a reasonable observer that the government is either endorsing or disapproving of religion.  Her fundamental concern was whether the particular government action conveys “a message to non-adherents that they are outsiders...and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders...”    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_li...ment/index.aspx

A second Establishment Clause test is called the Lemon Test (after a person's name in a lawsuit, not the fruit).  Two "prongs" of this test determine whether a government action has a primary effect of advancing religion through indoctrination or represents an excessive entanglement between government and religion.  http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_li...ment/index.aspx

The endorsement test and the Lemon Test are sometimes combined by the Court in a test that asks if the challenged government act has the purpose or effect of "advancing or endorsing religion."  http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_li...ment/index.aspx

A third Establishment Clause test called the coercian test determines if the government action "coerces people to support or participate in religion against their will."  This test was authored by [url:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Kennedy]Justice Anthony Kennedy[/url], another Reagan appointee and a devout Roman Catholic.

One important Supreme Court case involving the Establishment Clause was McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71 in 1948.  At issue was the provision of voluntary religious  education in public school classes.  In striking down such classes 8-1, the Court concluded "beyond question a utilization of the tax-established and tax-supported public school system to aid religious groups and to spread the faith" had occurred.  http://www.oyez.org/cases/case/?case=1940-1949/1947/1947_90

Summary Comments, and Some of My Opinion

The application of the Establishment Clause in actual court cases does not involve merely the words in the clause, or an undifferentiated absolute phrase like seperation of church and state.  There is also the 14th Amendment, numerous Supreme Court Cases over our history, and a limited number of tests to determine the constitutionality of challenged government actions.  This supporting body of legal history spans the time from the Bill of Rights to the present.  Cases involving religious elements in public school curricula have been matched up against tests that were written by two court justices nominated by one of our most conservative presidents, and themselves indentified as court moderates or even conservatives.  Any attempt by the blogger to characterize these justices as "the radical left" would speak for itself.

Readers might find it interesting to review the above description of the Establishment Clause tests, the descriptions and quotes of Mr. Paskiewicz, the links above, and then make their own judgments as to whether constitutional violations took place.  Then re-read the originating post at the top of the page.

Obviously it would be up to the judges of a court to determine whether "a crime had been commited," were a case to ultimately be filed.  I'm guessing the case would also raise the issue of whether Mr. Paskiewicz's statements represented government action -- that is, whether the Establishment Clause automatically applies because Mr. Paskiewicz was acting within his role as a contract teacher.  Would this be so, even if he strayed from the district or state curriculum?  Other questions would be whether the administration showed due diligence in operating quality controls to prevent violations of the Establishment Clause from occurring, and further, whether they knew about past violations in Mr. Paskiewicz's case, yet did not take effective action to curtail them.

For those who haven't read the Bill of Rights in awhile, it might also be helpful to remember that the First Amendment also contians another important phrase that may ultimately apply to the Paskiewicz case: the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

You make my argument. The 4 tests simply do not apply to this teacher. All the tests concern the "government". Clearly all the students in that classroom knew they were listening to a personal opinion, not a government-sponsored lesson plan.

The loony left will characterize the teacher as an "agent" of the government so the tests do apply and in a strict interpretation that's true. But in practical terms the teacher was not acting in that capacity, he was having a casual conversation, responding to a question posed by a student about the teachers beliefs. It was during a session of give and take betweeen teacher and students that various thoughts were exchanged on the subject of religion.

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You make my argument. The 4 tests simply do not apply to this teacher. All the tests concern the "government".  Clearly all the students in that classroom knew they were listening to a personal opinion, not a government-sponsored lesson plan.

    The loony left will characterize the teacher as an "agent" of the government so the tests do apply and in a strict interpretation that's true. But in practical terms the teacher was not acting in that capacity, he was having a casual conversation, responding to a question posed by a student about the teachers beliefs. It was during a session of give and take betweeen teacher and students that various thoughts were exchanged on the subject of religion.

Mr. P's actions do not have to be part of a government-sponsored lesson plan. Had Mr. P told a student how sexy he/she was, in his humble opinion, would you still hold to your own argument?

If you don't, are you therefore "looney?"

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You make my argument. The 4 tests simply do not apply to this teacher. All the tests concern the "government".  Clearly all the students in that classroom knew they were listening to a personal opinion, not a government-sponsored lesson plan.

    The loony left will characterize the teacher as an "agent" of the government so the tests do apply and in a strict interpretation that's true. But in practical terms the teacher was not acting in that capacity, he was having a casual conversation, responding to a question posed by a student about the teachers beliefs. It was during a session of give and take betweeen teacher and students that various thoughts were exchanged on the subject of religion.

It's amazing how a person who knows essentially nothing can be so sure he knows everything. The teacher is the government's representative in a public school, and as such he speaks for the government. There is no way around it, as he is the authority figure. There is no controversy about this in the law.

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Religion is not the only factor here, though it is a part of it. Mr. Paszkiewicz and others who try to force their beliefs on others, using the pretence of religion, often betray their religion's message. Christianity does not breed hate and judgement, though there are some Christians, such as Mr. Paszkiewicz, that do.

Teachers wasting their student's time discussing topics irrelevant to school, let alone that particular class are taking away valuable learning time. Teaching these students to hate and to judge others when they should be learning the opposite through history is not appropriate.

Regardless of whether a student asked a question, or even if no student in the class was bothered by the topic, this was not a religion class, this was a history class. This teacher needs to be retrained if he is unable to grasp this concept. I understand that religion and opinion both play a part in history, but it has not been discussed in this sense, it has been preached to students who should not have to listen to it if they do not wish.

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You make my argument. The 4 tests simply do not apply to this teacher. All the tests concern the "government".  Clearly all the students in that classroom knew they were listening to a personal opinion, not a government-sponsored lesson plan.

    The loony left will characterize the teacher as an "agent" of the government so the tests do apply and in a strict interpretation that's true. But in practical terms the teacher was not acting in that capacity, he was having a casual conversation, responding to a question posed by a student about the teachers beliefs. It was during a session of give and take betweeen teacher and students that various thoughts were exchanged on the subject of religion.

I'm quite content to let the institutions we have in place function. If a case is ultimately filed, it will fortunately be the courts, and not you, that will write the opinions.

My purpose was twofold:

(1) to provide some FACTUAL background on the legal issue for readers of this blog, be they supporters or opponents of the LaClairs, so they might find it useful in their own reflections on the controversy. No serious observer of the Court, the First Amendment, or the Establishment Clause would ignore the obvious FACT that the prime determinants of current Court precedent on this clause were authored not by the "radical left" or the "loony left," but by two Reagan-appointed justices who at the very least could be termed moderate conservatives, if not just simply, conservatives.

2) I wanted to illustrate using this particular case why I think your posts are often built on disinformation, manipulation, and in intentional effort to mislead and inflame people, rather than to foster constructive dialogue. I hope in the future other adult readers will take that into account -- approaching your posts cautiously and critically.

You are obviously free to take your approach -- others have, too, on both sides of this issue. My contention: that approach is a step backward, not forward. It is at the least a missed opportunity to use this wonderful technology productively, as well as being a poor model for our children. (In some cases, their online comments are more self-reflective than the adults, and more conscious of the fact they will inherent the democratic role in our future.)

I also have no problem at all if we agree that the interpretation of the word "government" in the four tests will be an issue. To the contrary, agreement on something is a basis for moving forward to examine the points where we disagree. If you think I've "made your argument," that's fine.

The accusations against the teacher AND the adminstrators are very serious. If you think there is no basis for a case here except in the minds of loony liberals, you have missed the point of the facts of the legal history. I would be very surprised if the principal, the board, and Mr. Paskiewicz aren't giving these issues some serious considerations on their own at this point, completely independent of this blog. If they aren't, they should be.

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It's amazing how a person who knows essentially nothing can be so sure he knows everything. The teacher is the government's representative in a public school, and as such he speaks for the government. There is no way around it, as he is the authority figure. There is no controversy about this in the law.

So under your contention, every word out of the teacher's mouth, at all times, is "government-speak". There can never be a moment when he speaking from the heart, offering a personal opinion, or just having a casual conversation with a student.

What if a student asks the teacher who he likes in the Super Bowl . Is the teachers response a "government answer" ??

If the teachers wife has just given birth (and the students are aware of the fact) and he's asked by a student if the baby will be baptized, will he be promoting christianity by saying yes ?? There cannot be such a rigid mentality so as to forbid all conversations outside of the lesson plan. The loony left appears to want exactly that.

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So under your contention, every word out of the teacher's mouth, at all times, is "government-speak". There can never be a moment when he speaking from the heart, offering a personal opinion, or just having a casual conversation with a student.

  What if a student asks the teacher who he likes in the Super Bowl .  Is the teachers response a "government answer" ??

  If the teachers wife has just given birth (and the students are aware of the fact) and he's asked by a student if the baby will be baptized, will he be promoting christianity by saying yes ?? There cannot be such a rigid mentality so as to forbid all conversations outside of the lesson plan.  The loony left appears to want exactly that.

Whenever a teacher is on the clock, in the classroom, during class time, he is--by definition--acting as an agent of government. Case after case has backed up this fairly obvious point, but it seems that this concept is 2smart4u.

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So under your contention, every word out of the teacher's mouth, at all times, is "government-speak". There can never be a moment when he speaking from the heart, offering a personal opinion, or just having a casual conversation with a student.

  What if a student asks the teacher who he likes in the Super Bowl .  Is the teachers response a "government answer" ??

  If the teachers wife has just given birth (and the students are aware of the fact) and he's asked by a student if the baby will be baptized, will he be promoting christianity by saying yes ?? There cannot be such a rigid mentality so as to forbid all conversations outside of the lesson plan.  The loony left appears to want exactly that.

And what if the teacher spent his class time telling his students: "you must follow the teachings of Muhammad! Jesus was not the son of God. He was just a human prophet, and a leser human prophet compared to Muhammad. All Christians belong in hell!"

Would you still think he has a right to offer his "personal religious opinions" in class?

Thought so.

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So under your contention, every word out of the teacher's mouth, at all times, is "government-speak". There can never be a moment when he speaking from the heart, offering a personal opinion, or just having a casual conversation with a student.

  What if a student asks the teacher who he likes in the Super Bowl .  Is the teachers response a "government answer" ??

  If the teachers wife has just given birth (and the students are aware of the fact) and he's asked by a student if the baby will be baptized, will he be promoting christianity by saying yes ?? There cannot be such a rigid mentality so as to forbid all conversations outside of the lesson plan.  The loony left appears to want exactly that.

Mr. P talked of how "smart" scientists have it all wrong, how dinosaurs were on Noah's ark and how those who do not believe in Christ the way he does belong in hell. From the recordings available online, this was no isolated incident, and he seems not to have a problem wasting time by not doing his job of teaching high school history. If he were to talk at length about the Super Bowl as much as he does his own opinions on Halloween, the Big Bang or Geraldo Rivera, I'd wonder what the heck we were paying him for.

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So under your contention, every word out of the teacher's mouth, at all times, is "government-speak". There can never be a moment when he speaking from the heart, offering a personal opinion, or just having a casual conversation with a student.

  What if a student asks the teacher who he likes in the Super Bowl .  Is the teachers response a "government answer" ??

  If the teachers wife has just given birth (and the students are aware of the fact) and he's asked by a student if the baby will be baptized, will he be promoting christianity by saying yes ?? There cannot be such a rigid mentality so as to forbid all conversations outside of the lesson plan.  The loony left appears to want exactly that.

Government is made up of individuals. That's the only way it can be. So how would you propose that any law be enforced against government if the individuals acting on the government's behalf can avoid accountability just by claiming to be acting on their own, or just because they're doing something they weren't ordered to do?

If a judge stuffs his bank account full of a defendant's money, is he immune to bribery charges just because the check was made out to "Mr. John Doe" instead of "The Honorable John Doe" and handed to him off the clock? Or just because he made the decision to accept it all by himself?

Does your illegal search and siezure defense become invalid just because the warrantless FBI agent punched out on the time clock just before ransacking your house?

The distinction between the personal and professional actions of a government employee must be VERY clear. Mr. Paskiewicz teaching religion at a church, a youth camp, on TV, or even on a public street corner, is just fine. Mr. Paskiewicz teaching religion to his students in a public school classroom is not.

When you are working for the government, you ARE the government. You can't just say "time out", or hold up your fingers in the Nixon quotation mark pose, or ask "You don't mind, do you?" and suddenly have the law not apply to you. That would open the door for all manner of governmental abuse.

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So under your contention, every word out of the teacher's mouth, at all times, is "government-speak". There can never be a moment when he speaking from the heart, offering a personal opinion, or just having a casual conversation with a student.

  What if a student asks the teacher who he likes in the Super Bowl .  Is the teachers response a "government answer" ??

  If the teachers wife has just given birth (and the students are aware of the fact) and he's asked by a student if the baby will be baptized, will he be promoting christianity by saying yes ?? There cannot be such a rigid mentality so as to forbid all conversations outside of the lesson plan.  The loony left appears to want exactly that.

Discussion outside the class lesson needs to be limited and appropriate. If the teacher is unable to redirect the discussion to a relevant topic then he isn't really able to do his job. If he is deliberately directing the discussion this way he is unable to realise this is not history, it's propaganda. Spending a large chunk of several classes preaching to students about what Christianity is to him is arrogance and a waste of the student's time.

If he thinks his views and opinions are that important, perhaps he can start a website or something, but I get the feeling his hatefilled ideas are not going to be sought out willing, the only way to get people to listen is to forcefeed them to students.

Teaching students that his way is the Christian way is more likely to push these students from Christianity than to bring them to it, it is the extremists that make religion so unappealing.

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The athiests are swarming in this forum like sharks in a feeding frenzy. Finally, they have something to sink their teeth into (pun intended), a teacher that dared to use the word "God" in his classroom.

You mean a public school history teacher that dared to, instead of teaching history, which is his job, undermine the science curriculum with ridiculous statements about dinosaurs and "Noah's Ark," dared to proselytize to a class of public school students over which he is in a position of authority, dared to declare in that class that certain people "belong in hell," and then dared to lie about the whole thing to his superiors (good thing he was caught in his lie)? Yeah, thought so.

This is not a "separation of church and state" issue.

Yes, it is. Preaching is not allowed in public schools, and this is a prime example of exactly the kind of thing the separation of church and state makes illegal.

Unless this teacher was following a lesson plan prepared by the state (which he wasn't) then he was just offering his opinion on a religious topic.

1. He, like your average creationist, expressed the things he did, not as opinions, but as facts. He sure sounded quite adamant to that end in the recording.

2. While he is working at a state-funded school, teaching to state-funded kids, and on the clock, he is quite obligated to not preach to his captive audience in the classroom.

Every HS student (except Matt) knows his own views on religion and is not offended by hearing someone else's view.

Irrelevant. Regardless of who does or doesn't get offended by something does not change its (lack of) legality.

It appears to me that Matt's father put him up to this to intentionally cause the furor that has followed.

Of course, you wouldn't have any evidence to back this up, would you?

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You nailed it.  Reading this garbage from the anti-God crowd you realize how mean-spirited and angry they are.

Mean-spirited and angry? Sorry if it's difficult to smile when one sees a high school student stick up for the Constitution, only to see so many people ridiculing the kid and sticking up for the dishonest, law-breaking teacher. Matthew even got a death threat for what he did, for crying out loud! And you say the atheists are mean-spirited? The blind eye that's being turned to this dishonest mockery of a teacher is a gross injustice, and you're damned right I'm angry about it. Sorry if that offends you.

I'd like to know if you'd react the same if Matthew was the Christian and the teacher was the atheist.

I think what they're missing is God's love in their lives.

This coming from the people defending a man who spent more time talking about who belongs in hell while on the clock than doing his job. Some example of "God's love" alright. :D

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It seems that "separation of church and state" are the most understood words in the U.S.  The constitution only states that the government shall not endorse any particular religion. That's it.    The radical left has expanded these words to mean any mention of God or religion in any context is illegal.

"You couldn't be more wrong if your name was W. Wrongy Wrongenstein!"

1. Religion has been ruled in the courts several times to be okay in the proper context. History (except as an elective 'history of religion' class) and science are two of the contexts not included.

2. The reason you can't have any preaching in public schools and other state-funded institutions is because mentioning one means you have to mention ALL of them, in order for it to be 'level.' Because of the myriad number of religions, it is impossible to do this--therefore it's mandatory to go with the one other way to keep the playing field level: no religion at all. To include Christianity by itself (or with one or two other religions, regardless of the fact that they are majority religions) is equivalent to endorsing it. This is precisely why the teacher's actions were illegal.

There arguments are totally bogus.

Just because you say it doesn't make it so.

The teacher wasn't following a script prepared by the government, he was offering a personal opinion of his own views.

Declaring that certain people "belong in hell" is far from an innocent 'opinion.' In fact, it's closer to hate speech. Regardless, declarations like that are an abuse his position of authority over his captive audience of public high school students and illegal. You have no defense for this.

High school students are old enough to know what they believe or don't believe,

So are adults. But the mayor isn't allowed to preach to the board of education (as an example) at Town Hall either. You're missing the point.

there was no crime commited here.

Utter lie. The law is quite clear on matters like these.

The athiests in this forum are rediculous with their anti-God antics.

If upholding the Constitution of the United States of America is what you consider an "anti-God antic" and "rediculous (sic)," then I have two things to say:

1. I pity you

2. Too bad. That's the law--if you don't like it, either try to get it changed, or move to a different country. Maybe a theocracy would be more your style.

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Government is made up of individuals. That's the only way it can be. So how would you propose that any law be enforced against government if the individuals acting on the government's behalf can avoid accountability just by claiming to be acting on their own, or just because they're doing something they weren't ordered to do?

If a judge stuffs his bank account full of a defendant's money, is he immune to bribery charges just because the check was made out to "Mr. John Doe" instead of "The Honorable John Doe" and handed to him off the clock? Or just because he made the decision to accept it all by himself?

Does your illegal search and siezure defense become invalid just because the warrantless FBI agent punched out on the time clock just before ransacking your house?

The distinction between the personal and professional actions of a government employee must be VERY clear. Mr. Paskiewicz teaching religion at a church, a youth camp, on TV, or even on a public street corner, is just fine. Mr. Paskiewicz teaching religion to his students in a public school classroom is not.

When you are working for the government, you ARE the government. You can't just say "time out", or hold up your fingers in the Nixon quotation mark pose, or ask "You don't mind, do you?" and suddenly have the law not apply to you. That would open the door for all manner of governmental abuse.

Very well said.

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Guest 2smart4u
So under your contention, every word out of the teacher's mouth, at all times, is "government-speak". There can never be a moment when he speaking from the heart, offering a personal opinion, or just having a casual conversation with a student.

  What if a student asks the teacher who he likes in the Super Bowl .  Is the teachers response a "government answer" ??

  If the teachers wife has just given birth (and the students are aware of the fact) and he's asked by a student if the baby will be baptized, will he be promoting christianity by saying yes ?? There cannot be such a rigid mentality so as to forbid all conversations outside of the lesson plan.  The loony left appears to want exactly that.

Interesting how the looney lefties have ignored my questions posed above. Could it be they're afraid of the questions ?? Could it be their rigid, tunnel-vision mentality doesn't hold up to scrutiny ??

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My reaction to all I have read on these boards in the many threads related to the events brought on by one student willing to address what they saw as a problem, brings up many different thoughts for me. Here I see the reaction those who think of themselves in the majority, over the defense of those Rights written into the U.S. Constitution.

Because so much of this brings back memories of the awful time I and my children faced back in 1998, one of my children was suspended for casting a spell. I can not be silent about what is happening to the LaClaire's. When my ex didn't contact me and set up a meeting with the school, all of us had to deal with the negative publicity cause by his actions of going to the newspaper instead of contacting me and meeting with the school to straiten out what actually happen over a simple lack of information on the School's part.

We can joke about what happen now, but at the time it was for us a living nightmare and once started all we could do is try to lessen the damage it had on each of my daughters. I know that Matthew and his Parents will look back on all of this, proud of the fact that Matthew was willing to take a stand and that they tried to work through the proper chancels before feeling the need to go to the media. They are far braver then I was, to face the media attention created by this storm.

That someone raised to think for oneself would take their side against Mr. Paskiewicz seems to upset more of his defenders, then those who defend the Separation of Church and State are over their Right to Believe in God.

Time after time it is made clear that one has a right to belief anything one wants, but one does not have a right to use a government position, to try to preach their beliefs on others. Because they felt that having in the U.S.A. Freedom of Religion, our founding fathers carefully worded the Constitution to keep the government from endorsing any religion over another.

What gets me is the constancy of illogical posts made for Free Speech. In defending Mr. Paskiewicz right to say anything at all in his classroom, they forget that while we all have a right to voice our beliefs, the courts have place limits on where speaking out is not allow. The classic example is yelling "Fire!" in a theater. They can't see how talking about one beliefs in the class room by an teacher, could have a negative effect on students who need to attend the class to fulfil legal requirements for a High School Diploma.

No matter how many holes, one finds in their arguments, they keep coming back and use the same Logical Fallacies, time after time.

Some how I have a feeling many of these posters would tell a victim of Bullying on the playground, to "Be a Man" and "Learn to live with it." Never realizing the long term effects to the victim, that later in life may affect their mental health and adding to the cost of medical care in this country.

Some of the worst posts I read are listed under Guest and neither side can take the high ground when it comes to the attacks made by anonymous posts. Why I can understand not wanting to take the time to fill in the name or sign in every time one posts, one can also expect to have others discount one's views for doing so.

Other posters only seem to be here to flame others and instantly drop down to the level of adolescent boys on gaming boards. I almost expect to see them type in "lewt" speech each time they post. When such a poster takes a least some responsibility to give a screen name, one can simply ignore most of their posts.

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Interesting how the looney lefties  have ignored my questions posed above. Could it be  they're afraid of the questions ?? Could it be their rigid, tunnel-vision mentality doesn't hold up to scrutiny ??

Are you kidding me? :huh:

Alright, buddy, let's take a look at these questions you seem to have so much confidence in:

So under your contention, every word out of the teacher's mouth, at all times, is "government-speak". There can never be a moment when he speaking from the heart, offering a personal opinion, or just having a casual conversation with a student. What if a student asks the teacher who he likes in the Super Bowl .  Is the teachers response a "government answer" ??

In a way, yes. But of course, he can 'speak from the heart' etc. However, as a government employee, there are simply a few laws about stuff he is not allowed to talk about while "on the clock." And that teacher broke one of those. Simple as that.

If the teachers wife has just given birth (and the students are aware of the fact) and he's asked by a student if the baby will be baptized, will he be promoting christianity by saying yes ??

You're seriously trying to draw a parallel between answering a yes or no question, and telling people they belong in hell? :) Talk about grasping at straws here. Just who do you think you're kidding?

There cannot be such a rigid mentality so as to forbid all conversations outside of the lesson plan.

And there isn't.

The loony left appears to want exactly that.

What a retarded statement, seriously. The "loony left" (by which I can only assume you are referring to the law-abiding citizens, since it's only those who ignore the transgression of the Constitution who are defending the teacher) appears to want to uphold the Constitution.

Your pathetically weak attempts at equating a public school teacher answering one yes or no question about whether his kid will be baptized with the real situation of a public school teacher making declarations about who belongs in hell are shameful. Just plain shameful.

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Guest Guest
Interesting how the looney lefties  have ignored my questions posed above. Could it be  they're afraid of the questions ??  Could it be their rigid, tunnel-vision mentality doesn't hold up to scrutiny ??

I addressed the issue raised in your first two questions quite directly, (see post #37) and was not the only one to do so (see also post #34). That you don't agree with the answers does not change the fact that your questions were addressed.

As to your third question, no, the teacher answering the question about his intent to baptise would not be a problem. Outside of a few right-wingers' imaginations, no one is demanding that there be no mention of religion at all. A simple statement about one's beliefs is not the same as promotion. There is an area between the two where the line is rather fuzzy, but this particular case isn't fuzzy at all.

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Interesting how the looney lefties  have ignored my questions posed above. Could it be  they're afraid of the questions ??  Could it be their rigid, tunnel-vision mentality doesn't hold up to scrutiny ??

Or...............could it be that YOU are just prone to asking stupid questions?

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