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Orrin Hatch wants to tear down the wall of separation between church and state

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In a biting editorial, written for the conservative Washington Times, long-time Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) suggests a novel and literal approach to the First Amendment, arguing that the wall of separation between the state and the church is non-existent despite what the Supreme Court has to say about it.

Hatch notes that Thomas Jefferson’s position on religious freedom was embodied in his Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, but that his approach to keeping the state and the church separate was a minority opinion at the time. The more dominant view, according to Hatch, was John Adams’ model, which instituted a “mild and equitable establishment of religion” that enshrined “Christian piety and virtue.”

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According to Hatch, since the 1st Amendment specifically states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” only one “actor” is constrained: the U.S. Congress.

“On its face, this language affects only one actor, Congress, not states and local governments, and not individual citizens,” Hatch wrote, asserting that the 1st Amendment “…simply limited Congress’ ability to choose a preferred religious sect. This restriction on favoring one particular sect over another at the federal level made eminent sense for a new nation composed of states with a wide variety of religious traditions and approaches to established religion.”

Hatch states that the now widely-held belief in the separation between the government and churches  became an article of  faith when the Supreme Court ruled in Everson v. Board of Education in 1947, where both the majority and the dissenting opinions cited the “wall of separation between church and state”

“The erroneous wall-of-separation doctrine narrows the role of religion in public discourse, fueling the view that religion is a private matter rather than a fundamental precept of American civil society and leading many to fall prey to the disturbing claim that religious freedom doesn’t extend much further than the church door,” Hatch wrote.

According to Hatch “denying religious organizations the same opportunities afforded to secular counterparts”is unconstitutional.

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“It tells the religious believer that in order to participate fully in public life, he should cabin and hide his religious devotion,” he concludes.

 

 

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2020 Election

‘The Senate’s in play’: Reeling GOP faces collapse into minority status as Trump drags party down

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According to a report in Rolling Stone, there is a very good chance that the Democrats could take control of the Senate after the 2020 election as the impeachment of Donald Trump casts a cloud over the Republican Party.

The report -- by longtime political observer Tim Dickinson -- states, "the fight to wrest the Senate from Republican control — and oust Mitch McConnell as majority leader — is arguably just as important" as the battle to force Trump from office.

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Mar-a-Lago to host event for conspiracy nuts who believed Obama was a secret Muslim

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President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club is hosting an event for a far-right organization that once spread bogus conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama being a secret Muslim.

The Washington Post reports that Trump's prized Florida resort on Saturday night will play host to the Center for Security Policy, a group that believes "mainstream Muslim organizations in the United States are secretly agents of anti-American jihad."

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Lev Parnas wants to testify — and attorney says ‘he has hard—HARD—first-hand evidence’

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One of Rudy Giuliani's indicted henchman wants to testify -- and his attorney says he's got "first-hand evidence."

Federal prosecutors have issued subpoenas to Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman, and the Parnas has indicated that he wants to speak to congressional investigators.

"Lev grew up in Brooklyn, has no criminal record or Russian Mob ties, and is a proud American citizen," said his attorney Joseph Bondy. "He’s not afraid of #POTUS or polonium, hopes to testify under oath — unlike #RudyGiuliani — and to be subjected to cross-examination under penalties of perjury. #LetLevSpeak"

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