Trouble in River City
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on 10/12/94.)
Editor: We've got trouble -- right here in River City. TROUBLE. It starts with a "T", and that rhymes with a "V", and that stands for VIOLATION -- violation of your constitutional rights. That's right. Your constitutional rights are being violated right here in Towanda. And by a most unlikely organization -- the public school system.
At this point, most of the rational readers will have thought, "Is this guy crazy?". Sometimes even I wonder, but then I'm wandering from my original topic.
The First Amendment to our Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
There it is in black and white -- the previously unthinkable concept of separation of church and state as intended by the authors of the constitution. The state can not dictate, endorse, advertise, or promote any religion or religious beliefs, nor can the state prevent the practice of individual religious beliefs. The state is not supposed to get involved in religious affairs.
But it is. By printing and distributing notes to students, the Towanda Public Schools are advertising, endorsing, and recruiting for a religion. One religion. Probably not your religion, since this area is multi-denominational.
Am I upset? No I'm not because I want a piece of the action. I've always wanted to start my own religion. Now, with the help of the public school system, I can realize that dream. "Truth" would be the main tenet of "The Church of the Profit". You send me money, and I keep it. That's darn truthful, and it could be very profitable.
Watch for the notes from school, and I can't thank the public school system and the state enough for their cooperation.
John L. Ferri