maker Seeks to Amend Wording Dating to Mason
By Rosalind S. Helderman Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, February 17, 2005; Page B01
RICHMOND — Del. Charles W. Carrico Sr. is convinced that judges and school principals have been misinterpreting the words of George Mason, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson concerning religious freedom.
So he has written an extra paragraph to help, and he hopes it eventually will become part of the Virginia Constitution.
Carrico, a Republican from Grayson County in southwestern Virginia, said he would be “humbled” if the General Assembly and voters choose to insert his words among those written by the heroes of the country’s founding. But he said that much has happened since the early years of the nation and that the founders’ words must be amended to protect the spirit of their ideals. [my emphasis]
“We were dealing with a young nation, a new nation. Over a period of years, things have changed,” he said.
Carrico’s proposed amendment would recognize explicitly a right to pray in public places, including schools.
Last week, the House of Delegates approved it 69 to 27.
Another supporter is Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William). “There is now a poisoned environment for religious expression that the founders never, never desired,” said Lingamfelter, who voted for the proposal.
“Our government has become anti-religion, and this is an attempt to rebuild institutional and constitutional respect by government for religion. Not for a particular religion, but religion in general,” said Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax), who sits on the courts committee.
Carrico, a retired state trooper, said his inspiration was a 1998 incident in which parents complained that he had used a biblical reference during a school talk encouraging children to resist drugs and alcohol. While in uniform, Carrico said, he held up a Bible and told students that, like David, they would have to fight the Goliath of peer pressure in their lives.
“I think the American people and the courts have been saying that the wall in the separation of church and state has gone too far, and it’s suppressed — I’d even say oppressed — the Christian faith and silenced it,” he said.
Virginia’s current constitution, which dates to 1971, incorporates the language of several foundational documents about religious freedom, said University of Virginia professor A.E. Dick Howard, the executive director of the commission that wrote the 1971 document.
The constitution states that people have the right to the “free exercise of religion,” a sentence that was written mostly by George Mason and adopted in 1776. It goes on to guarantee that the General Assembly will not give any privilege or advantage to any one sect, that “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship.” That language, written by Thomas Jefferson, was adopted by the General Assembly in 1786.
link here. And thanks to Elaine Supkis for the heads up.
Ok, everybody who thinks Christianity has been “silenced in this country” raise your hands. Gosh, maybe a whole hour goes by in a day when I don’t hear, see or read something about Jesus.
And everybody who gets that changing words written over 200 years ago in order to “save their meaning” is about as Orwellian as it gets, congratulations. As another commenter at Eschaton said – well, the Bible was written a hell of a long time ago, too. It probably needs amending to better suit the intent of the authors. Can we get an “Amen”?