Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War against Christianity

Article excerpt

Way of the Dross Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity (Regnery, 416 pages, $27.95)

WTH FEDERAL COURTS interpreting the Constitution to ban the posting of the Ten Commandments in public places, to purge "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, and to prevent prayer at high school graduation ceremonies and football games, the recent American legal bias against Christianity was a subject crying out for a lengthy response. In Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity, David Limbaugh (full disclosure: he's a friend) ably documents the dilemma that the faithful are facing.

Persecution begins by exposing the fallacy underlying the legal assault on Christianity-the socalled "wall of separation" (or "separation of church and state") argument. Limbaugh explains how key framers, like George Washington, were unapologetic Christians; that the First Amendment's Equal Protection and Free Exercise clauses were intended to protect religion, including Christianity, from the federal government, not ban religion from the public square; and that several of the states that ratified the Constitution, and later the first Ten Amendments, actually had official religions.

Limbaugh explains how education in America originally consisted mostly of religious instruction. The chief textbook was the Bible and class was held in either homes or churches. The Constitution is silent on education, which was left to the states under the Tenth Amendment. And in the states, education was largely private. As Limbaugh writes, even "[f]ifty years after the Constitution was ratified, the Christian influence remained dominant in schools, as evidenced by the presence of the Christian-oriented McGuffey's Readers, compiled by minister and professor William Holmes McGuffey, in schoolhouses throughout the land."

He doesn't argue for the imposition of Christianity on public education, or other institutions. Rather, Limbaugh explains how the Constitution came to be used as a weapon in the hands of those intolerant of religion. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court's 1947 decision in Everson v. Board of Education was the first in a long line of legal Constitutional reinterpretations which squeezed religion out of education. It prevented state tax revenues from being used to transport parochial students to their Catholic high school. Justice Hugo Black wrote, in part: "The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."

The line of school prayer cases is illustrative. In the 1962 case, Engel v. Vitale, the Court prohibited state-sponsored school prayer, even though it was nondenominational. Wallace v. Jaffe, decided in 1985, held that public schools may not set aside a period of silence even if there's a mere suggestion students might use the time for prayer. In 1992, the Court held unconstitutional prayers given by clergy at graduation ceremonies. In its 2000 Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe decision, it struck down a school district's policy allowing students to deliver public invocations before football games. …