Religious liberty

I respond to the lawsuit pending against Midway Independent School District regarding religious liberty. As I understand the essential facts of the case as reported in the Tribune-Herald, a young man who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation was required by a school official to remove a graduation cap he was wearing that was decorated with traditional Cherokee beads and a sacred eagle feather. Both decorations possess religious significance for him and his mother. Together they have filed suit in state district court to recover damages from Midway ISD for allegedly violating the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Religious liberty is treasured in our country, but it should not be defined in absolute terms. If Tacoda Goodall were permitted to wear his Cherokee cap, then similar allowances would have to be made to others of different faiths.

The Islamic Society of North America, for example, has requested of all public school systems in the United States and Canada that Muslim students should not be required to sit next to the opposite sex in the classroom, or participate in physical education, swimming or dancing classes, or in plays, proms, social parties, picnics or dating, all of which require mixing of the two sexes. The society has also requested accommodation for time in the afternoon for Muslim students to offer a special prayer in a designated area of the campus; for all food items containing pork to be clearly labeled in the cafeteria; and for at least one properly covered toilet to be made available in each men’s and women’s room.

The National Council of the Buddhist Churches of America has adopted a resolution that opposes all public prayer in America as an affront to the Buddhist religion. Apparently this resolution is opposed to congressional prayers and inaugural prayers.

One wonders if and when Sikh men, also desiring their religious liberty, will argue that not being allowed to wear a sword in public schools and other institutions constitutes a violation of their religious liberty.

If Christopher Dawson, Samuel P. Huntington and a host of other notable thinkers are to be believed, cultures issue from religions. The West was profoundly influenced by the Christian religion. This nation’s policies should therefore be protective of traditional American culture and the religion that pervades it, while at the same time providing religious liberty to those of other faiths insofar as they do not militate against the customs, habits, mores and traditions of the prevailing society.

L. Scott Smith, McGregor

Pitiful mess of isms

I’m a citizen of Waco and have been for more than 50 years. I think and vote Republican. It seems unfair to have such a biased news service. Isn’t there a way you could at least appreciate the wise choices of the majority citizens, i.e., the Republicans? We are fighting to protect and preserve the point of views of our Founding Fathers rather than those who want America to melt into the pitiful mess of isms.

Janys Stubbs, Waco

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