US Constitution / Bill of Rights Question ...

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Jul 2, 2007
Civics related, and not inherently religious or political since it deals more with the US Bill of Rights and separation of church and state upon which USA was founded. Should police officers i.e. government agents, be ordered by the agency's CEO to participate in events called Community Outreach if the event requires participants from the community to attend a Christian prayer service in order to receive their free Holiday food basket? It would seem as though the police might be interpreted by attendees as ensuring that arrivals are ushered into the prayer service. The organization putting on the event bills itself as a "ministry." This appears to be a slippery slope, and borderline endorsement of not only a particular religion, but a particular approach/style (denomination) within same.
The order is the issue but should be left to police officers if they don't want to attend for religious reasons. Community outreach whether attending Christian, Muslim, Jewish or xxxxx services is a great thing. This is coming from an agnostic guy who has Muslim and Christian parents married to a non practicing Jew! I attend all sort of stuff and enjoy it.
First of all, no where in the Constitution/Bill of Rights do the words "Separation of Church and State" appear. That was to come later in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." What it means is that the government is prohibited from establishing a national church, or interfering in the free practice of any religion (just like it says in the 1st Amendment). This wall however is somewhat one way. It doesn't mean that religion cannot have an influence on governmental policy. I would argue that the participation of Law Enforcement in these sorts of events is not a violation for a couple of reasons: 1.) Local Law Enforcement is not under the control of federal government, which is what the constitution covers. 2.) Chances are the organizers of the event are receiving a bill for law enforcement services (so they are providing a paid for service) 3.) It is an equal opportunity service that is being provided. They will provide the same service to any religion that requires it. I hope this makes sense, and isn't too political.
Sadly, I see no ability of this thread to not get R and P into the discussion. I understand your question, but the answers are going to delve right into where we don't allow folks to go. That does not mean those wanting to discuss cannot PM each other, however. Just keep it private and civil. Locked.
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