This unfortunate issue, while generating vigorous public debate in the county, has become the focal issue for both citizens and students to become better informed about their Constitution - a document emanated by every nation is the world, except six, as a pattern for their own written constitutions.
As our local citizens continue to vigorously debate this issue, they will learn that freedom of religion is protected by the Constitution's First Amendment and they will also learn that a strict interpretation of the First Amendment would have stopped this threatened lawsuit in its tracts. This suit is possible because the Supreme Court upheld a false premise that there is "a wall of separation between church and state," a theory advanced by progressives to destroy religious freedom.
They will also learn religious freedom's "pre-eminent place in the Constitution identifies it, freedom of religion, as a cornerstone of American democracy." In the nation's founding and in its constitutional order, religious freedom, along with the freedoms of speech and press in the First Amendment, are the motivating and dominating civil liberties and civil rights for all people.
And they will, if they dig deep enough, learn that the issue used to generate this suit, the killing of 6 million Jews by "a Christian nation," Germany, is simply a ruse to use existing "court-made law" to intimidate a local community into capitulating to their threats and from using the best venue in the county for the graduation of the county's high school graduates.
Those filing this suit should understand that the killing of 6 million Jews was by madman, not Christians, and that while Adolf Hitler's actions were atrocious, there is something they should now better understand - the Jews were given a homeland that signaling the prophesized restoration process by God in modern times - Judah being the first tribe to be "restored" to their homeland. They also need to understand that it was the United Nations who carved out Israel from what was then Palestine, and gave that land to their Jewish ancestors to create modern-day Israel. And remember it was Harry S. Truman, then president of the United States, and a devoted Christian, who was the first head of state to recognize the newly created Israel as a legitimate nation.
And as their search for truth regarding this issue continues, these county citizens and students will learn how a letter by Thomas Jefferson to Danbury Baptist Association, dated Jan. 1, 1802, has been used by the progressive opposition to the Constitution to create what is now known as that "wall of separation between church and state" doctrine, a doctrine sustained by the Supreme Court and used to remove the reading of the Bible in schools, religious signs off public property, and so forth.
They will also learn that the first Congress of the United States provided in the Northwest Ordinance that the basic tenets of religion and the fundamentals of morality should be taught in the public schools. During that same period, Jefferson proposed that the University of Virginia extend its facilities to the various [religious] denominations so that each student could worship and study in the church setting of their choice. Jefferson wrote: "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed [by eliminating religious instruction] their only firm basis - a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are... the gift of God. That they are not to be violated but with wrath." Powerful words by Jefferson, words that counter the progressives' claim there should be "a wall of separation between church and state."
The school board and First Baptist Church of Woodstock should be commended for working together to solve a common need of the county - a facility large enough to meet the needs of each graduating class in Cherokee County. Now the community needs to stand firm behind and sustain the board's recent courageous action.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist living in Woodstock.