I’ve seen this a lot in the past couple of months from
my fellow skeptics, mostly from the liberal side (the libertarian
skeptics don’t seem to have this problem). They make a big deal out of
the First Amendment, particularly the establishment clause, and rightly
so; but when it comes to other parts of the Constitution, it seems to
be okay to ignore it if it goes against what they want.
Tenth Amendment completely forbids Congress from doing anything not
mentioned in Article I Section 8, and that includes forcing schools to
teach evolution, setting a religious education policy for the schools
(as Dennett wants to do), as well as many provisions of the Civil
Rights Act (and just about everything else done by Congress, for that
matter). Sorry, guys, but that’s a state/local battle, not a Federal
Article III Section 2 completely forbids the Supreme Court
from deciding matters internal to a state and its citizens. It lists
everywhere the Supreme Court and the lower Federal courts created by
Congress has both original and appellate jurisdiction, and that’s not
one of them. The only exception is if it’s a direct controversy under
the Constitution. Shooting down Intelligent Design in the Dover trial
is therefore 100% Constitutional; setting the abortion policy for the
states based on the stages of pregnancy as Roe v. Wade did is not.
Constitution only specifies three Federal crimes: treason, piracy, and
counterfeiting. You might be able to use the Necessary and Proper
Clause to add certain other crimes related to the powers in Article I
Section 8 such as tax evasion or stealing the mail, but not any kind of
fraud, even if it is committed by psychics. If murder is a state crime,
then so is fraud.
No matter how much you feel religious stuff
should be taxed, Article I Section 9 specifically prohibits the Federal
government from taxing goods and services that cross state lines
(Section 10 likewise prohibits the states, with some very specific
exceptions). That would include religious communication.
that matter, Sections 9 and 10 prohibit both the states and the
Congress from passing Bills of Attainder. This means you can’t pass any
laws that target any person or group of people. And that includes religious groups.
Just as the Constitution does not allow
Congress to ban gay marriage, neither does it allow Congress or any
other Federal entity to require citizens, companies, or groups to
recognize gay marriage. Deal with it.
There are lots of other
examples, but this should give you the idea. The Constitution either
means something, or it doesn’t. And if you agree with even one of the
above actions, or any action that is repugnant to the Constitution,
then you have no cause–either legally or morally–to speak out against
anyone else violating the First Amendment or anything else.
always say: if you want to be free to do what you want, you have to set
others free to do what you don’t want. Otherwise, you just want a
tyranny that agrees with you.