The 1st amendment of our Constitution forbids government establishment of religion.† So, for instance placing religious symbols on public lands or buildings is not allowed.† One of the truly great and remarkable things about this country is the absolute freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution.† You can believe whatever you want to as long as your beliefs do not cause harm to others.† Thatís, believe whatever you want, but donít bother me about it.
Prayer in School
Prayer in public school is a violation of the 1st amendment and is not allowed.†
Teaching Creationism in School
Thatís what Sunday school is for.† What is taught in our public schools must be based on reason not faith.† What makes someone a Catholic, or a Protestant or a Jew or Muslim or Buddhist is mostly a product of circumstance, not reasoned deduction.† Evolution is backed by a tremendous amount of scientific evidence; there is no evidence for Creationism.† Isnít the burden of proof, therefore, on the Creationist to show compelling evidence for their point of view before it is even considered for school curriculum?† Until such evidence is available, Evolution will be taught in school, Creationism (aka Intelligent Design) will not be.
This isnít as complex of an issue as the extreme sides of the debate have framed it.† All other arguments aside, the topic of abortion comes down to one question: is abortion murder?† Many Christians believe that life begins at conception.† From this point of view abortion is murder.† However, the Constitution forbids this type of reasoning in deciding law since it establishes a religious point of view.† At the same time, many reasonable people can come to the conclusion that a fetus is a life even without recourse to religious doctrine.†
So letís focus on the question of when does human life begin?† More specifically, at what point does a fetus become a person with rights? †How would Solomon split this baby (if I may make a Biblical allusion)?† Well, how do we know whether an adult is alive or dead?† The ultimate medical test is if the brain is still functioning.† A person that is brain-dead is dead.† A good test is whether a brain is capable of being conscious. So, short of any better medical test, a fetus should be judged to be alive if its brain has reached a stage of development in which it can be said that the brain is capable of consciousness.† This probably occurs at some point in the 2nd trimester.† The debate needs to focus on where in this 2nd trimester the abortion cutoff should be.