Courts have gone too far to keep religion out of public schools and other forums, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says.

Although the Constitution says the government cannot “establish” or promote religion, the framers did not intend for God to be stripped from public life, Scalia said Sunday at a religious ceremony….

The rally-style event about 50 miles south of Washington drew a lone protester, who silently held a sign promoting the separation of church and state.

“The sign back here which says ‘Get religion out of government’ can be imposed on the whole country,” Scalia said. “I have no problem with that philosophy being adopted democratically. If the gentleman holding the sign would persuade all of you of that, then we could eliminate ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance. That could be democratically done.” [Associated Press, 1/13/03]

Question to Judge Scalia: If atheists became a majority in the country and decided to “democratically impose” the wording, “under NO God” on the whole country, would he regard that as legitimate? The removal of the words “under God” does not promote atheism or any other religious doctrine.

But Scalia is wrong on a much more fundamental level. The whole purpose of the Bill of Rights is to limit the power of government–to forbid things from being done even if a democratic majority wants to do them. Our country is not a democracy, nor should it be; is is a republic: a system of representative government limited by the rule of law to the protection of individual rights. That is the system the founders intended to impose on the whole country, and that is the system the Supreme Court has a constitutional duty to impose on the whole country.

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