Katie Hilton is a columnist for the Lebanon [Missouri] Daily Record. In her latest op-ed, “Hats off for Lowery!“, she espouses every sentiment that shows the problems of that intolerant, faith-soaked town. I’ll reproduce her column in full, interspersed with my own comments in bold.
A tip of the mortarboard to Lebanon High School Principal Kevin Lowery. His introductory speech at commencement included a moment of silence, for which he has been forced to apologize.
Nope, he was forced to apologize not for having a moment of silence, which is legal, but for what Hilton describes next, which is illegal. Oh, and FYI, where do you get the idea that Lowery was “forced to apologize.” The only statement he’s made about his “apology,” such as it is, notes that he apologized of his own free will. Do you have other sources for your information?
Lowery told the audience that he used his moment to pray for the students, thanked God for them, their parents, teachers and the community, and asked God to protect them in the future. A University of Chicago professor who saw part of the remarks on YouTube declared Lowery’s talk was “clearly a violation of the First Amendment.”
Nonsense. You can view the supposedly objectionable portion of Lowery’s remarks here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctwrBqcBcgM.
It’s not nonsense; it’s settled case law. If you doubt that, read the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s letter of complaint to the Lebanon School Superintendent and School Board.
Dr. Jerry A. Coyne, an evolutionary biologist trained at Harvard, has a blog called “Why Evolution Is True,” also the title of his most recent book. He posted his first rant against Lowery May 31, along with a letter to Dr. Duane Widhalm and the school board.
“Lowery’s behavior during that graduation ceremony is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, and of court decisions that prayer in public schools by officials of those schools is illegal,” Coyne claimed. “Apparently, by making a public display of his faith, Mr. Lowery wished to voice his disdain for those rulings, and for our Constitution.”
I think Dr. Coyne should stick to monkeys and their uncles. You can judge for yourself.
Here we see the first hint that perhaps Ms. Hilton isn’t down with modern evolutionary science. “Monkeys and their uncles”? Really? This makes me wonder whether Lebanon High School even teaches evolution, or whether they sneak in intelligent design or other forms of creationism. Perhaps one of the several LHS students who reads this site can tell us.
The First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Lowery clearly isn’t Congress, nor did he establish any religion at commencement. He did exercise his right to pray during the moment of silence that he requested, and he did exercise his right to free speech when he shared what he had chosen to pray.
This is breathtaking inanity. Lowery doesn’t have to be “Congress” to violate the Constitution! All he has to do is be a government official who tries to promulgate religion in the organs of government. He is and he did. The courts have clearly established that “free speech” does not include an official’s right to pray to a captive high-school audience at official events—like graduation. This has been decided by the courts over and over again. When I read stuff so blatantly ignorant and self-serving, I wonder whether Ms. Hilton really understands the issues, or that she does but is just ignoring them. Like a good theologian interpreting the Bible, she picks and chooses from the Constitution what she wants to see. Unfortunately for Hilton, the courts consistently disagree with her interpretation. Her take on the Constitution is like a garden-variety Catholic telling people what official Church dogma is, despite the Vatican saying otherwise.
Coyne was satirized in February as “censor of the year” by the Discovery Institute. According to the institute’s website, Coyne and the Freedom From Religion Foundation caused Ball State University to ban teaching the scientific theory of intelligent design. ID is a theory that contradicts Coyne’s Darwinism.
“The scientific theory” of intelligent design? Here again we see hints that Ms. Hilton rejects evolution as it’s accepted by scientists (not just “Coyne”). If the people of Lebanon want to parade their ignorance of evolution as visibly as they parade their ignorance of Constitutional law, by all means let them, for they only make themselves look like ignoramuses.
Truly, the Lebanon Daily Record should be embarrassed to have someone with this degree of acumen as a columnist, but sentiments like these are what we’ve come to expect from the Lowery-boosters. In effect, they are encouraging violations of the law, and I suspect they know it. And they haven’t learned to think for themselves, for they simply fall in line with the sentiments of the religious and of the small-town boosters so ably depicted by Sinclair Lewis in Main Street.
There is only one comment after Hilton’s article, and it opposes her. I’ve just added another (I don’t know if it will be approved) using the eloquent words of Christopher Hitchens as reproduced by reader Harry in yesterday’s comments. My own comment is addressed to the young folk of Lebanon, as was Harry’s.
If you’d like to weigh in on Hilton’s editorial, you can go here to do it. If you do comment, please be polite! We don’t want to act like the citizens of Lebanon.
Also, as reader Barry notes below:
By the way, if you click on “Home” after reading the dreadful article, there is a poll about this issue with two options. It looks like the goddies are dominating right now.
The poll is at the bottom right of the “home” page (you have to go to the article first and then, as Barry says, click “home”). Here are the results when I voted: