Is the Rhode Island Constitution un-Constitutional?

Is the Rhode Island Constitution un-Constitutional?

I heard that on the radio the ACLU is attempting to forbid Rhode Island children from studying the constitution of their state because of the preamble:

This document was last re-written in 1986.

Does the ACLU have a leg to stand on? What is the proper remedy?

As far as I can tell, there are pretty much only two acceptable remedies.

The first involves all Americans who trace their roots back to the 1700’s to put on sack cloth, and crawl 100 miles across hot coals and broken glass. The entire time they must constantly apologize for their part in creating such a horrible country.
The other option would involve only 1 mile of crawling, but we would have to re-write the history books. We would keep the names the same, but every 10 years, coinciding with the census, we would reasign the religions and races of the Founding Fathers and everyone around back then so that they more accurately reflect the nation as it stands today.

Everyone who has graduated from a state sponsored HS would be required to re-attend one month of state school every ten years in order to learn the new multi-cultural make-up of our nation’s history.

“Hearing [something] on the radio” is almost as an accurate a source as “reading [something] on the Internet” – it can be but more often is not.

According to the ACLU’s website, they are by no means opposed to religion; in fact, they intervene to protect freedom of religion where needed. They are opposed to the idea that anyone might impose his or her beliefs under cover of law on anyone else, as in mandatory school prayers, “voluntary spontaneous” prayer incited by people in authority, the teaching of “Judeo-Christian” doctrine as though it were the foundation of American law, etc. (“Judeo-Christian” in quotes because, although the typical such doctrine derives from the Old Testament, most Jews and many Christians would not suggest it has a particular authority over Americans generally.)

A. I’d hesitate to believe the ACLU is trying to ban the study of a state constitution due to a reference to belief in it.
B. I’d tend to think that this should be taught as just what it was, the traditional understanding of the founders of Rhode Island that their constitution was founded on allegiance to their God. (There is nothing “religious” about teaching history, including the beliefs motivating various historical personages to do what they did. While there were economic causes underlying the Crusades, imagine teaching kids that Richard the Lion-Hearted et al. made war on the Saracens in order to improve trade routes with the Spice Islands.)
C. We have ACLU members who post here regularly. I’d be most interested in what they say.

I can’t find a cite, but an article I recently read said the dispute was over a proposed bill, which would require the preamble to be read in public schools each morning. The ACLU is arguing that that is essentially the same as requiring a daily religious prayer. There was no objection to studying the document, or reviewing it in other contexts.

Freedom2, do you really believe that not allowing the government to make religious pronouncements is somehow equivalent to disowning and condemning our religious heritage? Where do Christians get this idea that if we’re not constantly singing their praises, we must hate them?

This might have something to do with it- I’m quoting a paragraph:

A joint resolution of the Congress-which would require no more than simple majorities in both houses-could declare that children in public schools might lawfully recite voluntary prayers employing only such acknowledgment of divine power and goodness as is present in their own state constitution, or in the constitutions of any of the other states.

from here:


Okay, I think this is it. I don’t see anything that involves the ACLU, but there is a sort-of “school prayer” bill pending in Rhode Island. They want to require kids to recite the Preamble to the state constitution every day.

I found this at this website.

Personally, I don’t think it counts as a “school prayer alert”, but then, it’s not my website. :rolleyes:

There is nothing wrong with the Preamble to RI’s Con. However, clearly, having schoolkids read aloud a Preamble, that apparently was not-so-long-ago changed to be more religious, has ONLY the purpose of insinuating prayer into schools.

And, saying that the “ACLU wants to challenge the Preamble to RI’s Constit” or “stop schoolkids from studying it” is way out of line of what is actually happening. In many fine old historical documents there are mentions of God- including the Pledge of Allegance, the Declaration of Independence, etc. There is no movement afoot to remove the minor religous overtones to any of these- altho in the case of the Pledge, where “under God” was added later- they might have a point.

The Religious Right is simply insane- they want to cram Christianity (and their particular FORM of Christianity, which barely resembles mine) down the throats of Americans. This is morally wrong, unconstitutional- and unChristian.