Judge Jones: Copying True Religion and Pasting It Into the US Constitution?
The Evo News blog has yet more evidence of, um, shall we say "borrowing," done by Judge John Jones. What makes this especially noteworthy is that part of the language apparently borrowed without attribution is the key statement in a speech in which Judge Jones asserts a highly unorthodox view of what should guide interpretation of the religion clauses of the First Amendment.
Judge Jones suggests that the belief held by some of the founding fathers that "true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry" somehow should guide decisions involving the religion clauses of the First Amendment. The full quote from the speech is:
Ironically, but perhaps fittingly for my purposes today, we see the Founders' ideals quite clearly, among many places, in the Establishment Clause within the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This of course was the clause that I determined the school board had violated in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. While legal scholars will continue to debate the appropriate application of that clause to particular facts in individual cases, this much is very clear. The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state. As I hope that you can see, these precepts and beliefs, grounded in my liberal arts education, guide me each day as a federal trial judge.
Legal scholars would agree that the the First Amendment does not endorse any personal beliefs about the validity or invalidity of divine revelation or personal beliefs about the nature of "true religion." In fact, such endorsement would run directly contrary to what the Establishment Clause is trying to do. What the founders personally believed about religion and revelation has nothing to do with the meaning of the First Amendment. These statements indicate that not only did the judge not understand Intelligent Design, he apparently did not understand certain basic principles for interpreting the Establishment Clause.