Speaker: Supreme Court decisions push U.S. toward secularism
By Liz Zemba
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012, 11:44 p.m.
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012
A series of Supreme Court decisions took the United States from its founding on Christian principles to its current state of secularism, a Pittsburgh lawyer said Sunday at a symposium sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg.
Featured speaker Brad Tupi said that has resulted in conflicts such as those unfolding in Fayette County over a Ten Commandments monument outside a public school.
Tupi, a shareholder in the Tucker Arensberg law firm Downtown, is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom and a member of the Federalist Society and the Christian Legal Society. The symposium on religious freedom was held in the Bishop William G. Connare Center near Greensburg.
The Ten Commandments monument outside Connellsville Area Junior High School was donated to the school in 1957 by the Connellsville Eagles. It was covered with plywood after the Freedom From Religion Foundation and an anonymous parent and student filed a federal lawsuit seeking its removal.
The school district has opted not to remove the monument, pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
Tupi said the monument is an example of how Supreme Court decisions can threaten religious freedoms. Other examples, he said, include removal of a cross from the city of Los Angeles' seal and annual battles over nativity scenes on public property.
“Christmas every year is a battleground,” Tupi said. “Every year, there is a creche somewhere that the ACLU or the Freedom From Religion Foundation is attacking.”
Tupi said various Supreme Court decisions, including one in 1962 banning school prayer and another in 1980 forbidding Ten Commandments posters in schools, take away religious freedom. He said the decisions are based on a misinterpretation of the First Amendment.
“All of these cases were based on a flawed rationale of the wall of separation between church and state,” Tupi said. “It's not in the Constitution.”
Tupi said the Founding Fathers embraced Christianity, often referencing “almighty God” in their writings and speeches. The first public schools, located in Massachusetts and Connecticut, were established to teach children “to read Scripture and save their souls,” he said.
Other Supreme Court decisions, Tupi said, have turned “former sins into Constitutional rights,” including legalization of abortion and pornography. The cultural impact occurred “almost overnight,” Tupi said.
“TV went from wholesome shows like ‘Father Knows Best' and ‘Leave it to Beaver' ... things were so wholesome,” Tupi said. “Now we have shows like ‘Desperate Housewives' and ‘Sex and the City.' ”
Joining Tupi in the symposium were Greensburg Bishop Lawrence Brandt; Michael Krom, a St. Vincent College philosophy professor; and Mary Ellen Pellegrino, the diocese's director of pro life and social ministry.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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