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June 6, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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June 6, 1998

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g- ity th tl" L# ,re ,fl. # of J ARKANSAS 1t, CATHOLIC June6, 1998 Page 11 : ":: hen Rep. Ernest istbok Of Okla- oma introduced his comtitutional amendment to allow prayer in public Schools and other religious freedoms, a :case in Alabama had to be on his mind. A federal judge made some legal dis- curious that cut at the very core of al- lowing public school students to pray voluntarily while in school. Judge Ire DeMent ordered people to be paid to raonitor classrooms and assemblies in rural school districts. In a permanent injunction, he said the students were not allowed to discuss their faith or pray oud. He said the traditional gradua- tion prayer was not allowed and neither i! allowed at football games among me players and coaches. He condemned what he called "religious harassment, 6 ..................... ,, .......................................................... ........................................ ................................................................ to protect m which included what he believed were Amendment that guarantees freedom of years of Supreme Court decisions where students ' itnessing" to other students and religion also protects the separation of it has made decisions to bar or discour- wearing religious T-shirts and bracelets, church and state, age religious expression in public places. The judge let the ACLU teach a class to When federal judges like the one in School prayer is one area that will be principals and teachers to let them know Alabama interpret the Bill of Rights in protected in Rep. Istook's amendment. what was acceptable, such a way where students aren't allowed The Religious Freedom Amendment When President Clinton and Educa- to voluntarily express their religious views, would protect other expressions, such tion Secretary Richard Riley addressed the there needs to be some type of law or as displaying the Ten Commandments the Istook amendment, they said the constitutional amendment, in public buildings or displaying a Na- amendment is not necessary. Instead, they "Nothing in the Constitution requires tivity scene or menorah on public prop- reissued three-year-old guidelines on how schools to be religion-free zones, where erty. schools should respond to religious ex- children must leave their faiths at the The House of Representatives is ex- pression, schoolhouse door," the president said. pected to vote on the amendment this They believed the First Amendment is Even if the Alabama judge's decision week. A constitutional amendment is enough, was the first time religion was trampled needed because all sch ol districts are In his weekly radio address, President on in the courts, it would be too many not going to follow the guidelines and Clinton said the First Amendment when times for the government to stand idly by not all judges are going to see that the "sensibly applied" is enough. The prob- while students' rights are violated. Instead, First Amendment protects freedom of lem comes in because the same First Rep. Istook said it has been at least 30 religion. two characters can teach the children of these nations more than alphabet letters and numbers: they may be able to teach them that their cultural and political enemies are children just like them. The series debuted in April on Pales- Television in Israel refused to consider, since it was so opposed to the message of the program and its original creators at the Children's Television Network in the United States. The compromise so- lution is that parks at the edge of each unable to reachJerusalem for meetings. Script crises abound, with writers at- tempting to create an environment that is not mired too much in fantasy and idealism. There are numerous prob- lems on both sides of "Sesame Street," ister Atal Behari Vajpayee said about the tests. One danger of the tests is that it will prompt a spi- raling of nuclear development in the region, thus cre- ating on the Asian continent the same condition which existed between the United States and the former So- viet Union during the Cold War. China already has a nuclear capability, and India's archrival Pakistan has indicated it will respond with its own nuclear testing. This chain reaction could spread to other countries in the region as well as to non-nuclear nations in other parts of the world. The greatest danger, however, is that as more coun- tries acquire nuclear weaponry the possibilities of their use increase. India and Pakistan, for example, have been at war three times in the past 50 years. There is no assurance, as some argue, that nuclear deterrence is a preventative to war. When these weapons exist, there is always a risk they will be used. Perhaps it is inevitable that the road to peace will be a winding one. But when will humanity learn the nuclear detour does not lead to the security that some people think? We have taken these detours so many times before, only to learn the path is filled with pot- holes and false hopes. If the nuclear path is the way to go, why is there such a concern about the current level of nuclear weapons in the world and why was there such a push for a nuclear test-ban accord? The nuclear weapons path to security is even more contradictory in countries such as India where material poverty is so great. India now cannot feed or house its hungry masses, and yet the country is diverting its eco- nomic resources and concentrating its scientific ener- gies on nuclear weaponry. This was not the road to peace to which Mother Teresa devoted her life in the slums of Calcutta. Jesuit Father Jose ICananaikil, who works among the low-caste people in the Indian state of Bihar, was right when he said the tests will not make his people either the country's problems. Peace and security, especially in a world which al- ready has too many nuclear weapons, will not come on a nuclear warhead but with investments in human de- velopment. This is what India, Pakistan and other Asian countries need. If history is any teacher, the nuclear race only takes energy from human development. When will we ever learn? 4s a -- "" the Hindu national party had campaigned on li r,.mise to make India a nuclear power -- they are th'. urbing at a time when there were indications that AI_= nuclear arms race was at least being held in check. 1ire there were si ,ns of hove with the Comprehensive '~UCle o- ,. - . l Ut"Test Ban Treaty, whmh banned nuclear tesung : watch India did not sign, , .... .Lvvhat is somewhat surprising is that India s atnonc hie , .,_mOps have Joined in vralsin the nuclear tests. In- 0# .Church leaders attending the Synod of Bishops for :, J m Rome said they were "pleased" with the devel- I that the tests were a "sign that India path to world peace and security unfortuna iY ts not a straight road but a windinl one with many urs. Last week we witnessed one of those detours India, the country of the peace-loving Gandhi, :uuCted five nuclear tests. This has raised concerns e_ the globe of a renewed nuclear weapons race, SPecially thein ome as a total sur priseile tests in India not c B .... set adjoin each other --- a middle area but the common-ground belief is that :!: i tinian and Israeli television, although it -- and this is where the Muppets from it should be a show about "possibili- The without and re- different sides of the border will meet. ties." That premise evokes the histori- program contains the characters is not unique concerns d familiar to millions of American chil- straints that define all relations in that Even for children's television, bound- cal certainty that "a little child shall lead region. Separate production companies aries are critical. r.en: Elmo, Cookie Monster, Kermit, them." , aby Bear, Prairie Dawn. But a new joint exist for the two regions. There is an Other problems which reflect the dif- But the efforts are being made, in y production of the 29- Israeli street and a Palestinian street, ficulties of such a production include !arge and small, ways. Perhaps, thanks to -old educational series Sesame When the series was first discussed, Pal- the fact that two members of the ani- Sesame Street, manymore generations eet" includes Daft, a vurnle Israeli estinian creators and producers wanted marion team live in Gaza and could to come will be able to worship in this sill- - - ...Ppet, and Haneen, an orange Pales- a physical wall to divide the two streets, not get permits to enter Israel for their most holy city during without fear or urltan Muppet. The hope is that these which representatives of Educational work. Others based in Tel Aviv werehatred standing in the way. India's testing of nuclear weapons providing false security "safe or rich" and that nuclear warheads will not solve ful purposes the archbishop spoke of. "For us, the country's security was paramount," Indian Prime Min-