©Ivan W. Parkins 2014,  All articles, text, web pages property of Ivan W. Parkins.  Use of any material requires permission of the

author and can be obtained by contacting,  rwhinkle@americanpoliticalcommentary.com

Mt. Pleasant, Michigan 2014

Front Page

Volume 7, Issue 6

April 26, 2014

Note: The following series of articles are a re-post from 2010.  They are still relevant to current issues and are being  re-posted here.– Editor

The article below is a reprint from the Detroit News, October 9, 1992-editor

         EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE OF A GRAND ADVENTURE

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

             We are the species Homo sapiens.  Increasingly, bits of fossil remains suggest that our earlier ancestors separated from other primates on the continent Africa a few million years ago.  A capacity for upright locomotion improved our opportunities to feed diversely and our capacity to defend ourselves.  And greater use of hands and arms increased our uses for brains.

             The ancestral species grew in numbers and divided into groups occupying varied environments.  Some prospered; others declined.  It was, in general, those most able to  defend against predator species and to adapt to varied natural conditions that survived and multiplied. 

             Cooperating and communicating groups of humans developed more and more elaborate oral communication and shared thoughts about their origin and relationship to the world about them.  As their language and arts grew they devised viewpoints and practices, communities of common culture, material and aesthetic.  They defended and preserved those with concepts of right and wrong.  One major defense was to attribute important aspects of the culture to ancestors or to super-beings called gods.  Thus did social orders and the religious and political institutions for preserving and advancing them begin.

             Our greatest challenge, now, is how to unite our species with its numerous and varied social and political divisions and ideologies in a more concerted effort to assure man’s continuing survival and progress.

             For more than two centuries this nation, The United States of America, has provided humanity with its largest example of how better to establish a social order and government that will facilitate both a high degree of public order and safety and extensive opportunities for individuals to enhance man’s progress.

             Much more than the political success of individuals or particular parties is a risk in the pending elections.

Front Cover

PRAYER ISSUE

A SYMBOLIC ONE

 

This is a slight abridgement of a column of mine, MORNING SUN, 3/28/84.

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

             Often in our recent politics liberals have assumed that the founding fathers meant to ban things such as school prayers by the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Not since the publication of Walter Bern’s THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, 1976, have such assumptions been possible among persons who are both informed and candid.  The “wall of separation” between church and state and the ban upon prayers in public schools were little more than bits of liberal ideology until the Supreme Court of the United States adopted them, after World War II.

             The story of how a few people—mainly upper middle class intellectuals working through such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Jewish Congress—influenced our highest courts has been set forth by Frank Sorauf, in THE WALL OF SEPARATION, 1976.  Professor Sorauf applauded the changes, but his account left little room to doubt that they were recent alterations in the meaning of the Constitution or that they were achieved by an activist minority without approval by the broader public.

             Prior to 1947 the Supreme Court had very little to say regarding separation of church and state, and even in1947 what it did do was tolerate minor and indirect government involvement in religion.  The Supreme Court’s ban on prayers in public schools dates from 1962.

             The school prayer issue is a symbolic one.  It is part of the post-World War II division of this nation over basic values.  Under Chief Justice Earl Warren the Supreme Court adopted many of the revolutionary values of the 1960s.  The subsequent Burger Court softened the trend re Christmas scenes on public property, making some return to continuity with the past.

             The First Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law…”  That wording was consciously chosen by the First Congress as a means of permitting variations of religious policy among the states, some of which still had state churches.  Only through very broad interpretations of the Fourteenth Amendment, added in 1868, did it become possible for federal courts to intervene in such matters as school prayers.  Until after the courts were packed with the products of liberal university law schools and pressured by liberal action groups, i.e. the mid-twentieth century, they rarely did intervene in church matters.

             I am not an advocate of school prayer.  But, I regard as either ignorant or dishonest and anti-democratic the claims of those who assert that the Constitution, the founding fathers, or the American tradition require a banning of all such practices from the public schools.

             Intolerance of religion is incompatible with democracy, as are intolerant religions.  Unfortunately, since World War II, we have experienced some upsurge of both.  It is a part of what has led to our present complex election battle.

Some Personal Trivia

By Ivan W. Parkins

The day after I married, one of my new uncle’s in-law (Cary Marvin Infinger) performed a similar ceremony.  The groom, like myself, was a graduate of the Naval Academy.  He was also a bit younger than me and from an even smaller agricultural community.  Like me, he left the Navy early and later became involved in politics.  It’s more than a bit humbling to note that he exceeded my accomplishments, even (now) in the duration of his marriage.  His name is Carter and his wedding was in Plains, Georgia.