Beliefnet News

Fifty years ago on June 25, 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court banned prayer from U.S. public schools on the principle that America has no state religion – and is not officially a Christian nation.

It set the stage for today’s environment in which any high schooler who utters a prayer at graduation or any cross or nativity scene on public property is subjected to prolonged court challenges.

On June 20, New York City kindergarten students were blocked from performing the song “God Bless the USA” at their graduation ceremony after principal Greta Hawkins said the song could end up “offending” listeners and result in litigation. The song’s author, country music artist Lee Greenwood, said he was offended by Hawkins’ decision, “I wrote ‘God Bless the USA’ about the love I have for this country and the struggle we have gone through to remain free,” Greenwood said. “Personally, denying the children to sing ‘God Bless the USA’ offends me as a Christian.”

Kindergartners singing

“My song is about hope, faith, spirit and pride. How could that be wrong on any level?”

But Principal Hawkins’ fear is justified. The “Establishment Clause” of the Constitution’s First Amendment is “in shambles,” thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, which “should be deeply troubled by what its Establishment Clause jurisprudence has wrought,” wrote Justice Thomas in a recent dissent, “like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad after being repeatedly killed and buried …frightening the little children and school attorneys …”

But does any government have any business dabbling in religion or morality questions?

A few days ago, British Dr. Patrick Pullicino, a neurologist at East Kent Hospitals and a professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Kent, startled the Royal Society of Medicine in London by disclosing that annually 130,000 elderly Britons receiving government health care are routinely hurried along on their way to the grave by bureaucrats of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.

Dr. Patrick Pullicino

“The chilling news came to light,” reported Charlotte Meredith of the Daily Express, after Pullicino revealed NHS doctors are using the controversial “Liverpool Care Pathway” – an official policy under which “doctors can withdraw treatment, food and water while patients are heavily sedated in an attempt to make their final days pass quickly and comfortably – normally resulting in a patient’s death within 33 hours.”

“NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds,” reported Steve Doughty for the Daily Mail newspaper.

A May 2011 Daily Mail story exposed elderly British patients being starved and dehydrated to death as government-paid medical staff routinely ignored patients’ calls for help and forgot to check that they had had enough to eat and drink. A commission found that hip replacements and cataract surgery were being put on a “non-urgent” list in an attempt to help save the state health care program $20 billion.

In the British press, Dr. Pullicino’s charges eclipsed another doctor’s story – British Dr. Richard Scott who lost his appeal against the UK’s General Medical Council, which reprimanded him for sharing his Christian faith with a patient. The council ruled that Dr. Scott had Continued on page 2