Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fourteenth Amendment

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

This amendment is very important because it dismantled racial segregation in the United States.

By Bob Allen
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. (ABP) -- A federal judge ruled Nov. 10 that a South Carolina license plate featuring cross, a stained-glass window and the words "I Believe" violate the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.
U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie said a 2008 law that sailed through the state Legislature creating the Christian-themed plates "amounts to state endorsement not only of religion in general, but of a specific sect in particular."

A federal judge ruled that a Christian-themed license plate in South Carolina "amounts to state endorsement not only of religion in general, but of a specific sect in particular."
A 57-page ruling by the same judge who previously issued a temporary injunction halting the plate's production last December said the case "presents a textbook example of the need for and continued vitality of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment."
Americans United for Separation of Church in State filed a lawsuit challenging the plates on behalf of three South Carolina pastors, a rabbi and the Hindu American Foundation.
Barry Lynn, AU's executive director, praised the decision. "Government must never be allowed to express favored treatment for one faith over others," Lynn said. That's unconstitutional and un-American."
Supporters of the license plate, initiated by Lt. Gov. André Bauer (R) after a similar effort failed in Florida, said it was an accommodation to Christians, no different than 200 other specialty plates sponsored by organizations like colleges, sororities, the Boy Scouts and even a secular humanist organization.
The judge, however, said unlike the other specialty plates -- where a sponsoring organization pays $4,000 start-up cost to create a plate and finds at least 400 people to buy one -- the "I Believe" tag was a result of a legislative process, and did not go through the normal process in place for approving specialty plates through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
She said the law establishing the tag, which stipulates that it "must" carry the pro-Christian message, "gives the impression that Christianity, as the majority religion, is also the preferred religion and its adherents favored citizens."
A crowd reported as more than 400 people rallied in January at People's Baptist Church in Greer, S.C., in support of the "I Believe" license tag. Speakers included the lieutenant governor who first introduced the legislation allowing the plate.
"There is free speech for every group in this state besides Christians," Bauer said, according to a report in the South Carolina Baptist Courier. "Every citizen has the right to free speech in this country. I don't understand why witnessing in public is considered unconstitutional. You don't even have to be a Christian to believe everyone deserves the freedom of speech."
The bill's Senate co-sponsors were members of South Carolina Baptist churches. Sen. Yancey McGill, a Democrat whose district includes four counties in the eastern part of the state, is a member of First Baptist Church in Kingstree, S.C.
Sen. Larry Grooms, a Republican from Columbia who is running for governor, is a former deacon chair at First Baptist Church in St. Stephen, S.C.
Rep. Bob Walker, a Republican from Spartanburg County who pushed the legislation on the House side, is a member and deacon at First Baptist Church in Landrum, S.C.
Joe Mack, director of the office of public policy for the South Carolina Baptist Convention, wrote columns in the Baptist state newspaper endorsing the license plates.
In a Baptist Courier column dated June 9, 2008, Mack said he believed the "I Believe" license plate "to be a protected First Amendment right for anyone who chooses this new tag."
"I am thankful that we live in a state where we can publicly proclaim our belief in Christ," Mack wrote. "I appreciate living in a place where we now can pray in Jesus' name at public events and meetings without worrying about a lawsuit. We are blessed to have public servants who offer and pass legislation to make these freedoms possible."
Mack did not respond immediately to an e-mail request for comment about the ruling declaring the tag unconstitutional.

This video, dull as it may be, offers a thorough explanation of the fourteenth. This amendment dramatically changed the social landscape in the United States.

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