To the Editor:
It is interesting that The Smoky Mountain News in its reporting on superintendent of Macon County Schools Dan Brigman both last summer and recently cites the legal opinion of only one organization. That is unfair. Sadly, it indicates that there is either a strong bias on the part of the SMN or a surprising lack of knowledge about other legal advocacy groups that would strongly disagree with that seemingly unchallenged opinion.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation website makes clear that the organization is a far-left political advocacy group that strongly opposes Christians and their views in the political arena. In fairness, the SMN reporter should have taken the time to make a phone call to an organization like the American Center for Law and Justice or the Christian Legal Defense Fund to ask for an opinion.
If that’s asking too much, then at least include a statement to indicate that there are other legal groups that would support the superintendent’s actions. That’s not asking too much — unless the paper does have a strong bias and supports the views of The Freedom from Religion Foundation. If it does, then very well. I believe in freedom of the press just as I do freedom of (not from) speech and religion.
In its recent story on Superintendent Brigman, the SMN makes reference to the “legally mandated chasm between state and church.” The Constitution, in this case the first part of the First Amendment, actually says: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …”
If that somehow mandates a chasm, then it also stipulates that a chasm should exist between the state and the press. In that case maybe someone will start an organization and call it Freedom from the Press to oppose all journalists and news organizations that report on the government. Of course that’s absurd, but no more absurd than the convoluted notion that the Bill of Rights was ever intended to prevent a superintendent of schools from wishing his staff a Merry Christmas. May God help us.
Patrick J. Womack, Pastor
Hazelwood Presbyterian Church (PCA)