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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

READ the Constitution? What a radical thought

Mischler mug PINELLAS PARK -- This city has become the newest flash point for the battle between some Christians and atheists who object to the Bible that sits on the council dais by the mayor and the Christian invocation at the beginning of each council meeting.

For some, the issue turns on the existence of God. For others, it turns on the Constitution and whether a government can legitimately endorse a particular brand of religion, or any faith at all. But to argue that, it helps to know a bit about the Constitution, which seems to be lacking among some in PInellas Park.

At one point during Thursday's debate, one of the pro-prayer folks got up and said to Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler, "Mayor, I know you've read the Constitution."

Mischler, above, shook his head no.

"If I'd read the Constitution, I'd be in Washington," Mischler said.

Mischler clarified that a bit Friday. He hasn't read the WHOLE Constitution. But he has read parts of it. That includes the Bill of Rights where the First Amendment and its prohibition against the state establishment of a religion is found. But, Mischler said, he read the Bill of Rights, "way back, yes. Not recently."

-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:40pm]

    

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