Essay Competition Topic Options

Choose one of the following essay topics.  As you write your essay reference the Essay Guidelines and address in general terms implications for separation of church and state, state v. Federal rights, freedom of conscience, economic, moral, political, religious and social issues as applicable.  Each topic listed below includes specific thoughts designed to stimulate your research.  If the topic you select has an intriguing aspect to it, you may choose to write your essay on that subject.

Essay Topic #1:

Describe and compare the polarizing state v. Federal rights issues which caused a divided (polarized) Union which developed into the Civil War with the current polarizing state v. Federal issues which are causing divisions in the nation today. In what way are the outcomes of the current polarization likely to be better or worse than the outcomes of the Civil War? Address polarizing issues in terms of economic, moral, political, religious, and social aspects.

Essay Topic # 2:

Evaluate the issues surrounding the Mosque controversy located in New York City, a few blocks from ‘ground zero.”  Does the Islamic faith have a right to build a mosque at this sight?  Does the city/state of New York have the right to deny a building or re-zoning permit?  Should the feelings of New York City’s citizens be factored into any environmental impact study as part of the building permit process?   Support your opinions based on the Bill of Rights to the Constitution and/orNew York State law.

Essay Topic # 3:

Consider the recent conviction of fundamentalist LDS prophet Warren Jeffs.  Does Mr. Jeffs have the right to freely practice his religion according to his conscience under the Bill of Rights of the Constitution?  Do any of the Bills of rights ever take precedence over another right provided by the constitution?  Does any civil right ever take precedence over another right provided by the the Bill of Rights? If there is a conflict between a natural right and a civil right, how does the conflict get resolved?  Support your answers.

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