Thursday, December 13, 2012

My considered views on religious displays on public land




Brethren, Peace and Good to all of you.
As you know, every year during the holiday and Christmas seasons, religion-objectors redouble their efforts at proscribing religious displays on government buildings and other common areas in our cities, towns, and villages. The mainstream media’s (MSM’s) strategy has been to declare that there is no “war on Christmas” but Bill Donohue from the Catholic League already took the MSM to task.
Of course, I often share many of Bill Donohue’s observations across many other social platforms including Twitter, and it was in Twitter where I got a couple of respondents who are representative of the repressive school of Christmas display haters. Their argument is straightforward: they argue that the “non-establishment clause” of the First Amendment prohibits religious displays on public – government-owned – property. Therefore, a Christmas crèche, the Ten Commandments, and other demonstrations of religious faith that have had an effect in our culture for over two centuries are verboten under the First Amendment.
But confusion follows when the Christmas-haters are shown the applicable clause of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
When I ask how a religious display on public property violates the non-establishment clause, I get stammers. If I mention that the Framers had a very precise idea of what an established religion meant (they only had to look back to England, the German states, and Spanish Empire to make their point), I am told that the Framers “knew nothing” about today’s circumstances – which I detect as an argument in favor of the notion that “the Constitution evolves” although they don’t tell me exactly how. Or if I point out that these displays were never an issue until the 1960’s, when Madeline Murray O’Hair started her jihad against religion in the public place, I am answered with non-sequiturs regarding the legal status of atheists in the country, on how the US is not nor was ever a “Christian” country, etc.
After all my years studying this issue, I hereby announce my position on this issue. If you care to read it, this is it:
The First Amendment does not prohibit religious displays on public land. Citizens of any religious persuasion or none at all should be free to exercise their religion on public, government property however they see fit. The only proper role of government is to regulate this exercise in such a way that decorum, order, and safety are guaranteed to those citizens choosing to exercise their liberty in this manner.
In other words, my brothers and sisters, I don’t simply want the courts or the religion-haters to be more accommodating to religious expression in public spaces.  No, what I am looking for is their complete capitulation. I hold that every single verdict, judgment, or regulation limiting the free exercise of religion anywhere runs counter to the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment, that such judgments, verdicts, or regulations are rotten at the core, and therefore, contemptuous of our First Freedom. Furthermore, I hold that the enforcement of said judgments, verdicts, or regulations is repressive by their nature, being a flagrant abuse of the coercive power of the state to undermine the freedom of We, the People.
That’s where I stand, my brethren. Our duty is fight this repression with all legitimate tools at our disposal and reverse the sorry course our courts and branches of government have been charting during the last 50 years, a court that has veered us away from liberty and toward the intellectual and moral subjugation of the many by the few.