Friday, October 14, 2005

FIGHTING THE MYTH OF "ESTABLISHMENT"

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. This is the first phrase in the first amendment of the U.S. constitution. That means it is pretty important, and has been for a long time. So if congress hasn't been allowed to pass any law doing this since the nation's founding, how do the courts keep finding it has? Well, they don't, exactly. The courts keep finding that a religious symbol (or act) displayed in a public space (school, court, library, etc...) violates the "establishment clause" cited above. Some of these displays have been around for decades, but only recently have been found to be in violation of the constitution. The courts occasionally find these religious displays OK, or not "an establishment of religion." Now, I'm no legal genius, but it's obvious that something is wrong with this situation. This legal reasoning is also applied to Christmas holidays, praying in public, and most famously in the lawsuit aiming to take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

These symbols or actions weren't created by any law of congress (except the Pledge, which is why that one should be an interesting case in the courts), but by local and state governments, who then have to defend them in the courts against the ACLU. Many towns, counties, and cities just remove the "offending" religious symbol or activity, rather than fight a costly legal battle. What's worse, if the local government loses these frivolous lawsuits, they have to reimburse the ACLU's legal fees. Jay from STOP the ACLU has a great post, Stop Paying For The Secularization of America, about this. He republishes a list of the amounts that various jurisdictions have shelled out after being sued by the ACLU, in support of an "offended" party. We seem to be getting farther from the "establishment of religion" in these lawsuits, and more like "that offends me," something definitely not found in the "establishment clause," which is supposedly the basis for the various rulings. This troubles me, as it should everyone.

It's worth noting that the ACLU also fights against any abortion law passed in every state, and they get signifigant revenue every time that they win a case. Supreme Court Justice Ruth "Buzzy" Ginsburg is a former leading lawyer for the ACLU. Isn't it an apparent conflict of interest for her to rule on any case that they are a party to? Are they really concerned about a woman's right to "choose," more than lining their own pockets with friendly rulings from friendly liberal judges? Not to make it some big conspiracy, but if the ACLU is a "civil liberties" organization, dedicated to protecting the most helpless among us, those with no voice, why aren't they standing up for the rights of unborn children? Just a thought.

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