Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We're having civic lessons

We're having civic lessons in church-state separation this week, In addition to the mosque controversies, these are the kinds of  rulings that infuriate a lot of Americans:

Roadside crosses for fallen Utah police unconstitutional, court rules

Antigay church can protest military funerals, judge rules

The odious Westboro Baptist Church is involved in the second ruling. The Utah suit came about because wiser minds were not heard if they were even consulted, & Utah constructed 12 foot high crosses. Ironically, "The decision notes that most residents of Utah were raised as or are followers of the Mormon religion, which does not view the cross as a religious symbol."

So while each  ruling, at first glance, seemed unnecessary & even punitive toward majorities,  they're both good rulings. Secular symbols for Utah would have been fine, & modest crosses in the spirit of roadside memorial displays   may have gone unchallenged.  Laws that were not crafted specifically to stop Westboro loonies may have passed a constitutional test. We ask that Muslims show more cultural awareness & try to discern what may or may not be appropriate, & we should expect the same of government when it tries to sidestep the 1st Amendment. It's puzzling that the Cordoba Initiative did not foresee & prepare for the storm of opposition to the large, expensive Islamic something-or-other.   But many First Amendment cases have been the result of Christians in local governments not discerning cultural & demographic changes in their own communities, &  acting arrogantly rather than toning down the religious aspects of displays & events or accomodating other beliefs & views.

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