Wednesday, June 02, 2004

It's not the "Freedom of Religion as long as you keep it to yourself," is it?
CNN.com - Public baptism sparks controversy: "But park officials said religious groups seeking to perform a service in the park still need to apply for a permit or else gather under a shelter or inside."

Public Relations Lesson Number One: When denying a religious group access to a public park, always say "any group seeking to host an activity in the park still needs to apply for a permit."

And, am I to take it that being under a shelter or inside negates the requirement for a permit? What, as long as we hide those religious nuts, it's ok for them to do whatever they like?

Seriously, though, I understand the request that religious groups apply for permits before conducting services in a public park. If they are denied access and use of the park because of their affiliation, however, we have a serious problem. And it's not even the violation of free speech as charged in this article, but a conflict with a different clause of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law...abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble." Public park: anyone who wants to use it can use it, so long as they are not committing another crime in that use.

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