Tuesday, June 28, 2005

George Will hits the nail on the head:

Nowadays many people delight in being distressed. They cultivate exquisitely tender sensibilities and practice moral exhibitionism, waxing indignant about minor encounters with thoughts and symbols they dislike. So, just to lower the decibel level of American life, perhaps communities should refrain from religious displays other than in religious contexts.

But this is a merely prudential, not a constitutional consideration. On Monday the justices churned out 140 pages of opinions and dissents about the Texas and Kentucky displays. Here is a one-sentence opinion that should suffice in such cases: 'Because the display on public grounds does not do what the establishment clause was written to prevent -- does not impose a state-sponsored creed or significantly advantage or disadvantage one sect or sects -- the display is constitutional.'
As a Christian, I don't feel the need for displays of my faith on public ground—nor am I threatened by such displays if put on by Jews, Muslims, Atheists, or even Satanists. I. Just. Don't. Care.

But that's not the criteria on which these decisions should have been based. They are supposed to be based on the text of the Constitution, not what we think is best for our communities. And when I read the Constitution and the contemporary writings of the Founders, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that they did not fear public (even governmental) displays of religion—as long as there was no exclusion.

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