I was shocked today to read of the unanimous Supreme Court decision asserting that governmental institutions do not have to place an entity’s monument just because that city, state, or municipality has placed others. That this was the decision isn’t what shocked me. What shocked me was that it was unanimous. I’m glad: it restores new faith in the left side of the bench because I had trouble seeing how any sane person could think otherwise. A victory for sanity!
This is going to have some big implications. One of the secularist’s chief arguments concerns fairness. According to them, in order for there to be fairness under the constitution, either all religious monuments must be allowed or none of them. In affirming the right for cities to have monuments at all and decide which ones (if any), we are spared the nonsensical situation where we must allow a contrarian monument to go up whereever there is any other monument. Imagine, for example, that next to the Vietnam Memorial it was required to erect a memorial to Ho Chi Minh. Absurd. If it came to that I reckon that our veterans would prefer not to have any monument at all. That is the only other alternative in the name of ‘fairness’ if the secularists are right.
In my own town, a single atheist expressed his discomfort at the sight of a lit cross overlooking the town during the Easter season. (The cross is a lit star the rest of the year; this poor atheist does not, as you would expect, express similar discomfort at the government’s endorsement of astrology.) In the course of discussions about what to do the village leadership wanted to sell the property off to a private entity and thus preserve the monument. Though legal, this seemed to me- and the atheists- to be a cowardly escape.
My reasons are different than Barker’s Freedom from Religion Foundation’s, though. I was aware that this Pleasant Grove decision was on its way up and I was convinced that it was unnecessary to do anything at all. I communicated the fact that this decision was on its way but they decided to sell anyway. Now, I could care less about the presence of the Star Hill cross. I am mostly perturbed that the village allowed itself to be bullied by thin skinned secularists who know how to file lawsuits. That annoyance is deepened today as I read of this court decision.
On the other hand, I am buoyed. We all know that by ‘separation of church and state’ the secularists really mean “a complete purging of all religious expression in the public domain, period, and by ‘public’ we also mean in your homes if we decide your personal religious beliefs might be dangerous.” This decision will go a long way to dampening their pursuit of that goal and since even the liberal and leftist justices went along with it it is unlikely that further attempts- at least by this approach- will be made.
Not that I would put it past Mr. Barker. The man loves lawsuits. In his view, it is much better to merely persuade a few judges than to persuade citizens.
Here are my posts regarding the Holmen Star/Cross.