What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 25, 2013

Ah...Yoots. So Much To Learn, So Much Homework To Do.

Can we get a remedial civics class for university opinion writers?

I got two yoots (what's a yoot?, excuse me your honor...two YOUTHS) who could use some learnin' in just what "freedom of religion" really means

Case one Matt Barnes at Pitt News.  Aside from unknowingly contradicting himself. He writes:
In 1989, the Supreme Court decided in County of Allegheny v. ACLU that a nativity scene in the Allegheny County Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh was unconstitutional.
And yet a few paragraphs earlier when discussing the nativity scene in Ellwood City, he writes:
The Establishment Clause states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This has often been interpreted as prohibiting government from establishing a recognized religious preference. In the case of Ellwood City’s nativity scene, it is undeniable that the display on municipal grounds gave preference and recognition to Christianity. This raises a valid question: Should a government that touts itself as by the people and for the people explicitly deny the will of the people?
And then:
Rather, Ellwood City is a microcosm, one that reveals an unfortunate trend spreading across America — that is, the trend favoring the unreasonable will of the few against the justified and peaceful will of the many.
And then:
The residents of Ellwood City and of other small towns across America are hardworking people without time for petty maneuvering of constitutional clauses to justify the ridiculous claims that an innocent nativity scene infringes upon nonbelievers’ civil rights.
So which is it?  Is it undeniable that that the display gave preference and was therefore unconstitutional or that it's a ridiculous claim that that's favoring the unreasonable will of the view against the will of the people?

Mr Barnes should do his homework on the concept of individual rights.  The "will of the people" stops at the point where an individual's rights are violated.

And then there's Brian Bresnehan at The Globe at Point Park:
Last year, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sued a Connellsville Area School District for sporting a Ten Commandments monument, which has been there since its donation from a chapter of a local Christian group in 1957, claiming it violates the First Amendment and its Establishment Clause.

Chalk this up as yet another round in the heavyweight fight between people who want to proudly define and showcase their faith and those who argue it should stay out of the public eye under the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of religion. Once again, people from both sides get unbelievably mad, angrier than they ever should be over something like this.
See, right there we have a problem. This, my young jedi, is what's known as a strawman argument.

Who's saying that the Ten Commandments monument should "stay out of the public's eye" in Connellsville?  The Constitutional issue at hand is not about the monument in "the public's eye" but on school grounds.

Then Bresnehan goes out on a limb and writes: 
Saying that showcasing the Ten Commandments is a violation of the First Amendment is wrong. Erecting them has nothing to do with “an establishment of religion.”
Actually, it does.  If it's on school grounds.  Which is the issue here.  And if you'd done your homework you'd know this.

Both of you.

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