Wednesday, January 25, 2012

First they came for my prayer mural. Then they came for my T-shirt...

JT Eberhard at freethought blogs exalted at the censorship of the Cranston High School prayer mural. But silencing prayers on school auditorium walls isn't enough, it seems. Now he wants to silence prayers on your back.

Eberhard wants to censor your T-shirt, actually, if you're a kid in Cranston High.

Eberhard, with my commentary:
Tshirts And Mass Bullying
January 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm JT Eberhard

Someone has made tshirts bearing the Cranston prayer and is selling them to raise money to preserve the banner. To the creator’s credit, he has said…
The effort and responsibility of the page is to raise funds through donations to pay for the preservation of the “Prayer Banner.” All monies raised will be spent for this purpose only. They will not be spent on legal fees, or expenses, related to the pending lawsuit and/or appeal if the School Committee takes this route.
Ok fine. I have no problem with that. Preserve the prayer. Hang it in your house, wear it as a bathrobe, I could honestly give less than a shit so long as it’s not being hung in a government building. Of course, there’s no disdain for the bullies or threats, but at least they’re not actively trying to subvert the Constitution.
According to Eberhard, people who challenge censorship in court are "actively trying to subvert the Constitution".
There is a fun poll on the facebook page he created though. They want people’s opinions. I read that and I think to myself, “I know some people!”
When Eberhard sees a poll he doesn't like, he wants to rig the poll. When Eberhard sees a prayer he doesn't like, he wants a judge to censor it.

Respect for the opinions of others isn't a priority for atheists, in case you hadn't noticed.
Anyway, here’s why I mention it.
[From a news article] Ahlquist said she was aware of rumors circulating that some students were planning to wear T-shirts emblazoned with the school prayer designed by a school alumnus. Others, she said, have threatened to harass or beat her up when she returns.
I have no problem with students wearing those shirts.
Whew!... . Eberhard sees no reason to call the police, yet...
It’s their right, they are not agents of the government.
Eberhard has no problem using agents of the government (i.e. federal judges, federal marshals) to enforce censorship. As long as they don't wear T-shirts he doesn't agree with...
I just hope they don’t think for a second it’s going to make their school breaking the law ok or that it will result in a holiday TV special ending where a judge says, “Damn, look at all those shirts…you know, the Constitution is just a piece of paper anyway…”
"Go ahead and wear those Xtian tees, you imbecilic devotees of that slave religion. Resistance is futile..."
However, the issue comes if they all elect to wear them on the same day.
Oh. Freedom of speech is one thing. Conspiracy to speak freely is another matter...
Last year at a Northern California high school, a large group of the students banded together and decided to wear shirts with American flags as a dig on the Hispanic students/immigrants. The administration sent all participating students home. The students sued, the school won. The school won for a very simple reason: that kind of thing constitutes bullying, and schools should oppose bullying.
When I was a kid, bullying meant that someone beat you up. I didn't realize that people who wore Tshirts I didn't like were bullying me.
When I was told about the possibility of students all wearing these shirts on the same day I initially said there was nothing wrong with it.
Then JT remembered: 'Wait, I'm an atheist. How can I possibly defend free speech...'
After all, nobody wants to stop anybody from praying...
Ooohhh nooo. Who would ever accuse atheists who demand court orders to stop people from praying of wanting to... stop people from praying?
(we may criticize them for holding foolish beliefs)
Foolish belief: "I believe in the First Amendment ."
or from expressing themselves individually –
That's right. The Constitution only applies to individuals, not to "We the People".

we care about the government endorsing religion, which is illegal...

... unlike government mandating civic atheism, which is legal.

I still don’t care if the students wear the shirts individually, but I’ve changed my mind about how the administration should react to a mass event like that. They should stop it.
The new motto for Cranston West High School is "We're not Allowed to do Anything that Might Offend Atheists".

This travesty hardly needs comment. Nothing in the First Amendment really matters to atheists-- not the actual meaning of the Establishment Clause, not the rights guaranteed by the Free Exercise Clause, not Freedom of Speech, not even the Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble and to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.

Not even the right to wear a T-shirt with a prayer on it.

Atheists' First Amendment:

"We take offense, you obey."

 Atheists aren't even trying not to look like totalitarians anymore. 

135 comments:

  1. The T-shirts are an excellent idea.
    Maybe take out a billboard across the street. Anything that turns up the volume on the issue of censorship and intolerance.
    As for internet polls, not important. Get a REAL petition signed by the folks and take it to the governor. The Governor can then invoke the 1st and 10th amendment and once again FORCE the legislature to rule. Christians in every state that matters should do the same.
    One of the cadets I was chatting with (just out of school) said they should 'hang a banner in EVERY school in that state and all the states around it'. It was his suggestion that 'these $H!%bag lawyers will go broke, or nearly so just filing the cases'.
    The same could be said of the justices, although it is credibility they risk.
    If they continue to rule in favour of the fringe and against the will of the people (and the popular/traditional interp of law) the Justices will sooner or later pay the price in terms of relevancy and potency. They will end up being tossed or reformed, and cases JUST LIKE THIS ONE will be the precedent to do so.

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    1. "The Governor can then invoke the 1st and 10th amendment and once again FORCE the legislature to rule. Christians in every state that matters should do the same."

      Sorry, a State legislature cannot overturn the Federal Constitution. Any State law that attempted to overturn the court's ruling would be void ab initio.

      "One of the cadets I was chatting with (just out of school) said they should 'hang a banner in EVERY school in that state and all the states around it'. It was his suggestion that 'these $H!%bag lawyers will go broke, or nearly so just filing the cases'."

      Actually, it would potentially bankrupt the school systems that did so, because in these cases, the loser pays the legal fees of the winner. Given that the law is settled on the side of these sorts of displayed being illegal, most jurisdictions would be advised by their town or county attorneys that they will lose the case and recommend against fighting the removal of such displays.

      I don't know about all jurisdictions, but I know that in several (including the one I live in), if the school board chose to pursue this anyway, despite a recommendation against it from their attorneys, the school board members would be personally liable for repaying the county any costs that were incurred if the suit was lost.

      So, basically, your plan is a good way to bankrupt the people on the theist side of the argument.

      "The same could be said of the justices, although it is credibility they risk. If they continue to rule in favour of the fringe and against the will of the people (and the popular/traditional interp of law) the Justices will sooner or later pay the price in terms of relevancy and potency."

      The "fringe" here are people like you. Even among die-hard Republicans in South Carolina, the candidate who espouses the views closest to this (Santorum) can't garner more than a tiny percentage of the vote.

      Also, Federal judges serve for life. They can't be tossed except by impeachment, and a ruling you disagree with isn't grounds for impeachment.

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    2. Yes, Crus, you're right. I think Jessica Ahlquist should have taken a different tack on this issue. I think she should have put up a companion banner with quotes about the importance of critical thinking and the achievements of secular study. Maybe some artistic turns of phrase from Hitchens or Sagan.

      Through her facebook network, she could spawn similar banners in schools all over America.

      And I think the Hindu children of visiting technology workers all over America should feel free to match every monotheistic display in a public school with images and sayings from their faith. What school wouldn't benefit from colorful images of Ganesh and Shiva. And certainly Jewish and Muslim students should not hesitate to express their religion on the walls of schools as well.

      There is precisely zero difference between "Oh Heavenly Father" and "Allahu Akbar".

      The way to get universal acceptance of the separation of church and state is for every faith to demand equal wall space.

      Put that proposal to your cadets and tell us what they think.

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    3. Federal Court rulings aren't always the final word on what's right, who's right, or what the framers of the Constitution intended. History has shown this, and, in fact, it’s an integral part of our ever-evolving (evolving? …oops) judicial system.

      The smug grin so tangible in the postings of our atheist friends since the court's ruling to me says this, "That's it. Game over. We were right. You were wrong. I knew it all along, and any further opinions to the contrary are pathetic and delusional. Ha ha, Mom said so. I asked Babs at work and she agreed with me.” Your point of view, repeated tauntingly, is this: The court has made its ruling. Why even have your own opinion about this anymore, let alone express it? Once the court has ruled, only a nut on the fringe who's lost touch with reality could still say with a straight face, “I think this ruling is flat out wrong, needs to be vehemently disagreed with, and is a disgraceful interpretation of the Constitution."

      It's the exact same smug grin you see after some idiot cockily looks on Wikipedia to settle a disputed point, and finds the web site backs him up. We've all faced smug grinners in our lives, and I think most of us would agree that a smug grin is one of the surest signs that you're dealing with pond scum. Donald Trump usually has a smug grin, Don Rumsfeld always had one, and Don Drysdale ... wait, ok, clearly not all Dons are smug grinners. Don Henley, Donald Fagan, Don Ho and myself are all examples of this ... but I digress.

      Back to the smugly grinning atheists holding up their court ruling with the blissful sureness that “Here I hold in my hand the duly blessed and only correct way to look at this school mural issue, in light of our Constitution ... blah, blah, blah.

      But wait, that means the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision that “a black man has no rights a white man is bound to respect," the Supreme Court's decision that refusing to let Florida recount the votes to decide our next President was somehow the correct interpretation of constitutional law, the Supreme Court's decision (reversing an earlier Supreme Court decision) that killing someone was not "cruel and unusual punishment," and, of course, Judge Judy's ruling in the "He Promised To Co-Sign My Loan For The Boob Job Money, And Then Reneged When He Caught Me Cheating" case -- those were all the correct and final word on those issues, as well.

      If you feel just as smugly that these decisions were all right without question, were not a function of the context in which they were made, and make any further discussion a pointless dispute of the obvious, then I give up. You’ll never get it. Otherwise, wipe that stupid grin off your face, and stick your court decision someplace very special.

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    4. "Once the court has ruled, only a nut on the fringe who's lost touch with reality could still say with a straight face, “I think this ruling is flat out wrong, needs to be vehemently disagreed with, and is a disgraceful interpretation of the Constitution.""

      In this case, yes. Because the court has ruled consistently over the last ninety odd years and built up a body of law that deals with the subject in a nuanced, balanced way. The contrary positions espoused by the hard core believers (such as "the Establishment clause only applies to laws made by Congress") would have substantial negative implications that would undermine not just Establishment clause jurisprudence, but basic rights across the board (for example, limiting the Establishment clause to only apply to laws made by Congress would also limit free speech protections to being protected only against laws made by Congress).

      The strict textual interpretation of the Constitution urged by the pro-Banner side would be a disaster. The outcome of the Cranston case was never in doubt because the law was against the school board, and the law is structured the way it is for very good, well-supported reasons. Any appeal would fail just as quickly.

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  2. I don't think you understand "censorship", although you use it a lot because it has a negative connotation.

    The way you use it, not allowing slander or libel is "censorship". Of course, anyone who actually has the ability to think realizes that to label "stopping something that is illegal" as "censorship" is a pretty warped definition. However, I take into account the type of reader you try to appeal to and understand how you have a good chance of getting away with it.

    "Stopping something that is illegal", such as slander or libel, is the very point here. Again, I understand you have your own interpretation of the Establishment Clause, but as far as legality goes we don't get to ignore decades of established jurisprudence and legal precedent and individually decide what laws mean. Allowing that to happen as you wish to do would result in chaos and anarchy. What you advocate for the establishment clause, if applied to traffic laws, would allow each individual to determine for himself what is "safe", instead of the long established legal guidelines.

    Well, the courts--the ones with the legal authority to make the call---have made it in favor of separation and neutrality, and that the government--especially in the form of public schools--cannot promote one religion to the exclusion of others. That is exactly the case with the Cranston prayer banner.

    Under your usage of "censorship", not allowing someone to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater is censorship.

    Your claim that enforcing established law is "censorship" is goofy. If someone were taking out ads in the newspaper saying that Egnor is a pedophile thief who cheats on his wife and abuses his children, and the court made him stop running those ads because libel is illegal (assuming the claims aren't true, of course).......under your use of "censorship", you would have to consider this "censorship" in the same way taking down the prayer banner is "censorship".

    Would you want a judge to "censor" that ad? If not, exactly how does that differ from your statement, "When Eberhard sees a prayer he doesn't like, he wants a judge to censor it"? Isn't that exactly like, "When Egnor sees an ad he doesn't like, he wants a judge to censor it"?

    You are certainly welcome to use "enforcing the existing law" as a new definition for "censorship", but it seems kind of weird.

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  3. I bet the students who threaten harassment and violence are also big advocates of wearing the prayer t-shirts. When there is a coordinated conspiracy to wear clothing intended to single-out and offend a particular student by students who have already threatened and harassed her, then I don’t see how it can be considered anything other than bullying.


    Here are just a few of the Comments about Jessica by Christian classmates and others.

    “shes not human shes garbage”
    “I think everyone should just fight this girl”
    “I’ll drop anchor on her face”
    “When I take over the world I’m going to do a holacaust to all the atheists”
    “i cant wait to hear about you getting curb stomped”
    “what a little bitch lol I wanna snuff her”
    “I want to stick that bitch”
    “nail her to a cross”
    “if I wouldn’t go to jail I would beat the shit out of her”

    Onward Christian soldiers.

    -KW

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    1. Such sentiment is childish and mean spirited.
      Typical angry teenage garbage. At least these little bullies don't have the ACLU or some other bunch of lawyers backing them....yet :P
      Still, if it is provable this was done by children, they should be in trouble for making hateful and threatening comments like some of those.
      Sadly, it reads like comments on an MTV-video clip on Youtube.
      Still, I don't see kids with mouths like this sporting a prayer t-shirt to school.
      All that said, the whole controversy was a generated one.
      The banner was innocuous. The lawsuit was toxic to the body politic.

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    2. All that said, the whole controversy was a generated one.
      The banner was innocuous. The lawsuit was toxic to the body politic.


      The banner was toxic to the body politic. The right thing to do would have been to take it down or modify it to remove the "heavenly father" and "amen" references when it was requested. Instead the School Board loudly trumpeted their religious views, asserted that the banner was a prayer, and vowed to waste the district's money defending it. And they predictably lost.

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    3. Sorry, I just do not see it that way.
      The lukewarm little banner had sat quietly in the halls of that school for 50+ years. Nobody had been harmed by it, many had been inspired by it.
      The lawsuit has resulted in this vitriol we see above. A community is left feeling impotent and without recourse during tough economic times.
      The federal courts have been dragged into an angry teenage squabble via the ACLU and a town's dignity was stepped on.
      If it were not real, it would make excellent comedy - a goon style farce, maybe.
      Alas, it is true and there is no punchline or climax in sight.
      We'll just have to see how this all unfolds.
      Hopefully all in good faith.

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    4. The lukewarm little banner had sat quietly in the halls of that school for 50+ years. Nobody had been harmed by it, many had been inspired by it.

      Sat quietly and the mob mentality that surrounded it suppressed dissent. Do you think that Ahlquist was the first person to be bothered by a prayer hanging in the school? Do you think a wrong that has pedigree is a wrong that should be allowed to stand?

      If it was so innocuous, why did the school board reject the compromise position that was suggested by Ahlquist of simply removing the references to "heavenly father" and "amen"? The "toxic" atmosphere was created by a school board that was more interested in braying their religious views than in actually doing their jobs. I hope that Rhode Island has a liability shifting statute that will transfer the school district's liability to the members of the school board who voted in favor of fighting the legal action despite the clear precedents against them.

      This was a losing fight for the "pro-banner" side from the start. The precedents in this area were directly on point, and directly in favor of removing displays like this. If school districts follow your "plan" and start putting these up all over the place, they will lose every time. And the ACLU will be vastly enriched as those school districts will be forced to pay their legal fees.

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    5. "Sat quietly and the mob mentality that surrounded it suppressed dissent. "
      What? I have read nothing about that. I cannot speak to a mob mentality. We are talking about Rhode Island here, aren't we?

      "Do you think that Ahlquist was the first person to be bothered by a prayer hanging in the school?"
      She is the only one to register complaints and file suit. I see no evidence of other people being bothered by it.

      "Do you think a wrong that has pedigree is a wrong that should be allowed to stand?"
      No, I do not. But I see no wrong doing here. I see a banner made by a student.

      "If it was so innocuous, why did the school board reject the compromise position that was suggested by Ahlquist of simply removing the references to "heavenly father" and "amen"?"
      Because that is not a compromise.
      I am pretty sure when you look up the word 'innocuous' you will not read anything about omitting references to God.
      The banner is innocuous, the lawsuit is the toxin.
      It is a cynical grab.

      "And the ACLU will be vastly enriched as those school districts will be forced to pay their legal fees."
      Ah, now you see it. If they win each time, they lose each time.
      The American public will not stand for the act when they see it in full scale. That is exactly when issues like this reach a critical mass. I am just suggesting speeding it up, or perhaps calling the bluff.

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    6. "What? I have read nothing about that. I cannot speak to a mob mentality. We are talking about Rhode Island here, aren't we?"

      So you haven't seen he hate and vitriol spewed forth at Ahlquist for daring to speak out?

      "She is the only one to register complaints and file suit. I see no evidence of other people being bothered by it."

      Then you haven't been paying attention. Several other people have come forward and said it bothered them, but that the expected reaction dissuaded them from speaking up.

      "No, I do not. But I see no wrong doing here. I see a banner made by a student."

      A banner that violates the Establishment clause. Egnor's version of the clause is simply not in line with the law - because in a common law system like we use in the United States (and Canada) judicial precedent is the law.

      "Because that is not a compromise."

      Ah, so it had to remain a prayer. In that case you are admitting that it violated the Establishment clause. as did the school board. Which is why they lost.

      "I am pretty sure when you look up the word 'innocuous' you will not read anything about omitting references to God.
      The banner is innocuous, the lawsuit is the toxin.
      It is a cynical grab.
      "

      The losing lawsuit could have been easily avoided if the school board had just followed the law in the first place. The school board lost because they were in the wrong and violating the law.

      "Ah, now you see it. If they win each time, they lose each time."

      There is a reason that the law is structured this way for these sorts of cases. It is so school boards don't go around violating the Establishment clause. This is the way the legislature wanted it. Think on that for a bit.

      "The American public will not stand for the act when they see it in full scale. That is exactly when issues like this reach a critical mass. I am just suggesting speeding it up, or perhaps calling the bluff."

      Yes. The American public will throw out school boards that cost them money by inviting lawsuits that they are sure to lose. What happened to the members of the Kitzmiller school board who provoked the Kitzmiller v. Dover suit? They were all voted out of office within a year. grandstanding and costing your school district money to do so in the service of a cause that was clearly lost from the beginning is a good way to lose your job.

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  4. You mock Mr. Eberhard for realizing that the situation has nuances. As he noted "The students sued, the school won." He said, "When I was told about the possibility of students all wearing these shirts on the same day I initially said there was nothing wrong with it......I still don’t care if the students wear the shirts individually, but I’ve changed my mind about how the administration should react to a mass event like that. They should stop it."

    In spite of his initial "free speech" reaction, Mr. Eberhard apparently realized there is both a legal and a safety factor involved.....as the court decision pointed out. He obviously isn't as cavalier about the safety of kids as yourself. Of course, for you, displaying some atheist hate and harassment is leagues more important than a little student safety, especially if the student whose safety is in question doesn't subscribe to your preferred religion.

    In one appeal case, the decision included, “the district judge will be required to strike a careful balance between the limited constitutional right of a high-school student to campaign inside the school..... and the school’s interest in maintaining an atmosphere in which students are not distracted from their studies by wrenching debates over issues of personal identity.”

    "...the courts are struggling to define just where the expression of hostile views becomes harassment. And so far, even when they have allowed ... speech, the courts have shown some sympathy to the needs of.... students to be protected against harassment."

    In your "burn them at the stake" attitude, there is no recognition of "the needs of atheist students to be protected against harassment." As a matter of fact, you clearly do not want them protected at all. Your uncaring and short-sighted statement, "When I was a kid, bullying meant that someone beat you up" illustrates this very well. Under your definition, stealing your lunch money through intimidation or being pushed around in a circle of kids isn't bullying, because you weren't actually beaten up. The concept is absurd.

    The courts have used whether "wearing the shirts would cause “substantial disruption” in ruling about mass wearing of T-shirts. You are welcome to your opinion on this, but you refuse to recognize that others, such as Mr. Eberhard, are also welcome to their opinion.

    To label his position of "for safety, for legal precedent, against disruption" as being against free speech, is a gross misrepresentation, especially when he says in the quote of his that you provided that he considered both and felt one outweighed the other.

    I happen to agree that it is acceptable for the students to wear T-shirts bearing the prayer en masse; however, I also recognize the POTENTIAL for disruption and harassment to which you turn a blind eye. When you consider the existing bullying, harassment, ostracism, threats of assault, rape, and death from a number of these very same students who no doubt will be in the vanguard of those wearing these T-shirts, anyone but a fool can see the very real POTENTIAL for disruption, harassment, and violence.

    Although I agree it is acceptable to have a mass wearing of the shirts, it is incumbent upon the administration to closely monitor the situation and to send home students if safety and disruption become issues. I do not agree with Mr. Eberhard's revised opinion, but am fair enough to see it has an important and valid base. Too bad your ravening lust to go after atheists blinds you to the danger to an innocent 16 year old girl.

    Your callous disregard for the safety of kids in order to push your preferred ideology puts you in a poor light, Sir.

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  5. Maybe my position is somehow muddled to you, 23 cal.
    I am against the US/any federal government censoring religious expression (among many things) by legal caveat or fiat.
    Therefore, I am FOR the free expression of other and even opposing viewpoints, except with regards to the SILENCING of those viewpoints; I am NOT for censorship of ideas and beliefs.

    It is rather like saying I am a tolerant fellow, and therefore I am forced to be intolerant to intolerance.
    Follow me here?
    Truth has a kind of funny, sometimes almost paradoxical ring to it, doesn't it? Still that is how I see the simple and beautiful truth of it.
    The ONLY people that should/need to be shut up are the censors themselves, IMHO. Their call to silence is the one that needs to be considered suspect.
    Look, I am not a constitutional lawyer or even an American, so I have no horse in this race.
    But, personally, I do not like this petty display of SP sectarianism. It does not bode well for the State or Nation.
    It us utterly counter-productive and does NOTHING to add to the debate on origins or morality. It has made no jobs, saved no lives, freed any minds, opened any doors, brought anyone together, or given anyone hope. It has simply snubbed an entire community.
    It only serves to enrich cynical legal hacks.
    So, in that mind, I am inclined to think that a reaction of a non violent type - such as the t-shirts, or bill boards, or radio spots - and paid for from private and donated funds is admirable and will no doubt carry some weight with populist political movements.
    It could get these folks what they want: A recourse with the law and politics. A chance to actually have a say, to take part in the process of community in difficult times. This ruling was an offence to that process and an exercise in futility by the SP's and the Justice in question.
    That is my position in a nutshell.

    Military censorship and classification protocols are another matter entirely. Connecting the two concepts is a simple category error. I do not make the connection. The Military forces require stringent control(s),a free society does not.
    The former exists so that the later may flourish.

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  6. I went to an explicitly religious private high school. Most of the students were wealthy southerners from families with old money. The school catered to people who wanted to ensure that their children would prosper and succeed and carry on the family fortune.

    At no point was anything that Egnor espouses about the First Amendment or the theory of evolution taught. In fact, the school taught the exact opposite. Why? Because the parents who sent their children to school didn't want them intellectually crippled by having counterfactual bullshit pushed on them in lieu of reality. The simple truth is that the wealthy know what counts: actual learning. And they know what is required to keep them and their progeny wealthy: actual education. And that means teaching the reality of the Establishment clause, not the fringe fantasy that Egnor is spouting here.

    I also attended a very conservative law school. And guess what? The most conservative and most religious faculty members were the most ardent defenders of the concept of separation of church and state. Why? Because they realized that entangling the two as Egnor would desire with his a-historical revisionism of the clause would be a disaster. They rejected arguments like those made by Egnor out of hand as foolish and silly.

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    1. I think you hit on an important point about separation. Separation protects the state from the church, but at the same time it protects the church from state just as much.

      People who want to undo or skirt around separation never stop to think, "What if it isn't my religion that the state chooses to support?" I have to wonder how many of the "pro-banner" supporters would feel so offended if the prayer started with "Allahu Akbar" instead of "Our Heavenly Father". Would the outcry be to keep the banner up or to tear it down?

      I also couldn't help but have flashbacks to "The Princess Bride" while reading this article and the writer's persistent use of the word "censorship". In the immortal words of our good friend Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

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  7. "Therefore, I am FOR the free expression of other and even opposing viewpoints, except with regards to the SILENCING of those viewpoints...."

    Is that your answer to:
    "If someone were taking out ads in the newspaper saying that Egnor is a pedophile thief who cheats on his wife and abuses his children, and the court made him stop running those ads because libel is illegal (assuming the claims aren't true, of course).......under your use of "censorship", you would have to consider this "censorship" in the same way taking down the prayer banner is "censorship"."

    Sounds like you are proudly claiming you do not want that illegal idea silenced; that you are not for "censorship" of it. Is that correct?


    You keep playing variations of this same old song: "The lukewarm little banner had sat quietly in the halls of that school for 50+ years. Nobody had been harmed by it, many had been inspired by it."

    So what?

    As the judge wrote in his decision (have you read it yet?), "At any rate, no amount of history and tradition can cure a constitutional infraction."

    HOW LONG someone has gotten away with breaking the law doesn't somehow mean they have not broken the law and that in a nation of laws the lawbreaking shouldn't stop.
    I suspect if the Catholic churches in my town were not allowed to open their doors for 50 years, even though no one had been harmed by that (people could go to church in another town just like people could hang copies of that banner in their home), you would claim as a great righting of a grievous wrong the eventual enforcement of the law which allowed their doors to open. Wouldn't you?

    You said, "Still, I don't see kids with mouths like this sporting a prayer t-shirt to school. " I couldn't help but wonder why you don't see that. It is painfully obvious that these are some of the kids supporting the prayer banner---why else would they be harassing Jessica?---so why wouldn't they also be some of the ones wearing a prayer T-shirt in order to further harass Jessica? Your statement is ludicrous beyond belief to me. It is additional evidence that your ideology has priority for you over humanity toward a defenseless girl.

    Unless, of course, you do see it but just toss out a it cavalier dismissal of danger to an innocent sixteen year old girl because she is an atheist. I suspect that is why you just ignore statements like Anonymous posted for you as examples as well as Jessica's own statement reported in the news, "Others, she said, have threatened to harass or beat her up when she returns." This would also explain why you ignore that the police are investigating the threats and the school board itself has addressed them.

    You say "Whew!... . Eberhard sees no reason to call the police, yet..". However, the police have in fact been called and are in fact involved. And, the above reason fits perfectly with your dismissive statement "When I was a kid, bullying meant that someone beat you up." When I was a kid, it bullying usually meant a bunch of mouth-breathing knuckle-dragging Neanderthals picking on someone when they thought they could get away with it, especially if they thought they had an atmosphere of encouragement from idiot adults, the school board, and their religious brethren. Apparently, we were kids in different times and different places. I grew up in a place like Cranston.

    You said, "It is rather like saying I am a tolerant fellow, and therefore I am forced to be intolerant to intolerance.
    Follow me here?"

    Why, yes...yes, I think I follow you. Christopher Hichins explained it very well to me: "One of the ways the propaganda trick is pulled is to insinuate, and to keep on insinuating, that it is the enemies of religious intolerance who are themselves the intolerant ones. That's the way to undermine, and eventually to demolish, the wall of separation."

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  8. Mark my words. The "bullying" hysteria is the Left's key to silencing all ideas they disagree with. It has no coherent definition other than "words that liberals don't like."

    That is "bullying", and "bullying" will not be tolerated. Don't be fooled. It's their end run around the First Amendment.

    By the way, the guy doesn't know much about the American flag case. The issue boiled down to this--the vice principal took action against the students because he was afraid that the Mexican students might take offense at the American flag t-shirts and perpetrate violence against the shirt wearers. In other words, the bullies here were the Mexican students and the Anglo students were having their rights violated "for their own protection".

    If that sounds stupid, that's because it is. I'm not even convinced that this was the real reason, only that it was a pretty good pretext. In any case, it was easier to just censor the Anglo kids than to address the real problem of violent Mexicans who harm people when they see the flag of that country they love to much they had to break into it.

    Trish

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure you're right Trish... who really thinks rape threats and threats of death is "bullying"? Must be a "Lefty".

      If you read these "threats" and you still think there is nothing to them then you're even more vile than you already appear... well, vile to atheists and Mexicans at least.

      Here are screenshots of threats:

      http://jesusfetusfajitafishsticks.blogspot.com/2012/01/ahlquist-screenshots-if-by-christian.html

      Delete
    2. Joe_Agnost,

      I see that you included links to screenshots of Cranston students saying uncivil threatening things.

      And you think you've torpedoed my point. Yes, threats are threats. A bunch of students wearing prayers on their shirts are not threats. What part don't you understand?

      You know, a lot of people get threats. Scott Lively gets threats. Jerry Falwell gets threats. We don't censor the non-threatening words of other people because of the threatening words of others.

      I appear "vile". In what way? Because I like freedom of speech?

      If the same principle was applied to Alqhuist that was applied to California teenagers, the administration's solution would be to prevent Alqhuist from speaking her piece, so as to prevent the violent reaction of other students. Alqhuist must be gagged for her own protection. That's what was done in California.

      Do you see how this always seems to work out? There's always a new, evolving rationale for gagging people the left hates. In the t-chirt case, they had to stop the kids for their own protection. That's not censorship. In Cranston, we have to take down the school prayer because it violates the imaginary words written in invisible ink of the First Amendment. And then, if individual students decide to wear the prayer on their shirts, THAT'S BULLYING!!! Someone might hurt Alqhuist. So we have to stop the wearing of t-shirts to school.

      There is always a new, evolving reason to justify the Left's thuggery.

      Trish

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    3. The Left’s thuggery? Give me a break. You call the opining of one atheist blogger thuggery, but when an atheist gets death threats you say “threats are threats…a lot of people get threats.” Let me guess, you’re a Christian.

      -KW

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    4. I think I expressed myself pretty well, KW. You removed some of my words via ellipses, I see.

      Here's what I expressed: Threats are threats. Threats are illegal. Threats are wrong. No one should be threatening Ahlquist or anyone else for that matter. Take action against the threateners, not the t-shirt wearers. Wearing a t-shirt is not a threat.

      I also have another point. Threats are a very common occurrence when a person has a high profile. Scott Lively gets threats because of his prinicipled stand on homosexuality. Does that mean, that because Scott Lively gets threats, that a completely different group of people should be prohibited from wearing a t-shirt?

      We don't censor everyone else's words just because a person receives threats. These "bullying" laws are turning out just the way they were designed--to make unpopular ideas unspeakable. I have argued this from the beginning, and I was told that I was evil, I was wrong, and that I really just wanted homosexuals to kill themselves. There was no legitimate constitutional argument here, I was told, because bullying is not free speech. No coherent, neutral, definition of bullying was ever offered.

      And here we have it. "Bullying" is being used as an excuse for censorship, exactly as I said it would be. When these bullying laws are used as a weapon to bludgeon you, then you will understand. But it will be too late.

      Yes, I do consider the Left's violation of basic first amendments rights to be thuggery. I don't back down from that point. First it was the banner they were trying to rip down, and now it's the kids' t-shirts. Can we just admit that it had nothing to do with creating an neutral, secular educational environment in accordance with the US Constitution? It's actually an attempt to create a hostile, atheistic environment, in violation of the US Constitution.

      And yes, I am a Christian. And you hate Christians. I know.

      Trish

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    5. "n Cranston, we have to take down the school prayer because it violates the imaginary words written in invisible ink of the First Amendment. And then, if individual students decide to wear the prayer on their shirts, THAT'S BULLYING!!! Someone might hurt Alqhuist. So we have to stop the wearing of t-shirts to school."

      I don't see why you are complaining about students potentially not being allowed to wear the t-shirts. After all, it doesn't violate the First Amendment to restrict their actions this way.

      Let's look at the text of the amendment for a second.

      "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;. . ."

      Well, according to you, since it says "Congress shall make no law", and since the school isn't Congress, they can restrict anything they want to. They aren't required to abide by the remaining provisions, since they aren't Congress and this wouldn't be a law. Now I suppose you could accept the principle that the 14th Amendment incorporated these limitations as being applicable to the States and by extension, the local governments under those States, but then that interpretation would apply equally to the Establishment clause. So you have to choose one way or the other: either the Amendment's provisions apply to the actions of the school and school board, or they don't. Which is it?

      And since we aren't going to read anything that is "imaginary words written in invisible ink", even if you do accept that the free speech clause applies to the school's decisions, t-shirts aren't covered. You see, what is covered by the text is "press" and "speech". The t-shirts clearly aren't "press", since that applies to news reporting organizations. and since we are being all originalist here, it only applies to printed news - newspapers. And it isn't speech. Speech is verbal. T-shirts are clothes. The students can talk all they want, but the school can keep them from wearing any clothes it wants to.

      I suppose that you might want the definition of "speech" to be expanded to include actions like wearing a t-shirt, but that would be adding imaginary words to the Amendment written in invisible ink. And you just said that was forbidden. So prohibiting wearing shirts like this can't violate the First Amendment in Trish-land.

      At least not without entirely negating your arguments about the interpretation of the Establishment clause. Such a dilemma for you. If you get what you want on the prayer banner case you give up your ability to complain about free speech violations.

      Delete
    6. "Such a dilemma for you. If you get what you want on the prayer banner case you give up your ability to complain about free speech violations."

      You're not making any sense. Words on a t-shirt are free speech. A prayer banner on a wall is not an established religion. I'm being completely consistent here, not you.

      Trish

      And it's in fact a dilemma for you. It's a violation of Jessica Ahlquist's first amendment right to see a prayer banner, but it's not a violation of her classmate's rights to censor their speech?

      Jessica is the only student in the whole school with rights. And now you understand why people of faith feel to marginalized. First they came for the prayer banner, but they didn't stop there. Now they want the t-shirts too. And the very same amendment that "protected" Ahlquist from the sight of those evil words is no longer important.

      Jessica has rights. Students who disagree with Jessica do not.

      Delete
    7. Trish wrote: "now you understand why people of faith feel to marginalized."

      Wow. I didn't realize how difficult it was to be the MAJORITY in not only your own school, but also your City, State and Country! With the minority pushing for their own rights with no regard for your history of bigotry it's only going to get harder for you in the future.

      Delete
    8. "You're not making any sense. Words on a t-shirt are free speech. A prayer banner on a wall is not an established religion. I'm being completely consistent here, not you."

      No, they aren't speech unless a judge does some interpreting of the Constitution. In fact, using clothing as a means of protected expression wasn't decided to be protected until cases like Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District were decided.

      "And it's in fact a dilemma for you. It's a violation of Jessica Ahlquist's first amendment right to see a prayer banner, but it's not a violation of her classmate's rights to censor their speech?"

      Its not actually a dilemma for me, since I'm not advocating limiting the rights of the students to wear the t-shirts. But you cannot claim on the one hand that a strict textual reading of the Establishment clause must be done and then on the other hand seek to have a broad interpretation of the free speech clause be applied. Which is what you are trying to do - you want strict originalism for the clause you don't like, and broad flexibility for the clause you do like. You are saying different things with both sides of your mouth. That's hypocritical.

      Delete
  9. Why do you hate Christians so much, Mr. Egnor?

    I can only assume that you do since you're fighting tooth and nail a principle that protects them as well.

    Without a strong separation of church and state, the government then is obligated to start deciding what is and is not a valid religion, what is and is not disruptive, what is and is not allowed. We're not talking about two sides, atheists and believers, we're talking about 33,000+ Protestant sects, the Catholic church, a number of Orthodox churches, Jews (Orthodox, Reformed, Conservative), Muslims (various types there as well), and a bunch of other faiths, all with doctrinal differences and objections to one another.

    So, who gets pride of place? Do we put up a banner referring to the Book of Mormon? Should teachers begin their classes by facing Mecca? Moreover, should the Pastafarians get their place in the schools? What counts as a religion and what as a joke? Who gets to decide that?

    The only way to prevent the government from having to arbitrate these types of theological debates is to make sure that it doesn't have an opinion at all. The students in question are allowed to pray as much as they want, and suggesting otherwise is disingenuous. The school, however, can't endorse any religion, no matter how innocuous you seem to think it is, because then they have to choose which one to endorse. I know that this time they picked yours, and they likely will in most cases, but what about the time when it's not? Do you really want your children to be exposed to a faith you despise because to not do so would be "censorship" in your opinion?

    Jessica Ahlquist stood up for believers as much as non-believers, and if you took a moment to think of the future instead of pursuing instant gratification through whining and a rather shoddy attempt at sarcasm, you would see that. You should be thanking Jessica Ahlquist and J.T. Eberhard for protecting your rights as well. I recommend sending them flowers. I hear Glimpse of Gaia makes beautiful arrangements.

    Also, Mr. Eberhard has responded to your "challenge." Please, to maintain some sense of credibility, acknowledge and respond. We would all love for you to continue that dialogue.

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  10. Michael: "Respect for the opinions of others isn't a priority for atheists, in case you hadn't noticed."

    Michael's faith: "I am the Lord thy God, .... Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."

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  11. So, let me get this straight. According to your interpretation of the 1st Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...", it would be perfectly legal for the President to declare that all people must pray to Vishnu before entering the White House? Or that we must sacrifice a live bull to YHWH and offer him the burnt flesh smell before being allowed to apply for a permit to use public land for a gathering? Or that we must place an offering to Demeter every spring, or the Army will show up at your door and arrest you. But it's okay, because it's not Congress?

    Would it be okay for the states to do that? Would it be okay for a state to declare it's official language was Aramaic, and all state business must be rooted in the Bible? Would it be okay for another state to declare that only Vishnu would be worthy of worship? Must teachers be forced to declare their allegiance to Thor (I rather like that one, actually, as they could carry around giant hammers all day and wear pointy hats to gore their enemies)?

    Can the President or a state outlaw the depiction of Mohammed? Can the President or a state require members of the military to pray instead of shoot at the enemy? Can the President or a state issue executive order that says we are a Raelian nation, and no more commerce can commence until the aliens come back to save us?

    According to your reasoning, as I see it, they could. They could take any one of literally millions of religious views and turn them into dogma for the rest of us to follow. And Congress couldn't do anything about that, because they could not interfere with religious practice. They couldn't stop it, they couldn't pass a law against it, all they could do would be to appeal people to go against it. And good luck, if the President is in command of the military, or the governor in command of the National Guard.

    You Christians don't know how lucky you have it. Your majority has convinced you that you have the right to squash the rights of others. When those others stand up against you, you're convinced you're being martyred. It's funny sometimes, but mostly just pathetic.

    J

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  12. Anon J: Your majority has convinced you that you have the right to squash the rights of others.

    Really? The atheists have the right not to say prayers.

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  13. Christians use the victim card to gain political advantage by demonizing their political foes as enemies of God and Godly people. We see it in Republican politics all the time. Newt’s playing the persecuted conservative Christian card has catapulted him to frontrunner status for the GOP nomination. Christians are being played for chumps by this immoral hateful little man.

    -KW

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  14. Egnor, you're all wrong as you'd find if you actually read the 40-page judgement. Judge Lagueux wrote:

    "The Cranston School Committee and its subcommittee held four open meetings to consider the fate of the Mural. At those meetings a significantly lopsided majority of the speakers spoke passionately, and in religious terms, in favor of retaining the Prayer Mural. Various speakers read from the bible, spoke about their personal religious convictions, threatened Plaintiff with damnation on Judgment Day and suggested that she will go to hell. ...This is precisely the sort of “civic divisiveness” that the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause cases repeatedly warn against."

    He further pointed out:

    "When focused on the Prayer Mural, the activities and agenda of the Cranston School Committee became excessively entangled with religion, exposing the Committee to a situation where a loud and passionate majority encouraged it to vote to override the constitutional rights of a minority."

    and "...the School Committee endorsed the position of those who believe that it is acceptable to use Christian prayer to instill values in public schoolchildren; a decision that clearly placed the nonadherents outside of the political community."

    He quotes a Supereme Court judgement (Schemp): “Nor did it matter that few children had complained of the practice, for the measure of the seriousness of a breach of the Establishment Clause has never been thought to be the number of people who complain of it.”

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    1. Thank you, Monado, for pulling the conversation out of the gutter and focusing us back on the actual facts of the case.

      Off to read the opinion...

      Delete
    2. "...a loud and passionate majority encouraged it to vote to override the constitutional rights of a minority."

      They were loud and passionate. It was almost like a mob!!!!

      The only way this sentence makes any sense is if you believe that the atheistic minority has a right to never see or hear anything of a religious nature. They do not have that right, thank goodness.

      I don't understand what point you're trying to make quoting the decision. I understand that this is what the court decided. The point is that the court is WRONG. Refer to your Constitution.

      Cranston High School is not Congress. A banner is not a law. No religion was established. Ergo, "Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion" does not have particular relevance to this case. It's simply a whiny, immature young woman who missed an opportunity to learn a lesson or two about tolerating ideas she doesn't like. Sadly, she will probably go through life like the spoiled brat that she is, demanding that the world conform to her.

      "I don't want to see that! I don't want to hear that! Cater to ME!!"

      Trish

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    3. Trish wrote: "The only way this sentence makes any sense is if you believe that the atheistic minority has a right to never see or hear anything of a religious nature."

      I have a hard time believing anyone is this dense.

      We are talking about a ~public_school~ here! Not some shopping mall or your own house. In a public school the law is clear - no religion should be given presidence. That is how the SCOTUS has always ruled in cases of this kind (which also happens to be why everyone with at least 2 brain cells to rub together knew the school would lose this case!)

      Trish cont'd: "The point is that the court is WRONG."

      Ah, so you know the law better than the judge... M'kay. (roll eyes)

      Trish cont'd: "It's simply a whiny, immature young woman who missed an opportunity to learn a lesson or two about tolerating ideas she doesn't like. Sadly, she will probably go through life like the spoiled brat that she is, demanding that the world conform to her."

      This is why I think you're vile. Your treatment of this 16 year old girl is dispicable and you should be ashamed of yourself. This is a teenager showing a lot of character and you seem to think it's fine to call her names. Classy.

      (oh - and your comment about those "...violent Mexicans who harm people when they see the flag..." - can't you see what a racist that makes you?)

      Delete
    4. "It's simply a whiny, immature young woman who missed an opportunity to learn a lesson or two about tolerating ideas she doesn't like. Sadly, she will probably go through life like the spoiled brat that she is, demanding that the world conform to her."

      The school is not Congress. T-shirts are not speech. These are simply whiny, immature young children who missed an opportunity to learn a lesson or two about tolerating ideas they don't like. Sadly, they will probably go through life like the spoiled brats that they are, demanding that they be allowed to wear the clothes they want.

      Delete
    5. "These are simply whiny, immature young children who missed an opportunity to learn a lesson or two about tolerating ideas they don't like."

      Nope. In both cases, it's the atheists who want to cover up ideas they don't like. First it was a banner, and now it's the very same words printed on a t-shirt. The original excuse was that the banner was showed an official preference for religion on the part of the school. We know that was a pretext because the same words still cannot be tolerated on the t-shirts of students, who are in fact not government agents. It's the words themselves that are the problem, not who is displaying them or where.

      In both cases it is the atheists who are being intolerant of other people's views. If Jessica wanted to wear a shirt to school proclaiming "There is no God", no one would stop her. If they did, I would take her side. She would be right. But that's not what's happening here, and so your attempt to turn my example around on me fails.

      When I was in school, a popular t-shirt was one from the band Bad Religion. It had a picture of a cross being X'ed out. That was permitted. (Just try crossing out a pink triangle and see if it's tolerated in school.) As much as I didn't like the shirt, I didn't run to the government and demand that they make the person stop wearing it. I would later see the same t-shirt on the campus of my university. Another one was a Marilyn Manson shirt that read "Beware of God". Ditto.

      Trish

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    6. "oh - and your comment about those "...violent Mexicans who harm people when they see the flag..." - can't you see what a racist that makes you?)"

      Don't call me racist, call the vice principal racist.

      His name, by the way, is Miguel Rodriguez. Care to guess his ethnicity?

      Yes, I thought the same thing you did. Isn't it a little racist to say that students may not wear American flag t-shirts because Mexicans might become violent? Are Mexicans inherently violent? Do they hate this country so much that they attack anyone wearing the flag of this nation on sight?

      If the answer is yes, then we've got one heck of a problem on our hands. In which case, it's not really racist to say so because it's the truth. If the answer is no, then there was no need to ban the t-shirts. The idea that they needed to be banned to prevent Mexicans from hurting people was obviously a hollow one. In fact, it was racist.

      So which is it? Well, the Hispanic principal said that he needed to do what he did to prevent a violent backlash against Anglo kids and the judge agreed with him. Are they racist?

      Not according to you. I'm racist for stating the facts of the case, right?

      Again, if the same rationale were applied to Ahlquist's case as was applied to the California case, we would have to silence Ahlquist for her own protection. That would show consistency.

      Trish

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    7. "The original excuse was that the banner was showed an official preference for religion on the part of the school."

      And it did. Which is why the school board lost.

      "We know that was a pretext because the same words still cannot be tolerated on the t-shirts of students, who are in fact not government agents. It's the words themselves that are the problem, not who is displaying them or where."

      If you had paid any attention to the context of the discussion, you'd know that it was exactly the "who is displaying them or where" - it has been pointed out several times that no one thinks the students should not have the right to wear the shirts. What is being questioned is whether that right extends to using wearing them as a means to harass or intimidate another student.

      But, as your argument goes, the Cranston high school is not Congress, and the rule against wearing the shirts would not be a law. So no one's right to free speech would be violated by banning the shirts in your formulation of the law.

      "(Just try crossing out a pink triangle and see if it's tolerated in school.)"

      Do you have any evidence that it would be prohibited, or are you just making shit up? Unless you produce an example on point, I'm going with "making shit up".

      Delete
    8. Trish wrote: "If Jessica wanted to wear a shirt to school proclaiming 'There is no God', no one would stop her. If they did, I would take her side. She would be right. But that's not what's happening here..."

      You are right, that ~isn't~ what is happening here. In the case we're discussing we have a young student who has been threatened with death, rape and torture by fellow students. She was threatened because she stood up for the law and won. Now these students want to band together and all wear the same prayer shirt to school on the same day - clearly to intimidate her (else why must they all wear them on the same day?).

      It's clearly a case of bullying...

      Delete
    9. "Now these students want to band together and all wear the same prayer shirt to school on the same day - clearly to intimidate her (else why must they all wear them on the same day?).

      It's clearly a case of bullying...
      "

      One might even point out that attempting to intimidate someone constitutes the legally actionable tort of assault.

      Delete
  15. When Pres. Obama came to Australia, late last year, to make arrangement for about 250 U.S. Marines to be deployed on a rotational basis in Northern Australia from next year as part of the Australia-U.S. alliance for a greater commitment to the Asia-Pacific security, he ended his speech to the Australian parliament with “God bless us all”.

    Before he left the country, he wrapped up his speech to the troops in with these words:

    ‘‘Thank you for representing the very best of our two countries.''

    ''God bless America, God bless Australia and God bless the great alliance between our two peoples.''

    What are you going to do about it, atheists?

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    1. Nothing, pandering to the theists is the norm in modern American politics. If Obama where to fail to mention God he would be ravaged by the conservative media looking for any excuse to portray him as an enemy of God. The liberal use of “God bless” denies his opponents a powerful political weapon.

      -KW

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    2. Oh my, Melbourne. You are saying that ... wait, let me get this right ... a politician was actually playing to the majority!?! Really?!? That's shocking!

      The next thing we'll see is President Obama discussing his African roots when addressing African Americans, and then discussing his Muslim roots when addressing Islamic Americans and then discussing his Christianity when talking to Christian groups. Oh no!!!

      I guess that's why we have laws and courts and a constitution firmly grounded in far-seeing Enlightenment values, just in case some day there's an actual politician in the White House.

      Delete
  16. Melbourne:

    We're not going to do anything about it. He didn't break any laws.

    Hanging the banner in Cranston high to the exclusion of any other religious banner broke the law.

    Guess what we did about that?

    Have a nice day.

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  17. Calm down, people. The reason this reading of the First Amendment doesn't make a lot of sense to us theists is that it effectively makes religion the One Illegal Subject, and that's just unnatural and unhealthy.

    If students had painted a food pyramid on the wall of the school, listing dairy and meat and eggs as required for a healthy diet, any vegan who sued would have been laughed out of court. Everything is controversial to somebody, but every other controversial subject is legal to talk about and even opine about when you work in a government job.

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    1. The reason this reading of the First Amendment doesn't make a lot of sense to us theists is that it effectively makes religion the One Illegal Subject, and that's just unnatural and unhealthy.

      Maybe. Or maybe it is because your theists haven't actually read any of the numerous precedents in this area of the law and thus are ignorant on the subject.

      What is really funny is seeing how unhinged this case makes people like Egnor, frothing at the mouth, wailing, and gnashing their teeth. All the while they bray their ignorance of the law loudly while beating their chests. Perhaps that's why "Egnorance" is defined as a combination of ignorance and arrogance. Because Egnor has that down pat.

      Delete
  18. "HOW LONG someone has gotten away with breaking the law doesn't somehow mean they have not broken the law and that in a nation of laws the lawbreaking shouldn't stop."

    Except that no law was broken. The U.S. Constitution must be read in the sociohistorical context in which it was written and amended; the idea that "Congress shall make no law..." applies to the hanging of a prayer mural by a school is pure flatulence. You and people who are similarly afflicted can cite case law all you want but I reject the case law on which you rely as an illegitimate departure from the actual text of the Constitution.

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    1. "You and people who are similarly afflicted can cite case law all you want but I reject the case law on which you rely as an illegitimate departure from the actual text of the Constitution."

      I hope you don't like most of your rights, since they are defined by case law.

      Delete
    2. "I hope you don't like most of your rights, since they are defined by case law."

      Nope. All of them are found in the Constitution. If they're extra-constitutional, that means they were made up by some judge.

      Trish

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    3. Okay Trish,

      What does the "Equal Protection" clause mean? How about the "Due Process" clause? Remember, you can't refer to case law here. You can only refer to the text of the Constitution.

      How about the free speech clause? Does that apply to written works published by someone other than the press? Unless you refer to case law and something "made up by a judge", the answer would have to be no. So the government could censor your comments here if they wanted to.

      Could a school board censor your speech? They aren't Congress, and it wouldn't be a law. Unless you refer to case law and something "made up by a judge", your answer would have to be "certainly they could".

      Still feeling like case law doesn't matter to your rights?

      Delete
    4. "Remember, you can't refer to case law here. You can only refer to the text of the Constitution."

      Where did I ever say that?

      Let's clarify here. Good case law is grounded in the Constitution, and can thus be backed up with a solid constitutional rationale.

      Bad case law is pulled out of the judge's rear end. It goes far beyond filling in the gaps. It becomes a law unto itself.

      "Equal protection" is indeed one of the vaguest phrases in the Constitution. "Due process" means that you were given a fair trial with all of the rights of the accused that are guaranteed in the Constitution.

      "Could a school board censor your speech? They aren't Congress, and it wouldn't be a law. Unless you refer to case law and something 'made up by a judge', your answer would have to be "certainly they could".

      Yes, as a matter of fact. They censor speech all of the time. Schools are rife with censorship, which doesn't seem to bother you.

      Of course, there is the incorporation doctrine, which, under the 14th Amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states. If you mean to say then that such a thing is only "case law", you would be right.

      But even if you are applying the Bill of Rights to the states, there is no violation of the first amendment because they didn't establish a religion. If Rhode Island had an official state church, you would have a point.

      And yes, t-shirts are speech when they have words on them. Now you're just being silly.

      Delete
    5. "Good case law is grounded in the Constitution, and can thus be backed up with a solid constitutional rationale."

      Like Everson

      ""Equal protection" is indeed one of the vaguest phrases in the Constitution. "Due process" means that you were given a fair trial with all of the rights of the accused that are guaranteed in the Constitution."

      No, that's not what Due Process means. Due Process is contained in the 14th Amendment. The rights to a trial are contained in the 6th and 7th Amendments. You need to brush up a bit on your Constitutional scholarship.

      "Yes, as a matter of fact. They censor speech all of the time. Schools are rife with censorship, which doesn't seem to bother you."

      Then why would banning the t-shirts bother you? Why would you claim it is a violation of free speech?

      "Of course, there is the incorporation doctrine, which, under the 14th Amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states. If you mean to say then that such a thing is only "case law", you would be right."

      Which, according to you would be something pulled out a judge's rear.

      "But even if you are applying the Bill of Rights to the states, there is no violation of the first amendment because they didn't establish a religion. If Rhode Island had an official state church, you would have a point."

      Except that the case law, which is an interpretation of the Constitution (and I suspect you have never read Everson, Engel or Lemon if you think they are not firmly rooted in the text of the Constitution) holds that endorsement of religion is a violation of the Constitution. And since the incorporation doctrine holds that the rights enumerated in the Constitution apply not just to the states, but to their instrumentalities, like a school, the actions of the school to endorse a religion are prohibited.

      "And yes, t-shirts are speech when they have words on them. Now you're just being silly."

      Speech is verbal. It requires something "pulled out a judge's rear" to jump to redefining the word speech to include written material.

      Delete
    6. "(and I suspect you have never read Everson, Engel or Lemon if you think they are not firmly rooted in the text of the Constitution)"

      I haven't, actually. Have you read the fifth amendment? Have you read the Constitution at all? If you had you would know that it contains the "due process" clause that was violated by President Roosevelt and upheld by a court. It became case law the second it was decided. Is that good case law? Are you willing to defend it in this forum? Or are you willing to admit that some case law is junk while other case law is good?

      Here is the fifth amendment, which clearly exhibits the due process clause. The fifth amendment predates the fourteenth by about eighty years.

      "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

      "You need to brush up a bit on your Constitutional scholarship."

      Right back at ya.

      You're losing this debate. Badly. And because you know that the Constitution doesn't say what you want it to say, you refer to a judge's decision and not the text of the Constitution. Which is not to say that all judge's decisions are bad. But if a judge were to rule that first amendment rights to free speech do not apply during war time, would you support that decision? I wouldn't. Because the Constitution doesn't say that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, (except during war time). Would you then become a leading proponent of the censorship during war time movement? Or would you say, "Hold on a second here...that interpretation is just WRONG"?

      "Except that the case law, which is an interpretation of the Constitution ... holds that endorsement of religion is a violation of the Constitution."

      Yip. And that's the case law of the bad variety. The kind of I keep talking about.

      Trish

      Delete
    7. My position has been very clear. I am not against case law, I am against bad case law. I am not against interpretation, I am against bad interpretation. Aren't you the same way? Because if you aren't, then I guess you are defending case law in its entirety, including interning Japanese-Americans and a lot of other bad decisions.

      Trish

      Delete
    8. "I haven't, actually."

      So you are entirely ignorant of them and have no basis to assert they are "bad case law". Why should anyone pay attention to your opinion on this issue then? Thumping your chest and saying they are bad case law over and over again without actually taking the time to read the contents of these cases explains a lot about the half-baked arguments you try to make.

      "You're losing this debate. Badly."

      Says the woman who doesn't even know what is in the cases she is asserting are bad case law. I guess you just know in your gut they are wrong. Truthiness abounds.

      Delete
    9. "And because you know that the Constitution doesn't say what you want it to say, you refer to a judge's decision and not the text of the Constitution."

      Oh let's just check the text of the 14th Amendment:

      "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

      Oh look. Its in there. How surprising.

      i guess you didn't bother to read that part of the Constitution when you weren't bothering to read the case law you have asserted without basis to be "bad case law".

      Delete
    10. "Have you read the fifth amendment? Have you read the Constitution at all?"

      Yes. Many times. And your response is entirely beside the point. You said Due Process means that "means that you were given a fair trial with all of the rights of the accused that are guaranteed in the Constitution." But that's not what Due Process means. The rights to a fair trial and the rights of the accused are contained in the 6th and 7th Amendments. Due Process means much more than what you claimed it means. And if you had any awareness of jurisprudence on the subject, you'd know that.

      Instead, you bray your ignorance repeatedly and think you are making insightful points when all you are doing is digging yourself deeper in a hole of inanity.

      Delete
    11. I didn't say that "Due Process" wasn't in the 14th Amendment. You, however, said that it wasn't in the 5th. You were wrong. The reference to due process in the 14th is talking about a legal concept established in the 5th. You didn't know this because you haven't read the Constitution. If you had, you would have known that due process was established with the Bill of Rights (1791) not with the 14th Amendment (1865). You probably looked it up on Wiki when I asked you.

      The "due process" violated in Korematsu v. United States refers a concept established in the 5th.

      I must admit, i don't spend much of my time reading cases. So, for example, I haven't read the majority opinion, the minority opinion, or the legal briefs to Korematsu v. United States. I doubt you have, but maybe I'm wrong. In any case, I know that the court decided wrongly because it was a clear violation of the Japanese-Americans' due process rights. That part of the 5th amendment was designed specifically to prevent such a thing as mass round-ups of citizens. There's also the issue of executive overreach. Roosevelt did it by executive order.

      And yet it became case law the moment it was passed. Will you defend it? Come on. "But the case law says..." Yes, and when the case law doesn't jive with the Constitution, you know that the court has decided wrongly and the decision is discredited.

      My point is that I haven't read Korematsu. It's still wrong even if I haven't read it. The judges in this case searched high and low for a rationale to do what they wanted to do anyway--intern Japanese-Americans. They neglected their duties to the Constitution.

      Trish

      Delete
    12. "You, however, said that it wasn't in the 5th."

      No, that's not what I said. You said:

      ""Equal protection" is indeed one of the vaguest phrases in the Constitution. "Due process" means that you were given a fair trial with all of the rights of the accused that are guaranteed in the Constitution."

      To which I responded:

      "No, that's not what Due Process means. Due Process is contained in the 14th Amendment. The rights to a trial are contained in the 6th and 7th Amendments."

      At what point did I say that there was no Due Process clause in the 5th Amendment? I said that the Due process clause doesn't mean what you said it means and that the protections you asserted were to be found elsewhere citing the 6th and 7th Amendments, which makes your comment that:

      "You didn't know this because you haven't read the Constitution."

      Is inane at best, since I seem to have a good idea what's in the 6th and 7th Amendments. You asserted a meaning for the Due Process clause that was wrong - it means much more than you claim it does. And you were caught on it. And now you're trying to rewrite history to cover up your ignorance.

      "I must admit, i don't spend much of my time reading cases. So, for example, I haven't read the majority opinion, the minority opinion, or the legal briefs to Korematsu v. United States. I doubt you have, but maybe I'm wrong."

      You would be wrong. I have read the Korematsu case. As have most lawyers. As a result, my opinion on it is informed. Yours is not.

      You, by your own admission, haven't read salient cases like Everson, Engel, or Lemon. Your opinion concerning this area of jurisprudence is uninformed. You are ignorant as to the nature of the cases, the reasoning they contain, and everything else about them. Yet you presume that hundreds of sitting federal judges (including a Supreme Court that unanimously voted in favor of the principles set forth in Everson), law professors, and most of the lawyers in the country who have studied these cases are wrong. You are ignorant, and apparently proudly so. That's pretty pathetic.

      Delete
    13. Hey dude, judges can be wrong. If we went back in time a hundred and fifty years, we'd find a lot of judges who were wrong about such things as being separate but equal. Judges can be wrong now too.

      I read this thread. While it is true that you didn't directly say that due process wasn't in the Fifth, it was clearly implied that it makes its first appearance in the Fourteenth. Not true. And Trish didn't say that it wasn't in the 14th. It's in both places, but it appears first in the 5th.

      So you read Korematsu, huh? Were those judges wrong? Just wondering. To my knowledge, that case has never been overturned. If it has been, it was case law for a time. And thus you would have to defend it or else be so arrogant as to think you're smarter than the judges. Right?

      Even if it has been overturned, that means that another judge decided, at a later date, that the guys who wrote Korematsu were full of crap and obviously did a bad job. And that's true. Actually that's all I'm saying here too. Case law is pretty clear about governmental displays of religion. But the case law is looking pretty shady right now. Somebody needs to start overturning those bad decisions.

      Oh yeah, and nobody's impressed that you're a lawyer. Seriously.

      Joey

      Delete
    14. Hey anonymous lawyer,

      You really come off as a pushy arrogant jerk. Why do you keep dodging Trish's questions about the Japanese internment case? It seems so obvious that you would have to admit that it's case law, but that it's poorly decided case law, which would open the door to further questions. If they were wrong in Koramatsu, are they wrong now too?

      It seems clear to me that you don't want the authority of your profession to be questioned. "hey the lawyers and the judges have spoken, so you shut up now!"

      CARLITO

      Delete
    15. "While it is true that you didn't directly say that due process wasn't in the Fifth, it was clearly implied that it makes its first appearance in the Fourteenth."

      We're talking about the Constitution as it applies tot he states. The relevant Due Process clause is in the 14th Amendment.

      "So you read Korematsu, huh? Were those judges wrong? Just wondering. To my knowledge, that case has never been overturned. If it has been, it was case law for a time. And thus you would have to defend it or else be so arrogant as to think you're smarter than the judges. Right?"

      Korematsu remains valid, albeit limited. In their decision, the Supreme Court limited the scope of their ruling to the exclusion orders, meaning it has limited precedential value. Korematsu's conviction was later voided in another proceeding, rendering the case itself moot. On the other hand, Korematsu, for all the criticism it receives, is a valuable case because it is an early example of the Supreme Court applying strict scrutiny to a case involving race.

      "Even if it has been overturned, that means that another judge decided, at a later date, that the guys who wrote Korematsu were full of crap and obviously did a bad job."

      It hasn't been overturned. But if another Supreme Court ruling overturned it, they would do it after having read the case and would explain the basis for their decision when doing so. They wouldn't just say "this is bad law" and then rule.

      "And that's true. Actually that's all I'm saying here too. Case law is pretty clear about governmental displays of religion. But the case law is looking pretty shady right now. Somebody needs to start overturning those bad decisions."

      And the case law is looking shady because?

      People criticize the decision in Korematsu on substantive grounds - that the Court should not have found that the government met the strict scrutiny standard in implementing a general order to inter all citizens of Japanese descent. But you have to read and understand the case before you can formulate that argument.

      Do you think the court in Brown v. Board of Education didn't read Plessy v. Fergusson before overturning it? Do you think that they didn't explain why they disagreed with it more fully than "we just don't like it"?

      On what basis is the reasoning in Everson shady? Engel? You have to read the cases and understand them before you can formulate an argument to that effect. Which is something that Trish has not done (and I suspect that many of the other pro-Banner advocates have not done so either).

      "Oh yeah, and nobody's impressed that you're a lawyer. Seriously."

      Yeah. Because actually studying the issues involved is of no consequence. It is more important to thump your chest and assert truthiness.

      Delete
    16. I think what she's saying is that the Japanses internment case was wrong, and it doesn't matter if she's read it or not yet. There's no requirement that we defend all cases that we haven't read.

      I don't read cases in my spare time. I prefer historical non-fiction. But I know that Plessy v. Ferguson was wrong. I know that Dred Scott was wrong. And I know that Korematsu v. United States was wrong.

      I won't defend any of these and I doubt you will either.

      Your argument seems to amount to, "I'm the lawyer here, now you shut your ignorant mouth." Relax, dude. The constitution isn't so complicated that you need a lawyer to figure it out. You might say that about case law, but the constitution is written in layman's terms. I reserve the right to come to my own conclusions using my own faculties.

      Joey

      Joey

      Delete
    17. "You really come off as a pushy arrogant jerk."

      And you come off as an uneducated nitwit.

      "Why do you keep dodging Trish's questions about the Japanese internment case? It seems so obvious that you would have to admit that it's case law, but that it's poorly decided case law, which would open the door to further questions."

      No one is dodging Trish's questions. Koremastu is, as I've pointed out, simply not relevant. Since she hasn't read the case, or any of the Establishment clause cases, there isn't any basis for her to claim that they are good or bad decisions. Is Korematsu bad law? It is still in force. No one has overturned it. The details of the case have a lot of points that people consider good and bad. In your rush to highlight what you think is a wrongly decided case, you have missed why it hasn't been overturned, and why it may not be entirely wrongly decided.

      "If they were wrong in Koramatsu, are they wrong now too?"

      No, they aren't. And nothing Trish or you have put forth would lead one to the conclusion they are wrong now. You aren't even armed to make a judgment as to whether the Establishment clause jurisprudence is rightly or wrongly decided unless you've read the decisions first. Just saying "they are bad law and here are other cases that were overturned" isn't an argument. Because those other cases were overturned for a reason. Not just because some judge got up one day and said "I think I'll overturn some cases today".

      Delete
    18. "I think what she's saying is that the Japanses internment case was wrong, and it doesn't matter if she's read it or not yet. There's no requirement that we defend all cases that we haven't read."

      Do you know if it was wrong or not? If it was wrong, do you know why? Without reading it, how do you come to those conclusions?

      "I don't read cases in my spare time."

      Then perhaps opinion over whether cases are good law or bad law isn't a good hobby for you.

      "I prefer historical non-fiction. But I know that Plessy v. Ferguson was wrong. I know that Dred Scott was wrong. And I know that Korematsu v. United States was wrong."

      You do, huh? What was wrong about Korematsu? Specifically. Why has it not been overturned?

      As the law stood in 1957, what was wrong about the ruling in the Dred Scott case? Be aware that it took the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to nullify it. It was never overturned by decision.

      Do you think that Plessy was overturned on a whim? Or maybe the justices read the case and formulated an argument as to why that amounted to more than "this is a shady case".

      "The constitution isn't so complicated that you need a lawyer to figure it out. You might say that about case law, but the constitution is written in layman's terms."

      Case law is how the Constitution is interpreted. If you don't know the case law, you don't know the Constitution.

      Delete
    19. Trish won this one. Anonymous is falling prey to circular logic. He is citing a case to justify the same case, which is a little like saying the Bible is infallible because it says so right in the Bible.

      I'm kind of on the fence about the banner. But the t-shirt issue is clearly crossing the line into censorship. It does seem that Jessica and her allies can't stand the sight of those words, whether they appear on someone's back or on the wall of the school gym. Once she won the first one, she invented a new rationale for the second.

      The Torch

      Delete
    20. "Anonymous is falling prey to circular logic. He is citing a case to justify the same case."

      At one point do you think a case was cited to justify the same case?

      Delete
    21. "Do you know if it was wrong or not? If it was wrong, do you know why? Without reading it, how do you come to those conclusions?"

      That's easy. Due process. And I haven't even read it, so in your estimation, I can't be against it.

      In other words, I am required to defend all cases I haven't read. If I oppose them, I am just being ignorant. What kind of ignorant jerk would oppose a decision he hasn't even read?

      Anonymous, I have better things to do with my time than to read supreme court cases. It doesn't mean that some of them aren't wrong. It doesn't mean that I can't comment on them.

      Let me ask you this: Have you read the Patriot Act in its entirety? I haven't. It's three hundred and fifty pages long and it amends literally hundreds of items in the US code. But I know I oppose it because of the overreaching powers it has via record-checking and roving wire taps.

      Have you read the Obamacare in its entirety? I haven't. It's 2074 pages. But I know that I don't like it. I don't think I'd like it any more if I spent a few months curled up reading it.

      See my point? Your argument seems to be, "If you haven't read it, keep your mouth shut!"

      And that's really what you want, isn't it? People to shut their mouths.

      Have you read the Bible in its entirety? (Neither have I.) Just wondering. Because if you haven't then shut up.

      Joey

      Delete
    22. "But the t-shirt issue is clearly crossing the line into censorship. It does seem that Jessica and her allies can't stand the sight of those words, whether they appear on someone's back or on the wall of the school gym. Once she won the first one, she invented a new rationale for the second."

      At what point do you think Jessica has anything to do with the t-shirt question. The post Egnor has cited comes from a completely unrelated blogger and is speculation. Jessica has said nothing about the t-shirts.

      And if you actually read what Eberhard said, the only question is whether wearing the t-shirts en masse would constitute some form of bullying or intimidation (neither of which are protected forms of expression). if a student wants to get a shirt and wear it to school, Eberhard explicitly said that was fine and would be protected expression. The only limitation he suggested might be appropriate would be to use that expression for a non-protected purpose.

      Delete
    23. "That's easy. Due process. And I haven't even read it, so in your estimation, I can't be against it."

      So what about Due Process did it violate? Korematsu was given a trial. Did you know that? his conviction was later overturned. Did you know that? What part do you think is incorrectly decided?

      "In other words, I am required to defend all cases I haven't read. If I oppose them, I am just being ignorant. What kind of ignorant jerk would oppose a decision he hasn't even read?"

      Pretty much. If you want to say Everson is bad law, you need to do it with more than "it's bad m'kay?" if you want to be taken seriously.

      "I have better things to do with my time than to read supreme court cases. It doesn't mean that some of them aren't wrong. It doesn't mean that I can't comment on them."

      It means that your comments are uninformed and not really worth much though.

      "Let me ask you this: Have you read the Patriot Act in its entirety? I haven't. It's three hundred and fifty pages long and it amends literally hundreds of items in the US code. But I know I oppose it because of the overreaching powers it has via record-checking and roving wire taps."

      So you oppose specific provisions of the PATRIOT Act that you appear to have read. Do you oppose all the provisions of the Act?

      "Have you read the Obamacare in its entirety? I haven't. It's 2074 pages. But I know that I don't like it."

      And you don't like it because? You were told to by a media outlet? Some people in your social circle heard something about death panels? Something else?

      Delete
    24. "Have you read the Bible in its entirety?"

      By the way, yes. Two different editions: the King James and the Good News. Your point?

      Delete
    25. Anonymous has just convinced me to switch sides on the Patriot Act. I used to be against it, but the truth is that I haven't read it. So I must defend it. And I know that it must be right.

      I actually have a full time job and I don't have time to read all of the legislation being voted on in the Congress. But I support all of it.

      And no human being could possibly read all of the accumulated legislation still on the books. But I support all of it because it would be ignorant to oppose a law I haven't read.

      Anonymous does the same thing too. He never opposes a law until he's read the whole thing. All 300+ pages of the Patriot Act, all 2074 pages of Obamacare. Nancy Pelosi tells us that we have to pass it to know what's in it. It's passed and I still don't know what's in it! And that's why I support it.

      The Torch

      Delete
    26. "Anonymous has just convinced me to switch sides on the Patriot Act. I used to be against it, but the truth is that I haven't read it. So I must defend it. And I know that it must be right."

      Claiming to be against it without knowing what is in it is silly. Sure, it is a long statute, and some of it is problematic, but are you against all of it? Do you know one way or the other? Can you form a basis for making the determination without reading the provisions and deciding if they are a problem or not?

      "I actually have a full time job and I don't have time to read all of the legislation being voted on in the Congress. But I support all of it."

      So take the time to inform yourself. Ignorantly supporting or opposing legislation without educating yourself as to its actual contents doesn't really seem like a means to ending up with the type of government you want, does it?

      "And no human being could possibly read all of the accumulated legislation still on the books. But I support all of it because it would be ignorant to oppose a law I haven't read."

      It would be ignorant to opine that it is somehow "bad law" when you know nothing about it. Is the Transportation Audits Act good law or not? Do you know?

      "Anonymous does the same thing too. He never opposes a law until he's read the whole thing. All 300+ pages of the Patriot Act, all 2074 pages of Obamacare."

      I read the portions of relevant laws before opining on the worthiness of those portions. That appears to be a level of attentiveness that is beyond you.

      Delete
    27. "It's passed and I still don't know what's in it!"

      It's public record. You could remedy your ignorance.

      "And that's why I support it."

      There is a wide gulf between "I support this", and "I oppose this". For example, there is the option "I don't know enough about the facts to form an educated opinion". That would require a little humility though, and that seems to be one virtue that most Christians lack.

      Delete
  19. "I hope you don't like most of your rights, since they are defined by case law."

    I do not reject all case law. However, case law must be consonant with the actual text of the Constitution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "However, case law must be consonant with the actual text of the Constitution."

      Then the Everson, Engel, and Lemon precedents should be fine by you. Because they are.

      Delete
    2. R OBrien wrote: "I do not reject all case law"

      Of course not... just the cases you don't agree with. Convenient that...

      Delete
    3. Yes, Joe. Because some cases were decided correctly, while others were not.

      Korematsu v. United States found that it was constitutional to round up Japanese-Americans and place them in internment (concentration) camps, all on the say-so of President Roosevelt. That was a terrible decision, not just because it was mean, but because it violated the 5th Amendment's due process clause.

      So yes, I disagree with the case law that I disagree with. And I agree with the case law that I agree with. Don't you?

      That's kind of the point. Yes, I would have to say that most case law is on the side of sanitizing religion from the public square. The case law is on your side, but the case law is WRONG. Layers and layers of bad decisions have piled up over the years, just as they did in the times of segregation. It's not hypocritical to reject the bad cases while accepting the good.

      Trish

      Delete
    4. Yes, I would have to say that most case law is on the side of sanitizing religion from the public square. The case law is on your side, but the case law is WRONG.

      And your basis for claiming that it is wrong is a strictly textual reading of the Establishment clause that you appear not to want to apply to other parts of the Constitution, such as the free speech clause, which, from your posts here, it is clear you want interpreted quite broadly. In short, your argument is hypocritical.

      Delete
  20. "Then the Everson, Engel, and Lemon precedents should be fine by you. Because they are."

    LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm guessing you've never actually read Everson, Engel, or Lemon. Since you don't seem to have the slightest clue about them.

      Delete
  21. I'm not certain that I agree with the whole T-shirt "ban" thing. However, I can see how they would be concerned that, even though the idea may be one rooted in support of the banner, it doubles nicely as a way to harass and ostracize a student who has already received numerous threats (some from people claiming to go to her school and know her and where she lives). Perhaps had these "good Christian folk" not been so nasty and contrary to their own purported morality, they would be allowed to wear the shirts.

    However, I'm not certain why people think that maintaining religious neutrality is the same thing as religious censorship. There is a difference between a student wearing a Jesus shirt and the school hanging a religious banner. One is an individual expressing their religious belief, the other is a government institution supporting one religion to the exclusion of others.

    The school board admitted that it wasn't the context of the prayer that they supported, i.e. be a good person, be a gracious winner and a gracious loser, etc., but the religious invocation of God when they refused to alter the prayer to a secular format. The religious aspect of the prayer, being supported by the school, is what makes it illegal.

    Courts have ruled time and again that the First Amendment protects against the government showing preference to one religion over another AS WELL AS religion over non-religion. Having a Christian prayer show preference to one religion over others. Having a "prayer" at all show preference to religion over non-religion. Kind of hard to argue against that. So, if you want to call upholding the law "censorship"... well... we have nothing to discuss.

    ReplyDelete
  22. the angry atheists and/or leftists on this site have really dropped off into angry nonsensical ranting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon wrote: "the angry atheists and/or leftists on this site have really dropped off into angry nonsensical ranting."

      How odd that you offer ZERO evidence for this assertion... could it be that you're making this up?

      Delete
    2. the angry atheists and/or leftists on this site have really dropped off into angry nonsensical ranting.

      You mean like all the citing of case law, Constitutional principles, and actual material from the case and the surrounding events? Yeah. Pretty angry nonsensical ranting there.

      Delete
  23. Hey, is it a violation of the first amendment for a professor at a public university to talk about "Christian mythology"?

    One of my professors used to do that all the time. Just want to know.

    Joey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Hey, is it a violation of the first amendment for a professor at a public university to talk about "Christian mythology"?"

      Like many things in the law, it depends on the context and the facts surrounding what happened. What is lost in all the theist stampeding here is that these questions are nuanced and evaluating them is often a balancing between competing principles.

      The prayer banner isn't. The school board made sure of that when they shot themselves in the foot with their rush to demonstrate how religious they were when the request came to remove the banner. But many questions are.

      Delete
    2. In what context what it would be acceptable? In what contexts would it be unacceptable?

      Sounds "nuanced", which is a short way of saying that you want to have it both ways. Let me know.

      Joey

      Delete
    3. "In what context what it would be acceptable? In what contexts would it be unacceptable?"

      There are so many variables that it would take a long post to explain. Why don't you explain the context and we'll see.

      Delete
    4. No, I want to know what those variables are first. Give me a long post. The only "context" anti-theists require is whose ox is being gored.

      What kind of lawyer are you?

      Joey

      Delete
    5. "No, I want to know what those variables are first. Give me a long post. The only "context" anti-theists require is whose ox is being gored."

      Ah. So you'd walk into a lawyer's office and start with this? You don't seem to know how legal questions are posed do you? If you walked into a lawyer's office and said "Hey, is it a violation of the first amendment for a professor at a public university to talk about "Christian mythology"?" he'd ask you to give him more specifics because based on what you've given him to work with, there's no way to tell.

      What kind of class was it? Was it during class or out of it? What issues were he addressing? Was he dealing with one student or the entire class? Was he speaking in response to student questions or did he bring it up? Was he was he proselytizing? Was he haranguing members of one faith, or no faith? And so on and so forth.

      Your "Hey" question would probably lead to an hour of questioning to nail down the facts. Then he would figure out how the law applied to the situation.

      "What kind of lawyer are you?"

      I practice Constitutional law and Federal budgetary law.

      Delete
  24. Interesting how school policy is equivalent to Congress passing a law when murals are being hung, but not when declaring what shirts may be worn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting how you want to make sure these schoolkids are fully able to harrass and bully a fellow classmate. Pffft - she's just an atheist right?

      Tell me again how religion makes people moral?

      Delete
    2. No one is arguing in favor of harassing the student. Straw man.

      Joey

      Delete
    3. Given the context, and the threats already levied towards Ahlquist, one could make a prima facie case that wearing the shirts en masse is an attempt to intimidate her. Attempts to intimidate are assault. Can a school not prevent attempted assault?

      Delete
  25. The longer this thread goes on, the stupider it gets. Adding a constitutional lawyer to the discussion has that effect.

    CARLITO

    ReplyDelete
  26. "The longer this thread goes on, the stupider it gets."

    As long as you're commenting, sure.

    "Adding a constitutional lawyer to the discussion has that effect."

    It makes it harder to bray ignorance and claim that you know what you're doing, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to see your credentials. What's your name? Where do you work? When did you pass the bar? Where did you go to law school?

      CARLITO

      Delete
    2. CARLITO,

      This guy is so full of shit his eyes are brown. You'll never get a straight answer out of him.

      Joey

      Delete
    3. "I want to see your credentials. What's your name? Where do you work? When did you pass the bar? Where did you go to law school?"

      Aaron. The Federal government. 1996. George Mason.

      Any more silly questions?

      Delete
    4. "You'll never get a straight answer out of him."

      You've gotten straight answers. You're just too busy reveling in your ignorance to understand them.

      Delete
  27. Aaron who? What office of the federal government?

    Those are not silly questions. Joey was right. No straight answers.

    CARLITO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are completely silly questions, because they are entirely irrelevant. The real problem you are having is the inability to respond to the substance of the issue. The one's evading giving straight answers your be your side.

      Trish and Joey have claimed that cases like Everson are wrong. When asked why, they just say they are "bad" or "shady". When asked how they come to this conclusion they say "I dunno, I just know". Why? Because they haven't bothered to read the cases or try to understand them. Which makes their opinions ignorant and uninformed.

      They dodge the questions by asking if cases like Korematsu or Dred Scott were wrong. But they don't know why those cases might be wrong. They just assert they are without understanding them either. When it is pointed out that Dred Scott was an antebellum case and that the Constitution had to be amended to nullify it, they have no response. On what basis do you claim Dred Scott's reasoning was wrong given the state of the law in 1857? The response? None. The silence is deafening.

      On Korematsu the case is asserted to have been wrong. But it has never been overturned. The issue was rendered moot by the vacation of Korematsu's conviction. It helped establish the framework of an important Constitutional principle for evaluating laws with a racial component. But when I ask what part of Korematsu was wrong, Joey says "due process", which isn't an answer. What element of due process was denied? How does that affect the law now? All Joey did was evade. Why? Because by his own admission he's never read the case and doesn't understand it.

      One has to wonder exactly how Joey, Trish, and you are able to determine that these cases are wrong without ever having read them, while numerous Federal judges who actually have read them don't see it that way. Exactly what do the cases get wrong? What part of the reasoning is faulty? You don't know what the reasoning was, because you haven't bothered to find out. Yet you think your opinion is worth something on the issue. That's a fairly high level of arrogance.

      Delete
  28. "When asked how they come to this conclusion they say "I dunno, I just know".

    I can't even read your lies, Anonymous.

    I said they were wrong because they departed from what the Constitution says--Congress, law, and establishment--and substituted other words. So stop saying that I simply said they were "wrong" or "shady" or that I just don't like them. I formulated a real argument an your only response has been to say that wise judges have decided otherwise. I understand that they decided otherwise. Judges sometimes make bad decisions, do they not?

    When seeking to justify case law, it helps to find some justification in the constitution. You, on the other hand, justify case law by finding some justification in case law.

    No, I have not read Everson, but I know that's wrong just the same way that I know that Korematsu is wrong because you can't violate a person's liberty, not without due process of law. I have given reasons why each case is wrong and you have dishonestly transcribed my responses as "i dunno, I just know."

    Joey's answer about due process was spot on. It's quite legal to deprive someone of their liberty if in fact they were given a fair trial and found guilty of a crime. People like that spend their days in jail--ie, deprived of liberty. If, however, the person was not given due process, it's unconstitutional. In the case of Japanese-Americans, the whole lot of them was rounded up for the non-crime of being Japanese-Americans, and then deprived of liberty without due process.

    And I still haven't read the case. I don't plan to either. I'm a mother with a part time job.

    I don't know if you're really a lawyer. As far as I know, you're just an anonymous commenter on a blog. I don't really care. You're extremely abrasive and you refuse to have anything resembling a debate. You expect us to be impressed with your George Mason law degree. Sorry, I'm not.

    Trish

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I can't even read your lies, Anonymous."

      That's not new. You can't seem to read the cases you claim were wrongly decided.

      "I said they were wrong because they departed from what the Constitution says--Congress, law, and establishment--and substituted other words."

      It is almost as if you don't know what the 14th Amendment says, and how that changes the meaning of the 1st Amendment. It is almost as if you haven't read the cases in question, and thus have no idea what they actually say.

      Oh wait. It isn't "almost". It is "you haven't".

      "So stop saying that I simply said they were "wrong" or "shady" or that I just don't like them. I formulated a real argument an your only response has been to say that wise judges have decided otherwise."

      You haven't formulated a response. You've trumpeted your ignorance as to what the cases say. You have no clue concerning the incorporation doctrine. You have no clue what Everson actually says.

      "I understand that they decided otherwise. Judges sometimes make bad decisions, do they not?"

      And thus far you've given no argument that these are bad decisions other than "they interpreted the document in a way I don't like".

      "When seeking to justify case law, it helps to find some justification in the constitution. You, on the other hand, justify case law by finding some justification in case law."

      Umm, no. If you had read Everson you'd know the reasoning in the case. You'd know that it cited several prior Establishment clause decisions, building upon the jurisprudence already decided concerning the case. You'd know that Everson was not the first case to cite Jefferson's letter: In Reynolds v. United States (1879) the Court wrote that Jefferson's comments "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment."

      I suppose they were just wrong too?

      "No, I have not read Everson, but I know that's wrong just the same way that I know that Korematsu is wrong because you can't violate a person's liberty, not without due process of law."

      Exactly what part of due process of law was violated in Korematsu? You don't know because you haven't read the case. You don't even know if there was a violation because you haven't read the case.

      "I have given reasons why each case is wrong and you have dishonestly transcribed my responses as "i dunno, I just know.""

      That's all your responses amount to, since you haven't read the cases, and don't know what they actually say.

      "Joey's answer about due process was spot on. It's quite legal to deprive someone of their liberty if in fact they were given a fair trial and found guilty of a crime."

      Korematsu was tried and convicted. The Korematsu case was his appeal from his conviction. But if you had bothered to read the case, you'd know that and wouldn't make a fool out of yourself.

      "People like that spend their days in jail--ie, deprived of liberty. If, however, the person was not given due process, it's unconstitutional. In the case of Japanese-Americans, the whole lot of them was rounded up for the non-crime of being Japanese-Americans, and then deprived of liberty without due process."

      Good thing those weren't the facts of the Korematsu case then.

      "And I still haven't read the case. I don't plan to either. I'm a mother with a part time job."

      So you're ignorant and too busy to remedy that, but you'll maintain that the cases were wrong despite that. And you wonder why I say your responses amount to "I dunno, but I just know".

      Delete
  29. And another thing anonymous,

    Your silence on Korematsu is deafening. Was it correctly or incorrectly decided?

    Because if it was incorrectly decided, then judges can be wrong. Which is all I've been saying the whole time. Please, please answer the question. I know that's asking a lot out of you.

    Trish

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Your silence on Korematsu is deafening. Was it correctly or incorrectly decided?"

      I've responded several times on Korematsu already. Your inability to read seems to cover more than just an inability to read the cases you are willing to opine upon.

      Delete
    2. I see him dodging the question...again.

      This time his answer is "I've already answered that!"

      No, sir. You have not.

      I'm beginning to think he may be a lawyer. He's certainly a pain in the ass.

      CARLITO.

      Delete
    3. No, sir. You have not.

      I have, you just don't like the answer. because you don't know much of anything about the Korematsu case other than you have been told it must be wrong.

      As I noted before, Korematsu remains valid, albeit limited. In their decision, the Supreme Court limited the scope of their ruling to the exclusion orders, meaning it has limited precedential value. Korematsu was given a trial, and he was convicted, although the conviction was later voided in another proceeding, rendering the issues at the Supreme Court moot. On the other hand, Korematsu, for all the criticism it receives, is a valuable case because it is an early example of the Supreme Court applying strict scrutiny to a case involving race.

      It hasn't been overturned. People criticize the decision in Korematsu on substantive grounds - that the Court should not have found that the government met the strict scrutiny standard in implementing a general order to inter all citizens of Japanese descent. The case could be construed to have reached the wrong result in that specific case, but the legal standards set forth in the case are the same legal standards used today for cases that deal with racial issues. The case helped establish the framework of an important Constitutional principle for evaluating laws with a racial component.

      So, the answer to the question "was Korematsu wrong" is not as simple as you seem to think it should be. Was Korematsu himself denied due process? He got a trial. One might say that the Executive Order he was convicted under violated substantive due process, but the concept and content of substantive due process is one that is pretty far removed from the text of the Constitution. The ruling in the case is still a useful underpinning for the area of law relating to laws that affect race, so on that point it is not only good law, but it is fairly valuable.

      Delete
  30. I noticed he won't tell us who he is. We might be able to determine if he's an actual lawyer if he provided some details.

    If he doesn't want to answer the question, that's fine. His lawyerly credentials don't make him right. But I do find it interesting.

    Trish

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think they (Joey, Carlito) bring up a good point about legislation.

    If only people who had read every page of the bills were allowed the have an opinion, that would exclude 99.999999999% of the public. It would probably exclude a lot of the people who voted on them!

    If Anonymous has an opinion about any piece of legislation he hasn't read in its entirety, he's a hypocrite. No Child Left Behind? The Patriot Act? The new banking reforms? The car bailout? The end of DADT? PIPA? NDAA?

    Anonymous, have you formed an opinion about ANY of these things? If so, have you read all of them?

    You're ignorant by your own standard.

    Joe Q. Public

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only people who had read every page of the bills were allowed the have an opinion, that would exclude 99.999999999% of the public. It would probably exclude a lot of the people who voted on them!

      Yes it would. And it should. or do you think members of Congress should be voting on bills without knowing their contents?

      If Anonymous has an opinion about any piece of legislation he hasn't read in its entirety, he's a hypocrite. No Child Left Behind? The Patriot Act? The new banking reforms? The car bailout? The end of DADT? PIPA? NDAA?

      I have opinions on the portions that I have read. On the others, I don't know enough to claim knowledge sufficient to judge.

      Delete
    2. I think legislators should read the bills too. But we aren't talking only about legislators here, Anonymous. We're talking about citizens.

      "I have opinions on the portions that I have read."

      In other words, you haven't read the whole thing, but you have read enough to form an opinion. I think the same can be said about Everson, Korematsu, et al.

      I'm not a a lawyer, but I am informed enough to know that (a) rounding up whole ethnic groups without trial is unconstitutional, and (b) our constitution says nothing about separation of church and state. Your being a lawyer doesn't change those facts. Judges who find otherwise are wrong.

      And could you do me one thing, Anonymous? Tone down the contempt. Seriously. It's clear that you think you're the smartest person in the room with your unverifiable law degree from George Mason. But you don't have to go around bashing Christians, telling people that they don't read, and calling them ignorant.

      I don't think you should go around assuming what other people know and don't know. For example, the Everson case. I see below that you assume that Trish doesn't know that the Catholics won that case. I can't speak for her, but i knew that, and I still think that the reasoning is wrong. More importantly, that doesn't prove that Hugo Black wasn't an anti-Catholic bigot. He was. It doesn't prove that he didn't take a principle of the KKK and insert it into our case law. He did.

      CARLITO

      Delete
    3. Oh, and another thing, Anonymous. You claim to have read portions of bills, and hold opinions on them. Isn't it better to read them in their entirety? I mean, you might miss something if you just focus on a small provision. Something that appears later in the bill might modify it. That would be like reading a small section of a legal opinion, without understanding the context. You might not know, for example, that the wall metaphor was "rhetorical flourish".

      Nope, you're not getting away with this. If you've ever formed an opinion about any bill you haven't read from cover to cover, you're a filthy hypocrite.

      CARLITO

      Delete
    4. "I think legislators should read the bills too. But we aren't talking only about legislators here, Anonymous. We're talking about citizens."

      Citizens who are by their own admission ignorantly opining on what the law should be. I don't think suggesting that they inform themselves first is too much to ask.

      "I'm not a a lawyer, but I am informed enough to know that (a) rounding up whole ethnic groups without trial is unconstitutional,"

      Well maybe you should read Korematsu and find out that wasn't the decision that was made.

      "and (b) our constitution says nothing about separation of church and state."

      Perhaps you should read Everson and see what it actually says then.

      "But you don't have to go around bashing Christians, telling people that they don't read, and calling them ignorant."

      Trish and Joey have said they haven't bothered to read the cases, and loudly proclaimed their ignorance as to the contents of those cases.

      "I don't think you should go around assuming what other people know and don't know. For example, the Everson case. I see below that you assume that Trish doesn't know that the Catholics won that case. I can't speak for her, but i knew that, and I still think that the reasoning is wrong."

      Which part of the reasoning is wrong? Here, I'll quote the relevant portion for you, just pick out which part the court got wrong:

      "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa."

      Which part is flawed there?

      "More importantly, that doesn't prove that Hugo Black wasn't an anti-Catholic bigot. He was. It doesn't prove that he didn't take a principle of the KKK and insert it into our case law. He did."

      "He" didn't do anything. A unanimous Supreme Court did. The "Black was a KKK guy and forced this into the law" mantra is tiresome because it is stupid. Was Felix Frankfurter a KKK guy? How about Vinson? Reed? Douglas? The rest? They all voted in favor of his reasoning.

      Delete
    5. To quote Joe Q. Public, "You're ignorant by your own standard."

      CARLITO

      Delete
    6. "You claim to have read portions of bills, and hold opinions on them."

      I hold opinions on the portions I have read. Which is what I have said. You seem to have a reading comprehension problem.

      "Something that appears later in the bill might modify it."

      That would be why when reading legislation, it is important to cross reference portions to see if they do modify other sections or are modified by them. You seem to think no one who deals with legislation knows this, or takes it into account when they are reading bills.

      Delete
    7. "Which part is flawed there?"

      The part where the Klansman makes up words that don't appear in the Constitution. That part.

      You know, that says "Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church" is spot on. Because that's what "establish" means. And if we use the incorporation doctrine to apply the Bill of Rights to the states, that would include them as well.

      "Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another."

      Questionable. At least he's stuck to "laws", which we seemed to have dropped in its entirety from our cultural definition. The constitution doesn't say anything about aiding religion, but establishing one. Verbs matter. Do you see how Black is departing from the actual language of the Constitution?

      "Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion."

      That's free exercise.

      "No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance."

      Free exercise again.

      And I think you'll notice that there isn't a single provision in there about prayers on school walls. It says nothing about crosses on federal property, about kids selling candy canes in school with Bible verses on them, about the military teaching just war theory using the Bible, or any other such nonsense. It doesn't say anything about Boy Scout troops meeting on military bases either.

      "Trish and Joey have said they haven't bothered to read the cases, and loudly proclaimed their ignorance as to the contents of those cases."

      Trish and Joey aren't loudly proclaiming their ignorance. They're simply not ceding their right to form an opinion to a pushy anonymous commenter who claims expertise because he's a lawyer. In any case, you did take a dig at Christians.

      "That would require a little humility though, and that seems to be one virtue that most Christians lack."

      You're not so humble yourself. You're quite arrogant. I wonder if you would say the same thing about other groups. "Most Jews seem to lack humility." "Most blacks seem to lack humility." The first step to sounding like a reasonable human being, if you want my advice, is to search your heart for the bigotry in its depths, and then expunge it. Go ahead.

      "The 'Black was a KKK guy and forced this into the law' mantra is tiresome because it is stupid."

      It's tiresome because it's true. In any case, anti-Catholic feelings were quite common, especially among elite circles, at the time. Okay, they are now too. You're an elite lawyer and you hate Catholics too.

      Are you really trying to tell me that Black was not anti-Catholic? I know that they voted to allow the Catholics to use the buses, but would you at least admit that he had a serious bias? Will you at least admit that the concept of separation of "church and state" was one wholeheartedly supported by the KKK, precisely because they were paranoid about the influence of Catholics in government? Will you admit that these words appeared in the initiation oath of the Klan before it appeared in case law?

      You know, maybe if some of the non-KKK justices had written the majority opinion, they wouldn't have slipped part of the KKK creed in there.

      CARLITO

      Delete
    8. "The part where the Klansman makes up words that don't appear in the Constitution. That part."

      Ah. So your version of valid judicial opinions would just be reprinting provisions of the Constitution verbatim?

      "You know, that says "Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church" is spot on. Because that's what "establish" means. And if we use the incorporation doctrine to apply the Bill of Rights to the states, that would include them as well."

      Okay. So you're up to speed here.

      "Questionable. At least he's stuck to "laws", which we seemed to have dropped in its entirety from our cultural definition. The constitution doesn't say anything about aiding religion, but establishing one. Verbs matter. Do you see how Black is departing from the actual language of the Constitution?"

      You don't think aiding religion is tantamount to establishing one? "The State of Massachusetts hereby gives a million dollars to the Congregationalists" would be okay because it is just aiding religion?

      "That's free exercise."

      That is also Establishment. You see, if a State were to want to establish an official church, it could compel attendance.

      "Free exercise again."

      Once again, it is also Establishment. Part of Establishing an official church could be compelling attendance or penalizing non-attendance.

      Interesting. You responded to part of the quoted opinion, but left out this:

      "No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa."

      Which pretty much eviscerates you claim that "And I think you'll notice that there isn't a single provision in there about prayers on school walls." Because that violates the "no tax may be levied" portion.

      Simlarly, "It says nothing about crosses on federal property,"

      No tax may be levied to support any religious activities.

      "about kids selling candy canes in school with Bible verses on them, about the military teaching just war theory using the Bible,"

      No tax may be levied to support religious activities.

      "or any other such nonsense. It doesn't say anything about Boy Scout troops meeting on military bases either."

      No tax may be levied to support religious activities.

      "Trish and Joey aren't loudly proclaiming their ignorance. They're simply not ceding their right to form an opinion to a pushy anonymous commenter who claims expertise because he's a lawyer. In any case, you did take a dig at Christians."

      They are loudly claiming their ignorance by asserting they have not bothered to read the opinions they think are wrong and not being able to come up with any cogent reason why those opinions are wrong.

      Delete
    9. "It's tiresome because it's true. In any case, anti-Catholic feelings were quite common, especially among elite circles, at the time. Okay, they are now too. You're an elite lawyer and you hate Catholics too."

      Who hates Catholics? I'm married to a Catholic. I just know the way the law works and that as structured now, it protects religion.

      "Are you really trying to tell me that Black was not anti-Catholic?"

      Black recanted his anti-Catholic views, and his actions while serving as a Supreme Court Justice support this.

      "I know that they voted to allow the Catholics to use the buses, but would you at least admit that he had a serious bias?"

      Given his progressive views as a serving Senator, and his record as a Justice, you have a hard case to make there.

      "Will you at least admit that the concept of separation of "church and state" was one wholeheartedly supported by the KKK, precisely because they were paranoid about the influence of Catholics in government? Will you admit that these words appeared in the initiation oath of the Klan before it appeared in case law?"

      I guess you're opposed to free speech and a free press, because those appeared in the Klan oath too. free public schools, just laws, and liberty are on your down list as well I guess.

      Given that the oath you cite came from the second Klan, which was founded in the twentieth century, Reynolds predates it.

      "You know, maybe if some of the non-KKK justices had written the majority opinion, they wouldn't have slipped part of the KKK creed in there."

      And you still haven't explained what part of Everson is wrong. All the portions you opined on you said were correct.

      Delete
    10. "You're not so humble yourself. You're quite arrogant."

      Interesting. Having actual knowledge on a subject and using that knowledge is "arrogant". Have I presumed to tell you the ins and outs of your job?

      My assessment of Christians is based upon frequent contact with members of the faith. Most have more hubris and pride than non-Christians.

      Delete
    11. "I know that they voted to allow the Catholics to use the buses, but would you at least admit that he had a serious bias?"

      Do you think that Justice Frank Murphy thought that Black had a serious bias? do you think Murphy was somehow tricked into voting for the majority opinion?

      "You know, maybe if some of the non-KKK justices had written the majority opinion, they wouldn't have slipped part of the KKK creed in there."

      When a justice signs on to a decision, they get a copy of the majority opinion before they attach their name to it, and are given the opportunity to offer edits or change their position and vote against the opinion or write their own concurrence in which they explain their disagreement with the majority. Justice Murphy did none of these things. Was Justice Murphy anti-Catholic?

      Delete
  32. It's as if he doesn't know that Hugo Black (who wrote the majority opinion in Everson, that forms the case law) was a KKK member who got another KKK member off. The other KKK member shot a Catholic priest, a crime for which no Southern jury in its time would find fault with. Hugo Black was his attorney.

    And there he was deciding a case concerning Catholics and school buses, ie a question of church and state. No bias there. The KKK were strong supporters of the separation, which might explain how those words ended up in hallowed case law. They got there because a KKK member put them there.

    The KKK wasn't really all that concerned with religious freedom. They were concerned with sticking it to Catholics. The same can be said of today's warriors for separation. If I thought for one moment they were trying to safeguard religious liberty, I might have some sympathy for their arguments. But from what I can see, they're only concerned with keeping the church (and its members!) out of the state, not the state out of the church. They too use the separation doctrine as a weapon against those who believe. It's really their hang-up, and they need to get over it.

    The words "separation of church and state" were not the words debated and voted upon by the founders. They were words unilaterally imposed by a KKK member name Hugo Black.

    Here is a more sane opinion from Chief Justice William Rehnquist, albeit a dissenting one.

    "It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history, but unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson's misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years. Thomas Jefferson was of course in France at the time the constitutional Amendments known as the Bill of Rights were passed by Congress and ratified by the States. His letter to the Danbury Baptist Association was a short note of courtesy, written 14 years after the Amendments were passed by Congress. He would seem to any detached observer as a less than ideal source of contemporary history as to the meaning of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment."

    TRISH

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    1. "And there he was deciding a case concerning Catholics and school buses, ie a question of church and state. No bias there. The KKK were strong supporters of the separation, which might explain how those words ended up in hallowed case law. They got there because a KKK member put them there."

      And somehow, this frothing at the mouth KKK member who had it in for the Catholic church ruled in favor of the use of tax funds to provide school buses for Catholic schools. Oh wait, you haven't read the Everson case, so you didn't know that the case was decided in favor of the Catholic schools. Yeah, they sure were biased against those Catholics. ruling in their favor and all.

      The majority opinion was written by Hugo Black. But it wasn't dependent upon the "wall of separation" language. Since you won't bother to read it, here is the language from the case that you have decided, without reading it, is wrong:

      "The meaning and scope of the First Amendment, preventing establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, in the light of its history and the evils it was designed forever to suppress, have been several times elaborated by the decisions of this Court prior to the application of the First Amendment to the states by the Fourteenth. The broad meaning given the Amendment by these earlier cases has been accepted by this Court in its decisions concerning an individual's religious freedom rendered since the Fourteenth Amendment was interpreted to make the prohibitions of the First applicable to state action abridging religious freedom. There is every reason to give the same application and broad interpretation to the "establishment of religion" clause. "The structure of our government has, for the preservation of civil liberty, rescued the temporal institutions from religious interference. On the other hand, it has secured religious liberty from the invasion of the civil authority."

      The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect "a wall of separation between church and State."


      One might note that the "wall of separation" language was nothing more than a rhetorical flourish. The meat of the decision comes before it. Explain what part of that reasoning you think is not supported by the text of the Constitution.

      The decision in Everson was voted 6-3. But the dissents in the case are very interesting. All of the dissents agree with the majority concerning the meaning of the 1st Amendment. The dissents disagree on the remedy: the dissents would have prohibited public funds from being used to support school busing for Catholic schools. The man you claim had it out for Catholics ruled in favor of allowing the use of public funds for school buses, because the statute was religiously neutral.

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    2. "The KKK wasn't really all that concerned with religious freedom. They were concerned with sticking it to Catholics. The same can be said of today's warriors for separation. If I thought for one moment they were trying to safeguard religious liberty, I might have some sympathy for their arguments. But from what I can see, they're only concerned with keeping the church (and its members!) out of the state, not the state out of the church."

      I guess you missed all the cases in which the ACLU has fought in favor of religious expression. But since you haven't bothered to read much of anything, that's not surprising.

      "The words "separation of church and state" were not the words debated and voted upon by the founders. They were words unilaterally imposed by a KKK member name Hugo Black."

      "Unilaterally" is an interesting way to describe something that nine justices voted in favor of. Twice. (The Reynolds case was also decided 9-0, eight justices signing on to the majority with one concurring opinion).

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    3. "It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history, but unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson's misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years."

      As Rehnquist notes, Jefferson's material was a metaphor. What Rehnquist doesn't say, and which is why he is in the dissent and not the majority, is that Black's opinion isn't dependent upon the metaphor. That "wall of separation" language has become shorthand for the extensive argument made in Black's opinion, but the truth is Black didn't say "Jefferson wrote this letter saying 'wall of separation' and that's the rule." He wrote a lengthy argument with the Establishment clause as its foundation and used Jefferson's letter as an extra bit of flair.

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    4. "...Black's opinion isn't dependent upon the metaphor."

      Great. So the separation, as a legal concept, is pretty much meaningless. I'll be sure to tell some angry atheist that next time I'm in an argument with them. And if they don't like it, I'll just cite this guy named "Anonymous" on the Egnorance blog. Unless you feel like providing some credentials.

      CARLITO

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    5. "So the separation, as a legal concept, is pretty much meaningless. I'll be sure to tell some angry atheist that next time I'm in an argument with them."

      The phrase is used as shorthand for this:

      "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa."

      This is what separation as a legal concept means.

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  33. More from Rehnquist:

    "It seems indisputable from these glimpses of Madison's thinking, as reflected by actions on the floor of the House in 1789, that he saw the Amendment as designed to prohibit the establishment of a national religion, and perhaps to prevent discrimination among sects. He did not see it as requiring neutrality on the part of government between religion and irreligion."

    Exactly.

    TRISH

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    1. Why should we limit our insights into Madison's thinking to his actions during 1789? Perhaps because his actions once he entered office as President demonstrate a more expansive view of the meaning of the clause? You don't suppose Rehnquist could be cherry picking his examples to serve his ideological viewpoint, do you?

      One humorous element here is that you claim not to have time to read cases like the Everson decision, but you apparently have time to hunt through Rehnquist dissents to pick out quotes.

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    2. And one humorous element here is that you think she never reads anything, but in fact she does. She can make intelligent arguments without being a constitutional lawyer.

      But according to you, she's cherry-picking. Let's see, Jefferson wasn't at the convention and the judge lifted his words, out of context, from a Letter to the Danbury Baptists. That's cherry-picking. Citing the words of the actual author of the Constitution is not cherry-picking.

      We've thusfar limited our insights to Jefferson's thinking and the KKK justice who quoted him. Why shouldn't we limit our thinking to the actual author of the Constitution?

      I hope for your sake that you aren't an actual constitutional lawyer. You certainly aren't very convincing in your diatribes. Let me ask you, do you usually insult the members of the jury when you're in court?

      CARLITO

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    3. "Why shouldn't we limit our thinking to the actual author of the Constitution?"

      Sure. Just make sure you don't limit your thinking to the words of Madison in 1789, which is what Rehnquist is doing. Make sure you pay attention to his actions as President, which tell a different story than the one Rehnquist wants to tell.

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  34. I don't think he's a constitutional lawyer either. We could check if he would tell us who he is, but that won't happen.

    If I had a dime for every internet arguer who claimed to be a scientist, Navy SEAL, or foreign policy expert, I'd be a millionaire. The internet is a land of make believe. Isn't that right, Aaron?

    Joe Q. Public

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