Thursday, June 03, 2004

religious freedom

According to a US district judge, it's OK for a school to require children to pray in school after all. Apparently, this is not in contradiction with previous Supreme Court rulings, because those rulings only applied to Christian prayers.
In the three-week course, Excelsior teacher Brooke Carlin had students assume Islamic names, recite prayers in class, memorize and recite verses from the Quran, and had them simulate Ramadan fasting by going without something for a day.
The judge ruled that the program is
devoid of "any devotional or religious intent," and as therefore educational, not religious in nature.
But of course, she's an idiot. Could they require Muslim and Jewish kids to eat barbecue pork in order to enhance their understanding of Polynesian culture if there were no religious intent? Could they require the kids to copulate (with condoms, of course) as part of their sex education, but since the activity is "devoid of any procreational intent" it isn't really sex? Could they require any kid to recite any Christian prayers?

Be honest, now. If some school in Texas were to start a program where they required kids to engage in Christian rituals and ceremonies and prayers for three weeks and used this very same defense, where would the ACLU be? The grotesque double standard here is beyond the pale.

And lets be clear here, this isn't a matter of merely allowing religion into the schools, it's a matter of forcing children to engage in practices that may offend their conscience. Even the most radical Christians, those who want prayer in school and who want "under God" in the Oath of Allegiance, don't want anyone required to say them. They don't want to force anyone to engage in Christian rituals.

But this judge has decided that you can force Christians to violate their faith in a way that would never be tolerated (and rightly so) in the reverse. This ruling displays nothing but utter contempt for the Bill of Rights, for Christians, and for the freedom of conscience. It is the ruling of an arrogant despot who thinks her religious views should rightfully trump all others, and is pleased to use the power of the government to enforce it. It is grotesque.

Yet this psychotic double standard is not unusual for the despotic courts of this nation. There are many examples of courts enforcing rights to a bizarre extent in one direction while failing to enforce them at all in more important situations.
Freedom of religion means that non-Christians should not be subjected to the horror of seeing any Christian symbol on government property, but it doesn't leave a church free to remove members who disagree with their doctrines.

The freedom of speech covers commercial pornography even when it is on the Internet and freely available to any bright eight year old, yet freedom of speech doesn't cover political speech, the type of speech that is it supposed to cover, when (cue ominous music) money is involved.

Freedom of speech is so sacrosanct that it even covers specific modes of speech like flag burning, but it doesn't cover Christians standing outside of an abortion clinic, gently offering alternatives to the women who go in.

The invented right to privacy allows you to kill your unborn children and engage in sexual practices that spread deadly diseases, but it mysteriously doesn't give you the right to abuse recreational drugs in the privacy of your own home.

Police can't use a bag of crack for evidence against you if they pull it out of your trash can without a warrant, but they can take your house away from you if they suspect you were selling drugs from it.

Police can't use an outright confession if you weren't entirely clear on all your rights, but they can stop you, humiliate you by patting you down, put you in handcuffs, and hold you for an hour just because you look suspicious.

In most cases, all of the due-process rights are construed to give criminals ridiculous advantages in court, but they don't protect someone from having their house condemned and taken away by the city council and given to a developer to build a mall.
Sometimes I think that Congress should impeach and remove every federal judge on the bench, invalidate all precedent, and just start over.

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