Saturday, January 08, 2005

Privatizing First Amendment Violations

I would be remiss if I did not comment on a recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the Ten Commandments monument in a city park. As many of you may know, there have been many court cases about the propriety of placing monuments of the Decalogue in public places. Simply put, the monuments are religious icons. They include many secular commandments, but also have many religious instructions, including the Commandment that there is only one God, Remember the Sabbath, and not to build any "graven images." There has really been no question about the religious nature of these monuments that were distributed as a publicity stunt for the Ten Commandments movie years ago.

The interesting "twist" on the La Crosse Case which was recently decided by the 7th Circuit is their decision that it is permissible for a municipality, when faced with the prospect of litigation, to decide to simply sell the postage-stamp sized land around the illegal monument to a private entity, in this case the Eagles, in order to keep the monument right in the park. In other words, to AVOID the First Amendment protections against establishment of religion, the courts have given permission to the City of La Crosse to PRIVATIZE the transgression. They were given the right to tear up the local park with multiple metal fences, all in the City Council proclaimed goal of "keeping the monument right where it was."

Further irony of this sham of a case, is that the City agreed to place the monument months before an oft-referred to rainfall, and since during the placement of the monument, a reference was made to the "flood-workers", this somehow made the monument "kosher" for Constitutional purposes. Honestly, THIS is the convoluted logic flowing through our Courts.

Since when is it more logical to sell off the public lands to private individuals when those lands are right in a city park, in order that the majority religion can avoid legal requirements to prevent them from establishing religion right in the public space?

Would it have been o.k. for the city of Montgomery, Alabama, when faced with the problem of African-Americans demanding to sit in the front of the bus, to simply lease out that space to the Ku Klux Klan, and point out that it was now private space and they were very sorry, but they couldn't help out with the seating arrangements?

Would it have been o.k. for then Governor George Wallace when faced with the law that he had to integrate, to simply SELL the University to a private owner, preferably a religious owner today, so that he would not have to comply with the laws requiring integration?

Of course not.

This OUTRAGEOUS decision must be overturned. It is only common sense that when the City violates public law and places illegal monuments within the public space that the solution is to REMOVE THOSE TRANSGRESSIONS and NOT TO SELL THE PUBLIC LAND RIGHT FROM UNDER THE PUBLIC. Am I shouting loud enough?

What does this have to do with John Kerry? EVERYTHING. We are faced with a Presidency intent on imposing its reactionary views of the world down the throats of all of us. Judicial appointments do make a difference. We need Judges that believe that the Bill of Rights is meaningful and not a joke.

We need a President that believes that torture is an atrocity that must be revealed to Congress, AS JOHN KERRY DID WHEN HE TESTIFIED TO THE ATROCITIES OF VIETNAM, and not just something we try to implement and get away with it because technically some "quaint" anti-torture law like the Geneva Conventions doesn't really apply in this particular set of circumstances.

John Kerry our Constitution is crying to you. Pull us all from the water of intolerance, disrespect, and immorality. America needs you more than ever!



Post a Comment

<< Home