Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Supreme Court v. America

For years, I have wondered whether the Supreme Court of the United States were still worthy of the monicker "the highest court in the land," or whether that monicker should be changed to "repository of national legal stupidity." In the wake of yesterday's twin rulings on the issue of the Ten Commandments being displayed in public grounds, the Court has confirmed what millions of Americans already knew: The Court's historically recent doctrine of a complete separation of religion from public life is so convoluted that it cannot be defined. The U.S. is such a historically Christian society that references to the Almighty simply cannot be completely removed from the public square.

In Van Orden v. Perry the Court ruled that the display of the Ten Commandments at the Texas Capitol is okay, because it served to honor the legal tradition of the nation and the State of Texas and served no overtly religious purpose. One thing I agree with the ACLU about is that the notion that the Ten Commandments can serve any other purpose but a religious one is patently ridiculous. Our agreement on this issue, however, ends there.

The Court contradicted itself, however, in McCreary County v. ACLU, a Kentucky case where McCreary County (and one other county of the Commonwealth) was sued directly by the jihadists at the ACLU because of their Commandments display. In this case, the Court attempted to utilize the Lemon test of a "compelling secular legislative purpose." The Court proceeded to rule that McCreary County et. al. did not have a secular legislative purpose, and therefore did not pass what five of our robed gods deemed to be constitutional muster.

Since the decision in both cases was 5-4, what the Court has really signaled to both the legal world and the nation is this: "We screwed up on this whole separation of church and state thing. We have now created a huge legal hole in a largely Christian society that we know can't be filled by ordinary law as it is now written, since that law is based on a tradition we or our predecessors have deemed unconstitutional. We can't decide what is right, therefore, we will never be able to decide. We have screwed ourselves into a hole." The Court has opened the door for a long and protracted battle in the culture war to be played out in the federal courts, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and extending to public prayer, abortion, and a whole host of issues. In making two seemingly contradictory statements about the same issue on the very same day, the Court has told the nation it cannot decide the question. That means the battle will continue to play out in the federal court system, possibly for decades to come.

If there is one reason why I am glad I voted for George W. Bush, this is it. I know that he, and by extension, conservatives in general, will at least have some say in who the next Supreme Court Chief Justice is. I think we can count on it being a person of real integrity, someone who will turn the Court around.

As for how counties all over America should react to yesterday's ruling: Leave your Ten Commandments displays up! Frankly, the American people, each in their separate sovereign states, should have the final say over the display of the Ten Commandments on public property. Whatever the Supreme Court may say, it is none of their business, nor is it the business of anyone in Washington, whether McCreary County, Kentucky, or the State of Texas, or Adams County, Ohio, or anyone else has or does not have the Ten Commandments in a public place in their counties and towns. The Supreme Court had best learn to keep its grubby hands off of our sovereign local affairs, they are none of the justices' business.

Hell is where the Supreme Court of the United States is aiming for. Local communities ought to simply tell them to go there.


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