Beliefnet
Lynn v. Sekulow

In my view, there is an inherent flaw in all of these religious holiday display cases ever since the Supreme Court allowed the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island to put up as part of its “official” display a Nativity scene along with secular symbols including Santa, reindeer, and the ever popular Yuletide “blue bears”.  According to a majority of the court this mix did not give passerbys the impression that the city was officially embracing religion.  Instead, the court should have told Pawtucket to lay off the religious references and been done with it.  Of course, since the “establishment clause” doesn’t prohibit cities from promoting secular ideas it could have lured the shopping public downtown with Santa and his elves and reindeer.  (Purist alert: I am really not losing sleep over the fact that Santa may be related to Saint Nicholas.)  Just as obviously, cities should not be allowed to promote any sectarian ideas or icons.  (The manger scene is one; the Decalogue is another.)

In Olympia, Washington, the Governor did what she is required to do under an agreement with your friends, Jay, over at the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).  Last year ADF lawyers demanded that a client be allowed to put up a Nativity scene in the capitol building because the state was already displaying a menorah.  Rather than just removing the menorah, the state agreed to allow pretty much anybody to put up his or her favorite seasonal message.  Thus, the ADF has achieved the result of preserving atheist rights this year by clearing the path to the “religion is a myth” solstice signage that is so upsetting to some in Washington state.  (What happened to their old argument: if you don’t like a cross, or a creche, just “look away”?)

In regard to Pleasant Valley, I would refer back to my earlier posts on this matter.  If the Ten Commandments monument is in fact “government speech” then it violates the core constitutional principle that government cannot endorse a particular religious viewpoint.

I simply don’t want to have to walk around everybody’s religious and political paraphernalia when I want to visit any state capitol building.   States don’t have to open all their facilities to everybody’s “speech” and they shouldn’t.

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