Jay, you were certainly right to support a student’s right to wear a rosary in spite of a public school’s “anti gang symbol” policy–and indeed to challenge the facial constitutionality of the school’s fundamentally flawed approach to restricting First Amendment rights of students. My position on this was sufficiently “odd” that I notice that the conservative Washington Times newspaper did a feature piece on it.
Curiously, though, this incident is symptomatic of many Americans’ failure to look at root causes of problems while trying to locate cheap (and often unconstitutional) pseudo-solutions. Other schools with gang problems have tried to bar all blue and red clothing (Crips and Bloods “colors”) but then found that actual gang members substituted different colors or established new symbols.
I would place into the same “simple” category efforts by Religious Right advocates who seek to return some form of government-endorsed prayer or other religious activities to public schools. These are people like David Barton who find no problems with religiously focused activities at assemblies or official student-led prayers at graduations, pep rallies and athletic events. The argument usually runs like this: statistically, we had fewer out of wedlock births in 1945 than in 2005 and since we had prayer in schools in 1945, we should return prayer to prevent pregnancies.
This country needs to accept the truth of H.L.Mencken’s famous comment: “There is always any easy solution to every problem- neat, plausible and wrong”