I know you are happy about the verdict in the Teen Challenge case. Frankly, I have never been convinced this case was really about religious discrimination. It always seemed to me to be one more sad example of the NIMBY principle (as in “NOT IN MY BACK YARD”) often applied by communities to the location of any kind of facilities for ex-offenders or substance abusers.
The jury verdict though does point out that there are real costs to violating the rights of others. Americans United wins a lot of cases and we sometimes receive attorneys’ fees when courts find that our clients’ civil rights have been violated. Indeed, quite appropriately, the Civil Rights Act provides for such awards, in addition to the return of court costs. Believe it or not, however, some members of Congress have actually proposed that such awards not be permitted in religious liberty cases. They were upset because we or the ACLU (or both of us) prevailed in cases like the Dover, Pennsylvania “intelligent design” case a few years back. Please assure me that you will let those members of Congress (all alleged conservatives) know that it is important to teach any and all government entities that violate fundamental rights that the piper will come to collect. OK?
Now, onto another form of discrimination and its close cousin, racism. I’m sure by now that you have heard of an ugly incident that occurred at this weekend’s Family Research Council’s “Values Voter” Conference in Washington. As reported by Christianity Today
‘s Sarah Pulliam, an officially sanctioned vendor at the conference was selling boxes of “Obama Waffles”.
These boxes contained an offensive caricature of Obama on the cover and then added insult to injury by including a second drawing of Obama in Muslim-like headgear with the message “Point toward Mecca for tastier waffles”. Several atheists attending the conference started sending reporters (some with camera crews) to the booth, eventually prompting FRC bigwigs to shut it down. FRC spokespersons lamely attempted to explain that they just couldn’t possibly have known what everybody was selling. Please. Spare me.
The vendor himself told the press the “waffle boxes” were “selling like hotcakes” (very funny). Wouldn’t you think that the FRC would be a little “inquisitive” about any product with a picture of a candidate they know most attendees don’t like on it? After all, this was the product to lure people to the booth. This was not some passage in a 300 page book which happened to be on sale at the back of an exhibit.
I had suggested about a week ago that the McCain-Palin team should skip this event. They did. I said one reason to do was the often bizarre things which are said and done at these conferences. I’m sure that the Republican candidates didn’t make their decision based on my blog. I’m also sure that the FRC is really angry that neither one of them showed up, although they put up a good front on that one too.
Here’s the rub, Jay. If any group is going to have the hubris to announce that it is holding THE event for voters with “values”, it had better be purer than the driven snow itself. The snow was looking a little discolored again this year.