Monday, August 07, 2006

Louisiana parish tells ACLU to get lost

From NOLA:
Alarmed by newspaper reports that a hurricane memorial in St. Bernard Parish will feature a cross bearing a likeness of the face of Jesus, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is reminding parish officials of the Constitution's separation of church and state.

Never one to back down, Parish President Henry "Junior" Rodriguez has a simple reply: "They can kiss my ass."
I absolutely love it when the ACLU is told to "kiss my a$$!" To be fair, though, I do find it ironic that the sentiment seems to be "We love Jesus, and if you don't, then kiss our a$$." His retort, while appropriate for the the point it makes, is inappropriate in trying to defend a Christian religious symbol, wouldn't you say?

This part is quite interesting:
In a July 28 letter to Rodriguez and other officials, Louisiana ACLU Executive Director Joe Cook said that the government promotion of a patently religious symbol on a public waterway is a violation of the Constitution's First Amendment, which prohibits government from advancing a religion.

Rodriguez did not say whether he has responded to Cook's letter, but in an interview, he said he sees nothing improper about the memorial, which will be mounted near the shoreline of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet at Shell Beach. The cross and accompanying monument listing the names of the 129 parish residents who died in Hurricane Katrina are earmarked for what the parish says is private land and are being financed with donations, Rodriguez said.
A couple of observations:

1. The First Amendment does not "prohibit government from advancing a religion." It states that Congress shall not establish a national religion or prohibit the exercise of religion. Congress is not involved in this La. monument.

2. The land is private. The funds are private donations. And the ACLU, an organization whose founder was an avowed communist, wants to lecture anyone on free speech and property rights?

3. The ACLU references a public waterway, but the Parish says the land is private. If the waterway is public but the adjacent land on which the memorial is to be built is private, then does the ACLU even have an argument here? What, is there a fear that someone boating down the public waterway might catch a glimpse at someone's private land and get mortified? Is this that "First Amendment right not to be offended" that the ACLU keeps bringing up, that nobody can seem to find anywhere in that Constitution thingee they pretend to love and defend?

This isn't a Judge Roy Moore and Ten Commandments in a courtroom thing. I'm no legal expert, so it is quite possible that the Parish simply saying "Yeah, a memorial is a good idea, so let's let the private sector build, fund, and volunteer for this" is unconstitutional. However, considering the ACLU's shameless record defending pedophilia, theft, and terrorism, I am reflexively inclined to dismiss their arguments on face value.

By the way, Stop the ACLU has a great post on the subject, too.