Sunday, December 25, 2005
My kids are now playing with their new Chinese made electronic toys paid for with temporarily overvalued fiat dollars, whose transient worth is almost entirely buttressed by legal tender laws and an imperial foreign policy. (Are the Chinese smart or dumb to accumulate these greenbacks - but that is another topic!). This holiday season has seen the most heated media discussion I have ever witnessed on the use of the term "Christmas" in public and corporate displays, and by logical extension, the right to express religious sentiment of any kind in American public life. This constitutional issue is one of many possible poster children for the constitutional heresies and misconceptions that permeate American life. First, what does the constitution say? The issue is dealt with in the first amendment which simply states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion; or prohibiting the free exercise therof" That is it. Nothing about federal courts saying you can't pray at football games. Nothing about federal courts prohibiting religous groups meeting in public school buildings after hours. Nothing about federal courts prohibiting a state supreme court justice posting the ten commandments at a state building. Most people today forget the constitution only addressed explicit powers granted to the federal government, the ninth and tenth amendments reserved all others to the states and the people. The states were free to say nothing about religion or to establish a state religion if the constitution of the particular state permitted and the people wanted it! For example, Massachusetts could have adopted Zoroastrianism or the Aztec religion with human sacrfice as its state religion. Though perhaps exotic, these ideas are less harmful than many that have emanated from that commonwealth. So how did we get where we are today? Our friend the fourteenth amendment, that illegitimately adopted reconstruction-era abomination! What Justice Souter has called "the most important structural provision since the original framing" was subsequently interpreted to extend the provisions of the bill of rights, and federal judicial oversight thereof, into the states, thus depriving the rights of the citizens of each state the right to frame their own destiny and freely express their own beliefs, religious or otherwise. We now have gotten in a situation in which even some "private" corporations make sure they are politically correct and avoid the mention of christmas. If this truly represented the view of the owners and managers of those companies, that would be no problem. It is impossible to avoid the fact, however, that much of this is the work of company diversity commisars, put in place to make sure the company has an appropriate "diversity" policy, in the hopes that such policies will help protect it from lawsuits or regulatory infractions from federal overseers. How far we have fallen from the liberties the bill of rights was meant to protect!