Catalyst April Issue 2003
Despite all the talk about how religious Americans have become since 9-11, anti-religious fanatics abound these days. Here are three fast examples.
It is hardly surprising to learn that the logo for a city in New Mexico by the name Las Cruces, which means “the crosses,” features—you guessed it—multiple crosses. But to the good-humored folks at the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, this is an abomination. So they’ve sued. The complaint? The logo means the state is promoting religion. If so, it certainly hasn’t had any effect on Americans United.
The educrats at Varela High School in Florida have no problem with pictures of most student clubs appearing in the school’s yearbook. The Animal Rights Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance Club are perfectly welcome to submit pictures of their members. But not the Choose Life Bible Club. That would be unconstitutional—it might suggest the school is promoting religion. That the school might be promoting sodomy is one thing, but it is quite another to go so far as to promote religion. There are times when a man, or even a transgendered type, needs to draw a line in the sand. High Noon has arrived.
What makes this case so interesting is the comment made by the principal: he said the term “Choose Life” might offend students who support abortion. He is, of course, correct. But what apparently escaped him was a compromise—the offended students should be free to adopt signs saying, “Choose Death”; then everyone could be happy. In any event, the ever-sensitive principal folded when threatened with a lawsuit.
Then there was the unassuming dentist from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, who got himself a fast lesson on what the First Amendment will not tolerate these days. All he wanted to do was pay for an advertisement on a local National Public Radio (NPR) station saying, “Gently Restoring the Health God Created.” When the free speech advocates at NPR heard this, they went nuts. “God.” That was it. The word “God.” Now, had the dentist decided to use the name of God in vain, he no doubt would have been defended for exercising freedom of expression.
If you think it’s hard to write this stuff without being cynical, you’re right.