Tags: Yuletide | Silliness

Yuletide Silliness

Monday, 20 December 2004 12:00 AM

In the city of New York, the mayor has lit a holiday tree bereft of angels and all religious symbols. What holiday this tree is supposed to celebrate remains an unexpressed mystery.

Meanwhile our universities, never to be outdone, continue their happy persecution of expressions of religious belief. Now it is the University of Illinois, because of the objections of one student -

We continue apace with the insane assault on expressions of religious faith. We ought to be permitting these things not in spite of the fact that they symbolize religious beliefs to people, but precisely because they are such expressions.

In the interpretations of the Constitution given us by the courts, we are told that the government must not advance religion, favor one religion or denomination over another, or prefer belief over non-belief. It is this interpretation that has given rise to the removal of Christmas trees and the removal of the Ten Commandments from governmental offices, even though they remain in prominent display at the Supreme Court building.

The originator of this interpretation of the Constitution was a Supreme Court justice named Hugo Black. Justice Black was fearful that the pope was about to take over the country and that Catholics would run amok, imposing their religion on one and all. How the pope was going to do this in a country with a clear and substantial majority of Protestants was not made clear.

Justice Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, was simply an anti-Catholic bigot who was imposing the fruits of his own paranoia on the laws of the Republic. Don't take my word for this; read the biography of Hugo Black written by his son.

And so our present lunacy has evolved based on the rantings of a Klansman who could not outgrow his prejudice against Catholics. Such is the basis of our present understanding of the First Amendment regarding religious establishment. And every misstep and blunder including prayer in public schools and everything else follows as a direct result of the hysteria of Justice Black.

Another approach to the question of church and state has been proposed by Anton Scalia, one of the most brilliant legal minds ever to sit on the Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia does not believe that the government of the U.S. is at war with religious belief or with religious believers. In an address given recently, the justice said he believed that those who established our Constitution did not intend for the government to be neutral between religiosity and non-religious, only that the government was to be neutral between various denominations.

Such a position would not interfere with the government deliberately taking action which aided all religions or which aided belief and religiosity over and above non-belief.

It is interesting to note that Justice Scalia delivered this address not in a courthouse or in a law school; he spoke in the synagogue building of the oldest Jewish congregation in the U.S., the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York City.

This congregation was established when Jews fled from Brazil to New Amsterdam, bringing with them their faith and their Sephardic customs.

During the revolution, the spiritual leader of that congregation, Gershom Mendes Seixias, sometimes called the Patriot Rabbi, took a Torah scroll and fled New York City to avoid the British occupation. Later, when President Washington was inaugurated in New York, he was among the clergy who offered prayers at the ceremony.

No one feared that there was a danger of the establishment of a state church because of this open expression of faith and belief. In 1954 this congregation put up a plaque that reads "Three hundred years of faith and freedom." What a perfect location for Mr. Justice Scalia to enunciate what should have been obvious to everyone from the start.

And now, gentle reader, I am going to do something dangerous. I am going to wish openly that all Christians will observe this coming Christmas find in the holiday blessing and spiritual renewal and closeness to God.

Even worse, I am going to extend to all of them my sincere wishes for a very Merry Christmas.

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In the city of New York, the mayor has lit a holiday tree bereft of angels and all religious symbols.What holiday this tree is supposed to celebrate remains an unexpressed mystery. Meanwhile our universities, never to be outdone, continue their happy persecution of...
Yuletide,Silliness
693
2004-00-20
Monday, 20 December 2004 12:00 AM
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