Sunday, June 23, 2019

All the Justices Get Religion Wrong Again

6/23/2019--One secular critic wrote that at least the Supreme Court in The American Legion v. American Humanist Association case did not accept the idea that a cross can stand as a symbol for all the dead, including Jews and other non-Christians and nonbelievers. That idea was the great threat.

The fight over the cross became a substitute for fights over the Pledge of Allegiance. It was as if the cross would be forcing a dead nonbeliever to endorse Christianity.

So, why not just put up symbols that everyone accepts? Because they don't have power.

The great thing about the endorsement test, now on its way out, is that it asked the right question. Is government endorsing religion? If government is endorsing something else, the Constitution is not violated. And the reasonable oberserver is the one to ask.

People don't realize that the reason we are filled with despair and anger is that we no longer have a story that promises peace. Religious stories promise peace. But many of us, and the culture as a whole, no longer accept them. And that is true of the religious people too. They no longer accept their own stories, which is why so many religious people are filled with anger and despair too.

When government uses religious symbols to tell stories of peace, the symbols should be constitutional. And if they are using religious symbols because they are familiar to everybody, that should not be a problem. The reasonable person has to see that the government is not endorsing the sectarian aspect of the religious symbol but its attempted universal message.

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