published Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Inconsistent indignation

It’s an odd thing.

We hear ceaselessly about the danger of legal costs anytime any governing body anywhere hints that it might stand up to anti-religious zealotry and defend its right to post the Ten Commandments or pray before meetings. (Yes, those are constitutional liberties, and no activist court can change that. With the right case, the current Supreme Court might even restore that commonsense understanding of the First Amendment.)

We are reminded again and again, for instance, that Hamilton County is inviting ever-so-dreadful legal expenses if it doesn’t start censoring and neutering the prayers offered at its meetings to “cleanse” them of references to Jesus Christ. Church-state separation and all that flapdoodle, you know.

Even when no governing body is involved in the religious expression, we hear the same argument: It’ll cost too much to defend it in court. (Remember the mind-numbing assault on student-made Bible verse banners at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School football games a few years back?)

Alas, fickle are the uses of the legal fee argument.

The city of Chattanooga’s potential challenge to Tennessee American Water’s proposed rate increase — an increase that would sustain a valuable, affordable, high-quality service to area residents — easily could entail enormous legal costs. And there’s barely a peep of protest from people who get practically convulsive about legal fees if they involve some official somewhere being caught uttering the name of Christ in a non-profane way.

For purposes of comparison, Chattanooga spent nearly $300,000 two years ago on legal fees in a spat over another proposed water rate hike. But a few years earlier, the Hamilton County Commission spent only one-fourth as much defending its right to post the Ten Commandments.

One action commendably attempted to uphold constitutional principles. The other was at least in part an indirect reflection of the desire by some city officials to take over the water company — for no good reason.

Which was money more frivolously spent?

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The lesson I get from this editorial we should give in completely to corporate whims, but must fight to the death to foster religious expression through government authority.

Actually, I understand you're trying to find an hypocrisy, but the problem is your little mind, that can't tell the difference. Fighting for what's right may be costly, but not fighting for far more expensive.

And no, it's not right to use government power to foster your religious sensibilities.

June 23, 2012 at 12:12 a.m.
acerigger said...

"all that's flapdoodle, you know."lmao

June 23, 2012 at 1:30 a.m.
fairmon said...

The words separation of church and state are not in the constitution. It does say the federal government will not impose, meaning require, people to practice any particular religion. To understand the intent of the constitution addressing this issue requires understanding what they were trying to avoid from whence they come. It may be worthwhile to understand the real motive of those objecting.

June 23, 2012 at 8:38 a.m.
conservative said...

The WRONG side of this paper wrote and some seethin heathens commented recently that someone ending a prayer "in Jesus name" at a public hearing was/is an establishment of religion!

Is this a lack of intelligence or just blind hatred for Christianity?

June 23, 2012 at 9:15 a.m.
librul said...

The valid concerns about the local blowhards using their taxpayer-funded government jobs and venue as a platform to express xtian doctrine and their continued arrogant abuse of the laws they pledged to obey, will doubtless be upheld in court.

Xtian extremists who abuse and deny our laws, from the secular US Constitution on down, are despicable. And they are a pernicious invading force in all the arms of our government that threaten to bring it to its knees.

HOWEVER, unbeknownst to the vast majority of American citizens, the United States military machine is being converted into an xtian missionary force. Mega-churches are being built on military bases. Coercion is rampant for young military personnel to join xtian organizations. Those who refuse are mercilessly harrassed. Military chaplains (overwhelmingly evangelical xtians) consider their jobs to xtianize our military into "god's army". It really puts the repeated cases of massacre of Muslim families in a new perspective when one considers that xtianized soldiers convinced of their "real" mission would place their hatred of innocent people solely on religious grounds above their orders and their military mission.

This video shows the extent to which the American military, in all branches, is being corrupted by xtian religious zealots and how private religious organizations are being INVITED onto military bases to evangelize soldiers. It's UNBELIEVABLE! Our country has made many mistakes through the years, but if this is allowed to continue, we are toast.

June 23, 2012 at 9:17 a.m.
librul said...

Oh, and Mr. or Ms. editor, the County Commission has no "right" to post the decalogue in a government building. Read the decision of the court.

June 23, 2012 at 9:52 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

The WRONG side of this paper wrote and some seethin heathens commented recently that someone ending a prayer "in Jesus name" at a public hearing was/is an establishment of religion!

It is if the someone is a government official acting in an official capacity.

June 23, 2012 at 10:06 a.m.
conservative said...

Told you! Told you!

June 23, 2012 at 10:17 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Told us what, conservative?

June 23, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Regarding the evangelization that is taking place in the military: How can anyone other than an irrational and despicable evangelical himself not be concerned about this? It is not only an egregious violation of the Constitution but the worst form of government sanctioned brainwashing. While the evangelicals are no doubt shouting hallelujah that such proselytizing is taking place, the rest of us should be VERY concerned.

Librul, I think this nation is already toast. Our government long ago sold its soul to the highest bidders and the tea-party faction that has usurped it has managed to convince too many of the mindless masses that greed is good. And now we are well along the path of turning our soldiers into not only warriors for the state but warriors for God. The nefarious forces already in play are too overwhelming to turn around or even slow down. Most likely, The scenarios will simply have to play out and bring us to our inevitable pathetic downfall. One can only hope that something better will arise from the ashes.

June 23, 2012 at 12:10 p.m.
Easy123 said...


It is an establishment of religion.

June 23, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.
stevedj_98 said...

From the website of the Chaplain's Office of the US Senate:

"Throughout the years, the United States Senate has honored the historic separation of Church and State, but not the separation of God and State....During the past two hundred and seven years, all sessions of the Senate have been opened with prayer, strongly affirming the Senate's faith in God as Sovereign Lord of our Nation."

The prayers opening both the Senate and the House freely mention "God" but never seem to mention "Jesus."

June 23, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.
librul said...

Haven't listened to the opening prayers, er, Baptist church services, in the Tennessee legislature lately, have you?

June 23, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.

Rickaroo, don't worry, the Wiccans got their grave-marker with no opposition at all, everybody was supportive...

Oh wait, they weren't.

As for Legislative prayers, at least they're adults...and sometimes they even have non-Christian prayers. And nobody protested Keith Ellison...oh wait, they did, despite such religious tests being explicitly forbidden in the Constitution.

But here's a prayer from Minnesota:


June 23, 2012 at 7:53 p.m.
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