Public Frescoe of Hecate and the Establishment Clause
robertmw at MINDSPRING.COM
Wed Dec 6 14:17:43 PST 2000
Religions come and go ... and come again. I don't find the fact that a
religion is no longer practiced legally significant to the E.C. question.
Using Will's Hindu icons in the Southern town example, the fact that there
aren't any Hindus now doesn't mean there'll never be tomorrow. And to flip
the idea for purposes of illustration: If a town routinely uses city
property to worship in a Christian-oriented way, but there are no Jews,
Hindus, atheists, agnostics, etc. to complain, does that mean there's no
E.C. problem? The answer should be obvious as it's merely a variation on
whether a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it makes a sound.
No, a religion's current viability ought to have nothing to do with the
At 11:05 AM 12/6/00 -0800, Will Esser wrote:
>--- David Cruz <dcruz at LAW.USC.EDU> wrote:
> > Can someone relieve my ignorance? Are there any
> > religions today that
> > worship/pray to a (three-headed) Hecate? I'm not
> > sure of the proper
> > approach here, but it seems to me that mythical
> > figures, even if once
> > worshipped, stand on different footing than, e.g.,
> > Mary Mother of Jesus.
>The three responses that I've currently received from
>my Hecate post all seem to be saying the same thing:
>There aren't any people who follow this religion or
>pray or worship Hecate anymore, so there isn't any
>establishment clause problem.
>Rather than searching the internet for any single
>person out there who actually does worship Hecate, I'd
>instead pose the following question:
>Does the Establishment Clause only apply to religions
>that have current followers or does it apply across
>the board? The argument would work like this:
>(1) The worship of Hecate was a religion at one time.
>(2) No one worships Hecate anymore.
>(3) Therefore, the depiction of Hecate on a government
>building cannot possibly give the impression of
>"endorsement" of a religion.
>It appears to me that the only way this argument works
>is if you assume premise two; that not one single
>person out there worships Hecate. Otherwise, it's
>just a numbers game.
>For instance, take a small rural town in the South:
>(1) Hinduism is a religion.
>(2) No one in Town X or for 150 miles around is a
>(3) Therefore, depicting Hindu religious symbols on
>the government building cannot possibly give the
>impression of "endorsement" of Hinduism.
>We would all probably reject this second example. And
>I think we have to reject the first because it is
>Will Esser --- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
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