maule at LAW.VILLANOVA.EDU
Fri Dec 8 16:40:35 PST 2000
>>> michsch at REGENT.EDU 12/08/00 12:30PM >>> writes
All of these posts confirm that our EC jurisprudence must eventually result
in a naked public square, to use Fr. Neuhaus' phrase. The fact is that our
cultural symbols are often mythical and mystical and religious. We have
apparently decided that Western civilization is irrelevant to western
Although Jesus was kicked out of the public square long ago, now I suppose
we should say so long to Los Angeles, St. Paul, and St. Petersburg; and to
all mythology, to Santa, and to Moses and his offensive tablets, too. What
I am gathering from this discussion is that symbols are okay in the public
square as long as they have no religious relevance to any person. The result
is a pretty boring culture-- and wait until public performances of Bach,
Haydn, Handel, and Vaughan Williams are banned.
Playing Devil's advocate for a moment.... Is there some sort of standard in applying or interpreting the First Amendment that imposes an obligation on anyone (government or otherwise) to make life other than boring? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to steal from another document, doesn't necessarily need to be "non-boring."
Continuing as Devil's advocate.... Defining "boring" (if it were to be a standard) is about as elusive as defining obscenity.
Continuing as Devil's advocate (from another direction).... If it is true, and I think Mike Schutt is correct, that removing all things that are religiously relevant from the public square leaves not much of anything (boring or otherwise), perhaps it indicates the significance of religion and perhaps the sensibility of considering the impact of its marginalization in a secular society. Why can't the public square be a buffet of displays? Aside from the issue of how active or passive a government must be to find itself "establishing" a religion, so long as no preference is shown, where is the harm?
Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
Villanova PA 19085
maule at law.villanova.edu
President, TaxJEM Inc (computer assisted tax law instruction) (www.taxjem.com)
Publisher, JEMBook Publishing Co. (www.jembook.com)
Maule Family Archivist & Genealogist (www.maulefamily.com)
More information about the Religionlaw