In the past two days (and just in time for Christmas), two of the nation's most influential editorial pages have weighed in on "public square" controversy brewing in Pleasant Grove, Utah--hardly a hotbed of social activism. All I can say is get ready for the day when your Christian Creche will be "balanced" by the atheists' singing Kansas' All we are is Dust in the Wind right next door.
The crux of the controversy in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum is that some ACLU lawyers, in order to make a name for themselves, dared a few members of some new-aged-Star-Trek-pseudo-religion to file a complaint against Pleasant Grove in order to have its teachings displayed on the grounds of Pioneer Park. Sounds funny, but let there be no doubt. Ultimately, this case is about one thing and one thing only--universal removal of religious monuments from the public square. It's not about "tolerance" or "inclusion." If it were, the attorneys would not have chosen so peculiar a plaintiff. After all, I highly doubt that there is a massive groundswell of support for this group's teachings to be placed in the park. The lawyers are simply trying to make a point. It was not long ago that the Supreme Court began its open hostility to religion (read Christianity) and it is being waged intensely under our noses.
It's interesting (but unsurprising) to note the divergent positions taken by these two papers. The NY Times frames the issue thusly:
Aha! The last line reveals their true intentions. The WSJ, however, has a different view:
The real problem is that Pleasant Grove City elevated one religion, traditional Christianity, over another, Summum...There is no shortage of churches, synagogues and private parcels of land where the Ten Commandments could be displayed without the need to include the credos of alternative faiths. Public property like Pioneer Park must be open to all religions on an equal basis — or open to none at all.
With the election of Barack Obama you can expect that the left wing radicals will be emboldened on every front. It's time to defend our traditions and our culture. It's time to push back the liberal hoards.
The common-sense argument against Summum's claim, which the U.S. Solicitor General made to the Supreme Court, was that it would cause a clutter of public monuments. If a city let private donors contribute a memorial to local boys who died in the Iraq war, would it have to accept another group's monument to pacifism? As Chief Justice Roberts asked yesterday, "Do we have to put any president who wants to be on Mt. Rushmore?"(As of now, perhaps.)...This is the sort of case that cries out for the judicial wisdom of Solomon, long dead in the U.S. Indeed it was the departure from common-sense wisdom that pitched the country into endless legal thickets