Friday, January 14, 2005

My own Inauguration prayer

FoxNews: "In court, Newdow argued that the prayers violate the constitutional ban on the establishment of religion.

'I am going to be standing there having this imposed on me,' Newdow told the court by phone on Thursday. 'They will be telling me I'm an outsider at that particular moment.'"

So that's the standard, is it? In government functions, nobody may say anything that offends even the most easily offended among us? Well, I'm offended when the government takes part of my paycheck for its Ponzi scheme called Social Security. I'm offended when kids in public schools are told that it is wrong to believe that they have the truth or that some people do not, or when they are subjected to fellow students cross-dressing on Gender Bender Day. I'm offended when an English teacher throws out classics of English and American literature in favor of politically correct tripe that will be soon forgotten. I'm offended that Christians are charged with multiple felonies for the heinous crime of praying on public property within proximity of a gay pride event.

But what should I expect? If there is no transcendent Lawgiver, as Newdow maintains, then rights are given by the state instead. What the state may give, it may take away, or give only to some. Who gets rights? It boils down to might makes right: more crudely the use of force, or in its more sophisticated form the ideological predelictions of a judge. (Litigation, to paraphrase von Clausewitz, can be seen as combat carried on by other means). It doesn't matter that Newdow has been shown to be a liar in his past complaints of being offended, because the end justifies the means as well.

What is troubling is not that a lone crank is attempting to force his atheist fundamentalist views upon the whole country, but that extremists like Newdow have learned that they can lose 99 of 100 cases and still advance their agenda. I don't see how civil rights can be consistently maintained without consensus on the principles that underlie them, or when judges become infected with a PC class struggle view of society as a Balkanized collection of competing interest and identity groups, as seen when judges allow the "right" of extremists to not be offended to trump the free expression of the many. So as the Inauguration approaches, I pray: Lord, preserve us from unprincipled zealots!