ORDINARILY I TRY TO STAY away from pissing matches, because — check it out — it keeps piss off your shoes. But still — again, check it out — someone is WRONG on the Internet.
Michael Z. Williamson engages in serial fallacy and that is some shit with which we cannot up put.
If a town uses public money (taxpayers) to put a religious display up at the holidays, it violates the First Amendment. The Courts have repeatedly said so, so no cry of, “Well, that’s YOUR opinion!” enters into it. I don’t want my tax money being used for any religious purpose, and I’m quite sure many religious people don’t want to endorse other religions thereby. You could argue that as long as EVERYONE in town agrees, it’s okay, but what happens to the one person who isn’t happy? Of course, no one would single them out for harassment, right?
No. No. And No. Read the text.
First off, the First Amendment is a limit placed on Congress, and no other entity. It is the only one of the Amendments making up the Bill of Rights that does so. All of the others assert absolute and universal proscriptions on behavior that limits or infringes individual rights. Universal. No actor may infringe — public or private. A property owner may deny you access, but if he does so because you choose to go armed, he is violating your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and — as the actual text says — the right “shall not be infringed.” Not by Congress, or the States, or your city government, or your neighbor.
But the First Amendment starts out — STARTS OUT — “Congress shall make no law…” How stupid do you have to be to miss that part?
And, as I like to say, nowhere in there is the phrase “separation of church and state”. However, there is a phrase, “…or free exercise thereof.” Congress, being the sole legislative authority at the Federal level is enjoined from limiting the free exercise of religion. Funny how people keep missing that.
And, bitch, please: DO NOT try this “The courts have said so, thus it is engraven in stone.” That’s so stupid as to be the dictionary illustration of risible. Case law cannot trump the actual text of the law. If a law is wrong, it goes back to the legislature (elected by popular vote). Appointed jurists do not get to legislate. Says so right here on the side of the box. And, if you don’t think courts can be wrong, I have two words for you: Dredd Scott.