Don’t get pulled over in Utah unless…

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My husband emailed this link to me at work today.  I read it several times, becoming increasingly frustrated about many of the issues discussed herein.

The complaint that using crosses (or any religious symbols, for that matter) on a roadside to memorialize a death is actually some attempt at subtle, state-sponsored Christian evangelism is smoke and mirrors by atheists.

When a rational person who has lived in America for any length of time sees a cross alongside a road, their first assumption is that someone died at or near that site in some kind of automotive accident.  I don’t believe anyone would see a cross alongside the road and instantly think, “Clearly the government is telling me to repent and be saved!”  I have a hard time believing the atheists themselves think this is the case.

Even more absurd is the 10th Circuit Court’s ruling that seeing these crosses on state roads “may lead the reasonable observer to fear that Christians are likely to receive preferential treatment from the UHP — both in their hiring practices and, more generally, in the treatment that people may expect to receive on Utah’s highways.”

My first thought when I read this was, “this judge can’t possibly be serious.”  Unfortunately, based on the fact that he wrote this into a formal court ruling, it appears that he is.  I wonder how he imagines this would play out?

“Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“I’m not really sure Officer…was I speeding?”
“In fact you were.  55 in a 25.”
“I’m so sorry – I was just on my way to church!”
“In that case, carry on – Christians don’t have to obey the laws in Utah, you know!  Just look at those crosses on the side of the highway – that should make it obvious!”

Try again, Judge.
The increasing hostility shown to public expressions of religion in this country – particularly to Christianity – is, I think, based on an incorrect understanding of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.  If we could rouse the Framers from their graves and ask if this is what they expected would become of religion in America when they wrote the Bill of Rights, I bet the answer would be a resounding no.  Perhaps they would remind us that freedom of religion is NOT the same as freedom from religion.

When the government starts limiting access to services or granting privileges to one group over another based solely on religious preference, that is unconstitutional.  Memorializing fallen officers with crosses does none of those things.  Why then the protest?


Religious freedom in Santa Rosa County, FL

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Kudos to the students and administrators of Pace High School in Pace, FL! At the Class of 2009’s graduation ceremonies on 4 June, the entire graduating class stood together and recited the Lord’s Prayer; some even taped crosses to the tops of their graduation caps. This was in defiance of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the ACLU, claiming that school teachers and administrators had “endorsed religion” by allowing students to pray in school.

An ACLU attorney was quoted saying, “Our feeling is that it’s regrettable that the students took over the ceremony to impose their religious views on the audience who may not have shared the same religious views. School officials have a responsibility to protect the silently held religious views of others.” In response, Principal Frank Lay refused to forbid the graduation prayer, even at the risk of his job with the school.

Since when is praying aloud imposing your religious views on someone else? Is the listener harmed simply by virtue of having heard a prayer? Were the non-participating audience members penalized for not praying or believing as the students did?

The ACLU seems to have forgotten that there are two equally important portions of the First Amendment’s establishment clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” By suing the school (on whose behalf, by the way?) it appears that in their attempt to enforce the First Amendment, the ACLU is actually attempting to deny students’ and faculty members’ right to freely exercise their religious belief.

I hope it doesn’t offend anybody to know that I will be praying for Principal Lay and the staff of Pace High School, and thanking God for their moral courage in this situation.