Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Right to not be offended...

Seems someone is eager to claim the role of Madeline Murray O'Hare. Michael Newdow cannot give up. According to CNN, he has submitted an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court over the planned prayer at the Presidential inauguration.

Is there a right for those of us who see this as the obvious waste of time and money that it is to demand that Newdow pay all governmental expenses in trying this "case" of his? Ugh.

Key text from the CNN.com article:
In an emergency filing, Michael Newdow argued that a prayer at Thursday's ceremony would violate the Constitution by forcing him to accept unwanted religious beliefs.


A prayer at this ceremony would force him to accept unwanted religious beliefs? The prayer is going to hold a gun to his head and demand obeisance? Whatever. There is no "right" to watch the inauguration, and there is no obligation to schedule one that doesn't offend someone. If the prayer bothers him so much, he can just turn off the television. Works for me everytime 60 Minutes comes on.

Listen, the fact that we have guaranteed rights of free speech and free religious expression means people in this country will be offended. It is assumed in the Constitution; there is no way to avoid offending someone if you are going to allow people to spout off whatever they want, or practice whatever religion they want. Offended by what someone else says? By what they believe? Good...that means the Constitution is working.

Some may say that the difference here is the fact that the inauguration is a "governmental" ceremony. Here I'll direct you to the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Prayer at the inauguration is not going to lead to a state-sponsored church. President Bush is not telling people they are second-class citizens for not believing as he does. He is exercising his rights as an American to express the importance of his faith. There is no coercion, no executive mandate that everyone must believe as he does. The First United Church of the U.S. Congress is not going to pop into existence claiming a tithe of our taxes. This is a tradition going back two centuries, and I fail to see an established state church. There is absolutely no Constitutional violation, as I'm sure the courts will point out.

Newdow needs a new hobby. Tilting at these particular windmills is wasting our time, and our tax dollars.

UPDATE (1/19 - 4:15 PM): I corrected the link above, and apologize for the error. Apparently having a degree in Computer Science doesn't guarantee that you will type correctly, and I messed up the link via typo.

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