Sunday, November 10, 2013

Freedom From Religion Still Far Out of Reach

Forced public prayer at government meetings and events is a ubiquitous abomination in Kentucky.  And I say forced because failing to stand up, clasp your hands, bow your head and join in the closing "Amen" immediately singles you out as not just an atheist, not just a troublemaker, not just a clear threat to the community, but also as inexcusably rude, lacking the basic manners to pretend to belief so as not to offend your xian neighbors.

In Shelbyville, a suburb of Louisville with pretensions of cosmopolitanism, a local atheist couple have drawn personal attacks on themselves by daring to challenge the opening prayer at the city council meeting.  When their initial polite request that the unconstitutional prayers stop was rejected, they started recording the prayer at each meeting. So the council instituted two insulting changes:

- prayers are now made to an un-named invisible sky wizard, as if failing to utter the name of babby jeebus fools anybody, and

- pasting the following meaningless disclaimer at the bottom of meeting agendas:

Any invocation that may be offered (as if it is accidental and a surprise, rather than automatic) before the official start of the Council meeting (as if it is not listed on the agenda as Invocation, right AFTER the Call to Order, making it an official part of the meeting), shall be the voluntary offering of a private citizen, to and for the benefit of the Council. (Not true, as it is listed on the agenda as part of the meeting.) The views or beliefs expressed by the invocation speaker have not been previously reviewed or approved by the Council and do not necessarily represent the religious beliefs or views of the Council in part or as a whole. (Another LIE. Everybody who thinks a Pastafarian could stand up and offer the touch of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's Noodly Appendange without getting arrested, stand on your head.) No member of the community is required to attend or participate in the invocation (technically not false but irrelevant, as noted above) and such decision will have no impact on their right to actively participate in the business of the Council. (It will, however, eliminate any chance of your petition being heard with respect or considered impartially.) Copies of the policy governing invocations and setting forth the procedure to have a volunteer deliver an invocation are available upon written request submitted to the Clerk of the City of Shelbyville.
Which bullshit is completely beside the point, which is that any prayer or religious invocation of any kind at a government meeting or event is a blatant, obvious and egregious violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, to wit:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ....
Your right to practice your religion ends where my right to not have your religion poison my government starts.

If by some bizarre fluke the U.S. Supremely Conservatard Court upholds the Establishment Clause in this case, you can expect the freakazoids in the god-bothering states to reject it out of hand and fight like rabid ferrets to force public prayer down the throats of everyone who dares to step foot out of their own homes.

It'll make the backlash against Brown v. Board of Education look like a petition drive.

No comments: