Unless a federal judge orders it down, an icon of Jesus holding biblical quotations about justice will stay up in the [Slidell, La] city court lobby, a judge said Saturday.
The American Civil Liberties Union has said it will take the court to court unless the icon and a plaque below it reading “To Know Peace, Obey These Laws” are removed by Monday.
And the Mayor of Slidell’s incredibly ridiculous reaction sounds like it came straight from the mouth of Roy Moore or one of his sycophants:
Mayor Ben Morris said he was ready to fight. “I fight daily with FEMA for the recovery of our city, and now we must fight with these tyrants, this American Taliban who seek to destroy our culture and our heritage,” he said.
Let me get this straight, Mayor. You want to give official government endorsement to a particular type of Christianity, while the ACLU wants to force the government to be neutral in all matters religious, yet it’s the ACLU who is the Taliban? If that’s how it is, let’s just stop talking right now, because words have no meaning.
As for the “our culture and our heritage” thing, the picture is a reproduction of a 16th Century Russian Orthodox painting in which Jesus is holding a Russian Bible, hence this reply from a fellow Louisiana blogger:
“Our culture and our heritage”? What heritage?!! Our Russian Orthodox heritage!? No one knew what the hell the words on the portrait even meant, and now everyone is going apenuts! People were being instructed, in the courthouse, to “obey” laws written in a language they didn’t understand, yet when someone complains and wants the picture removed, the judges and mayors raise hell about how “our” sacred “culture” is being destroyed.
As another La Blogger says, it’s a good thing for the mayor that
the ACLU respects your right to spout off like an idiot…
Seriously, though, I understand people who wonder why anyone would get irritated at a silly painting, especially if no-one can even read it. It does seem like de minimis harm.
I happen to think otherwise. I would not want to go to court and have to look at a picture of Muhammad telling me to obey his rules. Hence, I’m not going to make anyone look at pictures of my God. The golden rule, and all that.
But still, even if I thought this was a de minimis injury, I’d be happy that the ACLU was suing the city (and others who do similar stuff). Why? Mostly because the ACLU’s fights in these little cases are what prevents big problems. In other words, because government officials know that doing something as innocuous as putting up a ten commandments monument in a park can lead to a lawsuit, those same officials are very unlikely to do something really crazy like mandating church attendance. Or to put the same thing another way, if no one opposed Roy Moore and his types in these government religious display cases, what do suppose their next idea would be?
We enjoy religious freedom not because our government officials are wise and good. We enjoy it because people like those with the ACLU have the courage to fight for it.