. . . Tuesday October 12, 2004

The 11th Commandment: Wake Up…

I was going to be analytical about the Supreme Court’s decision to hear cases to determine whether it’s acceptable for a public building such as a school, a courthouse or a state capitol building to display the ten commandments.

I was going to write a pithy piece in which I explained that the mere need to have to consider these cases marks a giant step backwards at a time when we are already stifling scientific progress, rehashing the debate over whether or not evolution should be taught in schools, and allowing religion to determine key elements of our foreign policy — Bush himself indicated that he sought Iraq-related feedback not from his own father but from a higher one (who apparently had less useful advice about building a real coalition).

I was even going to suggest that the Supremes should be smart enough to not only reject the idea of endorsing a specific religion (or even the idea of religion) on public buildings, but they should also agree to remove all such non-secular displays (etched words and the like) from their own workplace.

I considered making a joke about the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in which the judges ruled that a granite ten commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas capitol had a secular rather than a religious purpose and that it could not be viewed as an endorsement of religion.

And religious conservatives (including the one in the Oval Office) complain about liberal activist judges? Come on. That’s almost as crazy as complaining about liberal media in the age of talk radio and Fox News.

Who would possibly buy these lines of reasoning? Well, the answer is a lot of people when the other side silently assumes that these obvious issues were decided long ago.

See, to discuss these upcoming cases merely logically, legally and analytically would be to miss the larger point. There is a broad cultural war going on in this country. And it’s a war that is being fought aggressively by only one side. It’s so oddly one-sided that a president can mention an out of context court case such as Dred Scott without many people even noticing that he was really talking about Roe v Wade.

You may have even laughed at your surprise that the President would be familiar with an old Supreme Court case. Well, this is no joke.

When describing the war on terror, President Bush explained to the American people that: “It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.”

Can the same be said about the creeping war on secularism?

You may think this election is about Iraq, terrorism and taxes. But there are plenty of people who think this and all elections are really about guns, gays and god. And if you live on a coast, you probably have no idea just how fervently some folks feel about these other election issues. You may not even notice that they are slowly making progress.

And make no mistake. That’s just the way they want it.

Concentration is important!