The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Good News, Bad News

November 2, 2005 | 3 Comments

Dividing future Supreme Court justice Sam Alito’s past decisions into “good” and “bad” categories,* Jill of Feministe has an odd take on his church/state rulings. Under “bad,” she lists his opinion that “the Establishment Clause was not violated by a city holiday display which featured a menorah, a creche, Santa Claus, and other religious and secular holiday symbols.” Under “good,” she applauds him for writing a “unanimous opinion that the New Jersey police force had acted inappropriately in firing two Muslim officers for refusing to shave their beards.”

Both decisions are bad because they promote state preference for superstition. The holiday display case provides cover for governments to continue traditional celebrations of Christ’s birth month, allowing them to do so as long as they disguise their intentions by dressing things up in the garb of diversity. The beard case incorporates God’s grooming rules into on a civil service code. The general effect of both rulings is to favor religion over non-religion.

If I had to pick, though, I’d flip her good/bad ratings of the rulings. The display case is far less objectionable than the beard one. By allowing secular symbols (including, presumably, the Atheist Atom), at least the pretense of fairness is maintained. But the beard case specifically prioritizes idiocy over sanity. No employee can insist on sporting a beard or sneakers (or a Carmen Miranda fruit hat) to work out of ordinary considerations of comfort or appearance — but start jabbering about what you think Allah wants, and you can make your own rules.

*Ultimately, of course, she concludes that he is mostly “bad news” for rejecting her view that a state may legally compel childbirth (with life and health exceptions) only after viability rather than a few months earlier.


3 Responses to “Good News, Bad News”

  1. Dada Saves
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 7:25 am

    Alito has made some other unfortunate rulings foisting superstition on the public. See CHILD EVANGELISM FELLOWSHIP OF NJ v. STAFFORD TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT (2004), in which Don ScAlito upheld the right of religious groups to visit public elementary schools, participate in school events, and hand out Jeebus-themed literature. Sammy the Gavel declared such behavior constitutional.

  2. UberKuh
    November 2nd, 2005 @ 12:49 pm

    Why not run for the Supreme Court yourself? We need a raving atheist justice.

  3. MBains
    November 4th, 2005 @ 2:06 pm

    I Second UberKuh’s most rational (and poli-legally impossible) motion.

    Run RA! RUN!


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