07 October 2010

Cry Justice to Power

I generally let these pieces stand. But I am editing this one deleting one word below. I think I can defend the word but having received a rather nasty ad hominum attack comment in response to this post and considering whether I am arguably guilty of something perhaps less inaccurate but none-the-less wrong, I have decided to make the edit.

Mayhap that is a lesson for for me. Call it a corollary to the "Golden Rule." In any case I think the post still has value.

Two countries are dealing with issues of free speech this month. In France, the Constitutional Court has ruled. In the USA the Supreme Court has begun the process leading to a ruling. Both cases involve religious speech and action.

In France, where the dominant declining culture is secular, the cultural fear is of Islam. So, rather like the idiots in New York who scream about Islamic believers among them the Assembly has passed a law attempting to limit women and prohibit wearing the Niqab or Burka two versions of the Islamic veil that cover the entire face. The court actually had to change one small section of the law invalid so that women could if their religious beliefs require they do so, could wear these garments in mosques!

In America, where the dominant declining culture iw Evangelical Christian the issue is funerals. The "Westboro Baptist Church" a particularly noxious group has been picketing funerals for American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their incredibly offensive signs and chants say that the death of American troops is good because they are fighting to defend a "gay infested" country. Yes they are that sick and vicious.

But(!) our law is often based on the idea that to protect the innocent one must protect the guilty. No one I have read ever doubted that Danny Escabado and Jose Miranda were guilty of the rapes and murders they were convicted for committing. In fact I doubt either ever denied the guilt. But to assure that we all have rights of silence and to counsel, the Court held that their convictions had to be set aside. Police do not get to pick and it is the protection of these two that gives us our right to the "Miranda warnings" and the right to counsel when questioned.

Benjamin Franklyn is rumored to have observed that those who surrender freedom for security achieve neither. I don't know if he actually said it but I am confident he would agree. The observation is correct. France law is attempting to limit what a person may express in her religious clothing. One wonders what they would do if the met American Amish? We already know they object to the hats worn by Jewish males which are prohibited in schools along with crosses.

So France will surrender freedom to protect its secular culture and eventually have neither. In a sense I do not care much -- I am an American and these days we make better wine. But if the Court rules in favor of those who would restrict the noxious Phelps family and its "protests" it is America that will restrict speech and religious expression. I live here: I care about this.

I have been picketed by these hateful goofs. The are scary, evil people. Their "theology" is at best, on their very best (rare) day, mindless crap. They have been invited out of decent Baptist communities because they are so full of hate and bigotry.

When we Episcopalians picket former primate and Nigerian archbishop Akinola, we are exercising the same right to free expression they are. I suspect to the homophobic, our rainbows are at least as annoying if not threatening. If we permit the law to discriminate against the homophobe's cause today, there will be another cause tomorrow. That way lies danger.

Pray for the Court. Lord grant that it cry Justice to power.


1 comment:

JimB said...

Personal to "Anonymous." I have edited the post. I offer you one word: Yelwa.


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