Monday, October 23, 2017

Todd Starnes has a very odd notion of patriotism

Some Texas teens and Todd Starnes believe that they are defying
the Freedom From Religion Foundation — They are not.
According to Fox's village idiot, Todd Starnes:
The Christian flag flies alongside the Texas flag and Old Glory [at a public school].

And that's a big problem for a bunch of out-of-town atheist agitators—a mighty big problem.
That should be a problem for anyone who honors the Constitution because that Christian flag is flying at a public school. That constitutes the government's endorsement of religion and of one religion over another. Doing so is unarguably constitutionally prohibited.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation … sent a letter to the local school district demanding the flag be removed.

“It is unconstitutional for the school to display the Christian flag,” FFRF attorney Sam Grover wrote to Supt. James Young. …

The perpetually offended atheists told the school district they must be inclusive to minority religions and non-religious people.
Starnes really wrote that. If anyone is “perpetually offended” it is conservative Christians who are always whining. They like to pretend that the Establishment Clause means something other than what it says. The very existence of LGBT people and non-Christians offends conservative Christians if those minorities are to have any civil rights. According to those Christians they are under constant attack and are mercilessly persecuted. Never mind that they constitute the overwhelming majority of American citizens.
But while the adults in LaPoynor wrangle over what to do, students at the high school have taken matters into their own hands. They've decided to stand up to the atheists.

Several youngsters purchased Christian flags and mounted the banners on their pickup trucks. It was quite a scene in the high school parking lot—a convoy of trucks adorned with the Christian flag waving in the Texas breeze.

"They can try to take it, but we're going to fight for it," junior Jared Sanchez told Nexstar Broadcasting.
The implication is that these misguided kids and the perpetually misguided Starnes are further offending, and defying, the folks at FFRF. They are not. If they want to put Christian flags on their pickup trucks, they are entitled to do so. That does not constitute a government endorsement of a particular religion. Young Mr. Sanchez is shadow boxing. He is fighting for something that is uncontested and he has no opponent.

Ah, but the ignorance of Texans is the controlling factor:
And at a recent school board meeting, local residents offered their two-cents worth.

"The Freedom From Religion organization really has a distorted and inaccurate view of the separation of church and state in the First Amendment," one resident told television KLTV. "Matter fact, I'd like to say that their viewpoint is probably void and alien to that of our Founding Fathers."
I wonder if that person realizes that James Madison wrote the Establishment Clause into the First Amendment. McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71 is a 1947 Supreme Court case outlawing religious instruction in public schools. The sole dissent in that case was Stanley Forman Reed, an FDR nominee who was also the last justice of the Supreme Court not to have a law degree. Then there is the 1962 case of Engel v. Vitale outlawing school prayer. Justice Black carefully explained the importance of the separation of church and state by citing history going back to 16th century England.

Separation of church and state is not only not novel but was embraced by our founding fathers. Starnes is as ignorant as that person commenting at the school board.

Yet it is Starnes' conclusion that is most offensive to our society:
It sounds like there are lots of great patriots in LaPoynor—young and old—and reckon those Wisconsin atheists are about to learn why it's best not to mess with Texas.
There is nothing patriotic about being religious. Those are two very different, and unrelated, things. There is nothing patriotic about championing something that is clearly unconstitutional. The school will consult with counsel and the flag will be removed. There is no controversy. There is no valid argument. Even Justice Thomas would concur (at least I hope he would).

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