Thursday, September 13, 2018

Federal judge promotes "Christian Nation" mythology

Judge C. Ashley Royal in his Macon, GA courtroom
He seems to have his own portrait on the wall
A panel with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling ordering the removal of a cross from a public park in Florida, stating that they were “bound by existing circuit precedent.”

According to Christian News: “Good law—stare decisis—sometimes leads good judges to follow bad law and write the wrong order. That happened in this case,” lamented Judge C. Ashley Royal.
He said that Christianity was woven into the very fabric of early America, and that modern society has difficulty understanding that aspect of history.

“The study of early American history teaches that Christianity was central to that history. Parenthetically then, a cross is not just a symbol of Christianity; it symbolizes America’s past—a past perhaps forgotten, neglected, ignored, or even despised, but nonetheless undeniable,” Royal explained.

“Without letting the founders speak, without hearing their words and reading their papers, I think it is hard for us living in our post-modern, highly secular society to understand the religiosity of early Americans and the often tyrannical adversity that beat down religious minorities like the Baptists and the Quakers,” he outlined.
The very fact that we are a Christian-majority nation gave Madison reason to balance Free Exercise with the Establishment Clause within the First Amendment. Moreover, maybe in Georgia they teach that Christianity is “central to … history” but that is not the basis for claiming it is a fact.

As for the cross it is unquestionably a religious symbol. Even the Klan uses it to depict their claim of conservative Christianity. The cross is no more an American symbol than a Star of David. That is what the First Amendment teaches us.
“Yet, Alexis de Tocqueville understood and described this religiosity well. In his Democracy in America … ”
That is not at all relevant to the Establishment Clause. Moreover, de Tocqueville, while being an advocate of religion, was quite cautious about state religions. We do not have a state religion in America which is precisely what Judge Royal wants.

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