Monday, June 27, 2005

Thou Shalt Not (or Shalt Thou?)
In two landmark cases the Supreme Court today handed down obliquely contradictory rulings, thereby confirming that we are One Nation Under God except where we’re not.

Any argument that our legal system is based on the ten commandments is garbage and must be rejected outright. If any dissenters are reading this, please point me to the part of the Constitution requiring me to Honor my Father and my Mother. While you’re at it, I can’t seem to find the amendment about coveting my neighbor’s ox or wife, which some Conservatives, admittedly, consider a trivial distinction. Sure, the Commandments underlie some people’s notion of law, but as a legal framework the Commandments are a feeble codex emblematic of a primitive, paternalistic tribal society.

But what are we to make of today’s decisions? Well, the only thing I can promise you is that Jay Sekulow will herald them as a resounding confirmation that we are a Christian nation despite Jefferson, Madison, and all the rest of those hacks.

Antonin "the Constiution is dead" Scalia, in accordance with Conservative tradition, scored a hat-trick by invoking the beloved Apocryphal Anecdote, exploiting the horror of 9/11, and dissing France, all in one opinion. Tony recounted how, on that fateful day That Changed Everything, he was attending a conference in Europe and was approached by a (naturally unnamed) European judge, who, according to page 46 of McCreary Co et al v. ACLU, said:
"How I wish that the Head of State of my country, at a similar time of national tragedy and distress, could conclude his address 'God bless __________.' It is of course absolutely forbidden."
This is the same Scalia who fumed about the unwelcome opinions of "like-minded foreigners" on page 65 of Roper v. Simmons. I gather from this that "like-minded foreigners" can speak up when they agree with Tony, but otherwise they should shut up and keep their godless barbarism to themselves.

Tony then muses that the model of a secular government that was "spread across Europe by the armies of Napoleon, and reflected in the Constitution of France" was a model not adopted by America. Scalia thereby proves once again that you can be educated and well-placed and still a dumbass. If Tony can point me to the Amendment commanding me to observe the sabbath, I'd really appreciate it.

Scalia touts himself as an "Originalist," which is a convenient way of saying "the authors of the Constitution meant what I say they meant." First of all, it must be stated that the literal interpretation of an author's intent is impossible even when it regards a contemporary document, much less a 200-year-old document explicitly designed to be adaptable and subject to judicial interpretation. Nuts to all that, sez Tony.

Decalogue fetishists would have us believe that this is about their religious freedom and the suppression thereof, but that's a hard case to make when the entire government is controlled by flock-flattering, far-Right zealots who can't go ten minutes without publicly high-fiving Jesus. In fact, what's going on here is the continuing effort to outlaw dissent and to eradicate diversity of view. This is clearly evident in the recent masturbatory efforts to deify The Flag, to pick just one example.

So what's next? Oh, I don't know. Probably some Republican flathead will introduce legislation formally recognizing Moses as one of the original signatories of the Constitution. Him or God.

Hell, why not both?

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