Everyone wants their opinions to be heard. But should there be a limit to public displays of what people think?
Obviously if a local government allows a Christmas display at city hall, they must allow the Tree of Knowledge as well. If a school allows a Christian group to form on campus, they must also allow groups for people of other faiths or no faith.
Which is why the best thing to do (in some situations) might be to remain neutral and not favor any one group over another.
When you don’t, everyone wants a piece of the action.
Like in two recent cases.
First, this: Raymond Zbylut, a resident of Omaha, Nebraska, has applied to name a street in the city after Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of American Atheists and the woman who helped end mandatory prayers in public schools.
Zbylut said that he believes O’Hair is a hero to those who don’t believe in God.
“Hero” might be a stretch. Her work is certainly admirable but her style and attitude may have ultimately done more harm for atheism than good.
In any case, what happens if this application gets through? Will it open the door for others to do the same with religious figures? Will someone in Omaha soon be living on Jesus Street or Dobson Drive?
While you think about that, this about this story, courtesy of Rant & Reason.James Pursley wanted to put the words “Joshua 24:15” on a brick he purchased on the school’s Alumni Walk.
His application was rejected. The (conservative Christian) Alliance Defense Fund sued the school and won.
As Maggie at R&R writes:
I’m finding it difficult to disagree with the ADF, despite my utter distaste for their mission (”a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth”). Sure, every student should have a right to include a message that holds dear to their hearts. But not everything can [pass] muster. What will Penn State do when a student wants to write “Atheists are going to hell” or “Proud KKK member”? Fellow blogger Lori Lipman Brown commented that this case sets a precedent for bricks that say “Glory to Allah” or “Satan rules!” Would the ADF have a problem with that? (I’d really love to see them representing a Satanist on the basis of religious freedom!)
Once you open the can of worms, everyone is allowed to have their say, and that might not always work out the way you hope.