Daniel Fincke and James Croft are discussing the stance by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and American Atheists in opposition to a proposed Holocaust memorial displaying the Star of David. I think both have made strong arguments against pursuing a legal case against such a monument on 1st amendment grounds.
My opinions are less developed than James and Daniel’s are. They basically boil down to this: This is not the hill I want to die on.
Seriously folks, we’ve still got people out there who think that Hitler was the king of the atheists, and now you want to pick a fight over a Holocaust memorial? Could you not think of a worse PR move, like maybe eating a live puppy on camera?
We can argue for days over the principles of separation of church and state or secularism. If I wanted to be part of a group viewed as highly principled lunatics, I’d become a libertarian.
The precedents for establishment cases are a mess. We should never forget that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson did not get the 1st Amendment that they wanted, and our “wall of separation” is really a legal kludge composed of the 1st & 14th amendments stitched together with some flawed history from Hugo Black. We can’t pretend that just because we stand on a correct principle means that we’ll win the case.
This maybe one of those times where we have to chose between being right and being successful. I’d like to think that in time we can be both, but I don’t see this battle as helping us to that point.