Judge Pendergrass’ refusal to allow any other group on public space besides Christians during the holidays is creating quite a stir, complete with threats from the true blue Christians of Baxter County. So it’s probably best to get ahead of all the arguments that are already coming out or are sure to come out from people who know the bible and consider that a substitute for knowing the law. There seem to be ten arguments coming up in his defense in various comment sections and my father took the time to rebut all of them:
There are about ten comments in essence being repeated over and over. I would like to address all of them.
1. “Don’t they have more important things to do???”
Probably, but maybe they can multi-task. Speaking for myself, I have more important things to do than to watch bowl games at this time of year, but I watch some of them anyway….and this is true for most people. Also, when some people don’t have anything better to do than to perform constitutional violations, it is probably a good thing that some other people don’t have anything better to do than to uphold the law.
2. “I get so tired of someone saying they are offended by something they don’t believe in.”
The only thing people are “offended” about is your county official breaking the law. NO ONE is “offended” by the creche, and if you move it to private property where it legally belongs you won’t hear a peep out of anyone about it. What you are doing is known as “dishonest framing” and creating a straw man to attack instead of the real issue.
3. “It’s sad that the minority is slowly ruling the majority…”
The CONSTITUTION and established jurisprudence are “ruling”. It isn’t that the minority is somehow “ruling” the majority; it is that minority rights are being upheld and the constitutional separation of church and state respected by government officials.
4. “One citizen can ruin Christmas for all the rest of the county.”Your Christmas is “ruined” if you have to move the creche off government property to across the street? Removing the creche takes away your presents, carols, eggnog, mistletoe kisses, Xmas dinner, the camaraderie of family and friends, removes the decorations from your tree as well as removes the tree itself, bars the doors of Christmas religious services, and all of the other things that make up Christmas for most people? Sounds kind of like extreme hyperbole to me.
5. “There are plenty of moving trucks to take you and your beliefs elsewhere.”
This is pure tribalism. The fact is that this is America and we are all Americans who are subject to the Constitution and to the rule of law, from sea to shining sea.
6. “You’re taking away our rights.”
NO. You never had a “right”, legal or otherwise, to have the government endorse your preferred religion and to have it silence the voices of other citizens. You are just plain wrong.
7. “This community is mostly of christian faith”.
Doesn’t matter. Rights are not based on who is in the majority. Laws are not instituted so that the majority can break them without consequences. What you should realize is that if the community were NOT mostly of christian faith, your right to free speech and equal representation by your government would be protected. You do not want to extend this protection to others, unfortunately.
8. “We must stand up for our Savior who gave his life for ours.”
Oh, come on now, really. Can’t you stand up for your savior just as well in a legal manner on private property as in an illegal manner on government (neutral) property?
9. “It’s CHRISTmas!!!!”
It is also “SOLSTICE!!!!!!!” Is there some reason to have religious Christmas imagery but to not also have solstice imagery?
10. “We can get FREE representation!”
That free representation isn’t going to pay the legal fees for the other side when the county loses. The county will have to pay that. That means all of the county taxpayers will have to pay that, and it will be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. You have everything to gain, and nothing to lose, by moving the creche to private property such as a churchyard, which is obviously where it legally belongs.