Constitutional law by the dashboard light

Constitutional law by the dashboard light March 23, 2012

Meat Loaf, the man who built his career on the back of Jim Steinman’s phenomenal songwriting, has now entered into the world of social commentary.

From his home in Los Angeles, the motormouthed Meat Loaf filled me in what’s wrong with the Internet, his sucky melodies and how he wants to die. The highlights:

I wouldn’t call this a concept album, but there are themes and threads running through it.

Yeah, the thread is this: The world has gone to hell in a handbasket.

That’s the thread. It’s about people losing the humanity, the compassion, the dignity, the truth. Everything has become about me, me, me. The world has gone completely insane.

Yes, those things are all problems.  Meat has a very specific example.

America: In this one high school, for 50 years a prayer was hung on a wall. And all of a sudden, a daughter and a woman who are atheists (complained). Being an atheist is fine; you don’t want to believe in God, I don’t care, you don’t have to. But something that’s hung on a wall for 50 years? People don’t even see it any more. If you’ve got that much time on your hands, go down and help at the children’s centre. Go help at the homeless centre. Go do something that helps other people. People need to stand up, be responsible for themselves and help other people. The Internet is to blame, the comment pages are to blame. There’s such hatred spewed out over the stupidest things. It makes me angry. For six years, I’ve been saying the world’s gone to hell in a handbasket. So I wanted to make this record.

I’m so confused.  If people don’t even see it anymore, why does it mean the world is going to hell in a handbasket if…nobody can see it anymore (in a government building, that is)?  That makes no sense.

Meat should also realize that the suit was not frivolous.  Had the administrators of Cranston West not been breaking the law, it wouldn’t have mattered if Jessica sued them.  When they were presented with the chance to stop breaking the law, had those administrators flown straight, they wouldn’t have gotten sued.  But because Jessica forced them to abide by the law those administrators are employed to follow, she is driving the world into hell in Meat Loaf’s rather narrow vision.

But Meat, what about the administrators who were breaking the law?  Are you worried about their dignity?

But Meat, what about the huge mobs of believers who demanded that the city spend lots of taxpayer money earmarked for education to lose in court on the off-chance the administrators could continue breaking the law?  Do you worry about their lack of compassion?

And Meat, even though you assure us that nobody could see it anymore, let me assure you that gaggles of believers saw it (and saw also its reverence to their specific religion).

What of the countless faithful who threatened Jessica’s life or well-being over her increasingly firm requests that her administrators not break the law?  It appears that the man presuming to more humanity than most, Meat Loaf, has overlooked the void of compassion in many to go after a young woman who defended the Constitution for all at great personal expense.

Meat worries that we’ve lost sight of the truth.  Here’s the truth, Mr. Loaf: government mixing with religion is illegal.  The truth is that demanding those charged with managing your public school obey the law, ensuring religious liberty for all (including atheists) is a noble task that, thanks to the culture of acceptable bullying in these cases (which you establish by overlooking all the other horrors in Cranston to gripe about perhaps their most dignified citizen) is a thankless but necessary job.  The truth is that what Jessica did is more daunting and charitable an undertaking than most people manage in their lives.  The truth is that taking on that task does not at all prohibit someone from being charitable in other ways if they so choose (and Jessica does).

The truth, Meat Loaf, is that you have greatly mismanaged your moral priorities.  Having a banner on a wall that marginalizes some of the students, even if it weren’t illegal (which it is), is unethical.  But that didn’t concern you.  Your idea that Jessica, the person who never lied, never threatened anybody, who was right as decided by a judge, who withstood wave after cruel wave of threats from people eager to violate the law to pursue inequality, the woman who wanted everybody to be equal in the eyes of the government, is somehow the bad guy, that Jessica is the mark of America’s failing is a monumental inversion of reality.

In an ideal world, a world where qualities like dignity and bravery garner more fame than one’s singing voice, Jessica would be the rock star, while people like Meat Loaf are summarily ignored for their moral confusion.

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