Sunday, July 01, 2007
Icons of Theocracy
Judge Jim Lamz of the Slidell Louisiana City Court has now decided that he will not accede to the demands of the ACLU and order the removal of a 16th century Russian Orthodox icon called "Christ the Savior," that has a plaque below it reading "To Know Peace, Obey These Laws," that is hung high on a wall in the lobby of the court.
In addition to the plaque, the figure of Christ is holding an open book where is shown quotations from John 7:24 ("Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.") and Matthew 7:2 ("For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again").
Court officials have not yet determined who hung the picture or why but apparently one defense will be that it is an appropriate display of sources of civil concepts of justice:
A local Orthodox priest said the quotations are appropriate for a place of justice.That might be true if the icon was part of a display of numerous such sources, both religious and secular, but as the ACLU pointed out:
"The writing on those books (Jesus) is holding is about judging rightly," said the Rev. John Vieages of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of America, who holds services at his bookstore on First Street in Olde Towne Slidell. "It really does fit into a courtroom. Whoever put that there was well aware of what the writing meant."
Whether the quotations are relevant to the business of a court has nothing to do with whether the display is legal, said Katie Schwartzmann, staff attorney of the Louisiana chapter of the ACLU. "It's a clear constitutional violation," she said Saturday, echoing her original letter to the court.The local reaction is as expected:
The ACLU's one-page letter to City Court Clerk Susan Ordoyne said the display "clearly gives the impression that only believers in the law of Jesus Christ will receive justice in that courthouse."
Mayor Ben Morris said he was ready to fight. "I fight daily with FEMA for the recovery of our city, and now we must fight with these tyrants, this American Taliban who seek to destroy our culture and our heritage," he said.Typically, the accused accuses the accuser of the very thing they are accused of. The ACLU is the Taliban for trying to stop this government from forcing one peculiar set of beliefs down everyone else's throats. And the beliefs must be peculiar, in all senses of the word, given how bizarre that "reasoning" is.
For the sake of the taxpayers of Slidell, let's hope that rationality returns to the city before they pay the price that Dover, Pennsylvania did.
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