Bladensburg and the Wall That Couldn’t

Bladensburg Peace CrossThere is a reason that the wall of separation between church and state cannot take down the Bladensburg Peace Cross memorial. (The proper name for the case is: The American Legion v. American Humanist Association.) Even SCOTUS seems unaware of the profound conflict hidden in that wall. But here it is.

Let’s Keep This Simple

Some believe that God created man, others believe that man created God. We are all believers.

Every human being has a world view, or belief system, or way of seeing things. It is the lens through which we view our universe and by which we attach value to things. We are each believers at this most basic level. Indeed, it is so fundamental we live it every day but only rarely think of it.

This is a paradigm shift so you have to think about this a bit to see it. The point is that every human being is fundamentally religious, using that word in a broad but realistic sense. The reason that is true is because no one can prove that their particular worldview is more correct than another. We all are forced to adhere to our worldview (or religion, or belief window, or philosophy of life – let’s not get lost in the lingo) by a simple faith that we have chosen that worldview correctly.

If you need more proof, ask your friend why he holds some opinion about something. No matter what his answer is, ask the question again, “And why do you think that?” Keep asking and as this line of questions goes deeper it will finally end with a confession of faith — something like, “Because that’s just what I think, that’s all.”

So –

The Wall Is Dead

It is at least clear that these various views have all the functional characteristics of religion. Each of us has his mind set or view point and most of us try to win over converts to our way of thinking. It is proper to call these different beliefs “religions” because no one can prove his particular religion (let’s call a spade a spade) is the most correct view. They are all based on belief.

brick wall ruinThe final nail in the coffin that was once a wall, is this: We write a law with the goal of obtaining some public “good”. What is “good” depends upon the values of the belief system writing that law. Therefore, whether intended or not, that law imposes that religion upon the public. This means that secularism is not fully attainable. The issue is raised anew by a memorial to forty-nine men who died upon the alter of freedom.

Meanwhile, the most profound symbol of life, the fetus, finishes off the wall. The abortion debate is undeniable proof of this collision of religions. And the wall of separation has vanished into the illogical oblivion from whence it came. We can never fully separate church and state. So what must we do?

Let Freedom Reign

No legal theory will permit any one religion to prevail under the US Constitution. However, SCOTUS has ignored the vertical separation of powers and assumed jurisdiction.

What's your world view?But wasn’t it appropriate for the supreme federal court to act on federal constitutional issues? Yes and no. The tenth amendment’s plain language gave this jurisdiction to states, counties and cities.  Not only that, the first amendment said “Congress shall make no law…”. But they have. That’s when SCOTUS should have told Congress: “unconstitutional – you have no jurisdiction”. This concept finds a very early example in the eleventh amendment, ratified in 1795, which prevented SCOTUS from hearing cases where a citizen of one state brought a complaint against another state.

My suggestion to SCOTUS is just back away and let the states deal with it. My suggestion to the states is to leave the issues to the counties. And to the counties: let the cities deal with these issues. When you visit Spain you expect to see crosses, so let the locals decide what the locals will see as they drive their streets. Let’s celebrate diversity. Let’s celebrate liberty!

It’s simple! Let’s restore freedom!

Jackson Pemberton
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