Monday, August 25, 2003

Still More: I'm for a common-sense application of the religion parts of the First Amendment. For example, I don't care if the town's Christians put up Christmas decorations on the square -- as long as they pay for it themselves. When they reach into my pocket to celebrate their religion, that is within the scope of the amendment. I'm not offended by an invocation at the public high school graduation. I realize that many people like to mark such occasions by having a word with their particular almighty. I think it would be more contrary to the spirit of the amendment to deny those people the right to do so in order that a handful of people not be "exposed to religion" against their will. And I don't think school vouchers for religious schools are problematic -- we already allow de facto vouchers for colleges; I can get a Pell grant to go to Catholic University that has some of your tax money in it -- because I am getting only the benefit from that tax revenue that my taxes went to support anyway. That is to say, in the case of public school money rolled into vouchers, that such tax revenue would be spent on my education anyway, so the authority to direct it toward a religious-flavored education on my behalf is not imposing on anyone else.

This, as I said, seems like common sense to me. Religion is part of social and cultural life, particularly in a polity of a smaller size than the country as a whole. To do away with it altogether in the public sphere seems like a baby/bathwater mixup of the plainest sort.

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