SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Saturday, March 13, 2004

ATHEOCRACTS ATTACK! The Wall Street Journal has an excellent editorial in their Sunday, March 14 issue, entitled "Secular Absolutism." The subtitle: "The irreligious left tries to impose its religious views on everyone else." Quite so! And they've had a number of successes as of late...

As the editorial notes, the California Supreme Court's recent decision upholding a law that blatantly infringes upon the free exercise of religion by Catholic charities, which are now required to provide contraceptives to employees. Further, in a major letdown, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up a case in Connecticut, where the Boy Scouts were denied a place on the state workers' voluntary-donation plan, which is otherwise generally available to all charitable groups.

The WSJ editorial authors are quite correct that the ACLU is on a vendetta against the Boy Scouts, ever since their oh-so-close 5-4 victory in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2001). For some reason, the ardently secular left--including many who are die hard civil libertarians on free speech--just don't seem to understand the importance of free association. To me, free association is fundamental to a democratic society. It is an essential component to liberty. Furthermore, a group's message--yes, including its speech--is most definitely affected by the makeup of the group's membership. Attacks against BSA are also being waged in San Diego at present.

The editorial neglects to mention the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Locke v. Davey (2004). I was surprised and disappointed by the court's ruling there, which essentially says its okay fior government to discriminate against speech based upon its religious content (even though its unconstitutional for government to discriminate against speech based upon its content). Fortunately, the holding appears to be sufficiently narrow that it will likely be seen as a mere anomaly in the continuing line of viewpoint neutrality decisions in the high court's first amendment jurisprudence.

(North Seattle, WA)

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