Well now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time for the fake “War on Christmas” bleating to begin in earnest. Jay at STACLU jumps in with this post about the ACLU filing suit over a school having children reenact the manger scene, with kids in the roles of Joseph, Mary, the Three Wise Men, and so forth. The ACLJ is screaming holy hell about this suit, claiming that it amounts to a “frontal attack on the freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.”
This, of course, is nonsense. Freedom of religion protects what you do in your private life to express your own religious faith, not what you can require schoolchildren to do. This has nothind to do with the free exercise of religion and everything to do with what a government agency can endorse or require of others. That this distinction constantly escapes the religious right is quite absurd.
The test of whether they really mean it – and they clearly don’t – is this: ask yourself if the two Jays (the one at STACLU and the one at the ACLJ) would be screaming “freedom of religion” if a Muslim schoolteacher had her grade school class acting out the roles in a reenactment of a Ramadan celebration. I’ll guarantee you one thing if the situation was reversed: not only would that teacher likely lose their job, they’d be lucky to escape without their house being firebombed.
You know what else? We wouldn’t hear one word from the two Jays about the “frontal assault on freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” In fact, we don’t have to do this as a hypothetical. It’s actually happened, in California, where some schools had students pretending to be Muslim and the religious right was up in arms, and continues to be, over it.
Now, I don’t really know how much of that was legit; I haven’t seen the actual evidence presented in the case and I’m not willing to trust breathless reports in places like the Worldnutdaily. If they were accurate in their description of what went on, then I’d say the case was decided wrongly. But the key point here is that we didn’t hear one word about “freedom of religion” from these folks. And there’s a simple reason for that; for them, it’s all about majority rule. As long as Christians are in the majority, they get to force everyone else to participate in their religious exercises at public expense. Turn the tables and you’ll quickly find out how hollow their rhetoric is.