Someone left a link to this post at Uncommon Descent by Denyse O’Leary and it’s a real doozy. In it she tries to take Jerry Coyne to task for criticizing Rick Perry’s prayer and pander rally and falls flat on her face in the process. First she quotes this from Coyne:
These people don’t seem to realize that even among religious Americans, there are many who don’t worship Jesus. But of course who ever won an election by catering to Muslims, Jews, or atheists?
And she then attempts to respond:
Coyne needs to get out more. When it comes to catering to people, “Muslims, Jews, or atheists” are not a charming set of triplets. For the record, the Toronto School Board is actually turning publicly funded schools into “sharia” schools, where students, Muslim or otherwise, are compelled by law to attend (if they live in the neighbourhood and can’t afford private school.) Also, here.
Pssst. Denyse….Toronto is in Canada, not the United States. Coyne was talking about America, not Canada.
There is no pretense whatever that Jews, atheists, or Christians are to be treated equally with Muslims. Few who follow these types of developments would be at all surprised if that is happening in American centres.
Okay, so present some evidence that it is. Don’t have any? Of course not. She then quotes Coyne again, saying this:
This [rally] is, of course, a prelude to Perry’s likely bid for the Republican nomination for president. It was opposed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which filed (and lost) a court complaint that Perry’s participation in a religious rally violated the First Amendment.
Notice that Coyne specifically says the complaint was against “Perry’s participation” in the rally, not the rally herself. O’Leary then erases that distinction:
Huh? The First Amendment was intended to protect people’s right to organize and attend a prayer rally – or not.
Which has nothing to do with whether a government official can use his office to promote the whole thing. Now, I happen to think the FFRF was wrong on this one, as I wrote on this blog when the case was filed. But even so, their argument isn’t completely out of the question. Jefferson and Madison would almost certainly have agreed with it. But that has nothing to do with whether the rally itself is protected under the First Amendment, which it clearly is.
If these Texas atheists are confused about that, one wonders how they would react to the sharia schools, when one emerges into view in their enlightened district in the US.
Will they cite the First Amendment in a situation to which it clearly and obviously applies? Guesses?
We don’t need to guess. There is no such thing as a “sharia school,” of course, but there is a charter school in Minnesota run by a Muslim group that crossed the line into endorsing and teaching adherence to Islam. Guess what? The ACLU filed a lawsuit for violating the First Amendment. And now the school has lost its sponsor and will likely no longer exist.