Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Religious Discrimination or Protecting the Homeland?

 

There seems to be no end to the government’s infringement on our freedom of speech and religion. And now the latest excuse is that the Catholic diocese is threatening the safety of our citizens with their advertisements. An article in The Federalist explained the problem.

On October 24, the archdiocese submitted advertisements to be displayed in the DC Metro. In response, the Metro explained that the ads were not in compliance with Metro guidelines and therefore couldn’t be posted. Under those guidelines, “advertisements that promote or oppose any religion, religious practice or belief” were not permitted. They further explained that the religious scene in the ad promoted religion.

After unsuccessfully appealing to Metro officials, the diocese sued:

On Tuesday, the archdiocese filed a five-count complaint against Metro in a federal district court in Washington DC. The lawsuit alleged violations of the archdiocese’s constitutional rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, as well as a denial of equal protection and due process. A final count charged Metro violated the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The archdiocese was denied a restraining order and preliminary injunction. Federal district court judge Amy Berman Jackson explained her rationale:

The [Metro] Assistant General Manager for Customer Service, Communications, and Marketing also averred that she heard from the Metro Transit Police Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that running certain issue-oriented ads could pose security risks on trains and buses. One of the factors that spurred [Metro] to close its advertising forum was the submission of an ad featuring a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Mohammad. Drawing the Prophet Mohammed is highly offensive to Muslims, and [Metro] was aware that the ad was drawn at a contest where two gunmen were killed in an attempt to prevent the event.

Apparently, a government agency can limit advertising access, “…as long as the lines drawn are reasonable given the purpose of the forum involved, they do not favor one viewpoint over another and they are consistently applied.” I wonder how the Metro will explain their allowing yoga ads but not Christian ads?

But now we learn that the latest attempted terrorist attacker chose the location “…because of its Christmas themed posters,” as well as US airstrikes against ISIS.

Again, we acquiesce to terrorists even when they aren’t successful.

Was this decision against the diocese reasonable? Do you believe anti-religion forces are at work? Do you think that religiously themed posters are a problem? Do you think that all Christmas ads should be banned, including those for department stores and other retail outlets to protect our country?

There are 43 comments.

  1. Profile Photo Member

    Of course, They are “at work.” Christians do not cut off the heads of unbelievers, not throw gays off roofs. Why should anyone worry about insulting them ?

    • #1
    • December 14, 2017, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    The Metro assistant general manager used a very foolish argument by citing security concerns as reason for rejecting the ad.

    A much more persuasive argument would have been that any message displayed on government property is deemed as having been endorsed by the government, and the Establishment Cause prohibits government from endorsing religious institutions.

    • #2
    • December 14, 2017, at 10:46 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. MarciN Member

    I’ve been thinking a lot about that Religious Freedom Restoration Act lately. I remember the controversy about it at the time it passed, and I was glad it did. Its writers anticipated the day (today?) when religious expression might be forbidden.

    And we wonder how the Chinese Communists came to strike down (and here) the church steeples in China.

    This is utter lunacy. And scary. Barbaric and backward.

    We need a new Freedom of Worship Movement in this country.

    Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom of Worship,” 1943. Oil on canvas, 46″ x 35 1/2″. Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, February 27, 1943. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.

    • #3
    • December 14, 2017, at 11:00 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  4. Trink Coolidge

    MarciN (View Comment):
    This is utter lunacy. And scary. Barbaric and backward.

    We need a new Freedom For Religion Movement in this country.

    Beautiful Marci. Thank you.

    • #4
    • December 14, 2017, at 11:11 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  5. Rodin Member

    Progressives are not anti-religious, they are simply pro a G-dless religion with their version having [cis-warning!] man at the center. So in that sense the courts (at least the Progressive leaning courts) enforce a monopoly of Progressive religion. Except of course for Islam. It’s not that Progressives favor Islam as a religion. They favor it as a force to destroy competing theistic religions which will then be swept away by Progressivism (see Marx) once there is only one theistic religion left.

    • #5
    • December 14, 2017, at 11:13 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  6. MarciN Member

    People are losing sight of the importance of religion in our political life. For all people everywhere, there’s someone bigger than the government: God. That is the basis for our founding documents.

    People take the existence of God for granted in our country’s daily life.

    They do not realize how governments behave when they think they are God. Communist China and the old USSR are the end of the godless road.

    It’s us little people who need God’s presence in Washington the most. There has to be a higher authority.

    • #6
    • December 14, 2017, at 11:21 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  7. Rodin Member

    MarciN (View Comment):
    People are losing sight of the importance of religion in our political life. For all people everywhere, there’s someone bigger than the government: God. That is the basis for our founding documents.

    People take the existence of God for granted in our country’s daily life.

    They do not realize how governments behave when they think they are God. Communist China and the old USSR are the end of the godless road.

    It’s us little people who need God’s presence in Washington the most. There has to be a higher authority.

    I cannot “like” this comment enough. Personally I am an agnostic. But that does not mean that I do not see the utility, if not the reality, of a Being above mankind. Our flaws are too profound to be the source of a moral and ethical compass, or restraint against the depredations that have been conceived and executed by man. So whether or not G-d exists, it is critical that mankind see themselves as subordinate if only to act in their own enlightened self-interest.

    • #7
    • December 14, 2017, at 11:29 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  8. MarciN Member

    Henry David Thoreau articulated the relationship of people to government and God in his essay “Civil Disobedience”:

    I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.

    Thoreau’s cynicism about government is one I share completely. The opening paragraphs alone are still accurate for our time as well.

    Teachers hand kids “Civil Disobedience” and talk about traffic stop signs. They fail to mention that it concerned slavery most of all, which at that time was being supported by American laws and judges.

    • #8
    • December 14, 2017, at 11:45 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  9. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Just say no to the terrorist’s veto.

    • #9
    • December 14, 2017, at 11:49 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Misthiocracy, Valet To The Gods (View Comment):
    The Metro assistant general manager used a very foolish argument by citing security concerns as reason for rejecting the ad.

    A much more persuasive argument would have been that any message displayed on government property is deemed as having been endorsed by the government, and the Establishment Cause prohibits government from endorsing religious institutions.

    But that’s a marginal argument, too, Mis, since they are not “endorsing” anything that is advertised there. If that’s the case, all advertising should be banned.

    • #10
    • December 14, 2017, at 12:38 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    MarciN (View Comment):
    I’ve been thinking a lot about that Religious Freedom Restoration Act lately. I remember the controversy about it at the time it passed, and I was glad it did. Its writers anticipated the day (today?) when religious expression might be forbidden.

    And we wonder how the Chinese Communists came to strike down (and here) the church steeples in China.

    This is utter lunacy. And scary. Barbaric and backward.

    We need a new Freedom For Religion Movement in this country.

    Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom of Worship,” 1943. Oil on canvas, 46″ x 35 1/2″. Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, February 27, 1943. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.


    Misthiocracy, Valet To The Gods (View Comment
    :

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom of Worship,” 1943. Oil on canvas, 46″ x 35 1/2″. Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, February 27, 1943. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.

    What a beautiful painting, Marci. It so illustrates the idea of what all of this should be about. Thanks.

    The Metro assistant general manager used a very foolish argument by citing security concerns as reason for rejecting the ad.

    A much more persuasive argument would have been that any message displayed on government property is deemed as having been endorsed by the government, and the Establishment Cause prohibits government from endorsing religious institutions.

    But that’s a marginal argument, too, Mis, since they are not “endorsing” anything that is advertised there. If that’s the case, all advertising should be banned.

    • #11
    • December 14, 2017, at 12:40 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Progressives are not anti-religious, they are simply pro a G-dless religion with their version having [cis-warning!] man at the center.

    I don’t agree, Rodin. I think both are correct. A person can be for any “ism” and not be hell-bent to destroy others. Don’t you agree? Appreciate your sharing on this!

    • #12
    • December 14, 2017, at 12:42 PM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):
    I cannot “like” this comment enough. Personally I am an agnostic. But that does not mean that I do not see the utility, if not the reality, of a Being above mankind. Our flaws are too profound to be the source of a moral and ethical compass, or restraint against the depredations that have been conceived and executed by man. So whether or not G-d exists, it is critical that mankind see themselves as subordinate if only to act in their own enlightened self-interest.

    Very well said, Rodin. Otherwise, we are ruled by tyranny through the arrogance of those who think they know best.

    • #13
    • December 14, 2017, at 12:45 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Aaron Miller Member

    Misthiocracy, Valet To The Gods (View Comment):
    A much more persuasive argument would have been that any message displayed on government property is deemed as having been endorsed by the government, and the Establishment Cause prohibits government from endorsing religious institutions.

    “Establish” and “endorse” are not synonyms. The public actions of America’s first elected officials do not support the idea that the US Constitution forbids promotion of Christianity. To speak well of Christian beliefs is not to establish a national religious institution and forbid competition of ideas, ala European history.

    But yes, that argument would satisfy willfully ignorant secularists.

    • #14
    • December 14, 2017, at 12:48 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. Profile Photo Member

    Susan Quinn:

    Again, we acquiesce to terrorists even when they aren’t successful.Was this decision against the diocese reasonable?
    Do you believe anti-religion forces are at work?
    Do you think that religiously themed posters are a problem?
    Do you think that all Christmas ads should be banned, including those for department stores and other retail outlets to protect our country?

    A: No
    A: Yes
    A: No
    A: No

    What’s my score? Did I get an A?

    • #15
    • December 14, 2017, at 1:39 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Derek Simmons (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    Again, we acquiesce to terrorists even when they aren’t successful.Was this decision against the diocese reasonable?
    Do you believe anti-religion forces are at work?
    Do you think that religiously themed posters are a problem?
    Do you think that all Christmas ads should be banned, including those for department stores and other retail outlets to protect our country?

    A: No
    A: Yes
    A: No
    A: No

    What’s my score? Did I get an A?

    Let’s give this man a hand. Now we just need to convince the Left, Derek!

    • #16
    • December 14, 2017, at 2:12 PM PST
    • Like
  17. Basil Fawlty Member

    Misthiocracy, Valet To The Gods (View Comment):
    A much more persuasive argument would have been that any message displayed on government property is deemed as having been endorsed by the government, and the Establishment Cause prohibits government from endorsing religious institutions.

    Or prohibiting their free exercise.

    • #17
    • December 14, 2017, at 2:40 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    I regard myself as a free speech absolutist, but if I were in responsible for the lives of people aboard sky-tubes or earth-tubes, I would be looking to remove anything that increased risk of mass death.

    So I’m going to be charitable, as this is the season for it, and assume that the decision to not run the ads was more anti-mass-murder than it was anti-Christian; the wrong decision made for the right reasons.

    • #18
    • December 14, 2017, at 3:07 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. civil westman Inactive

    In a similar vein, I attended my granddaughter’s Christmas-free public school “winter concert.” There were songs from all over the world, none religious, along with a powerpoint presentation straight out of teachers’ college showing “What we learned from this song.” Blech.

    The whole thing was anodyne, sure to offend no one, save, perhaps, those longing for beauty or spiritual inspiration (they don’t count). It was also absolutely certain to not inspire anyone. I suppose this is part of the “educational” process which produces future tender know-nothing, hypersensitive, emotional, reason-free, “progressive” snowflakes. All this, in a time we sure could use God’s help (and I say this as a reluctant agnostic, who would like to be able believe and who thoroughly enjoys and is inspired by Christmas music).

    • #19
    • December 14, 2017, at 4:42 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    civil westman (View Comment):
    In a similar vein, I attended my granddaughter’s Christmas-free public school “winter concert.” There were songs from all over the world, none religious, along with a powerpoint presentation straight out of teachers’ college showing “What we learned from this song.” Blech.

    The whole thing was anodyne, sure to offend no one, save, perhaps, those longing for beauty or spiritual inspiration (they don’t count). It was also absolutely certain to not inspire anyone. I suppose this is part of the “educational” process which produces future tender know-nothing, hypersensitive, emotional, reason-free, “progressive” snowflakes. All this, in a time we sure could use God’s help (and I say this as a reluctant agnostic, who would like to be able believe and who thoroughly enjoys and is inspired by Christmas music).

    For those of us who, each in our own way, want to have this be a special time of the year, the secularists have ruined it. For those of us who celebrate Hanukah, the emphasis is on dreidels and latkes; there’s nothing wrong with these, but they are not a substitute for the miracle and the bravery of the Maccabees. For people like you who deeply appreciate the beauty of sacred music (I remember your comments from a previous post), those melodies have been substituted with the crude and mundane. I think your “Blech” describes it best. Thanks for commenting, civil.

    • #20
    • December 14, 2017, at 6:02 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. Profile Photo Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I think your “Blech” describes it best.

    Remember the Macabees.

    Remember The Babe born in Bethlehem to save the world.

    Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas everyone.

    • #21
    • December 15, 2017, at 2:44 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: Was this decision against the diocese reasonable? Do you believe anti-religion forces are at work? Do you think that religiously themed posters are a problem? Do you think that all Christmas ads should be banned, including those for department stores and other retail outlets to protect our country?

    Maybe all this nonsense will end when we realize secularism is a religion.

    • #22
    • December 15, 2017, at 5:28 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Progressives are not anti-religious, they are simply pro a G-dless religion with their version having [cis-warning!] man at the center.

    I don’t agree, Rodin. I think both are correct. A person can be for any “ism” and not be hell-bent to destroy others. Don’t you agree? Appreciate your sharing on this!

    As @Stad states in #22, secularism is a religion. Ergo Progressivism is not against religion it is simply seeking to displace other religions. While it is true that a religious practice need not have as a tenet the eradication of other religions, that seems in practice to only work when that religion is not an arm of the state. When it is an arm of the state history demonstrates that it shows little tolerance for other religious beliefs or traditions.

    • #23
    • December 15, 2017, at 7:07 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Old Bathos Member

    Misthiocracy, A Puppy (View Comment):
    The Metro assistant general manager used a very foolish argument by citing security concerns as reason for rejecting the ad.

    A much more persuasive argument would have been that any message displayed on government property is deemed as having been endorsed by the government, and the Establishment Cause prohibits government from endorsing religious institutions.

    No. Precisely because it is a government-owned property, content-based exclusions are more, not less problematic. My (limited) sympathy for Metro in this matter is that they figure the ad will (a) trigger annoying letters and complaints from the militantly secular types who feel entitled to define permissible content and no bureaucrat wants to deal with that stuff; and (b) it will establish a precedent for genuinely offensive material like what might be done by the Westboro Baptist Church.

    There has to be a clearly articulated reasonable public purpose for excluding ads. Religious content is not only not dangerous or violative of such a policy but is expressly protected by the First Amendment. As long as Metro does not get to choose the content nor decide which religions get to buy ads, then there is no Establishment Clause issue.

    • #24
    • December 15, 2017, at 8:09 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Progressives are not anti-religious, they are simply pro a G-dless religion with their version having [cis-warning!] man at the center.

    I don’t agree, Rodin. I think both are correct. A person can be for any “ism” and not be hell-bent to destroy others. Don’t you agree? Appreciate your sharing on this!

    As @Stad states in #22, secularism is a religion. Ergo Progressivism is not against religion it is simply seeking to displace other religions. While it is true that a religious practice need not have as a tenet the eradication of other religions, that seems in practice to only work when that religion is not an arm of the state. When it is an arm of the state history demonstrates that it shows little tolerance for other religious beliefs or traditions.

    But then we have the difficulty in getting them to admit it’s a religion. They would be appalled at the thought, dontcha think?

    • #25
    • December 15, 2017, at 8:54 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    My (limited) sympathy for Metro in this matter is that they figure the ad will (a) trigger annoying letters and complaints from the militantly secular types who feel entitled to define permissible content and no bureaucrat wants to deal with that stuff; and (b) it will establish a precedent for genuinely offensive material like what might be done by the Westboro Baptist Church.

    I can almost sympathize with them. Almost. Dealing with this stuff does go with the territory, though. We’ve all had to deal with nasty letters from unhappy customers; we don’t get to choose the kinds of letters that we think are acceptable. (I do understand you’re saying that might be their excuse, OB, not necessarily agreeing with them.)

    • #26
    • December 15, 2017, at 8:59 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Basil Fawlty Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    My (limited) sympathy for Metro in this matter is that they figure the ad will (a) trigger annoying letters and complaints from the militantly secular types who feel entitled to define permissible content and no bureaucrat wants to deal with that stuff; and (b) it will establish a precedent for genuinely offensive material like what might be done by the Westboro Baptist Church.

    I can almost sympathize with them. Almost. Dealing with this stuff does go with the territory, though. We’ve all had to deal with nasty letters from unhappy customers; we don’t get to choose the kinds of letters that we think are acceptable. (I do understand you’re saying that might be their excuse, OB, not necessarily agreeing with them.)

    It’s not the nasty letters they’re afraid of. It’s the nasty ads mocking Christmas that would have to be accepted if Metro accepted ads celebrating Christmas.

    • #27
    • December 15, 2017, at 9:15 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    [W]e have the difficulty in getting [Progressives] to admit it’s a religion. They would be appalled at the thought, dontcha think?

    Yes, because non-falsifiable faith and belief are at the heart of religion. Progressives only have faith and belief that Progressivism is science (see Marx).

    • #28
    • December 15, 2017, at 9:42 AM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):
    It’s not the nasty letters they’re afraid of. It’s the nasty ads mocking Christmas that would have to be accepted if Metro accepted ads celebrating Christmas.

    Would they have to accept those? Sheesh, there is no end to people’s hatefulness. . .

    • #29
    • December 15, 2017, at 10:04 AM PST
    • 1 like
  30. MarciN Member

    That the bus company would be forced to also accept ads from the Westboro Baptist Church is an interesting point, and it will surely be the argument made by the Metro Bus managers. Sadly, the local Congregational church will be sat on their heals with this argument, and the bureaucrats who run the Metro bus service will live to drive the buses another day. End of problem.

    However, it is not a legitimate argument. Book publishers do not have to publish every manuscript that walks through the door. Like the Metro bus agency that is selling advertising, publishing is all about promoting and marketing at the core of their being. That’s what they do. Thank goodness, there is nothing in our country’s laws that forces Thomas Nelson to publish Satan’s bible because the company publishes the King James Bible. A solid case can be made for the city’s public buses. They do not have to publish every ad submitted to them. And they don’t have to justify their reason as long as they are not discriminating against individuals based on sex, sexual preferences, religion, skin color, or ethnicity (I think that’s all of the listed protected classes–or are there seven?). And before readers choke on the “religion” protected class, I again point out that Thomas Nelson, the largest Bible publisher in the country, does not have to publish Satan’s writings.

    The executives who run the bus service simply have to think through it. By the way, there is a list somewhere in the government IRS offices of churches that the government recognizes as legitimate. And that’s where the Metro bus company needs to start its work on this issue. But they are bureaucrats, and they won’t take the time to do it. They have to nothing to gain from putting in the extra work. So they will just bully the Congregational church into pulling their ads.

    So the best answer is to privatize the bus. The government cannot run a bus service as cheaply as a private sector entity. It is tripping over its own regulations, and worse than that, it is actually competing unfairly with private sector entities that do not presently exist because they cannot compete with the U.S. government.

    What government bureaucrats are doing is taking the easy way out here. It’s understandable but not commendable. And it will create new problems down the road. And it is one more blow keeping religion in the closet and out of sight.

    • #30
    • December 15, 2017, at 10:15 AM PST
    • Like