Alablawg

Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Monday, April 17, 2006

I Missed This Story

On Friday, but thanks to Captain Bama, I can comment on Mini-Moore's latest tirade. He is incensed that Alabama would elect Hugo Black to our Lawyer's Hall of Fame. Justice Black, among other achievements during his 34 year term on the Scotus, authored the opinion banning school sponsored prayer - Engel v. Vitale. Prior to his Scotus appointment, he was a member of the KKK. Guess which one of these facts Mini-Moore is mad about. (See this for a hint).

Of course the KKK connection was temporary, and later refuted in word and deed. What I find most interesting about Justice Black is that he was a 'strict constructionist' yet authored many 'liberal' opinions like Engel. He was a principled jurist. Mini-Moore just doesn't like the results.

As for the liberal result in Engel, Mini-Moore says it "personally launched the war to kick God out of the public square in America."

It wasn't personal, it was legal. What could possibly be more of an establishment of religion than ordering young children to pray to a specific deity? The state was training them to follow a specific religion. People like Mini-Moore understand that children are impressionable because they frequently complain about liberal teachers using the classroom to impose their anti-American agenda on young minds. There is no constitutional text prohibiting the spread of anti-American dogma, but there is a text prohibiting the establishment of religion. Justice Black (and five other Justices) decided that text prohibited the state-sponsored prayer.

Nor did it kick God out of the public square. God, (in the Christian view) being an omnipresent spirit can't be kicked anywhere. Further, if he could be booted, he was not thrust from the public square. He remains there for all to debate. Any child in any school at any time may argue with another child, himself, or God about God. What Engel did was to remove the state's support for God. God must now succeed of fail on his own merits. You might say Engel was a decision favoring personal responsibility. If God wants followers, he is going to have to earn them on his own. No more theological welfare for him.