Thursday, December 29, 2005

Old Blue and the ICLU

Some of my most vivid memories about growing up on our farm in Henry County involve the old family hounddog, Blue. In reality, he belonged to my older brother, Charles, but somehow through the course of time, the family adopted Blue or he adopted us. I’m not sure which it was. One of the things I remember most about Blue was his inability to discern between legitimate threats to the order of things on the farm, and events that really didn’t require his attention. Blue had a passion for barking at the neighbor’s cows, the Jewel Tea man, cats that had the audacity to stray from the safety of the barn, and just about every other object, animate or inanimate, that he discovered in the vicinity of his territory.

I can’t recall how many times Mom was ready to call the county dog catcher and have Blue hauled to the pound, or how often Dad wanted to take him on a one way hunting trip to the woods. I do know that Blue spent a lot of days on the fine line between life and death, without much support or sympathy from the majority of the family. But then, once in awhile, some varmint would try to get into the chicken house and Blue would throw one of his fits, and we were all just awful proud to have him around.

I told that story so I could tell this story. Currently the Indiana Civil Liberties Union is suing the General Assembly to prevent them from opening their sessions with prayers that the ICLU considers unconstitutional. Now, the United States Constitution plainly states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" and the Indiana Constitution plainly states "No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience."

I’m not sure why the ICLU thinks that a voluntary prayer offered up anywhere would violate either Constitution, but I suppose they have the right to raise the question. I also suppose that any judge that has taken an oath to uphold one or both of these Constitutions would easily rule that the ICLU is way out of line on this one, and maybe even smack them with a rolled-up newspaper while giving them a good scolding.

It’s not that I would like to see the ICLU neutered or put down. Heaven knows we need as many people as we can get to keep an eye on a government that hasn’t always had a good track record for policing itself. But they sure would be a lot easier to put up with if they would figure out if that ruckus they’re hearing is a weasel in the hen house, or just Uncle Hobert’s milk truck, before they started carrying on so.


6/7/05

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