Friday, February 17, 2006

Now, if the U.S. Supreme Court Could Think Like This

In one sense, they have. The Italian court, like similar rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court over things like 10 Commandment Monuments, tries to have it both ways. In essence, they try to say, yes, we know it is a religious symbol, but that doesn't mean you have to take it religiously. You could look for some other good in it. Here's the problem with that line of reasoning in my mind. Where do the goods expressed by the symbol come from except the religious meaning and import the symbol conveys? If you were to ask a first century B.C. or first half of the first century A.D. Roman citizen what the meaning of crucifixion is, I am willing to wager that they would give you a very different response than the one you think of when I mention "crucifixion."

However, the Italian court deserves some praise. For instance, as the article reports, they recognize the culture's roots are Christian. In American society, we act as though the entire American way of life sprung full-formed from the head of Geo. Washington, like a governmental Athena. Further, the Italian court recognizes that tolerance cuts both ways - majority is tolerant of minority and vice versa.

Lastly, I would add something that does bother me even when the outcome is something I like. I am very concerned though with the idea that protesting a decision can result in its reversal. The last line of the article notes such a situation. Personally, I am pleased the decision got overturned, but next time, could we follow the law and run this case past, I don't know, the folks who are responsible for it, namely the appealate division? Fair play means that EVERYONE plays by the same rules.

All in all, I think that this might bode well for the future of Europe. Not everyone is sleepy-eyed and forgetful.

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