A Ton of Bricks
written by Laramie:
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A California High School, during a recent remodeling phase of the school, planned to sell bricks to the public that would be used in the construction of the main hallway of the new building. The bricks were priced at $100 for a 4 X 8 brick, or $250 for an 8 X 8 brick. Purchasers were told they could put inscriptions on the memorial bricks, that would be seen by persons passing by in the hall. It gave people a chance to let it be known that they supported the building of the new structure, and also to participate in a fundraiser to help with costs of the project, and it would give the brick buyers a chance at a limited immortality, that is, however long the building lasted. The school's PTA announced the amount raised through the sale of bricks was $45,000. But hold on! Enter the old "free speech" quandary.
Heaven forbid, two ladies decided to subscribe to the plan and had Biblical Scriptures imprinted on their bricks. One was " No man can serve two masters," another, "Be kind to each other, forgive one another," and other obviously heinous verses. Well, needless to say, such violations of the Constitutional guarantee of Freedom of Speech could not be tolerated. ( I'm still confused as to where Freedom of Speech ends and Separation of Church and State begins, but that's another story I guess).
Shockingly, the Principal of the remodeled school, and the Board of Education of the school district, could not be reached to clarify the situation with their comments. Also surprising, the attorney for the school district gave a lengthy explanation that was, I suppose, aimed at calming the nerves of those who objected to the brick ban. "The case has been settled," he said. That said it all!
Well, the two ladies filed an injunction to compel the school to allow them to have the bricks installed in the wall of the hallway. In a not so surprising move on the part of the school district, they decided to cancel the project and proceeded to refund every dollar collected to the brick buyers. The reason given by the school district, "... the religious content risked an unconstitutional establishment of religion." Seems the district fancies itself as legal Constitutional experts.
How common it is today, to refrain from what we may think is the right thing to do based solely on the suspicion, or in some cases the reality, of the court system. Or because some, perhaps well meaning, citizen who suspects an idea to be offensive for any number of reasons on their agenda, and they holler out. And the courts seem to listen. Often well made plans are cancelled simply because it is felt, or known, that judges nowadays will come up with a politically correct judgment that the plan violates some human right or that it is unconstitutional, when it clearly doesn't seem to be. So, the planners say, "Why bother?" I wonder if maybe the citizens of this country need an upgraded clarification of just exactly what the words of the Constitution mean, and how and why they are applied that insures consistency of enforcement. This would be a huge task, but I believe it needs to be done. It seems to me that it's getting to the point where no matter what idea is presented, somebody will find a way to argue that it is not in line with the Constitution, and all that has to be screamed is "It's unconstitutional," and what was probably a legitimate proposal is thrown out. Something has to be done and it needs to be done now! Things are getting out of hand!
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