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By David Waters
A South Carolina man believes he has found the way to resurrect the “I Believe” car tag that was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge earlier this month. Just ask the state to make one, something Oran Smith as president of a private group, the Palmetto Family Council, can do that the state legislature (which tried and failed) cannot.
“You have to have a death before you can have a resurrection,” said Smith, comparing the cause of the resurrected Christ to a government-issued license plate for motor vehicles.
Meanwhile, a little farther to the South, the ACLU has taken up the cause of a Florida ‘Christian’ group that has been impeded from expressing its message of hope, love and eternal salvation — on a T-shirt. The ACLU filed suit on behalf of two families from the ironically-named Dove World Outreach Center whose children were not allowed to wear “Islam is of the Devil” T-shirts at school.
Dove’s Terry Jones says his group is compelled to defend its beliefs by whatever means of apparel necessary: “This is why we also take a stand against Islam, which teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God, therefore taking away the saving power of Jesus Christ and leading people straight to Hell.”
OK. It’s easy to make light of people who feel not only the need but the God-given obligation to proselytize by slogan. But it’s a free country and people have a right to express their religious beliefs, however simplistic, judgmental or distorted they might be.
Fortunately, we live in a nation ruled by secular rather than religious laws. Courts and not clergy will settle these disputes. Still, you get the idea that people who push government to support evangelism wish that it were otherwise.
Why do people who benefit from the fact that this isn’t a theocracy seem to think it ought to be?