The Blaze is a conservative website that is very popular. Or so I was told by a man from the radio station in Lebanon, Missouri, who interviewed me about my objection to Principal Lowery’s goddy remarks at the Lebanon High School graduation. Doing my day job, I’m unaware of much of this fracas, but I’ve been receiving hate mail all day from the good citizens of Lebanon, and got a really nasty phone call in my office about an hour ago. Never have I received such vituperative from non-readers over an issue, and that includes the Hedin case at Ball State. The faithful simply must have their public prayer, and they must excoriate those who object.
At any rate, The Blaze has the LoweryGate story at the very top of its page, and here’s the screenshot (there are four headlines, with each story obtained by clicking a dot at the upper right). If you click it you’ll go to the story:
It’s strange, you know—people really wonder why some “carpetbagger” like me should care about this kind of stuff. Well, an erosion of Constitutional rights in one place affects us all, for we’re really on a slippery slope that leads to theocracy, and our only pitons are constant defenses of the Constitution. In his interview, the radio guy, playing the devil’s advocate, asked me why I cared about what happens in Lebanon. I responded by asking him, “Well, why should you care if a black person is denied the right to vote in Mississippi?”
After reporting Lowery’s remarks and showing the video of his speech, The Blaze adds this:
Lowery’s comments, though, attracted a response from Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, who wrote that they constitute a First Amendment violation.
He complained to Lowery, the school board, the local superintendent and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a church-state separatist group.
But Hemant Mehta, an atheist blogger, had a different take, saying that while the comments were inappropriate, he’s not sure they posed an illegal constitutional violation.
A voice message and email seeking comment from Lowery have not been returned to TheBlaze.
I beg to differ with Hemant: I think the remarks were a blatant intrusion of religion into a public school ceremony. When the principal said, after the bogus “moment of silence,” that he prayed to God, he was imposing his views on a captive audience. And that’s a Constitutional violation.
I’ll bet Hemant $100 that the school will back down when it receives the inevitable legal warnings. If he’s right, and it’s not a constitutional violation, the school might stand its ground. How about it, Mr. Friendly Atheist? Are you on?
I see there are 146 comments at the bottom of The Blaze post, and the radio guy warned me that some of them aren’t pretty, but I have a book to write. Maybe I’ll have a look tomorrow. It should be amusing.
p.s. If you don’t know what my title refers to, go here.