THE BLOG

Easter: Another Chance to Screw Up Religious Freedom

04/22/2014 10:04 am ET | Updated Jun 22, 2014

It's Easter, which in political terms means there is going to be some government body that attempts to put up religious symbols on public property and some outside group that says those symbols are unconstitutional.

This year those roles will be played by Stratton, Ohio, Mayor John Abdalla and Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The U.S. has a long and glorious legal history when it comes to religious displays on public property. Regardless of the argument, it has been determined that such displays are unconstitutional and this is likely the outcome in the Stratton, Ohio, case as well.

This happens because no matter what you happen to believe, the founding fathers wanted everyone to have the right to practice whatever religion they wanted without being influenced by the state. When the government uses a symbol from one faction without corresponding symbols from other religions, it has the look of the state choosing one religion over the others.

Regardless, many Christians still believe that this somehow infringes upon their religion freedom.

If an atheist politician hung a "there's probably no God" sign in the Capitol building would Christian groups be OK with such a display? Probably not.

When it comes to religion there have been plenty of debate already. Warren mayor Jim Fouts, a Christian, refused to allow an atheist group to set up a "Reason Station" in an area typically reserved for nativity scenes and other religious symbols.

A Satanist group designed a Satanic statue that they have requested be placed outside of the Oklahoma capitol building. Connecticut politician and Protestant, Lee Whitnum, sued to stop a Bar Mitzvah from taking place at a local town hall. The Florida capitol building has, among other religious symbols, a "Flying Spaghetti Monster" on display.

The problem is that either you demand that religious symbols are allowed on public property and accept that all religious groups, no matter how far fetched or obscure, be allowed space to exhibit their symbols -- or you accept that the state and religion should not be mixed. There is no third choice. Government picking winners and losers would violate the First Amendment.

This topic was decided, constitutionally, a long time ago. The question then becomes, why do people continue forcing religion and religious symbols on the general public? What purpose does this serve?

You, as an individual, are free to dress yourself from head to toe in religious paraphernalia. Is that not enough religious freedom?

You can talk in public to anyone you want about your beliefs. Is that not enough free speech?

You can design every structure on your property with a religious motif. Do you really need to usurp public, taxpayer-funded buildings too?

Property owners are free to express nearly any opinion on their land. In the case of public property, taxpayers own these entities. So either everyone is free to plaster government buildings with their symbols or no one is.

Anything else would be a slap in the face to the fundamental ideas that this country was founded on.