I Don't Care if It Rains or Freezes As Long As I Have My Courthouse Jesus

09/06/2007 04:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Last Friday, officials in Slidell, Louisiana added 16 prints to the Slidell City Court wall, along with a framed copy of the Constitution, to keep their Courthouse Jesus portrait company. This is in anticipation of tomorrow's federal court hearing brought by the American Civil Liberties Union First Amendment hearing against the city, parish and judge.

The Alliance Defense Fund is representing the city and parish on behalf of the portrait. "The Constitution does not prohibit public buildings from memorializing the great figures from our history," writes Mike Johnson of the ADF.

The assortment of extra portraits now on the wall of the Slidell courthouse have not changed the suit. Marjorie Esman of the ACLU says that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such displays must be conceived from the beginning. "You can't cure a problem by dressing it up."

For some reason this Louisiana kerfuffle is reassuring. My mother-in-law, who lost everything to Katrina, is on her first trip north of the Mason-Dixon line after two years of us begging her to come visit. We just got back to the midwest after the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund passed a van along to a brass band in need of transportation.

Here's something by or about each new Slidell talking head. All apply to the Gulf Coast these days. Next to them is the phrase, "To Know Peace, Obey These Laws." I wish Susan Sontag was up there with "The Personal is Political" but maybe down the line a woman will grace the wall.

The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come.

If any one be too lazy to keep his dam in proper condition, and does not so keep it; if then the dam break and all the fields be flooded, then shall he in whose dam the break occurred be sold for money, and the money shall replace the corn which he has caused to be ruined. If he be not able to replace the corn, then he and his possessions shall be divided among the farmers whose corn he has flooded.

Moses (whose Hebrew name means "to come out of water").
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.


Hasten deliberately.


In 800, Charlemagne came to the aid of Pope Leo III. After Pope Leo purged himself of the charges, he crowned Charlemagne the first Holy Roman Emperor. Eventually Napoleon put a stop to that particular mix of church and state, since as an Emperor he was not a fan of competition.

"Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence."

Louis IX
If a poor man goes to law with one who is rich, support the poor rather than the rich man until you know the truth, and when the truth is known, do that which is just.

The Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

John Marshall

No political dreamer was ever wild enough to think of breaking down the lines which separate the States, and of compounding the American people into one common mass.

Sir William Blackstone
So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.