On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Blaine II?

In the second half of the 19th century there was a move to ensure that Catholic schools wouldn’t get funded by tax dollars. When the Federal effort failed to produce a Constitutional amendment the states passed their own version of the Blaine Amendment, and they are still in most state constitutions.

Since they couldn’t actually say that the amendments were targeting the Catholics, the language was very generic and usually just said religious schools and religion, because [wink, wink, nudge, nudge] it would never be applied to Protestant institutions.

Well, it applied to all religions, and is the reason that “school voucher” programs keep getting thrown out in Florida and other states, i.e. the vouchers cannot be given to religious schools.

Steve Bates notes that Texas state Representative Leo Berman (R) wants to introduce an amendment to the Texas constitution that says:

“A court of this state shall uphold the laws of the Constitution of the United States, this Constitution, federal laws, and laws of this state. A court of this state may not enforce, consider, or apply any religious or cultural law.”

Rep. Berman intends to make it impossible for Sharia law to be used in the state of Texas, but he can’t single out one religion, so he is going generic [wink, wink, nudge, nudge] feeling that judges will understand what he means.

After reflecting on the wording of the amendment, I think that Log Cabin Republicans, the ACLU, and PZ Myers should all send letters of support to Mr. Berman. They will offset the campaign of the usual suspects, DonoWho, Focus on the Family, et al., who will attack him for seeking to destroy the “Judeo-Christian foundation” of the country, and David Barton will probably build a “Wall” around him, but the man who is willing to give up his career in politics to make gay marriage possible in Texas should know that the “atheistic, socialist fringe” supports him.


1 Steve Bates { 01.15.11 at 1:05 am }

Bryan, notwithstanding how uncomfortable Rep. Berman would be when confronted with the support of the ACLU and well-known atheists and LGBTs, the reality is that one cannot, in compliance with the Constitution or in simple practical fact, control what a judge uses in crafting an opinion… you can control what s/he cites, but even that is pushing the limits of separation of powers.

It’s true that a judge’s citing certain sources may incline superior courts to overturn a decision, but by and large judges are free to use any legal source they choose… including sources from foreign legal traditions. It’s been done, it will be done again, and no legislature can prevent it. Besides, how can you tell if a judgment is based in “religious or cultural law” if it doesn’t explicitly cite such a law?

What a pile of poo this man proposes to fling.

2 Steve Bates { 01.15.11 at 1:22 am }

Afterthought: you may find this post by upyernoz interesting, as it deals with criticism of Scalia’s citing of a British court ruling. ‘noz reminds the critic of the special historical relationship between American law and British law.

3 Steve Bates { 01.15.11 at 11:00 am }

When in doubt, scream “COMMIE !!1!” It’s all the Right knows how to do.

Meanwhile, Duffy, what about that list of a dozen Republicans who advocated violence, right out in front of Dog and everybody, at their campaign events? Somehow you seem reluctant to respond to the simple fact, which I told you about a couple of days ago, that almost ALL of the violent threats made by American politicians are from the Right, not the Left. But you are a pure ideologue, so facts don’t matter to you. Everyone you don’t like is automatically a Commie in your opinion.

It must be difficult… boring if nothing else… to be the living embodiment of a stereotype of a reactionary.

4 Bryan { 01.15.11 at 2:20 pm }

Mr. Duff, your historical ignorance is nothing short of astounding.

If Mr. Loughner had been a follower of the Weather Underground he would have put an explosive device in a building with a timer and then issued a media announcement outlining the threat, to prevent any injuries or loss of life, and indicating the reasons for the actions. They didn’t target people, and the only known casualty of their campaign was a member of the organization, either as a result of an accidental explosion or a police assassination depending on your point of view.

The members of the Weather Underground couldn’t be successfully prosecuted because of the illegal and unConstitutional actions of the local and Federal officials, actions which, in the end, resulted in the only Presidential resignation in American history. There is nothing worse than a bad cop because bad cops allow the guilty to go free. For every innocent in prison there is a criminal on the streets.

Mr. Loughner’s actions and statements are in clear and obvious alignment with the rightwing militia movement, and everyone knows it, even when they are terrified to admit it. The big surge in gun sales is most probably Republican officials who are fearful of the monster they have fostered in their midst. It is in no way surprising that Congresscritter Peter King of Long Island wants a gun free zone around him, because his campaigns to whip up hysteria against “liberals” attracts the type of people who carry guns and are a bubble shy of level in the sanity department.

5 Bryan { 01.15.11 at 2:29 pm }

While it is true, Steve, that you can’t control what judges think, the law would eliminate the main arguments defending laws against gay marriage, which are generally based on religion. When you take away the religious claim, there isn’t much left to justify the discrimination.

As for ‘Noz’s piece, the Supreme Court can decide cases on anything they want, or in the case of Justice Thomas, nothing, since he rarely has anything to say. Technically they can just issue a “yea” or “nay” with no explanation at all, and they often do it when they affirm lower court rulings.

6 Bryan { 01.15.11 at 8:22 pm }

1. Ayers is a straw man thrown up by the wingers in an attempt to change the subject, and has no relevance to the current case.
2. Ayers was never convicted of anything because of bad cops, so if you don’t like the results, blame Nixon and his corruption of law enforcement.
3. School districts are locally controlled and I have absolutely no idea what in hell you are talking about in regards to the Tucson schools.
4. The defendant uses the language and terminology of the rightwing militias, and obviously is involved with their ideology.
5. There were a number of people in the crowd and the area who were armed and it made no difference. They didn’t draw to avoid being shot as another gunman. One of them almost shot the man who disarmed the actual shooter.
6. Vermont is one of the most liberal states in the US, electing the only avowed socialist to Congress, Senator Bernie Sanders. Howard Dean is the former governor. Guns aren’t a problem in liberal states.
7. There is no objective basis for determining the defendant’s mental state, so I’ll stay with the facts.

Your ignorance of the US political structure, history, and political leanings leaves you with nothing but wingnut propaganda to spew. It is really boring.

7 hipparchia { 01.15.11 at 11:37 pm }

– do you want people with Mr. Ayers’s record influencing your schools? Again, a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will do,


8 Badtux { 01.16.11 at 12:06 pm }

I will repeat in a small sentence, Mr. Duff, since you apparently do not understand big ones:

Mr. Ayers, like every other left-wing terrorist in the past 60 years in the United States, targeted *PROPERTY*, not *PEOPLE*.

The “Weather Underground” targeted property, not people.
The “Earth Liberation Front” targets property, not people.
The “Black Bloc anarchists” non-organization targets property, not people.

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

There is only one set of terrorist groups here in America that target people rather than property, and they are ultra-right-wing groups.

Osama bin Laden’s group? Ultra-right-wing (wants to impose Sharia law).
The Dominionist group that bombed abortion clinics? Ultra-right-wing (wants to impose Mosaic law).
The militia groups that want to kill immigrants and liberals? Ultra-right-wing.
The racist hate groups that want to kill racial minorities? Ultra-right-wing.

There is not a single left-wing group in the whole bunch of folks who want to kill, kill, kill. And there is a reason for that. Left wingers have a fundamental respect for human life. They want human life to be better. Right wingers, on the other hand, believe property is more important than human life. They want property to be protected from all those awful people who might actually, like, *need* it in order to even survive. Thus right-winger Jan Brewer’s death panel in Arizona, which cut off the transplant funding for Medicaid there and has thus far killed two people… the amount of money required would have been literally 10 cents for every Arizona taxpayer, but 10 cents in the pockets of Arizona taxpayers is apparently more important to right-wingers than human lives, which right wingers consider worthless, apparently.

And I know you will disagree with this, Mr. Duff, but all I will say is that bullshit talks, but I look at the reality on the ground, not bullshit. Right wing ideology results in *dead bodies*, whether it is children pulled from the rubble of the Oklahoma City federal building or bodies pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center. Left wing ideology results in live people. Dead people vs. live people. Results *matter*, Mr. Duff. And if I must embrace an ideology, it will *not* be one that results in a trail of dead bodies, Mr. Duff.

– Badtux the Body Count Penguin

9 Badtux { 01.16.11 at 2:45 pm }

Was Josef Stalin a left-wing American? Note that I was talking about the United States and specifically about the last 60 years. Perhaps Josef Stalin was American in your alternate reality of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees, but not in this one, where the Georgia that Josef Stalin came from was in, err, the Soviet Union, not between Alabama and South Carolina :).

And if you cannot tell the difference between Communism and liberalism, I submit that you are dumber than a box of rocks and should be residing as the front lawn of a typical Arizona home, where the rocks that typically are the “lawn” in Arizona undoubtedly would have a higher IQ.

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

10 Bryan { 01.16.11 at 3:07 pm }

“The subject of your post, Bryan, was influence in schools, I merely provided yet another example so there was no change of subject.”


The subject of the post was the use of amendments to embed religious prejudice in constitutions and the unintended consequences of those attempts.

You have wandered so far out of the realm of this post that there really is no point in continuing.

BTW – wnd.com is proof of nothing except the liberal policy of allowing one and all to establish a presence on the Internet. If it were an actual tabloid I wouldn’t use it to house break a puppy, as the poor dog might contract an untreatable skin disease from contact with it.

There are no points being deducted from your score for being unable to tell the difference between mental illness and wingnut talking points – they do tend to merge. The mentally ill tend to be nicer, less violent people who can be helped with proper care and the careful use of medication, unlike the right.

11 hipparchia { 01.16.11 at 6:51 pm }

what badtux said.

on the whole, i’d prefer that people not resort to violence at all, but when they do lose it, i find the ones who indulge in assassinations to be far scarier than the ones who bomb empty buildings.

12 Bryan { 01.16.11 at 8:06 pm }

I prefer that we settle our disputes with elections, that is, after all, the reason we hold them.

13 hipparchia { 01.18.11 at 4:33 pm }

I prefer that we settle our disputes with elections, that is, after all, the reason we hold them.

elections! how very un-american of you, bryan! you do realize that this great country was founded [cf revolutionary war], and maintained [cf civil war], by people who were willing to, and did, shoot their political opponents, don’t you? and that guns are uniquely american?

14 Bryan { 01.18.11 at 5:38 pm }

It is very difficult at times to remember why I bother to hang around in this country, because it certainly doesn’t seem to want to even appear to live up to any of its ideals or stated goals.

15 hipparchia { 01.18.11 at 6:21 pm }

well, i’m here for the beaches, and for the grand canyon [and its surrounding desert], but yeah i’m really ticked off with some of the people.

16 Bryan { 01.18.11 at 10:40 pm }

The truly frustrating part is that the whackoes in Florida realize that everything is screwed up and the government is working, but don’t seem to notice that the Republicans control the government. They keep electing the people who created the mess, hoping they’ll fix it. It just doesn’t occur to them that the Republicans and their policies are the problem.

17 Badtux { 01.19.11 at 10:59 am }

Of course, Bryan, you are assuming that Democratic policies are any different (see: Preznit Hopey Changey) 😈 . Given that, perhaps Floridians are all about “the devil you know”…

18 Bryan { 01.19.11 at 4:44 pm }

There was a reason that Obama made sure that Florida was stripped of all its votes in the Democratic Presidential primary. Grayson wasn’t that different from other Florida Democrats.