Monday, August 29, 2005


Cartoon by Elaine Meinel Supkis

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Well, I'll be damned! This is a really funny story out of Texas I stumbled across while looking up stories about Cindy Sheehan.

From ABC TV in Texas:
Last year, 12-year-old Needville Middle School student Heather Mercer was told she could not wear to school a T-shirt her parents bought her during a trip to the Hoover Dam, a shirt neither she nor her parents found offensive.

"Somebody went to Hoover Dam and all I got was this "dam" T-shirt," read Heather from the shirt.

Trying to resolve the issue, Heather's parents went to a Needville school board meeting, one J.R. Mercer says was opened with a prayer and praise of Jesus Christ, something he told us by phone he immediately found troublesome.

"The Bible says you know, you're supposed to pray in private. That was the main issue there," he said. "They were throwing the Christian deal out there on everybody and there may have been somebody out there that was just plumb offended by it."

So the Mercers sued, not just over the freedom of speech and the T-shirt, but because of Mercer's perceived lack of a separation between church and state.

Recently, a federal court ruled the shirt was a souvenir, one not protected by the First Amendment. The prayer issue was resolved when Needville's school board agreed to never hold a denominational prayer again.
Well, no more violations of Supreme Court rulings! On the other hand, the ruling that souvenir T shirts aren't free speech? Huh? That one doesn't go past my bullshit detector. I don't recall Ben Franklin who pushed for this as the first amendment saying, "Oh, and those 'I &hearts Revolutions!' aren't free speech!" Indeed, it would seem that even something as innoculous as a joke T shirt is 100% covered by the First Amendment, wouldn't you think? Or are all these things illegal?

I recall here in Albany the local mall, Crossgates, made international news because their goon squad arrested a man wearing a "Peace Now" T shirt when Bush was pushing to invade Iraq. The man sued and won his case. It was totally insane because he bought the shirt at that mall! Kicking people out for wearing what they purchase is a new low, isn't it?

Funny how that works.

Anyway, what does Jesus have to do with running meetings? I am puzzled by this. The need to drag the poor man around Texas and insert him into every activity but meaningful ones is a real riddle. Note the utter lack of outrage over the cross desecrations at the peace camp in Crawford! Well! But then, I noted for many years a similar lack of outrage over the KKK burning crosses. One would think this would be the ultimate desecration but in the twisted world of these sorts of people, obviously, it isn't.


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