I hear the Brewster County Sheriff’s office has received more than 1,000 comments on their web page applauding the sticking of religious-oriented decals on their vehicles, and only a few condemning the practice.
Many people in Brewster County, being Christians of one sort or another, are undoubtedly in favor of that advertising.
Some, not wishing to alienate themselves from their fellow citizens, probably will shy away from criticizing it.
Still others, not being Christians or not even being religious, will probably shrug their shoulders, thinking, “What’s the use of quarreling over such a petty matter? We’ve got more important issues to tackle.”
Well, I think the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the establishment of any religion, is very important.
I will be as absolute in my defense of the First Amendment as the NRA is absolute in the espousal of the Second Amendment.
The vehicles purchased by our state, county and city law enforcement agencies are purchased with money coming from taxes paid by all the citizens of those jurisdictions. And not all the citizens are Christians; many are not even religious.
What is the message intended by the decals with their white crosses and blue lines?
Are we to interpret them to mean that if you are a Christian you will be treated preferentially by the officer driving that patrol car? When he or she pulls you over for driving too fast or recklessly and you inform him/her that you are a Christian, will he/she give you are warning ticket and wish you a Merry Christmas?
I am not so rigid in my insistence on the separation of church and state that I find “Merry Christmas” greetings repugnant; the political correctness notion has its own extreme.
Nor do I see anything wrong with Sunday school classes holding Easter sunrise services at public parks where beautiful natural settings are most available, for those services last only a couple of hours and then the folks will depart.
But setting up crèches on courthouse lawns or hanging a bunch of paintings of angels in the county clerk’s office (as they do in Ward County) is promoting a particular religion. Those practices are repugnant and can even be viewed as bullying.
Bob Litton is a resident of Alpine.