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Chan Lowe: Religious symbol spat erupts in July!!!


This concerns a picayune local story, but like so many local stories, it has national implications.

Normally, we touchy South Floridians save the religious antics for the holiday season, but this year the ACLU jumped the gun. It has written a letter to Plantation, FL officials indicating that their public holiday display, featuring only a nativity scene and a menorah, is still out of compliance with the Constitution because it leaves out symbols representing all the other religions of the world.

I deliberately made this cartoon ambiguous because many of us feel ambivalent about the annual rite of religious sensitivity. On the one hand, we understand why the Establishment Clause needs such rigorous enforcement. After all, when left unsupervised, otherwise well-meaning Americans have been known to paint a cross on their town water tower, or slip Jesus into a school prayer.

On the other, it’s a shame that the only way we can ensure everyone is included is to leave everyone out. But that’s our emotional side talking. To satisfy that need, we have malls (private property, where merchants offend at their own risk), front yards, and the parking lots of churches, temples, mosques, and other places of worship⎯all of which are Bill of Rights-free zones.

That ought to be plenty for most people, while leaving public spaces unsullied.

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This reminds me of the old joke, also applicable to the budget flap going on in Washington right now:
How can you tell when you've made a perfect compromise?
Everyone hates it.

If God can be "slipped in" there's no reason Jesus can't.

This cartoon misrepresents the situation. The ACLU is not asking for the total elimination of holiday displays. The ACLU is asking that the holiday displays be STRENGTHENED by ADDING MORE DECORATIONS, to include Muslim, Hindu, Buddist, etc.

if the aclu really cared about civil rights it would be suing the TSA for civil rights and illegal searchs and health risks with the tsa naked body scanners! that is a real fight the aclu should take on! they seem to give the tsa a pass under obama! they are just a left wing group not true civil rights warriors!

I've been noticing a trend here.

You know, the fact that every single religious symbol strife has a menorah in it.

I'm sure it's just coincidence, but it just might be that if there was no menorah, there would be no strife over religious symbols. Think about it for a second.

NO religious or cult symbols should be on any public grounds. I don't know why this is so difficult to understand.

Actually, it isn't.

It's the spiteful, willful desire to get one's own cult symbols on public property in order to be able to feel a little more secure if not smug.

There have been thousands of religions and gods throughout history. Are we going to put thousands of symbols on public property? Of course, not, the Christians say, just ours. And so it goes.

In addition, Atheists' rights are being trampled as usual when they are also forced to pay for everyone else's little homage to their invisible friends up in the sky.


I thought about it for a second. All religions are based upon the symbols and beliefs of prior religions. Symbolism and cusdtoms are borrowed over and over.

So removing one symbol accomplishes nothing.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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