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.