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March 18, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 18, 2005


~iw ituPa

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor



'' Sometimes they
would get pretty
rowdy ... He did
let them have
a free hand,
so to say.
- Michael Jackson's former housekeeper,
Kiki Fournier, testifying about Jackson's
relationship with his young friends at the
Jackson child molestation trial, as reported
yesterday by The Associated Press.

Th"( (Goa
Ws CIlt


.GIs '6r carte. day on1!
,or ovle its u 5m so w r ny
dad. Mtc. 'wan s hs dres l


- ..

Thou shall not ...
have never been a rewrite precedent on whether the command- But realistically speaking, little will actu-
particularly religious ments and similar religious symbols that dot ally change - religious imagery is mean-
person. My inquisi- public spheres are a federal endorsement of ingless without societal reinforcement, and
' tive nature and general religion or simply a reflection of the Judeo- we are far too over the edge to be salvaged
obstinacy have always Christian influence in U.S. history. There by a few slabs of stone.
made it difficult for me to is nothing explicit in our Constitution that What is more detrimental than propa-
follow rigid doctrine or demarks a separation between church and gation of the status quo is the invidious
trust in blind faith. Orga- state, but pro-Separatists have long read distinction that will undoubtedly result
nized religion is often the First Amendment's "Congress shall between the religious majority and minori-
contradictory, archaic make no law respecting an establishment ty. Permitting the Decalogue in public areas
and divisive, and those who preach the loud- of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise theoretically means that opposing devo-
est from the pulpit are often the most hypo- thereof ... " as a governmental laissez-faire tional material can be publicly viewed too.
critical and corrupt. So I've always adhered over religion. Yet given the fact that most religions are at
to a homemade dogma of being a good person Despite federal regulations against overt odds with one another, what is the likeli-
and worshiping whatever God(s) exist in my religious pageantry, the majority of Ameri- hood that alternative faiths will be accept-
own personal way. I feel that others have the cans are at least nominally Christian. Con- ed in an overwhelmingly Judeo-Christian
freedom to venerate or not venerate, whatever sequently, our country has always had a country? Most people in this nation do not
the case may be, as they deem appropriate. long-standing tradition of civic faith: The even acknowledge that anything exists out-
Because of our nation's longstanding proverbial "In God We Trust" monetary side the so-called "Big 3" religions, Chris-
tradition of separating the church from the seal, holiday songs performed in public tianity, Judaism, and Islam (Islam only
state, Americans have been able to prac- schools during Christmas, the Pledge of because of the obsessive fear after Sept.
tice this "live and let live" mentality for Allegiance and the Supreme Court fresco of 11). Ignorance is usually not conducive to
over two centuries. But now a pair of U.S. Moses. Furthermore, according to a recent liberalism, so I wonder how gung ho such
Supreme Court cases threaten to destroy CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, 76 percent individuals would be seeing a picture of
that very sacred freedom. of Americans support the display of the Ten Lord Krishna hanging in their post office
In one case, two Kentucky executives Commandments in courthouses. or a 6-foot bronze statue of a laughing Bud-
posted the Ten Commandments on court- There is nothing fundamentally wrong dha on the White House lawn.
house walls, while in the other case, Thomas with intermingling devotion into public I have a hunch they would not be too
Van Orden filed suit against the placement life, if such action can invoke the better- pleased.
of a 6-foot-tall monument of the Ten Com- ment of society through tolerance, person- Only when, if ever, we get to that point
mandments on the grounds of the Texas al discipline and sacrifice, and kindness of universal acceptance of every faith,
state capitol building bearing a symbol rep- toward others. And given the present is it feasible. to conceive blurring the line
resenting Jesus Christ with the words "I am tenuous state of America's social fabric between church and the government. Until
the Lord thy God." - malaises like violence and materialism then, religion should be kept a personal
The Bush administration and 26 state abound - increased spirituality doesn't matter away from the public sphere and out
attorneys general have, to no surprise, filed seem all that bad of an idea. If displaying of the courts.
a brief supporting the Texas and Kentucky the Ten Commandments could decrease
Decalogue displays. the national divorce rate or mend broken Krishnamurthy can be reached
The ostensibly landmark cases could homes, I would wholeheartedly support it. atsowmyak@umich.edu.



e D ady d keep
its News dcdw
Wednesday's lead page headline (MSA
Votes Against Divestment, 03/16/2005)
begs the question: Did the Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly really vote against divest-
ment? The article reports that MSA voted
against the creation of "an advisory com-
mittee to investigate the moral and ethical
implications" of divestment. Maybe I've
been too busy lately, but I don't remember
the Daily reporting the pro-divestment
findings of a committee that never exist-
ed. Indeed, I'm pretty sure I would have
remembered the adjacent cartoon by Sam
Butler depicting President Bush, don-
ning a cowboy hat and chaps furnished by
Coca-Cola, riding a nuclear warhead built
by Halliburton into a Palestinian hospital
while stammering something about tat-
tooing the Ten Commandments on enemy
combatants. Luckily for my sanity, I'm
pretty sure the headline is simply an irre-
sponsible nonsequitur.
Unless we know what the findings of the
advisory committee would have been had
the proposal to create such a committee
passed and its provisions implemented,
we're one premise short of the headline's
conclusion. If the editors of the Daily
know what the findings of the proposed
- and let's hope objective - advisory
committee would have been, they should
let us know. What the editors should not
do is draw a conclusion that is not sup-
ported by the article itself. It is entirely
possible that the majority of individuals
are pro-divestment, but voted against the
measure for an array of reasons. Indeed, it
appears that to some individuals, includ-
ing the president of MSA, the insertion of
what those considered condemnations of
the state of Israel was a significant factor
in their vote. A vote of "no" does not, as
a matter of course, imply an anti-divest-
ment stance.
If the editors of the Daily want to take
a position on divestment, I suggest that
they articulate it in a staff editorial. Let's
keep the nonsequiturs to the editorial
7-\11 T7_ _1

The headline Israel Divestment Resolu-
tion Likely to Pass can certainly be ques-
tioned given the overwhelming defeat of
the resolution by the Michigan Student
Assembly. But more problematic is that
the story did not justify the headline.
The lead of the story said that some MSA
officials thought the resolution had "a
reasonable chance of passing." The story
continued that both a Daily survey and an
MSA survey showed a nearly even divi-
sion; in other words, too close to call. The
headline tried to call it anyway.
The headline of an Associated Press
story read: Palestinian Holy Site will fall
on Israeli Side referring to the planned
route of Israel's security barrier. But the
story simply said it was a "holy site" not
a "Palestinian holy site." In fact, Rachel's
Tomb, the burial spot of the biblical
Rachel on the outskirts of Bethlehem,
is the third-holiest site in Judaism. It is
true that the Palestinian Authority has.
begun to call the site the "Bilal Ibn Rabah
Mosque" in an effort to undermine any
Jewish connection - just as Arafat used
to claim that there was never a Jewish
Temple in Jerusalem, a move that infu-
riated religious Jews and Christians, as
well as Muslims and others with integrity
- but certainly the Daily should not be a
party to efforts to strip Rachel's Tomb of
its Jewish significance.
Don Cohen
P1RGJM OImidates
Constitution andfwe seech
Apparently Carolyn Hwang and Michi-
gan Student Assembly Rep. Rese Fox
believe that the Constitution amounts to
"obstacles and red tape" (The future of
PIRGIM at the University, 03/17/2005).
Despite the Central Student Judiciary's
ruling that was in accordance with the
U.S. Supreme Court's decision in South-
worth v. University of Wisconsin, Hwang
and Fox continue to masquerade as vic-
tims of some bureaucratic conspiracy.
Unlike Hwang and Fox, I am willing to

legislation is absurd - it appears to be
its sole purpose.
While I am open to finding solutions to
problems, such as the cost of education,
pollution and poverty, I do not believe we
should automatically assume that PIR-
GIM's policies are the best. Hwang, Fox
and supporters of PIRGIM should keep in
mind that thousands of students feel like
I do. We do not want our money spent on
advocating policies we find disagreeable.
Imagine if the state Legislature voted to
fund a Republican policy center but not
one for the Democrats. Using MSA's dis-
cretionary funds to bankroll a PIRGRIM
chapter is analogous to this situation.
Both are outrageous and clear violations
of the Constitution's Free Speech Clause.
In our democracy, majority and plurali-
ty often rule. But in cases concerning our
sacred rights, such as freedom of speech,
assembly and religious practice, the law
protects the minority from discrimina-
tion. Although Hwang and Fox claim to
have "so much support on campus," they
cannot usurp the rights of those who do
not support PIRGIM.
Eric Weiler
LSA senior




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