26 October 2003

<RhetoricalQuestion> I wonder if Judge Moore would continue to push for a closer bond between church and state if the church in question was Matthew Hale's (see next/previous item). Or the Catholic Church. Or, indeed, any church other than his own. </RhetoricalQuestion>

   Judge Moore's continued misbehavior—which is conduct unbecoming a member of the legal profession, let alone a member of the judiciary—is some of the best nonprecedential evidence in favor of upholding Newdow (substantive opinion below) (PDF, 65k)—not so much because the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are always offensive or directly lead to excessive church-state entanglement as because they imply that result. Which would be bad for authors; we do not need an American Index Liborum Prohibitorum. With the enthusiastic bookburnings of Harry Potter going on, and (real, I'm not joking) attempts to have Fahrenheit 451 banned from school classrooms and libraries—some people just don't get "irony," although they'd have a better chance if they'd read the books they want banned first—it would only be a matter of time. Probably, in fact, a reasonably countable number of Planck time units; my guess would be about five, but I could be off a couple either way. The fact that several versions of such documents "adapted" for contemporary America already exist is scary enough.