By Bryan Fischer
The city fathers of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, are doing their best to prevent satanists from erecting the first monument to the Prince of Darkness on public land, ever.
What would have been utterly unthinkable to the Founders, and should be utterly unthinkable today in an enlightened America, is now thinkable.
The bullies from the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, have gone halfway across the country to make trouble for a peaceful community of 6,700 people and impose their own benighted views on people who have no interest in those views and have flatly rejected them. In Veteran’s Park, next to the erection of a small monument depicting a soldier kneeling in prayer before the cross, satanists want to place a black cube with pentagrams inscribed on every visible surface. The city council doesn’t want it there.
In a country where we believe in local control and believe that those who have to live with the consequences of decisions should be the ones to make them, this is not only un-American, it is anti-American.
It is a further expression of the prudish and Pharisaical busy-bodiness of the Left, who live life in mortal fear that someone, somewhere, is enjoying religious liberty. They are so maniacally and demonically opposed to the Christianity that founded this country that they will travel 1500 miles to stick their nose in places where it does not belong.
The city’s leaders, flailing about to keep Satan from being giving an honored place in their community, are now considering eliminating any symbols of any religious significance at all, which would be a reprehensible victory for the voices of darkness and ignorance.
Is this necessary? Absolutely not. It could easily and instantly be settled by simply using the Constitution the Founders gave us. If we were still using that Constitution, instead of the one mangled beyond all recognition by activist judges, this issue could be resolved by sundown today.
First, the satanists argue that the Christian monument violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. This is hogwash. To begin with, the First Amendment was written by the Founders to restrain Congress and Congress alone, as its first word makes clear. To put it simply, Belle Plaine is not Congress and so couldn’t violate the First Amendment even if it deliberately set out to do it.
Secondly, “establishment” had a precise and well-understood technical meaning at the time the Founders used it. It most decidedly did not mean to acknowledge God in the public square and say nice things about him. No, it meant to pick one Christian denomination, make it the official church of the United States, and compel people to support it with their taxes. Well, Belle Plaine couldn’t establish one Christian denomination as of the official church of the United States even it wanted to.
Now some will argue that the 14th Amendment “incorporates” the First Amendment against the States. Note, by the way, their use of the word “against,” an acknowledgement that this conceit militates against the liberty of the States to decide matters for themselves.
But more the point, Congress made an effort to pass the Blaine Amendment at about the same time it passed the 14th Amendment, which would have bound the States with the wording of the First Amendment. This proposed amendment began, “No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This amendment failed to make it out of Congress. Congress did its best to “incorporate” the First Amendment against the States in 1875 and failed, preemptively destroying the incorporation doctrine before it was even invented some 60 years later.
And since Congress – and by extension the entire federal government – is forbidden by the First Amendment to prohibit the free exercise of religion, what Belle Plaine does in its city parks is absolutely none of the federal government’s business under the Constitution as written by the Founders.
So whose decision is it, if it is not the Satanic Temple’s business, and it’s not the business of the federal government? Well, it is the business of the members of the city council of Belle Plaine, Minnesota. The Minnesota constitution makes this clear: “nor shall any man be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any religious or ecclesiastical ministry, against his consent.”
“Any man” certainly includes the members of the Belle Plaine city council. And “erect” quite sensibly includes putting up religious monuments that in their judgment are contrary to the best interests of their community. They cannot be compelled to approve one of those against their consent. It’s right there in their own state constitution.
If Belle Plaine’s council members want a Christian monument in a city park, they can have one. And if they don’t want a satanic monument in a city park, they don’t have to have one. And no judge has the constitutional authority to tell them anything different. See how easy that is?
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)