aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

All hail the Great Goddess Nonsense

The Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that upholds a New York Public School policy on not renting facilities to worshiping congregations. Not that anybody is around doing school on Sundays mind you, and not that anybody is cutting the congregation renting the space some kind of sweetheart deal on the rent. So, what's the Schools' beef? The mere presence of paying customers conducting a worship service after hours might confuse somebody into mistaking this commercial transaction for an endorsement of religion -- and thus, a violation of the separation of church and state.

I have encountered this kind of tortured logic before among schoolie types. When I was teaching a class for undergraduate teaching majors, I had a bunch of Health Ed teachers-to-be in the class. The subject of cigarette machines came up. They were appalled that there was a cigarette machine in the Teachers Lounge of an area high school. Now, note that no students were allowed to be in the Teachers Lounge. It was an adult-only area. The students couldn't even see the machine. But the fact that it was there was taken by our young health Nazis as evidence of an endorsement of value by the school. The school was saying that smoking is OK, just by having this hidden-away cigarette machine for the convenience of the teachers.

I couldn't believe my ears. I pressed them on this. "The mere presence of the machine on the campus constitutes an endorsement of the use of the product?" I asked. Absolutely. They were unanimous. The machine was propaganda, and it crossed the line. Away with it!

So, I asked, what about condom machines in the dormitories at our own university? Would not the presence of such machines constitute an endorsement by the university of fornication? Shouldn't the university refrain from endorsing casual sex among undergraduates? (After all, you can go to the drugstore and buy them right off the shelf.) Every one of the undergraduates, especially the young women for some reason, got a smirky smile on their faces. "Oh, no," they said. "That's just a public service."

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