Is it unconstitutional? I agree that if public buildings displaying the Ten Commandments or Christmas trees is a violation of the Establishment clause (not sure how), then a government body issuing a resolution, in the name of all the people of San Francisco, calling the Church’s moral teaching hateful, ignorant, etc., must be too.
The first amendment states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Technically, no law was made, speech and the press are still free, and people are still able to peaceably assemble and petition the government. So, extremely stupid and bigoted and irrelevant to government? Yes. Unconstitutional? I’m interested to see the arguments.
I found the federal judge’s explanation amusing. The question as to whether political bodies must remain silent is one thing, but saying that the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith provoked it is a joke. Yes, the moral teaching of the Church was specifically designed to provoke the elites in San Francisco. Uh-huh. Here was what the judge said, according to the Thomas More Law Center newsletter:
“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith provoked this debate, indeed may have invited entanglement, by its [doctrinal] statement. This court does not find that our case law requires political bodies to remain silent in the face of this provocation.”
The Law Center’s lawsuit claimed that the City’s anti-Catholic resolution violated the First Amendment, which “forbids an official purpose to disapprove of a particular religion, religious beliefs, or of religion in general.”
68. 403 U.S. at 612-13. Lemon v. Kurtzman, the landmark case in Establishment Clause jurisprudence, held that in order for the challenged state action to be considered constitutional, it must: (1) have a secular legislative purpose; (2) have the primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and (3) not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.
Upon further review, it does seem to be pretty clearly unconstitutional.
- What is the secular legislative purpose? none that I can see
- Does it neither advance nor inhibit religion? Guess it depends on how inhibit is defined.
- Does it foster an excessive government entanglement with religion? Not only religion, but specifically Catholicism.