Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This usta be my beat: Baker, LA, Installs 10 Commandments In CIty Park

Baker, LA, is "Crackerville." I usta both cover Baker and the River parishes and write for the religion page for the Barely Adequate, back in the '80s. The "Religion Clause" put up the news:
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
10 Commandments on City Hall Property Is Problematic
(Leave it to the ol' prof to understate the case. W)

A new, molded concrete depiction of the Ten Commandments has gone up on the city-owned Veterans Plaza next to the city building in Baker, Louisiana. (Baker is a semi-rural town/bedroom suburb, on the north side of Baton Rouge. W.) According to the Baton Rouge (LA)Advocate last week, both this monument and an identical one nearby on the grounds of the Baker First Baptist Church face the Baker High School campus across the street. The monument on city property, as well as installation costs, were paid for personally by former city councilman A.T. Furr.

Mayor Harold Rideau did not consult with the city attorney first, and city council never formally approved the installation. Instead it was approved informally "by word of mouth." Rideau said: "We’re a Christian-based community." Former councilman Furr says the monument is constitutionally acceptable because it is in a park that pays tribute to veterans, but City Attorney Ron Hall says that if it was put up with knowledge of city officials, it is probably illegal. [Thanks to Bob Ritter for the lead.]
City Atty Hall's remark is better understood in context:
“If it’s put up with City Hall knowledge and consent, it’s probably not legal. I’m not saying I’m against it, but I think it’s illegal,” City Attorney Ron Wall said Thursday.
As I remarked in comments:
This is how theo-fascism works, nest paw? One day you wake up and the thing is there and it's too late to object. You can't just blow the fucker up, even if that's what it deserves, for its privileged, ratified effrontery...If you object, you'll be shunned, not a good thing in a tiny, vicious, rural Louisiana backwater.

Sounds like a case just BEGGIN' for a good lawyer, Prof. Ya got any friends down thataway might try it?

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