H.R. 2679, The "Christian Supremacy Act", To Hit House Floor
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Sep 13, 2006 at 11:51:55 PM EST
[ UPDATE : is this bill just about religious displays in literal "public squares" ? NO it is vastly farther reaching. H.R. 2679 is designed to gut the Establishment Clause, to render it largely meaningless. See text of bill, below.]

H.R. 2679 has emerged from the House Judiciary Committee and is ready to hit the floor. What is H.R. 2679 designed to do ? Well, it's designed to defund plaintiffs in Establishment Clause cases by eliminating awards for attorney's fees. What will that mean ? Well, let's take a case that's not hypothetical at all, a real incident.

So - for example - if you're a Jewish family living in Southern Delaware and you complain about the rather blatant and exclusionary promotion of Christianity in the local public school and you and your family are subsequently harassed and your children called "Christ killers", subject to death threats, and eventually hounded out of town ( and along the way you have to sell your house of 18 years under duress ), the point of the law is to make it harder for you to seek some sort of legal redress.  

So, if H.R. 2679 ( ironically titled "the Public Expression of Religion Act" ) passes the US House and Senate, that family hounded out of its home in Southern Delaware would be hard pressed to scratch up the money to take the school board that was defending the "Christianizing" of local schools to court. It would be financially prohibitive. Now, somebody might start a petition "Regarding Religious Intolerance In Public Schools" ( in fact, someone did and you can even sign it - please do ) but that would be unlikely to help your family out directly.  

Or, you might be told by the speaker of the Indiana House, Brian Bosma, to buzz off because you only represent about 2% of the Indiana population.

So, in the words of one excited rightwing blogger :

   Hostettler's proposal would amend the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. Section 1988, to prohibit prevailing parties from being awarded attorney's fee in religious establishment cases, but not in other civil rights filings. This would prevent local governments from having to use taxpayer funds to pay the ACLU or similar organization when a case is lost, and also would protect elected officials from having to pay fees from their own pockets.

So, in other words, local officials could stomp minorities and get away with it. Charming.  

Not that Hostettler and his fellows seem to care. This bill is - purely and simply - about the advancement of Christian Nationalism and Christian supremacy.

It's about tearing down the wall between church and state, it's about Jews- the 2% Solution, and it's about disregard for the rights of minorties in American society. Let's see what it looks like : Dhonig, Daily Kos member ( click on picture for more of dhonig's cartoons ), summed it up brilliantly in this cartoon - concerning the behavior of the speaker of the Indiana House, Brian Bosma. This is what H.R. 2679 is really about :

Text of H.R. 2679

A BILL To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally pro- tected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney's fees. 1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa- 2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. 4 This Act may be cited as the ``Public Expression of 5 Religion Act of 2005''. 2 1 SEC. 2. LIMITATIONS ON CERTAIN LAWSUITS AGAINST 2 STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS. 3 (a) CIVIL ACTION DEPRIVATION RIGHTS.-- FOR OF 4 Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes of the United States 5 (42 U.S.C. 1983) is amended-- 6 (1) by inserting ``(a)'' before the first sentence; 7 and 8 (2) by adding at the end the following: 9 ``(b) The remedies with respect to a claim under this 10 section where the deprivation consists of a violation of a 11 prohibition in the Constitution against the establishment 12 of religion shall be limited to injunctive relief.''. 13 (b) ATTORNEYS FEES.--Section 722(b) of the Re- 14 vised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1988(b)) 15 is amended by adding at the end the following: ``However, 16 no fees shall be awarded under this subsection with re- 17 spect to a claim described in subsection (b) of section nine- 18 teen hundred and seventy nine.''.

Here's the ACLU's take:

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today urged the House Judiciary Committee to reject H.R. 2679, the "Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005" (PERA). The panel is expected to vote on the legislation today. The bill would bar the recovery of attorneys' fees to citizens who win lawsuits asserting their fundamental constitutional and civil rights in cases brought under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. "If this bill were to become law, Congress would, for the first time, single out one area protected by the Bill of Rights and prevent its full enforcement," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Proponents of the measure claim that the bill is needed to protect religious freedom, when in fact, the bill would undermine it. We hope that the committee will stand for the Constitution and reject this unwise proposal." The ability to recover attorneys' fees in civil rights and constitutional cases, including Establishment Clause cases, is necessary to help protect the religious freedom of all Americans and to keep religion government-free. People who successfully prove the government has violated their constitutional rights would, under the bill, be required to pay their own legal fees -- often totaling tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.



Display:
and so far I have gotten only 6 replies to the subject.  I guess it has just become acceptable in America to let the government trash the constitution and no one wants to make a stink about it.  Cause, well it would just be to time consuming to like have to fight for our rights and besides the big game is on this afternoon.  And after all the Constitution is just a piece of paper anyway.  We can replace it with another one later on if we feel we really need it.  Right?

 



by FreedomfromChains on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 12:08:08 AM EST
Liberals historically have been less wary of the federal government and have endorsed a proactive role for government in addressing social problems. There's less wariness, I suspect, among mainstream liberals about potential abuses of government powers though that may be changing.

That take is a bit of a cliche, and I'd say there are other valid types of explanations (though not necessarily contradictory)  for the lack of interest you mention. But I think the tenedency is real, and I agree that apathy plays a part.

In the end, I think R.J. Rushdoony's observation that only a small minority tend to drive social and political change tends to be correct. That doesn't have to be the case, but it usually is.

Communism in the US may have "foundered on the shoals of roast beef", but Democracy might suffer the same fate.

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