… but I suppose the answer is “Yes, I will have to write on this subject again, just as I have before.” This time around, I am writing in response to what Patheos rather breathlessly describes as a "constitutional horror": Justice Thomas' assertion that, the "establishment" clause notwithstanding, States still have the right to designate certain religious / denominations as "official". As usual, and as is customary with all matters religious when people are given a breadth of audience that far exceeds their depth of knowledge, the hysteria is altogether overblown and unnecessary, due to an absence of working knowledge about the history of the subject – in this case, the interpretation of the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment. The whole point of what follows is a matter
Now that Christmas is over -- unless you celebrate Christmas from the first Sunday of Advent through and including the Feast of the Epiphany -- it might be a good time to examine the political and ideological questions raised by Christmas carols ... which I do in this week's "Skeptic's Collection" column in hopes of increasing the "woke-ness" level for Christmas of 2019. No reason to thank me ...
Recently, the cultural outrage factory, never short of work, has managed to evoke a sense of high dudgeon about the allegedly sexist lyrics, amounting to an advocacy of date rape, attaching to the well-known Christmas carol “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. Before following the controversy on Facebook, I would have thought that this kerfuffle
The following is a true story. It is a story that has been haunting me for the past 20-plus years. The reason it has been haunting me is because I may have been inadvertantly complicit in convicting a man of a serious drug charge by denying him the benefit of the principle of the presumptive innocence of a defendant in a criminal trial. I make no judgment as to the man’s actual guilt. That will be as it may. The point, rather, is that, in retrospect, I believe that we, the jury in the trial, followed the letter of what seemed in retrospect to be a very bad law and -- pursuant to that law -- presumed the man to be guilty, and that this presumption seemed to be “hard coded” into the relevant drug-possession law.
At the time, we believed we acted in good faith, because we believed o