The second Pillar of the First Amendment’s temple is …
o The “free exercise” clause
… or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …
Compared to both the linguistic subtleties of the “free exercise” clause and the consequent intricacies of the corresponding case law, the language of the “establishment clause” is as transparently simple as “Row, row, row your boat”. This exponential increase in complexity and subtlety is due to the fact that, whereas the “establishment” clause pertains only to government action vis a vis religious institutions, teachings, and doctrine, the “free exercise” clause pertains to the myriad ways in which the exercise of religion impinges, not only upon prerogatives of the government, but also upon those of individuals and groups.
I understand what it means to adopt an unpopular stand and to say unpopular things – things that could possibly cost valued relationships and reputations – purely on the basis of conscience, as you have elected to do in your decision to either refrain from voting altogether or to vote for Donald J. Trump. I would only ask you to reflect on the particular building blocks that together make up the foundation of such a choice. The question to be borne in mind as you do so is very direct and very simple: Given your decision to support – if only by default – the candidacy of Donald Trump, will your conscience also accommodate the principles that go into that decision? (This is really just an updated phrasing of that hoary old maxim in ethics "If you will the end, then you must will the
I am not accustomed to being Devil’s advocate or adopting a contrarian stance regarding matters on which the progressive community is agreed to the point of near-unanimity. The issue of Miracle Pizza of Walkerton, IN, refusing to cater gay weddings is, to some extent, an exception, however. I say “to some extent” because, given the emotional temperature of this issue, merely advocating that all parties take a moment to reflect dispassionately on both the issues and case law suffices to cast me in both roles, however. So far, the conversation has generated a lot more heat than light, and we need a lot more of the latter and a lot less of the former. If that makes me “pathologically rational”, then … well … there are much worse things to be. My problem is that I see both sides, the “free exe