Do you know how much it cost
When I fought the law and lost?
When the judge reviewed and tossed out my opinion?
I’ll admit it gave me pause
When he said I broke the laws
Though I disagree, because it’s God’s dominion!
Though I lost my legal claim
I’ll hold Jessica to blame
She’s a child, but she’s fair game for the decision
She’s the reason that we must
Pay the lawyers or go bust
So that’s why her name’s discussed with such derision
Yes, the truth is, it’s our fault;
We’re the ones on the assault
We’d pay nothing, had we halted our transgression
But we had to roll the dice
So we get to pay the price
Maybe next time, we’ll think twice about oppression
Words matter. Specific word choices make a world of difference. Headlines matter all the more, since a good many people read the headline but do not read the article, and those who do read the article usually do so only after having read the headline. (belaboring the obvious for fun and profit…)
So anyway, the headline at Yahoo News is Teen Atheist’s ACLU-Led Fight Against Prayer Mural to Cost RI City At Least $173,000. More accurately, it might have read “Cranston’s Unconstitutional Activities To Cost At Least $173,000.”
But, of course, it is all Jessica’s fault. She’s the one who is costing the city big bucks. Not their “sue us” hubris. Not their decades-long violation. (I have now seen, but can’t remember where, claims that a local rabbi had heard complaints about the banner over the decades, but of course none of these complaints ever made it to the legal system. If any of you have seen such reports, I’d love a link or two.) No, it couldn’t possibly be the fault of the good people of Cranston, simply pining away for the good old days when every one was Catholic, and the people who weren’t, didn’t matter. (for the record, it doesn’t depend on their catholicism–that’s just a trivial detail. It does, however, depend on their religious faith, and their associated sense of privilege.)
I hope (I do not know, but I have heard this–again, links would be appreciated) that the assholes are but a vocal minority. I have heard that Jessica has the support of many (most?) of her peers at school; I really hope that is the case. Not just for her, of course; I hope her classmates can see the big picture. I hope for their own sakes, that even her religious peers can see that Jessica’s fight is in their own best interest. They may be losing privilege, but they are gaining protection of rights. And in the long term, that is what matters.