But the Reg’s readers are very interested in the lawsuit. The Reg article, which appeared on the 23rd, has thus far attracted 90 comments!
I perused them and found most of them to be pretty predictable.
There are exceptions, but, mostly, here’s what passes for debate among the OC Reg’s readers:
At 11:45, alleykat1 wrote:Gotta love the old Reg and its Neanderthal “base.”
Keep religion out of public schools, okay? Thanks.
At 11:54, kakalaki wrote:
Keep homosexuality, and liberal indoctrination out of our public schools, okay? Thanks.
The Reg has run a poll, asking, “Should prayer be part of community college events?”
The results so far:
Yes. It's a longstanding tradition that should be upheld. 58%That’s better than I expected.
No. It's a violation of the separation of church and state. 42%
Evidently, some readers—including some who wrote to Inside Higher Ed!—are unfamiliar with the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. No, it isn’t only about free speech. It includes the famous “establishment clause,” followed by the “Free Exercise Clause,” etc.:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.As many (though, evidently, not all) know, the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution/Bill of Rights. The phrase seems to trace back to a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence. (He was a Deist.)
There is a decent discussion of the 1st Amendment and differing interpretations of the Establishment Clause in Wikipedia.
I’m struck by the popularity of the odd notion that we can entirely settle questions regarding the meaning of the rights enumerated in the Constitution/Bill of Rights by identifying what their authors intended—as though the notion of “intention” were simple.
Naturally, I am very interested in the question of what the “founding fathers” were thinking. But I am equally interested in the conversations and convictions inspired by their words in the subsequent two centuries. The Constitution—and our ideals as Americans—are a tradition that necessarily adjusts and seeks relevance and meaning as time passes.
And so a reliable jaunt in a Time Machine is not the sine qua non of answering the crucial questions.
THE YORBAS, PART TWO:
I had lunch with my folks today. I mentioned the Yorba Cemetery to them and, to my amazement, they knew something about it.
Turns out back in the old days—when our family first moved to the States—my folks loved to take the family to historical sites. In about 1962, they somehow heard about the Yorbas and about their cemetery and Adobe. So, one Saturday, we drove up the Santa Ana Canyon to find ‘em.
Back then, evidently, there was no freeway—I vaguely remember the old two-lane highway winding up the canyon, mostly hugging the south side—and the road to the spot where Bernardo Yorba established his ranch was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. (Now, it's wall-to-wall suburbia.)
My folks found the monument commemorating the enormous adobe structure—it was demolished in the twenties—and then they drove to the cemetery that was close by.
It wasn’t locked up. We strode inside and took a look around.
In 1970, my dad (and I) started a Boy Scout Troop (#536) at Trinity Lutheran Church, which sat atop Nohl Ranch Road in Anaheim Hills, about where the road crests. (We had been with Troop 850 in Villa Park.) As it turns out, an “important” part of the Yorba family lived in that neighborhood, just up from the canyon floor, and so we got to know “the Yorbas.” --Some of ‘em, anyway.
My dad launched into stories about meeting Mr. Yorba’s mother at the “Yorba compound.” Evidently, she was very nice, very old world. She always insisted on giving him a bag of oranges when he visited.
I kinda remember ‘em. Sheesh.
Picture: Bernardo Yorba II, 1880.
P.S.: I looked up my old Church—Trinity Lutheran—and learned that, in 1985, "the church voted unaminously to withdraw its membership in the ALC [American Lutheran Church] because of theological liberalism and the synod's abandonment of the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy." Trinity is now a member of "The Conservative Lutheran Association." Gosh.