Last Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in something known as the ”Bong hits 4 Jesus” case, or ”Roe vs. Weed” as late night host Jimmy Kimmel dubbed it.
The quick background of the case is this:
In January of 2002, the Olympic torch appeared to be hopelessly lost, passing through Juneau, Alaska en route to Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics. As the students at the local high school were outside watching the torch pass, one student, Joseph Frederick, unfurled a banner which read, ”Bong hits 4 Jesus.” The immediate victory here for the school system was that all the words were spelled correctly, but it’s all downhill after that.
The principal of the school, Deborah Morse, confiscated the banner and suspended Frederick, who was 18 at the time.
As seems to be the case with every action these days, a lawsuit ensued. The school was victorious in district court, but the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, a court so liberal that even Ben & Jerry’s won’t name a flavor after them until they bring it down a notch, overturned the district ruling.
An appeal was made to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to take on the case. This is yet another reason to disdain Congress for not approving the nominations of Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg, who would have brought the voice of experience to the debate.
When I first read that the Supreme Court was going to hear a ”Bong hits 4 Jesus” case, I shook my head. Remember when cases heard by the Supreme Court were almost always important to our basic rights in some form or another? At least it seemed that way.
In the old days, the courts weren’t bogged down with this kind of tripe, as this kid’s parents would have knocked the wiseguy out of him in a timely fashion, but unfortunately the ”court of the home” is nearly extinct.
After a few days of pitying the legal system for not allowing a school to set its own rules, which could lead to even more anarchy than already may exist, I reconsidered. Something then led me to believe we may want to root for the student in this one.
The principal is represented by a name you might remember: Kenneth Starr, the prosecutor who pursued the Clintons so effectively that Hillary could end up as president in a few months.
The student is represented, at least in part, by – hold on to your hats – the American Civil Liberties Union. This is, of course, about as surprising as the sun coming up in the east.
This case takes on a whole new light when we consider one small thing: The ACLU, not to mention the 9th Circuit, is fighting for the right of a student to display a sign that has the word “Jesus” on it, and near public school property nonetheless – in the presence of the Olympic torch!
This is monumental progress, and frankly I’m surprised the ACLU hasn’t figured this out and withdrawn the suit. If the school district really wanted to win, they would have hired the ACLU to oppose itself, as the student was clearly forcing religious dogma so near the pristine, secular heaven that is public school property. ACLU vs. ACLU would be an interesting legal war culminating, with any luck, in no survivors.
If we were to slightly alter the student’s sign, and “Bong hits 4 Jesus” was, say, “Students 4 Jesus,” would the ACLU be on board, and would the 9th Circuit have sided with the student? An honest answer to that question pretty much tells us what this fight is all about.
A ruling is expected from the Supreme Court by early summer, and the 9th Circuit has an incredibly poor record of having their decisions upheld, as they’re overturned so often that the 9th is often mistaken for IHOP pancakes. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has been overturned nine times so far this term – out of nine cases.
The irony here will probably end up being that the ACLU and a liberal court backed the right to display a sign containing the word “Jesus” near public school property, albeit for idiotic reasons, and it will be most likely overturned by a more conservative court.
The toughest thing about being a Christian is figuring out who’s on your side on any given day.