Friday, April 07, 2006

Shark and Shepherd on Dead Tree

My latest Milwaukee Journal Sentinel column is on the net and will be in tomorrow morning's paper. It's on the state's exclusion of conservative Christian groups from the state employee charitable contribution program, a story that I put up a day before the paper (although, in fairness, I don't run a broad-based news operation and I do get all manners of heads ups from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.)

What I didn't put in my column (call it a Blog Exclusive), because 700 words won't permit it, is the obvious fact that the state can't avoid promoting some orthodoxies. Public schools are going to promote certain values at the expense of others. My own view is that treating religous, as opposed to other, orthodoxies as pariah is inherently unequal. I think that there are a number of areas in which the state can, and sometimes must, allow the religious sensibilities of its citizens to be expressed in state curriculums and programs. Those questions are hard. And, in answering them, Justice Jackson is of little help.

But a forum in which employees choose to contribute to charities of their own choice is not a hard question.

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