I’m not sure exactly what went wrong, but a producer for a West Coast talk show put together what she thought was going to be a vibrant debate on the issue of the Gitmo creche, and instead got deafening agreement from all of us on the panel that it seems constitutionally ok for the army to put a creche in a mess hall. For most of us on the panel, there seemed to be unanimity that the army is now a voluntary organization, that people in the mess hall are all legal adults, that a creche is not a religious symbol like a cross (i described it as a mid east doll house display) and that there was no coercion involved. In fact, the reason why there was no display including a menorah had everything to do with the fact that Chanukah has been over for nearly a month, so there was no exclusion of one symbol in favor of another. In short, the debate came down to everyone on that panel, left right and center, agreeing that this was a non-issue. I’m not sure why it became an issue, or who was pushing it, or what led to the creche being removed, but I’m comfortable that the creche comported with all recent Supreme Court decisions. And none of the callers even fathomed why were were talking about the issue at all. I hope the produced didn’t lose her job over this bit of bipartisan, interfaith refusal to bicker about nothing.
Curiously, during a break, we seemed to have full agreement that the Duck Dynasty thing is a tempest in a teapot as well. Free speech by a private citizen is not discrimination. It may be ignorant and impolitic, but its not discrimination and it is constitutionally protected, and does anybody really care what gets said on Duck Dynasty? I never even heard of it til last week.
So when I talked about bipartisanship last week, it’s kind of hard to find anyone who wants to fight at the moment about things that really don’t matter. I call that progress.