You Can’t Make This Shit Up XI21 February, 2009
Pennsylvania is a nanny state. We have laws to protect us from potential harm. Oh, we can still ride our motorcycles and ski without helmets. We can still gamble, bet on the horses, drink hard liquor, wine and beer, and speed (almost) with impunity. But we cannot name a company in a way that “constitute[s] blasphemy, profane cursing or swearing or that profane[s] the Lord’s name.” Thank you so much for protecting us.
From the New York Times:
A Pennsylvania filmmaker sued the state on Wednesday for turning down his business’s name, I Choose Hell Productions, because state law prohibits names that “constitute blasphemy, profane cursing or swearing or that profane the Lord’s name.” (So would a business called, say, “The Church of Jesus Christ” count as blasphemy? Some of the churches certainly profane the “Lord’s” name.)
The filmmaker, George Kalman, contends his free speech rights were violated, as was his right to freedom against the establishment of religion. (Yeah, but when has the Constitution of the United States of America ever stood in the way of Godly People imposing their views on the rest of us?)
“It struck me when I saw it that the statute seemed like it was from another era,” (But Godly People want to make it this era, too.) said Thomas H. Lee II, an American Civil Liberties Union (Bravo!) lawyer who is handling Mr. Kalman’s lawsuit, which was filed in Federal District Court in Philadelphia.
. . . .
The lawsuit requests undetermined damages and use of the name he first submitted. (Sounds reasonable. The state should never have said no in the first place.)
. . . .
The suit contends that the statute is unconstitutional because the state relied on a religious standard (But the Radical Religious Right and the Republican Party want to base all our laws on religious standards. Are you saying that the RRR and GOP may be wrong?) to reject Mr. Kalman’s business name and because an employee was allowed to refuse a business name that offended him or her. (Well, if you can’t use your public position to either make money or ram your values down other peoples throat, then you must be a (gasp!) public servant.)
Even if the state asserts that the name was rejected because it violated the prohibition of “profane cursing or swearing,” (The word ‘Hell’ is ‘profane cursing or swearing’? You’ve got to be shitting me.) Mr. Lee contends it would still be a constitutional violation.
“As far as we’re concerned, this goes beyond just using dirty words,” he said. (Yeah, it does. This goes to the separation of church and state.)
My local school district still has art students make Christmas ornaments. My state still has anti-blasphemy laws on the books. Our local juvenile court judge incarcerated children so he could get kickbacks from the private company running the juvenile detention center. All of these are, or will, create lawsuits. Lawsuits for which I, as a taxpayer, will help pay.