Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey, decided to stand by a recent Twitter post. In an Easter weekend Tweet, the Governor had posted, “He is risen,” while wishing his Christian constituents a “blessed and happy Easter.”
He then began receiving pressure from various secular groups to remove it and apologize. Ducey’s reply was, “We won’t be removing this post. Ever. Nor will we be removing our posts for Christmas, Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Palm Sunday, Passover or any other religious holiday. We support the First Amendment, and are happy to provide copies of the Constitution to anyone who hasn’t read it.”
The First Amendment
The rejoinder was particularly interesting because one of the complaints contended that Ducey was in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This is the one, of course, that upholds freedom of speech as well as religion. It specifically reads as follows:
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.
It’s pretty obvious that the Governor didn’t breach the first amendment. He did torque off a few people who don’t like the mention of anything that smacks of religion. I’m not sure if this will aid him in his next election or hurt him. Either way, he stood by his convictions that it’s his right to wish someone a Happy Hanukkah or a delightful Kwanza.
It’s no secret that the separation of church and state in this country has taken on a whole new meaning. People like to use it as a club to get their own way these days. It is more than a shame that we have to guard our well-wishes tightly so as to not offend even those for whom the remarks are not intended—or are even indirectly affected. Somehow, I’m pretty sure this is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the constitution.
This is Where we Are
Nevertheless, this is where we are. Wishing someone well can now make for entertaining Twitter wars. I can just picture Obi-Wan Kenobi waving his hand saying, “These are not the Tweets you’re looking for.”
And that brings up my main point. Why are we bothering to glean Tweets that are not meant for us? When something is stated that does not pertain to us, can’t we just let them slide on through like so much water rushing by us in the local river? Do we have to dive in? Please don’t come in! The water’s not fine.
I guess that everything is so public these days, it’s hard not to notice—even when it doesn’t concern us. We seem to have so much time on our hands that everyone else’s business becomes our own. Heaven forbid we pass up an opportunity to post a commentary on another person’s activities. We might be viewed as uninformed. Get wrecked!
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]