I’m not sure who to be madder at, Irv Sutley for demanding that an angel be removed from a Christmas tree, or Sonoma County, California for complying with his demand. It’s bad enough having local governments take down crosses off hills or re-write the Pledge of Allegiance when some activist judge requires them to. Here there was no credible threat of a lawsuit at all, just the whining of one individual citizen who, perhaps not coincidentally, is also the chairman of the local, Orwellian-named “Peace and Freedom” Party. Sutley non-explains his position thusly:
“I just don’t believe government has the right to intrude on anyone and force them into sectarian behavior. I’ve opposed Buddhist statues, the star of David — anything of a religious nature.”
In other words, so what if I’m a jerk, I’m consistently a jerk to everybody. Normal people might find such consistency even more upsetting than jerkhood per se – let’s face it, we all act like jerks a little bit every now and then – but I’m sure the principle fetishists will be happy that he’s acting consistently according to a principle, any principle, and therefore it’s AOK that he is acting like a jerk so long as he’s a principled jerk. Only in this case, even his purported principle about government intrusion isn’t quite right:
[Sutley] now intends to ask county officials to remove a steel cross near Ernie Smith Park in Sonoma that serves as a memorial to an accident victim.
“It was put up privately without a permit,” Sutley said. “It shouldn’t be there.”
So first government “intrudes” by placing an angel on a Christmas tree, now it’s “intruding” by not insulting grieving family members of an accident victim by allowing them to put something up without a permit. Not that a permit would have mattered, anyway. Does anyone doubt this jerk would have found it equally “intrusive” if a permit had been issued?