Boks and religious expression

Dan Guss's latest attack on Ed Boks is the mark of a moral barbarian. He states that Boks' sermon-like post on compassion is a violation of the Constitutional doctrine of the separation of church and state.

This is doggie pooh.

First, the separation of church and state applies to primarily to federal agencies and only recently has been extended to state government, although it has long been enforced in the public school system. Application to City departments is rare, and maybe Mr. Guss would like to argue his position before a federal court.

Second, Boks' blog is provided free by Blogger/Google. Anyone can avail themselves of this free service. It is not paid for by the City. It is Boks' expression of his own beliefs and suppression of his expression of those beliefs would be a violation of his First Amendment right of freedom of speech.

Third, concerning the time taken to write his personal position on compassion, I understand Boks already devotes 12 hours a day to LAAS business. What he does in his non-work hours is his business.

Fourth, if separation of church and state were so rigorously interpreted and enforced as Guss would require, we'd require Bush to shut up regarding all of his evangelical religious beliefs.

Fifth, though Boks may draw analogies to religious figures, this does not make it an expression of denominational religion. In John Kennedy's "Ask not" inaugural address he mentions "God" 17 times. The quotes Boks most made are of Schweitzer and Gandhi, not Christ or Buddha. I believe a new president is sworn in by the Chief Justice with a Bible and senators are notorious in their expression of personal religious beliefs. John Kerry was criticized by the religious right for not expressing his religious beliefs.

Religious beliefs are a part of every person's existence, even an atheist. A government employee without such beliefs and the freedom to express them, would be a moral unknown. Compassion--the subject of Boks' post--is not religious in itself. Compassion is a requirment for ending all killing.

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