Wednesday, January 12, 2005
And they said the Democrats would ban the Bible...
In a December 17 directive to the National Park Service, the Secret Service mandated that signs and placards along the inaugural parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue be made out of cardboard, poster board or cloth. They may be no more than three feet wide or 20 feet long.
The directive also prohibited folding chairs, bicycles and other structures, and displays "such as puppets, papier mache objects, coffins, crates, crosses, theaters, cages and statues."
"The way it's written, it's an unequivocal ban on crosses," said the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. The group is seeking to have the prohibition overturned in federal court if the Secret Service fails to retract it.
Well, isn't this a fine kettle of fish! Is it a Moonie conspiracy to "tear down the Cross"? Or was the decision taken in order to permit the presumed Satanists in the Bush administration to pass along Pennsylvania Avenue unimpeded before heading out in the evening to the Kid Rock concert? Christians were quick to note that Stars of David and Crescent Moons will be welcome.
Actually, the Secret Service has come a cropper because it's trying to ban all the artifacts of free speech—specifically, those of protest.
Consider the list of forbidden "displays"—puppets, papier mache objects, coffins, crates, crosses, theaters, cages and statues. One item in the list tells all: theaters. Theaters? Since it's hardly conceivable that they're worried about anyone transporting a theater to the parade route, I would imagine they had something more in mind like street theater—which is where all those other items come into play.
When you combine crosses with crates and coffins, what do you get but a powerful statement about the cost of the Iraq war in terms of human life? Puppets may be used for parody. Papier-mâché objects when shaped into effigies are excellent for burning. Cages recall Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. Hooded statues with electrical cords attached convey the idea of torture quite handily.
Now about those signs and placards that are to be permitted: Try carrying one that says "Free Speech"! We'll try to bail you out if we can find a record of your arrest.