Our first two parts of this series brought some interesting and thoughtful comments, more than the expected favorable responses and some bitter attacks, such as our series was anti-Semitic. A spirited debate followed on one Facebook group, only to be suddenly ended without allowing my last rebuttal. Were we hacked from the great unknown??? Of course this is not an anti-Semitic attack, as the arguments here can be used to attack the spending of our taxpayer money by Congress to aid the aggressive or intolerant activities of any religious group or nation whether pursuant to treaty or otherwise. Israel just happens to be the biggest current recipient and best example of the misdirection of our funds.
Congress has the sole power over the purse strings. The President cannot tax nor can he spend money not authorized by Congress. We cannot confuse foreign affairs with spending money.The. Constitution: Article1 Section 7: "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills." They cannot be proposed by the President, Secretary of State or Israel. How inconvenient.
A treaty cannot obligate Congress to fund any activity that Congress is forbidden to fund by the Constitution, at least by any amendment added after th adoption of the Constitution containig the treaty power as such an amendment, unless other wise expressly limit, must be read to apply the restrictions throughout the complete document. Our Construction is public knowledge and any country entering into any agreement with the United States must be held to have knowledge of the limitations on our Constitutional treaty powers. Also applying the First Amendment to our Foriegn Relations is consistent with applying it to other Federal government action and actions by the States, which our Supreme Court has clearly done (see cases later)
One critique pointed out that the party in the case opinion quoted in part 1 actually won the case finally. This points out how very important the factual foundation of each case is, and how expensive putting a case together like this will be, especially in the current legal atmosphere where every wrong is entitled to a good defense.
The Court deemed the crèche an unconstitutional endorsement of religion for two reasons. First, the presence of a few flowers around the crèche did not mediate its religious symbolism in the way that the secular symbols had done for the crèche in Lynch. Second, the prominent location doomed the display. By choosing the courthouse, a vital center of government, the Court said the county has sent "an unmistakable message" that it endorsed Christianity.
But the menorah passed constitutional review. Like the crèche in Lynch, its religious significance was transformed by the presence of secular symbols: the forty-five-foot Christmas tree and a sign from the city's mayor that read, "During this holiday season, the city of Pittsburgh salutes liberty. Let these festive lights remind us that we are keepers of the flame of liberty and our legacy of liberty." Even so, members of the majority disagreed on precisely what message was sent by the display. Justice Harry A. Blackmun read it as a secular message of holiday celebration. In a more complicated view, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said it "acknowledg[ed] the cultural diversity of our country and convey[ed] tolerance of different choice in matters of religious belief or non-belief by recognizing that the winter holiday season is celebrated in diverse ways by our citizens." Whatever the exact message, the majority agreed that it did not endorse religion. For discussion of this and more cases see.