Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Is the Nominee Lacking in the Art of the Law?

September 21, 2002

Re "Liberals at Odds Over Appeals Court Nominee," Sept. 16: University of Utah law professor Michael McConnell's comparison of government subsidies of "lewd or sacrilegious art" with government putting a nativity scene on the city hall lawn, while compelling at first glance, is wrong. The two expenditures by government are different.

When government sponsors art for the sake of art, it is not espousing, encouraging or adopting the views of an individual artist or encouraging anyone else to espouse or adopt those views. In no sense are the artist's views being made official. Not even the most ferocious atheists complain when a government-subsidized museum buys a traditional religious painting, nor should they.

When the government buys art to adorn its own buildings, it is indeed espousing, encouraging and adopting the views represented in that art. If the art is religious, then this is clearly "establishing religion." If McConnell is such a renowned constitutional scholar, why can't he see the difference?

Alex Murray

Altadena

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|