I'll give you a hint. The love note, which was really a postcard, told me this: "NOTICE. A warrant for your arrest has been issued. Failure to respond to this notice will result in your arrest at home or at work." P.S.C. stands for Pennsylvania State Constable. Once again, I had neglected a Bethlehem parking ticket and was facing the big house. I donned my rubber underwear and headed immediately for District Judge Stocklas' office on Broad Street.
So why the hell am I confessing my criminal behavior? Because of what I saw when I arrived at Stocklas' office. Inside his office, there's a courtroom. You enter this courtroom through a glass door. And emblazoned on this door, for the entire world to see, are these words. "Jesus is Lord of Bethlehem."
Seriously, what is up with that? Ladies behind the counter told me the courtroom door "came that way." One of them said, "It's funny. Just last week, someone was asking why that was there." I wonder if this someone was a Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist litigant. I don't think they'd feel very confident in the court's impartiality.
A little more than a year has passed since our Supreme Court ordered a Kentucky court to remove a courthouse display of the Ten Commandments. Its purpose was to advance a religious, as opposed to secular, message. In some cases, a similar display can be considered secular or might have historical signifigance. But "[w]hen the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates the central Establishment clause value of official religious neutrality."
No secular purpose is advanced by "Jesus is Lord of Bethlehem." It clearly promotes Christianity over other religions. Northampton County President Judge Freedberg should order its immediate removal. It's great in a church, but has no place in a courtroom unless Jimmy Stocklas thinks he's Buddy Christ.
Update From Court Administrators: I emailed Northampton County Court Administrators twice at their email contact address. Both emails were returned by that devil, the Mailer Daemon. This is what the Devil tells me. "500 POSSIBLE UNSOLICITED MAIL DETECTED / APPEARS TO BE SPAM." Why do governments even bother to set up email contact addresses if they reject everything you send them? That's one reason I have this blog.
I called and spoke directly to court administrator Jim Onembo. He explains the sign as a leftover from a prior tenant, and assures me it will be blocked until it can be removed. I appreciate his quick response to an obvious violation of the Establishment clause.