: On question #1, I would argue that the motives of the proponents are irrelevant.
And I've shown beyond a reasonable degree, as has TD, that in a certain sense, motives are extremely relevant. So as not to repeat already-posted arguments, please see my comments to czarofmischief. Note particularly my asides to you.
: Except in cases of blatant discrimination, the idea that an inquiry into the facial constitutionality of a statute can depend on something as subjective as motive is anathema to the neutrality and broad applicability required by constitutional law. To my knowledge, the idea has not even been suggested in any field other than Establishment Clause jurisprudence.
Well, dealing with "Establishment Clause jurisprudence" is a rather subjective enterprise. And that's what the courts are there for -- to sort it out.
: The 20th century interpretation of the Establishment Clause as forbidding any governmental promotion of religion is a significant--albeit, IMHO, justified--departure from the original meaning of the clause. To add a test of motive is to stretch the clause beyond any reasonable reading of the text.
If you can argue your case based on my arguments to czarofmischief, then please do. As it stands, you've not addressed a lot of important points. Such as the fact that, as seattleniceguy said, the courts ought not to allow anyone to use doubletalk and deliberately ambiguous language to insert their religious agenda into government sponsored programs.
: On question #2, I would have to do further research before presenting a case (and I intend to do so, time permitting, and post the results on my blog, with a link here). But the overall trend of Supreme Court Establishment Clause decisions over the last 15 years has been away from the Lemon standard, which included motive in the analysis, and towards a more neutral 'endorsement' standard.
I know nothing of such court cases, but I suspect that if many more cases come up where creationists try to sneak their agendas into school curricula, the courts will take a lot more notice.
: The prohibited 'endorsement', however, is not merely the endorsement of one group of citizens over another; it is the endorsement of a religious viewpoint.
: For example, there are currently 'dry counties' in the United States. In many cases, the strongest supporters of keeping those counties alcohol-free are Baptist Christians.
Texas is a good example.
: Still, the prohibition of alcohol does not violate the Establishment Clause.
Correction: no one has yet seen fit to go to the trouble of bringing a challenge. If the same sort of guns were brought to bear as were brought in the 1981 Arkansas creation law case, I suspect that the laws would fall. The fact is that such laws exist purely because of religious sentiments, and it simply is not right to force everyone in a U.S. county to live by the religious standards of one segment. Indeed, the Constitution exists partly to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority, right?
: On the other hand, if the county paid for public service announcements that urged people not to drink because it's unchristian,
They wouldn't be that stupid.
: that would clearly violate the Establishment Clause. The key to violation is the state's endorsement of an actual religious viewpoint, not merely a political viewpoint promoted by religious individuals.
I hope that that changes, and the standard becomes one of consistently measuring the effect, not just the appearance of neutrality.
: Similarily, a sticker that questions evolution--even one that singles out evolution for questioning--is not expressing a religious viewpoint. It is expressing an opinion about a secular, scientific matter.
Not necessarily. Apparently you haven't studied the way in which creationists have gone to great lengths to disguise their religious agenda in many attempts in the last several decades to get school boards and states to adopt standards mandating the teaching of creationism or relegating the teaching of evolution to one of teaching a religious idea. These people would have no motive to do this were it not for their religious beliefs. The proof is that, as I've shown in other posts in this thread, folks like Phillip Johnson couch their arguments in secular terms for secular audiences, but in relgious terms for Christian audiences. It's all doubletalk designed to deceive. On the other hand, if someone refrained from all religious references and truly came up with purely secular objections, that would be another story. Nevertheless, the Georgia sticker is either unnecessary because it states a virtually meaningless non sequitur, or it violates the establishment clause of the Constitution because it states a meaningful religious viewpoint -- which the judge pointed out quite clearly.
: That opinion may be woefully ill-informed, but there is no constitutional provision requiring school boards to provide accurate scientific eduction about evolution, chemistry, or any other subject.
Constitutional, no. State-mandated -- yes indeed. And ethically, yes indeed.
:: To creationists, the sticker's retention would have been a political victory in that it would have been a wedge that might allow further inroads into dismantling the Satanic institutions that teach Godless evolution. To evolutionists, the sticker's retention would have been a political defeat
: Every political dispute has winners or losers. If a statute were unconstitutional merely because the winners or losers were religious or anti-religious groups, then those groups would be automatically barred from participating in politics. If that is what you are proposing, then go ahead and argue it outright, and we'll have at it.
That is not what I'm proposing. I'm proposing something very simple: government sponsored programs should not give even the appearance of promoting any religious viewpoints. The private sector is the place for that.