From the New York Post:
Here comes the latest court battle over religious liberty. Out in Westhampton Beach, Orthodox Jews are now taking a five-year legal battle to trial.
At issue are their plans to build an eruv, an artificial perimeter – formed by placing a string on existing wires – that allows observant Jews to perform some otherwise prohibited tasks on the Sabbath.
Even if you know they’re there, they’re almost impossible to spot. There are dozens of eruvim around the country, including a large swath of Manhattan.
But anti-eruv outfits, such as Jewish People for the Betterment of Westhampton Beach, claim that an eruv would violate the separation of church and state. Last week, a federal judge dismissed one such lawsuit, but two suits by the pro-eruv community will be argued by mid-April.
This isn’t the first time an eruv has been challenged on establishment grounds. Mostly, these challenges have failed, in good part because they mistakenly assume the purpose of the First Amendment is to guarantee freedom from religion.
As Eric Rassbach of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty notes, “The First Amendment doesn’t require us to tolerate speech – it requires us to protect it. The same is true of free exercise.”
In more candid moments, some eruv opponents admit that what they really fear is that an eruv would attract Orthodox Jews to their community. This, of course, is the same argument once used to keep African-Americans and other minorities out of all-white towns: There goes the neighborhood.
And it’s no less odious today than it was back then.
Source: THE NEW YORK POST