License to kill (jobs): The motto of St. Joseph’s Abbey is “Ora et labora” (“prayer and work”) and the Benedictine monks sustain themselves economically by running a seminary, a retreat and a gift shop that sells Monk Soap that they make themselves. But the abbey was looking to replace income lost when Hurricane Katrina destroyed stands of pine on land the abbey owned that it used to harvest and sell. Abbot Justin Brown and the monks decided to sell the handcrafted wooden caskets that the monks made for themselves, and invested $200,000 in equipment to establish St. Joseph Woodworks. But before the abbey sold a single coffin, the state of LA ordered the monks to cease-and-desist and threatened thousands of dollars in fines and possible criminal prosecution, The Washington Post reports:
Brown, a soft-spoken man who is only the fifth leader of a monastery that dates to 1889, said he had not known that in Louisiana only licensed funeral directors are allowed to sell “funeral merchandise.”
That means that St. Joseph Abbey must either give up the casket-selling business or become a licensed funeral establishment, which would require a layout parlor for 30 people, a display area for the coffins, the employment of a licensed funeral director and an embalming room.
“Really,” Brown said. “It’s just a big box.”
And so, after much prayer and two failed attempts to get the Louisiana legislature to change the law, the monks went to federal court.
The monks won round one in July, when U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. ruled Louisiana’s restrictions unconstitutional, saying “the sole reason for these laws is the economic protection of the funeral industry.”
The Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, which has argued that the law protects consumers, has appealed, and the circuit court in New Orleans will hear the case in early June.
The monks are represented by the Arlington County-based Institute for Justice, which has a knack for picking empathetic, working-class parties – hair braiders, flower arrangers, city tour guides – to personify what it says is its battle against government regulation that strangles free enterprise.
Federal appeals courts have split in evaluating similar laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld a similar law in OK, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down such a law in TN.
DuPont learned the lesson early. To protect his new nylon rope, he had all things hemp banned. Translated to clothing, rope that had been used for a thousand million years and anything else, including POT. He won. He made billions. Then, when his company invented a product for refrigerated air, he had the others (freon) banned as unsafe, he had the entire market for his single product. Pay your 2 million and capture the market. We need all members of Congress that have been in over 2 term limits replaced. Start fresh, from here, I smell bovine scatology....or just plain Bulls***.
! Is there no end to silly laws. I know it is the lawyers who keep them alive. God there must be a stop to all of this or we will stop being and go to the wayside.
I vote for the Monks.
Just defy the man and build them anyway.
What do you think will happen?
The Feds show up and cuff a bunch of Monks?
That will generate some great pub
Licenses are also used to force people to take college they may not need. Talk about economic waste. If you can pass the test, you should be able to get a license. You shouldn't need anyone to sponsor you either. Forcing people to waste their time and money on unnecessary education is just another example of special interest corruption.
It's all about corruption and it's a big money maker for the lawyers who are quite comfortable with the concept.