<i>De Minimis</i> Establishment Clause Violations?

I just saw this ad on telly:


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Ad Council (both organizations about which I have nothing positive to say), has funded and produced an advertisement featuring religious figures endorsing and promoting government programs. No mention of the featured anthropomorphic vegetables' religious affiliation is mentioned. Something about using explicitly religious characters to encourage children to follow government health advice strikes me as something less than neutral to religion, despite the secular purpose.

But because promoting the health of children is a "legitimate secular purpose", this kind of thing doesn't violate the current interpretation of the Establishment Clause. Tax dollars have been used to pay Veggietales licencing fees, but just like school vouchers and state-funded busing to religious schools, the underlying "legitimate" secular purpose allows for subtle but persistent interaction between government and religion that only helps to further erode cultural recognition and acceptance of the "wall of separation."

Tom G Varik