You're free to be any Judeo-Christian Religion You Want

mactastic

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Link'd

Remember, freedom to publicly express one's religion is held in high regard by conservatives.... as long as it's their religion and not one of those evil ones.

And let me preface this by saying that my wife (a teacher) has had to sit through school board meetings which were opened with a bow-your-head-and-let-us-pray-to-Jesus moment.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has filed a petition on behalf of Cynthia Simpson, a witch of the Wiccan faith, seeking to reverse a ruling that upheld Chesterfield County's decision to bar her from giving the invocation at Board of Supervisors meetings.

In its petition yesterday to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the ACLU said it has asked the full court to reverse a three-judge panel ruling that allowed government officials to discriminate on the basis of religion when choosing people to pray at their meetings.

"Our position is a simple one," said Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. "We cannot find any instance in American jurisprudence allowing the government to officially prefer some religions over others. Indeed, all we can find is the opposite -- repeated admonitions against the government when it discriminates on the basis of religion."

In 2002, Simpson, who calls herself a witch, asked to be placed on the list of religious leaders invited to deliver the invocation at county board meetings. She later received a letter from Chesterfield's county attorney that said leaders on the list are restricted to those within the Judeo-Christian faith.

Simpson filed suit, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. One year later, the Richmond U.S. District Court ruled that the county violated the constitutional mandate for separation of church and state and discriminated against minority religions.

Chesterfield appealed the court's decision.

This month, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit ruled Chesterfield's policy fits within the Supreme Court's requirements for legislative prayer.

Willis said the ACLU is "hoping that the full 4th Circuit will bring a fresh perspective to this case and strike down Chesterfield's discriminatory prayer policy."
Incidents like this expose the religious right for the crass hypocrites they are.
 

Desertrat

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I spend a fair amount of time giving thanks to that Big Hodad InThe Sky, myownself. Like when I pop a top, or make a clean wingshot on a quail or a claybird. Or when nothing breaks when I'm working my dumptruck in a precarious situation. Otherwise, I figure if I leave Him alone, he won't make me "boil over like Job". :D

I've noticed a few churchophiles don't care much for my attitude.

During one of our first manned space flights, the astronaut radioed back that he'd seen God. He wouldn't say further; he was busy. After splashdown and recovery, all the radio, newspaper and TV folks were gathered on the carrier's deck: "Tell us! Tell us, what is God like?"

"Well," said the astronaut, "She's black."

Dunno what a Wiccan would say as an invocation, but there's a right to be heard. Everybody has a right to be heard. Everybody else has a right to not listen. Disagreeing with or being afraid of what somebody has to say is no excuse to shout them down. (Shame the Berkley Free Speech folks never figured that out. :D)

'Rat
 

Desertrat

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Link? Hey, that joke showed up some 40 years back. Links were either parts of a chain or in a belt of machine gun ammo! :D

Y'know, I never did find a Baptist that thought it was funny...

'Rat
 

takao

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i'm split about about such things because i always have been cautious about different cults ("Sekten" in german) seeking additional powers and more political influence than they should have (the "cult of ze money" aka Scientology springs to mind, or others like the Moon-cult or how is he called exactly ?)

you know when i see a reverend moon getting crowned in a official US government building then i simply gotta freak out

(side note: at the moment the "7th heaven" tv show is running on tv: seriously does anybody know somebody who really lieks this show ? it's the most ridiculous tv series ever invented... arghhhh i can't stand it... must cut my wrists or switch to a different channel)
 

StarbucksSam

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You know, it's articles like these that make me SO happy that I've been a member of the ACLU for the last 2 years. I am actually card-carrying. I very seriously think that it is utterly ridiculous that these bimbo judges can't get their acts together. I really wish that they'd fall of the proverbial bench.

Note that I forgot: THERE SHOULD BE NO PRAYING AT SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS AT ALL. If there was any kind of religious service at my school board's meetings, I'd sue the district for about 6.5 million dollars. Had I been at the meeting, of course. There is enough preaching in schools already without people having to feel alienated because ANY religion is holding ANY kind of service at ANY meeting. It's NOT APPROPRIATE.
 

Desertrat

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StarbucksSam, at least remember one thng: The general makeup of the early European-derived population of the US was strongly religious. The vast majority was Judeo-Christian. Thus, certain religious traditions developed. Among these was the asking for God's favor on the endeavors of governmental meetings as well as before battles, before a Nascar race or before a football game.

One thing about people in general: You screw around with long-time traditions and you'll have a fight on your hands. A strong amount of feeling about some tradition--and religious feelings are certainly strong, as witness such as Al Qaida--means a very emotional backlash of a fight.

Ever read any of Robert Ruark's books? I always remember a line from the intro to "Something of Value": "When you take away a man's gods, you must replace them with something of value."

So far, those who are adamant about a total separation of church and state, even on a vestigal level, have not offered something of value in replacement.

I'm not particularly religious. As near as I can tell, the morning school prayer over the PA system never bothered me one way or another. I thus view that as a relatively harmless noise.

But I've been watching all this since Madalyn Murray's lawsuit. What I can tell you is that the emotional content of the backlash against that SCOTUS decision has grown stronger with the decades. At some point, it seems to me, one should consider whether gaining the removal of final vestiges are worth the potential for physical violence that I see as an ever more likely possibility.

Damfino,

'Rat
 

pseudobrit

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Desertrat said:
At some point, it seems to me, one should consider whether gaining the removal of final vestiges are worth the potential for physical violence that I see as an ever more likely possibility.
Good Christians turn the other cheek.

Why do so many in the US reach for their gun?
 

skunk

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Desertrat said:
So far, those who are adamant about a total separation of church and state, even on a vestigal level, have not offered something of value in replacement.
Is an enlightened humanism not of value?

I'm not particularly religious. As near as I can tell, the morning school prayer over the PA system never bothered me one way or another. I thus view that as a relatively harmless noise.
You may not be "particularly religious", but you nominally belong to a particular religion. You may have felt very differently about it if you were Jewish, Muslim, Animist or Wiccan. Although I admire and strive to measure up to the teachings of Jesus, I find being in a church during a service and listening to the ritualized self-abasement quite an unpleasant experience.

At some point, it seems to me, one should consider whether gaining the removal of final vestiges are worth the potential for physical violence that I see as an ever more likely possibility.
That sounds awfully like "appeasement". You don't eat cheese, do you?

:rolleyes:
 

Thomas Veil

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Feb 14, 2004
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Anybody who wants to bitch about this ruling should keep in mind that at least the ACLU didn't sue to ban the prayer altogether, as StarbucksSam suggests.

OTOH, this ruling, though it doesn't truly separate church and state, is at least a compromise most people can live with. But it opens some interesting questions. If you're going to conduct the prayer in an indiscriminate way, would you also have to be open to the kind of cults takao mentions? What about Satanists? Atheists?

(Yes, atheists. One could argue that one type of belief system is the belief that there is no God. And how would an atheist "lead the prayer" anyway?)
 

zimv20

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Jul 18, 2002
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Thomas Veil said:
And how would an atheist "lead the prayer" anyway?)
Let us bow our heads and
Consider how infinitesimally small we are
In the context of the universe
And how we're made up of atoms and stardust
Chemicals interacting
Physics ruling those interactions
Bits of electrical impulse
At the base of our consciousness

Let us consider
How lucky we are
That we won the lottery of life
It was bound to happen somewhere

And let us remember
That all we have is each other
And how we treat others and ourselves
And that the true mark of a man or woman
Is how others remember them
Once they're gone
And all that remains of them
Is the slow process of returning
Those borrowed atoms to the universe

Amen
 

Desertrat

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skunk, enlightened humanism might be of value to you or me, but that's not necessarily the case for the deeply religious. What seems to be forgotten--or seen as being of little importance--is the viewpoint of those who do indeed see the "separation" game as taking away of their God.

As for: Quote:
At some point, it seems to me, one should consider whether gaining the removal of final vestiges are worth the potential for physical violence that I see as an ever more likely possibility.

"That sounds awfully like "appeasement". You don't eat cheese, do you?"

I think it's less appeasement than it is a certain amount of caution as to possible consequences. I don't walk up to a group of outlaw bikers and offer negative commentary about their belief system. (I note that the PETA types will throw paint on a little old lady's fur coat, but not on a biker's leather jacket. :))

As for the "eat cheese" comment, that sounds a lot like an Internet Keyboard Commando's bravery that derives from anonymity.

Sorta separately in all this: "Piss Christ" as art got laudatory comments. I'm waiting to see what artist has the courage (?) to do the same for "Piss Mohammed". I note Salmon Rushdie is still not wandering about much in public; I see it as fortunate that Christians in general are not given to violence. Do-gooders are noted for picking on soft targets...

'Rat
 

StarbucksSam

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Desertrat said:
skunk, enlightened humanism might be of value to you or me, but that's not necessarily the case for the deeply religious. What seems to be forgotten--or seen as being of little importance--is the viewpoint of those who do indeed see the "separation" game as taking away of their God.

As for: Quote:
At some point, it seems to me, one should consider whether gaining the removal of final vestiges are worth the potential for physical violence that I see as an ever more likely possibility.

"That sounds awfully like "appeasement". You don't eat cheese, do you?"

I think it's less appeasement than it is a certain amount of caution as to possible consequences. I don't walk up to a group of outlaw bikers and offer negative commentary about their belief system. (I note that the PETA types will throw paint on a little old lady's fur coat, but not on a biker's leather jacket. :))

As for the "eat cheese" comment, that sounds a lot like an Internet Keyboard Commando's bravery that derives from anonymity.

Sorta separately in all this: "Piss Christ" as art got laudatory comments. I'm waiting to see what artist has the courage (?) to do the same for "Piss Mohammed". I note Salmon Rushdie is still not wandering about much in public; I see it as fortunate that Christians in general are not given to violence. Do-gooders are noted for picking on soft targets...

'Rat

I'm sorry if I sound ignorant but the only part of that post I understood was the thing about cheese....
 

mactastic

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Desertrat said:
skunk, enlightened humanism might be of value to you or me, but that's not necessarily the case for the deeply religious. What seems to be forgotten--or seen as being of little importance--is the viewpoint of those who do indeed see the "separation" game as taking away of their God.
How about 40 acres and a mule? Would that do it for you? Seriously, why should anyone have to GIVE you anything to come into compliance with the constitution? And if there's anything this particular lawsuit DOESN'T do it's seek to 'take away' someone's god. All their asking for is some proportional representation. Doesn't even have to be equal representation.

Would you consider giving something of value to those who think the government is trying to force us to be Christian? Something to offset the value of their own set of beliefs being supplanted by Christian ones?

No of course not. And I'm sure you've got a nice long reason full of pithy country wisdom as to why not.

As for: Quote:
At some point, it seems to me, one should consider whether gaining the removal of final vestiges are worth the potential for physical violence that I see as an ever more likely possibility.

"That sounds awfully like "appeasement". You don't eat cheese, do you?"
So it's ok for the Christians to threaten violence if their beliefs are threatened, but you come down with nothing but scorn and derision for PETA (among others) when they react violently because their beliefs are being trampled on?

I think it's less appeasement than it is a certain amount of caution as to possible consequences. I don't walk up to a group of outlaw bikers and offer negative commentary about their belief system. (I note that the PETA types will throw paint on a little old lady's fur coat, but not on a biker's leather jacket. :))
It's appeasement. You're talking about giving someone something so they don't hurt or kill you. Just like Neville Chamberlain did, right?

Also, you don't see Minutemen picking on armed drug dealers, do you? I notice that they only throw unarmed migrants against the wall and humiliate them.

As for the "eat cheese" comment, that sounds a lot like an Internet Keyboard Commando's bravery that derives from anonymity.
You've made plenty of '101st Fighing Keyboardist' comments yourself. This is an internet chat. Are you suggesting we move to the real world and prove our bravado isn't false?

Sorta separately in all this: "Piss Christ" as art got laudatory comments. I'm waiting to see what artist has the courage (?) to do the same for "Piss Mohammed". I note Salmon Rushdie is still not wandering about much in public; I see it as fortunate that Christians in general are not given to violence. Do-gooders are noted for picking on soft targets...

'Rat
Soft targets? Come on 'Rat, you're making my sides hurt here! Wiccans are soft targets, Christians are not. "Piss Christ" was lauded because it expressed outrage at the dominant paradigm. Please don't try and pull that 'Oh we're so oppressed' crap on me, when a few posts earlier you justified Christian prayer by stating that the overwhelming majority believes that way. You can't be both the 'vast majority' and the oppressed minority at the same time.

:)
 

pseudobrit

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Desertrat said:
skunk, enlightened humanism might be of value to you or me, but that's not necessarily the case for the deeply religious. What seems to be forgotten--or seen as being of little importance--is the viewpoint of those who do indeed see the "separation" game as taking away of their God.
So when they start shoving their Proddy religion down my throat -- effectively taking away my God -- I can go ahead and get all militant Irish Catholic on their ass? Cool!
I need to brush up on my car-bombing skills.
 

skunk

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Desertrat said:
As for the "eat cheese" comment, that sounds a lot like an Internet Keyboard Commando's bravery that derives from anonymity.
Oh, come on, 'Rat! Don't be so touchy: it's a JOKE, not a "comment". Or will it be backhoes at twenty paces? Your place or mine? :cool: :D
A round of Cheddar to the winner. :p
 

IJ Reilly

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Just for the record, the "Judeo" part of "Judeo-Christian" in this argument is nothing more than a fig leaf. When was the last time you heard of a Jew insisting on leading a bharucha before any, let alone every, public meeting? When was the last time you heard a Christian bless a meeting with a Hebrew prayer?

Whenever somebody talks about the "Judeo-Christian tradition," I know exactly what they mean -- even if they don't.
 

blackfox

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pseudobrit said:
So when they start shoving their Proddy religion down my throat -- effectively taking away my God -- I can go ahead and get all militant Irish Catholic on their ass? Cool!
I need to brush up on my car-bombing skills.
This brings up an interesting point (to me) that I thought about posting earlier -

With shifts in demographics in the coming decades, most notably the rise in % of latin/hispanic US citizenry, the Protestant faith will become more and more marginalized by Catholicism in particular, and by various other imported belief systems in general.

It should be very interesting, but to topic, much like with moves to remove fillibuster procedure in the Senate (and so on) - It is all well and fine when you are the top dog, but a whole different ballgame when you find yourself in a weak position later on.

Separation of church and state seems like a pretty good idea now, huh?

I am with the above poster(s) who have stated that there should not be any prayer in such venues. It is not about denying a particular persons' right to pray as he/she shes fit, but to uphold the rights of all people to be free to do the same.

You can always pray silently, after all...I am sure God can hear you regardless.

BTW, To those who think wicca is too far out, what do you think the SE asians thought of the first Christian missionaries and their beliefs?
 

skunk

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blackfox said:
It should be very interesting, but to topic, much like with moves to remove fillibuster procedure in the Senate (and so on) - It is all well and fine when you are the top dog, but a whole different ballgame when you find yourself in a weak position later on.

Separation of church and state seems like a pretty good idea now, huh?

I am with the above poster(s) who have stated that there should not be any prayer in such venues. It is not about denying a particular persons' right to pray as he/she shes fit, but to uphold the rights of all people to be free to do the same.
Absolutely.

You can always pray silently, after all...I am sure God can hear you regardless.
Some gods are rather hard of hearing.

BTW, To those who think wicca is too far out, what do you think the SE asians thought of the first Christian missionaries and their beliefs?
Cross-dressing white beardies with attitude...
:D
Nice to have you back, BF. Where you bin?
 

mactastic

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Of course the simplest (and most constitutional) solution would be to not have prayers in publicly sponsored forums to begin with, since as soon as the government deems one religion's prayer OK, they either have to let them all be OK, or they have to start making value judgments about which religion's prayers are acceptable. Christians have been let slide on this for so long they think it's a tradition that can't be violated.

The government CANNOT be in the business of deciding which religions are OK and which aren't. It simple can't. To do so goes against everything this country was founded on.