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Archive for the ‘separation of church and state’ Category

I’ve seen this little gem posted on Facebook a few times.  I know, I know.  For my own sanity I should just walk away.  Poking the crazy is such a strong temptation but I figured torching a friendship (or fracturing family relations) is not worth feeling superior over.  So instead I’m going to do it here.

Back to this not-funny cartoon:

Interestingly this comic touches on two things that  ZOMG!OppressedChristians! (TM) like to twist to make it seem like the evil atheists are trying to abolish or take away their enjoyment of their faith.

Most obvious is the War on Christmas (TM)!  There is no war on Christmas.  I don’t give a flying fuck if you wish me a Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, or Chrismahanukwanzikah.  When you say any of these to me, I assume that it reflects your beliefs and I usually will smile and respond “You too!”.  I alternate between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays depending on the person, and if I were working a customer service job I would default to Happy Holidays.  The reason isn’t not offending, the reason is that I wish to be as inclusive as possible.   Religion isn’t obvious, like blue eyes or red hair.  People choose religion, and sometimes even change religions.  I don’t know if the person in front of me is Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Pagan, or whatever.  I wish everyone happiness at this time.

So go have yourself a Merry Christmas.  Hell, say it as much as you want.  Just don’t demand that I say it too, because it doesn’t show how christian you are, it shows how much of an asshole you are and how insecure you are that you need sheep bellowing the same thing all around you.

The less obvious part of this is separation of church and state.  Once again, this totally misses the point.  Kids will not get in trouble if they express their faith in public school.   It’s one thing to say “I’m Christian and I celebrate Christmas”.  It’s another to expect everyone else to do the same.  And if I recall correctly, teachers and administrators can get in trouble if they discuss religion in any way that promotes one above any others or with any intention of proselytizing.  However, if this little boy said to another child “You are dumb because you don’t celebrate Christmas”, then maybe a trip to the principal’s office is in order.

Us Evil Atheists are not looking to take away Christmas.  I celebrate it as a secular holiday and as a time to share love with my family and friends.  Giving gifts makes me happy.  Other’s celebrate it as Yule, or the solstice.  It is also a federal holiday.  Don’t be a herd animal and post this drivel.  Spend that energy elsewhere, be a role model and use that energy to help others, not just in December but all year long.  Charities that have a glut of volunteers in December have a difficult time finding them in the summer.  Use those mouse clicks to spend $20 to help feed or immunize people in impoverished countries (or hey, your own country, we have plenty of hungry and homeless people here).  If you are privileged enough that all you have to worry about is this War on Christmas bullshit, rejoice and Happy Holidays!

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My daughter is in 6th grade.  Middle school.  Today she comes home, laughs, says “Look what I got!”, and flips this hideous orange pocket sized New Testament put out by the Gideons.

My first thought was to laugh it off.  Then she tells me that the principal made an announcement that people were outside handing out bibles and students were to treat them with respect.  I think he was probably trying to give the students the heads up that there were people outside handing out bibles and he probably couldn’t get rid of them.  Because you know they weren’t really on school property even though the school takes up the entire block.  How were they not on school property, you ask?  They were on the curb.

The curb is “public” property.

So far, what I can tell is that some people are bothered by this (probably mostly non-christians) and some are not.  I’m not really “out” to most of the people I know, yet I posted this concern on Facebook so it might turn rather interesting.

I’m still unsure as to how to proceed, or even if I should.  It pisses me off that a group would target kids instead of their parents, it’s downright creepy.  Especially in this area.  I hear of this happening in other places and never thought it would happen here, as we have a fairly diverse population.

The kicker is the introduction by the Gideons.  It has such gems as “…its histories are true” and  and that it (the bible) “…will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents”.

I’m torn because I sort of want to make a formal complaint, but I really don’t think the principal was trying to condone it, just make sure the kids weren’t freaked to find people out there.  What would you do?

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From Channel 23 (ABC) in California:

It starts well, but goes downhill, as usual:

For the last few months, the Tehachapi City Council meeting has started off with an invocation prayer, but a letter sent last week from the Freedom From Religion Foundation has Tehachapi residents debating the constitutionality of saying the prayer.

Tuesday night’s council meeting started with the standard Pledge of Allegiance, but unlike meetings over the last six months, no prayer.

There’s still that pesky “under God” in the pledge.

While the council discussed the letter in closed session, the public spoke out in favor of the prayers during public comment.Only one person spoke out against the prayer, but said it would be OK if the prayer was more inclusive.

I think that person probably has their heart in the right place, but as long as there is prayer at all, it will continue to be exclusive to anyone who does not believe in god.

“They’re making schools not give scholarships to other religious colleges,” Councilman Shane Reed said during the meeting. “So, this is the type of group we’re dealing with and I encourage everyone to look at their site and see what we’re dealing with.”

I’m not entirely sure what they are referring to, probably because I think they got their facts wrong.  They are not denying scholarships, they are concerned about the use of taxpayer money in violation of the Establishment Clause.  And they are fighting against “… the Bush Administration’s claim that it can use taxpayer money to support religion without complaint by taxpayers”. I’m guessing they skimmed the information and picked up information on a case that was stated as a precedent for the current lawsuit Hein v. FFRF.  In that case:

Flast v. Cohen (1968) permitted a taxpayer challenge of federal assistance to religious schools. The court ruled that challenges could be heard that question the use of “the taxing and spending power . . . to favor one religion over another or to support religion in general.”

And the typical response already in the comments:

How can this happen? “In God We Trust” is on all our money, but we can’t pray? This world is getting worse. What’s next, “Freedom of Speech?” I’m sadden by the Country that I love is trying to push out the God that loves us and was there when we won our FREEDOM. IN GOD I DO TRUST~! My freedom I’m worried about..

Oh you can pray, on your own time. You may not take time in a government venue to basically hold people hostage and proclaim your faith that they may not share.  It’s called separation of church and state and it’s one of the tenets our country was founded on.  I almost commented there, but at the last moment I saw the sign that said “Don’t feed the trolls”.

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