December 13, 2006

The "litigious Orthodox rabbi" and the "overzealous, politically correct officials terrified" of everything religion-related.

The Seattle Christmas tree incident. It's an American holiday tradition: arguing about religion and threatening litigation. What would the season be without it?

63 comments:

VICTOR said...

I'm thinking there should be a mechanism in place so people can prosecute those complaints on an anonymous basis (I guess an association is an easy way). From what I can see in Seattle, the Rabbi sort of took a beating in the press and the street corners, and was almost intimidated into withdrawing his claim. This is not exactly what happened, but my reading between the lines. There were many complaints and people whispering about this around town.

George said...

What's fascinating isn't that the rabbi threatened legal action but the speed with which the authorities backed down.

Our country will probably be the first civilization to be destroyed by its desire to be nice, if not obsequious.

We're too nice to openly confront Iran and Syria.
We're too nice to make a serious effort to deport illegal aliens.
We're too nice to defend our religious beliefs (this applies, in general, to both Christians and Jews).
We're too nice to complain when tax money is used to support endless public programs.
We're too nice to stop our children from doing who knows what on the Internet.

Nice people finish last.

Ron said...

It would be fun to come up bogus headlines for this tradition!

"Baby Jesus sued by atheists for creche back rent."

"Camel statues at creche encouraging smoking for pre-teens as stealth advertising, lawsuit claims."

"Three wise men from Iraq Study Group bearing gifts to Savior Obama, claims pro-war supporters."

Carry On!

Goesh said...

Religion - use it or lose it, eh?

Ron said...

"Nice People Finish Last"

Cheer up, George, we can be as big a bastard as Leo Durocher was too!

Have a bit of faith in our ability to cold cock people when they aren't looking!

Pogo said...

When the desire not to offend is mixed with a punitive legal system unwilling to reject unserious claims, we are left with officials damned no matter what path they choose.

Imagine the poor airport spokeswoman, Terri-Ann Betancourt, desiring nothing more than for this to go away, admits defeat and withdraws the "holiday trees" (note: not "Christmas" tress). If she didn't, demands to display Wiccan pentacles, Islamic crescents, and Mormon underwear would create even more work. But she is even more villified for removing the non-denominational trees.

I don't pretend to have an answer. 50 years ago, the US wasn't terribly concerned admitting that the majority of its citizens were Christian. Now, we-e-ell, hoo boy, one doesn't permit such an egregious act.

Another reason my kids stayed out of public schools was their dogged determination to remove all references to Christianity from school, but promote all other religions (for the sake of diversity). For example, pictures of pumpkins were allowed, but not jack-o-lanterns. Too Jesusey, I guess.

In the US, the only appropriate response for officials appears to be the prone position.

Seven Machos said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ron said...

"Tribal council of squirrel elders claims creche violates traditional hunter-gatherer grounds. Prof. Chomsky decries 'State-sponsered famine.' Althouse files amicus brief; 'NIMBY', says lawprof."

Seven Machos said...

Screw people like this rabbi who want to ruin holidays because the sight of a holiday symbol bothers them. They disgust me.

People overwhelmingly want Christmas trees. "Letters and e-mails sent to the airport ran 99-1 against the decision." That's democracy, pal. You don't get to put up eight-foot competing symbols when the vote is 99-1. No one is forcing religion on anyone. It's a tree strewn with crap and lights. Deal with it.

As to Victor's suggestion: yeah, man, great idea. Anonymous prosecution of civil complaints based on the complaints of local informants. How about a secret police, too? We could call it the Stasi.

Ron said...

"Christian group to try and stop city cost-saving measure of only two wise men -- and fewer barnyard animals -- as 'Rumsfeldizing' the holiday season."

Cedarford said...

Supposedly the Rabbi screwed up as an immigrant unaware that religious Jews have tended to encourage their community to refrain from Christian-bashing in return for Christian support of religious Jew's desires. Part of the big earful he got is from his peers.

Secular Jews, with an atheist shill or two tossed into the mix, have tended to lead the litigious war of intimidation against manifestations of Christianity in the public or insisted on a perverse co-equal billing of Judaism and Hannukah (a minor Jewish holiday in their calender) Now we have the "pleasure" of other very small groups wanting "equality" of treatment and displays for stuff when they have no holidays that fall around Christmastime.

What would be the reaction if Christians horned in on Yom Kippur and demanded it be co-billed as "Christian Prayer Day" or insisted that any mention of Ramadan also say it was "Early Lent" for participating Christians?

I suspect the reaction would not be as "accepting" from either Muslims or Jews.

George - Civil authorities have an inclination to back down, not from being "nice" but from fear that their careers could be damaged by walking into a ruinously expensive court battle with the legal fronts doing the Christian-bashing. Groups like the ACLU, People For The American Way, and Southern Poverty Law Center have deep pockets.

reader_iam said...

Victor: I think--think--that originally he was anonymous. At least, when I blogged about this a few days ago, I linked to a report and newscast that did not contain his name, and I even noted that he was anonymous--something I had a problem with, by the way.

If one person can have that much effect--especially via threatened lawsuit and a two-day deadline--I think it's utterly appropriate that we know who it is.

Of course, I also think it's utterly wrong if he was threatened or harassed--as distinct from sharply criticized, of course.

Dave said...

If there is something I understand even less than bible-thumping Christians, it is orthodox Jews.

Cedarford said...

In 2004, columnist Bert Prelusky, a Jew, wrote of the ACLU and caaled his column "The Jewish Grinch That Stole Christmas" - prompting much controversy in the Jewish community...but also prompting several other Jewish columists to chime in "Jews, lay off lawsuits bashing American Christians! Just shut up about Christmas.. "

This year, Prelusky published a follow-up column saying his judgement is that Jews have a squeaky wheel problem, that most assimilate and have a live and let live attitude and their reputations are being damaged by activists and the ACLU.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53341

In the link is a sublink to "Jewish Grinch"..

Anonymous said...

It's an American holiday tradition: arguing about religion and threatening litigation.

Which says that the airport official was either itching for a fight or an idiot (or both) but either way, unfit for her position.

Kirby Olson said...

I lived in Seattle for fifteen years. This kind of thing can happen more easily there because most of the people are new to the area and there aren't any clear traditions. No one knows quite what to do at a wedding, or any ceremony.

Seattle wasn't even there a hundred and sixty years ago.

Now it's a booming metropolis but the institutions aren't very deeply rooted. There are very few true Seattleites who were born and raised there. Almost everyone has just blown in from some other place.

There is a small Jewish newspaper but it's circulation is only about 4000.

Many of the younger people are not very much into church-going. They are more likely to see Starbucks as their church.

Niceness and political correctness are rife in Seattle there because there aren't any other traditions to go by. Even Portland has an older feeling to it. Seattle is just like some brash young person without much wisdom. The kind of person who took away the trees and then put them back is a microcosm of Seattle. Humor doesn't really even exist in such a place (it's discouraged) because there isn't enough of a common sensibility for anyone to make jokes. So everything gets taken too seriously. It's a stupid city, but very pretty.

Alex said...

Of course, Seven Machos has evidence that "the sight of a holiday symbol bothers" the rabbi, and that he demanded it be removed, right? Not that he wanted a menorah side-by-side with the tree, and that it was the airport management that decided it was easier to remove the tree than to allow the menorah? Maybe SM should be disgusted with himself for being unable to read what the article said, rather than with the rabbi.

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, the Christmas tree was a symbol of secularied Christmas. There is NOTHING religious about a Christmas TREE, unless you are worshipping Target.

I understand protesting a manger scene, a cross, or a nice big Jesus Saves sign. I do not agree with the protest, but I understand the thinking behind such an endeavor. But protesting a Christmas tree shows a complete lack of understanding as far as I can see.

Trey

Mike said...

reader_iam said: "If one person can have that much effect--especially via threatened lawsuit and a two-day deadline--I think it's utterly appropriate that we know who it is."

I agree completely. This guy got what he deserved. As Bugs Bunny would say, what a maroon!

Anthony said...

There's been some decent discussion about this at soundpolitics.com. Most there were rather furious with the rabbi.

I'm undecided at this point. Apparently, the Port was in a bind as to whether they could put up a specifically religious symbol (menorah). The trees, I gather, are considered either by state or federal courts to be secular in nature and therefore okay to put up. The rabbi only started requesting a menorah in October which, by government standards, is a very brief amount of time to deal with that issue.

I'm tending to think there was far too little communication and each side just kept upping the ante and letting it spiral out of control.

Anthony said...

One other note: One reason we didn't know who the guy was, was because when it all blew up it was over the sabbath so the rabbi didn't talk to the media or anyone for that period.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In my mind I think the airport officials did the right thing in taking down the trees in the first place. Not because they were being politically correct but because it was more of a "screw you then" reaction. Fine...... you want to force us to put up religious symbols because we have some secular plastic trees with bows....no more trees. Now go away we are busy trying to run a business here.

More and more I get the feeling that we are dealing with people who have not progressed beyond being children throwing temper tantrums to get their way. Instead of throwing themselves on the floor and creating a scene, they bring frivolous lawsuits. I just wish we could treat them like they deserve....a quick swat on the behind and send them to their room until they learn to respect other people and behave.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt said...

Since when is a Christmas tree secular? It's a CHRISTMAS tree. What is wrong with wanting a Chanukah menorah along side it?

The Christmas tree is a religious symbol on public property. And you know what, even as an ACLU member and Jew, I'm perfectly fine with that. But it violates the First Amendment to allow religious symbols from one religion, while barring them from others.

The Supreme Court has already sort of addressed a similar case in 1989's County of Allegheny v. ACLU, which involved a challenge of a holiday display that included a creche, menorah, and a large Christmas tree that was part of the display but not challenged. The Court allowed the menorah as a secular symbol of Chanukah because the tree acted as a secular representation of Christmas, hinting that the menorah without the tree, and the tree without the menorah, would violate the Establishment Clause.

Who gives a damn if the airport receive lots of letters wanting the tree back? Constitutional rights do not hinge on elections, and certainly not on a letterwriting campaign by a church group.

I am disappointed that the rabbi backed down under fire. This wasn't a question of overzealous, politically correct officials-this was a question of officials caught putting religious symbols in a public space and forbidding other religious from putting up their own religious symbol at their own expense.

And, just a side note, to quote Judge Judith Sheindlin, please don't pee on my leg and tell me it it's raining. Holiday trees? Who the hell do you think you're kidding? Show anyone in the country, age 5 to 100, a picture of the trees and ask them what they are. The answer will be Christmas trees. Calling a menorah a means of adding more light to the station wouldn't fly, and calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree is only a tacit acknowledgement of their religious nature and the airport's attempt to concel it's unconstitutional actions.

Paddy O. said...

Since when is a Christmas tree secular?

Well, I've looked again in my New Testament and found some good bits about mangers, and magi, and a busy inn. Nothing about a tree.

Christmas is a religious holiday. Honoring the Christ-child is a religious expression.

But, sacred trees have long been frowned upon by Christian leaders.

The religious symbol of Christmas is the nativity scene. There's nothing religious about a tree, not for Christians at least. I suppose we could say it's a religious symbol for pagans.

Unless you know something I don't it's a cultural expression.

Mike said...

This atheist sees nothing religous about a Christmas Tree.

Brian O'Connell said...

The rabbi wanted more than just the installation of a menorah. He wanted to put in his own 8-ft menorah, and to preside over a lighting ceremony on each of the 8 nights, which I think is a bit much. It's an airport.

Victor: From what I can see in Seattle, the Rabbi sort of took a beating in the press and the street corners, and was almost intimidated into withdrawing his claim.

So what's his claim? Religious persecution? That a religion was established at Sea-Tac in violation of the 1st Amendment? He strikes me as an opportunist promoter. It's an airport. I think they did the right thing.

Bard: The Court allowed the menorah as a secular symbol of Chanukah because the tree acted as a secular representation of Christmas....

Sounds like some creative judging there. If the tree wasn't secular, then the menorah wouldn't be either?

Pogo said...

"Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" reminds me just how ridiculously pedantic, cognitively miniscule, and predictable is the Left.

Pine trees don't establish a religion, no matter how you twist it. Bullshit.

A Menken Moment said...

Am I just indulging in wishful thinking or wouldn't the whole brouhaha been avoided if the official had just let the rabbi put up his menorah? Wouldn't there have been enough space? And if a wiccan came by and asked to place a pentacle, wouldn't there have been enough space for that too? ... Or would the rabbi and the witch have demanded 'parity' of spacing? Or demanded that the airport supply these things?

Zounds, methinks this whole separation (along with the affirmative action) business has got way out of hand. Folks, the jihadists are at the gate. Let's focus on them.

Revenant said...

For example, pictures of pumpkins were allowed, but not jack-o-lanterns. Too Jesusey, I guess.

Perhaps things were different where you grew up, but the reason my public high school banned Halloween symbols is that Christians complained that they were Satanic.

amzbd said...

I believe this Rabbi was from the Seattle Chabad. These orthodox Jews reach out to unaffiliated and secular Jews "on the street" and ask them if they would like help to perform a mitzvah, such as lighting a candle or saying a blessing or putting on religious garb. Giant 8 foot menorahs and lighting cermeonies by these orthodox Jews are common in most cities. I am very confident it happens somewhere in Seattle already. So why the request to do it at the airport? In Jewish tradition, hospitality to travelers is very important, and so this rabbi wanted to perform his "service" to Jews stuck in the airport during Chanukah. I doubt his request really had anything at all to do with Christmas. It is an unfortunate quirk of the calendar that Chanukah, a minor and non-biblical holiday, coincides with the Christmas season. Jews in general and the orthodox in particular do not equate the importance of Chanukah to their beliefs with the importance of Christmas to Christians' beliefs. It was the airport's reaction that got the trees involved. And yes, among the Jewish community most view Christmas trees as pretty, benign, and secular.

Anonymous said...

I want to see if I understand what you lawyers are saying.

It's Christmas Tree intended to celebrate Christmas.

Removing it is an attack on Christmas and an attack on Christians.

Trees are not mentioned in the bible in conjunction with the birth of Jesus.

So the Christmas Tree is not really a religious symbol but removing it is in fact an attack on Christians, Christianity, and Christianists.

Jews, atheists, and members of other religions that ask about this are members of the ACLU and squeak.

Jews, atheists, and members of other religions that don't ask about this are rational members of society.

Democrats keep Republicans from mentioning politics at the dinner table.

Is that what you guys are saying?

Anonymous said...

And yes, among the Jewish community most view Christmas trees as pretty, benign, and secular.

Do you have any data for this, or is does this truthiness come from your gut is telling you?

My gut tells me that most Jews I know view Christmas trees as pretty, benign, and non-secular. But I admit that I have no data and have done no polls and have read no polls on this.

Paddy O. said...

"Is that what you guys are saying?"

Nope.

Brian O'Connell said...

amzbd: It was the airport's reaction that got the trees involved.

No. The rabbi noted the Christmas trees and tried to use them as an in for his menorah. He had his lawyer helpfully send the airport the relevant case law.

dearieme said...

"when it all blew up it was over the sabbath so the rabbi didn't talk to the media or anyone for that period." Hee, hee, hee.

Revenant said...

It's Christmas Tree intended to celebrate Christmas.

This is correct (although, as noted earlier, it was called a "holiday tree" for various inane PC reasons).

Removing it is an attack on Christmas and an attack on Christians.

It is certainly an attack on Christmas. Many Christians also perceive it as an attack on them because they correctly identify the impulse behind the move as hostility to Christianity.

Trees are not mentioned in the bible in conjunction with the birth of Jesus.

Also correct. You could look it up, you know.

So the Christmas Tree is not really a religious symbol but removing it is in fact an attack on Christians, Christianity, and Christianists.

Nobody in this thread has mentioned Christianists, probably because they don't actually exist.

As for the rest of your point, if Christians demanded that government institutions stop serving bagels on the grounds that they were "Jewish food", Jews would rightly view that as an attack on them even though the bagel has no role in their faith. The reason Christians view the anti-tree campaign as an attack on Christians and Christianity is that the *attackers* view the tree as a symbol of Christianity. They are attacking the trees because they think those trees represent a religion they want driven from the public square.

The fact that there are hundreds of millions of people around the world (such as atheists like myself) who celebrate Christmas as a strictly secular holiday escapes the notice of the dolts at the ACLU.

Pogo said...

Re; "Is that what you guys are saying?"

No. I'm saying is that there's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure.

Mike said...

"Removing it is an attack on Christmas and an attack on Christians.

Is that what you guys are saying"

No, just an attack on common sense.

amzbd said...

Brian O'Connell: "No. The rabbi noted the Christmas trees and tried to use them as an in for his menorah. He had his lawyer helpfully send the airport the relevant case law."

Sorry. Let me clarify...did Chanukah not coincide with Christmas, the rabbi would have still made his request. This is not an "equal time" request. If Chanukah fell in the middle of summer, he would still have wanted his 8 foot menorah. His request was motivated by his "mission" of outreach to secular Jews. It was not motivated by the typical ACLU-type establishment clause argument. That said, I think he would still have used the same case law, as that was the most relevant to counter the airport's position.

Reality check: "My gut tells me that most Jews I know view Christmas trees as pretty, benign, and non-secular. But I admit that I have no data and have done no polls and have read no polls on this."

Well...the only data I can find is from an annual survey of interfaith families regarding their December practices, which as you can imagine, shows Jews married to spouses of another faith are quite tolerant of Christmas trees. (44% report planning to have a tree in their own home.) www.interfaithfamily.com.

Given the lack of data, despite my spending a whole 5 minutes googling for it, I'll amend my previous statement to say: In the Jewish community of which I am a part, most view Christmas trees as pretty, benign, and secular.

Joe said...

The real question is why do we waste so much public money on all this Christmas crap anyway? If a commercial enterprise wants to promote itself and sees a fiscal advantage of putting up decorations for this holiday or that, fine, but it annoys me when tax dollars are blown on this stuff.

(The town immediately next to mine easily waists tens of thousands of dollars every year draping their main street in Christmas decorations. I suppose it wouldn't be so bad, except they have some of the worse roads in the area.)

Pogo said...

Re: "The town immediately next to mine easily waists tens of thousands of dollars every year draping their main street in Christmas decorations."

Economically, probably not a waste. If many people shop for Xmas presents (and they must, inasmuch as many stores make their entire year in the last quarter), then this is advertising for shopping in the town.

It also signals that your town has some vestige of character, cheering the grey streets in the dead of winter (said differently: would you rather live in Bedford Falls or Pottersville?).

So, only a waste if one does not think in economic terms, i.e., by how people actaully behave.

Joe said...

Economically, probably not a waste.

Yeah, it is. I know you have to trust me on that, but it has zero economic impact on the town's businesses. (Especially now that the economic center of the town barely borders the far west bit of the main street at the freeway entrance.)

Pogo said...

So why is there not sufficient opposition to their use to eliminate it, if so completely useless?

Does there remains a purpose not yet disclosed?

ronbo said...

As I was reading this post, somehow I just knew this was a Chabad thing. Every time I see one of those box tube aluminum Menorahs I want to scream.

I really dislike being accosted on the street - by anyone - but I deeply resent the implication that I need to do something to prove myself as a Jew. Yeah, I'm secular, but if I'm Jewish enough for the Nazis (or Iranians) I think I should be Jewish enough for Chabad.

Brian O'Connell said...

amzbd: Let me clarify...did Chanukah not coincide with Christmas, the rabbi would have still made his request.

If Chanukah didn't coincide with Christmas, it would hardly be celebrated at all. It's celebrated mostly to give Jews something to do around Christmas time. (Hmm, why don't Christians conjure up a holiday in September?)

The rabbi's mission, as he sees it, has nothing to do with the fact that he used the Christmas tree installation as an opportunity to get the menorah in. That's what the case law was all about. They didn't say that menorahs must be displayed at airports full stop.

And it sounds like the rabbi's intent with the menorah and the mitzvahs and the ceremonies was explicitly religious, quite unlike the display of the trees.

Seven Machos said...

Pogo -- I once had an econ professor who would talk all about how, really, if you think about it, Bedford Falls was a dead and economically sad town, The cab driver sat with nothing to do. The bar was empty. The best and brightest (George Bailey) wanted the hell out. The entrepreneurs (Sam Wainwright) left to start companies elsewhere. On the other hand, Pottersville was alive and economically booming.

People from all ends of the political spectrum should always pause to consider this. Quality of life is only partially rational.

Seven Machos said...

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: If you think that the Supreme Court does not (or should not) respond to popular pressure, you have no understanding of constitutional law or the political structure of the United States.

Courts and Constitutions are not and must not be immune to popular pressures. (This is not to say that we should not seek to act slwoly and dispassionately in response to pressure.) Ultimately, when the vote is 99-1, the 99 are going to win under any system of government at all.

Ron said...

My version of It's a Wonderful Life would star Rita Hayworth in a role that make Gilda look like a Shirley Temple movie! Town boor George Bailey caps himself in the first reel, (his angel is drunk and falls down on the job) and the whole berg becomes a swingin' place! (Maybe God sends Jimmy back as Rita Hayworth just to open his mind to other...possibilities!) My title?

Potter's Way

PatCA said...

I agree with Pogo.

The statement "But it violates the First Amendment to allow religious symbols from one religion, while barring them from others" is not true. Menorahs are not banned at all, sir, they are simply irrelevant. They are not "equal" symbols, as every Jew I know says the holidays occur at roughly the same time of year and that is the only similarity.

This is not a search for equality in any rational sense of the word--it is sibling rivalry. If we keep it up, we'll be just as peaceful as the Middle East one day, with all our rivalries and little else honored.

Revenant said...

But it violates the First Amendment to allow religious symbols from one religion, while barring them from others

If display of religious symbols on government property violates the establishment clause, allowing LOTS of religious symbols does, too.

The amendment doesn't say "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, unless it establishes every religion it can think of at the same time, in which case its ok". That's just the half-assed compromise the courts came up with because telling Christians "you have to display other religious symbols too" annoys them less than saying "take down that cross".

Cedarford said...

A link to Bert Prelusky's "The Jewish Grinch That Stole Christmas".

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53244

Prelusky updates his 2004 article to encompass the Gibson/Richards rantings...but still charges the main problem of attacking Christian traditions comes from Jews, and from the "overwhelmingly" dominated by Jews - ACLU.
******************
Besides secular progressive Jews using atheists as their shills and stalking horses to find and eradicate "manifestations of Christianity" - when for most of the year and in most spaces public property is sterile of what 70% of the public believes in being a huge problem, the 2nd tactic of "equality" is dishonest and manipulative.
I have a real problem with multiculti "advocates" and
"the voices of tolerance" that suggest all we have to do is give Co-Equal Billing, Time, and Attention to all minority litigant's claims for recognition.

Besides elevating the minor Jewish holiday of Hannukah as Co-Equal in prominance and importance to Christmas we have those that want the fake holiday of Kwanzaa made equal to Christmas. And Muslims who want a victory over the Crusaders celebrated alongside the 4th of July.

In a secular context, would this perhaps lead to litigation the Jewish aggressors on Christian expression might not like?

Perhaps.

One poster suggested eradicating bagels as a "Jewish symbol". Pretzels also have a religious origin..

In the secular area, equal time demanded by this or that minority could impact actual teaching time and what people learn.

What if the finite time the public schools can devote to the WWII Holocaust was mandated to be split equally between "all stakeholders" of ALL Holocausts" If Jews get no more time and attention than the Armenians, 1923 Ukrainian man-made famine, the Cambodian, Hindi, Rwandan Holocausts? And in the WWII holocaust "shared" with other victims like Gypsies and homosexuals?? And 5-6 others..??

Would Jews believe that Co-Equal Billing and attention which reduced classroom time given to the WWII Jewish genocide by 80-90% to allow other groups "their" recognition ---was a dimunition of their "special place"? And an outrage? I suspect so.
And Jews certainly would be upset if schools decided that there was just so much controversy and litigation about "Holocaust curriculum" that NO holocaust or genocide would be studied so their legal exposure and "distraction" ended so "children could once again learn".
That is how many Christians feel about dimunition and attacks on their "special holiday".

***************************
Ron's suggestion of a satiric remake of "It's A Wonderful Life" is droll. I'm surprised such a spoof hasn't been contemplated. Tom Hanks would have to be the Jimmy Stewart character. The taxidriver would have to be a Muslim disgusted Hanks was drunk and refusing a ride to such a filthy infidel...leaving Hanks to freeze his feet off and be hospitalized for frostbite while his bank fails. (The taxidriver comes back repeatedly in the movie to denounce the wickedness and vices of Americans). The town is taken over by a casino consortium of billionaires who note they bought the whole place up on their spare change from Bush's tax cuts. Then the swinging fun starts.

downtownlad said...

Sounds like people on this are demanding that the Christmas trees stay. And that they absolutely do not want a menorah to be there (which is all the rabbi wanted).

How is that not anti-semitism?

Seven Machos said...

Revenant -- The Establishment Clause prohibits the establishment of a religion. This is commonly known. Having a Christmas tree or any number of religious symbols on government property or subsidized by the government in no way establishes a religion.

Downtown Lad -- What's worse is that these huge Christmas trees are virulently homophobic. I'm surprised you haven't discussed this angle ad puke.

Revenant said...

Revenant -- The Establishment Clause prohibits the establishment of a religion. This is commonly known. Having a Christmas tree or any number of religious symbols on government property or subsidized by the government in no way establishes a religion.

Allow me to quote myself:

If display of religious symbols on government property violates the establishment clause, allowing LOTS of religious symbols does, too.

Spot the word in that sentence that renders your claim pointless. Hint: begins with "I", ends with "f", two letters. As in, IF the establishment clause doesn't forbid displaying religious symbols, then displaying them is ok, but IF it does, then displaying lots of them obviously isn't the answer.

However, as your claim that displaying a religious symbol on government property doesn't constitute establishment of religion violates both common sense and current Supreme Court rulings, I'd have to say I think you're wrong on this one. Christmas trees, od course, are not religious symbols and therefore should be fine regardless.

Seven Machos said...

Rev -- The framers of the Constitution clearly did not agree with your interpretation of the Establishment Clause. Not one solitary Supreme Court case agrees with your interpretation. Overwhelmingly, the general public disagrees with your interpretation. Elected officials disagree similarly overwhlemingly.

At one point would you concede that your interpretation is not historically correct or popularly correct and, therefore, not correct.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt said...

Seven Machos, in our system of government, some things are set outside the realm of what the public gets to vote on. The Establishment Clause is one of them. If the 99-1 win every time, schools would still be segregated, African-Americans would still be drinking from Negro water fountains, and interracial marraige would still be banned in the South.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt said...

Seven Machos, having certain religious symbols on government property while BARRING OTHERS, does establish a religion.

PatCA said...

Again, what do you mean by the menorah being "banned"? The airport took down all symbols after the rabbi's complaint.

Should we also consider that the Islamic crescent is "banned" simply because it is absent?

Seven Machos said...

Beyond -- It is not true that Americans wanted "schools to be segregated" 99-1 when schools became desegregated. But note that during the decades when segregation was more popular, black children were legally forced into inferior and separate schools. How do you explain that?

It is not true that Americans wanted separate water fountains 99-1 when desegregation was introduced. But note also that during the decades when segregation was more popular, separate water fountains were common. How do you explain that?

Furthermore, there is an obscure law called the Civil Rights Act. It was passed by Congress, a body based on and elected by majority rule.

Still further, you should note that everything (except for exavtly one thing) in the Constitution can be amended by a vote substantially lower than 99-1.

Even further, if the Supreme Court is not subject to popular pressure, what is your theory to explain the drastic change in interpretation of the Commerce Clause during the early years of the New Deal, or the difference between Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown despite a lack of action by the Congress or changes in the Constitution? Don't delude yourself into thinking that the federal courts are the supreme and exclusive arbiters of the Constitution. They are not and, as Supreme Court Justices are unelected officials who are largely unaccountable to the people, they have no business being such arbiters in a free society.

Cedarford said...

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt -

1. The Constitution is not a Sacred Parchment on a plane with Mosaic Law. It is an operating manual for We the People...who do not like people twisting it's words to wage war on Christian culture.

2. SCOTUS is not the Sanhedrin - their word is not supreme over the People. We have co-equal branches, and what is not in the Federal Constitution shall be left to the States of the People to determine.

3. Secular Jews using their interpretation of the Establishment Clause - as ACLU members, lawyers, and lawyers to try and club the majority into agreeing that their religion and culture must be eradicated from the public tends to really piss the majority off.
Gentiles are not as stupid as some Jewish progressives believe they are. The people that wrote the Constitution never intended it to be used as an instrument of oppression against their civilization---and their ancestors will not let themselves be pushed too hard, too much further - without inflicting real blowback.

4. The 1st thing Muslims did with conquered Christians, even before establishing formal Dhimmitude, was to ban public display of CHristian symbols. Jews who rode with the Muslims and did many of Islam's histories know this well.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt said...

Interesting, Cedaford. So in the same breath, you say that Christmas, er, holiday trees are secular, and in the other, you blame a Jewish conspiracy of trying to twist the Establishment Clause to attack the Christian culture. Antisemetism aside, one may wonder how a Christmas tree can be part of the Christian culture, and yet simultaneously be secular. I don't think gentiles are stupid. You on the other hand....

Oh, yay! So in your fourth point, you simultaneously get a shot in against Muslims AND Jews. You're now equating attempting to put a menorah next to a Christmas tree as trying to "conquer Christians." You display antisemetism, antimuslim tendencies, and paranoia, all at once. Well done sir.

As for Patca, I didn't say the menorah was banned, I said it was barred. It was not allowed to be placed in the airport. In County of Allegheny, the Supreme Court found the menorah and the Christmas tree to be equal symbols.

Moving onto Seven Machos, I'm truly not sure what the heck you're trying to say. During the decades when segregation was in place, separate water fountains were common. Er, yes, that was rather my point. I'm not sure what yours is. And yes, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. More than a decade after the practices I mentioned were stopped by the Supreme Court and after the shockwaves from that had lessened. The Court led the way and didn't allow popular sentiment to justify maintaining a system of oppression against African-Americans.

Anonymous said...

Christmas tree is to Christmas what the Easter Bunny is to Easter.

They are capitalist distractions to Christian Holy days.

Yes, it is a Christmas tree, but it is also an Easter Bunny. They are capitalist add ons that have overwhelmed the sacred origins of these Holy days.

I am thinking that the dreidel is similar, but not as capatilistically exploited because there are not as many Jewish folks as Christian folks in our country.

As a Christian, I would give up 25 publice trees for a single manger.

Trey

Seven Machos said...

in our system of government, some things are set outside the realm of what the public gets to vote on

he Court led the way and didn't allow popular sentiment to justify maintaining a system of oppression against African-Americans.

What happened between roughly 1865 and 1955, when the U.S. Constitution virtually remained unchanged with regard to race and discrimination yet the United States offered de facto second-class citizenship to its black citizens? Are you really going to argue that popular sentiment did not have an effect here? Or are you going to argue that racial discrimination only became unconstitutional in the 1950s, despite no change in the law?

Why didn't the Supreme Court outlaw racial discrimination sooner if it is obviously so unconstitutional?