December 16, 2011

"12 Days of Religious Liberty."

The ACLU highlights its work in the field of religious freedom, in a series of blog posts.
Day 1: ACLU Defends Church's Right to Run "Anti-Santa" Ads in Boston Subways

... In 2002, the ACLU of Massachusetts filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) for removing subway ads promoting the views of a local church and refusing to sell additional advertising space to the church. One of the controversial ads, paid for by The Church of the Good News, said that early Christians did not celebrate Christmas or "believe in lies about Santa Claus, flying reindeer, elves and drunken parties."

The ACLU argued that the MBTA cannot refuse advertising space to groups it disagrees with.

18 comments:

Andy R. said...

I think Christians get freaked out when people point out the absurdity of believing in santa clause, because Christians are worried they will realize the same thing about jesus.

edutcher said...

Religious Liberty?

What does the ACLU have to do with that?

Andy R. said...

I think Christians get freaked out when people point out the absurdity of believing in santa clause, because Christians are worried they will realize the same thing about jesus.

No one defines absurdity like Hatman.

Meade said...

Andy, did you notice the ACLU brought the suit on behalf of a Christian group that wants to assert its free speech rights?

ricpic said...

Oh will he ever return?
No he'll never return
And his fate is still unknown,
He'll be riding forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned.

DADvocate said...

Every Christian I know, and have known, over the age of 6 or 7 knows the traditional Santa Claus, although inspired by an actual person, is fictitious. No serious person doubts that Jesus lived.

andy either lives in a fantasy land himself, or delights in insulting Christians.

DADvocate said...

ricpic - Do you believe in Charlie? Does he still ride beneath the streets of Boston?

ricpic said...

If you believe in Santa (as you should) yes, you believe that Charlie still rides.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would have gone with twelve more impressive ones. Probably would have skipped the, "See?! We side with Christians--when they want to post big anti-Santa signs!"

And I write that as someone who is not into the Santa thing.

Andy R. said...

Andy, did you notice the ACLU brought the suit on behalf of a Christian group that wants to assert its free speech rights?

Yes, I think the MBTA is taking the interests of mainstream Christianity against a fringe group trying to cause problems. That the fringe group is also nominally Christian does not interfere with why mainstream Christianity would get upset about people noting the fabled basis of their religion.

Andy R. said...

No serious person doubts that Jesus lived.

That's not what believing in Jesus means,

Paul Zrimsek said...

Hatboy strikes me as the sort of person who spends a great deal of his time pointing out the absurdity of Santa Claus to people.

Andy R. said...

Hatboy strikes me as the sort of person who spends a great deal of his time pointing out the absurdity of Santa Claus to people.

Roughly 50 weeks a year I focus on Jesus, but I like to mix it up a little for the holidays.

Dave said...

St. Paul anticipated you Andy
1 Cor 1:23
"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishnes"

The belief in God is foundational axiom whether accepted or rejected. Christians are quite aware that it seems absurd to the unbeliever. Many of us did not believe or had doubts in the past and may have even mocked the faith. I did.

Christians rarely get "freaked out", especially over something so trivial as Santa Claus. Cite an mainstream example. It's Muslims that flip out over the smallest slight. Further it's atheists who are so intolerant of Christians that they protest every public nativity or religious symbol or minor religious expression in school.
That's because Atheism is as dogmatic and as unsupported as religion. The difference is that religion expressly understands that a leap of faith is made unsupported by the evidence of the senses. The obdurate rejection of the possibility of God is irrational. God's presence can neither be proved nor falsified. It's like Godel's theorem that any complete and perfect mathematical system has one unprovable theorem. So agnosticism is the correct place for the honest seeker of truth who does not believe. The possibility of God is acknowledged but not embraced and under that philosophy respect for those that believe is possible.

DADvocate said...

That's not what believing in Jesus means,

Oh, now you're going to tell me what my beliefs mean? You're the defining entity?

EDH said...

Andy R. said...
Yes, I think the MBTA is taking the interests of mainstream Christianity against a fringe group trying to cause problems. That the fringe group is also nominally Christian does not interfere with why mainstream Christianity would get upset about people noting the fabled basis of their religion.

Actually, the battle was between "old school" religion against the secularized version of X-Mas you see allowed in the public square, with the ACLU defending the old school church's rights.

But the issue wasn't about establishment. It was about sensorship of ideas in advertising by a public authority.

Again, note, it wasn't a case of disparagement of a religion, which you can sensor as hurtful and offensive to some.

Rather, it was at most a disparagement of the secularization of the holiday.

Oligonicella said...

Dave -

Flip the words:

The difference is that the atheist expressly understands that a leap of faith is made unsupported by the evidence of the senses. The obdurate acceptance of unproven assertion is irrational.

EDH said...

Did I spell censor, twice, with an "s".

Arrrgggg....

Thomas W said...

It will be interesting to see all of the ACLU's 12 days. The complaint I hear is not so much that the ACLU is anti-religion as they are anti Christianity. In their first three days they have supported a fringe form of Christianity, a Native American religion, and Islam. So far nothing to dispel the anti-Christian stereotype.