June 26, 2013

"Typical observers of [Big Mountain Jesus] are more interested in giving it a high five or adorning it in ski gear than sitting before it in prayer."

Said the District Court, rejecting an Establishment Clause challenge by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and prompting the First Things blog to say:
It’s unfortunate that current doctrine favors the trivialization of a religious symbol as evidence of its constitutionality, but that’s where we are. (Remember the candy canes and reindeer around the creche?)
Yeah, well, you know how to keep religious symbols from getting trivialized? Keep them away from the government. 

Roger Williams, “Mr. Cotton’s Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered” (dated 1644):
When they [the Church] have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, etc., and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day. And that therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and Paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world, and all that be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the World.
But you may enjoy the wilderness, when you're out there skiing on Big Mountain and you encounter Jesus and give him a mitten or a high 5.

68 comments:

edutcher said...

That they hold Him in such affection is encouraging.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, well, you know how to keep religious symbols from getting trivialized? Keep them away from the government.

Might be easier if the government didn't own so damned much land.

Baron Zemo said...

Tim Donaghy said......
Yeah, well, you know how to keep religious symbols from getting trivialized? Keep them away from the government.

The first steps in trivializing religion in order to regulate it to the dictates of political correctness. I mean what's the big deal. Your little symbols are nothing to worry about. You sacraments are just quaint ceremonies like a Hopi rain dance or something that you put on for tourists.

Get over yourselves. You must by force of law let Liberace get married in St Patrick's Cathedral or you will be prosecuted. You silly little symbol is no big deal.

CWJ said...

Yeah, ed and Althouse. Easier said than done when government expands and expands its reach. What was safely not government yesterday becomes government tomorrow. Just look at the contraception mandate. And what is non-government's defense? Petitioning the courts, a branch of government, to reign in another branch of government.

edutcher said...

Well, we have the power to do something about it.

Or we can just sit in front of the TV.

There's always a choice.

Baron Zemo said...

Yes and that power will express itself in new and interesting ways that the people pushing this agenda do not realize.

jimbino said...

Since Jesus is now secular, why not just pour urine on him?

Revenant said...

Seems like a reasonable ruling given the facts of the case.

Although the "nobody complained for 60 years so it must not have bothered anyone" bit does inspire a bit of eye-rolling.

Synova said...

Mostly being in the public sphere trivializes religion to the extent that it becomes a normal social thing for people who don't particularly believe.

But I want to say... that the result of keeping religion private is horror and death... historically... forever. Telling people of faith to take their religion underground is to sow fear and distrust. Fear and hatred of Jews because who knows what they do in their private ceremonies? Fear and hatred of Christians who drink blood and eat flesh and sacrifice babies. Fear and distrust of Mormon. Any faith that hides away its secrets and it's ceremonies gets the same treatment.

Look at History, because I'm right.

tim maguire said...

Have they refused the donation (the government isn't involved other than as lessor of the land) of other statues?

YoungHegelian said...

Yeah, well, you know how to keep religious symbols from getting trivialized? Keep them away from the government.

This quotation may be the most deeply libertarian thing you've ever said on this blog.

Is this "trivialization" due to the nature of religious thought in general, or to the nature of government power in general? In other words, do other ideologies become trivialized when the government touches them, or does this only apply to religion?

What a strange reverse Midas touch the government has! "Hi, I'm from the federal government & I'm here to trivialize all you hold dear."

Revenant said...

The first steps in trivializing religion in order to regulate it to the dictates of political correctness. I mean what's the big deal. Your little symbols are nothing to worry about. You sacraments are just quaint ceremonies like a Hopi rain dance or something that you put on for tourists.

"Our religious sacraments are important, unlike those of Native Americans" is probably not going to be the winning argument.

Carnifex said...

We can't have trivial figures like Jesus around when the real one to worship is Zero and the government.

Revenant said...

Is this "trivialization" due to the nature of religious thought in general, or to the nature of government power in general? In other words, do other ideologies become trivialized when the government touches them, or does this only apply to religion?

My belief is that whatever the supposed purpose of the government is at its beginning, its ultimate purpose will always be to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of whomever runs it. Anything else will necessarily be trivialized. History is full of examples where the dominant faith teamed up with the government, and the faith in question never did well out of the deal.

You can't build a religious monument on government land and then bitch if the government decides to get rid of it or do something else with it. There are plenty of Christian libertarians out there for exactly that reason -- given that the government corrupts all it touches, you probably don't want it involved in your faith.

Baron Zemo said...

Nice double reverse there pally.

I always thought the perversion of the Hopi ritual was a sin and a shame.

It only occurs because some members of the tribe will prostitute their religion for the edification of others.

I am sure that there are plenty of Christians and Jews who will do the same thing.

Andy Cuomo. Nancy Pelosi. Chris Matthews.

MajorSensible said...

When and why did atheism become antitheism? How did it go from the perfectly reasonable position "I don't believe in God and you can't make me" to the unreasonable "I don't believe in God and neither should you"?

I personally believe in neither Santa Claus nor the Easter Bunny, but I don't go around demanding that Santa's likeness be removed from all public spaces.

Baron Zemo said...

Ask Revenant. He will be happy to tell you.

YoungHegelian said...

@Revenant

My belief is that whatever the supposed purpose of the government is at its beginning, its ultimate purpose will always be to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of whomever runs it

This is the view that the government is, in essence, the apex predator of civilization. It is an anarchistic/libertarian idea that I can well believe that you subscribe to. But, I certainly wouldn't ascribe those thoughts to the Professor.

It is a fascinating thought: Why is the thought that the government corrupts so widespread? It's not Christian per se. The Christian idea is contemptus mundi, contempt for the world, the flesh & the devil. Notice nobody said "government". Most of us here agree with this "trivializing touch." Where did this idea come from?

Palladian said...

This is the view that the government is, in essence, the apex predator of civilization.

If government or organized religion isn't the "apex predator of civilization", then who is?

And don't say Satan.

Amartel said...

"We can't have trivial figures like Jesus around when the real one to worship is Zero and the government."

It's alright so long as Jesus is an object of traditional ridicule. Haha, Big Mountain Jesus threatens nobody. In the future, the gummint can charge admission for citizens who wish to view the totems of barbaric religious veneration. It'll be like going to the zoo or a museum.

Baron Zemo said...

Religious monuments and practices are simply embarrassing to the oh so sophisticated and cultured observer. Veneration of religious icons, statues and monuments make them uneasy. They prefer to pay lip service to their faith at baptisms, first communions, marriages and funerals. The visible manifestation of faith in a tangible way is gauche and primitive.

There has been a parade of the statue of "Our Lady of All Sorrows" through my neighborhood for the past 100 years. It is held every May. Young children and family's and old crones in black dresses holding candles march in honor of Our Lady.

There is currently a move afoot to ban this march as too disruptive to commerce in the two hours it takes to walk six blocks. This effort is being led by a gay member of the community board.

He also has moved to have a gay pride parade that would cover thirty blocks and take about six hours to complete.

edutcher said...

Palladian said...

This is the view that the government is, in essence, the apex predator of civilization.

If government or organized religion isn't the "apex predator of civilization", then who is?

And don't say Satan.


Thank you for saying it for us.

Chip Ahoy said...

I think government trivialized Christianity right off the bat with the founders confusing and vexing conflation of non-Christian symbols, harking to ancient mysteries, and fascist type symbols, mixed with odd phrases in Latin about unity and mentioning God. It's weird. A pyramid -- what's not to like about that?, but weird. -- an eyeball, curly camphor leaves all over the place. These things are not Christianly intuitive.

But. What's this bs about trivialized with reindeer? Those things are important! Without them Santa wouldn't be able to make deliveries and children across the globe would be bereft of their holiday prezzies. Gaaawl.

Speaking of trivializing creches with reindeer, the grass seeds I planted are growing like Dr. Suess tufts and it looks really cool. And in the fall I will need hummingbird feeder supports. So I think that Earth Box with tufty lawn grass would be perfect of a gen-you-wine yard flamingo. To hold a hummingbird feeder in its beak. The hummingbird feeders, all of them, make the flamingos look modest. Is that trivializing the majesty and perfection of the work of nature?

YoungHegelian said...

@Palladian,

If government or organized religion isn't the "apex predator of civilization", then who is?

You ask me that knowing full well living in NYC & being surrounded by libruls who would claim that the government is "the last refuge of the defenseless" against the travails of living in a society. I mean, gee, can't you see it's the eeevel giant corporations that are the predators?

But to answer your question on a more serious level, I think that while lots of folks would agree that the government is the apex predator, the real question is on whose behalf does it predate? For the fascists, it's for Das Volk; for the Marxists, it's for the proletariat or the bourgeoisie; for the classic liberals, it's on behalf on property understood as one's "goods".

Revenant said...

When and why did atheism become antitheism? How did it go from the perfectly reasonable position "I don't believe in God and you can't make me" to the unreasonable "I don't believe in God and neither should you"?

Atheism is "I don't believe in gods". Anything you choose to append to the end of that particular sentence will only apply to -- and has only EVER applied to -- a subset of atheists, at best. There are atheists who loathe religion, atheists who tolerate it, atheists who appreciate it but don't buy into it, and so on.

That aside, anyone who thinks "atheist who wants religion abolished" is some sort of newfangled category has not paid much attention to world history. Religions aren't the only things that attract people with the desire to purge heretics. :)

Baron Zemo said...

Empress Eugenie: You're an atheist, Louis!

Emperor Louis Napoleon III: That's the most stupid thing a sovereign could be.

(The Song of Bernadette, 1943)

Synova said...

"Religions aren't the only things that attract people with the desire to purge heretics. :)"

Ah, but the desire to purge heretics may well be a primary indicator of religion itself quite apart from the doctrinal particulars.


Ann Althouse said...

"But I want to say... that the result of keeping religion private is horror and death... historically... forever. Telling people of faith to take their religion underground is to sow fear and distrust."

The notion that everything that's not the government is underground is only correct if the government controls everything.

With freedom of speech and a relatively small role for government, there's plenty of public activity that can be religious -- like church services and privately run festivals and festivities and concerts and meetings and performances and lectures and sermons and conversations of all kinds.

That's the safeguard: religion in the private sphere, with private understood the way we understand it in private enterprise and private property.

Ann Althouse said...

"Is this "trivialization" due to the nature of religious thought in general, or to the nature of government power in general? In other words, do other ideologies become trivialized when the government touches them, or does this only apply to religion?"

The govt will appropriate religion for secular purpose and not because of any serious search for truth or salvation. Do you think the Church of England makes religion more deep and meaningful or that it makes it bland and superficial and useful for the government's present purposes, edging out more challenging beliefs?

Ann Althouse said...

"If government or organized religion isn't the "apex predator of civilization", then who is?"

Which is why you want them as rivals not a team. This is a separation of powers principle, a safeguard of liberty.

Ann Althouse said...

"There has been a parade of the statue of "Our Lady of All Sorrows" through my neighborhood for the past 100 years. It is held every May. Young children and family's and old crones in black dresses holding candles march in honor of Our Lady."

And it's good because it's not a government parade, right?

It's private and it's public.

Ann Althouse said...

Notice that's a parade, with the statue held by human beings who are vouching for it. It's their speech. Free speech.

It's not a permanent display on public land, where it gives the appearance that it's the government's speech, that government is endorsing one religion.

That's the distinction the legal doctrine makes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Religious monuments and practices are simply embarrassing to the oh so sophisticated and cultured observer..."

The commitment to freedom of speech and religion and separation of church and state is in no way based on what anyone thinks is embarrassing or stupid or old-fashioned.

So that's a total red herring.

Baron Zemo said...

Yes it is private. The government merely helps with traffic stops for the few minutes it is on the main thoroughfare. Little enough as was a small patch of ground in the wilderness.

Now it it is being attacked and the forces arrayed are attempting to destroy a 100 year old tradition.

Because people who hold traditional religious or moral beliefs are hateful bigots.

It can not be said too often.

Ann Althouse said...

"There is currently a move afoot to ban this march as too disruptive to commerce in the two hours it takes to walk six blocks. This effort is being led by a gay member of the community board. He also has moved to have a gay pride parade that would cover thirty blocks and take about six hours to complete."

Some people don't know the law very well. Presumably, they'll get legal advice. You can't have viewpoint discrimination. You can have reasonable regulations about the time, place, and manner for using the public forum.

Baron Zemo said...

None of the people who fought for SSM will stand behind the right of the religious to walk in a private parade with religious icons. In fact they are fighting to end this religious display.

It is not a red herring. It is a fact.

Traditional religious and moral beliefs are under continuous attack and the law will not protect them. Lawyers and judges will not protect freedom of religion.

That will not get you invited to speak at prestigious universities or accolades from legal scholars.

All it will get you is the back of their hand and ridicule.

Michael said...

" Do you think the Church of England makes religion more deep and meaningful or that it makes it bland and superficial and useful for the government's present purposes, edging out more challenging beliefs?"

The COE is not in the business of making religion "more deep and meaningful". It is itself a deep and meaningful religion. Not sure what the "more challenging" beliefs are or why the govt. would want a hand in "edging" them out.

Baron Zemo said...

You can not trust lawyers or the law to protect your religious freedom.

The law will not prevent Obama from forcing Catholic institutions into providing abortion and birth control services.

There is an agenda to force out religion and religious people from the public square.

Viewpoint discrimination is their stock in trade. They will not countenance a divergent view even if it is based on 2000 years of tradition and belief. They continue to attack the traditional beliefs of certain religions as not "decent" or acceptable and they will suppress them with all of their considerable clout.

MajorSensible said...

@Revenant

Thanks, I'm well aware of what atheism is, I used to be an atheist. I don't think antireligion is a newfangled form of atheism, it's just that it's seemingly become more militant as of late. Groups like the FFRF are going out of their way to aggressively attack religion wherever tbey can find it -- including at a private ski resort that happens to be on land leased from the government that, as the First Things blog post points out, is not obviously Federal land and would not be associated with Government endorsement of religion.

The "high fives and ski photos" argument is the red herring here.

Synova said...

"The notion that everything that's not the government is underground is only correct if the government controls everything."

I see your point, I suppose. I'm influenced by exposure to people who argue that public spaces are... public... after all the government pays for the street and the sidewalks and the parks. And then there was the sign in the local community center here that specifically said that any and all observance of religion was prohibited on community property. That might not stand up in court, after all, because it would mean that no private rental of the building could involve a prayer or a marriage or anything else. But who would ever take that through the courts? Someone obviously thought it entirely appropriate to have a religion free zone that was a *community* center.

I don't think that most people separate in their minds a government building, a courthouse or such, and a sidewalk or park or community center. If people can not express their religion or *practice* their religion within their community and public spaces then the alternative is most certainly underground.

Will you argue that people have not considered it desperately important to bar the Boy Scouts from using public parks?

And certainly the Freedom From Religion sorts are not only concerned with Courthouse Creche's even if that's where court victories might be won. They don't want to have to SEE or be confronted by Religion and feel that they have a right not to be confronted with other people's religious faith. Is a national or state park really different from the local municipal one? Is the park really different than the street?

Christy said...

An ~8' bronze statue of Christ in the Abyss stands in an underwater state park in Key Largo. Snorkelers are challenged to dive down and touch his raised hands for luck.

Synova said...

Now... had the community center just had a sign that religious items could not be permanently installed...

But that wasn't it at all. It was clearly posted that you could not hold a meeting there that involved any religious activity.

Also, just to be a smart ass... If an Indian religious site exists on public land, does it have to be removed? What if the actual items or images only date to the mid 1960s?

CWJ said...

Baron, Althouse's belief in the strong protection of free speech is charming but hardy convincing. If what you say is true, then those behind the march are unnecessarily saddled with the time and treasure necessary to defend themselves and defend their tradition, while he who accosts them bears no cost whatsoever.

As Mark Steyn is wont to say, the process is the punishment. Lawyers constantly speak of our rights as if they were self evident, there was no cost to defend them, and of course we should pay them.

CWJ said...

Majorsensible @5:53

Point well taken. Nearly every acre of western ski resorts is on leased federal land. It has never occurred to me before that skiing Aspen or Vail meant bad overpriced food served on styrofoam had the official endorsment of the federal government.

CWJ said...

Indeed, while we're at it, where are Michelle Obama and the obesity patrol to tell Aspen Vail etc. that as long as they are on federal land they should ditch the burgers, and be serving nothing other than "healthy lunches.

Shouldn't the feds be demanding helmet laws? Safety belts for the chair lifts? Require every slope to track the race and ethnicity of the their users to ensure equal access? What about programs to reach out to underrepresented groups to encourage them to take up skiing/boarding?

Geez, this federal land federal endorsement stuff is fun!

sean said...

Prof. Althouse is not fairly irreligious and a government employee. So her comments on church/state issues should be viewed with the proverbial hermeneutic of suspicion.

Revenant said...

I don't think antireligion is a newfangled form of atheism, it's just that it's seemingly become more militant as of late.

The FFRF is the largest atheist group in America. It has 19,000 members, or around one-tenth of one percent of the American atheist population.

The campaign to keep the cross on Mr. Soledad here in San Diego was, by *itself*, backed by more people and more money than the FFRF is. And that's just one of countless efforts to establish or maintain Christian religious symbols on public land.

Why is it militant to aggressive to say "remove that cross from public land", but not militant or aggressive to put the cross on public land in the first place? Here's a suggestion -- how about if people buy their own damn land and put their own damn cross on it. Then there's no problem at all.

It isn't seen that way because this is an overwhelmingly Christian country. Thus, by default a Christian symbol is perceived as something no reasonable person could object to and a dislike of Christian symbols is perceived as confusing and hostile. If the land were being used for Muslim purposes instead of Christian ones I do not doubt for a second that most American conservatives would suddenly rediscover an appreciation for keeping government land religion-free. :)

Revenant said...

That might not stand up in court, after all, because it would mean that no private rental of the building could involve a prayer or a marriage or anything else. But who would ever take that through the courts?

Somebody who wanted to say a prayer there and was made to stop by the management, I imagine. But has that ever actually happened? A sign like that makes me suspect that, for example, a local church group decided to just adopt the community center as its "church" instead of paying for its own building, and people got sick of it. Even the San Francisco city council wouldn't try to prevent people from uttering a prayer on city property!

And certainly the Freedom From Religion sorts are not only concerned with Courthouse Creche's even if that's where court victories might be won. They don't want to have to SEE or be confronted by Religion and feel that they have a right not to be confronted with other people's religious faith.

The FFRF and other such groups have generally focused either (a) on installed religious symbols, which effectively render the property "religious" on a long-term or permanent basis, (b) use of religion by government figures in government-sanctioned events, or (c) government granting religious groups such as the Boy Scouts special access to public spaces.

I have never heard any of them go to court because, for example, some private citizen said or did something religious on a public sidewalk or park. I'm not saying it has never happened -- Americans sue each other over everything -- but it certainly isn't normal.

CWJ said...

Revenant @7:44

In a word, bullshit. Both the soledad cross and the Big mountain Jesus have been around for over 50 years. We're not talking about someone who snuck up the mountain in the middle of the night last week to make a religious statement on federal land. If they are guilty of anything it is anachronism. They represent the piety and in the case of one respect for the 10th mtn division of their time.

BTW, What's your position on the Taliban who blew up the centuries old representations of the buddha?

PS this is one conservative who would have no objection to a nonaggresive symbol of Muslim piety.


Baron Zemo said...

Thank you Rev. It is nice of you to say that atheists are not normal.

Revenant said...

In a word, bullshit. Both the soledad cross and the Big mountain Jesus have been around for over 50 years.

I wasn't aware that the wrongness of an action was inversely proportional to the length of time you've been doing it.

Does that apply to all morality, or just to the stuff you want to do? E.g., if I key your car every day for fifty years, is that not as bad as doing it once? :)

They represent the piety and in the case of one respect for the 10th mtn division of their time.

First of all I already said there was nothing wrong with the Big Mountain site.

Secondly, don't even try the "its a war memorial" bullshit regarding the Mt. Soledad cross. You and I both know that isn't why people fought to keep it there.

BTW, What's your position on the Taliban who blew up the centuries old representations of the buddha?

Well, 2001 was back when I was still in my "religion is a blight upon the world" phase. I followed the Taliban's atrocities pretty closely, what with them being a great example of religion being used for evil. Plus, of course Islam is the most viciously anti-atheist of the major religions.

I don't remember what my reaction was specifically to the Buddhas being destroyed, but I imagine it was along the lines of "they've been murdering women, homosexuals and nonbelievers for years and the world is pissed about the *statues*?"

Revenant said...

Thank you Rev. It is nice of you to say that atheists are not normal.

I didn't. I'll be happy to say it now, though: atheism is not normal. :)

Baron Zemo said...

Well you prove it every day by your personal example. Thank you.

MajorSensible said...

The FFRF is the largest atheist group in America. It has 19,000 members, or around one-tenth of one percent of the American atheist population.

FFRF thus represents a drastic minority of 0.1% the American Atheist population, which is itself a drastic minority of 0.7% of total American population. In other words, FFRF represents the double-drastic, super-minority of 0.0007% of the American population. Yet somehow they have the responsibility of -- nay, the obligation for -- protecting the remaining 99.9993% of the American people from the iniquity of government-sponsored religion by suing anyone and everyone that they believe is violating the Establishment clause?

The campaign to keep the cross on Mr. Soledad here in San Diego was, by *itself*, backed by more people and more money than the FFRF is. And that's just one of countless efforts to establish or maintain Christian religious symbols on public land.

In other words, the majority of people (99.3%) are either in favor of the Mt. Soledad cross and other religious symbols, and/or such symbols don't bother them because they are meaningless to nonbelievers.

But hey, if it saves even one "freethinker"...

Why is it militant to aggressive to say "remove that cross from public land", but not militant or aggressive to put the cross on public land in the first place?

So placing crosses and Stars of David in Arlington National Cemetery is militant and aggressive?

Here's a suggestion -- how about if people buy their own damn land and put their own damn cross on it. Then there's no problem at all.

Sounds great. Or how about if they lease their own damn land, build their own damn ski resort on the land, mislead everyone into thinking it's private property and not federal land, and then put a statue of Jesus on it! That would be awesomely passive-aggressive!

It isn't seen that way because this is an overwhelmingly Christian country. Thus, by default a Christian symbol is perceived as something no reasonable person could object to and a dislike of Christian symbols is perceived as confusing and hostile.

I think it's hostile not because it's anti-Christian, but because it's deliberately picking a fight in order to force one's viewpoint on others through governmental authority -- in other words, the very argument that the FFRF makes against religion.

I also assume that FFRF doesn't discriminate in the religious symbols it wants removed, right? They seek to ensure no Stars of David or symbols of other religions are on public land, correct? Or is the FFRF solely an anti-Christian organization? [Wouldn't that make the FFRF a hate group?]

If the land were being used for Muslim purposes instead of Christian ones I do not doubt for a second that most American conservatives would suddenly rediscover an appreciation for keeping government land religion-free. :)

If you say so. I personally would have a problem with the FFRF suing the local Buddhist temple to get them to remove their temple sign from the public right-of-way, but I'm apparently in the majority.

bgates said...

Yeah, well, you know how to keep religious symbols from getting trivialized?

Employ the State to give this class of symbols a dignity and status of immense import. When the State uses its historic and essential authority to define the importance of religious symbols in this way, its role and its power in making the decision enhances the recognition, dignity, and protection of the symbols in their own community.

CWJ said...

Revenant,

If you key my car for fifty years and I've not done anything for fifty years in reply then yeah I've pretty much said go ahead and key my car.

BTW, tell me again how the soledad cross and big mountain Jesus are the same as keying a car.

Also, don't be a dick. I said nothing about the soledad cross being a war memorial. Its the big mountain Jesus that those who erected it said it was a tribute to the 10th mtn div. And a tribute is a matter of respect - not a war memorial.

So keep digging, its a long way down.

Finally, thanks for ignoring my final postscript.

Synova said...

"A sign like that makes me suspect that, for example, a local church group decided to just adopt the community center as its "church" instead of paying for its own building, and people got sick of it."

If they reserve the building according to the rules, who cares what they reserve it for? What possible difference could it make what the building is reserved for?

And I'd thought about church groups, but not traditional ones. What a great resource for a minority religion who can't afford a building but might want to gather for one thing or another.



Synova said...

"Why is it militant to aggressive to say "remove that cross from public land", but not militant or aggressive to put the cross on public land in the first place?"

I had thought that in at least one of the famous cases the cross (or whatever) had been put on the land prior to the land being donated for a park.

Revenant said...

FFRF thus represents a drastic minority of 0.1% the American Atheist population, which is itself a drastic minority of 0.7% of total American population.

Do you have a source for your claim that only 7 out of every 1000 Americans are atheists? That's lower than any estimate I've seen.

Yet somehow they have the responsibility of -- nay, the obligation for -- protecting the remaining 99.9993% of the American people from the iniquity of government-sponsored religion by suing anyone and everyone that they believe is violating the Establishment clause?

Firstly, had you bothered to actually pay attention you'd have noticed I thought the FFRF was in the wrong in this case.

Secondly, did you ever wonder why amendments in the Bill of Rights say "Congress shall make no law [doing whatever]" instead of "Congress shall make laws [doing whatever] if 99% of the population demands it"? It is because right and wrong are not determined by popularity. :)

So placing crosses and Stars of David in Arlington National Cemetery is militant and aggressive?

I never said placing religious symbols on public land was militant and aggressive. I asked why, if removing them was "militant", placing them wasn't. If you can't keep up with the discussion, take notes.

I think it's hostile not because it's anti-Christian, but because it's deliberately picking a fight in order to force one's viewpoint on others through governmental authority

So equivalent to placing Ten Commandments monuments on public land, as Christians have been enthusiastically trying to do this past ten years or so? :)

The only viewpoint removing a religious monument from public land "forces" is "the government does not endorse that religion". Which is the factually correct viewpoint; the US government neither endorses Christianity nor opposes it.

Revenant said...

I had thought that in at least one of the famous cases the cross (or whatever) had been put on the land prior to the land being donated for a park.

I wouldn't be surprised if that was true in some of the cases.

It certainly wasn't true of the Mt. Soledad cross, though. That one started its life as a companion to La Jolla's pre-WW2 "Jews not welcome" policy. The current cross replaced the old one in the 50s, and was declared a war memorial in the late 80s to ward off lawsuits.

Revenant said...

If they reserve the building according to the rules, who cares what they reserve it for? What possible difference could it make what the building is reserved for?

There is a general understanding that people won't use more than their fair share of a public space. That's what made the Occupy movement so obnoxious -- obviously everyone has a right to spend time in a park, and everyone has a right to protest, but it is supposed to END eventually.

When a government facility has a policy that is both obviously unconstitutional and apparently offensive to 90% of the public -- e.g., what you described -- it is usually an overreaction of past obnoxious behavior by a user of the facility.

Bansh Bahadur said...

Students flock to the best MBA colleges in
Bangalore that have earned their reputation.
Many of the MBA colleges in Bangalore have
been ranked in the Top MBA colleges in
Bangalore in noteworthy education.Best Business Management College Bangalore


Rusty said...

Big Mountain Jesus doesn't give a shit what you think.

"Top a the World , Ma!"

damikesc said...

I personally believe in neither Santa Claus nor the Easter Bunny, but I don't go around demanding that Santa's likeness be removed from all public spaces.

No shit. I don't spend much time stating how much I don't believe in Scientology, even though it is ridiculous.

And why hasn't anybody filed suit about Climate Change being a religion? It sure as fuck stopped being a science long ago. Students in school shouldn't be indoctrinated in such idiotic nonsense.

Darleen said...

Yeah, well, you know how to keep religious symbols from getting trivialized? Keep them away from the government.

Sorry ... the Constitution's 1st Amendment is not about protecting Government from religion and the religious, but protecting religion and the religious from Government.

You want to see an establishment of religion? It is called Leftism, it is oppressive, intolerant and jealous and it is relentlessly Bowdlerizing American society, culture and history of our religious heritage.

MajorSensible said...

Do you have a source for your claim that only 7 out of every 1000 Americans are atheists? That's lower than any estimate I've seen.

The source is the 2008 ARIS (American Religious Identity Survey).

The percentage of US adults identifying as Atheist is actually lower -- only 2%. The 7% is the percentage of the 15% of the US adult population identifying as "nones" (having no religion).

I think at this point you and I are just arguing for the sake of argument, so it's time to move on. But thanks for the discussion, it's been fun.

kentuckyliz said...

Again, I must mention the Steubenville city logo controversy.

If it's a prominent local symbol and locals want it in their city logo, who gives a damn what California atheists think about it?

Do they even have standing?

Revenant said...

The percentage of US adults identifying as Atheist is actually lower -- only 2%.

You said 0.7% before. 2% is not less than 0.7%. :)

Two percent sounds much more reasonable. That would mean FFRF's membership contains 0.3% of atheists and 0.006% of Americans.

Revenant said...

If it's a prominent local symbol and locals want it in their city logo, who gives a damn what California atheists think about it?

That's "Wisconsin atheists", thank you very much. The FFRF is a Madison outfit. :)