December 14, 2014

The Christmas scene at the Wisconsin Capitol today.



We were on a downtown fog-walk and stopped in to see the Christmas tree. There were carolers singing, and a rather interesting array of religious and anti-religious displays.

I had a religious experience there myself. I was scampering down the stairs as the carolers were singing "O Holy Night," and 2 steps from the bottom, I thought I'd reached the floor and took a misstep that caused me to fall on my knees exactly at the line "Fall on your knees!"

ADDED: The tree was decorated with ornaments made by school children. The assigned theme was: honoring Wisconsin veterans:

P1130668

P1130660

38 comments:

Bob R said...

How ARE your knees? Marble isn't forgiving.

m stone said...

I would take that as a sign, Ann!

gcarroll said...

Ouch!

Ann Althouse said...

My knees are fine...

Is that a sign?

donald said...

Was this on the Capitol Grounds? Shouldn't there be fat ass Union thugs and democrat part hacks down there shitting (See what I did there? Huh? Huh?) all over everything.

traditionalguy said...

God has a sense of humor. He just wants to comment on your blog.

David said...

Call a lawyer. That veteran honoring thing looks a lot like a Christian symbol. THE Christian symbol! Are Madison lefties losing their spark? How could this be allowed to happen? Must be stopped.

chickelit said...

Ann Althouse said...

Is that a sign?

To wear kneepads?

Gabriel said...

Hey, as long there's room for a Festivus pole, this atheist is satisfied.

@m stone:I would take that as a sign, Ann!

Another Festivus miracle!

chickelit said...

I went to my daughter's choral presentation the other night. I was cheered to hear them still singing non-redacted hymns -- in a public school!

Gabriel said...

I liked to hear non-redacted hymns in school. And I like to have a Christmas tree; it's not a symbol of any non-defunct religion, and should not trigger Establishment clause challenges.

I think that if there are communities that need to be reminded of the requirements of the Establishment Clause, lawsuits to remove creches and whatnot are a mean-spirited way to go about it.

I think these issues would best be addressed by demanding the inclusion of a Festivus pole. It takes little space, draws no attention to itself, and will mean nothing to anyone who really doesn't get the joke.

It is an unobtrusive reminder that while a lot of us regard Christmas as a holy day, we should not forget that there are a variety of views represented on the issue, and if you want to pick the taxpayers' pockets to display Christian symbols then by God you can afford to put up a Festivus pole alongside them.

Phil 3:14 said...

I forget now, who started the culture wars?

Gabriel said...

@Phil 3:14 I forget now, who started the culture wars?

I'm pretty sure it was Constantine, when he made Christianity the Imperial religion.

traditionalguy said...

Starting a culture war in the European kingdoms was easy. They just let a translated Holy Bible be printed before they could stop it. The readers reformed worship and government according to scripture and were being hunted down by counter reformation murderers so they fled to the New England and did it their way in tolerance.

In the USA in the 1960 s intolerant men named Black,Douglas, Warren, Harlan, and Brennan rewrote the First amendment of the Constitution so that no prohibition on thr free exercise of religion became a total prohibition on the exercise of any religion in common life.

And like all atheists they did it all for a noble cause correcting the ignorant believers in God who founded the country before those men straightened it out.

Gabriel said...

@traditionalguy:Black,Douglas, Warren, Harlan, and Brennan...like all atheists they did it all for a noble cause...

Black: Baptist
Douglas: Presbyterian
Harlan: Presbyterian
Brennan: Catholic

a total prohibition on the exercise of any religion in common life.

This man would be very surprised to hear of such a prohibition.

I know there are Christians who pined for the days when they had complete cultural dominance and could use the government to marginalize non-Christians--but that's no reason to engage in ridiculous hyperbole like "a total prohibition on the exercise of any religion in common life."

This isn't Third Republic France.

Neither is their reason to lie about the religious affiliations of judges--and if ruling against state-mandated prayer in an educational setting (talk about indoctrination) makes a person not really a Christian, then what does lying make one?

Gabriel said...

Oh, forgot my link:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that local city and town councils can begin their hearings with prayers, even if they’re offered almost entirely by Christians and may offend some listeners....

“As a practice that has long endured, legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, inaugural prayer, or recitation of ‘God save the United States and this honorable court’ at the opening of this court’s sessions,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, which was joined by the court’s conservative members.

C R Krieger said...

Did the same in May. Bottom step not the color of the other steps, but of the sidewalk. Glad you are OK.

Regards  —  Cliff

Texas Annie said...

That's the first video of yours where I actually took the time to notice all the little details of the capitol building.

It's very, very beautiful.

And, as an aside, I would love one of those immersive showers in that green marble.

Greg said...

As an atheist I am embarrassed by the few fundamentalist atheists who feel the need to be anti other religions. Yes, if you feel the need to prevent other religions from doing their thing, you are practicing a form of religion yourself. If a display of art offends you, that makes you an intolerant fundamentalist.

Laslo Spatula said...

When I was born Three Wise Cheerleaders travelled to meet my arrival.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

I was swaddled by Naughty Sexy Nurses and the Three Wise Cheerleaders smelled of body lotion, perfume and mint chewing gum.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

While not truly skilled in the trade, I grew up listening to The Carpenters.

I am Laslo.

MadisonMan said...

I've never liked that bust on the Mezzanine. Adulation of Politicians in the form of bust-making and displaying is a bad idea.

AJ Lynch said...

Great that you didn't break something Althouse. I suggest you take some Advil because you will be a bit sore later.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Phil 3:14 said...

I forget now, who started the culture wars?

Satan.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bob R said...

Marble isn't forgiving.

Yes, but God is, so that kinda makes up for it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Call a lawyer. That veteran honoring thing looks a lot like a Christian symbol. THE Christian symbol! Are Madison lefties losing their spark? How could this be allowed to happen? Must be stopped."

The case law is quite clear that the religious expression is protected speech and it would be viewpoint discrimination to invite the children to make Christmas ornaments and then require them to make them nonreligious or to refuse to hang the ones that are religious. The state creates a speech forum, and the children have free speech rights in this situation.

If you watch the video, you'll see that the unattended displays on the mezzanine are also a free speech forum. There's some very religious material, including some pro-life things, and there's some hostile-to-religion expression.

Larry J said...

Greg said...
As an atheist I am embarrassed by the few fundamentalist atheists who feel the need to be anti other religions.


I'm a fundamentalist agnostic myself. It means I'm certain about my uncertainty. It's also fun to watch people's heads explode in cognitive dissonance.

Ann Althouse said...

"As an atheist I am embarrassed by the few fundamentalist atheists who feel the need to be anti other religions."

Well, you only hear about atheism from the atheists who see a need to talk about religion. Why say anything on a subject you think is basically an unnecessary area of inquiry and expenditure of time? It must be that you want to get others to stop. Why not leave those people alone and let them have whatever pleasure or comfort or meaning they have? Why is it bugging you? This is the subcategory that is speaking about atheism. They must either think religion is actively harmful (like Christopher Hitchens) or they're kind of shallow and mean (and then rely on the argument that religious people are stupid and unscientific, which isn't persuasive and seems insulting).

Fernandinande said...

Pic coutesy Dave Barry:
http://blogs.herald.com/.a/6a00d83451587d69e201bb07c22bdf970d-pi

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

Well, you only hear about religion from the theists who see a need to talk about religion. Why say anything on a subject you think is basically an unnecessary area of inquiry and expenditure of time?

It must be that you want to get others to start or convert. Why not leave those people alone and let them have whatever pleasure or comfort or meaning they have? Why is it bugging you? This is the subcategory that is speaking about religion and making public displays. They must either think religion is actively helpful (like the Pope) or they're kind of shallow and mean (and then rely on the argument that religious people are more moral and righteous, which isn't persuasive and seems insulting).

chickelit said...

Some atheists can't even compose original words...
...which kind of proves the active negation aspect.

Big Mike said...

I ... took a misstep that caused me to fall on my knees exactly at the line "Fall on your knees!"

@Althouse, glad you're okay.

Fernandinande said...

chickelit said...
Some atheists can't even compose original words...
...which kind of proves the active negation aspect.


Heh. No, your false statement doesn't even mean anything, much less indicate any offer of proof or evidence.

wildswan said...

"The splendor of truth shines forth in the works of the Creator and in a special way in man, created in the image and likeness of God. (Gen 1:26) Truth enlightens man's intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord. Hence the Psalmist prays: "Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord." (Ps 4:6)
The Splendor of Truth John Paul II

What Catholics Think About a Christmas Time.

Rusty said...

To paraphrase that great American social philosopher Homer Simpson; "They didn't give you jebus, did they?"

Unknown said...

Ferdy, I thought you were a Landsman. That's okay, you don't have to believe anything, but why not let the Christians alone, they built the place, they have a right to enjoy themselves. Not at your expense or mine, but really, where are you losing skin? Creches and such don't bother me a bit.

If you get creeped out with a crucifix in your hospital room, don't go to one of the many hospitals the Catholics built. Go to Unbeliever General or the Pagan Clinic by all means. Oh, atheists don't build hospitals? That's okay, Columbia Presbyterian or Beth Israel will still have you.