October 19, 2017

"Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended."

Wrote 4th Circuit Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, responding to dissenting Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory, who said that the fact that the 40-foot cross had gone unchallenged for 90 years is a reason to let it stay where it is, on a highway median in Prince George’s County.

WaPo reports.
The initial challenge in Maryland was brought by the American Humanist Association, a Washington-based group that represents atheists and others. The group did not dispute the monument is a memorial, but said in court that a giant cross on government property sends a message of exclusion in violation of the First Amendment....

At oral argument last December, Thacker and Wynn suggested the legal issues could be resolved outside of court by moving the site of the cross — or by cutting off the arms of the cross to form an obelisk.
What message is sent by the government's cutting off the "arms" of a cross?! Talk about a cure worse than the disease. Were these judges joking?

I'm linking to the Washington Post because that's where I first saw the story, but I was confused by its statement that the cross "has marked a major intersection in Prince George’s County for 90 years" and "had been public property for 50 years without a constitutional challenge." Here's the actual judicial opinion, with the statement "the Cross has stood unchallenged for 90 years."

If the Post is leaving such glaring mistakes, what does that suggest about about the things that are hard to notice and check? The linked article has been up since 2:57 PM yesterday. Does nobody over there at least try to clean up embarrassing shoddiness?

Also, now that I'm reading the opinion, I see that the idea of cutting off the "arms" of the cross seems to have come not from the judges but the appellants. Footnote 7:
Appellants later clarified their desired injunctive relief as removal or demolition of the Cross, or removal of the arms from the Cross “to form a non-religious slab or obelisk.” [Joint Appendix] 131.
This question of giving special respect to old monuments goes back to something Justice Breyer wrote in one of the 10 Commandments cases in 2005. Breyer's vote was the deciding vote, and as I explained back in 2011, when issue of the day was "Big Mountain Jesus":
Justice Breyer quoted the 1963 school prayer opinion written by Justice Goldberg: "[U]ntutored devotion to the concept of neutrality can lead to invocation or approval of results which partake not simply of that noninterference and noninvolvement with the religious which the Constitution commands, but of a brooding and pervasive devotion to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the religious."

And Breyer concluded that taking down the old stone monument in Texas would "exhibit a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions" and "encourage disputes concerning the removal of longstanding depictions of the Ten Commandments from public buildings across the Nation," which would "create the very kind of religiously based divisiveness that the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid."
That's the prevailing Supreme Court precedent to which we can compare the new 4th Circuit case. Think about that quote in the post title: "Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended." But the longer the monument persists, the more taking it down feels like a message of hostility to religion.

Or do you think the people watching the arms cut off a cross would see the symbolic meaning as the enforcement of Establishment Clause values?

By the way, the obelisk originally "symbolized the sun god Ra, and during the brief religious reformation of Akhenaten was said to be a petrified ray of the Aten, the sundisk."


"Joseph Sells Grain" by Bartholomeus Breenbergh (1655).

The struggle to purge religion from public view will go on forever, because there is just too much religion embedded everywhere. To try to remove one thing is to create something else:

94 comments:

Hagar said...

Militant atheism is also a religion.

MikeR said...

Affront to those "offended"? What kind of crazies were actually offended?

Expat(ish) said...

I have this odd feeling we are trying to trim away everything visually interesting because it might be potentially annoying to *someone*. I really don't want to live in a country where it's just anonymous strip malls from sea to sea.

And how long until private property displays that are potentially annoying are blocked from public sight?

If a county maintains the water lines in a shopping center and the water is used to maintain a festivus tree, will the wiccans sue? (I think I go that right.)

-XC

Oso Negro said...

Perhaps they should reshape it into a large penis, to promote one of the accepted religions of the region.

Unknown said...

Oh so understated and classy building codes are already sucking the life out of many public spaces. Honestly, wouldn't you rather the local McDonalds looked like

this

or the local garage look like

this?

Try getting those built in most places..

Caligula said...

"What message is sent by the government's cutting off the "arms" of a cross?!"

Perhaps they could just cut off one of the arms? And add some red paint to make it look like a bloody stump? Sort of like just eating one leg of the lamb (because you've just gotta eat something, but don't wish to sacrifice the entire animal)?

Then again, can't governments just sell the land and what's on it (perhaps for $1.) to some private organization (which would then be responsible for maintaining it)?

BTW, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is threatening to sue the city of Oconomowoc, WI over it's "The Churches of Oconomowoc Welcome You" sign, which is on public property. Although it would seem they might be on weak grounds here as the sign presumably is available to non-Christian churches and, presumably, religious organizations that call their place of worship something other than a "church"?

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/06/10/atheists-demand-town-remove-church-welcome-signs.html

tcrosse said...

Perhaps they should reshape it into a large penis, to promote one of the accepted religions of the region.

Then cut it down to promote one of the other accepted religions in the area.

Darrell said...

water is used to maintain a festivus tree

The Festivus tree being metal--aluminum specifically--doesn't need water.

MaxedOutMama said...

Kudos on pointing out that obelisks also have a religious significance. First thing I thought when I read that bit.

If one looks at the history, it's hard to believe that removal of every religious symbol from public property is constitutionally required - although I do believe that sometimes those symbols can infringe on the Constitution.

I often wonder, when I read of these cases, if anyone remembers that the SC building has numerous religiously-associated sculptures?
https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/buildingfeatures.aspx

The three fates are from Norse mythology, and yes that is a religion also. Moses cannot be denied to be a religious figure. Confucianism is commonly considered to be a religion. The depiction of the Justice is consciously classical, and derives from a Roman goddess Themis:
https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/figuresofjustice.pdf

Bob Boyd said...

"What message is sent by the government's cutting off the "arms" of a cross?!"

The message of Progressivism. Procrustes' bed.

Darrell said...

The Althouse view should become the judicial standard on this matter. Brava, again.

Hagar said...

You don't get rich filing court suits for crank associations, but it is a living.

Laslo Spatula said...

Replace the forty-foot cross with a forty-foot blank cement cake.

I am Laslo.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

American Humanist Association, a Washington-based group that represents evangelical atheists...

FIFT

Freeman Hunt said...

"cutting off the arms of the cross to form an obelisk"

It could then be called "The Triumph of Paganism," or "Ra's Revenge."

Sally327 said...

Lots of things were around for a long time before the courts decided something was unconstitutional. Plessy v Ferguson, upholding state segregation laws, that was good law for 60 years before it was overturned.

I think removing religious symbols from public spaces doesn't exhibit hostility towards religion, it demonstrates fidelity to the constitution. But I always evaluate these establishment cases by imagining to myself, what if it were something Islamic? Would I think oh, sure, no problem. I wouldn't. So best to have none. Excessive entanglement, I feel the prospect of that is quietly lurking just around the corner. And the beneficiaries of that, I might not like who that is.

Ralph L said...

I lived across the Potomac in Alexandria 1969-92 and never heard of it, despite years of reading the WaPo and WaTimes, so the controversy is relatively recent. It's hard to believe all those DC lawyers and activists ignored it, but PG County was (is?) largely low rent suburbs, so they never went there.

It's also hard to believe it didn't get in the way of highway widening in 90 years.

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

At the base of the monument are the inscriptions:

Valor, Endurance, Courage, Devotion.

https://goo.gl/maps/dqtiqZSM8rH2

The only troubling thing I see with the monument, is that it has floodlights. These are very wasteful of energy, and should be replaced with LED's with solar power collectors and a big battery. I'm sure the taxpayers fund the electric bill.

cubanbob said...

@Sally327: you have it backwards. The purpose of the Constitutional prohibition isn't to keep religion out of government but rather to keep government out of religion. That is why we don't have a State Church or confessional taxes.

EDH said...

"Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended."

Adverse possession does not apply to public property, but in some ways Breyer speaking for the court articulated a new First Amendment analog to the property law doctrine.

Maybe call it: Adverse expression?

And Breyer concluded that taking down the old stone monument in Texas would "exhibit a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions" and "encourage disputes concerning the removal of longstanding depictions of the Ten Commandments from public buildings across the Nation," which would "create the very kind of religiously based divisiveness that the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid." That's the prevailing Supreme Court precedent to which we can compare the new 4th Circuit case. Think about that quote in the post title: "Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended." But the longer the monument persists, the more taking it down feels like a message of hostility to religion.

mockturtle said...

What about all those Masonic symbols that abound on our currency and in virtually every government building? What about the Denver airport? :-O

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended.

So what you're saying is that all the DACA "kids" and their families have to go back, right?

'cause, I mean, this is the exact fucking opposite of the argument you assholes use to excuse decades-long ongoing immigration violations, right?
"Oh, they've been in violation of the law for so long we ought not consider it an offense. It'd be SO DISRUPTIVE to enforce the actual damn law at this point!"

Well, which is it you judicial motherfuckers? I have to tell you: right about now I feel pretty offended by the selective application of "principles" by the supposedly neutral branch of our government.

Etienne said...

In my opinion, it should be a requirement for those advocating the removal of a monument, to replace it with another, and pay all the costs.

That would tend to limit a few people forming a club to destroy long standing monuments, with paper protests.

gspencer said...

Chances are good that the American Humanist Association won't be around when the ultra-huge mosque is built at the end of the DC Mall where the Lincoln Memorial once stood.

William said...

If the first amendment can cover a crucifix in urine, then why not a cross in concrete.

Sally327 said...

"Sally327: you have it backwards. The purpose of the Constitutional prohibition isn't to keep religion out of government but rather to keep government out of religion. That is why we don't have a State Church or confessional taxes."

Maybe read some of the cases? Lemon v Kurtzman might be a place to start and then Lynch v Donnelly.

narayanan said...

what about power transmission pylons which look like crosses too

narayanan said...

also the obelisk with rounded top is a hindu phallic symbol??!!

Achilles said...

The intent of the first amendment was to protect religious freedom from the government, specifically christians.

Of course progressives thinks that means take all Christian monuments down. Of course...

The religious faithful in the secular Marxist atheist community will not be sated until they murder several million people.

rhhardin said...

Use it as a disguised cell phone tower.

rhhardin said...

If it gets more offenseive the longer it's there, why not wait until it's noticeably offensive.

Michael K said...

How can you tell someone is a vegan, a feminist or an atheist.

In the first five minutes they will tell you.

Without being asked.

YoungHegelian said...

I don't understand why the judges didn't see it as a memorial to the war dead, which is what it is.

The area around the Peace Cross has been majority black for quite some years now (Prince Georges County is the wealthiest majority black county in the nation). I'm sure that the residents, Christians that almost all are, take a very dim view of some group of white busybodies fucking with their 'hood.

Caroline Walker said...

Fun fact: there’s an obelisk in the middle of St. Peter’s square....brought from Carthage by Caligula.
I just returned from Europe, where you can’t go 10 feet without running into a statue or monument. These serve as markers of who came before us, and invites us to consider, with humility, the great lesson that empires, regimes and revolutions come and go. It is a deeply silly culture that indulges in this jacobin exercise of removing “offensive” monuments. Trump can’t remake the judiciary fast enough for me.

LYNNDH said...

I guess I always thought that it was "freedom of Religion" and not "freedom from Religion". Yeah, I know I need to look it up.

Gahrie said...

Why is it so hard to understand that the First Amendment says "freedom of religion" and not "freedom from religion"?

Gahrie said...

Great minds...

Fernandinande said...

Sally327 said...
what if it were something Islamic?


I could go for statue of a giant feathered snake swallowing a guy headfirst, because, you know, I'm fantasizing about murdering millions of people.


Michael K pontificated...
How can you tell someone is a vegan, a feminist or an atheist.


I know how to tell when someone is a superstitious old blowhard.

Sebastian said...

Congress shall make no law, therefore a cross in Prince George's County shall not stand, because logic.

Anyway, as yours truly presciently noted earlier in the baker thread, it is a war, and the point of the war is to purge the culture of Christianity. Progs will use any tool that comes in handy, including the living Constitution--alive only as long as progs haven't gotten their way just yet.

mockturtle said...

I guess I always thought that it was "freedom of Religion" and not "freedom from Religion".

Obviously the original intent was freedom of religion. Decades of decisions to the contrary don't change that.

Saint Croix said...

"Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended."

I can think of a couple of examples where that is absolutely right. The abolitionist movement and the pro-life movement did nothing but grow in intensity as the years went by. Slave-owners and abolitionists worked very well together in 1789. Not so much by 1865.

When the Walk for Life started in 1974 or thereabouts, they had maybe 6 people show up for the first one. Now it's routine for hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers to march on the Supreme Court and demand recognition for an unborn baby's right to life.

What the passage of time does is give us more and more atrocities to be upset about, from the partial-birth abortion fiasco to the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell. Abortion law becomes incoherent, like slavery law or Nazi law, as its internal dishonesty becomes more and more problematic to honest people. You get doctors who refuse to do abortions, lawyers who fight the power, journalists who refuse to censor photographs.

When you have this sort of popular rebellion to an edict issued by unelected authorities, then you have a real problem on your hands. And simply saying "stare decisis" won't solve it.

In the case of our religion clauses, the text is broad, general, and allows for multiple readings. One might easily accept an inferior reading, if that reading is working, judges can apply the doctrines, and widespread opposition is nowhere to be seen.

So you have a cross, it's been on public property for a long time, and few people are worked up about it. Why even bother to hear such a case? Or if you do hear it, simply apply the rules that kept the peace for so long. You might say the same thing about prayer in schools. That was another practice that was constitutional for decades, and then all of a sudden it was forbidden. Are you certain the establishment clause forbids prayer in government buildings? If you're uncertain, maybe stare decisis should sway in that case.

Stare decisis is best used in cases where the text is vague, and public upset is minimal.

But what about when the text is certain? No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. Classifying corporations as persons while you classify babies as non-persons causes intellectual discomfort, if not outright scorn and derision. If you don't know what a person is, maybe you should resign and let some non-intellectuals have a crack at it. Nazis, slave-owners, and Supreme Court Justices don't know what a person is. That's an embarrassing cohort to be in. Relying on stare decisis to uphold that sort of dishonesty is a bad idea. At a minimum you should pay attention to how big the mobs are, not how many years you've been repeating the lie.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The dissent indicates that the state commission acquired the memorial and the median on which it sits from the American Legion in 1961. If that's the case, the portion of the median on which the memorial sits should revert to the American Legion!

Michael said...

Offended? Offended? For the love of God, I am offended in nearly every public place I enter by the horrendous public "art" that clutters the plazas. It is crap. It is huge. It is obstructive. It is, in a word, offensive. Why don't I/we get a voice in the courts in opposition to this utter shit that we have to look at and step around? Why? And I can assure you I am significantly more offended, and offended more often, than the assholes calling for the removal of the cross.

Gahrie said...

Lemon v Kurtzman might be a place to start and then Lynch v Donnelly. ?

Lemon was precisely about keeping government out of religion, and Lynch was saying that Christmas Crèches were Constitutional. They seem to prove his point.

traditionalguy said...

Uh, oh. Ra is angry. And an Egyptian Sun God is not one you want to make angry. So by all means convert all crosses into obelisks and bow down to them with proper Masonic rituals.

Good thing the founders gave us 5 Philosopher Kings to validate the approved Religions.

Darrell said...

I know how to tell when someone is a superstitious old blowhard.

In your case, look in a mirror?

Hagar said...

Caubanbob said:
" The purpose of the Constitutional prohibition isn't to keep religion out of government but rather to keep government out of religion. "

The best summary statement I have yet seen!

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

However, Mr. Justice Hugo L. African-American made it his life's work to get that principle turned upside down and adopted into his party's platform.

darrenoia said...

As a weekly churchgoing Catholic, I'm torn about this. I agree that I'd be uncomfortable if there were Muslim monuments in place of these Christian ones. On the other hand, forget a few statues and monuments. What happens to the city names of Saint Louis, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Antonio, etc., etc. when we decide that nobody should be subjected to this country's Christian heritage? Name changes to something more acceptable to left wing protesters? Obamagrad, Clintonville, Martin Luther King City?

Hagar said...

It is what happens when you use "search and replace" on history texts.

Hagar said...

@darrenoia,
You would be uncomfortable if there were Muslim monuments instead of these Christian ones, because they would be were they did not belong, i.e. not where you were used to seeing them all the time since you were born. In a Muslim, or long recognized mixed religion country, they would not be out of place at all.

ddh said...

The cross was a memorial to fallen soldiers from Prince George's County paid for by a nongovernmental organization, the American Legion, and on private land from 1925 until it came into the possession of the State of Maryland around 1967. Given the demographics of Prince George's County a century ago, I am almost certain that all the soldiers from the county who died in World War I were Christian, and the choice of a cross to memorialize them would not have offended their sensibilities. In effect, Maryland took over responsibility for a private memorial. Maryland had the power to reroute the roads to bypass the memorial and keep it in private hands; the state chose not to exercise that power.

To me, the preservation of the memorial no more represents the establishment of a religion than does the preservation of Indian petroglyphs and pictographs of Indian gods by the Federal Government. It would be barbarism to demand that the Federal Government destroy the Indian petroglyphs and pictographs on Federal land, often land put into national parks and monuments to preserve those sometimes religious symbols. The Court ruling is a travesty.

Fabi said...

A cross? No, your honor, it's a minuscule 't'.

Fabi said...

Saw off the top "arm" and make it a 'T' for Trump!

Angel-Dyne said...

Sally327: I think removing religious symbols from public spaces doesn't exhibit hostility towards religion, it demonstrates fidelity to the constitution. But I always evaluate these establishment cases by imagining to myself, what if it were something Islamic? Would I think oh, sure, no problem. I wouldn't. So best to have none.

Apparently, "fidelity to the constitution" is eventually going to require that we sledgehammer, burn to the ground, or memory-hole our entire history, the constitution included. The American constitution arose out of a specific cultural tradition, is a product of a particular civilizational trajectory.

Do you know what that means, children? It means we'll be haunted by the oppressive privileged viewpoints of Dead White Men forever if we don't burn it out, burn it all down, once and for all. You can't just get the Christian symbols out of public sight, because centuries of "Christendom", however buried and forgotten, are part of the foundation, no matter how much novus ordo seclorum spit and "universal values" baling wire we apply to the surface structures.

Expat(ish)'s comment above, "I really don't want to live in a country where it's just anonymous strip malls from sea to sea" goes much deeper than it looks at first glance.

To be equal and unoffended, we must become a country with "no there, there". (A temporary state, alas, since it's only suitable for ants, not human beings. Less deluded people, with definite ideas of what kind of "there" they want, will come along and impose one, eventually.)

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I don't see why people who want nothing-emptiness, silence, destruction-always win. Althouse's rule aside.

Why can't we have more? More speech, more monuments, more wacky McDonalds buildings, more Christian art, more Islamic art, more holidays, more religious music at school, more antireligious music as school, more stupid social media fads, more abstention from stupid social media fads, more. Bring it all on! Let's live a little! Pick and choose! Fill your plate from a bounteous buffet of weirdness, creativity and variety.

Being something of a grouchy misanthrope, I see things that annoy me every day~~I hate cigarettes, tattoos, fussily dressed small children, t-shirts with profanity, t-shirts with glurgey Bible verses, motorcycles, mommy wine culture, jet-skis, leaf-blowers, people who play sound of any kind on their cell phones with no headphones, blingy cross art, men in sandals with nasty toenails, leggings worn as pants, Jodi Picoult novels, Calvin peeing on stuff decals, Frappuccinos, adults doing cake-smash photo sessions and one thousand other things I could list~~but even I would prefer that we have a rich and complicated world full of stuff that I choose to avoid. Because for every one thing that annoys me, there is something that I adore but that annoys someone else.

I want more, not less.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm surprised that people say they would have a problem with similar Muslim monuments. If there were a 90 year old Muslim monument to those who died in war, you'd want it torn down? Why?

pacwest said...

"Militant atheism is also a religion."

Right as far as it goes. Atheism, militant or not, is a belief system just like any other. First Cause is beyond human knowledge. Saying God does, or doesn't, exist requires faith, not knowledge.

Bottom line, what the atheists are saying is 'Replace your religion with mine'.

Rusty said...

Sally327:" I think removing religious symbols from public spaces doesn't exhibit hostility towards religion, it demonstrates fidelity to the constitution."

How did congress get the cross there?
Should we remove the religious symbols on all the grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery?

"fidelity to the constitution" If you were serious half of congress would be in jail and I'd own a machine gun.

Yancey Ward said...

The proper decision, in the hands of, I assume, the government of Prince Georges County, is to give the monument and the land it stands on to The American Legion- the original owners.

Because this is the practical solution, I can pretty much guarantee it won't be used, and if it is, the people who sued to have it removed will sue once again to prevent it.

Gahrie said...

Sally327:" I think removing religious symbols from public spaces doesn't exhibit hostility towards religion, it demonstrates fidelity to the constitution."

Great. But your wrong. The people who wrote the Constitution put religious symbols in public spaces all of the time. Say for instance as decorations for the building that the Supreme Court meets in. They also opened each session of Congress with a prayer.

The First Amendment is a limitation of government, not religion.

Michael K said...

"" I think removing religious symbols from public spaces doesn't exhibit hostility towards religion, it demonstrates fidelity to the constitution."

New interpretation of the Establishment clause.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Hmmm.

Michael K said...

:I know how to tell when someone is a superstitious old blowhard."

Are you admiring yourself in the mirror again ?

Fernandinande said...

Angel-Dyne said...
The American constitution arose out of a specific cultural tradition, is a product of a particular civilizational trajectory.


Secularism. That why the "founding documents" don't mention religion except to minimize it ("No religious test", etc).

Do you know what that means, children?

It means the US isn't based on religion(s), mommy.

It means we'll be haunted by the oppressive privileged viewpoints of Dead White Men forever if we don't burn it out, burn it all down, once and for all.

Hysteria much? It means keep your private religious stuff, along with your private McDonald's signs, on your private property.

You can't just get the Christian symbols out of public sight,

Straw man much?

Fernandinande said...

Michael K pontificated ...
Are you admiring yourself in the mirror again ?


Are you pretending other people's stupid comments are your own stupid comments?

New interpretation of the Establishment clause.

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." -- Jefferson, 1802.

mockturtle said...

Pants: I hate wind chimes. Totally.

Fernandinande said...

The US Senate and US President said:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; "

Ralph L said...

glurgy (comparative glurgier, superlative glurgiest)
Of the nature of glurge; sickeningly sweet.

Watterson hasn't merchandised Calvin, unfortunately, so no peeing cartoons.

CWJ said...

"Perhaps.." A conclusion searching for justification.

Howard said...

FIFY Blogger Michael K said...How can you tell someone is a Doctor. In the first five seconds they will tell you.Without being asked.

Howard said...

Blogger Achilles said... The intent of the first amendment was to protect religious freedom from the government, specifically christians.


Are you still in the inactive reserves? If so, you may be in violation of your sacred oath. Either way, this statement makes it sound like you are a traitor to the constitution. Also, there are no Marxist atheists hiding under your bed: We won the Cold War, which you can thank Drago for.

mockturtle said...

Yes, so-called secularism is a type of religion. It makes man the measure of all things. If man doesn't know something, it is unknowable. Therefore man [or science] is worshiped. In any case, it is both a shallow and a narrow belief system. My mother, whom I loved unreservedly, was a lifelong atheist in the true sense of the term. Most unbelievers I know have some kind of religion, be it social justice, ecology or self-actualization. We all worship something.

Michael K said...

"FIFY Blogger Michael K said...How can you tell someone is a Doctor. In the first five seconds they will tell you.Without being asked."

The loony tunes are loose today. When have I said I was a doctor unless someone asked a question about a medical topic. Believe it or not, there are actually commenters who want to ask serious questions about medical topics. After this, I will direct them to you for answers,

The other guy has a serious hangup. You're just an angry lefty.

Howard said...

There is no dogma to secularism or science, they are constantly changing, evolving. That's not to say that people abuse secularism or science as it it's dogma to get people to get in line or shut up. My theory of religion is that stone age hucksters and scientists got together to control the tribe by making predictions (weather, tides, eclipses, etc.) and telling people that G_d told them it would happen. The key to religion is to control access to gawd so the punters will pay.

Howard said...

Mike: Your over-sensitive response on the doctor tweek... just f-ing wid u. Most lawyers embrace the anti-lawyer humor. Your reaction is a tell that you like to play the doc card to impress your betters, like the Tom Cruise "Dr. Bill" character in Eyes Wide Shut

You people think I'm a lefty because I'm not a fearful racist, transhomophobic bigot nor a chest-thumping war monger. You can't handle dissent because your have made the Breitbart alt-right conservatie soft white nationalism into a religion, with Bannan as Pope and Milo Monsignor. Like the radical Islamists, you view people like me as apostates without the balls to take up arms yourself.

Rabel said...

Judges Thacker and Wynn - Obama appointees, of course.

n.n said...

Yes, so-called secularism is a type of religion.

Yes. Secular society has its own religious/moral or behavioral standards that are informed by articles of faith or mortal gods. Science is a "consistent with" philosophy that is only worth considering as a separate logical domain because it characterizes and exploits states and processes that are reproducible in a near frame of reference (i.e. close to the observer).

Michael K said...

Howard, thank you for volunteering your leftiness.

The other guy and you seem to be militant atheists and that seems to be the problem.

I don;t care because I don't know if there is a God or not.

You guys are sure there is not which make you a lot more arrogant than I have ever been.

He also seems to be a doctor hater and you sound like one.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K pontificated...
The other guy


L*L. "He whose name shall not be spoken."

and you seem to be militant atheists and that seems to be the problem.

No really. Rather than posting rational opposition to the court decision, look at the obnoxious, insulting, uninformed, useless - and perhaps "un-Christian"? - comments from the religious nuts, you among them, which started this thread, and which don't even address the original post:

-Militant atheism is also a religion.

-What kind of crazies were actually offended?

-You don't get rich filing court suits for crank associations, but it is a living.

-American Humanist Association, a Washington-based group that represents evangelical atheists...

(Sally327's calm, rational comment, seemingly the first support for the decision)

-The religious faithful in the secular Marxist atheist community will not be sated until they murder several million people.

-How can you tell someone is a vegan, a feminist or an atheist.

Michael K said...

"comments from the religious nuts, you among them, "

As an agnostic I am just not as certain as you are.

You obviously have some buttons that are easily pushed. I actually agree with a lot of your comments but am reluctant to respond, even positively, as you seem to be a hater of significant intensity.

I don't know what your problems are and try to avoid you. Howard, as a lefty, is also probably a pretty militant atheist too,.

You certainly have an odd mixture of neuroses.

cubanbob said...

Fernandinande said...
Angel-Dyne said...
The American constitution arose out of a specific cultural tradition, is a product of a particular civilizational trajectory.

Secularism. That why the "founding documents" don't mention religion except to minimize it ("No religious test", etc).

Do you know what that means, children?

It means the US isn't based on religion(s), mommy."

No. What it does mean is that there isn't and presumably never will be a Church Of The United States. If there is no State Church then no religious test are required for public office. When we ditched Mother England we ditched having a King or Queen and a State Church. Queen Elizabeth as the Sovereign is the Head Of The Church Of England. Can you imagine Donald Trump as President and thus as the Sovereign being The Head Of The Church Of The United States? Fortunately of all the things Trump to worry about, that isn't one of them.

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

Michael K pontificated...
You guys are sure there is not which make you a lot more arrogant than I have ever been.
As an agnostic I am just not as certain as you are.


If atheism is "arrogant", then "believing" is also arrogant, and your idea that your agnosticism is less arrogant is the most arrogant belief of all.

Treating an opinion on religion (~ nature of reality/morality/etc) based on observation as somehow morally different than an opinion on economics or medical treatment is superstitious.

You obviously have some buttons that are easily pushed

Well, I really do think you're a superstitious old blowhard, and I don't like you.

When you insult me, I insult you back. Sometimes I insult you first when you're being especially pompous.

But, being an arrogant old blowhard, you seem to think that's impossible to actually dislike your own wonderful self, so that I must hate doctors or something; no, it's just you, asshole!

Your use of anecdotes in an attempt to prove a medical issue is another example of your superstition. I think you're far more superstitious than you realize - most people are, and fuck you.

Gahrie said...

My theory of religion is that stone age hucksters and scientists got together to control the tribe by making predictions (weather, tides, eclipses, etc.) and telling people that G_d told them it would happen. The key to religion is to control access to gawd so the punters will pay.

Look I'm a deist myself, but I;m starting to hope that the theists are right just to see the look on your face on the way down......

I have never understood why atheists are such assholes, almost to a man. It's almost like they are overcompensating for something......

Angel-Dyne said...

Fernandinande @12:11:

You should probably just ignore comments that trigger your "muh atheism" module. You invariably miss what's actually being discussed and end up looking wicked thick.

Michael K said...

"When you insult me, I insult you back. Sometimes I insult you first when you're being especially pompous."

I guess the atheism thing is the most obvious button. It is a religion and you seem to be trying out for the Savonarola role.

You really should get some anger management help.

When you start attacking people who agree with you 80% of the time, you have a problem, not me.

clarice said...

Throughout modernhistory the cross has been understood in western cultures to stand for a commemoration of death. Good grief!

Howard said...

Michael K your lack of self esteem is showing. I'm a big fan of good doctors, but don't want anything to do with the mass of marginal competents. Arrogance, self importance, dismissiveness and a lack of humor are some of the key tells that a doc might be a weak sister. Part of the problem is that med schools skews their weighting factors to favor assburgers and mindless regurgitators. Fortunately, computers can replace those folks.

Also, Dr. Downer, I'm a lackadaisical agnostic. Who knows, who cares, it doesn't matter either way. That said, I do hate religious fundamentalists and the perfusion of their dogma.

Howard said...

Gahrie: I hear you... fear of eternal damnation is a great reason to have faith in one of the thousands of gods. The deism thing sounds like a hedge that any one of the thousands of religious sects might be actually right. I like the cynicism.

TennLion said...

Would anyone care to discuss the moral difference between the Humanist Society using lawsuits against crosses and the Taliban using dynamite against, say, the Buddhas of Bamiyan?

Fritz said...

I assume the Taliban held a trial first?

TennLion said...

Well, I assumed that was a discussion our Blog Mistress was angling for with the last image she posted.