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In response to a recent diary about the appearance and thankfully prompt removal of a nativity scene on federal property I wrote this comment:

This crap will end when others begin demanding equal space to display their religious decorations on state grounds. If this stuff is allowed then nothing would please me more than seeing a FSM boiling pot next to the manger.
It may not be the Flying Spaghetti Monster but someone is finally pushing back against religious symbols on the state capitol grounds in Oklahoma. And by pushing back I mean they're applying to erect a monument to their own religious beliefs on the capitol grounds next to the ten commandment monument. In their zeal to prove their righteousness the christianists in Oklahoma have swung the doors wide open to other religious groups including those who worship satan.

Who knew the color of schadenfreude was deep red?

Originally posted to jayden on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:23 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There was an issue like this in Boise years ago (6+ / 0-)

    The Ten Commandments were displayed in one of the largest public parks, and the Phelps clan were going to put up a statue of Matthew Shepard with words about fags burning in hell.

    The city realized that if we open the door to one religious sentiment on public grounds, we open the door to all of them.

    They moved the Ten Commandments to private property, at a church downtown, but not without a lot of controversy. It was painted as the liberal mayor removing God from Boise....

    Anyway, the fact is that as long as those 10C statues stay, no one else should be deprived of having their own religious sentiments displayed on public property.

    As you said, fair is fair.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:34:59 PM PST

    •  They had similar framed parchments with the Ten Cs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, JeffW

      in a couple of counties here in GA. People were making threaten9ing -pho0ne calls to those who filed suit. Only reason they took them down was that the county attorney explained how expensive the court battle would be for the county. As always with Southern fundies, money trumped piety.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 05:28:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heh. (4+ / 0-)

    Maybe they need a statue of Mammon to go along with it.  Or Jamie Dimon.

  •  Only slightly more than 2% of the US (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden

    population is Jewish, and yet the White House lights a Menorah during Hanukkah.   Statistically speaking, the number of Sikhs, Moslems or Wiccans are almost equal.

    The only thing that separates them, and prevents the White House or State Houses from celebrating their beliefs, I am left to assume, is their relative lack of campaign contributions.

    If Wiccans were to contribute roughly 50% of all campaign donations, the White House would be sacrificing goats on the East Lawn.

    Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be the pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see...

    by Keith930 on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:51:10 PM PST

    •  Religious campaign donation bundling? (5+ / 0-)

      Your point about the influence of money is spot-on and you may have hit on a new job opportunity too!

      My understanding is that Wiccans don't sacrifice animals for religious reasons but that they honor the sacrifice the animal makes for human consumption. Thus if Wiccans had significant financial influence in politics we would see rituals thanking the animals for giving up their lives whenever they're on the menu at State Dinners.

      •  since xists love making other sit thru prayer... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irishwitch, jayden, JeffW, blueoasis

        ...over food, it would be delicious (ahem) to see the look on their faces as our Wiccan host  thanks the spirit of the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner...

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 05:20:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am Wiccan. We don't inflict out beliefs on (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jayden, Another Grizzle

          others, nor do we proselytize. Since we believe all goda are one, all paths are one, we assume people are on the right path for them. And actually we faced this issue on both Thanksgiving and Christmas last year--due to some oddities in people's schedules, the inlaws met on days other than the holiday itself. We invited MiL and younger SiL to join us.  We only asked people to mention  something that they considered a blessing for which they were thankful.

          MiL of course, when we attended holidays at her home., ALWAYS did an extremely fundy Christian bl;essing, ending with "in Jesus' name."  One year we opted to sit int he living room while they prayed, and joined them at the table after.  My nieces went out of their way to sing Christian hymns just to be annoying.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 05:33:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •   Thing is, even the most... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jayden, blueoasis

            ... non-aggressive comment from you in that direction would make those folks uncomfortable....

            They'd regard the slightest assertion from you that you don't believe what they believe  as very troubling.

            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

            by leftykook on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:18:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, the nieces are just nasty pieces of work (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jayden, Another Grizzle, leftykook

              There's a line in the movie version of "Beautiful Creatures" where, after the obnoxious blonde cheerleader accuses Lena the heroine of worshiping the devil, Lena looks at her and says, "I'll bet you were first in your litter. Sugar."  

              I've lived in the SOuth for a toal of 16 years--the last 10 1/2 in GA, before that from 84-91 in  Pensacola and Jacksonville FL.  You learn quickly to keep your religion to yourself. In Jax, I was an adult reference librarian and we had someone who would come in and slip Christian tracts, including some of the Chick abominations, into the 133 section which deals with psychic phenomena and into the 290s dealing with non-Christian religions. I made it my jo0b to  remove them.  Then there was the girl; whop said her male frioend had a new friend, a Wiccan, and they had called up Cthulhu and she wanted to know how to get rid of him. I explained that that particular creature was the creation of H.P. Lovecraft and was fiction. I had to show her Lovecraft's books in the fiction section. I also patiently explained that WIccans don't summon demons or other nasty entities, any more than Christians worship Satan.

              Sadly, I am all too aware of the prejudice many fundies feel about WIcca==and their ignorance. But the point is, a Wiccan isn't gonna cast a circle, invoke the Lord and the Lady and cast spells  if there are people present who would be uncomfortable.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 09:20:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  you are probably right, jayden (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, jayden, blueoasis

        I don't know that much about Wiccan beliefs.  But the point is that money buys you mainstream acceptance.  As evidenced in the Holiday period.  

        Money makes the world go round.  In ways we don't even know about.  It defines mainstream and what is out of the mainstream.

        And it funds politicians who reinforce that message.  

        I am agnostic at best...I don't mind Christian "Child in the Manger" displays.  They really don't bother me.  Some are quite nice to look at.  I don't internalize the implicit religious message.

        I just enjoy the Holidays.   It's the religious folks who make a big deal out of this, because the vast majority of secular people like me couldn't care less.  It is symbolism without content or context.  Nothing more than a Christmas tree or a wreath on your door or lights on your house.  

        It's ornamental.  And one can enjoy it as such without being offended by the implicit religious messaging.  Xmas is no longer a Christian holiday...it is a Capitalist Holiday.  You can best deal with that reality by what you put under your tree.

        Railing against what opportunistic politicians do in terms of public displays is a losing cause.  

        You want to make Christmas more real?  Start at home, and forget about what some yahoo in Oklahoma does at the State House.

        Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be the pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see...

        by Keith930 on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 05:39:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This isn't just about Christmas displays. (4+ / 0-)

          Nor is it about making Christmas "more real." I's about maintaining the separation of church and state. If one group is allowed their religious doctrines to become monuments on government property then every religious group should be afforded the same opportunity.

          Fair is fair.

          It is not a losing cause to fight back against those who endlessly seek to impose their beliefs on others. It's a necessary cause.

          •  So we already have a Xmas tree at the White (0+ / 0-)

            House, and a menorrah.  How many other items need to be lit and displayed...how many other religions or cultures acknowledged?  

            I find multiculturalism to be as tedious as reciting multiplication tables.  And much less rewarding.

            Fair isn't fair...if it leads to a multiplicity of religious symbolism in the town square...it's merely mind numbing in its oppressiveness and inescapability.

            Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be the pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see...

            by Keith930 on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:54:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are conflating holiday decorations (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis, skohayes, estreya

              with permanent monuments. Christmas trees aren't religious symbols nor are twinkling lights, silver tinsel, glass ornaments, and beautifully gift-wrapped presents with red bows. A slab of marble chiseled with the ten commandments and displayed on state grounds or inside courtrooms is a completely different issue.

              This isn't about multiculturalism. It is simply case of fairness where if one group gets to promote their religion on state grounds then everyone should be allowed to do so as well. If the state can't accommodate everyone equally in this regard then it should accommodate no one. There is nothing tedious about it unless you consider fairness and equal treatment tedious.

              •  Why do you get to decide (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jayden

                what constitutes a religious symbol?  I agree about the accomodating no one part, I'm just not sure why you think Christmas trees are exempt?

                Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

                by benamery21 on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:39:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yuletide trees predate christians. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blueoasis, skohayes, estreya

                  The meaning of the tree has morphed and changed over the centuries. While it may retain religious significance for some people for others it is merely a holiday decoration or nod to pagan traditions even if they're not Pagan in practice or belief.

                  Christmas is a unique holiday in that many of its customs and traditions have been adopted by those who are not christian and do not view or celebrate them in a religious context.

                  The meaning and intent behind a beautifully decorated tree during the holiday season can be ambiguous whereas a nativity scene parked on state grounds during Christmas usually is not.

                  Next time I'll remember to write "christmas trees are not necessarily religious symbols" when discussing this subject.

                  •  Yep, like most trappings of "Christian" holidays (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    jayden

                    So, as long as the practices of the dominant religious viewpoint have been acculturated by many non-believers, it's ok for the state to promote it, even if that is offensive to other non-believers and believers?  Presumably that includes teachers acculturating the next generation?

                    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

                    by benamery21 on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 02:30:43 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The state promotes culture all the time. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      estreya

                      And there is always something offensive about it to someone. It's notable that during the winter holiday season much of the encouraging language from government is in broad humanistic terms instead of overtly religious ones. And holiday trappings that are more often that not driven by retail interests are not the same as permanent marble monoliths of scripture plunked down on state capitol grounds.

                      The current norms of celebrating christmas in this country aren't all that old. Many of the stories and trappings are of relatively recent vintage or updated and Americanized versions of age-old tales and legends. The traditions of today may not be the same as those of tomorrow. Equating a mixed-bag ever-evolving holiday like Christmas with blatant and unambiguous displays of christian scripture is really stretching.

                      •  So as long as it's ok with the majority (0+ / 0-)

                        it's ok for the state to promote it?  You have no problem with teaching intelligent design as an alternative theory in school?  It's not 'really' religious, and it's of recent origin, and people of many different faiths in some localities, wil vote to do so.

                        Besides most Christians don't really believe in the Ten Commandments in the same way they did 200 years ago, and both Jews and Muslims accept them as scripture also, and many non-believers (typically lapsed Christians in the U.S.) think they are a fine expression of values.  What's the problem?

                        I know Christians (Primitive Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.), Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and atheists who don't celebrate Christmas and object to having it crammed down their throat by the state.  That certainly isn't true of all members of these groups, but it isn't an excuse for trampling the rights of the minority or acculturating their children to the dominant religious viewpoint regarding an amalgam of paganism, commercialism, and papal co-option of local religious practices.

                        P.S. Yes I know that the Puritans didn't celebrate Christmas

                        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

                        by benamery21 on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 01:17:33 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

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