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Houston - Bible must be removed

 
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Aug, 2004 11:17 am
The executive-legislative-juidicial triumvirate has been a remarkable success
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Aug, 2004 01:00 pm
Agreed, john.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Aug, 2004 04:54 am
Judge says Bible must go now
County request to keep display out during its appeal is denied
By BILL MURPHY
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

A federal judge Monday denied Harris County's request to allow a Bible to remain outside the Civil Courts Building while the county appeals an order for its removal.


U.S. District Judge Sim Lake ruled that the county will not suffer irreparable harm if the Bible is removed now and the county later wins on appeal.

"If the county succeeds in its appeal, the status quo ... can be re-established by ordering that the Bible be returned to its monument," Lake wrote.

The county has until just before midnight today to remove the book from a monument honoring William S. Mosher, a benefactor of Star of Hope Mission.

The county attorney's office made a last-ditch effort Monday to keep the book where it is, asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to issue an emergency stay.

Star of Hope erected the monument in 1956. The county says the monument and Bible are the mission's property and will ask mission officials to remove the book.

The county will advise mission officials to give the appeals court until the close of court business at 5 p.m. today to make a ruling, and if the appeals court denies the stay or takes no action, the officials should then retrieve the Bible.

On Aug. 10, Lake ordered the county to remove the Bible after concluding the county was unconstitutionally endorsing Christianity by allowing it to be displayed.

Kay Staley, a local lawyer and real estate agent, sued the county, arguing that the county violated the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits government from promoting religion or inhibiting its expression.

As part of Lake's Monday ruling, the judge granted Staley an additional $3,000 in legal fees. In his original order Aug. 10, Lake ordered the county to pay Staley $36,810 in legal fees and $3,776 in court costs.

In a brief opposing the county's request for a stay, Staley's lawyer, Randall Kallinen, wrote that Staley's life was threatened in a letter received Friday.

The letter included a photocopy of a map showing Staley's street, and on the map was written: "We know where you live." On a small piece of paper was written: "We have your address. It should be an easy shot."

Kallinen said he would hand over the letter and envelope, which might contain the sender's saliva, to the FBI.

While she is "very frightened" by the letter, Staley has not gone into hiding because she needs to make a living, Kallinen said.

"These are fundamentalists ... who are not following the love and tolerance that Jesus Christ taught," Kallinen said.

[email protected]
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Aug, 2004 04:43 pm
Bible can stay at courthouse - for now
By BILL MURPHY
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

An open Bible can stay in a monument on county property, at least for the time being, a federal appeals court ruled in an emergency order today.



The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a temporary stay of an order by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake of Houston that the Bible be removed by midnight today.

"The Bible stays for now," Harris County Attorney Mike Stafford said after briefing County Commissioners Court on the appeals court action during the Court's regular meeting.

"Praise God," said the Rev. Aubrey Vaughan of Grace Baptist Church, one of a group of protesters who have maintained a round-the-clock vigil near the monument since Lake ordered the Bible removed.

"They told me it was impossible, and God does the impossible. I believe God moved the hearts of the judges," he said. "Regardless of their future decision, they made the right decision today."

The Bible is part of a a 50-year-old monument outside the county Civil Courts Building at 301 Fannin. The monument, owned by the Star of Hope mission, honors one of its benefactors, William S. Mosher.

Lake ruled Aug. 10 that the Bible on county property represented an unconstitutional promotion of religion by government, and ordered it removed within 10 business days. That deadline would have expired today.

On Monday, Lake denied the county's request to stay his order during appeal.

The appeals court gave the plaintiff in the case until 5 p.m. Wednesday to respond to its action. The court did not say when it will decide whether to keep its stay in effect while the county appeals Lake's ruling, as the county has requested.

Plaintiff in the case is Kay Staley, a local lawyer and real estate agent. She contends that the display violates the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits government from promoting religion or inhibiting its expression.

Her attorney, Randall Kallinen, was not immediately available for reaction to today's emergency stay.

In a brief filed Monday opposing the county's request for a stay, Kallinen wrote that Staley's life was threatened in a letter received Friday.

The letter included a photocopy of a map showing Staley's street, and on the map was written: "We know where you live." On a small piece of paper was written: "We have your address. It should be an easy shot."

Kallinen said he would hand over the letter and envelope, which might contain the sender's saliva, to the FBI.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2004 12:44 pm
Supreme Court takes Ten Commandments cases
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said today it will take up the constitutionality of Ten Commandments displays on government land and buildings, a surprise announcement that puts justices in the middle of a politically sensitive issue.


Justices have repeatedly refused to revisit issues raised by their 1980 decision that banned the posting of copies of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.

In the meantime, lower courts have reached a hodgepodge of conflicting rulings that allow displays in some instances but not in others.

The high court will hear an appeal early next year involving displays in Kentucky and Texas.

In the Texas case, the justices will decide if a Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds is an unconstitutional attempt to establish state-sponsored religion.

A homeless man, Thomas Van Orden, lost his lawsuit to have the 6-foot tall red granite removed. The Fraternal Order of Eagles donated the monument to the state in 1961. The group gave scores of similar monuments to American towns during the 1950s and '60s, and those have been the subject of multiple court fights.

Separately, they will consider whether a lower court wrongly barred the posting of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky courthouses.

McCreary and Pulaski county officials hung framed copies of the Ten Commandments in their courthouses and later added other documents, such as the Magna Charter and Declaration of Independence, after the display was challenged.

The Ten Commandments contain both religious and secular directives, including the familiar proscriptions on stealing, killing and adultery. The Bible says God gave the list to Moses.

The Constitution bars any state "establishment" of religion. That means the government cannot promote religion in general, or favor one faith over another.

The lawyer for the Kentucky counties, Mathew Staver of the conservative law group Liberty Counsel, told justices that lower courts are fractured on the issue. A divided appeals court panel sided with the American Civil Liberties Union in the Kentucky case.

In the past decade, justices have refused to get involved in Ten Commandments disputes from around the country. Three conservative justices complained in 2001, when the court declined to rule on the constitutionality of a Ten Commandments display in front of the Elkhart, Ind., Municipal Building.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, said the city sought to reflect the cultural, historical and legal significance of the commandments. Rehnquist noted that justices' own chambers includes a carving of Moses holding the Ten Commandments.

The cases are Van Orden v. Perry, 03-1500 and McCreary County v. ACLU, 03-1693.





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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Oct, 2004 09:44 am
Oct 23,11:34 AM ET Top Stories - washingtonpost.com


By Bill Broadway, Washington Post Staff Writer

Sometime in late winter, advocates for and opponents of public displays of the Ten Commandments will argue the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) for the first time in 25 years.


Litigators on both sides agree that the justices probably will set parameters on what constitutes an acceptable display of the commandments, relying partly on the court's previous decisions on the display of Nativity scenes in town squares and courthouses.


They disagree, however, on whether the existence of different versions of the Ten Commandments -- reflecting theological differences among Protestants, Catholics and Jews -- will or should affect the court's decision.


"No doubt it's something I'm going to emphasize," said Erwin Chemerinsky, a Duke University constitutional scholar who will appear before the court on behalf of Thomas Van Orden, a homeless man and former defense lawyer who for several years has been fighting to have a six-foot granite monument of the commandments removed from the statehouse grounds in Texas.


"My argument in part is: Is there 'a' Ten Commandments?" Chemerinsky said. If such monuments are allowed, the "choice of which one to use is a religious choice."


But Mat Staver, president and general counsel for Orlando-based Liberty Counsel, which is representing two Kentucky jurisdictions whose framed commandment displays were ordered removed from courthouses, said, "The issue of different versions is a red herring." The King James-based list posted in the courthouses was "no one's version," he said, arguing that it -- like all renderings -- was an abbreviated form of biblical passages.


That debate will be part of a broader First Amendment argument over whether the displays constitute government endorsement of religion or government allowance of the free expression of religion.


The court last addressed the Decalogue issue in 1980, when it struck down, 5 to 4, a Kentucky law that required the posting of the commandments in public school classrooms. The court ruled that the law had "no secular legislative purpose."


Since then, advocates of church-state separation have clashed with those who argue that the 1980 ruling does not prohibit all government-backed displays of the commandments. Dozens of cases have worked their way through lower courts, and many have been appealed to the Supreme Court without success.


Last week, the court decided to hear the Kentucky and Texas cases.


Those cases will rely less on the previous commandments decision and more on subsequent rulings involving Nativity scenes, litigators predicted. In 1984, the Supreme Court upheld the display of a creche on city property, ruling that religious symbols can be placed on government property as long as the displays are not "motivated wholly by religious considerations."


Such symbols also must have a secular purpose, such as being placed among other symbols, religious and otherwise, that present the cultural, historical and legal foundation of a city, county or state, the court said.


In 2001, in a possible preview of arguments to come, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist quoted the 1984 case and similar creche cases in dissenting with the court's decision not to hear a case in which a monument virtually identical to the one in Texas was ordered removed from city property in Elkhart, Ind.


Joined by Justices Antonin Scalia (news - web sites) and Clarence Thomas (news - web sites) in dissenting from the court's denial, Rehnquist acknowledged that the Ten Commandments are sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity but said they "have secular significance as well, because they have made a substantial contribution to our secular legal codes." He noted that a carving of Moses holding the Ten Commandments is part of a frieze of historic lawgivers "that adorns . . . the south wall of our courtroom."


A sculpture of Moses also appears on the pediment above the east entrance to the Supreme Court building.


Those who argue for allowing public displays of commandments have said that the differing versions of the commandments are irrelevant because the Decalogue's role in the formation of Western jurisprudence meets the requirement for a "secular purpose." Those who oppose the displays point to differences in content and numbering as indicators of theological disagreements that might be exacerbated by the public showing of any one version of the commandments.


Three generally accepted versions of the Ten Commandments exist, according to religious scholars: Jewish, Catholic-Lutheran and Protestant. (The Protestant version also is used by many Orthodox Christians.)





The commandments appear several times throughout the Bible but most notably in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. The earliest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible present the passages as blocks of text without paragraphs or verse enumerations. Those were added later by different schools of interpreters -- which led to varied numbering systems.

The Jewish version, often called the "Ten Utterances," presents the First Commandment as a statement of the relationship between God and the Israelites: "I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage." The Second Commandment is, "You shall have no other gods besides Me."

The Catholic-Lutheran and Protestant versions present "I am the Lord your God" as a preface to their First Commandment, "You shall have no other gods before Me."

Jewish scholars point to what they consider a more crucial ethical and moral distinction: the Jewish translation of the Sixth Commandment as "You shall not murder." Traditional Catholic and Protestant versions say "You shall not kill" -- a broader ban that might cover such societal actions as capital punishment.

The two Christian versions also differ in substantive ways. The Protestant version lists, as a separate commandment, "You shall not make of yourself a graven image," a statement the Catholic version omits. Some analysts say the Protestant version arose from Reformation efforts to rid churches of statues of saints, while the Catholic version allows such statues.

The Catholic version breaks the prohibitions against covetousness into two parts, "9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife" and "10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods." The Protestant version combines covetousness into one, as No. 10.

Such differences are not insignificant, said Jeffrey Sinensky, general counsel for the American Jewish Committee, which, along with other national Jewish organizations, plans to write amicus briefs opposing the public display of the Ten Commandments.

"Many people of strong faith belief are concerned when someone takes what they believe to be the word of God and uses it in a fashion they are uncomfortable with," he said.

Jay A. Sekulow, chief counsel for the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice, said he believes the court will pay little attention to arguments about different versions of the Ten Commandments.

"It's not a factor in these cases," said Sekulow, who has successfully argued eight of 11 First Amendment cases before the court and is representing pro-display clients in 10 lower-court cases. Instead, the court will focus on the historic nature of the displays, including the length of time they have been in place and the context in which they appear, he said.

The displays in Kentucky and Texas involve different versions of the Ten Commandments.

The monument on statehouse grounds in Austin has been in place since 1961, one of as many as 200 monoliths donated from the 1950s through mid-1980s by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, said Sue Hoffman, a retired schoolteacher in Washington state who has researched the history of the Eagles' placement of monuments nationwide.

Most of the granite monoliths, including the one in Austin, use an interfaith version put together by a committee of Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy, she said. The text begins with an overline "I AM the LORD thy God," then proceeds with 10 unnumbered commandments in smaller lettering that are a variation of Jewish and Christian versions.

The Eagles' monument project began in earnest after the release of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 film "The Ten Commandments." DeMille helped the Eagles program get started, Hoffman said, and replicas of the tablets used in the movie appear at the top of the monument. Two Stars of David and a symbol of Jesus -- the superimposed Greek letters Chi and Rho -- are at the bottom.

The Ten Commandments displays in the Kentucky courthouses were framed, printed pages citing the King James translation of the Decalogue, unnumbered, from Exodus 20:3-17. The statement "I the Lord am your God" does not appear; the prohibition against making graven images does; and the translation of the Sixth Commandment is "Thou shalt not kill."

The court is expected to issue its decisions by the end of June.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 09:25 pm
Jan. 10, 2005, 6:08PM

Bible removed from courthouse after ruling
By BILL MURPHY
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

A Bible was removed from a monument near the entrance to a Harris County courthouse today shortly after a federal appeals court lifted a stay that had kept the Bible in place.


The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Harris County's request to allow the Bible to remain while the county appeals a federal district judge's ruling that the Bible must be removed.

Star of Hope mission, which owns the Bible and the monument where it is displayed, followed the court's ruling and removed the Bible from in front of the Harris County Civil Courts Building, 301 Fannin.

"We're just complying with the directives of the court," said Star of Hope spokeswoman Marilyn Fountain. "That's what we've been asked to do, so that's what we're doing."

The open Bible was part of a 48-year-old monument outside the courts building, which honors Star of Hope benefactor William S. Mosher.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake ruled Aug. 10 that the Bible on county property represented an unconstitutional promotion of Christianity by the county and ordered it removed.

The ruling drew protesters who maintained round-the-clock vigils in support of the Bible display.

On Aug. 25, the 5th Circuit temporarily stayed Lake's order. The appeals court lifted that stay today.
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SmokingFire
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 09:56 pm
Re: Don't think so
Debra_Law wrote:


The government does not forbid anyone from hearing about God. When Jesus returns and crushes all other governments, what religions will be allowed then? I doubt all those who obey the bible will rule with Jesus. Oh sure, he will confer with his male apostles, but the women will be washing his feet.


I see that you have a problem thinking that women should wash the feet of men in the Bible. Have you ever read ruth? Jude? These were all considered as might women of God. Besides that, God is spirit and not flesh, gender has no application to God in the Spirit. But this is obviously off the topic. The fact that they wish to not make the U.S which was founded on Christian foundations, look as if it is pro-Christian is insane. The people of the U.S would then be bashing at their foundations, which if the house wishes to remain standing is not a really wise decision. But hey, I don't live there, so they may do as they wish...
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 10:00 pm
At least separation of church and state is alive and well in some aspects of our lives.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 01:56 am
Re: Don't think so
Debra_Law wrote:
mgmorrell wrote:
It is very telling when a judge forbids the Word of God to be present. God is all about government. That judge and the government would not be in power unless God gave them that power. the Prophecy of Habakkuk says it very well that a day of judgement is heading this way against such rulers who pervert the truth and forbid anyone from hearing about God. When Jesus Christ returns, he will dismantle such governments and establish a new Jewish Kingdom which will crush all other governments. Those who understand the bible and love it, and obey it now, can rule with him in that day.

Michael.


The government does not forbid anyone from hearing about God. When Jesus returns and crushes all other governments, what religions will be allowed then? I doubt all those who obey the bible will rule with Jesus. Oh sure, he will confer with his male apostles, but the women will be washing his feet.



smokingfire wrote:
I see that you have a problem thinking that women should wash the feet of men in the Bible. Have you ever read ruth? Jude? These were all considered as might women of God. Besides that, God is spirit and not flesh, gender has no application to God in the Spirit. But this is obviously off the topic. The fact that they wish to not make the U.S which was founded on Christian foundations, look as if it is pro-Christian is insane. The people of the U.S would then be bashing at their foundations, which if the house wishes to remain standing is not a really wise decision. But hey, I don't live there, so they may do as they wish...


I was responding, with a sardonic expression of skepticism, to mgmorrell's proclamation that only those who obey the bible will rule with Jesus when he returns to crush all other governments and to establish his Kingdom. You do not see what you proclaim to see from my post. If you were truly insightful, you would understand why our country's founding fathers provided for the separation of church and state as a mandatory provision of the supreme law of the land.
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paul2k
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 02:12 am
Wouldn't spending millions of dollars going throughout our nation chiselling out all references to Judeo-Christianity from every court-house, city hall, capitol building, school, etc. amount to a whitewashing of our historical roots as a country? Do we really want to obliterate all references to the impact that Judeo-Christianity had on our culture?

Do we want this to continue by issuing all new currency, changing our official oaths, our pledge of allegiance, revising every state document marked with our national seal with it's great eye of "Providence", make it illegal for our leaders to say "God bless America" in their official capacity, remove our national holidays and historic days of prayer? Shall we recast the Liberty Bell because it contains Scripture? Edit our Constitution and Bill of Rights and every state constitution? Will we remove religious symbols from every federal or state-sponsored mausoleum and grave marker?

If not, then why do we make such a fuss about a monument in a courthouse?
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 05:41 am
You can't get to them all; the religious are like cockroaches, laying their eggs everywhere. But as long as we get the most major ones we can maybe keep it in check.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 09:47 am
paul2k wrote:
If not, then why do we make such a fuss about a monument in a courthouse?

Good question. Why don't you ask the people who put it there in the first place?
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paul2k
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 04:40 pm
Well, I suppose when it was put there it was done so because the vast majority of folks (consensus?) thought that it was a fitting tribute to the place the Judeo-Christian values had in creating and enforcing the positive aspects of the society we all enjoy today.

The thing is, I suspect a vast majority of folks even today respect and appreciate that same Judeo-Christian influence. The U.S. Census seems to agree with 85% of citizens indicating Judeo-Christian affinity.

As soon as the Koran impacts our society in such positive ways, I say we put up a tribute to it in the public square, too.

So, if the American flag makes a few people feel as though they aren't going to get equal treatment by the court (and such people do exist, no?), should we then start removing American flags from all the court houses? I mean, some people don't like identifying themselves with America.

Edgar, perhaps the best way to move forward your agenda isn't to infer that 85% of Americans share roach-like qualities. Of couse maybe you wear an Edgar-suit and don't mind roaches (poor MIB reference)?

Seriously... why such a fuss over all this? It isn't like congress is passing laws that say only Christians can run for office or receive pension benefits or something. If atheists really were being treated differently than Christians by judges, I could see the point... but just because a few *feel* different when walking past some religious art? I don't remember the constitution demanding everyone feel the same.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 05:53 pm
We have argued separation of church and state to boredom on a dozen threads. I simply want to see it implemented now.
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paul2k
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 12:46 am
I'm new here. Didn't mean to bore you.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 05:42 am
Sorry. I don't know who is new and who has just joined. I failed to notice the just hatched thing. My major point is the simplest possible: Don't need people cramming their religious belief down my throat.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 06:13 am
So - back in 1956, the mission legally established a monument with a bible in it to honor a major benefactor, outside the court building, nearby its back door.

And now it has to go.

No, I don't agree. I would consider it unnecessary, and thus unnecessarily aggravating.

Point to Fox and her claims.
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graffiti
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 06:58 am
paul2k wrote:
Do we want this to continue by issuing all new currency, changing our official oaths, our pledge of allegiance, revising every state document marked with our national seal with it's great eye of "Providence", make it illegal for our leaders to say "God bless America" in their official capacity, remove our national holidays and historic days of prayer? Shall we recast the Liberty Bell because it contains Scripture? Edit our Constitution and Bill of Rights and every state constitution? Will we remove religious symbols from every federal or state-sponsored mausoleum and grave marker?


The 'under God' portion of the Pledge of Allegiance was inserted some 50 years ago during the McCarthy witchhunt period.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 07:01 am
Oh, I only now saw that it was an old thread, just recently updated.

I'm going to have to agree with Paul, despite being a leftist myself who's never read the Bible in his life.

The landscape around us - the way cities look, the monuments, the random memorial plaques - it has all been created by the history we've had. It is all testimony to where your country has been, where your society has come from.

Some of us will now repudiate some of those things our country/society used to be, and now no longer is - or in their opinion no longer should be. Fine. No monument is going to force you to adhere to it or even to oblige any affinity with it. It is there for those whom it does mean something to, and for those who are ready to respect and acknowledge history for all that its been, whether they agree with it or not.

Erasing the reflection of history time and again in order to make the cityscape mirror the exact current interpretation of what is right breeds ahistoricism, a lack of relativation, and ignorance. As far as I am concerned, it should all stay. I feel empathy for those post-totalitarian societies where they want to get rid of the statues of their former tyrans, but thats about it. I'll note that in East-Berlin, even the removal of one such statue of Lenin evoked a storm of protest - notably, by citizens who were largely hardly Leninist themselves anymore, but merely said, look: we grew up with this thing, it's grown to mean something to us, it represents the way our life simply was for decades - let it be. As testimony to what history's been, and what our various present sentiments about it are. We don't need to agree about it, or about him; merely to respect that he was and remains part of our common public space of shared memories or affinities, good or bad.

In the case of Lenin's statue, I could still empathise with, you know - the former political prisoners who didn't want to be running into the uebersized representation of the man in whose name they'd been imprisoned and maltreated, as well. But what harm does a mere bible, outside a courthouse, do?

Live and let live, I say. You want to put up a similarly sized monument to a famous atheist, go right ahead (or, you should be allowed to go right ahead, imho). But to cleanse the public space from anything that anyone might feel uncomfortable with just promotes a fearful stifledness. Before you know it, you'll be banning Muslim women from wearing headscarves. Or, a further step down, kids from wearing punk clothing. Freedom goes over righteousness, whether it be Christian or secular.

On that count I specifically agree with Paul that we shouldn't start banning stuff "just because [people] *feel* different when walking past" it.

I have a perhaps topical example to pose, even if its right from the other side. The other evening I was out with A. and her friend H. Now H. is an exemplary liberal, activist for Amnesty International, used to volunteer for Refugee Work, the lot. She recounted that - as per her info (I find it hard to believe) - some cities had decided to ban women from wearing burqa's and other face-covering veils outside.

Note, we had this discussion about wearing burqa's in schools - some schools, reasonably enough, banned it because it makes for unfeasible teaching or studying, especially for, say, nurses or primary school teachers in training. OK. But she was saying, banned from wearing burqas or the like in the street - the market, the shop, just anywhere in the public space. Because a) it was not good for those women and b) Dutch people "felt" unsafe when confronted with these veiled creatures they could not even look into the eyes.

A. and I reacted in spontaneous indignation, of course, but H. turned out to actually agree. With a), yes (how patronising can you get! "Here, we'll go save you from what you're doing because we know best, and it's really not good for you". It implies an immediate claim to cultural supremacy - we are "ahead" of you and therefore have the right to impose our superior, more advanced standards on you for your own good, even if it be against your own will.) And with b). As if any majority can just decide to ban what other people choose to wear or show because it makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable! Hello, groups of teens on the street make a lot of people feel unsafe too, are we gonna impose bans on hanging out in groups next too? (Actually, yes, those are in place in certain parts of town / at certain hours already as well).

When I made the unavoidable parallel with our very own orthodox Protestants, out in Staphorst and such villages, who still wear their own brand of long skirts and headscarves just like Christian women used to do in old times, she said yeah that should be banned too. Cause it's all religious oppression.

Note how xenophobia has bred a brand new militant secularism. Now that in itself is irrelevant to this thread, but the underlying logic is not. People saying they "feel" uncomfortable about something that merely is (does not do anything) in their environment should not be sufficient reason for its removal, IMO. Not as long as there's also people who feel greatly comforted by it. Let them put up their own things if they want. A thousand flowers and all that.

I'm realising that by now I'm in a reprise of this post here (and its follow-up in the post immediately underneath and this one later on), in Fox's thread, Is there room for Christmas anymore?. I am against moves like the one described in this thread not because I see them as a threat to Christianity, but as one to multiculturalism - to the "salad bowl" of diversity. Those Hindus and Muslims and others who were quoted here as not feeling any affinity with the Bible will not, in the end, benefit from its removal - because it will merely serve as precedent / justification to a ban on any of their expressions of religious identity in public space as well. But I say that the progress achieved by multiculturalism was that the US moved beyond the straitjacket of a melting pot in which each was to just merge, and where the public space would be a comfortable but conformistic place of uniform values. Moved on to one in which the public space is a reflection of all the diversity that exists among its inhabitants, religious and otherwise - a space we may all put our own thing in and take our own thing from.
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