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Houston - Bible must be removed

 
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 07:31 am
I'm happy so many people are willing to speak up against this kind of nonsense.

Allow these people to get away with anything...and they will cram their superstitious pap down all our throats.

I guess religion has a function...and can be useful. Too bad so many American fundies manage to debase even that little bit by treating it as a weapon against those of us who are not of like mind with them.

I have no problem with them being fearful of the unknown and superstitious. I just wish they would allow those of us who are not intimidated by the unknown...and are not superstitious...to wallow in reason and sanity without them trying to win us over to the dark side.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 07:33 am
In the old days only Christians had a say in running things. The influx of non Christians into the country, plus whatever factors apply, has increased awareness that we don't have to have these icons in our faces daily if we don't so choose. It is not a left vs. right issue, though many float issues to make it so. There are atheist conservatives and there are Christian left leaners. One prominent conservative of the 1950s wanted all churches to be done away with and the Bibles locked away. It is really a small thing to ask people to keep their religious beliefs in an appropriate setting, just as I can't go to a church and expect my thoughts to be listened to with courtesy.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 07:35 am
Frank Apisa wrote:
I have no problem with them being fearful of the unknown and superstitious. I just wish they would allow those of us who are not intimidated by the unknown...and are not superstitious...to wallow in reason and sanity without them trying to win us over to the dark side.

How are they stopping you from "wallowing in reason and sanity" by having, eh, a monument that was put up in 1956 outside the court house's back door, eh, just standing around?

Is it that sane seculars like us would feel, what - the sinister pull from the dark side mean-spiritedly pulling at us every time we'd walk past and incidentally glance upon it, or something? I don't get it.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 08:06 am
nimh wrote:
Frank Apisa wrote:
I have no problem with them being fearful of the unknown and superstitious. I just wish they would allow those of us who are not intimidated by the unknown...and are not superstitious...to wallow in reason and sanity without them trying to win us over to the dark side.

How are they stopping you from "wallowing in reason and sanity" by having, eh, a monument that was put up in 1956 outside the court house's back door, eh, just standing around?

Is it that sane seculars like us would feel, what - the sinister pull from the dark side mean-spiritedly pulling at us every time we'd walk past and incidentally glance upon it, or something? I don't get it.


Fight 'em at every turn...or the battle is lost.

Suppose there is not a battle...and the war is lost.

Suppose there is not a war...

...go live on another planet, because you are too pure for this one.


Just my feelings.


In any case, it appears a lot (perhaps most) of this in-your-face Christian bullshyt is contained here in the United States.

If we don't fight it...it ain't gonna get fought.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 08:06 am
edgarblythe wrote:
In the old days only Christians had a say in running things. The influx of non Christians into the country, plus whatever factors apply, has increased awareness that we don't have to have these icons in our faces daily if we don't so choose.

Won't those newly resident non-Christians want the opportunity to themselves make their imprint on the common public space of us all as well? I dunno, put up a plaque in commemoration of a famed Mexican writer who once lived in town ... be able to have a procession down the street if their religious holiday prescribes one ... whatever?

If we now start forbidding the Christians from expressing their religion in public - even start erasing and removing the historical objects connotating their religion in public - the upshot will be that the Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, whatever wont get to do anything in public space that connotates their religion either. And what about cultural or ethnic rather than religious things? Hey, there's always going to be some group or other feeling slighted or uncomfortable with it ...

edgarblythe wrote:
It is really a small thing to ask people to keep their religious beliefs in an appropriate setting, just as I can't go to a church and expect my thoughts to be listened to with courtesy.

I think you would actually be listened to with courtesy in many churches - well, not if you stand up mid-way the sermon to heckle the minister, but if you bring it up afterward.

But thats beside the point. A church is a private space. That would be the equivalent of a Christian forcing his way into the office of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and demanding the right to express his views there. But here we are talking of the public space.

The public space belongs to us all. There's a choice here - do we want a public space where noone is to be in any way that any other might find burdensome, or do we want a public space where we can all bring our own identity, and in turn tolerate those of each other?

On Nevsky Prospekt, back in 1995 (perhaps still now), if you walked down the street, you would have the Anarchist venting his newspaper, black flag in hand, next to a Communist canvasser amidst fiercely discussing pensioners, and down the block even a group of young fascists selling scandalous booklets. All overseen by the statue of a Tsar or other who'd once been in royal power, in front of an Orthodox church and many streethawkers practicing the free market. Great, isn't it - apart from the hawkers not getting much for their wares? Strike them away one by one because of alleged uncomplementarity with current notions of right and wrong, and what you're left with is a wholly unoffensive, but wholly sterile and wholly intolerant, bland public space - that belongs to noone because it wasnt allowed to belong to anyone, and from which each of us hurries back into our respective political-religious-cultural ghettoed communities to be ourselves.

I mean, I'm saying. I know the above smacks of this phallacy of "Oh. so you mean that we should also just .." - but there's quite a philosophical choice to be made about this all.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 06:50 pm
The public space belongs to us all.
You put it in a nutshell. Because it belongs to us all, we must respect one another's rights to not have these things in our face everywhere we look. You don't know what it's like growing up atheist with everybody forcing their religious ceremonies and icons everywhere you go.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 04:27 am
edgarblythe wrote:
The public space belongs to us all.
You put it in a nutshell. Because it belongs to us all, we must respect one another's rights to not have these things in our face everywhere we look. You don't know what it's like growing up atheist with everybody forcing their religious ceremonies and icons everywhere you go.

No, I don't, that's true.

I do know that the logic you propose, "Because it belongs to us all, we must respect one another's rights to not have these things in our face" can just as well be turned around: "Because it belongs to us all, we don't have the right to forbid one another's stuff whenever we don't like the way it looks". It's all our's space, so it's not up to any majority or minority to say, well, this should not be shown and that should not be allowed and I don't want to see any of that either.

You are saying, they have no right to put their religious conviction "in our face". What if they said, "you have no right to put your political convictions in our face", and demanded the proscription of political stands on the market, public rallies, etc? Or if the Buchananites say, "they have no right to put their ethnic identity all up in our face" and demand the proscription of, say, some ethnic festival, procession etc? How is religion in particular different from other forms of identity that are expressed culturally, why should it in particular be proscribed when others aren't? (Assuming you don't want to ban all those from the public space too).

It sounds very liberal, very reasonable, to say, the public space should be neutral so noone feels excluded or offended. But the logic of a "neutral" space, cleansed of all culturalities that others might not want "in their face" is one of denying all expressions of Otherness, of difference. Not very liberal or enlightened at all.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 04:55 am
Nimh,
I think you make great sense.

My personal opinion is that a lot of the angst about not having all of those things in our faces all the time comes from a very basic discomfort with having to think about oneself in terms of the eternal.

I really don't think that all the rancor is coming from the various Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Bahai's, etc. that the outspoken ones are purporting to defend. I think it comes from the atheists and agnostics who don't want any measuring stick except their own for their behavior in this life. And all those damn religious things are constant reminders that they may have to answer to a higher authority than their friggin imaginations.

Let me say this, also: I have no doubt that some might take this as a personal attack. Although I know when I write things like the above that I will bother certain people, those people will just have to trust me that I would say these things on the pure merit of the the principle I hold them to have, and not because of any personalities with whom I may or may not mesh perfectly. Understand that I would have the same opinions if all of the names on this board changed right now. Try, really try not to take it personally when I express my opinion that the attacks on public displays of religious artifacts are led by nonbelievers and not by those of other religions. And if you are successful in escaping the illusion that my opinions were personally directed, then maybe, just maybe you can also deter yourself from aiming yours at lil' ole me.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 05:51 am
Wrong, snood. It doesn't disturb me in the slightest in that sense, since I don't put one iota of stock in it, even on a subconscious level.
The reason I object is not simply because I don't believe in it, but because the perpetrators are trying to insinuate themselves into every process of my life. They don't have that right, just as I don't have the right to be in your face all day long every day of your life telling you your life is all wrong. If I want "spiritual guidance" I have the acumen to ask for it. Until that day quit trying to force-feed it.
No other agenda is put in your face in every aspect of your life the way Christianity is. The politicians nimh speaks of only manage to do it part time. They don't have icons everywhere one looks or people who can't abide that a person lives apart from their cherished belief.
When one is a child atheist in a group that suddenly decides to pray or have the group express worshipful sentiment it is extremely uncomfortable to think of resisting. I have been in the humiliating position of having to stand, bow my head, or refuse to speak when asked to speak to a group until I am sick to death of it. I don't have to be a Christian and I don't have to have that stuff in every aspect of my life.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 06:14 am
Despite political efforts to make it seem only liberals support separation of church and state, there are conservatives who believe the same thing.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 06:19 am
Oh, brother. I don't know where to start...

Edgar:
Quote:
Wrong, snood. It doesn't disturb me in the slightest in that sense, since I don't put one iota of stock in it, even on a subconscious level.


"Wrong" about what? I didn't say those things were the reason YOU were bothered by it (herein lies the problem of personalizing, instead of dealing with the principles). I clearly said that I think (which denotes an opinon, which, by definition is neither right nor wrong) that MOST of those bothered by it were those who had no religious beliefs.

Edgar:
Quote:
The reason I object is not simply because I don't believe in it, but because the perpetrators are trying to insinuate themselves into every process of my life. They don't have that right, just as I don't have the right to be in your face all day long every day of your life telling you your life is all wrong.


Such hyperbole, edgar. Nobody is pushing anything in anyone's face all day long - not the way you make it sound.

Edgar:
Quote:
If I want "spiritual guidance" I have the acumen to ask for it. Until that day quit trying to force-feed it.


How would you have religions display their artifacts? Would you sequester them all into clearly labeled hutments, so everyone would be properly forewarned upon approach?

Edgar:
Quote:
No other agenda is put in your face in every aspect of your life the way Christianity is.


Now, let's look at what you just said there. NO OTHER AGENDA is pushed that hard? Capitalism is pushed 3 times harder, if you ask me - but you might not think so, because you don't mind that particular pushing!
The skinny European achetype of beauty is pushed 24/7, in my estimation, but you might not see that, because you simply absorb it without second thought. Your asserting as if it's foregone that Christianity is the hardest pushed agenda, doesn't make it so.

Edgar:
Quote:
When one is a child atheist in a group that suddenly decides to pray or have the group express worshipful sentiment it is extremely uncomfortable to think of resisting.


I'm quite sure it is. And I'm also quite sure of the reverse - if you are a Christian in the midst of a crowd of cynical, hectoring youths who think it's cool to denigrate anything traditional, you will also experience discomfort being yourself.

Edgar:
Quote:
I have been in the humiliating position of having to stand, bow my head, or refuse to speak when asked to speak to a group until I am sick to death of it. I don't have to be a Christian and I don't have to have that stuff in every aspect of my life.


No one is making you do anything, edgar. No more than all the anti-Christian sentiment is going to make me do anything.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 07:26 am
The belief that skinny white blondes are the epitemy of beauty has never fazed me. I didn't look to that stereotype to find a wife. It is not in the face like Christianity is, regardless of what you say.
Capitalism in its present form is the death of democracy and I will give you it runs a hard competition. I stand by my statement that nothing is as pervasive and intrusive as the Christians.

I made my statement about you being wrong, about it amking people uncomfortable to have to think about your religion, because that notion has to be done away with if we are to get at the real problem. Take it or leave, that's the way it is.

There are plenty of opportunities to display your artifacts aithout making me stumble over them.

I have never personally witnessed a crowd giving a religious speaker that kind of hard time, unless it's a priest accused of misconduct or something like that.

No one is doing anything to me, but only because I refuse to allow it, not because they don't want to try.
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paul2k
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 06:31 pm
Edgar,

I'm afraid you won't be able to silence religious expression in a country that is over 85% religious and gives people the freedom of expression. The very nature of expression, pressing outward, is that others will come into contact with that "press". Obviously, some may feel the expression they disfavor is being "forced down their throat"... even due to something like, as in this case, a simple statue outside a building. As a Christian for the last half of life, I can certainly tell you that non-Christian beliefs are daily expressed without my permission from all manner of sources. It is the result of being in a free society.

I suppose the appropriate concept is "toleration"... allowing the expression of ideas you may not agree with. In the case of atheists, you worship naturalistic reason which is certainly celebrated in many places in our culture. However, instead of being satisfied with being able to express your love for naturalistic reason, you go the extra step of demanding other people's expression be silenced in the public space. That is the definition of "intolerance".
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 06:40 pm
I acknowledged that you can't stop all religious expression, just the most egregious transgressions. The definition of intolerance is forcing your belief on me unbidden, unwanted. You won't see atheist monuments everywhere or answer the door to somebody who says, "I am here to discuss changing you into an atheist." I don't mind that you are religious, but Christians mind greatly that I am absent of religion. Why? Mind their own business is all I am saying.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 06:42 pm
Way to go, Edgar.

Give 'em hell!
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 06:50 pm
Grrrrrrrr ...
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 08:13 pm
paul2k wrote:
Edgar,

I'm afraid you won't be able to silence religious expression in a country that is over 85% religious and gives people the freedom of expression. The very nature of expression, pressing outward, is that others will come into contact with that "press". Obviously, some may feel the expression they disfavor is being "forced down their throat"... even due to something like, as in this case, a simple statue outside a building. As a Christian for the last half of life, I can certainly tell you that non-Christian beliefs are daily expressed without my permission from all manner of sources. It is the result of being in a free society.

I suppose the appropriate concept is "toleration"... allowing the expression of ideas you may not agree with. In the case of atheists, you worship naturalistic reason which is certainly celebrated in many places in our culture. However, instead of being satisfied with being able to express your love for naturalistic reason, you go the extra step of demanding other people's expression be silenced in the public space. That is the definition of "intolerance".


This is not an issue of atheists trying to silence the religious folk from expressing their religious beliefs in a free society. This is not an issue of intolerance. This is a very narrow issue of Government endorsement of religion.

Religious folk can express their religious beliefs to their hearts' desires -- they just can't use the government as their messenger or mouthpiece. Government endorsement of religion is not allowed pursuant to the supreme law of the land. A person is not "intolerant" simply because he/she demands that the government abide by the limitations/prohibitions placed on government by the constitution.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 08:20 pm
That's right, DL. I don't want to stifle religion at all, just keep the separation alive.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 05:25 am
edgarblythe wrote:
The definition of intolerance is forcing your belief on me unbidden, unwanted.

No more than the "definition of intolerance" is forbidding other people to express their belief or conviction.

I think you are isolating one sort of intolerance and claiming that to be the very definition of it - in spite of yourself countering it by another kind of intolerance that (however understandable in light of your personal experience) of course is no less deserving of the name.

(And re: atheist monuments, I lived down the Troelstrastreet with its statue of the Socialist leader who in 1918 declared revolution in the Netherlands (known in our history books as "the revolution that didn't happen"). I expect the inhabitants of the street to acknowledge the statue to be there simply as a testimony to a historical person/episode and the value it was once accorded or is accorded by some, of which it is really quite irrelevant if they agree with it themselves. I suppose someone could start a court case demanding the statue, which like the Houston Bible must have been placed there in the fifties, to be removed to prevent "the socialists from putting their beliefs in our face". I would bloody well hope and expect their case was lost.)
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2005 05:31 am
Debra_Law wrote:
This is not an issue of atheists trying to silence the religious folk from expressing their religious beliefs in a free society. This is not an issue of intolerance. This is a very narrow issue of Government endorsement of religion.

Religious folk can express their religious beliefs to their hearts' desires -- they just can't use the government as their messenger or mouthpiece.

I thought that what we were talking about was a monument outside the Court? How wide a zone around a court house should be emptied to guarantee a separation between church and state?

I also still insist on the worth of historicism in this context. It is a historical monument. My government is one of parliamentary democracy, yet if an ornament on or around the government buildings still testifies to the direct rule of the royals, I wouldn't consider that a breach of the current dogma of a constitutional monarchy, but simply as a reflection of the arrangements and interpretations that have shaped our past. I dont see the need to erase the past in order to protect the present; the present should do just fine by itself.
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