Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A prayer and a Federal Court

Here's my little quiz for atheists.

Christians and others can take it too, but they'll probably find it too easy. Atheists will struggle with it.

Here are two things:

Old prayer on the wall of Cranston High School

United States Federal District Court, Providence, Rhode Island 

One thing is:

A harmless object no one is forced to  obey, to pay attention to, or even to look at. It enrages ideological fanatics, who are actually not harmed by it in any way.

The other thing is:

An institution of government power that exercises force and mandates obedience, with the threat of civil and criminal sanctions for those who disobey. Although it is prohibited by the Constitution from violating citizens' rights to free expression, it is used by ideological fanatics to silence others.

Which one of the objects pictured above is an example of government force, and which one is an example of harmless free expression?


  1. “Atheists will struggle with it” Yeah, by design, one of the many perks of blog authorship.

    If you where trying to make the opposite point you could have said, one thing is: A physical manifestation of the religious majority trying to use government to force their religion on non-believers. The other thing is: An institution of government power that helps protects religious liberty by preventing government imposition of religion.


  2. Mike,
    Anyone who could see this generic little blurb as a threat to the establishment clause of your constitution is.... way off base.
    Most probably currently intoxicated is my guess.
    This 'Mural' suite thing is a clear case of the laws and protections being abused for publicity / propaganda purposes.
    I don't even blame the kid for this.
    She has been put up to it by very cynical adults. She will wear the stain of this event for her adult life. She will always be 'that girl with the problem/ chip on her shoulder', while the lawyers and adults who spurred her on will dissolve into the background like the cynical cowards they are.
    No one tried to silence this girl. No one forced any religion on her. She admits the 'bullying' (reaction) began AFTER her opposition to the 'mural'. She tried to silence/remove school history, and the staff and kids REACTED. This will foreshadow her entire life, should she choose the path of the agitator. She better get used to it and grow some thicker skin!
    But she is still a kid.
    She is being USED to remove a vaguely religious statement that is part of a school's history by cynical adults with a LEFTIST agenda.

    Consider with regard to 'forced':
    1) Has anyone forced this girl to recite the poem/prayer? Are such recitals mandatory at her school?
    2) Does the so called 'prayer mural' make reference to ANY specific major western religion? (NOTE:'Heavenly father' and / or 'Lord' is a term that is shared by all these faiths. As is 'Amen'.)
    If not WHAT religion is it supposed to be pushing?

    3) If the mere presence of such a verse is offensive to this girl the question becomes one of her tolerance of others. If we are to consider this xenophobia normal, or even imply we must accommodate it for altruistic reasons, we must ask: is she forced to observe it? Implicitly, does she HAVE to attend THIS school? Are there no other options - no 'home schooling' or more urban/generic style high schools? If the answer is YES, then she needs to change schools - not change the school to fit her specific ticks and inflexible eccentricities.

    SIDE NOTE: A common trend in materialism - to force adaptation of environment to suite the materialist. IE Force breed mankind, force opinions of a minority on majority for 'progress', engineer animals and even the planet Earth itself to avoid adaptation - as in the AGW arguments.

    Maybe they should open their own regulated and up to code school for atheist kids?
    Then they could show the nation just how brilliant their kids are and just how potent their ideology is. Also, they could avoid being offended by the other children and their beliefs. Maybe they could hold baseball tournaments with Scientology academies and go on a senior sabbatical to Pyongyang?

    "majority trying to use government to force their religion on non-believers."
    Comments like above clearly show just how out of touch with reality some of these folks actually are.
    They read like a Soviet solvent addicts guide to law and religion.
    A Marxist Fear and Loathing in Rhode Island?

  3. "Comments like above clearly show just how out of touch with reality some of these folks actually are."

    A religious nut writing such a sentence is immensely ironic.

  4. "A religious nut writing such a sentence is immensely ironic."
    Anon, are you mistaking dramatic irony for irony?
    Do you mean that the sentence is hypocritical coming from someone who you deem a religious nut? Maybe contradictory or Dishonest?
    I suspect so.
    You have mistaken me for someone else. Your father, perhaps?
    No matter of import.
    I will simply reply with:
    An irreligious wussy troll regurgitating talking points is immensely banal.

  5. irreligious wussy troll regurgitating talking pointsOctober 19, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    What don't you understand?

    - You write about people being "out of touch with reality".
    - As a religious nut, you live in a fantasy world and are out of touch with reality.
    - Therefore it is extremely ironic that you make this statement.

  6. @regurgitating troll

    Remunerated for response:
    "What don't you understand?
    [1]- You write about people being "out of touch with reality".
    [2]- [a]As a religious [b]nut, you live in a [c]fantasy world and are out of touch with reality.
    - [3]Therefore it is extremely ironic that you make this statement."
    [my numbers]
    Maybe numbers are a problem to your materialism, but for those readers capable of abstractions I have included them as an aid.

    1. Yes. You specifically.
    2. a) No. Incorrect. Not very religious at all. In fact, religiously lax or impious may be a more fitting description of yours truly, I am shamed to say.
    b) Maybe a little nuts. We all are, I suppose. c)No. Mistaken again. I live in the real world that allows for your cocoon of comfy certitude. You would describe it as 'foreign' or 'the world'.
    3. Again, I think you mean hypocritical.
    Irony would imply that I was telling the truth and that even though I was a 'religious nut', I was correct.
    Example:'How ironic the religious nut should be the one calling for tolerance, while the so called liberals called for increased censorship of religious thought.' Is that what you mean? Are you agreeing with me, Troll?

  7. ...or is it more quixotic than that? Are you imagining all of us as players in your play, and that the character who has been created (CREATED!!) to howl out strange truths on tolerance has been cast as 'the religious nut'?
    If so you are applying DRAMATIC IRONY to a conversation with real living people.
    THAT would be a disconnect.
    Your dragon is, in that case, actually a windmill.

  8. @Mike,
    I actually came back to the post to answer the questions in my own manner, but had to return a snark or two :P
    Anyway here goes:
    1)The mural is a harmless, and historically/culturally valuable object. I do not even see the test of free speech in this mural, it goes nowhere near the limits of such rights as I understand them.
    2)The United States Federal District Court ( Providence, Rhode Island) is the arm of federal law and thus government force. It is this body that is being used to attempt the REMOVAL of the above (1) mentioned object, the 'prayer mural'.

    They must not have no real problems and plenty of money and free time in Rhode Island....

  9. CrucadeRex,

    You suggest that bullying of this girl was because she asked for it, and if she doesn’t like the giant prayer in her school she can go somewhere else. As if that wasn’t enough, you then go on to suggest segregated schools for atheists. Is this your idea of religious liberty?

    If a public school painted a giant mural of the Bakunin quote “He who desires to worship God must harbor no childish illusions about the matter but bravely renounce his liberty and humanity”, would it be fare to say that the offended students deserve to be bullied, or should find somewhere else to go to school? Of course not. A giant mural that offends the religious sensibilities of the minority is no more appropriate than one that offends the majority. Neither one of them belongs in a public school because we all share the same rights. It’s not up to you or anyone else to decide the level of offense a religious minority should be forced to suffer.

    Public schools must remain absolutely neutral on the subject of religion to protect the religious liberty of all students, and in the case of the youngest students, the right of the parents to teach their children whatever religious conviction they want without completion from a public school.

    If you feel it’s absolutely necessary to have overtly religious expression by your kid’s school, it’s you who can pull them out and stick them in a private school. Until then, don’t expect non-believing students and their parents to sit idly by while you fight to have your public schools send unwanted messages of religious inspiration.


  10. I was going to comment, but KW is doing such an excellent job that I've nothing more to add other than this:

    Everybody please re-read KW's comments word for word. They're the only thing on this thread that is written by somebody who actually understands the spirit and ideals of American freedom.

  11. @RIck K:

    I bet you felt a little tingle when you read KW's comment.

    I'll comment on it shortly in a post.

  12. Dr. Egnor, if you’re going to cut and paste from my comment, please feel free to correct my frequent bad spelling!


  13. @Mike,
    He got a thrill up his leg, even.

    KW, I will respond in the next thread, as this subject is carried over.