Vandalism/destruction #s of christian displays on govt. ground versus non-christian?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Explorer, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. Grand Moff Tim

    Grand Moff Tim Some call me... Tim

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    Ah. I see the problem. I was equating vandalization of religious displays with vandalization of religious buildings. Now I see why you had a problem with what I was saying. See, it'd have been helpful to point that out from the beginning. You weren't being helpful at all before.

    I legitimately didn't see where I was going wrong, but rather than just directly pointing out the conflict, you were an ass about it. Instead of "Actually, you said ______ but he said ______," you gave me "But you didn't give any evidence either way," and "That isn't what you saw, scroll back up :lol:." It was obnoxious and unnecessary.

    I'm perfectly willing and able to admit when I'm wrong about something. In this case, I can see that I was. There was absolutely no reason for this sidetrack to have gone on for more than two posts, apart from your apparent need to feel superior to everyone. Not that I expect you to take any of that to heart. Your posting history in here demonstrates a prevailing attitude that's in no danger of changing any time soon.
     
  2. sevenstringj

    sevenstringj Banned

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    I don't need to feel superior to everyone. Just Rosie O'Donnell. So, point taken. :yesway:
     
  3. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Wait... what?

    I stated that Governor Abbott ordered the removal of an opposing point of view from government property because it ran counter to his religious beliefs, while leaving the display supporting his religious beliefs in olace.

    He even used a manufactured quote, falsely attributed to George Washington, to argue not just against church/state separation, but also the true history of that separation of church and state in the US.

    http://ffrf.org/images/abbott-nativity-letter.pdf

    How do those facts obscure the lack of examples of christian displays on government property being either vandalized, or ordered to be removed while non-christian displays remain on the same government property? I don't know, but we might have different definitions of "to obscure."

    ----

    Just as a funny datapoint, I had no idea that the "War on Christmas" claims actually go back to Henry Ford, who claimed that the "war" was being waged by the Jews.

    ----

    sevenstringj, ultimately my point is that there is a beloved but false narrative embraced by many in is country, that there is a war on christmas, but there is much more evidence that there is a war on non-christian beliefs and displays during december, waged by christians.

    That's why I am still waiting on examples from this year of where christian displays were removed while non-christian displays were left up. That seems like low-hanging fruit... at least if the narrative is not a complete fabrication in support of a persecution fantasy.

    Wouldn't it be easier to just provide such examples than to argue? That would completely disprove my point. You would be right, and I would be wrong.

    Why wouldn't you want that, if such examples exist?

    Heck, even *I* would want to increase my knowledge base, and avoid being mistaken in thinking and claiming there aren't examples of exclusively christian displays ordered down on government property in December while leaving up other displays of non-christians.
     
  4. sevenstringj

    sevenstringj Banned

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    We can see what you originally said (and conveniently left out) vs what you're now claiming you said. That's backpedaling (which is ok as long as you're honest about it). And you got some ways to go still.

    You continue to misconstrue Abbott's letter. He didn't use that quote to argue against separation of church & state. He used it to show that the founding fathers wouldn't substitute the bill of rights for jesus. And he's right. He gave the wrong reason, but the point is valid: the constitution isn't holy.

    No one's bothering with your question because it's disingenuous. This was not simply a case of christian vs non-christian displays. This was a christian religious display vs a display that specifically & overtly mocks christianity. So you gave 1 example that isn't even a valid example of what you're talking about, but you expect counterexamples. :nono: Your other spin was that gov Abbott had it removed because he "hates the constitution and bill of rights." That's for the courts to decide, if the Freedom From Religion Foundation even sues.
     
  5. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    On the original post:

    As much as I agree that the existing persecution complex felt by many of the world's Christians is a false and manufactured narrative, I don't see how finding a counter-narrative is going to do anything other than add fuel to the fire. When one thinks the world is out to 'get them', every action undertaken by somebody that isn't 'on their side' is interpreted as an attack. Even if a large counter-narrative existed, I doubt it would sway the opinion of those that feel oppressed, for the same reason that multiple religious counter-narratives (Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Pastafarianism, etc...) tend to make them double down on their own faith rather than question it or explore other possibilities. Unfortunately, a stance that is taken largely on the basis of tradition and emotion isn't easily shaken by logic. This is as true of things like ideology and nationalism as it is of religion. Speaking of which ...

    If we're talking about the display in the picture earlier in the thread (Statue of Liberty and Winter Solstice), I don't see how it "specifically and overtly mocks Christianity". Is it mockery to hold one thing in higher regard than another? Is it mockery to hold secular values of freedom and justice in higher regard than religious values? If we're talking about the holiday season in particular, is it mockery to celebrate holding any kind of values at all in higher regard than the birth of a baby two thousand years ago?

    If the answer to those questions is seriously "Yes, promoting non-Christian ideas and values during Christmas makes a mockery of Christianity", I have to wonder why the vast majority of Christians aren't more upset by the existence of Santa Claus as a character. Every time somebody promotes the story of a jolly red weirdo using magic and elves to give 'free' shit to children it's not only making a mockery (one definition being "an absurd misrepresentation of something") of the Christmas story, it's overtly breaking a commandment by elevating a fictional character to god-like status. This literal mockery has been woven into Western culture so deeply that the first thing most people do on Christmas morning is open their gifts from 'Santa'.

    This is why this 'issue' (not that it's actually a fucking issue) continues in the culture. Every time a Christian is confronted by a non-Christian display it adds to their feeling of being mocked and persecuted, despite the fact that they represent the majority and are usually not being mocked so much as ignored. The display that was taken down was not trying to cater or appeal to Christians; it was intended for secular people that still like to celebrate and have fun at this time of year because what the fuck else is there to do when the religious majority have all gone on holiday? If anything, this will just lead to secular people using the religious loophole to create displays for Satanism and The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Surely this:

    [​IMG]

    Is more worthy of display in public than these:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. sevenstringj

    sevenstringj Banned

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    It’s not just a statue of liberty & winter solstice, it’s a mock nativity scene. I could answer your rhetorical questions “no” and not change the fact that it specifically lampoons christianity. The only question is whether its removal was constitutional, and that’d be up to the courts.

    Christians don’t worship Santa, so they’re not breaking any commandments or mocking jesus.

    Flying Spaghetti Monster On Display At Florida State Capitol Next To Festivus Pole, Nativity Scene :yesway:

    :rofl: Staring at a cardboard prop in a gov’t building doesn’t sound like fun to me. I’d rather go to a christmas party. 😜
     
  7. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    You assume that the point of the 'nativity' is to lampoon Christianity more so than to promote the values that the entire community can embrace instead of just the Christians; I don't think this is a safe assumption, as it ignores the display's strongest message (delivered with all the clunkiness of the average political cartoon: that the Bill of Rights and secular values should be given at least as much regard as a magical baby's birthday).

    I suppose this is part of why I find your argument confusing. In the space of three sentences you assert that the display has greater significance than I'm acknowledging ("not just a statue of liberty & winter solstice, it’s a mock nativity scene"), that its status as a mockery is the larger issue ("the fact that it specifically lampoons christianity"), and that its status as a mockery is irrelevant ("The only question is whether its removal was constitutional"). If the 'only question' is the constitutional status of the display, then any mention of mockery becomes irrelevant. That you've insisted yet again that the purpose of the display is to lampoon Christianity suggests you think there should be more than one question.

    This is exactly the point. Secularists don't worship anything. If paying more attention to Santa than to Jesus is not considered either worship or a mockery of Christianity, then logically, paying more attention to an overtly secular display than to Jesus is not a mockery Christianity. The display does not attack or make fun of Christianity. It just takes a form that you find familiar and sends an alternative message. If borrowing from somebody else's belief system to support and promote a different message is considered a mockery, then Christians make a mockery of Judaism every time they quote the Old Testament.

    :yesway:

    I have to agree with you that it doesn't sound like fun. That said, nor is anything else most people propose for Christmas celebrations. I think the overemphasis on gift-giving and feasts is pointlessly wasteful, particularly when so many people recognise the fact.

    I guess I just like the idea that the secular display offers a 'third choice'. I don't have to participate in or be overwhelmed by either the pro-Christian messages or the pro-spend-too-much-money-on-things-that-might-be-thrown-away-immediately messages. If you seriously can't see anything more than a mockery in the display then I'm at a loss.
     
  8. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    You do know that the George Washington quote in his letter was a fabrication, don't you? The quote comes from a fabricated prayer journal, misattributed to Washington. It's been rejected by those who study Washington and even the Smithsonian Institution, because of little details like : The handwriting doesn't even match Washington's.

    Here's a link to info about the book, with some pages showing the difference in handwriting, of interest to those who might like to see how obvious the difference is (and it really is).

    https://books.google.com/books?id=k9o6wEiANYcC&pg=PA53&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false

    If the governor has to rely on false sources to support his case, that doesn't help that case.

    Getting to the argument that the government can't allow something secular alongside something holy, the government shouldn't be holding *anything* as holy, or making judgments based on holiness. The US isn't ISIS.

    Unlike some other groups and governments, the US government shouldn't ever be worried about whether something gives offense to something holy. That's the path that leads to murderers like the religious terrorists who killed the staff at Charlie Hebdo.

    Estabon37, this is a great point. He's expended a lot of effort on the mockery idea, but if he really agrees with that last point, why did he keep going with the mockery thing?

    I'd invert that last point, and ask if the nativity display and the display of the bill of rights were both equally constitutional. That then allows leads to the answer of that subsequent question, whether removal of one constitutional display over another shows favoritism based on religion on the part of a government official.
     
  9. sevenstringj

    sevenstringj Banned

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    I wasn't assuming anything. Different sides will stress different aspects of the prop. But it was removed because it mocks christianity. "The only question..." means that the prop's mockery of christianity is fact, not that it's irrelevant.

    And jews would agree. But that doesn't change the fact that the prop mocks christianity. You're teetering on semantics. At best, you could call Abbott a hypocrite, though he seems like the type who actually does "pay more attention to" jesus than santa. :lol:

    I'm not saying that the only point of the prop was to mock christianity. Just pointing out the fact that it does and that that's why it was removed. These important facts were omitted from the op.

    I know all about it. Hence "he gave the wrong reason."
     
  10. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    No, we're both fully embedded in semantics, and that's not a bad thing. We're talking about the message and purpose of an installation in a government building, the intention of its creators, the interactions between its creators and the person that had it removed, and the reasoning behind the removal. There are few better examples of a semantic discussion, and you've provided at least one decent example yourself:

    That's an important detail, and we couldn't have continued the discussion effectively if you hadn't pointed it out, even though it's not central to the overall discussion. Semantics can be useful and important.

    So, with that in mind, I'd like to try to determine what part of the installation makes it a mockery, because you've reiterated three more times that its status as a mockery is a fact.

    The letter by Abbott highlights a couple of elements in particular. The first is that the scene takes place in a 'manger'. Being that the crib is the only evidence of this, would the display no longer be a mockery if that object were removed? What if, instead of being on a crib, the Bill of Rights were placed in an open box that had been wrapped like a Christmas present? Would that mean it was mocking Christmas traditions? If not, why not?

    The second is that the figures are 'worshipping' the Bill of Rights. By looking at it. Speaking as a non-American, the amount of time and effort American society seems to dedicate to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights admittedly looks a lot like worship at times, so maybe Abbott's concern is well placed. That said, if worshipping a legal document is normally somewhat acceptable, why would that not still be the case during Christmas? If it's normally not acceptable, do Abbott and his cohort spend time throughout the year campaigning against the promotion of legal documents over Christianity? (That commandment on idolatry is coming back into play a little bit here.)

    Finally, let's play out the scenario in which Abbott is correct. Let's say the display was designed with the primary (but not sole) intention of provoking and mocking the sincerely held beliefs of Christians in public in a government building in Texas. Abbott supports this theory by pointing out that the display "does not educate ... does not depict any other religion, much less does it depict religious 'diversity'.". How is this substantially different from the arguments supporting 'teaching the controversy' when it comes to teaching evolution vs creationism in Texan high schools? It seems that merely possessing a dissenting opinion is good enough reason for Texan legislators to create loopholes that allow teachers to promote creationism over evolution. There is no educational value in teaching creationism, particularly if you're avoiding religious diversity by not promoting the creation myths of other religions and cultures while blatantly attacking evolutionary science. Taking the same approach to the (far less insulting and damaging) display created by the FFRF would have seen it staying where it was in the interest of 'teaching the controversy'. Where's the legislative consistency?

    That last point seems to be where the problem lies. The only consistency to be found seems to be the self-interest of the legislators, including the promotion of their own faith and stamping out anything that promotes an alternative.
     
  11. sevenstringj

    sevenstringj Banned

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    FFRF themselves call it a nativity scene, so mocking christianity isn't semantics, it's fact.
     
  12. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    Is this one mocking Christianity?:

    [​IMG]

    How about this one?:

    [​IMG]

    This one might be; I mean, it seems it's trying to be the real deal, but it's failing miserably:

    [​IMG]

    I'm not debating whether or not the FFRF considers their installation a nativity scene, I'm analysing the installation itself and trying to determine what part of it makes it a mockery. I'm asking because it's really not as apparent as you seem to think it is. Help me out here. Simply recreating the nativity scene using alternative characters doesn't itself signify an attempt to mock. Look:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    These blocks allow you to alter the characters, meaning you can turn Mary into one of the shepherds. Is that mocking Christianity? No? How about this one?:

    [​IMG]

    There's a pretty good chance this was made by a Christian, but does that change its status as a mockery? Is it even a mockery? It looks tasty, and because I'm hungry, maybe that makes it seem less offensive.

    That last point allows me to cut to the chase. What about any of the nativity scenes presented above or by the FFRF is offensive / mocking? If we have a concrete answer, then we can come up with a solution to the problem. Simply reiterating yet again ...

    ... doesn't explain a single damn thing, and every time you dodge the question by changing the premise it makes you look like you're being belligerent just for the sake of it.

    The question again, as simply stated as it can possibly be:

    How is the following image offensive / mocking to Christianity?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Well, you seem to be skipping over a question prior to whether its removal based on religious grounds was constitutional: Does the Constitution forbid someone from mocking religion?

    So far, no, the Constitution doesn't forbid such. As far as I know, that's generally the province of groups like the Taliban and ISIS, not the US.

    That's not germane to the conversation, yet you keep bringing it up.

    ----

    Since you seem to want everyone to know the whole story, when the Orange County Atheists asked for permission to put up a holiday banner in the same space as a nativity display, the city banned all displays, rather than allow atheists to use the space in any way.

    In addition to his tweet, Abbott released a statement which said the city of Orange should...

    And here's that display.

    [​IMG]

    You've got a government official who is demonstrably wrong in his letter about the display having no educational purpose, wrong in claiming that atheists had shut down recognizing religion, and wrong in other ways as well.

    It looks like a christian who just doesn't want government to be neutral in advancing christianity over all other religions.

    Does the Constitution permit the government, including government officials acting in their official capacity, to favor one religious viewpoint over another?

    ----

    sevenstringj, could you do me a favor, and explain how having that banner recognizing many faiths could be a mockery of christianity?

    If it's not, and instead recognizes other religious holidays in December, could you explain how Abbott is not just promoting one religion over the others?


    I'm sure your answers to these last two questions will be informative.
     
  14. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Your posts on this topic are typical christian ignorance, retelling of misinformation (i.e. lies), cherry-picking (i.e. lies), distortions (i.e. lies), diversions and expectations of special privilege.
    First off, it doesn't mock any of the over 20,000 varieties of christianity. Second, the government providing protection for christianity over other forms of speech is a 1st Amendment violation. Third, the LIES that Gov Abbott used as justification were inappropriate and yet more evidence that he used his position to enforce exclusive access of a christian message. Fourth, the authors of The Constitution would likely have gotten a laugh out of the display, because they were non-christians (diets and unitarians are not christians).Fifth, if your mythology is so fragile that it can't stand-up to competition around the Winter Solstice, then it's not very powerful to begin with.

    This last one is important, because for nearly the first half of christianity's existence, they didn't celebrate the birth of the Christ character. Then, when they did, they made it historically inaccurate by latching on to all the existing Winter Solstice celebrations and through the years, christians has usurped the traditions of the original holidays/celebrations.
    You want Counter examples? Here, Let me Google that for you. If you actually bothered to look, you'd see plenty of examples. And these include the benign "Reason for the Season", "You're not alone.", "Celebrating ALL the Holidays that occur at this time.", etc. banners and displays. Christians expect special privilege and their beliefs are so fragile that they cannot tolerate any message other than their own, ESPECIALLY during the winter holiday season which they usurped from older mythologies and non-mythological celebrations.

    And these are just the displays that went up. There have been plenty of legal cases where governments have tried to suppress non-christian displays on government property and have not yet been taken to court. Then you have the christians that get all pouty like a six-year-old and shut down all displays, instead of sharing, and then blame the non-christians for ruining their unconstitutional activities.
    Oh, he very clearly loves them, he just either feels they provide christians special privilege, or he's actively lying/ignoring them to pander to Texan voters.
     
  15. sevenstringj

    sevenstringj Banned

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    :lol: @ you guys bending over backwards to skirt facts & deflect. I'm now christian because I provided a link to the full story & Abbott's letter, and your "misinformation, cherry-picking, distortions, diversions" don't hold up. Kinda like when Explorer repeatedly insisted that liberal legal scholars were really "contrarians on the extreme right" because they disagreed with him on 1 point. :rolleyes:

    "Do these other nativity scenes mock christianity?" No, because they're not replacing jesus with the constitution, so they're not mocking the idea that he's god's son or savior. How about sticking to the prop in question in the context in question, instead of digging up false analogies?

    "Does the constitution forbid someone from mocking religion?" A rhetorical question AND a straw man. The question is, does the constitution forbid Abbott from removing from gov't premises a prop that singles out christianity for mockery? Answer: it'll be up to the courts if & when FFRF sue. I'm sure you'll keep us abreast of developments. :yesway:

    "You want Counter examples?" No, because Explorer's own example wasn't valid as I explained in the same post you quoted, plus the whole who's-more-"persecuted" angle is childish and non sequitur here.
     
  16. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I'm sorry but as someone who has just been reading along it seems patently clear that you're the one who is doing this, not the others.
     
  17. sevenstringj

    sevenstringj Banned

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    You, like them, do nothing more than proclaim. The fact that you quote me but conveniently omit where I give examples & explain how they're deflecting and skirting facts tells me you're being biased & insincere. If not, then quote & address the rest of my post.
     
  18. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    ssj, I think the problem you're running into is two-fold.

    People are seeing pictures of what Abbott has been attacking.

    You've argued about at least one of the displays as mockery, and therefore possibly not a valid expression of speech in a government building.

    Regarding the first problem, when people are seeing the displays, it's possible that they are not inclined to allow special pleading about why one possibly exclusive display trumps one which is inclusive, even of the possibly exclusive display.

    And that relates to the second problem, that you appear to be making that kind of special pleading, and they're calling it out as BS.

    That second problem, not necessarily about your own special pleading but definitely attributable to Abbott's, is his public statement about needing to keep that more inclusive banner out of the public square while having a nativity continue.

    When people see that second display, and then hear that it was opposed in favor of an exclusive one, it doesn't matter how much you argue about points being irrelevant, or strawmen, or whatever else you might say. The motivations for the actions against that last inclusive display are too obvious for the average person to ignore.

    The one other point that you might be missing out on is that the nativity is excluding all those who aren't christian, who don't follow that path. That means that a section of the population isn't being allowed to speak in the public square, and that a display acknowledging their Constitutional right to speak is being censored... which some might consider a mockery of Constitutional freedoms. I know, not a big deal to some.

    ----

    I do have my doubts that you might look at the displays and attempt to see any view of them other than the one you seem to have espoused.
     
  19. sevenstringj

    sevenstringj Banned

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    No, that's your (and others') attempt to drag me into an argument or conclusion that's for the courts to decide. All I'm saying is Abbott removed it because it mocks christianity, which he argued, thus far successfully, violates Texas State Preservation Board's regulations. You omitted this info in your op.

    What you're calling "special pleading" is merely including all the facts and letting the courts decide. You're still straw manning the situation. It's not "an exclusive display" vs "an inclusive display." A nativity scene in and of itself isn't exclusive or inclusive; the SPACE is either inclusive or exclusive, and there are plenty examples of atheist & non-christian religious displays cohabiting with christian displays. This scenario is a christian display vs a display that specifically mocks christianity. To pretend that it only honors the bill of rights is childish. Whether Abbott's "motives" or reasons for removing it are constitutional or "constitute a mockery of constitutional freedoms" as you put it is for the courts to decide.
     
  20. RustInPeace

    RustInPeace SS.org Regular

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