Pharyngula

Little Axe, Oklahoma

Americans United has put up a story of religious discrimination from its files. Two women had a little problem with institutionalized religiosity in an Oklahoma public school district.

In 1981, Bell had just moved to Little Axe and enrolled her children in the local public school system. At that time, school officials were allowing a teacher-sponsored student group called the Son Shine Club to gather before school to pray.

Though the fundamentalist Baptist meetings were supposedly voluntary, the school buses dropped students off 30 minutes before classes started. Those who were not attending the religious meetings had to wait outside the building, sometimes in the rain or cold. The Son Shine sessions also extended into first-hour class time, Bell said.

This is typical: public schools aren’t supposed to endorse sectarian religion, but what they’ll often do is give certain religions a few extra privileges, and be a bit more accommodating…and the boundaries get pushed back a bit. It’s smooth and easy to do that, but trying to roll back those unwarranted privileges isn’t so pleasant.

After contacting the ACLU and filing a lawsuit, Bell and McCord became the subjects of hatred and even violence. Bell’s house was burned down by a firebomb. McCord’s 12-year-old son’s prize goats were slashed and mutilated with a knife. Bell was assaulted by a school cafeteria worker who smashed her head repeatedly against a car door. (School authorities praised the cafeteria worker, and she was forced to pay a $10 fine and Bell’s hospital bills, community residents raised donations on the assailant’s behalf.) McCord and Bell were both mailed their own obituaries.

Don’t make assumptions though: McCord and Bell were not atheists, although they were accused of being atheists. They just belonged to Christian churches that weren’t part of the dominant Baptist sect in the area. They still came to a rather reasonable conclusion.

“When I began the suit, I just wanted to stop the religious services at school, but I supported the idea of nonsectarian prayer in the classroom during school,” McCord told the National Catholic Reporter. “Since I’ve seen what religion can do to a community, I don’t support any religious observance in school.”

Amen, sister.

Comments

  1. #1 Richard Wolford
    November 26, 2008

    I don’t get it, you’re shocked? Come on PZ, those are clearly True Christian (TM) values at work there! Afterall, how many countless religious folk have been the target of militant atheists? Huh, how many, huh?

    Oh…none? Hmmm…well then…

    /sarcasm

    Was it Thomas Paine that said it takes religion to make good people do evil things? Not that these are good people mind you.

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    November 26, 2008

    At least any claim that religion in schools is conducive to crime prevention and peaceful coexistence is readily contradicted by such reactions.

    Unfortunately, though, the appeal to tribalism can be much stronger than any appeal the “ideals” of religion.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  3. #3 Karen
    November 26, 2008

    I’ve talked quite a lot with my friends who were raised in religious households – those who ‘recovered’ from their childhood education. In every case, it’s been the sheer stupidity and hypocrisy used in defense of bigotry and ignorance that sent them fleeing.

    I’m sorry these folks had to learn the hard way – but glad the story is out.

  4. #4 Kobra
    November 26, 2008

    That’s what any True Christian

  5. #5 BobC
    November 26, 2008

    Bell’s house was burned down by a firebomb. McCord’s 12-year-old son’s prize goats were slashed and mutilated with a knife. Bell was assaulted by a school cafeteria worker who smashed her head repeatedly against a car door.

    What’s the difference between Muslim terrorists and Christians?

    Nothing.

  6. #6 bunnycatch3r
    November 26, 2008

    The communities’ response was petty and amateurish -it was a simpler time. But even today kristians find themselves embarrassingly out distanced by their Taliban brethren. Islamic fascist have successfully adapted to an 8th century mentality while they leave their kristian counterparts stuck in the 16th century.
    Despite their efforts kristians cannot come up with a solution to overcome individual liberties in a country committed to the bill of rights.

  7. #7 zer0
    November 26, 2008

    These guys took Fatwa envy to a whole new level!

  8. #8 The Petey
    November 26, 2008

    What’s the difference between Muslim terrorists and Christians?
    Nothing.

    well, at least the muslim terrorist blow themselves up once in a while

  9. #9 The Petey
    November 26, 2008

    These idiots might also have been reacting to the involvement of the ACLU which seems to have been successfully demonized in the right.

  10. #10 spgreenlaw
    November 26, 2008

    Bell’s house was burned down by a firebomb. McCord’s 12-year-old son’s prize goats were slashed and mutilated with a knife. Bell was assaulted by a school cafeteria worker who smashed her head repeatedly against a car door. (School authorities praised the cafeteria worker, and she was forced to pay a $10 fine and Bell’s hospital bills, community residents raised donations on the assailant’s behalf.) McCord and Bell were both mailed their own obituaries.

    But there’s been no terrorist attacks in the country since 9/11 and the War on Terror began!

    I’m guessing this will be ignored by the press and the public the same way abortion clinic bombings are.

  11. #11 CLM
    November 26, 2008

    This is one of the reasons why Oklahoma is the reddest of red states. No other state gave McCain a higher percentage of votes, 66%. Not one single county went blue. I’ve lived in Oklahoma most of my life. I’ve encountered that type of ignorance but not that level of violence. It is this kind of religious bigotry that informs their politics.

  12. #12 spgreenlaw
    November 26, 2008

    And my dyslexia strikes again. That’s from 1981. D’oh.

  13. #13 raven
    November 26, 2008

    A lot of the rural areas in the midwest are emptying out and becoming all but ghost towns. My relatives lived (past tense) in one such and near where PZ lives. The town periodically buys up or obtains vacant houses for back taxes. They then bulldoze them to keep the place from looking like it is abandoned.

    From Little Axe, DFN, I can see why. Why live in the middle of nowhere with ignorant, violent morons when one can move somewhere else with jobs and a better climate?

  14. #14 John M
    November 26, 2008

    Do be careful on the street, PZ. Some of these Oklahoma-types might hold enough back from the plate on Sunday to buy a bus ticket to Minnesota. People suffering ‘cultural insanity’ think civil law doesn’t apply to them, and we wouldn’t want to see you ending up another atheist martyr like JL. Leave that kind of thing to xtians and mohammedans – they seem to enjoy it.

  15. #15 JackC
    November 26, 2008

    @10: “Ignored by the press”?? I don’t know why it should be. After all, the event itself is ONLY about 27 years old….

    Good to see that Bell went on th become the director of the local ACLU at least.

    JC

  16. #16 ed
    November 26, 2008

    I wonder what the average IQ in Little Axe is; are they inbred or just naturally stupid.

  17. #17 Conor H.
    November 26, 2008

    CLM,

    Yep, I’ve said the same thing about Oklahoma. It’s a nice place to visit, but damn, the people are intolerable.

    As a farm boy, it’s a shame to me that all the best places in this country, with the most wide open space and scenic countryside are full of the most dimwitted, sectarian and ignorant people.

  18. #18 John C. Randolph
    November 26, 2008

    it takes religion to make good people do evil things

    Actually, what it takes is obedience. Religion is just one way of obtaining it.

    -jcr

  19. #19 waldteufel
    November 26, 2008

    Hitchens is right. Religion poisons everything.

    My experience with fundie christianity is that religion poisons, threatens, bullies, and wallows in superstitious horse shit.

  20. #20 DaveL
    November 26, 2008

    Actually, what it takes is obedience. Religion is just one way of obtaining it.

    Quite right. To paraphrase Bob Altenberg, you need to (at least temporarily) strike the word “No” from someone’s vocabulary. Religion just discovered long ago that a quick and sure way to do that is to start by eliminating the words “Oh really?”.

  21. #21 Warren
    November 26, 2008

    This is why I’m in favor of armed atheists.

  22. #22 kermit
    November 26, 2008

    jcr – “Actually, what it takes is obedience. Religion is just one way of obtaining it.”

    Oh, I dunno. Do you think there was someone giving orders? This was mob behavior – instinctive, thoughtless, and defensive. The behavior of chimps when they realize a couple of outsiders have wandered into their territories.

    A sheriff or preacher or school principal might have stopped it, but he/she would have been working against their natural inclinations.

  23. #23 Alan B
    November 26, 2008

    I believe Glenn #2 has got this dead right – this is a tribal response and has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. It is totally indefensible.

    However, to quote one of the ladies:

    “When I began the suit, I just wanted to stop the religious services at school …”

    The story is incomplete but I wonder if there was not a better way forward than to call out the ACLU and slap a law suit on the school. I would have been content with ensuring my children were in a safe environment once they were handed over to the school (i.e. not left outside and unsupervised). Trying to impose the stopping of religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed by the community seems unnecessarily confrontational.

    The violent response is still totally indefensible.

    Alan

  24. #24 Dan506
    November 26, 2008

    What everyone needs to keep in mind is that these aren’t ‘evil’ people, nor are they stupid people – these are brainwashed people.

    That is the truly terrifying part.

    To make bad people do bad things is meaningless, to make good people do bad things takes real power – it takes religion.

  25. #25 Patricia
    November 26, 2008

    This could happen anywhere in Oregon and I doubt if anyone would be surprised. Portland is pretty decent, but elsewhere – ugly.

  26. #26 ed
    November 26, 2008

    “Trying to impose the stopping of religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed by the community seems unnecessarily confrontational.”

    Confrontational perhaps but clearly necessary. If we fail to oppose stupidity then we lose.

  27. #27 Michelle
    November 26, 2008

    Holy SHIT! And these are the people that say muslims are violent?

    I spit on you.

  28. #28 jynnan_tonnyx
    November 26, 2008

    Alan, #23: “Trying to impose the stopping of religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed by the community seems unnecessarily confrontational.”

    Nice concern trolling. But I’m not sure that Constitutional principles should be so freely discarded in the name of community harmony. If government-sponsored religious services WEREN’T welcomed by the community, we wouldn’t need Constitutional protection from them.

  29. #29 BobC
    November 26, 2008

    Trying to impose the stopping of religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed by the community seems unnecessarily confrontational.

    Right, let’s not confront traitors who are trying to make America a theocracy. We should respect Christian assholes.

  30. #30 jynnan_tonnyx
    November 26, 2008

    Dan506, #24: “What everyone needs to keep in mind is that these aren’t ‘evil’ people, nor are they stupid people – these are brainwashed people.”

    Says who? Do you think these sickos would be any LESS violent if they didn’t have religion? They’d just find other things to be violent about.

  31. #31 Ryan F Stello
    November 26, 2008

    One more thing to be thankful for this year: not living near such high-spirited folk.

    I hope that Bell can get them to see the light.

  32. #32 Alverant
    November 26, 2008

    I am disgusted by this story. Why isn’t this being called terrorism?

  33. #33 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    November 26, 2008

    this is a tribal response and has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity.

    As long as Christians maintain that being Christian improves morality or is even required to be moral at all, it will remain relevant.

    Trying to impose the stopping of religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed

    I can see why you might think it’s too confrontational, but using school resources like that to subsidize a sectarian religious service is illegal no matter how “welcome” it is by the community, and it was obviously the safety/health issue that triggered the suit in the first place.

  34. #34 BobC
    November 26, 2008

    What everyone needs to keep in mind is that these aren’t ‘evil’ people, nor are they stupid people – these are brainwashed people.

    If they had any intelligence at all they would be able to recover from their indoctrination. We are talking about people who believe Jebus was a god-man. I agree they’re brainwashed, but they are also stupid, the most stupid people in human history in my opinion.

  35. #35 Mozglubov
    November 26, 2008

    Ahh, the good old “voluntary” religious groups. I remember at my junior high school when I lived in western PA the school had “Jesus Week”. When I protested that this wasn’t right, the response was “Well, people could have a Hindu week, just no one organized that.”

  36. #36 Josh
    November 26, 2008

    What everyone needs to keep in mind is that these aren’t ‘evil’ people, nor are they stupid people – these are brainwashed people.

    Who would you cite as an example of an actual evil person or group of evil people?

  37. #37 Richard Wolford
    November 26, 2008

    Actually, what it takes is obedience. Religion is just one way of obtaining it.

    And I would argue the most effective way.

    Trying to impose the stopping of religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed by the community seems unnecessarily confrontational.

    Alan, you don’t seem to get the point. Whether or not the services were welcomed is simply a very poorly constructed straw man argument; we’re not discussing whether they were welcomed or not; clearly, at least two people did not welcome these rituals. The US Constitution forbids religious activity on school property during school time. The students in question were relocated to accommodate religious activities, which I’m sure helped to single them out and make them feel even more awkward with their peers. I figure some other action was attempted, but failed, so the ACLU was called in to take care of the issue.

  38. #38 Ryan F Stello
    November 26, 2008

    Dan506 (#24) suggested,

    these are brainwashed people

    Brainwashing implies passivity. They are not passive.

    These are people in full control of their violent actions, and that’s the quality that makes me think they’re “evil”, for lack of a better word to describe their capriciousness.

  39. #39 jynnan_tonnyx
    November 26, 2008

    Richard @ #37: “Alan, you don’t seem to get the point. Whether or not the services were welcomed is simply a very poorly constructed straw man argument”

    Technically, it’s a non-sequitor. But good point otherwise.

  40. #40 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    NOT that this type of thing might not be happening now..

    The story is from 1981, so take into account that comments about these people in Little Axe “were” those people in Little Axe.

    Things could be the same (probably) or different, just seems some commenters are missing this part…

    In 1981, Bell had just moved to Little Axe and enrolled her children in the local public school system.

    And the ACLU case was in 1985

  41. #41 BobC
    November 26, 2008

    I remember at my junior high school when I lived in western PA the school had “Jesus Week”.

    There should have been a lawsuit. Our wall of separation between religious insanity and public schools must be respected.

    At my Catholic grammar school every week was Jebus week. My public high school in a wealthy Chicago suburb was much different. Not once in my 4 years there did I hear anyone talking about Jebus or the Magic Fairy. The students were there to get an education. Nobody wanted to waste time with religious bullshit.

  42. #42 Timothy Wood
    November 26, 2008

    @ 21
    Yeah, I’m generally a pacifist, but at times *cough* I have second thoughts.

  43. #43 Tomcat
    November 26, 2008

    1981, folks. 27 years ago.

    Outrageous behavior to be sure but this is ancient history. If you’re going to stir up the troops, there must be something a little more, um, fresher. This isn’t too much different from those middle east grudges that go back 500 years that justify the continuing savagery.

  44. #44 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Oh, I dunno. Do you think there was someone giving orders?

    Yes, at least in part by the school but also by the “religious community” of the town. Not just mob mentality.

    The meetings had been started by several students and a faculty sponsor so “that youth would be influenced in a positive way to seek God and good in their own lives and in others.”2 Pl.Ex. 35. The meetings were advertised by posters in the halls and announcements in school publications.3 Between five and forty students, including elementary age schoolchildren, attended the meetings that began shortly after school buses arrived.4 Speakers sometimes appeared at the invitation of a student, but usually at the behest of a teacher or a person unrelated to the school. The speakers included a minister, local athletes, and others speaking about how God and Christianity had benefited the speaker in his or her daily life. The program also included prayers, songs, and “testimony” of students and other individuals concerning the benefits of knowing Jesus Christ.

  45. #45 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 26, 2008

    Posted by: Alan B | November 26, 2008

    The story is incomplete but I wonder if there was not a better way forward than to call out the ACLU and slap a law suit on the school. I would have been content with ensuring my children were in a safe environment once they were handed over to the school (i.e. not left outside and unsupervised). Trying to impose the stopping of religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed by the community seems unnecessarily confrontational.

    The school is a public and government institution. The US government is not supposed to endorse any particular religion. What part of this do you not understand? Bell and McCord had every right to bring to an end a practice that was wrong to begin with. A confrontation would happen no matter what Bell and McCord did in opposition to this.

  46. #46 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Even more so the school board Dared the ACLU to come after them.

    Typical of school boards who do this type of thing.

    The school board first considered the issue at a board meeting in April 1981 before an agitated crowd. On a 4-1 vote, the board decided to permit the meetings to continue until such time as the meetings were declared unlawful. Prior to the vote, the dissenting board member, Sheri Lambeth, expressed her concern that the meetings were against the law and that the board was obliged to uphold the law. Another board member shared Lambeth’s concern that the meetings were unlawful, but voted to continue them. Following the vote, the board president, Elizabeth Butts, exclaimed, “bring on the ACLU.” Tr., vol. I, at 35-36. At no time did the board or the administration solicit a legal opinion as to the constitutionality of the meetings. The meetings resumed, and the plaintiffs filed this action.5

  47. #47 William Nash
    November 26, 2008

    What is appalling is that the so-called christians don’t seem to care about how their childish behavior doesn’t reflect the christian model of love and tolerance of those who may not agree with you. Of course,Ive seldom seen them behave that way ever! The title of the program: “Son Shine”? What creativity!
    I really like your site! This is just what is needed in the battle for rationalism vs a nation of Biblical Law and the pseudoscience of ID.
    Thanks!

  48. #48 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 26, 2008

    Tomcat, it is helpful to actually read the link before you dismiss it out of hand.

    November 25, 2008

    With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight a story that reminds me why I am thankful to work for Americans United and the cause of church-state separation.

    Last Sunday, Dr. Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists interviewed Joann Bell on his radio show.

    Dr. Prescott, a member of the Americans United Board of Trustees, invited Bell on “Religious Talk,” not to discuss her work as executive director of the Oklahoma American Civil Liberties Union, but to explore her personal story. As a mother in Little Axe, Okla., Bell experienced first-hand how government-sponsored religion can destroy a community.

    Joann Bell is living and active. It seems that this disgusting action from twenty seven years ago is what lead to her being a director in the ACLU. This is not ancient history. This is a mindset we have to deal with in the here and now.

    Also, how was Bell and McCord being savage. The savagery was directed at their families.

  49. #49 BobC
    November 26, 2008

    1981, folks. 27 years ago. Outrageous behavior to be sure but this is ancient history. If you’re going to stir up the troops, there must be something a little more, um, fresher. This isn’t too much different from those middle east grudges that go back 500 years that justify the continuing savagery.

    1981 is ancient? Are you sure you want to compare 1981 to 1508?

    This is from 2005. Is that recent enough for you?

    Jewish family flees Delaware school district’s aggressive Christianity

    The average Christians are stupid assholes who want to impose their idiocy on everyone else. That will never change until Christianity is eradicated.

  50. #50 Sha
    November 26, 2008

    Yeah, this sounds like Oklahoma. I’ve lived in Tulsa my entire life (which I’d like to believe is one of the more progressive areas in the state). When I was in Middle School, there was a weekly event called Panthers for Christ in the school cafeteria, in which a local church spent the hour proselytizing and more importantly serving doughnuts.

    I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness (which is still a Christian sect) and didn’t attend these meetings because they were obviously not True ChristiansTM. I caught so much hell for not going, I eventually caved in to peer pressure and went for the doughnuts.

  51. #51 CJO
    November 26, 2008

    1981, folks. 27 years ago… ancient history.

    Whew. I sure am glad that crusty old things like, oh, the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, Watergate, the Iranian revolution, and the election of Reagan, can safely be ignored now, being ancient history, and thus irrelevant to modern life.

  52. #52 Eamon Knight
    November 26, 2008

    And note: the plaintiffs/victims in this case, so far from being atheists, were Nazarene and Church of Christ — two sects that are theologically well into the same neck of the woods as conservative Baptists, maybe even more so. From the outside, this can be seen as originating in intra-fundamentalist squabbles over minor dogmatic differences that pretty much no one else cares about. However, the essence of religious freedom is that people have the absolute right to their own opinion and practice on these matters, and that the instruments of government may not be used to privilege any one faction or view over others. Church-state separation (historically, and still today) is there to protect the religious from each other, just as much as it protects us infidels from the religious.

    But the tribalists are too stupid to see that, or too selfish to go along with it.

  53. #53 dave s
    November 26, 2008

    Bit of an irony that Charles Darwin dealt with a milder version when the Church of England vicar the Revd. George Sketchley Ffinden took over Down parish in November 1871 and took control of the village school which up to then had been run by Darwin, the local landowner Lubbock, and the incumbent Anglican priest, with a “conscience clause” for children of other denominations. Ffinden began lessons on the Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican faith, upsetting local Baptists. Darwin withdrew from the committee and cut his annual donation to the church, subsequently falling out with Ffinden.

    A more vicious boot on the other foot in this case.

  54. #54 wolfa
    November 26, 2008

    public schools aren’t supposed to endorse sectarian religion, but what they’ll often do is give certain religions a few extra privileges, and be a bit more accommodating…and the boundaries get pushed back a bit.

    For example, many public schools are closed on major Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter (and Sundays), but not closed on major holidays for other religions.

  55. #55 Owlmirror
    November 26, 2008

    When I was in Middle School, there was a weekly event called Panthers for Christ

    That’s vaguely amusing if you know that one of the stories about Jesus is that he was the son of a Roman soldier named “Panthera”.

    http://ptet.dubar.com/misc-panthera.html

  56. #56 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    For example, many public schools are closed on major Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter (and Sundays), but not closed on major holidays for other religions.

    I know. I’m still pissed that school is open on National Day of Slayer and ? day.

  57. #57 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 26, 2008

    Posted by: wolfa | November 26, 2008

    For example, many public schools are closed on major Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter (and Sundays), but not closed on major holidays for other religions.

    Funny thing, the non christians do not have to attend a christian service on the off days.

    Silly question, are the public schools closed on Saturdays because it is the jewish sabbath?

  58. #58 CaptainKendrick
    November 26, 2008

    Aw, COME ON everybody!!!!

    This took place in 1981, for crying out loud!!!

    We’ve progressed so far as a nation and a civilization, that this is just an irrelevant tidbit of past history. Surely you don’t honestly believe that this sort of thing is still going or could happen these days, do you?????

    snicker. snicker.

  59. #59 Alan B
    November 26, 2008

    Re: #23, 28, 33, 37 and any others I missed out!

    You will notice that I am not defending:

    The actions taken by the community (indefensible)
    The imposition of a form of sectarian church service in public schools (presumably it had been declared unconstitutional in 1981 and hence indefensible)

    I am just not particularly surprised at the reaction. If you try to take a favoured toy away from a 2 year old child then you should not be surprised if you get tantrums.

    I was trying to put myself in the position of the parent of the child and I can see 2 issues here:

    Firstly: My child is being denied access to a public school during times when it is reasonable that they should (the school bus has brought them onto school premises). They are not being adequately supervised and are being put at risk. No school can justify that action. This is my first priority and this is where I personally would deal with the situation, not going for closing down this particular school and community-supprted activity.

    Secondly: There is an unconstitutional activity going on here but one that IS clearly supported by the local community. I would have thought in a small, probably tight-knit, community in 1981 the reaction was predictable. I then have to count the cost of taking action. If I choose to go ahead then that is my constitutional right and I shouldn’t have to put up with the reaction but that reaction will come so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    My dilemma is: should I be the one to take it and put my family’s and in particular my child’s well being at a predictable risk? In the circumstances, MY PERSONAL answer is no. If someone else wants to then go ahead FINE but my responsibility first and foremost as a parent is to my child and family.

    If I really wanted to do this thing then I shouldn’t be surprised when the tribe reacts against me. Especially if I state my objective to be

    “When I began the suit, I just wanted to stop the religious services at school …”

    Please don’t accuse me of being a troll just because I would probably take an alternative choice to what many of you think I should follow.

    Alan

  60. #60 Christophe Thill
    November 26, 2008

    More Christian love…

    This reminds me (at a slightly lower level, as there were physical agressions, but no one killed) of the wave of anti-Christian violence in an Indian state recently. The local Hindu leaders said that those Christian converts only “thought” they were Christians, and that they’re just misguided Hindus. As for the Christian priests, they complained that the Hindus spread intolerance and want to become a state religion. Congratulation, father: you just discovered the virtues of secularism…

  61. #61 Tomecat
    November 26, 2008

    1981, folks. 27 years ago… ancient history.

    This is NOT ancient history folks, and for those who

    wonder if there was not a better way forward than to call out the ACLU and slap a law suit on the school

    They didn’t start out with a lawsuit. That came in 1985, and well after they were falsely called commies and atheists and told to “go home” for broaching the subject with the school board.

    These women absolutely did the right thing, and it’s sickening that they and their families were attacked so cruelly . That the school superintendent could publicly state that “The only people who have been hurt by this thing are the Bells and McCords. The school goes on. They chose to create their own hell on earth.”, is even more sickening.

    p.s. also wanted to distinguish myself from tomcat above

  62. #62 Peter
    November 26, 2008

    See how these Christians love one another, as that old crapmouth St Paul said.

  63. #63 wolfa
    November 26, 2008

    Silly question, are the public schools closed on Saturdays because it is the jewish sabbath?

    I have assumed so, but I have no idea; even if it’s not historically the case, it advantages people whose sabbaths are Saturday or Sunday.

    Funny thing, the non christians do not have to attend a christian service on the off days.

    Christians don’t have to skip school, or use up their paid holidays, or take an unpaid day, in order to celebrate their holidays. In fact, atheists who have a Christian background (parents, say, or grandparents) don’t either, as they tend to continue to celebrate (in a secular way) Christmas.

    The non-Christians don’t have to attend those services either. Oh, they’re *inconvenienced* by not being of the right religion, but it’s just inconvenient. And then there are fights when people try to roll back the privilege, as I assume there would be fights if we tried to remove religious holidays from secular calendars.

    Argue that it’s not a good idea for whatever reasons, and I’ll probably agree with you. But it’s hard to argue that privileging of certain religions isn’t already enshrined. People are just used to it, so it’s less obvious.

  64. #64 Noni Mausa
    November 26, 2008

    … religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed…

    We don’t know they were unanimously welcomed. All we really know is that there were some people who insisted on these prayer sessions (viewing violence as an acceptable enforcement option), and two who didn’t, and an unknown number who either disliked the services or didn’t care either way, but kept their mouths shut because they knew the potential for violence from the enforcers.

    It is even possible that the majority of Little Axeans belonged to the third group. Burning down a house carries a lot of enforcement muscle.

    Also, it’s easy to have a unanimous small town when all dissenters are driven out. A friend of mine lived in such a town. Like all small towns, it was desperate for health professionals and my girlfriend was a nurse, but she stayed less than 18 months because she was Baha’i and didn’t go to church and her family was shunned and treated very nastily by the very people she was helping.

    That was 26 years ago. That town is still small, still poor, and still resentful of outsiders. Like the jealous man whose jealousy prevents him keeping a girlfriend, these communities self-select for failure, and the best anyone can do about it is move away and stay away.

    Noni

  65. #65 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Secondly: There is an unconstitutional activity going on here but one that IS clearly supported by the local community. I would have thought in a small, probably tight-knit, community in 1981 the reaction was predictable.

    They openly dared the ACLU to come and do something about it. They were the ones violating “your” children’s rights and the rights of other citizens. Whether or not it was acceptable by the community doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be dealt with.

    I then have to count the cost of taking action. If I choose to go ahead then that is my constitutional right and I shouldn’t have to put up with the reaction but that reaction will come so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    And the reaction while not surprising is still unacceptable and should be treated as such.

    My dilemma is: should I be the one to take it and put my family’s and in particular my child’s well being at a predictable risk? In the circumstances, MY PERSONAL answer is no. If someone else wants to then go ahead FINE but my responsibility first and foremost as a parent is to my child and family.

    Ah but yes. Of course people have to make personal decisions about these things but that is completely beside the point here. The point is that the school is the one at fault here, not the parent making the case against them, community support or not.

    Trying to impose the stopping of religious services at a school where they were clearly welcomed by the community seems unnecessarily confrontational.

    No. It is 100% necessarily confrontational as a legal position if you want the change to be made. Whether you choose to do anything about it personally is another thing all together. Doing nothing allows the violations to continue. The overwhelming posibility is that they would not stop if left unchallenged legally.

  66. #66 chocolatepie
    November 26, 2008

    But when the Goyim go to Walgreens for firebomb materials, the asshole cashier has the NERVE to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” I CALL PERSECUTION!!11

  67. #67 Richard Wolford
    November 26, 2008

    Technically, it’s a non-sequitor. But good point otherwise.

    Actually, all logical fallacies are non-sequitor. The argument was a straw man because a new issue was raised and attacked without responding to the original issue. But anyway, it’s a moot point.

    Alan, your points are well taken, don’t take my comments as an attack, just a debate.

    Secondly: There is an unconstitutional activity going on here but one that IS clearly supported by the local community. I would have thought in a small, probably tight-knit, community in 1981 the reaction was predictable. I then have to count the cost of taking action. If I choose to go ahead then that is my constitutional right and I shouldn’t have to put up with the reaction but that reaction will come so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    If a small town community decided that it was better to simply execute jaywalkers, would you not attempt to stop them, even if the entire community clearly supported the activity? Would you not attempt to stop it because you feared what the reaction would be?

    It’s an extreme example, granted, but do you see what I mean?

  68. #68 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Alan, your points are well taken, don’t take my comments as an attack, just a debate.

    Mine either for that matter

  69. #69 Richard Wolford
    November 26, 2008

    No. It is 100% necessarily confrontational as a legal position if you want the change to be made. Whether you choose to do anything about it personally is another thing all together. Doing nothing allows the violations to continue. The overwhelming posibility is that they would not stop if left unchallenged legally.

    Rev., do you recall the person who said that no one makes a greater mistake than the one who does nothing because they could do so little? I think it seems to somewhat apply here. Just a thought.

  70. #70 Shamar
    November 26, 2008

    Can you guys please tear this ignorant article apart?

    http://reporternews.com/news/2008/nov/23/no-headline—brian_burgess/

    Thanks….

  71. #71 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Edmund Burke

    And yes

  72. #72 H.
    November 26, 2008

    I already associate Baptists with pig-ignorance, delusional thinking and general sociopathy. This story is doing nothing to help that image.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if Jesus were to return, he’d be the victim of a hate crime perpetrated by one or more self-identified Christians within … oh, a week? I can see a Baptist leading the lynch mob ahead of pretty much any other Christian denomination though. The whole faith seems predicated on fear, intense rage and an absolute, seething contempt for anyone not in the in-group.

  73. #73 breadmaker
    November 26, 2008

    With Canada making such bad decisions for scientific beauraucratic positions, one has to ask if it is secretly being infiltrated by foolish christian fundamentalist from oklahoma

  74. #74 Richard Wolford
    November 26, 2008

    Edmund Burke

    And yes

    Thank you, that was killing me not knowing!

  75. #75 CrypticLife
    November 26, 2008

    There is an unconstitutional activity going on here but one that IS clearly supported by the local community. I would have thought in a small, probably tight-knit, community in 1981 the reaction was predictable. I then have to count the cost of taking action.

    Yes, they likely knew of the danger and persisted in insisting on a valuable moral principle. That makes them heroes. Is that what you were trying to say?

  76. #76 Qwerty
    November 26, 2008

    This story does prove that those with religious beliefs often think that those with different religious beliefs are atheists.

  77. #77 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Yes, they likely knew of the danger and persisted in insisting on a valuable moral principle. That makes them heroes. Is that what you were trying to say?

    Oh they more than just knew. They dared the ACLU to come and try and make them stop.

  78. #78 CrypticLife
    November 26, 2008

    I’m not accusing you of being a troll, though, Alan. I might have difficulty going through with that in a small community too. I’d worry about my kids getting attacked. I would probably just move.

    I would feel guilty about it, however.

  79. #79 zeladoniac
    November 26, 2008

    I’d like to pipe up for a moment from my Little Axe shanty, if I might. This story is shameful and horrifying and a rightful scar on this community but please note that at this point in time there are progressive, thoughtful people out here, too. Many of of us even vote blue. Now excuse me; I gotta go feed the chickens.

    To catch up on Little Axe current events:
    http://okiedoke.com/blog/index.php

  80. #80 strangest brew
    November 26, 2008

    And presumably the priests and pastors sipped there whisky and considered that all in all, it was a job well done.

    At the root of all intolerance and bigotry in society, you will find a sexually inadequate pathetic excuse for a human being, happy in their dress robes and pompous to the bottom of their collection plates.

    “Civilisation will never achieve perfection until the last stone of the last church falls on the head of the last priest”

  81. #81 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Oh, c’mon. Get off your high horses people. Who hasn’t firebombed the house of someone who took them to court for their blatantly illegal activities in Jesus’s name, Amen?

    After all, did not Jesus say in Matthew 10:34, “I come not to bring peace, but to fuck your motherfucking shit up?”

  82. #82 CrypticLife
    November 26, 2008

    Rev., the “they” I mean is Bell and McCord, and the danger they likely knew of was the possibility of physical assault or at least vehement social ostracism that would be forthcoming from the community. And hence, Bell and McCord are heroes.

    I think the “they” you’re referring to who dared the ACLU to stop them was the school board. I do not consider the school board here heroic in any sense.

  83. #83 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Oh, c’mon. Get off your high horses people. Who hasn’t firebombed the house of someone who took them to court for their blatantly illegal activities in Jesus’s name, Amen?

    After all, did not Jesus say in Matthew 10:34, “I come not to bring peace, but to fuck your motherfucking shit up?”

    word

  84. #84 Richard Wolford
    November 26, 2008

    After all, did not Jesus say in Matthew 10:34, “I come not to bring peace, but to fuck your motherfucking shit up?”

    Ok, you win.

  85. #85 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 26, 2008

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | November 26, 2008

    After all, did not Jesus say in Matthew 10:34, “I come not to bring peace, but to fuck your motherfucking shit up?”

    Was Jesus the first grunge rocker?

  86. #86 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    my bad cryptic. i read that wrong

  87. #87 Owlmirror
    November 26, 2008

    I already associate Baptists with pig-ignorance, delusional thinking and general sociopathy.

    In the interests of fairness, I can think of one particular Baptist who, inasmuch as he rejected religious hegemony and advocated secular rule of law, was reasonably fair, sane, and moral:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Williams_(theologian)

    Although I also see that he did not remain a Baptist for long.

  88. #88 NotedScholar
    November 26, 2008

    Interesting. It seems like some people are a liiiiiiittle too violent!

    Are you saying it is because of the Bible that they were violent?

    Also, I think this story is the exception and not the rule.

  89. #89 GuyIncognito
    November 26, 2008

    #70: I don’t think it requires much more than this:

    “Brian Burgess is a ’74 graduate of Hardin-Simmons University and has been an insurance agent in Haskell for the last 32 years.”

  90. #90 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Also, I think this story is the exception and not the rule.

    Of course you would. You get all the news you need from the voices in your head, don’t you?

  91. #91 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Further, scientists, unlike most Christians, become noted through their work, not because they proclaim themselves to be one to all and sundry.

    Calling yourself ‘NotedScholar’ might impress the organist at your church on Sunday, but it doesn’t carry any water among real scholars.

    Hubris, thy name is Christian.

  92. #92 strangest brew
    November 26, 2008

    ‘Are you saying it is because of the Bible that they were violent?’

    Absolutely…where do you think they find their guidance or rather their motivation?
    Guaranteed the perpetrators would have an obscure esoteric quote out of scripture suitably twisted to support their actions…and thus in their foetid mind ensuring forgiveness if not actually gleaning encouragement from on high.

    ‘Also, I think this story is the exception and not the rule.’

    It has been the ‘rule’ since Christ went mouldy.

    Xians do not do learning lessons, they repeat ingrained bigotry generation after generation, that is what sets them apart as xians…it is also what sets them against each other…the desire to be holier then thou!

  93. #93 Marc Abian
    November 26, 2008

    “1981, folks. 27 years ago.

    Outrageous behavior to be sure but this is ancient history”

    Are you really commenting on this blog post? It was written earlier on today. Jees, move on man.

  94. #94 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 26, 2008

    Brownian, just check out the site NotedScholar links to. The troll is a crank even lower down the scale then Teno Groppi, O*.

  95. #95 Eamon Knight
    November 26, 2008

    “Ancient history”? Nope, anything that happened during my adult lifetime does not count as “ancient history”. Unless if course it’s about electronics, computers, the internet and associated items, in which case, this time last year is ancient history….

  96. #96 the other Adam
    November 26, 2008

    “With Canada making such bad decisions for scientific beauraucratic positions, one has to ask if it is secretly being infiltrated by foolish christian fundamentalist from oklahoma”

    Not at all. We’ve already been infiltrated by foolish Christian fundamentalists from Alberta.

  97. #97 Justin
    November 26, 2008

    Around this same time, in Provo, Utah I was the only non-Mormon in my area. I took the bus to school like all the other kids, but on Thursday the local church held Primary for kids, because elementary school got out early that day. The school bus on that day went straight to the church (which was miles from my home) and I was forced to sit and wait through it because my parents were working and could not pick me up. Luckily later on a church was built near my neighborhood so I could walk home from school, but I am still amazed at the statement “separation of Church and State” as all I ever see is Christian religions forcing themselves on the rest of us whenever they can using the law or bending the state to it’s will.

  98. #98 Kel
    November 26, 2008

    Don’t make assumptions though: McCord and Bell were not atheists, although they were accused of being atheists.

    That really seems the way of things.

  99. #99 Nerd of Redhead
    November 26, 2008

    Janine ID

    Brownian, just check out the site NotedScholar links to. The troll is a crank even lower down the scale then Teno Groppi, O*.

    Jebus, somebody lower down than Teno? Probably as stubborn too. I wondered what was meant by “noted”. Must mean stupid twit. Time to start resharpening my troll knife, Teno dulled it with his stony head.

  100. #100 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Brownian, just check out the site NotedScholar links to

    No Janine; that’s just what he wants us to do.

    Not at all. We’ve already been infiltrated by foolish Christian fundamentalists from Alberta.

    Hardly. The average Albertan is neither clever nor subtle enough to do any infiltrating. Remember Stockwell Day?

    Further, I remember when Ralphie headed off to Washington to attempt to do whatever the fuck he thought he was going to so he could do it without having to deal with those fancy-pants Ottawa elites. Unfortunately for Premier Clampett, them DC folks weren’t nearly as impressed with his down-to-earth I-aint-goed-tuh-school-past-grade-number-after-seven folksy charm as George and Ethel Cowtown were, and sent him packing without so much as a ‘Are you coming from a costume party? Please, take off those diablo boots before coming inside’.

    As much I feel for the average disgruntled oil-baron-shyster Albertan, I’m somewhat reassured that Ottawa doesn’t fall for their crap. As the old saying goes, “If it wears a Stetson and smells like cowshit, you probably shouldn’t put it in charge of restructuring your healthcare.” It’s far too late for us here in the land of meth-addled rednecks, but the rest of you Canucks can at least take warning and save yourselves.

  101. #101 Soitgoes
    November 26, 2008

    For those of you that think that since this happened in 1981 it should be considered ancient history, remember the Smalkowskis? Is that incident recent enough for you?

  102. #102 Justin
    November 26, 2008

    And to AlanB #23 – If we give any religions a foothold ANYWHERE, they will take as much as possible and force us to obey their will. Our founding fathers of our country KNEW this, and tried to build a country where ALL beliefs can be accepted, and where NO-ONE has to endure being forced by the state to go to a function they do not wish to be at. I suffered through hours of attempted brainwashing at the STATES hand because the community thinks it was best. And you can say this is tribal behavior, but that is what organised religion is – tribal behavior. If you do not follow the word of the tribe, you are ostracized and damned. It was not easy living in a place as a 7-13 year old boy when EVERYONE but you was religious and belonging to the same church. I didn’t have many friends, and was not close with the ones I had, because of it. So don’t ever accomodate this kind of behavior, because it truly is “give an inch, they take a mile”.

  103. #103 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 26, 2008

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | November 26, 2008

    Brownian, just check out the site NotedScholar links to

    No Janine; that’s just what he wants us to do.

    One quick stop was enough to convince that I never want to go there again.

  104. #104 Nerd of Redhead
    November 26, 2008

    One quick stop was enough to convince that I never want to go there again.

    Smart move. And thanks for the warning.

  105. #105 Alan B
    November 26, 2008

    Re: cryptic life #78 (& others)

    Thanks for understanding my point of view. I believe I would also move away from such a toxic community if I could.

    You did not accuse me of being a troll but the word “trolling” was used by another. Looking back I did not make my points as well as I might. Shows a 60+ year old has a lot to learn!

    OT:
    Waiting for my exam result to see if I passed the level 3 Evolution course I have taken with the Open University here in the UK. Dec 12 or thereabouts.

  106. #106 phantomreader42
    November 26, 2008

    Soitgoes @ #101:

    For those of you that think that since this happened in 1981 it should be considered ancient history, remember the Smalkowskis? Is that incident recent enough for you?

    No, you don’t understand the mindset of the Terrorists For Jesus™ and their apologists:

    If it happened in the past, it’s “Ancient History” and should be ignored.
    If it’s happening now, it’s an isolated incident and should be ignored.
    If it keeps happening again and again and again, in multiple cities and countries over centuries, with millions of casualties, it’s just a whole lot of isolated incidents, with no connection between them whatsoever, and all can be safely ignored.

    It doesn’t matter when, or where, or how often it happens. It doesn’t matter how many people are robbed, threatened, bombed or murdered. There is no force in this universe that will cause these cultists to even consider the possibility that their cult might be doing something wrong.

    The people trying to sweep this act of terrorism under the rug don’t give a flying fuck for human life. Any atrocity is acceptable, as long as it advances the needs of the cult.

  107. #107 tsg
    November 26, 2008

    Are you saying it is because of the Bible that they were violent?

    [sarcasm]No, it’s because of the Bible they are peaceful, loving, tolerant people.[/sarcasm]

    Are you saying their violence wasn’t religiously motivated?

    Also, I think this story is the exception and not the rule.

    In other words, “No True Christians”.

  108. #108 El Guerrero del Interfaz
    November 26, 2008

    When I was living in the States I had to put my kids in a Methodist school because the local public school (which would have been my first choice in Europe) was controlled by Southern Baptists. Hopefully a friend of mine, history teacher and Universalist, knew my godlessness and warned me. It was in the Bible Belt but surely religious discrimination in the States does not surprise me at all.

    What’s more weird is that, back in Spain, my daughter suffered a similar problem. With a socialist government (it was the beginning of the Felipe González era)… However this time we did not changed school. My wife, who was at home, had the culprit, none other than the director, thrown out for bigot in no time. “Bon débarras”, another relic of Franco’s dark age gone :-)

    Beside these considerations, what really worries me is the incredible *meanness* of those fundies. I mean, these were not muslims from a backward third world theocracy. These were citizens from the most powerful nation of the world… Chilly…

  109. #109 vhutchison
    November 26, 2008

    A few comments about Little Axe, OK, about 13 miles from where I live. At the time of the incident the very rural community was made up of about 40% Native Americans (mostly Absentee Shawnee) and a good number of blacks. Many of the latter were perhaps descendents from the nearby community of Stella, formed as an all black town after the Civil War. It was (and still is to as large extent) a population of few college graduates and a fairly low income level. The ‘town’ had no main street to speak of, just a grocery and a couple of feed stores. At the time of the prayer case there were a few older Shawnee that spoke no English.

    The area now has an Indian casino and smoke shop and in the last few years a high school. I have good information that only one of four science teachers there cover evolution in their courses. It is still a very rural and conservative area, surprisingly different from the Norman community with the University of Oklahoma just west of Little Axe.

    In terms of religiosity it is not a lot different from many rural communities, especially in Red State areas. Oklahoma is not alone in such communities and the whole state need not be defined by this one previoius example. Also, the ACLU won the court case with Michael Salem of Norman as the lead attorney. Salem also has won other similar cases, including forcing the city of Edmond, OK to remove a Christian cross from their city seal.

    There has thus been some progress, but we have a long way to go. During the last 10 years attempts in the Oklahoma legislature to introduce creationism into public schools have been defeated. However this year, it took a veto by the Governor to keep the record going. Louisiana and Texas have not fared as well. However, Oklahoma was the only state where every County went for McCain and the both houses of the Legislature are now controlled by Republicans for the first time in history. We expect a flurry of so called ‘family values’ to show up as bills in the next session, strongly pushed by the Republican majority. In the past the Senate, controlled by Democrats, was often able to kill such religion-based legislation.

  110. #110 Alan B
    November 26, 2008

    Re: Justin #102

    You make the point well that others are putting across to me. Living in the UK I have never experienced what you are describing although I can understand something of what you mean (I know what bullying is like and this is just another form).

    I would still argue that the tribal action you are describing has nothing to do with the Christianity I understand although I am not denying that what you and others are saying is true of a sizeable number of those claiming the name. To me it is tragic that these people seem to think that attacking someone and burning down their home is consistent with treating others as you would wish others to treat you. Maybe they should read again what King David’s reaction was when he was told the story of the rich man who took and killed the pet lamb belonging to a poor man. (Sorry for the Biblical alusion here but it fits so well with the killing of the goat except that here it seems to have been done with vindictiveness.)

    So much hate …

  111. #111 Wowbagger
    November 26, 2008

    However, Oklahoma was the only state where every County went for McCain and the both houses of the Legislature are now controlled by Republicans for the first time in history. We expect a flurry of so called ‘family values’ to show up as bills in the next session, strongly pushed by the Republican majority.

    I feel bad for the few sane Oklahomans – but maybe this is an oppportunity in the making.

    We convince a fundie wingnut mouthpiece (drugs, money, prostitutes – take your pick; they accept them all) to pronounce that Oklahoma is god’s chosen state and they all should move there. They can teach creationism, build statues of the ten commandments and slap each other on the back about how much they love jebus.

  112. #112 mayhempix
    November 26, 2008

    Posted by: Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker | November 26, 2008 4:10 PM
    “Brownian, just check out the site NotedScholar links to. The troll is a crank even lower down the scale then Teno Groppi, O*.”

    Good job… we now know he is “noted” as a fraudulant scholar.

  113. #113 Medusa
    November 26, 2008

    1981 could be 2008 where I live. Only my close friemds know I am an atheist. Otherwise, I would live in fear of my “Christian” neighbors and their “loving” ways. I can imagine such heinous behavior happening here tomorrow.

    And, no, I don’t live in a “red,” deep South state, but in rural Illinois.

  114. #114 Escuerd
    November 26, 2008

    Richard Wolford @ #1:

    Wasn’t it Steven Weinberg?

  115. #115 Mikayla
    November 26, 2008

    Interesting that Bell is an active member in the Church of the Nazarene. That’s my old denomination.
    I could see where the kids confusion would come in…the Nazarenes are Weslean-Armenian and the fundamentalist Baptists are Calvanists. This is great for making the case that having NO religion in schools helps not only atheists and non-Christians of various religions, but also Christians.

    The violent response is what absolutely shocks me. Along with the Smalkowski case, has Okalahoma just gone mad?

  116. #116 Riman Butterbur
    November 26, 2008

    It’s desperation. This is the way people behave when they are frustrated, bewildered, losing everything they hold dear.

    Their numbers are dwindling and civilization is encroaching on them. Their own children go off to school and come back tolerant, openminded. It’s the end of the world for them, but not the kind their profits told them to expect.

  117. #117 'Tis Himself
    November 26, 2008

    Mikayla #115

    the Nazarenes are Weslean-Armenian

    The Armenians are people who live in or whose ancestors lived in Armenia. The Arminians follow a theological movement which grew in opposition to Calvinism. It was founded by Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius and revised by John Wesley. The most common Arminians are Presbyterians.

  118. #118 Soupy
    November 26, 2008

    Holy SHIT! And these are the people that say muslims are violent?

    Um, yeah.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/11/26/asia/india.php

  119. #119 Stan
    November 26, 2008

    “Afterall, how many countless religious folk have been the target of militant atheists? Huh, how many, huh?”

    Posted by: Richard Wolford | November 26, 2008 11:43 AM

    Hundreds of millions, in both the former Soviet Union and currently in communist China.

  120. #120 Wowbagger
    November 26, 2008

    Stan wrote:

    Hundreds of millions, in both the former Soviet Union and currently in communist China.

    Bingo! What do I win?

  121. #121 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Hundreds of millions, in both the former Soviet Union and currently in communist China.

    yawn

    Totalitarianism and communism.

  122. #122 Wowbagger
    November 26, 2008

    Goddamn blockquotes.

    I guess Stan is evidence that the special ed. kids have their internet connection up and running. At least we know it’ll only last as long as it takes for Stan to piss all over himself and short out the electricals.

  123. #123 Kel
    November 26, 2008

    Yes communism is atheism… pull the other one, I hear it plays jingle bells.

  124. #124 'Tis Himself
    November 26, 2008

    Now, now, Wowbagger, let’s not be calling Stan a special ed. kid. It may not be that he’s stupid, he may just be incredibly ignorant. He may not be riding the short bus. He may not have had the opportunity to ride any bus at all. Home schooling doesn’t require buses.

  125. #125 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Stan is stupid. he’s been shown over and over how fucking wrong he is and her comes back with the same myopic bullshit.

    If he’s not riding the short bus… he missed it.

  126. #126 Stan
    November 26, 2008

    Yeah, it’s such a yawn to to die in a gulag for having faith.

  127. #127 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Yeah, it’s such a yawn to to die in a gulag for having faith.

    no, the yawn is at your myopic stupidity and ignorance about history

  128. #128 Katharine
    November 26, 2008

    Stan –

    I have nothing to say to you other than SUCK A DICK, YOU BIGOTED, PIG-IGNORANT FUNDIE SHITHOLE.

  129. #129 Kel
    November 26, 2008

    Keep selling the lie that facism in Communist states is down to atheism, if you say it long enough, maybe the magic sky daddy will make it so.

  130. #130 Wowbagger
    November 26, 2008

    Yeah, it’s such a yawn to to die in a gulag for having faith.

    I know I’d sure hate to die for something that doesn’t exist.

    Here’s a thought, Stan – why don’t you ask your god to explain to you why he didn’t do something to save all the millions of faithful murdered by the atheists communists/totalitarians? If he’s so powerful, and your people love him so much, why doesn’t he seem to give a crap about them?

    After he gives you an answer, come back and tell us what he said.

  131. #131 Janothar
    November 26, 2008

    For those reacting to him: notedscholar is a well-known parodist in the math blog community.

  132. #132 Malcolm
    November 26, 2008

    Kel,
    Stan has to keep making the same pathetic argument over and over; its the only one he’s got.
    Maybe he can get a new one on the weekend at Sunday school.

  133. #133 Aquaria
    November 26, 2008

    Ah, it’s always the exception. That’s why the Catholics and Mormons who filed the football prayer lawsuit here in Texas had to remain anonymous to keep their homes from being bombed, their businesses from going bankrupt and their families from being assaulted. Of course, that didn’t stop the SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION (staff AND faculty) from trying to ferret out the parties by any means necessary, including spying on minority families. For Christians, all’s fair when it comes to maiming for the zombie deity.

    Never mind that in the school district where the suit was filed, a 13 y/o Jewish student was threatened with HANGING for refusing to accept a free Bible passed out ON SCHOOL TIME. That was as recently as the 1990s. The community supported it, so that’s cool, huh, Alan?

    Of course, never mind how Hindu kids have Christian kids pretending to shoot them in the bindi (right between the eyes for the pig-ignorant Christian apologists). Yeah, that’s just the pinnacle of tolerance. I saw that for myself at a store here in San Antonio, only a few months ago.

    I despair for my country. I really do.

  134. #134 Kel
    November 26, 2008

    Stan has to keep making the same pathetic argument over and over; its the only one he’s got.

    It’s pretty sad to watch. It’s like he’s let rip a fart in an elevator then trying to convince the only other person inside that it wasn’t him.

  135. #135 Owlmirror
    November 26, 2008

    ?????, ??????

    Using voluminous archival records that are carefully read and analyzed, she [Tatiana A. Chumachenko, author of Church and State in Soviet Russia] redraws the map of personal and institutional relationships between the Orthodox Church and the Soviet government. This history becomes a story filled with personal sacrifices and petty grievances, genuine patriotism and political betrayal. Communists and church leaders collaborated with one another to advance their own agendas. Secret policemen persistently argued for more churches to be opened, while Orthodox bishops exchanged greetings and gifts with high-ranking government officials. Members of both groups advanced their causes and became victims when the political winds shifted.

  136. #136 Wowbagger
    November 26, 2008

    Owlmirror, you know it doesn’t work like that. Stan has faith that what he writes is true.

    Your nasty old facts and icky old evidence and smelly old logic just can’t compete with Stan’s sources: nonsense spewed by delusional, almost-completely-ignorant wackaloons who stand in front of congregations once a week and tell them that a god invented by a tribe of bronze-age goatherders thousands of years ago is real.

  137. #137 raven
    November 26, 2008

    stan the wannabe mall shooter:

    Yeah, it’s such a yawn to to die in a gulag for having faith.

    No, it is about like being burnt at the stake for maintaining that the earth orbits the sun like Giordano Bruno. Or like being tortured to death for being Shiite in a Sunni neighborhood or vice versa.

    Stan, is probably stupid. That is not his most noteworthy quality though. Stan is stark raving mad. When his delusions are pointed out, he gets ticked off and threatens to kill everyone. I’m surprised he is still around because he was voted most likely The Next Mall Shooter. It was a tie between him and Vox Dei.

  138. #138 Wowbagger
    November 26, 2008

    I’m surprised he is still around because he was voted most likely The Next Mall Shooter. It was a tie between him and Vox Dei.

    Now there’s a poisonous turd I haven’t had the displeasure of having to think about for a few weeks.

  139. #139 Kel
    November 26, 2008

    I hear that if you say his name three times, he will appear.

    If Vox Day has the ultimate argument for the existence of God, he should just write it out or at the very least tape it. Instead he’s infatuated with the idea of a debate.

  140. #140 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Vox Day is a self important dripping wiener?

    in other news….

    Greg Ginn is a bad ass.

    Slip It In

  141. #141 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    bah. Lame

    greg ginn

  142. #142 Stanton
    November 26, 2008

    People, please: Stan is just a Christian bigot who was taught that “atheist” = “evil, satanic, baby-eating, commie-nazi-pagan-sorcerer-witch”.

    Get over it: there is absolutely no need to get yourselves tied into a slimy stress knot like a gaggle of aggravated hagfish.

  143. #143 Nerd of Redhead
    November 26, 2008

    If this is the same Stan that’s in the dungeon, PZ will remove his odiferous posts once he detects them.

  144. #144 Bob
    November 26, 2008

    Isn’t it wonderful? A whole community coming together and uniting in bigotry and hatred. Heartwarming stuff.

  145. #145 Malcolm
    November 26, 2008

    Bob @144

    Isn’t it wonderful? A whole community coming together and uniting in bigotry and hatred. Heartwarming stuff.

    Yeah, but not very Christian.
    No one got stoned to death.

  146. #146 Riman Butterbur
    November 27, 2008

    Posted by: Owlmirror | November 27, 2008 03:57 PM UT

    ?????, ??????

    ?0?!

  147. #147 Stan
    November 27, 2008

    Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but I’m a different Stan than the one who was put in the “dungeon.” However, I truly enjoyed the hate…it’s very progressive.

  148. #148 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but I’m a different Stan than the one who was put in the “dungeon.”

    So that’s two idiots called Stan that have come on here and spoke nonsense.

  149. #149 Liberal Atheist
    November 27, 2008

    They were accused of being atheists? I wonder if anyone have been accused of not believing in Ymir, Odin and the literal existence of Valhalla?

  150. #150 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    Posted by: Stan | November 27, 2008

    Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but I’m a different Stan than the one who was put in the “dungeon.” However, I truly enjoyed the hate…it’s very progressive.

    Yeah, because we are planning to firebomb your house. No, wait, that is not it at all.

    Enjoy your martyr complex. I guess that is the only way you can feel like you are important, believing that a bunch of murderous atheists want to do you harm. Sad little husk of a man.

  151. #151 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    However, I truly enjoyed the hate…it’s very progressive.

    Hate? No, Pissant Stan, not really. Dealing with you is more like the satisfaction I get when I weed the garden – or flush the toilet.

  152. #152 scooter
    November 27, 2008

    Smells like self-appointed victim troll over here.

  153. #153 deang
    November 27, 2008

    I haven’t thought of the Son Shine Club in years. What a stupid name. There was one at my suburban Dallas high school in the late 70s/early 80s. They didn’t have quite the draw of YoungLife or the bullying Fellowship of Christian Athletes, but they were still prominent. I don’t recall any ugly incidents like these ones, but I don’t remember them ever being challenged either. Jewish friends would tell me about certain right-wing Christian teachers, Fellowship of Christian Athletes coaches mostly, who would say discriminatory things against Jews in class, though.

  154. #154 BobC
    November 27, 2008

    This is sort of on-topic because it’s about out-of-control violent Christians. I was just watching the movie “Mississippi Burning” which was about a Christian organization called the Ku Klux Klan. From the movie:

    Mrs. Pell: It’s ugly. This whole thing is so ugly. Have you any idea what it’s like to live with all this? People look at us and only see bigots and racists. Hatred isn’t something you’re born with. It gets taught. At school, they said segregation what’s said in the Bible… Genesis 9, Verse 27. At 7 years of age, you get told it enough times, you believe it. You believe the hatred. You live it… you breathe it. You marry it.

    I looked up Genesis 9, Verse 27:

    May God expand the territory of Japheth. May he live in the tents of Shem. Canaan will be his slave.

    Christians get their moral values from the Bible, and I think that’s why so many Christians are stupid assholes.

  155. #155 clinteas
    November 27, 2008

    Smells like self-appointed victim troll over here.

    I really like the cartoon PZ posted on the Thankfulness thread :

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/11/thankfulness.php

  156. #156 raven
    November 27, 2008

    stan the homicidal maniac lying:

    Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but I’m a different Stan than the one who was put in the “dungeon.” However, I truly enjoyed the hate…it’s very progressive.

    It’s the same stan. The homicidal hate, lies, and general psychosis mixed with stupidity are unmistakeable. The lies are trite though, obligatory for demented xians.

    Cue his death threats in 3, counting down…..

  157. #157 Markel
    November 27, 2008

    Apparently, someone in Little Axe took offense.
    http://okiedoke.com/blog/?p=2572

  158. #158 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but I’m a different Stan than the one who was put in the “dungeon.” However, I truly enjoyed the hate…it’s very progressive.

    Thanks for driving by and showing everyone what an ignorant tool you are.

    have a great thanksgiving

  159. #159 Justin
    November 27, 2008

    Well, I disagree with Stan, although on another line of logic – The state sponsored ideology of the Communist nations mentioned by Stan is very much the same as religion – whether or not there is a belief in God, Carl Marx, or a pet rock, or whatever one idolizes as the “savior”. In fact, the “community” building I see churches attempting to do is little different than the political ideology of communism, in my opinion – I don’t understand why the fundies are so opposed to it. If there was no Christianity in the south, then the “Tribalist” behavior of people would be found in other things. Fervency is not limited to religion, the problem is that religion by its very nature encourages fervency, which leads to all of the bad things of religion. It is time for all of us, the whole human race, to rid ourselves of the concepts of tribalism in all their forms, and become one big tribe.

  160. #160 JMP
    November 27, 2008

    This made me think about a similar event involving Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), a charter school in Minnesota. A Star Tribune columnist had posed an inquiry into the school for violating the separation of church and state by teaching Islam to students. The student body is mostly Muslim and the building is shared with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. An investigation found that the school was not teaching Islam to students and only brought up concerns of seat time and bus transportation. Apparently, they school did not provide bussing until after the voluntary Friday prayers had finished, but even with the voluntary prayers, they still exceeded the minimum school time. In response to this, the school decided to fix the bussing situation and ensure the voluntary prayers were not led by adults (including parents or community members – I don’t believe the teachers even led the prayers beforehand).

    So, the reaction to these changes that the school made must have been violence and hatred against those who were responsible for bringing about these changes, just like what happened in the Oklahoma story? Nope. Actually, TIZA itself received death threats and the like after the news reported on the allegations of teaching Islam.

    What a boatload of crazy.

  161. #161 Rogue
    November 27, 2008
  162. #162 Bronze Dog
    November 27, 2008

    I missed this post, since my dad got me excited about that proto-turtle, and haven’t read the comments, yet.

    They should throw these ****ing domestic terrorists in Guantanamo and throw away the key.

  163. #163 Bronze Dog
    November 27, 2008

    Okay, less hot and bothered so I can notice this is history, but still pretty foamy… What are the statutes of limitations on domestic terrorism?

  164. #164 Troy
    November 28, 2008

    Over here in Spain we are suffering from something similar. While everyone may think that this is a rabidly Catholic society, in reality it’s far from it. That said, crosses seem to grow from trees here given the history.

    Recently there has been a big uproar where a judge has finally ruled in favor of a parent’s association that had asked for all crosses to be removed from their children’s classrooms (click my blog for photos) in a PUBLIC school. The ruling was based on the Spanish constitution that clearly states that Spain is an aconfessional state with no state religion.

    Sounds logical enough, doesn’t it?

    Well the loons have come out howling saying that by somehow leaving them up, separation between state and church are guaranteed!? Logic like that makes the Trinity seem easy!

  165. #165 Alan B
    November 28, 2008

    Re: Aquaria #133 said:

    “Never mind that in the school district where the suit was filed, a 13 y/o Jewish student was threatened with HANGING for refusing to accept a free Bible passed out ON SCHOOL TIME. That was as recently as the 1990s. The community supported it, so that’s cool, huh, Alan?”

    I do not know how on earth you get the idea that I think threatening to hang someone is “cool”! Do you read what I write? Do you deliberately go about setting up straw men just to knock them down?

    It sounds to me that threatening a minor with murder is a probably a criminal offense (it would be in the UK) and definitely UN-cool!

    If I understand the current interpretation of the American Constitution this would offend against the separation of church and state, right? So it should not happen, right?

    But imagine you are actually in the situation and you know you are facing a load of tribalists with a totally unchristian view of religion then what do you do? I would accept the Bible with a smile and a “Thank you.” And I would advise my grandson, aged 11 to do the same. No one is forcing you to read it. As a Jew, the majority of the Bible is your own Scripture anyway!!

    Why do many Americans seem to think it is sensible to react in an antagonistic way? Anyone fool can pour petrol onto a fire. Why not pour oil onto troubled waters instead?

    What you want to do LATER is a totally different issue but to act like a bull in a china shop does not seem the best way to respond. Also, it would seem to be risking giving the offenders an excuse were the issue to come to court: Imagine the Defense lawyer asking you: “Why did you deliberately go out of your way to stir up animosity at the time by refusing to accept a gift given to you in christian love, especially when it contained your own scriptures?”

    Worse things have happened than being given a religious tract that you don’t particularly want.

    I would happily accept a Quran, a Bible, a copy of whatever the Jedi Knights or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (parmesan be upon him) accept as scripture. Should they hand it out on school time in the USA? Presumably no. Would I deliberately stir up trouble at the time by making a point of refusing it? No.

    Would I (acting in loco parentis) do something later if it were forced on my grandson? It depends – probably – but I would think how best to handle the situation as I have explained before.

    Alan

  166. #166 phantomreader42
    November 29, 2008

    Alan B, apologist for terrorism:

    What you want to do LATER is a totally different issue but to act like a bull in a china shop does not seem the best way to respond. Also, it would seem to be risking giving the offenders an excuse were the issue to come to court: Imagine the Defense lawyer asking you: “Why did you deliberately go out of your way to stir up animosity at the time by refusing to accept a gift given to you in christian love, especially when it contained your own scriptures?”

    Alan, seriously, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!!!

    Do you actually think any defense attorney would try to argue that refusing to accept propaganda is sufficient provocation to THREATEN TO MURDER SOMEONE? If such an excuse has any chance at all of not being laughed out of court, the justice system is fucked up beyond all hope of repair!

    Really, we’re talking about a school breaking the law. Even YOU agree that they are breaking the law. And your suggested response is “Thank you sir, may I have another?” You’re actually trying to shift the blame to a kid who was THREATENED WITH HANGING?

    You want to know where people get the impression that you think threatening someone with hanging is cool? Because when you hear about such a threat, you leap to the defense of the lynch mob! You make every excuse you possibly can for the Terrorists For Jesus?, and tell the VICTIM not to be so uppity!

    What would your response have been to the marches in the civil rights movement, when people were attacked with firehoses and vicious dogs for daring to insist on their rights? Something along the lines of “Them niggers shouldn’t have tried to walk down the street like they was real people”?

  167. #167 Alan B
    November 29, 2008

    Seems to me we have a problem with the English language here. I write it – you don’t understand it.

    There is no point in continuing.

  168. #168 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    I can’t the way Bell & McCord were treated. It appears to have been heinous & grossly disproportionate to their actions. But I neither can I condone the way Bell & McCord acted. They sought to misuse the power of the courts to impose their will on a local community rather than to address the issue through democratic means.

    In a democracy, sometimes the better side loses. End of story. The alternative is to abandon democracy by degree. And unless you accept the radical separationism of the ACLU as somehow faithful to the history & text of the Constitution, then you must admit that Bell & McCord were sacrifing democracy on the altar of their personal preferences.

    Abraham Lincoln condmened mob violence by pro-slavery forces and anti-slavery forces. He also condemned judicial usurpation of the legislative process. If Lincoln could condemn violence committed in opposition to such a monstrous immorality, surely we can condemn violence & judicial imperialism by both sides in such a relatively minor squabble.

  169. #169 Owlmirror
    November 29, 2008

    In a democracy, sometimes the better side loses. End of story

    Are you even capable of thinking about what you write, you dolt?

    Have you never even heard the words, “tyranny of the majority”?

  170. #170 Bronze Dog
    November 29, 2008

    They sought to misuse the power of the courts to impose their will on a local community rather than to address the issue through democratic means.

    … So if a school does something unconstitutional by violating the First Amendment, you shouldn’t appeal to the branch that there to determine what’s constitutional?

    This isn’t a nation of mob rule: This is a nation of law, democracy, AND rights. Majority rule AND minority rights are what the constitution tries to balance.

  171. #171 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    America is a constitutional democracy, fark even as an Australian I know that. The minority is protected from the majority because there are certain values that the state holds to be universal among people. Absolute democracy is useless, much like your contributions Mr Knight.

  172. #172 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, you need to quit you alleged god and come over to the side of rationality. That is when you let go of religion.

  173. #173 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Also, isn’t using the courts the way to resolve a matter of legality in a democracy? There’s the law of the land and if some individual or organisation is subverting that, isn’t the court the one who decides it? John Knight is again posting abologetic nonsense.

    “You all hate God and people who try to honour God” – John Knight

  174. #174 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    The US system is that of a republic, not a democracy. Meaning that there’s something in place that limits what a majority can do – like force other people to defer to idiotic religious beliefs.

  175. #175 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Bronze Dog, has the First Amendment been changed to read “Local school boards shall pass no ordinances…”? Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention.

    Kel, perhaps you should read the Constitution before lecturing me on constitutional democracy.

  176. #176 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Kel, perhaps you should read the Constitution before lecturing me on constitutional democracy.

    Maybe you should learn what atheism really is before making comments about atheists. Also who says I haven’t read the constitution?

    “You all hate God and people who try to honour God” – John Knight

  177. #177 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, maybe you should understand that freedom of religion means my freedom from having your illogical religion imposed upon me in any manner.

  178. #178 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Maybe you should learn what atheism really is before making comments about atheists.

    Haha. Cute. You beg the question, but it’s still cute.

    Also who says I haven’t read the Constitution?

    Have you? Then you should read it more carefully. The First Amendment limits the powers of Congress, not the powers of local school boards.

  179. #179 Owlmirror
    November 29, 2008

    has the First Amendment been changed to read “Local school boards shall pass no ordinances…”?

    You know, I don’t think you read the original facts of the case carefully enough.

    Just out of curiosity, if you, as a Christian of whatever sect you are, were in the minority, would you in fact support a public school in a town dominated by a different sect teaching their peculiar beliefs to your children, including that they were damned to eternity in Hell unless they converted?

    I ask only for information…

  180. #180 Owlmirror
    November 29, 2008

    Just out of curiosity, if you, as a Christian of whatever sect you are, were in the minority, would you in fact support a public school in a town dominated by a different sect teaching their peculiar beliefs to your children, including that they were damned to eternity in Hell unless they converted?

    Or would you just meekly give up your convictions and beliefs and convert to the sect of the majority? Because, hey, there’s more of them than there are of you, so they must be in the right, right?

  181. #181 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Have you? Then you should read it more carefully. The First Amendment limits the powers of Congress, not the powers of local school boards.

    Local schools receive federal funding, public schools are a federal institution.

    Again, you are begging the question. You are making it out like these people were undemocratic for using the courts. The courts and not the population are there to decide whether the will of the people is against the constitution.

  182. #182 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Let me repeat myself: I do not support the town’s actions (at not least as presented here). However, the proper method for redress of greivance is through the democractic process. Bringing in the ACLU is usually the opposite of democracy.

  183. #183 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, please address my point that freedom of religion means my freedom from your illogical religion being imposed upon me or anyone else in any form. And also, please supply some physical proof for your imaginary god.

  184. #184 Owlmirror
    November 29, 2008

    Bringing in the ACLU is usually the opposite of democracy.

    An organization that supports civil liberties by bringing lawsuits against government-supported groups for violation of civil liberties is “the opposite of democracy” in what sense?

    If they were not violating the civil liberties of the minority, then what the hell was the school doing that was wrong, and what other “democratic” method was there of redress?

  185. #185 Sastra
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight #182 wrote:

    However, the proper method for redress of greivance is through the democractic process.

    The public school was violating the law.

  186. #186 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    “Public schools are a federal institution”?

    Wow. News to me.

  187. #187 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Let me repeat myself: I do not support the town’s actions (at not least as presented here). However, the proper method for redress of greivance is through the democractic process. Bringing in the ACLU is usually the opposite of democracy.

    the ACLU is about protecting the rights of people as laid down by the law of the land. Going through the courts is the way to resolve matters of this nature.

  188. #188 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, still avoiding presenting any physical proof for your imaginary god. One would think you are delusional.

  189. #189 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight,

    Law – as administered by the courts – is a fundamental aspect of democracy. What part of that don’t you understand?

  190. #190 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight, if the school district is doing nothing constitutionally wrong, then what is there to fear from using the court system – the system that’s in place that decides on the legality of actions? Using the courts is democratic, it’s a vital part of the democratic process.

  191. #191 Malcolm
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight@182

    Let me repeat myself: I do not support the town’s actions (at not least as presented here). However, the proper method for redress of greivance is through the democractic process. Bringing in the ACLU is usually the opposite of democracy.

    They did use the democratic process. The courts are a part of the democratic process.
    Maybe you should take some time to take a few civics classes.

  192. #192 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight, if the school district is doing nothing constitutionally wrong, then what is there to fear from using the court system – the system that’s in place that decides on the legality of actions?

    Kel, we have several decades of experience — empirical evidence? — with the courts running roughshod over the wishes of democratic majorities as well as ignoring the history & text of the Constitution. We the people of this land have rather a lot to fear, even aside from the unnecessary time & expense of a court battle.

  193. #193 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    We the people of this land have rather a lot to fear, even aside from the unnecessary time & expense of a court battle.

    Of course you do, John. And when the Freemasons and the Illuminati finally work out their plan for world domination then you’ll be well and truly screwed.

    Have you invested in a tinfoil hat yet?

  194. #194 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    No conspiracies theories here. It’s a rather public fact. How many Supreme Court cases does one need as evidence before you give up the pretense of fairness?

    Sen. Obama himself declared that he wanted judges who would show “empathy” (defined in left-liberal terms) rather than be limited by the text of the Constitution. If you think that I’m just boxing shadows, watch this and tell me what you think.

  195. #195 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, you keep avoiding answering how freedom of religion doesn’t mean my freedom from having your religion imposed upon me in any way. And you won’t show physical evidence for your imaginary god. What a wuss. Scared of some real arguments?

  196. #196 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    We the people of this land have rather a lot to fear, even aside from the unnecessary time & expense of a court battle.

    Are you a libertarian by any chance?

    Do you think the court system is generally unreliable, or only when it comes to people imposing religion on others?

  197. #197 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Nerd: Your question is not relevant to my point, on way or the other.

    Kel: I am considered fairly libertarian by most who know me, though I reject radical libertarianism at its core. I am rather closer to Hayek or Sowell than, say, Rand or Nozick or Paul Ron.

    I think that the court system is unreliable when dealing with a number of hot-button cultural issues. Its rulings on anti-discrimination cases, for example, are deeply problematic. And the Roe decision is simply illiterate. Examples could be proliferated.

    The legal culture has been infected with the noxious idea that judges should set policy. And so the judges who actually sit on the bench do not respect its proper function & limits, with a minority of exceptions: the kind of exceptions that our next president has already voted against.

  198. #198 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, you are trying to imply that the majority can require the minority to show deference for their worship in a public place. My question is of utmost relevancy. So answer it.

  199. #199 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Sorry, Nerd, your question is not relevant. Even if I concede, arguendo, that the town was wrong, it does not follow that Bell & McCord were right to enlist outside bullies like the ACLU to compel the town to act properly through an abuse of the judicial process.

  200. #200 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Sorry, Nerd, your question is not relevant. Even if I concede, arguendo, that the town was wrong, it does not follow that Bell & McCord were right to enlist outside bullies like the ACLU to compel the town to act properly through an abuse of the judicial process.

    Yes, it’s the ACLU who are bullies *roll*

  201. #201 Owlmirror
    November 29, 2008

    we have several decades of experience — empirical evidence? — with the courts running roughshod over the wishes of democratic majorities as well as ignoring the history & text of the Constitution.

    We have empirical evidence of no such thing. Vague and fearful blatherings of religious fanatics and the cynical and hypocritical pundits who pander to them are not “evidence”.

    We the people of this land have rather a lot to fear, even aside from the unnecessary time & expense of a court battle.

    Aww… Poor diddums is afraid because the courts won’t support his religious bigotry. Oh noes!

    I note that you utterly failed to address the questions @#184. I guess that when you’re filled with fear, your brain seizes up?

  202. #202 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, so if the town was wrong, how should they have gone about making the situation right? Which is, of course, no religion being given any preference in the public sphere. I see no recourse except for bringing in the ACLU. The local dimwits wouldn’t change.

  203. #203 Owlmirror
    November 30, 2008

    Even if I concede, arguendo, that the town was wrong, it does not follow that Bell & McCord were right to enlist outside bullies like the ACLU to compel the town to act properly through an abuse of the judicial process.

    Actually, it does exactly follow. If the town was wrong, it was breaking the law, ergo, a lawsuit was right and proper, ergo it was right and proper to seek aid from lawyers who specialize in the type of law that was being broken by those in the wrong and reinforced for those in the right. The ACLU provided those lawyers; they were in the right, and were enforcing that which is right in the law.

    Your gratuitous insult of “bullies”, and false accusation of “abuse of the judicial process” does not change the simple fact that the ACLU supports the right and lawful over the wrong and lawbreaking.

    Although your use of those terms does mean that you’re breaking the 9th commandment, again, hypocrite.

  204. #204 David Grow
    November 30, 2008

    This country is a constitutional republic where certain rights of individuals, minorities, are protected from the will of the majority. Its called the Bill of Rights. This is especially important when the majority is willfully ignorant and intolerant. If the majority ruled all in Oklahoma we’d be teaching creationism in public schools. Ironically, the will of the majority has been bitterly attacked here in Oklahoma when it has come to really important issues, well, like chicken fight’n. Only recently did we decide, by a vote of the people, that chicken fight’n was wrong. The majority was accused of trampling the rights of indeviduals. Turns out, more people went to vote in Oklahoma City and Tulsa than all the rest of the state. It was unfair of the majority in those two cities to impose their city ways on rural Oklahomans’ pursuit of happiness. Enforcing the law, the will of the people? That could also get your house burned in Pushmataha County. Will of the majority/individual rights? Very tricky stuff here in Oklahoma. David

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