Pharyngula

While Arkansas takes a small step forward, a few people in my home state of Washington want to take a great leap backwards. Some crank named Kimberlie Struiksma, who is apparently associated with education, has proposed to put a remarkably clueless measure onto the ballot. Behold Initiative Measure No. 1040:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 1040 concerns a supreme ruler of the universe.

This measure would prohibit state use of public money or lands for anything that denies or attempts to refute the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe, including textbooks, instruction or research.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would require state government not to use public funds or property for anything that denies or attempts to refute the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe, including but not limited to appropriations for displays, textbooks, scientific endeavors, instruction, and research projects. The measure would provide that no person shall be questioned based on their personal values, beliefs, or opinions regarding the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe.

That’s just the abstract, and if you’re a masochist, you can read the whole thing; it’s long and tedious. You can get the gist of it, though, in a few paragraphs. It’s a weird document that tries to explicitly silence atheists and cut off any representation of godlessness, but at the same time flounces about and insists that this isn’t discrimination. It’s going to exclude atheists from everything.

Respecting no establishment of religion, yet with respect to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, whose existence has been declared in the preamble to the Constitution of the state of Washington, the state shall make no appropriation for nor apply any public moneys or property in support of anything, specifically including, but not limited to, any display, exercise, instruction, textbook, scientific endeavor, circulated document, or research project which denies or attempts to refute the existence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.

There’s a clue to the motivation here in the restriction against “any display”: I bet this is aimed directly at the people who dared to put up an atheist sign alongside the Christmas tree at the Washington state capitol this past year. Many people fulminated against that, and here’s Ms. Struiksma trying to make it illegal for atheist ideas to be presented, while anyone who endorses a god will not be discriminated against.

Then it gets expanded to cover just about anything that might offend a devout Christian. If you read the definitions, for instance, you discover that one of the targets of the ban, “scientific endeavors”, is defined as “any act, idea, theory, intervention, conference, organization, or individual having to do with science.” Apparently, the state cannot support any atheist who is a scientist. There goes a large percentage of the faculty of the University of Washington!

There are also lots of frantic clauses to assure everyone that this is not a “government sponsored witch hunt” and that it wouldn’t “limit or infringe upon religious freedom” — which, of course, simply highlights the fact that that is exactly what it is intended to be and do, and that the author is fully aware of it.

Don’t panic yet, Washingtonians! This is only a proposed initiative. Ms. Struiksma must gather the signatures of 241,153 registered voters by July in order for it to actually be put on the ballot. There aren’t that many crazy stupid people in the state, are there?

On second thought, maybe you should worry a little bit.

Comments

  1. #1 The Atheist Missionary
    February 19, 2009

    In Canada, we refer to the west coast as “Lotus Land” and now you know why. Personally, I would support any intitiative to forbid public funding for anyone who disavows my God and Lord – The Great Celestial Orbiting teapot.

  2. #2 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 19, 2009

    Of course, Ms. Struiksma probably hasn’t run the initiative passed a constitutional lawyer, who will tell her that initiative will not be enforced due to first amendment challenges. So, she is just raising a stink for nothing.

  3. #3 J.G. Metselaar
    February 19, 2009

    Oh my! Struiksma is a Dutch family name. We tot rid of those buggers just in time.

    Sorry?

  4. #4 Ricky Gremlin
    February 19, 2009

    Crap.
    I thought Wash. State was hip!?
    What is going on there?

  5. #5 Andy James
    February 19, 2009

    Christians showing their true totalitarian roots.

    If these people were more literate, they might be embarrassed by their obviously Orwellian world-view.

    They don’t get much more anti-American nor anti-Constitutional than Ms. Struiksma.

  6. #6 S. Fisher
    February 19, 2009

    If you read the definitions, for instance, you discover that one of the targets of the ban, “scientific endeavors”, is defined as “any act, idea, theory, intervention, conference, organization, or individual having to do with science.”
    Sounds like under Ms. Struickmas’ law teaching evolution, or even science in general, if it did not acknowledge a “Supreme Ruler of the Universe”, would be illegal. Perhaps she would be more comfortable living in a more theocratic country.

  7. #7 The Science Pundit
    February 19, 2009

    Supreme Ruler of the Universe? Is that something like the unnamed designer of irreducibly complex biological systems?

  8. #8 clinteas
    February 19, 2009

    Listening to Clapton playing the Blues,how could I possibly get upset by this shit? I mean,shes got to be kidding,right?

  9. #9 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 19, 2009

    Initiative Measure No. 1040 concerns a supreme ruler of the universe.

    Galactus?

  10. #10 Zeno
    February 19, 2009

    I don’t believe in Struiksma either.

    There. Now she can be proud of the imaginary company she keeps.

  11. #11 procyon
    February 19, 2009

    I can imagine some places where 241,153 registered voters might think this law is just what is needed to set the country back on the right course.

  12. #12 Patrick Ross
    February 19, 2009

    Atheists have for years trying to push the idea that separation of Church and State means separation of Church and Religion.

    …Oh, wait. Unless it’s your religion. So sorry.

  13. #13 Daniel
    February 19, 2009

    Oh, I bet you could get enough people in Eastern Washington to sign. That’s where I grew up. It’s all a bit… Idaho over there, if you know what I mean.

  14. #14 Kilian Hekhuis
    February 19, 2009

    So, if I declare myself to be the ruler of the universe, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Darth Vader, I’m ok, as long as I do not deny his/her existence? Well, there you have it: my vote for PZ, the ruler of the universe.

  15. #15 Scaryduck
    February 19, 2009

    Supreme Rule of the Universe?

    Set me straight – we’re talking about General Zod, right?

  16. #16 TonyC
    February 19, 2009

    Perhaps she would be more comfortable living in a more theocratic country

    I think she already lives in the US.
    [/snark]

  17. #17 ennui
    February 19, 2009

    Don’t worry, it’s just a Poe.

  18. #18 Voss
    February 19, 2009

    If this proposition is approved, you can forget about philosophy at Washington universities. I don’t know how you could teach philosophy without covering philosophers’ arguments against the existence of the sky fairy.

    I also like how the godless heathens would be prohibited from receiving not just state funds, but also denied the use of state property, which I would understand to include classrooms, office space and equipment, etc., in any public university.

  19. #19 S. Fisher
    February 19, 2009

    I suppose the next step would be to set up the Supreme Ruler of the Universe Thought Police (the SRUTP) to enforce the law. Perhaps Ms. Struitsma could be in charge?

  20. #20 Richard Harris
    February 19, 2009

    Kimberlie Struiksma, who is apparently associated with education

    Surely this dingaling is more likely associated with indoctrination, not education?

  21. #21 Coel
    February 19, 2009

    “No person shall be questioned, interrogated, harassed, bullied, discriminated against … on account of their personal beliefs, disbeliefs, or opinions regarding the existence of a Supreme Ruler of the Universe or a higher power.”

    That would prevent the Boy Scouts getting any public funding. And it would prevent a school teacher asking children to recite the words “one nation under God”. Indeed, it would also prevent anyone asking an oath-taker to recite “so help me God”. Are you sure you’re against this act PZ? ;-)

  22. #22 Tim
    February 19, 2009

    Ming the merciless directs his thoughts to earth…

  23. #23 SamB
    February 19, 2009

    “Set me straight – we’re talking about General Zod, right?”

    I personally saw it as Xenu.

  24. #24 pikeamus
    February 19, 2009

    Note that it refers to a singular supreme ruler. So its discriminatory toward polytheism as well as atheism.

  25. #25 Silver
    February 19, 2009

    If this gets as many signatures as it needs, I would suggest that the local Atheist Community write up a petition that forbids idiots from writing their own petition, or at least making sure that before the court even thinks of approving it, that it has to pass through a few lawyers.

    It might prevent us from getting a laugh, but meh.

    But if this gets passed, does that mean that teachers in Washington can preach about the Invisible Pink Unicorn or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Both are considered by many to be the ‘Supreme Ruler of the Universe’.

    Who needs a ruler that kills his children for something he did when you can have a pony ruling over you!

  26. #26 ennui
    February 19, 2009

    Perhaps the wording could be amended from Supreme Ruler to Dear Leader, just for the proper effect?

    This is so tragic that I kind of want it to be on the ballot and pass, just for the broader exposure of its lunacy.

  27. #27 LisaJ
    February 19, 2009

    Wow. I cannot believe what I just read. What an ignorant asshole to propose something like that. It’s just incredible that so many of our political leaders have ass-backwards, religiously motivated views, similar to this present display, and they totally think they’re right to impose them on the public. For example, Stephen Harper and his recent $148 million cut to research funding in Canada. Definitely not nearly as wacked as this Initiative 1040, but both leave me baffled beyond belief.

  28. #28 Dunc
    February 19, 2009

    This is clearly nothing to do with religion – the Supreme Ruler of the Universe is Ming the Merciless.

  29. #29 Voltaire
    February 19, 2009

    What the frak.

  30. #30 Michelle
    February 19, 2009

    Supreme Ruler of the Universe… Is that Xenu?

  31. #31 No1_vern
    February 19, 2009

    This is what happens when scientists are unwilling to take the time to teach the public instead of just claiming they are right. Just last night, a commentary by Myers went on about NOT debating with these people.

    Well, “these people” are winning the hearts and minds of the public. And guess what? The public will VOTE FOR this issue, not because it is right, but because enough of the public wants it to happen – science and rightness is totally beside the point. Until the “scientists and scholars” come out of their ivory towers and work with the people in a more public manner, science will take a back seat to religion.

    Vern

  32. #32 TBRP
    February 19, 2009

    In principle, I see nothing wrong with this. Public funds shouldn’t be allocated to something in order to explicitly deny the existence of Thor, or whatever. It is redundant with the first amendment, but we’ll overlook that.

    The only problem is in the practical: the more theocraticly minded will use this to try to remove atheism from the public sphere entirely without touching the religious promoting that is still there. If this measure was changed to a ban on giving public funds in order to promote religion and/or non-religion, that would be something I could get behind.

    Of course, I could foresee some pretty frivolous lawsuits from people misunderstanding that (better worded) law by litigating against evolution being taught in class or some such nonsense.

  33. #33 Nils Ross
    February 19, 2009

    I’d support this in full if said Supreme Ruler of the Universe would make an appearance, perform some miracles on camera (and allow them to be independently verified by a rigorous scientific method), and spell out in full exactly what he/she/it was REALLY all about.

    Then, while I’d acknowledge the existence of him/her/it, I’d promptly call it a jackass for its previous recalcitrance and general lack of ability to organise things particularly well.

    But I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen, so I’ll just ‘thank my lucky stars’ I live in Australia and keep fighting the good fight over here. Good luck with your crazies guys, don’t let them get you down.

  34. #34 Holbach
    February 19, 2009

    supreme ruler of the universe? She must be referring to matter, the same stuff in her deranged brain that has her hallucinating on imaginary matter. What a freaking moron, and not being able to confront this lame brain in the street and reduce her to the matter lying in the curb, a nice big pile of dog shit. Hey, there’s your god, you shit brain.

  35. #35 Damian
    February 19, 2009

    This document is hilarious!

    In this nation, it is WE, the people, who are sovereign. Our government has been instituted among us, with our consent, for the purpose of protecting and maintaining our liberties. According to the founding documents of our democratic society, our liberties are true and valid because they are endowed by a higher power. By contending that a higher power does not exist, our government removes the source of, invalidates, and consequently denies we the people of the United States our liberty. Thus, by denying the existence of a higher power our government defeats its purpose. It is therefore, unconstitutional for the government, as opposed to the individual citizens, of the state of Washington to deny or attempt to refute the existence of the Creator, the one responsible for Blessing us with liberty, the Supreme Ruler of the universe.

    Sec. 2. The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

    (I) “Circulated document” means any flyer, brochure, or pamphlet that is used to convey procedures, facts, or ideas.

    (2) “Display” means any sign, billboard, advertisement, announcement, or other posting.

    (3) “Exercise” means any activity or operation designed to test or train State Employees, members of the State armed forces, elected officials, or students enrolled in the public schools, including both public schools as defined in RCW 28A.150.010 and state colleges and state and regional universities as defined in RCW 28B.IO.016.

    (4) “Higher power” means a form of existence that is above that of human being.

    (5) “Instruction” means any teachings, lessons, set of objectives, or curriculum.

    (6) “Public entity” means any organization, corporation, company, partnership, association, trust, foundation, fund, club, society, committee, political party, board, commission, agency, independent office of this state, political subdivision of any county, city, town, municipal corporation, school district, public educational institution, or any group of persons, whether or not incorporated, permanently or temporarily associated together for joint action or advancement of views on any subject or subjects that is receiving public moneys or property.

    (7) “Public moneys” has the same description as all moneys described in RCW 43.79.010.

    (8) “Public properties” has the same description as “lands” described in RCW 79.02.010.

    (9) “Research project” means any form of studious inquiry, investigation, or experimentation.

    (10) “Scientific endeavor” means any act, idea, theory, intervention, conference, organization, or individual having to do with science.

    (11) “Textbook” means any book or book substitute, limited to books, reusable workbooks, or manuals, whether bound or in loose leaf form, intended for use as a principal source of study material for a given class or a group of students, a copy of which is expected to be available for the individual use of each pupil in such class or group.

    Who gets to decide what denies the existence of a higher power? Some people believe that science itself would fit in to that category, and you can be absolutely certain that anything to do with evolution would soon be under attack as denying a role for the “higher power”.

    Silly person/people.

  36. #36 Ploon
    February 19, 2009

    Just when you think the stupid couldn’t possibly burn any hotter, you get hit with a laser-guided missile of flaming white-phosphorous stoopid.

  37. #37 Andrés Diplotti
    February 19, 2009

    Well, of course. It’s not discrimination if it’s not against Christians, you know.

  38. #38 Measure
    February 19, 2009

    I’m a Seattleite, and I’ve got to say, there’s not a chance in hell of a initiative THAT conservative passing in Washington state.

    Pretty funny, though.

  39. #39 Schnurx
    February 19, 2009

    Dang! How could she get this so wrong!
    Of course it’s Rulers, not Ruler and their names are Kang & Kodos.

  40. #40 Benjamin Geiger
    February 19, 2009

    Scaryduck @ #15:

    There is probably no Zod.
    Now stop worrying and enjoy your Superman comics.

  41. #41 Chris Phillips
    February 19, 2009

    Would not this, if it became a law, ban funding a religious group? Many religious group, including churches, deny the existence of other religious groups supreme beings, would not that, if this was signed into a law, ban the state from handing any funds to any religious group or organization?

  42. #42 arekksu
    February 19, 2009

    deny the Supreme Ruler? pah!
    i use it for measuring stuff every day, and it’s accurate to within a 100th of a millimetre. very handy.

  43. #43 Kobra
    February 19, 2009

    I lack the words to adequately respond to this, so here’s a picture instead:

    (Taken from MS Pain Adventures. http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000957 )

  44. #44 Hoonser
    February 19, 2009

    It’s about time somebody acknowledged Zargtammo is the supreme ruler of the universe.

  45. #45 Vic
    February 19, 2009

    Where’s the clause stating that atheists shall be burned with hot coals until they recant? This initiative needs work.

  46. #46 snoeman
    February 19, 2009

    I live in Washington, but I’m not going to worry about that loon’s initiative unless she gets Tim Eyman involved. I’d worry that we have just enough retards who will sign up for any initiative sponsored by Eyman, no matter how deranged the idea, that it could get on the ballot. That would be both embarrassing and unsettling.

  47. #47 Milo Johnson
    February 19, 2009

    A state kook? Wow. Here in Kansas we’re lucky to just have a state bird and a state flower, and it’s not like we’re low on kooks here…

  48. #48 Brian
    February 19, 2009

    Atheists could easily just create a fictitious deity that everyone understands is fake. Fictitus the Unreal or something. Yes, I suppose its similar to the FSM or IPU, but less tongue-in-cheek.

    Evolution would be the process by which Fictitus creates new species as is Its whim.

  49. #49 Christie
    February 19, 2009

    Wow, that’s bad. I really hope there aren’t enough crazies to get that even up for passing… things seem to go badly when they get voted on.

  50. #50 Matt Heath
    February 19, 2009

    OOO “Ruler” big mistake. If only she’d stuck at “Creator” she’d have had a chance, but with the Deists against her…

  51. #51 FlameDuck
    February 19, 2009

    Supreme Ruler of the Universe? Is that something like the unnamed designer of irreducibly complex biological systems?

    According to a google image search (and with Google being the ultimate source of universal truth, obviously) that would be either Megatron or Daleks.

    I think this is an excellent idea incidently, since the god of Abraham, being a heliocentric god, demonstrably doesn’t qualify as a Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Additionally since he no longer has divine powers, but needs to communicate and act through (poorly chosen) proxies, like Pat Robertson, his supremeness is certainly also a matter of debate.

  52. #52 rnb
    February 19, 2009

    Patrick Ross at #12.

    Are you using “No True Christian” here?

    Are you aware that a lot of court cases “Christians”
    complain about were brought by other Christians groups?

  53. #53 Zeno
    February 19, 2009

    Atheists could easily just create a fictitious deity that everyone understands is fake.

    I hold that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the only true fictional deity. All other fictional gods are fakes.

  54. #54 Vidar
    February 19, 2009

    Let me get this straight: This fundie is trying to outlaw any government spending on anything that doesn’t praise god? Why is this person not fired? Why is this person in a position of power? If this goes through, does that mean that the government can no longer build public schools in Washington state? Or what about libraries that have science books? Atheist teachers? Any atheist with a job paid for by the government?
    Wouldn’t this just ban atheist from running for office, but also prevent them from having any job paid for with government money? Science books in school? Did this person think even for 5 minutes what the concequences of this idea would be?

  55. #55 Virginia
    February 19, 2009

    That “supreme ruler” designation would’t just ban atheists, but a number of well-established religious traditions as well, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Mormonism.

    But I have to admit the choice of phrase is amusing – it conjures up an image of Ming the Merciless sitting on his throne in a Flash Gordon serial.

  56. #56 Ouchimoo
    February 19, 2009

    Well up until now WA looked like a nice place to move to. However, I sure as hell dropped that thought out for my future when I found out they are planning on putting in language to kick science out of the state.

    Hopefully the rest of WA isn’t as stupid as that moron.

  57. #57 Diane
    February 19, 2009

    That initiative doesn’t stand a chance of passing. She won’t get 241,000+ votes in Western Washington and there aren’t enough people in Eastern Washington to sign it, especially in that post apocalyptic no man’s land between Ellensburg and Spokane.

    snoeman, I don’t think Tim Eyman will get involved with it. It doesn’t directly affect his bottom line, and it’s at least 10 years before his monstrously bratty offspring attend college.

  58. #58 Ming
    February 19, 2009

    Breathtaking inanity.

  59. #59 Daniel de Rauglaudre
    February 19, 2009

    #9 BigDumbChimp:

    Galactus?

    In this case, we have no problems, we are protected by the Silver Surfer.

  60. #60 Diane
    February 19, 2009

    I just checked out who this woman is. She’s a para-educator for the Lynden school district. In other words, she’s not a teacher, but a school classroom helper. Lynden is a tiny town that borders Canada. I now have even less faith (no pun intended) that her crazy initiative will pass.

  61. #61 Eric Saveau
    February 19, 2009

    Patrick Ross’ blog, “The Nexus of Assholery, is appropriately named.

  62. #62 Random Cyberchimp
    February 19, 2009

    @ Flameduck

    According to a google image search (and with Google being the ultimate source of universal truth, obviously) that would be either Megatron or Daleks.

    Daleks? Pshaw…

    The Supreme Ruler(s) are obviously the Cybermen.

  63. #63 arensb
    February 19, 2009

    I don’t have a problem with prohibiting the state from preaching atheism. Both theists and atheists should be free to promote their viewpoints, but on their own dime.

    But this is already covered by the First Amendment, which means that this initiative is unnecessary.

  64. #64 GS
    February 19, 2009

    “supreme ruler of the universe” That is funny. Only a completely alienated mind could write those words with a straight face.

  65. #65 Eric Saveau
    February 19, 2009

    In this case, we have no problems, we are protected by the Silver Surfer.

    But you forget, Daniel, the Silver Surfer recently came to the difficult realization that Galactus helps to maintain the natural balance of the Universe, and so opposing him is a greater evil in the long run than assisting him. He has returned to his original role as the Herald of Galactus. We could be thoroughly screwed.

  66. #66 Sigmund
    February 19, 2009

    Emperor Zurg?

  67. #67 woodstein312
    February 19, 2009

    Supreme Ruler of the Universe… lol… Kneel Before Zod!

  68. #68 Eric Saveau
    February 19, 2009

    The Supreme Ruler(s) are obviously the Cybermen.

    [dalek voice]

    The Cybermen are superior in only one respect; theey are better at dying.

    [/dalek voice]

  69. #69 Catalin Sandu
    February 19, 2009

    I believe in an all-encompassing entity which created the Earth and the toilet paper, and Elvis has just left the building.

    If you’re in the fine state of Washington, just dare to deny it! You’ll burn in heaven (well, don’t look like this, it’s something my religion says.)

  70. #70 Michael Fonda
    February 19, 2009

    I moved four years ago to Washington State, about a half hour out of Olympia towards the bottom of the peninsula. When it comes to religion and politics this state is, after Louisiana, the most schizoid place I ever seen. It may have one of the higher, if not the highest, percentage of non-believers in the country but the evangelical comminity is a loud eternally annoying presence. Did you know we really found the WMDs in Iraq but President Bush was too embarassed to say so? That science is a crazy cult with no respect for facts because otherwise they wouldn’t hate Jesus? That socialized medicine has destroyed the French will to live and turned Paris into a Muslim country? And did you know that if you don’t beleive that any of the aforementioned is true it’s because you’re arrogant?

    There’s plenty more where that came from. Good thing Washington has plenty of excellent pubs and bars.

  71. #71 blueelm
    February 19, 2009

    This is too stupid to even get angry about. I nominate Kimberlie for dumbest woman on earth!

  72. #72 Carlie
    February 19, 2009

    I don’t have a problem with prohibiting the state from preaching atheism. Both theists and atheists should be free to promote their viewpoints, but on their own dime.

    But this goes a lot further than that. This exchange would be possible if it passed:

    “Your class doesn’t say God created animals, it says that they evolved.”
    “Yes, but I never said God didn’t have anything to do with it.”
    “But you left God out, therefore you’re implying that God didn’t do it, therefore you’re fired and your school no longer gets any state funds. Thanks for playing!”

  73. #73 Dr. J
    February 19, 2009

    (4) “Higher power” means a form of existence that is above that of human being.

    Do they mean birds?

  74. #74 IST
    February 19, 2009

    The piece in Article 9 about the invalidity of one portion of the document not affecting the invalidity of the rest of it is pure genius… preventing their own shoddy reasoning from being subjected to actual logic, since it lasts in that realm about as well as a jellyfish in a blast furnace.

  75. #75 Rob
    February 19, 2009

    The Supreme Ruler(s) are obviously the Cybermen.

    Here, have some gold!

  76. #76 Carlie
    February 19, 2009

    The Cybermen are superior in only one respect; they are better at dying.

    Exterminate!
    Delete!
    Exterminate!
    Delete!

  77. #77 Random Cyberchimp
    February 19, 2009

    @ Eric Saveau

    The Supreme Ruler(s) are obviously the Cybermen.

    [dalek voice]

    The Cybermen are superior in only one respect; theey [sic] are better at dying.

    [/dalek voice]

    “You would destory the Cybermen with just four Daleks?”

  78. #78 Random Cyberchimp
    February 19, 2009

    Blockquote fail.

  79. #79 Vidar
    February 19, 2009

    [dalek voice]

    “We would destroy the cybermen with only 1 dalek.”

    [/dalek voice]

  80. #80 Christophe Thill
    February 19, 2009

    The Supreme Ruler of the Universe does exist. It’s a ruler made of metal (a platinum-iridium alloy, to be exact). It is precisely 1 meter long. It used to be the official definition of a meter. Now that the definition involves wavelengths, it still is the official material embodiment of the meter. And you can definitely see it; it’s in a building in Sèvres, near Paris. How could anybody deny it? It’s a ruler that rules!

  81. #81 robinsrule
    February 19, 2009

    She really needs to be more specific about whose boots we’re supposed to lick. Setting projection aside for the moment “supreme ruler of the universe” could be a god, head of a family of gods, or the leader of a dominant alien warrior species.

  82. #82 Chuck Lunney
    February 19, 2009

    (4) “Higher power” means a form of existence that is above that of human being.

    Does this refer to cats?

    Or is it talking about more successful and ubiquitous, like bacteria?

    Or is it to be taken literally (something the fundies like so much) — and means that flying birds (no penguins, please) are “above” humans? Or is there a distance minimum that must be kept? Would bacteria-like organisms potentially existing in the sub-crustal Europan seas count?

    Methinks her definitions need further re-defining.

  83. #83 TJ
    February 19, 2009

    Since I didn’t see GOD mentioned anywhere in there, i am going to support Cthulu for it.

  84. #84 Random Cyberchimp
    February 19, 2009

    @ Vidar

    ORLY?

    DELETE, DELETE, DELETE!!!

  85. #85 charley
    February 19, 2009

    Lynden is one of many Dutch Reformed enclaves scattered throughout the US and Canada. Her name leads me to believe she’s part of that group. This doesn’t necessarily reflect on the state as a whole.

  86. #86 Karl Withakay
    February 19, 2009

    This doesn’t just discriminate against atheists, it discriminates against pantheists as well!

    Well, if you believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are all separate but equal god persons existing in a rock, paper, scissors relationship, I guess you’re just SOL if this becomes law.

  87. #87 dNorrisM
    February 19, 2009

    Didn’t they kick The Bhagwan out of Washington a while back?

  88. #88 HumanisticJones
    February 19, 2009

    I don’t see why everyone is so upset about this. Emperor Shaddam IV is a glorious and just ruler. Why should any government of the Lansrad allow for funding of anything denying the grandeur and power of the Golden Lion Throne. All hail the Supreme Ruler of the Universe!

  89. #89 johannes
    February 19, 2009

    No public lands or money for those who deny the existence of Azathoth! Iä!

  90. #90 Calladus
    February 19, 2009

    Zeno: “I hold that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the only true fictional deity. All other fictional gods are fakes.”

    Blasphemer!

    The Invisible Pink Unicorn is obviously the only one true fictional deity! PBUH! I pray she will not smite you with her pinkness before you’ve had a chance to beg forgiveness over holy pizza communion!

  91. #91 jimmiraybob
    February 19, 2009

    Given that there are approximately 3.5 million registered voters in Washington state and the empirical data collected over the last eight years that show 28% of the voting population to be insane (varies with region), that would leave about 980,000 potential supporters. If only half could be reached and only half of those can read and sign their name, then yes, there are enough people….with a couple to spare.

    Given a little help from the Supreme Being network of religious fanaticism and a semi-slick campaign, this effort might have a chance.

  92. #92 Theodore
    February 19, 2009

    This bill is awesome!

    Finally, science teachers can fulfill their dreams of explicitly declaring themselves the “Supreme Ruler of the Universe” at the beginning of each and every semester!

  93. #93 Becca
    February 19, 2009

    well, according to Deacon Duncan over at Evangelical Realism, Alethea (Reality) is the supreme ruler of the universe. I can get behind that.

  94. #94 clouds
    February 19, 2009

    “There aren’t that many crazy stupid people in the state, are there?”

    Famous last words. Be careful, PZ! These might end up on your tombstone!

  95. #95 Ben
    February 19, 2009

    For those of you who aren’t from Washington, you have to understand that our initiative process allows anyone willing to file the required paperwork can put something on the ballot without a judge ever looking at it. In fact the courts in Washington have been very hesitant to strike an initiative before it is put on the ballot even in cases where the initiative is blatantly unconstitutional.

    Additionally do not be surprised if this does make the ballot since Washington places minimal restrictions on paid signature gatherers allowing anyone with enough money to put anything on the ballot. Plus the religious fundamentalists from mega-churches will likely push this very hard. However Washington is a very liberal state and there is absolutely no way this will pass.

  96. #96 ShadowWalkyr
    February 19, 2009

    This makes perfect sense. Since I am, after all, the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, I will finally get the respect I deserve (and if you don’t believe me, you’ll be sorry in 241,153 years when the asteroid hits you).

    Hey, waitaminute. . . .

  97. #97 Ra
    February 19, 2009

    This is greatest law the human race has ever tried to pass…

    The Go’uld can finally claim their rightful place as Supreme Rulers of the Universe.

    Bow before me, puny humans!!!! mwahahahahahah!!!

  98. #98 Shifty
    February 19, 2009

    Since the initiative wishes to prevent any scientific inquiry of the existence of the “Supreme Ruler Of the Universe” (SRU), I hereby lay claim to the title. And so should you. Who could prove you wrong.

  99. #99 raven
    February 19, 2009

    Y’all are missing the point completely. Xians are a persecuted downtrodden minority of only 78% of the population.

    They need the legal right to persecute other groups because,…well who knows why. Could be because the omnipotent, omiscient supreme being is asleep and can no long throw lightening bolts at atheists. Or maybe they can no longer fight wars among themselves because we took away their armies and weapons and they need someone new to hate and discriminate against.

    Next up. The Witch Hunting and Suppression Act, followed by the Vampire and Werewolf Removal Act. I knew I paid taxes for a reason.

  100. #100 Quiet_Desperation
    February 19, 2009

    1040 – the number of a bill about a supreme being, and the number of the most well known tax form in the world.

    COINCIDENCE?!?!

    Well, yeah, but amusing.

  101. #101 s2
    February 19, 2009

    I think “apparently associated with education” is giving her too much credit.

    looks like she’s in the registration office for a community college:

    http://www.whatcom.ctc.edu/content/ArchivesItem_201_413

    Struiksma, Kimberlie, Registration, LDC 102, (360) 383.3039, kstruiksma@whatcom.ctc.edu

    sounds like the crazy church lady that works as a paper pusher at the local Basketweaving school

  102. #102 Will E.
    February 19, 2009

    For folks like these, if you’re not constantly chanting “Thank you, God!” and “Praise Jesus!” then you’re an atheist. Being neutral–i.e., secular–isn’t an option. Every knee must bend, every tongue confess, etc.

  103. #103 Bill Ockham
    February 19, 2009

    (4) “Higher power” means a form of existence that is above that of human being.

    Like a seagull?

  104. #104 Greg Laden
    February 19, 2009

    If I was living in Washington, I’d be very tempted to vote yes on this. I’d also be lobbying to make sure the language gets cleaned up so that it can’t be struck down on the grounds of some dumb-ass technicality.

    Eventually, not long into the future, this act will be struck down by the US supreme court (or some lower court) on basic separation grounds. That will then form a much more direct and easy to use precedence.

    Then, the money comes off the bills, the commandments come out of the court rooms, and the creationists are arrested at the door of the school board hearing room.

    At the very least I want to see this ballot question go far enough to be heavily covered and debated in the public square.

  105. #105 debaser71
    February 19, 2009

    Sponsor
    Ms. Kimberlie Struiksma
    PO Box 501
    Blaine, WA 98231
    360-332-2181
    Fax: 360-332-2181
    kimberlies@hotmail.com

  106. #106 raven
    February 19, 2009

    4) “Higher power” means a form of existence that is above that of human being.

    Do they mean birds?

    No way. This is clearly referring to cats.

  107. #107 Robin
    February 19, 2009

    Anyone else half-expecting to find a reference to “Gthe Supreme Ruler of the Universeod” in there somewhere?

  108. #108 Richard Wolford
    February 19, 2009

    Omnipitus, the Eater of Planets.

  109. #109 Matt Heath, SRU
    February 19, 2009

    Shifty@#98 WIN^\infty

  110. #110 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 19, 2009

    No way. This is clearly referring to cats.

    Ceiling cat?

  111. #111 Strangebrew
    February 19, 2009

    In her brain fart to ostensibly bask in the glory of a supreme ruler of the universe might have backfired…methinks she was watching ‘Time Bandits’ when revelation stuck her a resounding blow on her cognitive function…probably unable to sit down for a week or two normally because of that…but in her rapture she has
    managed to include her own lack of reality to be banished…alongside Atheism…from the streets of Washington…well done that gal!…methinks that was not her intended plan…jeebus will be cross!

  112. #112 Libbie
    February 19, 2009

    If Kimmie gathers her signatures in the eastern half of the state, I’m sure it will get on the ballot. Fortunately, the western half of the state will vote it into oblivion.

    What a whiny bitch! I can’t believe she has such disrespect for the First Amendment that she’d try to enact a witch-hunt into law to silence people she doesn’t agree with.

    SUPREEEEEME MASTER OF THE UNIIIVERSE!!! Give me a break.

  113. #113 mikespeir
    February 19, 2009

    I say the universe is it’s own Supreme Ruler. This law wouldn’t affect me.

  114. #114 Tabby Lavalamp
    February 19, 2009

    What I find particularly interesting is how she keeps bringing up democracy while pushing for the idea of a Supreme Ruler. Cognitive dissonance at its finest. Unless she feels Supreme Ruler should be an elected position an Yahweh will be on the next ballot along with Allah, Odin, and Wiccagoddess.

  115. #115 FlameDuck
    February 19, 2009

    Wouldn’t this just ban atheist from running for office, but also prevent them from having any job paid for with government money? Science books in school? Did this person think even for 5 minutes what the concequences of this idea would be?

    Well no. Obviously this is blatantly unconstitutional, in direct violation of Article Six, Section 3.

    They need the legal right to persecute other groups because,…well who knows why.

    It’s not about persecution, it’s simply about greed. With financial disaster looming, many churches are on the verge of bankruptcy, appearently when faced with the choice of subsidising their church, and putting food on the table and a roof over head, most of the faithful are rational enough to realize that faith doesn’t buy food, and their god is not as good as providing for them, as the government (after all, you can buy food with a foodstamp).

    I think “apparently associated with education” is giving her too much credit.

    While I’m prepared to be wrong on this, anyone associated with education, would be aware of the US constitution.

  116. #116 Baal
    February 19, 2009

    I have seen in this thread a great many candidates proposed for Supreme Ruler of the Universe. I would just remind you that, among all those deities, I have far more experience than all of them and would make the best Supreme Being.

    Also people of Washington, I would be pleased if you used some of those volcanoes of yours for a little more sacrificin’.

  117. #117 NC Paul
    February 19, 2009

    Hang on a minute…

    If you’re not allowed get state money for anything that denies the existence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, does that include any religion that denies the existence of other gods?

    This lady probably imagines that the SRotU is the Christian God. But if she asserts that, she’s denying the existence of Allah, Brahman, Odin, Zeus and, of course, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Since the identity of the SRotU is obviously disputed, she falls foul of her own stupid law – especially if she tries to argue that there is no dispute about the identity of the SRotU.

  118. #118 Don Martin
    February 19, 2009

    “Ms. Struiksma must gather the signatures of 241,153 registered voters by July in order for it to actually be put on the ballot. There aren’t that many crazy stupid people in the state, are there?”

    I grew up in Kitsap County some while ago; I suspect that if the population of crazy, stupid people has risen in proportion to the general population, 241,153 signatures from them should pose no difficulty.

  119. #119 Aphrodine
    February 19, 2009

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Stupid bills and proposals like these are usually Postponed Indefinitely, which is a parliamentarian’s way of saying, “This is so stupid that we’re not even going to bother to vote ‘no’ on it. We’ll just pretend this never happened.”

  120. #120 Dennis
    February 19, 2009

    Hmmm… I live in Seattle, and it’s “hip” and full of progressives… BUT for every 3 or 4 progressive people, there’s 1-2 rednecks unfortunately. There’s VERY poor political leadership throughout the whole state, we don’t have a state income tax, high property tax and sales tax, cut down many other taxes such as car registration fees- and everyone wonders why the state is 9 Billion in the hole.

  121. #121 Jackal
    February 19, 2009

    I’ve always considered Galactus more of a Supreme Consumer of the Universe.

  122. #122 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 19, 2009

    I’ve always considered Galactus more of a Supreme Consumer of the Universe.

    Good point.

  123. #123 Dennis
    February 19, 2009

    Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that we have out share of kooks too. We’ve got a Ramtha cult, the Discovery institute, and also somehow have one of the lowest amounts of “religious” people in the country- go figure. But then again I live in a city that has a building shaped like a 1960′s rocket- and I keep forgetting that’s not “normal.”

  124. #124 Skelli
    February 19, 2009

    @70: Schizoid is the way to describe it. I live in Olympia, and there’s very little of the fundie-shouting unless you have the bad luck to be outside Planned Parenthood on a Friday. But go half an hour in any rural direction, and you’ve got a veritable cornucopia of weird. I’m surprised no one’s brought up JZ Knight yet — How does Ramtha fit into this supreme ruler business?

  125. #125 Strangebrew
    February 19, 2009

    Bottom line is how much hysteria against atheism can be whipped up by the dingbats…

    Christianinanity does it well…tis their favourite little toy..they do tend to play with it now and then…they like the affect!
    They should have grown out of it by now…but no…poor babies are clinging to it with talons of desperation!

  126. #126 Skelli
    February 19, 2009

    I forgot: Lady’s from LYNDEN. Tiny stronghold of God Fearers outside of (very liberal, very educated) Bellingham. You can’t even buy wine in the grocery store on Sunday (They rope it off, it’s very strange). Lynden’s fascinating, but it’s not exactly representative of the state.

  127. #127 MrMarkAZ
    February 19, 2009

    Much like the so-called marriage protection laws, this seems to be an act of desperation more than any serious legislative threat.

    Even if this piece of ordure passes into law, I give it a week, maybe a month, before it is overturned by the state supreme court.

  128. #128 Dennis
    February 19, 2009

    If you head east enough in Washington State- the more it becomes like the California Valley/mid west/east Oregon etc.

  129. #129 J.D.
    February 19, 2009

    This measure would prohibit state use of public money or lands for anything that denies or attempts to refute the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe, including textbooks, instruction or research.

    Don’t know what your problem with this is PZ. Sounds fantastic to me. Obviously the laws of physics rule the entire observable universe. The same laws that tell us the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Just as clearly the basic principles of evolution clearly rule life’s development on Earth. The supreme ruler of the universe is obviously the set of natural laws that govern that universe which are only revealed by the scientific method. This measure would prohibit anything to refute that. Thus Washington would be disabused of all kinds of ignorant nonsense like creationism and magic invisible sky daddies that violate the supreme ruler of the universe at their whim. Sounds like paradise!

  130. #130 SteveM
    February 19, 2009

    If you’re not allowed get state money for anything that denies the existence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, does that include any religion that denies the existence of other gods?

    No, not as long as you acknowledge that the universe is ruled by at least one deity, regardless of which one. You just can’t advovate that there is none at all.

    This is yet another case of confusing that “freedom of religion” only applies if you actually have a religion. If you don’t have a religion, that right doesn’t apply. You are not free to choose “none of the above”.

  131. #131 Max
    February 19, 2009

    This is terrifying

  132. #132 SteveM
    February 19, 2009

    Re Ben @95:

    However Washington is a very liberal state and there is absolutely no way this will pass.

    Speaking of famous last words…
    I think pretty much the same was said about California and Prop. 8. :(

  133. #133 SteveM
    February 19, 2009

    re Patrick Ross @12:

    Atheists have for years trying to push the idea that separation of Church and State means separation of Church and Religion.

    …Oh, wait. Unless it’s your religion. So sorry.

    Sorry to be so dense this morning, but I have no idea what you are trying to say here. Are you calling atheism a religion? And that we are being hippocritical when theists want to separate atheism from government? And is this satire or serious? I’m just not parsing it right.

  134. #134 Random Chimp
    February 19, 2009

    When this case eventually makes it to teh Supreme Court, can we have Judge Jones relocated to Washington

  135. #135 Glen Davidson
    February 19, 2009

    It could get the signatures, but it wouldn’t pass except in very unusual circumstances.

    Then again, even if it did it would almost certainly be invalidated by the SCOTUS.

    It’s a feel-good initiative for morons and bigots. The DI will probably hope intensely that it passes, while refusing to commit to it.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  136. #136 Bjoern Brembs
    February 19, 2009

    What J.D. said: “The supreme ruler of the universe is obviously the set of natural laws that govern that universe which are only revealed by the scientific method.”
    I wish this thing would pass and people would use it to sue the living daylights out of any religious project/school/church which uses public money in any way.

  137. #137 Ray Ladbury
    February 19, 2009

    So are violations punishable by a Fatwah?

  138. #138 Daniel
    February 19, 2009

    Eastern Washington is not as bad as the Central Valley in California. Trust me on this one. At least you can breathe in Eastern Washington.

    I am actually moving back to Eastern Washington (mostly because that is where all my family is just because the Central Valley sucks so much.

  139. #139 Tulse
    February 19, 2009

    Azathoth is clearly the Supreme…well…Something of the Universe. And I for one think that an amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity, a monstrous nuclear chaos beyond angled space, a mindless entity that rules all time and space from a curiously environed black throne at the centre of Chaos, would explain an awful lot about the condition of the universe.

  140. #140 Ray Ladbury
    February 19, 2009

    JD said: “The supreme ruler of the universe is obviously the set of natural laws that govern that universe which are only revealed by the scientific method.”

    Sorry, Spinoza beat you to it by about 400 years.

  141. #141 pdferguson
    February 19, 2009

    This obscene mess of an initiative could all be cleared up with the addition of a couple extra words in the description:

    This measure would prohibit state use of public money or lands for anything that proclaims or denies, or attempts to assert or refute the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe, including textbooks, instruction or research.

  142. #142 snoeman
    February 19, 2009

    @Dianne:

    snoeman, I don’t think Tim Eyman will get involved with it. It doesn’t directly affect his bottom line, and it’s at least 10 years before his monstrously bratty offspring attend college.

    Oh, I entirely agree. When it comes to championing his own interests, everyone-else-in-Washington-be-damned, it’s hard to outdo Eyman. But, since this wouldn’t contribute directly to stripping the state government of the remainder of its tax revenue, it’s hard to see why he’d get involved.

    No no, Krazy Kimberlie will have to go this one alone, I fear.

  143. #143 Sastra
    February 19, 2009

    “…According to the founding documents of our democratic society, our liberties are true and valid because they are endowed by a higher power. By contending that a higher power does not exist, our government removes the source of, invalidates, and consequently denies we the people of the United States our liberty. Thus, by denying the existence of a higher power our government defeats its purpose.”

    This, right here, is the crux of the argument against considering atheists as equal citizens, and atheism as a legitimate protected viewpoint. If there is no God, then there are no morals, and no ‘god-given’ rights to liberty. Atheists who believe in any values are refuting their own atheism.

    Thus, believing in God isn’t having a “religious” belief, because God is a necessary fact. You don’t believe in the existence of God: you acknowledge it.

    I think it all comes out of the lazy tendency towards top-down thinking, and imagining the world as if it were a giant family hierarchy — with a daddy and kids and the pets. The Supreme Ruler is the daddy, and we are the kids. Everything follows easily from that framework.

    Being Good means “doing what you are told.” Having Faith is “believing what you are told.” Human rights are handed down like gifts of approval. If the Supreme Ruler says all his children are equal, then they are. If He decides that the bigger kids are going to be in charge of the little kids, or that the daughters should do different tasks than the sons, or that the brown-skinned kids are meant to help the blond kids, or that the naughty kids are going to have their privleges — their “rights” — taken away for disobedience, then He has the right to do that, by virtue of being In Charge. No more liberty for you.

    Of course, The Supreme Ruler can’t say this directly, in person. For one thing, that would be cheating his best children out of their ability to show their love through the faith that they can hear and obey his voice, when others can’t.

    This child-like understanding of the basis of common consent according to rationally-derived precepts is what prevents them from seeing how atheists could believe in liberty or justice. To them, “endowed by our Creator” simply can’t be translated into a poetic way of saying “reasoned from nature.” The principle of mutual consent and recognition of equality could not be agreements and contracts between people. No, there’s got to be a Daddy or King, who orders his children to have a democracy, based on His Divine Right to do so, and our cringing acceptance of our duty to obey — or constitutional democracy is “defeated.”

  144. #144 Dennis
    February 19, 2009

    Hah- yeah, the CA valley is def worse than eastern WA- I used to live in the Sac Valley, that’s how I know the words to most AC/DC songs.

  145. #145 Glen Davidson
    February 19, 2009

    What’s bizarre about this is that it was provoked by secularist groups invoking the 1st Amendment. How does the bozo think an initiative is going to contravene the First Amendment?

    Maybe the DI is beind it, after all. They have massive tard resources, and this obviously came from tard. I know that they have no monopoly on tard, yet no one should question their capabilities in that area.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  146. #146 DaveG
    February 19, 2009

    Wait a minute… falsification is a core tenet of research – so wouldn’t IDiots and Creationists be expected to attempt to falsify their hypotheses, thus subjecting them to this law?

  147. #147 Lee Picton
    February 19, 2009

    I wrote an email to the creotard as follows:

    I would suggest you are going to need an attorney to explain to you that this sort of bill is unconstitutional. Only a truly demented fanatic would go to the trouble of explicitly trying to deny the right of atheists in light of the fact that other states are finally getting rid of their medieval restriction against same. We atheists are entitled to the same rights and privileges under the law and it is idiots like you who only believe in freedom of religion as long as it is your religion. I have news for you. There are in this country more people of no religion than all the Jews, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Fundamentalists combined. We do NOT respect your views as they are unworthy of respect. I suspect you will find this out when you attempt to get signatories for your pathetic bill.

  148. #148 Cuttlefish, OM
    February 19, 2009

    If this ruler really rules,
    then the courts and laws and rules
    Are already gleaming jewels
    in his crown.
    Does she think that we are fools,
    She can use us as her tools?
    Let?s just wait until she cools
    A little down.

    Does she think her ruler shy?
    If we slight him, will he cry?
    After all, she does imply
    In her bill
    That our power to deny
    Is sufficient to defy,
    Overcome, and say good-bye
    To his will.

    If this bill of hers should pass
    Then her power would surpass
    Her god?s greatness, and alas,
    She?d be greater
    Which, although it may be crass,
    Means this legislative ass
    Joins the new and higher class
    Of ?creator?.

  149. #149 Nate
    February 19, 2009

    Prank Call:

    Caller: Hi, Ms. Kimberlie Struiksma?

    Sponsor: Yes?

    Caller: I’m trying to get in touch with the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Can you put me in touch with her or him?

    Sponsor: Uhh. Very Funny. Who is this?

    Caller: Just tell me where I can find the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. I have something I need to bring to his or her attention.

    Sponsor: (laughs nervously) You mean God? What do you need to tell him?

    Caller: Apparently there are people who deny the Supreme Ruler exists.

    Sponsor: Oh I get it, you–

    Caller: I just figured he oughta know so he can do something about it.

    Sponsor: Well, uh, that’s what we’re here for.

    Caller: Well, I figure if the Supreme Ruler cares, he’ll come up with a better plan to stop it than a pathetic, unconstitutional ballot initiative that has no chance of passing. Don’t you think?

    Sponsor: Alright. Bye.

  150. #150 Leslie in Canada
    February 19, 2009

    This is not as weird as this Washington proposal, but the plan to run the atheist bus ads here in my town of Ottawa has had to go to a full council meeting since the Transit Committee deadlocked on whether or not to run the ads.

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Entertainment/Council+decide+whether+Transpo+should+take+atheism/1303023/story.html

    Apparently some people considered the “There probably is no God…” line to incite hatred against Believers!

  151. #151 Aquaria
    February 19, 2009

    I don’t doubt that there are enough people in most states in America to have this not only get on the ballot, but also pass.

    Given that, I’m not worried about the state of science education alone in this country. The abominable lack of understanding our history, our government and citizenship (no, “USA! USA! USA!” doesn’t cover it all).

    It never fails to appall me how much religious poisons the minds of so many people that they refuse to understand (much less try to learn about) what the Constitution actually says, and what it doesn’t.

    Of course anyone willing to be ignorant about science is willing to be ignorant about our government and history.

  152. #152 DaveG
    February 19, 2009

    BTW, assume this law passed and someone was accused of breaking it. Wouldn’t the state have to prove the existence of, and identify, the SROTU, to demonstrate that which the defendant had allegedly refuted?

  153. #153 Tedr2
    February 19, 2009

    Ms Struiksma.
    Class A example of the Phrase “parading your stupidity”

  154. #154 CalGeorge
    February 19, 2009

    I’m assuming the measure is directed at the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s sign:

    “At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

    Poor Kimberlie just can’t tolerate having her idiocy criticized.

  155. #155 bunnycatch3r
    February 19, 2009

    Ok, Supreme ruler of the Universe…I’m thinking “physics”?

  156. #156 ThirdMonkey
    February 19, 2009

    That’s it! I’m driving to Blaine with a stack of “There is no God” print-outs and I’m going to staple them up to every telephone pole! Anyone around Seattle want to give me a hand?

  157. #157 calm reason
    February 19, 2009

    Posted by: Christophe Thill | February 19, 2009 9:50 AM

    The Supreme Ruler of the Universe does exist. It’s a ruler made of metal (a platinum-iridium alloy, to be exact). It is precisely 1 meter long. It used to be the official definition of a meter. Now that the definition involves wavelengths, it still is the official material embodiment of the meter. And you can definitely see it; it’s in a building in Sèvres, near Paris. How could anybody deny it? It’s a ruler that rules!

    Alternatively, there is this:
    http://www.harmonydesigns.com/details/images/Supreme-Court-Ruler.jpg

    People can even custom order Rulers in any style that they wish to acknowledge the existence thereof.
    http://www.harmonydesigns.com/details/customruler.php

  158. #158 Julie Stahlhut
    February 19, 2009

    When I first read the header of this post, I thought it meant that the person in question had been named the official state kook of Washington.

    No further comment ….

  159. #159 Matt Heath, SRU
    February 19, 2009

    @calm reason: Except the official control ruler was retired because they could measure time more accurately than length and use the speed of light in a vacuum to derive the new official meter.
    That Supreme Ruler (like another contender I can think of) is dead.

  160. #160 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 19, 2009

    Unconstitutional.

    <yawn>

    What comment 40 said.

    or the leader of a dominant alien warrior species.

    I, for one, welcome our new Klingon overlords?

  161. #161 Tualha
    February 19, 2009

    Oh, it might be a good thing if 241,153 registered voters approved this thing. It would obviously not get on the ballot for constitutional reasons, and even if it could, I’m sure the great majority of Washingtonians would vote No.

    What it would accomplish would be to make Washington State the next laughingstock, which would make Washingtonians feel resentment against nutcase theists and excessive religion in general. Win!

  162. #162 jimmiraybob
    February 19, 2009

    Even if this piece of ordure passes into law, I give it a week, maybe a month, before it is overturned by the state supreme court.

    Allow me to write the headline: Supreme Court says Supreme Ruler does not Measure Up.

  163. #163 SteveM
    February 19, 2009

    It would obviously not get on the ballot for constitutional reasons,

    I believe that a law has go into effect and be challenged before it can be declared unconstitutional.

  164. #164 Bodach
    February 19, 2009

    Nice to see so many Washingtonians on the blog.
    Robin @ 107: sweet, I see what you did there…

  165. #165 C. M. Baxter
    February 19, 2009

    While I’m prepared to be wrong on this, anyone associated with education, would be aware of the US constitution.

    It’s good that you’re prepared.

  166. #166 Tualha
    February 19, 2009

    #164: In both California and Florida, I’ve known ballot measures to not reach the ballot because a court declared them unconstitutional.

  167. #167 SEF
    February 19, 2009

    (4) “Higher power” means a form of existence that is above that of human being.

    Clouds are above humans. If you’re a flat-earther, then the stars, black holes and galaxies are “above”, rather than out, in space too. Lots of those actually exist and are considerably more powerful than humans. Gravity, for flat-earthers, probably only qualifies as a lower power or force though. ;-)

  168. #168 Menyambal
    February 19, 2009

    Hah! The initiative text makes a pretty damn weak case for itself. Section (4) says “according to founding documents . . . higher power” then gives three subsections; (a) which bold-types the word “Creator” from the Declaration of Independence, (b) which quotes the Preamble to the US Constitution, which has the phrase “blessings of liberty”, but no mention at all of any higher power of any sort, and (c) the state of Washington’s preamble, which does mention the SRotU. So the national case rests on the word Creator, and is padded out with something that effectively damns the claim by not mentioning Yahweh, Zeus, Thor, Mithras, me or anybody else.

    My vote for Supreme Ruler of the Universe goes to my own nephew, by the way. He was born with a genetic anomaly that made the high forehead that he inherited from both sides of his family into a brain-alien dome over great big sloping eyes. He was spindly everywhere else, not suited for this rumbling planet, but he had a beautiful smile. His parents called him the “Emperor of the Known Universe”, and took very good care of him while he was with us. His family name was the same as that of an SF movie bad guy, and we all had high hopes for positions in his court. He left this dimension, alas.

    Some mention was made above about compulsory religious categories. That was the case in Indonesia, at least. There were five religion checkboxes on the citizenship papers, no option for atheism, and no opting out.

  169. #169 AJS
    February 19, 2009

    meter = measuring instrument
    metre = fundamental unit of distance

  170. #170 Tualha
    February 19, 2009

    This ill-written document keeps saying the state may not “deny or attempt to refute the existence of the Creator”. Well, guess what? I agree, and so do constitutional scholars and courts. Government must be neutral in matters of religion.

    I wonder exactly what she thinks the state is doing that does this? Teaching evolution? High school teachers and professors teaching evolution don’t stand up in class and say “this proves that god doesn’t exist”. Religion doesn’t enter into it. Obviously, the theory of evolution contradicts the creation stories of many religions; but that is not the same as contradicting religious ideas as a whole.

    But then, fundies always do think that teaching evolution is tantamount to denying god, so I suppose that’s why she vomited forth this thing. Be interesting to see a court rule that the theory of evolution has no explicit religious content. Though I think Judge Jones did say so in the Kitzmiller decision.

  171. #171 Doo Shabag
    February 19, 2009

    Personally, I’m psyched to have this happening in Washington! For too long I’ve envied people in other states with their crazy nutbags trying to pass ridiculous laws. I want this to go as far as possible, for the reasons Greg Laden outlined above and other have touched on. This one is so obviously unconstitutional that I will happily vote in favor of it – the higher it goes before it is shot down, the bigger the splash it will make when it crashes (unless it burns up on re-entry which would be spectacular in its own right). Hooray for Kimberlie Struiksma! Our very own whackjob!

  172. #172 Lotharloo
    February 19, 2009

    Posted by: Michelle | February 19, 2009 8:51 AM

    Supreme Ruler of the Universe… Is that Xenu?

    Supreme Ruler of the universe is someone who rules every moon, planet and solar system … Palpatine the Galactic empire.

  173. #173 ndt
    February 19, 2009

    Posted by: AJS | February 19, 2009 12:46 PM

    meter = measuring instrument
    metre = fundamental unit of distance

    Not in American English.

  174. #174 ron
    February 19, 2009

    Actually, (and to be fair I haven’t read the above comments) but the preamble to the Constitution does not mention a supreme being in any way at all.

  175. #175 www.10ch.org
    February 19, 2009

    “Supreme Ruler of the Universe” refers to clouds. I believe in clouds. Therefore, according to this law, I am not an atheist, nor is most people commenting here.

  176. #176 Zombie
    February 19, 2009

    Bring back the Owl Party.

  177. #177 Jonathon
    February 19, 2009

    Once again, the Christianists want the government to endorse religion. Why do they need this? What do they really care whether or not the government believes/accepts their religion as fact?

    Now, this whole “Supreme Ruler of the Universe” nonsense is absurd. So long as it is understood that this entity is Yahweh/Jehovah they are all for it. But imagine if others insisted that this entity is Allah, or Sri Krisna, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Oh, the outrage!

    Christianists are out of step with their own faith. Jesus himself established a separation of religion and government when he declared “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.”

    It would be interesting to see this legislative proposal being discussed, especially if there are some real questions asked. For example, if we are declaring that there is a “Supreme Ruler of the Universe”, then shouldn’t this entity have a name? If so, what is its name? What religion(s) confirm this entity? Which one(s) deny this entity? What possible good is served by passing such legislation, when it is clearly in violation of the US Constitution?

    Each of us is free to believe or not believe in a “Supreme Ruler of the Universe”, but the government is prohibited from doing so. Really, why would anyone need or want official government recognition of their religious beliefs?

    (I guess that I should point out that Muslims believe that Allah is the same deity as that worshiped by Jews and Christians. No disrespect is intended by not associating Allah with Yahweh/Jehovah, nor by mentioning Sri Krisna and the FSM in one sentence.)

  178. #178 Rob in Memphis
    February 19, 2009

    “Supreme Ruler of the Universe”? Pfft. Everyone knows the Markovians created everything, so if anything that title belongs to Nathan Brazil.

    [/dorky "Well World" reference]

  179. #179 Praetor Shinzon
    February 19, 2009

    @ David, # 160

    I, for one, welcome our new Klingon overlords…

    I, for one, welcome our new Romulan overlords…

    There, fixed that for you.

  180. #180 Casey
    February 19, 2009

    I wonder does Freedom of Religion include freedom FROM religion..?

  181. #181 Doo Shabag
    February 19, 2009

    It looks like she might have more plans too . . . unless this is a revised version.

    Assigned Number: (not yet assigned)
    Filed: 02/09/2009

    Sponsor
    Ms. Kimberlie Struiksma

    Initiative Subject
    Related to supreme ruler

    And speaking of Eyman, that guy has a bunch of crap in the works. Too bad I automatically vote against everything he sponsors.

  182. #182 Qwerty
    February 19, 2009

    If you get to the end it states:

    “Sec. 10. This act may be known and cites as the Washington state defense of liberty and existence of a higher power act.”

    So THERE! Says Ms. Struiksma. Try to tell us there is no GOD! Oh yea! Our laws say there is one and if you don’t agree, well, you can rot in jail!!!

  183. #183 marcus
    February 19, 2009

    It’s Squids! Squuuiiiiidddds!Or maybe Octupi.

  184. #184 Emperor Ming the Merciless
    February 19, 2009

    Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would’ve hidden from it in terror.

  185. #185 Sastra
    February 19, 2009

    Jonathon #177 wrote:

    Each of us is free to believe or not believe in a “Supreme Ruler of the Universe”, but the government is prohibited from doing so. Really, why would anyone need or want official government recognition of their religious beliefs?

    Because if this happens, then theism seems to win a popularity contest, and theists literally think popularity is a knock-down argument for the existence of God. “If God doesn’t exist, then why does every culture and society around the world and throughout history believe in God?”

    They answer their question by saying that “God gave some basic knowledge of Himself inside every human heart” (evidence of divine ESP).

    We, of course, point out that belief in God is not what’s common — belief in the supernatural is, and there are all sort of neurological, psychological, social, and cultural factors involved. But they think their answer is neater, simpler, and therefore true.

    By the way, if the government was really prohibited from expressing a belief in God, then “In God We Trust” would not be our national motto, and “One Nation, Under God” would not be one of the core beliefs expressed in the Official PLedge of Allegiance. The courts may wink and smile and insist that’s just “ceremonial Deism” and perfunctory expressions of “public religion” — but that’s not how the religious take it. Their inference is sensible under the circumstances.

    That’s one reason why I get a bit frustrated when atheists say we should ignore the Official National Motto and Official National Pledge as minor inconveniences, and focus instead on political issues that make a real difference to atheists. It seems to me that there is not one political issue on church-state separation which “makes a real difference” to the lives of atheists which does not invariably grin and point and smirk and wave these things under our noses as their trump card.

  186. #186 SteveM
    February 19, 2009

    Hey Shinzon, shouldn’t that be Reman overlords?

  187. #187 marilove
    February 19, 2009

    This seems to me it would be directly against our Free Speech rights.

  188. #188 SASnSA
    February 19, 2009

    What I’m surprised about is that the Discovery Institute doesn’t mention it on their page. I would have thought they’d be all over it, trying to push their wedge even further in.

  189. #189 Bill
    February 19, 2009

    Here we go:
    kimberlies@hotmail.com
    Give her a piece of your mind…

  190. #190 Gilles
    February 19, 2009

    This measure should be enacted, because I know there is a supreme “ruler” of the universe: ?. In fact there are four, ?, ?, ?s and ?G but the best known is ?.

    Besides, Kimberlie says that “The measure would provide that no person shall be questioned based on their personal values, beliefs, or opinions regarding the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe”, and my opinion is that there is four supreme rulers of the universe.
     

  191. #191 12th Monkey
    February 19, 2009

    I for one welcome our new supreme ruler of the universe and volunteer myself to round up my fellow citizens to toil in his underground fungus farms.

  192. #192 Peter Mc
    February 19, 2009

    Off topic but news, Phelps banned from entering UK.

    A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “The home secretary has excluded both Fred Phelps and his daughter from the UK. Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities.

    “The government has made it clear it opposes extremism in all its forms. We will continue to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country ? regardless of their opinions and beliefs.”

  193. #193 mandrake
    February 19, 2009

    Michael at #70 –

    When it comes to religion and politics this state is, after Louisiana, the most schizoid place I ever seen.

    Though misused constantly, “schizoid” and “schizophrenic” do not refer to a split personality – that is, a personality split into two parts. The “split” referenced in the term is a split between the personality and reality…
    In which case your comment can pretty much stand, actually.

  194. #194 Porco Dio
    February 19, 2009

    i’m confused…

    if this bill goes through does it mean the supreme ruler needs earthy protection? cant he look after himself?

  195. #195 Sastra
    February 19, 2009

    You know, I’d be curious to find out what sort of things she means by “scientific endeavor … or research project which denies or attempts to refute the existence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.”

    Like others, I’m guessing she’s referring to evolution here, but maybe she’s got some new ideas — or some other bee in her bonnet. The nut field is a fertile field indeed.

  196. #196 landrew
    February 19, 2009

    Supreme = Ultimate (but I’ll concede to dominant)
    Ruler = Measuring tool
    Universe = All that exists

    The ultimate measuring tool of all that exists? Hmmm

    “This measure would require state government not to use public funds or property for anything that denies or attempts to refute the existence of a science…”

  197. #197 damnedyankee
    February 19, 2009

    @#59:

    #9 BigDumbChimp:

    Galactus?

    In this case, we have no problems, we are protected by the Silver Surfer.

    Lies! All know that we are truly protected by Reed Richards and his Ultimate Nullifier! Place not your faith in some pseudo-messianic showboater from the stars! Put your trust in SCIENCE!!!*

    * – Mad science, yes, but SCIENCE, dammit!

  198. #198 JSug
    February 19, 2009

    @Sastra #143:

    The problem is, her assertion in the proposed initiative that our rights are endowed by a supreme ruler of the universe is provably false. The documents she mentions are either A) not part of the legal establishment of our rights (in the case of the Declaration of Independence) or B) they make no mention of any supreme ruler/creator/whatever being responsible for our rights (US Constitution, WA state Constitution). The preamble to the WA constitution does read that we are grateful to the supreme ruler of the universe, but neglects to mention what we are grateful for.

  199. #199 Romantic Heretic
    February 19, 2009

    Whaddya mean Klingons or Romulans.

    We’re already ruled by the Ferengi who have taught us about greed, amorality and sexism. And it is good.

  200. #200 Nin Guino
    February 19, 2009

    I don’t understand one thing: This supreme ruler, will be in inches or in centimeters?

  201. #201 Diane
    February 19, 2009

    Third Monkey,

    Swing by Everett on your way to Blaine and I’d be happy to help staple signs to telephone poles. I’ll bring the wine.

  202. #202 Absurdistan
    February 19, 2009

    I, for one, hope that it passes. Just think of the fun we could have!

    May all your science classes be touched by His noodly appendage. :-p

  203. #203 Shadow
    February 19, 2009

    Supreme Ruler? Mathematics. Physics is good too, but all the interactions boil down to mathematical formulas.

  204. #204 Jim Lippard
    February 19, 2009

    It’s ironic that the author is in Blaine, as this appears to be patterned after the Blaine amendments to many state constitutions which were passed to block Catholic schools from receiving state funding. (More ironically, the Blaine amendments were supported by evangelical Protestant denominations whose members now hate them.)

    If it was written more carefully, it could actually be reasonable–governments shouldn’t promote religion and they also shouldn’t promote atheism. But I think the Blaine amendments already do that. E.g., Arizona’s Constitution, Article I, Section 12 says: “The liberty of conscience secured by the provisions of this constitution shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or to the support of any religious establishment. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned touching his religious belief in any court of justice to affect the weight of his testimony.”

  205. #205 mynabyrd
    February 19, 2009

    That’s odd. I live in Washington state, and we seem like a pretty accepting crowd.

    Then again, I’m in Vancouver. The fact that we live a few minutes outside of Portland probably skews stuff like that– if you’ve never been to Stumptown, it’s a big artsy kind of area. Lots of liberals here.

    It also was kind of weird to me when I read about discrimination towards atheists! I’ve never had any sort of opposition, not even at school. I can’t even believe that people are like that… even being raised as a Christian, the members of my parents’ church are very respectful and know that I have a right to make my own decisions.

    God, when I was in high school (I’m still high school age now, but not attending), we’d be talking about abortion or evolution or whatever in biology class– it was unanimous that the idea of a Creator was ridiculous and that pro-life activists were lunatics. When I began reading Pharyngula on a regular basis, I was shocked at the number of Christians in the country and how severe the anti-atheist crap was. I’ve never met any opposition like that, ever. I mean, ever… it’s astonishing to me. I honestly thought that most people were atheists or didn’t care… that religious people were a minority.

    Geez!

  206. #206 Craig
    February 19, 2009

    ThirdMonkey: what exactly do you think that is going to accomplish other than perhaps some self satisfaction? (And I agree it could be fun!)

  207. #207 Sec
    February 19, 2009

    We could destroy one million cybermen with ONE Dalek.
    We are the supreme beings.

  208. #208 Epikt
    February 19, 2009

    Sastra:

    The nut field is a fertile field indeed.

    And so well fertilized.

  209. #209 ConcernedEducator
    February 19, 2009

    Come on people, stop worrying…let’s assume for a moment this actually passed and was made into law this August.

    The measure specifically states exclusion only for people who (and pay attention here) DENIES or attempts to REFUTE the existence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.

    So, let it pass!

    Even the most militant Atheist on the planet has never denied or refuted the existence of something that hasn’t even been proven to exist…that would be as silly as creationism.

  210. #210 ConcernedEducator
    February 19, 2009

    On second thought, let it pass, but for another reason.

    “This measure would prohibit state use of public money or lands for anything that denies or attempts to refute the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe”

    Every religion that I’m aware of that worships a deity DENIES THE EXISTENCE OF OTHER SUPREME RULERS FROM OTHER RELIGIONS!

    Therefore, no land/money for ANY religious groups anymore.

    Works for me!

  211. #211 Saka T.
    February 19, 2009

    Struiksmsa and co. should be given a one-way, expenses paid trip to resettle in Alabama or at least Idaho where they would favorably appreciate her take on the organization of government and society. She appears to want a Christian mirror image of what the Afghan Taliban had installed in government prior to 2003 and what the Pakistani government just agreed to impose in the Northwest Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan.

  212. #212 Umlud
    February 19, 2009

    Hmmm… Is this about deifying He-Man? I mean, because he is the leader of the Masters of the Universe wouldn’t that make him the SUPREME master of the universe?

    Hmmm… the Church of He-Man… Would that mean that the priests need to work out in order to look good while wearing a loincloth, stylized man-corset, and fur-trimmed calf-boots?

  213. #213 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 19, 2009

    Church of He-Man? One of the regulars here worked on that show. Perhaps, if you ask nicely, he could help you to set up your canonical laws.

  214. #214 llewelly
    February 19, 2009

    I thought the supreme ruler of the universe was the Planck Length ?

  215. #215 phantomreader42
    February 19, 2009

    Umlud @ #212:

    Hmmm… the Church of He-Man… Would that mean that the priests need to work out in order to look good while wearing a loincloth, stylized man-corset, and fur-trimmed calf-boots?

    A religion whose sacraments include battling the undead and riding on a giant armored cat? Cool!

    Then again, Ehlonna or Obad-hai can pull that off just as well. Or Kord for that matter.

  216. #216 Masks of Eris
    February 19, 2009

    I think we can safely agree that any piece of legislation which contains the words “Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as to warrant a government sponsored witch hunt.” is, er, not a good idea.

  217. #217 'Tis Himself
    February 19, 2009

    Jonathon #177:

    Each of us is free to believe or not believe in a “Supreme Ruler of the Universe”, but the government is prohibited from doing so. Really, why would anyone need or want official government recognition of their religious beliefs?

    The separation of church and state dates back to Friedrich Barbarossa’s Drang nach Südden and his struggles with Pope Alexander III over primacy in Europe. The post-Roman collapse Europeans had been trying since Charlemagne to re-establish a Christian empire, Roman style, by hadn’t quite got it right. One of the major questions about this empire was who should ultimately be the supreme ruler, the secular emperor who achieved his position through conquest and blood lines, or the Pope? In other words, should ultimate power rest with the church or the state. Should there be a difference between the two? With Barbarossa’s failed attempts to bring Italy under his sway, the two remained separate. The Protestant Reformation led to two centuries of warfare between Catholics and Protestants, culminating in the big finale of the Thirty Years War, leaving a lot of people in Europe wondering if religion was a good idea or not.

    This was the mindset of the first English settlers in the Americas. The English Civil War, Cromwell’s tyranny, and the “Bloodless Revolution” of 1688 left a deep impression on English colonists. They created a movement called Deism. The Deists; beliefs were that though they believed, often strongly, in god, they distrusted religions as imperfect human attempts to define and understand god. They looked on the Catholic Church as a bloated, corrupt bureaucracy that wanted power and Earthly wealth. They were committed Protestants who believed that Henry VIII’s separation from the Catholic Church was absolutely necessary but they also saw the resulting Church of England, the Anglicans, as having become just as corrupt as the Catholics. The lesson they drew from the Anglican experience was that religion mixed with government inevitably led to the defilement of both. This is a source of confusion for many modern American religious extremists who can’t seem to bridge the understanding that the American Founding Fathers being devoted to god (except for some atheists like Ben Franklin) and yet distrusting religion. American Christian fundamentalists love to quote religious citations from the Founding Fathers without knowing the context of these remarks.

    The American Constitution was framed with a strict separation between state and religion. It is not anti-religious but it says that while religion has a place in society, that place cannot be connected with the government. Anyone can practice any religion or lack thereof, but they cannot force anyone else to practice that religion and the government cannot endorse or support any particular religion.

    American religious zealots have a convoluted logical that says they should be able to express their religion in any way they want, including putting symbols on government property, disregarding the Constitution and local laws. If they can’t impose their religious views on everyone else then their religious rights are being abridged. Since their religion says they must proselytize, any attempt to stop them from doing so, all laws and the Constitution be damned, is against their rights.

    The point about separation of church and state that seems to be missing is that it’s not about majorities, it’s about all of society. Clearly, even if we are a minority, there are those of us who do not want religion imposed on us and especially don’t want government to aid in the imposition. The zealots don’t get it and, what’s worse, don’t want to get it.

  218. #218 Die Anyway
    February 19, 2009

    (4) “Higher power” means a form of existence that is above that of human being.

    Oh yes, I’m with the “cats” group. Long live ceiling kitty.

    But I was really wondering about some of the wording. I’ve done lots of experiments and never a single one was designed to disprove or deny any supreme being.
    I’d be kind of inclined to support the bill and then make sure the theists of all stripes were forced to live by it. As several above have noted, this could place as many restrictions on them as on us, maybe more.

  219. #219 Freefalling
    February 19, 2009

    Passerby: “hey, is that your Christmas display?”

    Christian: “yes, yes it is…I am proudly displaying my faith”

    Passerby: “that’s nice and all, but Kimberlie Struiksma’s new law says that if anyone denies a Supreme Ruler, they can’t use public funds or money.”

    Christian: “but I don’t deny God! I pray to Him every day!”

    Passerby: “sorry, the law doesn’t say anything about a specific god…let me just ask: Do you believe in Vishnu, Supreme Ruler of the Universe in the Hindu religion, or do you deny His existence?”

    Christian: “I deny it of course! I am a Christian!”

    Passerby: “Okay then, Denier of a Supreme Ruler, start packing up that silly Manger scene before I have it removed.”

  220. #220 Flasher702
    February 19, 2009

    I’ve decided to help get this measure on the ballot so that such nonsense can be properly attacked in the wider media.

  221. #221 pdferguson
    February 19, 2009

    Since this Christard Struicksma hails from Blaine (wherever the fuck that is), how about makin’ some good old-fashioned fun of her hometown too, with these two great quotes from Christopher Guest’s film Waiting for Guffman:

    “…which brings me to the number 5. There are five letters in the word Blaine. Now, if you mix up the letters in the word Blaine, mix ‘em around, eventually, you’ll come up with Nebali. Nebali. The name of a planet in a galaxy way, way, way… way far away.”
        — David Cross

    “Blaine is the stool capital of the world.”
        — Larry Miller

  222. #222 Lurkbot
    February 19, 2009

    When I saw the Dutch name I kind of figured she was from Lynden. It’s a weird little Calvinist enclave, sort of like the town in Footloose.

    This is the result of an intiative we passed in November, which makes it much easier to set up an initiative campaign (basically anybody or their dog can do it now) BUT…now you have to gather a number of signatures equal to 20% of the number that voted in the last general election instead of 10% like before. That’s why Tim Eyman was so virulently opposed to it (and why I voted for it).

    Problem is, if it goes on the ballot, it’ll be in an off-year, non-general election. The fanatics can always mobilize their troops to vote in these things, but most people can’t be bothered. So if it gets the requisite signatures, it might well pass. It wouldn’t have any effect in Western Washington if it did, and Eastern Washington couldn’t get any worse, anyway, so I’m not really worried.

  223. #223 Flash Gordon, Quarterback, New York Jets
    February 19, 2009

    Ming said-

    Pathetic earthlings. Etc., etc.

    Forget it, Ming! Dale’s with me!

  224. #224 FakeBreton
    February 19, 2009

    Nin Guino (#200):

    I don’t understand one thing: This supreme ruler, will be in inches or in centimeters?

    Hard to tell.

    I’d say inches. First, it’s an USofA law. Besides, the metric system is a French / European invention, and it’s a well-known fact that many of us Europeans are godless bastards who’ll burn in hell, so: no atheist units, thanks.

    But surely, from a christ-tard point of view these:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Hebrew_weights_and_measures#Length_and_Distance

    are more appropriate, right?

  225. #225 'Tis Himself
    February 19, 2009

    #200 & #224

    Let’s measure length in megaparsecs.

  226. #226 FakeBreton
    February 19, 2009

    #225:

    Let’s measure length in megaparsecs.

    I don’t know, given the subject matter I’d think the “ipuhorn” is a more appropriate unit.

    1 ipuhorn = length of the horn of the Invisible Pink Unicorn

  227. #227 Aquaria
    February 19, 2009

    If it was written more carefully, it could actually be reasonable–governments shouldn’t promote religion and they also shouldn’t promote atheism.

    Not teaching religion is to promoting atheism like not teaching not collecting stamps is promoting a hobby.

  228. #228 echidna
    February 19, 2009

    Tis_Himself@217: thanks for the context.

  229. #229 JJR
    February 19, 2009

    “We’re the Princes of the Universe….”
    -Queen, for the Highlander TV series.

  230. #230 beagledad
    February 19, 2009

    Which Universe does the initiative have in mind? If the “many worlds” hypothesis holds true, are we required to acknowledge only the Supreme Ruler only of the particular universe in which we live, or is there another more-Supreme Ruler of all possible universes? Also, is the Supreme Ruler also the Creator, or is it a more recently aquired office, kind of like the difference between the Continental Congress and Barack Obama?

  231. #231 Ktesibios
    February 19, 2009

    I rather liked the “Washington state kook” in the post title. Perhaps the Washington state legislature could pass a resolution designating Ms. Dingleberry the Official State Kook.

    After all, 40 states have Official State Fossils (Washington’s is the Columbian Mammoth), so designating an Official State Kook would be an equally productive use for legislators’ time.

    Every state should have an Official State Kook!

  232. #232 Desert Son
    February 19, 2009

    Ktesibios at #231:

    Every state should have an Official State Kook!

    Perhaps it should be a rotating position. Chagrined, I’ve certainly committed my fair share of crazy/stupid to hold the office every now and then (without, I hope, tenure).

    No kings,

    Robert

  233. #233 Flysch Gadroon
    February 19, 2009

    It pleases Us that our miserable slaves should chastise those who dare question our supreme rulership of the universe

    We hereby appoint Kimberlie Struiksma Honorary Counsel of Mongo in Seattle, and order her to deliver the legislature of Washington in chains to our vassal Vultan, it being Our intelligent design that they end their days shoveling radium into the furnaces that support Our flying diplomacy .

    Whereof fail not, Seattloids, lest Our noble pet Octapod, reduce your salmon tossers to fishpaste , and We unleash the Niton Ray upon the Discovery Institute

    Yours mercilessly

    Ming

    Ming The Merciless

  234. #234 Monado
    February 19, 2009

    Leslie in Ottawa, I’d push for another full set of ads that read, “There is probably no Russell’s Teapot” and see if we can get people to look up the concept.

  235. #235 Dale Hawkins
    February 19, 2009

    Thankfully this will not outlaw the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  236. #236 RedShift
    February 19, 2009

    Posted by: damnedyankee
    Lies! All know that we are truly protected by Reed Richards and his Ultimate Nullifier! Place not your faith in some pseudo-messianic showboater from the stars! Put your trust in SCIENCE!!!*
    ———————————
    Blasphemer!! First off, Richards doesn’t HAVE the Nullifier, never did! It’s on Galactus’s ship! Second, thanks to the Annihilation War, Galactus has to eat twice as much! WE ARE ALL DOOMED!

  237. #237 Cowcakes
    February 19, 2009

    What the fuck is an ” Extended School Year Para-Educator”

    Do they teach the paranormal or is, and more likely in the case of Kimberlie Struiksma, does it refer to her having a diaability such as in the term paralympion.

    Unfortunately No chocolate Freddos for guessing what her disability is.

  238. #238 Monado
    February 20, 2009

    4) Higher power:

    Giraffe?
    Bird?
    Orang-utan?
    Fellow on the 2nd floor?
    Wichita Linesman??

    People in the country to the north???

  239. #239 Escuerd
    February 20, 2009

    Patrick Ross @ 12:

    It seems you’re a little confused.

  240. #240 IanA
    February 20, 2009

    Oh you have to be kidding me… this nonsense is coming from _Lynden_?

    I live just to the south, in Bellingham. Lynden has a well-earned reputation for being a haven for uber-Christian wackaloons and is generally regarded as cultural black hole of Whatcom County.

    Leave it to them to try to ruin it for the rest of us.

  241. #241 Christophe Thill
    February 20, 2009

    “According to the founding documents of our democratic society, our liberties are true and valid because they are endowed by a higher power.”

    Higher power… that’s 12-steps-program vocabulary, right?

    “- Hello, my name is Kimberlie and I’m a godoholic.
    - Hellooo, Kimberliiiiiie !”

    Or perhaps I’m reading too much into this, and this “endowed by higher power” is just a clumsy metaphor about penis size.

  242. #242 Vestrati
    February 20, 2009

    I’d love to see these anti-science nuts live without the fruits of science. No store-bought food, after all, would our current yield be possible without agricultural science? How about no running water/electricity? Cars? Medicine? The list is endless.

    Hell, I imagine chemistry would be involved in the bleaching of the paper for and glue for the binding of those Bibles they oh so love to have (but seem to neglect to actually read).

  243. #243 Vestrati
    February 20, 2009

    Oh, and the whole supreme ruler of the universe makes her sound like she’s talking about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Which I am totally ok with them teaching in schools.

  244. #244 Ole
    February 20, 2009

    And I moved from Europe to the US exactly because I got a job in Seattle, where I had been before and thought I knew it to be a fairly laid back and chilled out place. Crap.

  245. #245 Benzion N. Chinn
    February 20, 2009

    What a horribly written proposition. It is a straight rant. For that reason alone I would not vote for it. I also do not trust the motives of those behind this motion. I assume that if this ever were passed it would be used to go after evolution. That being said I do support the underlying idea behind this measure, that government should not be used to attack the notion of a Supreme Being. I believe that secularism, humanism and atheism should be treated as beliefs in terms of the First Amendment and have to play by the same rules as theists. (Something can be a true belief well supported by evidence and still be a belief.) Of course since this is how I understand the First Amendment already I see no reason in putting forth such an measure. It serves no purpose.

  246. #246 A. Noyd
    February 20, 2009

    Benzion N. Chinn (#245)

    I believe that secularism, humanism and atheism should be treated as beliefs in terms of the First Amendment and have to play by the same rules as theists. [emphasis mine]

    Um, what?

  247. #247 'Tis Himself
    February 20, 2009

    Oh, and the whole supreme ruler of the universe makes her sound like she’s talking about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Which I am totally ok with them teaching in schools.

    How about equal time for Skeletor?

  248. #248 Dave from Seattle
    February 20, 2009

    With apologies to all (and a disclaimer that I am not a lawyer)

    ** References to “Supreme Being”

    This appears to be a reference to the Preamble of the WA State Constitution, which states:

    We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution.

    … The term “Supreme Ruler” doesn’t appear elsewhere or is defined in other WA laws, at least as codified in the RCW (Revised Cose of Washington) or the WAC (WA Administrative Code). My opinion here is that this is a stylistic flourish only, and has no legal meaning.

    ** Freedom of Religion

    Is set forth in Article I, Section 11 of the WA Constitution:

    SECTION 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That this article shall not be so construed as to forbid the employment by the state of a chaplain for such of the state custodial, correctional, and mental institutions, or by a county’s or public hospital district’s hospital, health care facility, or hospice, as in the discretion of the legislature may seem justified. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror, in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned in any court of justice touching his religious belief to affect the weight of his testimony.

    [I'd point out here that this language is so broad as to include the right to not believe in religion.]

    Lastly, I would point out that, unlike California, the initiative process can’t be used to amend the WA Constitution; that process is set forth in Article 23 of the WA Constitution and basically states that the issue first has to go before the Legislature, and then ratified by the voters:

    Any amendment or amendments to this Constitution may be proposed in either branch of the legislature; and if the same shall be agreed to by two-thirds of the members elected to each of the two houses, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their journals, with the ayes and noes thereon, and be submitted to the qualified electors of the state for their approval, at the next general election; and if the people approve and ratify such amendment or amendments, by a majority of the electors voting thereon, the same shall become part of this Constitution, and proclamation thereof shall be made by the governor..

    So, a) this fails because it is an impermissible limitation on the WA constitutional freedoms of religion, b) it fails because they can’t use the initiative process to amend the WA constitution, and c) at this point in time, the WA legislature is so disproportionally Democratic that the chance of this getting through the legislative pipeline and to the voters as a constitutional amendment is nil.

  249. #249 Corywicket Wizardsworth
    February 20, 2009

    Captain Corywicket Wizardsworth, God-Slayer, Sky-Fairer of The Majestic, hero of the Battle of the Gorgon, deceiver of the Azures of the Volcano, destroyer of Ben, creator of worlds, employer of sailors, lich.

  250. #250 Kim
    February 20, 2009

    Thank you for criticism. I understand your concern and I know that you feel attacked, I once shared many of your same beliefs. However, the fact that you?ve bothered to write me at all shows that you?re an individual who values intelligence, reason, and open-mindedness. And that?s why I?m asking you to consider my views with an open mind. I?m asking you to consider a different perspective of history. If you don?t agree with me I understand, however please at least consider what I have to say. I look forward to continued thought provoking conversation.

    Kimberlie Struiksma

    April 19, 1775, is the date most history books will cite as the beginning of the American War of Independence. However, the war for liberty began long before this. The first English settlers, the Puritans, came to this country seeking religious freedom from The Church of England (the religious powerhouse of the British Empire). However, not more than one-hundred and fifty years after they first arrived, the American colonists found themselves enjoying less freedom then they had back in England. The problem being, the British King and Parliament?s perceived power of legislation over colonial actions.
    In Thomas Jefferson?s first published work, A Summary View of the Rights of British America, he noted the following infringements: encroachment on the colonists? rights to free trade, unfair taxation, dishonoring the colonists? right to privacy, unjustly housing armed foreign militia on colonial soil, superfluously suspending the rights of certain colonial legislative bodies from holding session, and worst of all, consistently ignoring colonial pleas and petitions.
    Also included in Jefferson?s work, were three rather remarkable ideas, all of which would latter be expanded upon in the American Declaration of Independence. First, the colonists had a natural right to govern themselves. ?From the nature of things, every society must at all times possess within itself the sovereign powers of legislation.?
    Second, government does not give liberty; rather human beings are universally entitled to liberty according to the laws of nature. ?That these are our grievances which we have thus laid before his majesty, with that freedom of language and sentiment which becomes a free people claiming their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate: Let those flatter who fear; it is not an American art.? And finally, since liberty is a gift from God, no earthly power has authority to take it away. ?The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.? Hence, God?s is, He exists, His authority surpasses that of any earthly king or government, man can not take this away, and thus, by His existence, by His creation, He has given us liberty
    In 1774, in response to a growing awareness of British abuse, and with the intention of summarizing the trail of infringements, representatives from twelve of the colonies met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These men formally referred to themselves as delegates to the First Continental Congress. Thomas Jefferson originally intended to present his first published work (A Summary View of the Rights of British America) to this congress. However, the ideas contained in the document proved too radical for the delegates, and his work was never presented to the congress. However, Thomas Jefferson?s first published work, was largely circulated throughout the American colonies, and thus extremely influential, in the time immediately preceding the revolutionary war.
    At the time of the First Continental Congress, the vast majority of colonists desired reconciliation. However, without representation or a formal complaint system the colonists struggled to find compromise. Colonial leaders sent countless pleas and petitions to the English King and parliament, however they were consistently ignored. With a growing English presence in North America, and a lack of parliamentary response, colonial leaders began to become anxious. And as a result of this growing concern, the colonists began to organize and store arms.
    On April 19, 1775, the British, aware of growing colonial hostility, sent a force of roughly one-thousand troops to Concord, Massachusetts, to confiscate arms and arrest any known revolutionaries. However, the revolutionaries were prepared, and they fought back. And thus, in the initial commotion and excitement of the battle for Concord, other fearful and hesitant colonists were motivated to take up arms. Hence, the American war for independence began. Yet, even though the colonists engaged the British in battle, most were still seeking compromise. For the majority of the colonists, the battles of Lexington and Concord had really only been about convincing the British that they were willing to fight. Nobody was really prepared for a long or particularly arduous war. Most colonists, at the time, wanted to believe that the king and parliament just needed to be shown how serious they were.
    However, not long into the struggle, it became apparent that the British esteemed little of American liberty or American militia. Thus, the war for American independence continued. And with each passing day, the battlefield got a little bloodier and the death toll climbed a little higher. And somewhere along the way, the point of reconciliation was passed. Regardless of whatever goodwill, had once existed between England and the colonists, no King or legislator was going to spare compassion, on those responsible for the death of their comrades. Finally, the colonists began to accept the truth, the truth that they had dreaded for so long. If they desired liberty, they were going to have to fight.
    ?It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!? Patrick Henry, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.
    On May 10, 1776 the Second Continental Congress convened. However, unlike the First Continental Congress, the intent of this congress was not compromise. The representatives here were done with negotiation, they were done with pleas, and they were done with petitions. America had finally come to the realization that liberty required separation. The Second Continental Congress met for the sole purpose of forming, for themselves, a new system of government. On July 4, 1776, the United States of America official declared its independence.
    Yet, even with a formal declaration, the colonists still had a war to win. And in 1776, Great Britain was the largest and most formidable empire in the entire known world. The King of Great Britain was the most powerful man in the entire world. What authority did a group of poor dirty farmers have to challenge the King and all his armies? What authority did a group of territories have to challenge the superiority of the motherland? In 1776, America was not a sovereign nation, no treaty or accord had been signed to grant her independence, she had no authority to wage war, conduct foreign affairs, or form alliances. What right did America have to declare herself independent?
    In order to justify their cause of liberty to the world, and in order to convince the American colonists of the necessity for war, our founding fathers claimed that they were entitled to separation according to the God of The Universe. By denying the American colonists their equal entitlement to liberty, the King of Great Britain forsook his authority and purpose for governing. In this, the colonists were justified in their rebellion.
    ?WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation,? US Declaration of Independence, July, 1776.
    . Our founding fathers claimed that the greatest king in the entire world had no authority to deny liberty. They convinced poor, lame, blind, peasants that they were equally entitled to liberty, as much as the wealthiest British citizen, or the King himself. Our founding fathers believed that human beings are all, equally entitled to liberty according to the God of the Universe. Our modern society has forgotten this truth. While we still believe that we are all equally entitled to liberty, we often forget why.
    Our world has changed drastically since the time of the American Revolution. However, our right to liberty still hinges upon the existence of a higher power. In this country, we rely upon the Constitution of the United States to support our claims to freedom and liberty. We fight our battles, we appear in court, and we authorize new laws and decrees based on the constitutionality of said actions and deeds. However, no nation can exist forever. If our government was to fail, and our constitution ruled null and void, what authority would we have to claim for ourselves the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
    Suppose that our nation was defeated. Suppose that our constitution was tossed out. Suppose that in the time following the collapse of the United States of America, there was an evil man, who appointed himself President of The World. Suppose this man issued a decree, proclaiming that there was no longer any freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of assembly. Suppose, that every human being upon the face of this earth, was required to worship and pay tribute to him. And, suppose, that this evil man, had on his side, a multitude of evil followers, all of whom were ready and willing to punish those accused (no longer would a man, be deemed, innocent until proven guilty) of said crimes. What then to liberty?

    Establishing A Motive: Who Is Our Endower?

    Apart from the United States, other nations and peoples have chosen to assert that human beings are entitled to liberty; however the rationale is always the same. In 1948, following the atrocities of the second world war, the United Nations drafted a document entitled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In December of 1998, then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the 1948 Declaration as, “the highest of human aspirations.”
    According to the document, ?All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.? When rulers and governments infringe upon these rights, the conscience of mankind is outraged. Thus, ?if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.? And while this document makes no reference to God, it does assert that human beings, ?are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.?
    However, the word endow implies a dower, one who has done the endowing. Thus, when our constitution is gone, and our Bill of Rights no longer exists, and there is only an evil world president who has no regard for human liberty, in order to secure our sacred rights the question will have to be answered: who is our endower? In this time, will we call upon the science of evolution? Will we refer to a theory based upon survival of the fittest, of competition, and of natural selection? Is evolution capable of endowing the weak, the hungry, the poor, the lame, or the blind, the right to life?
    What about the tenacity of the human spirit, will we look here for guidance? Shall we be reminded, of the crimes of humanity? Shall we remember The Holocaust, shall we pay tribute to the horrendous atrocities committed by evil men like Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, or Saddam Hussein, shall we commend the selfish ambitions and vain conceits of corporate America, shall we be grateful for the compassion shown by recent school shooters, shall we praise Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold for their part, in the deaths of their twelve classmates, shall we award Ted Bundy or Charles Manson, what about child pornography, shall we applaud this, or slavery, or genocide, or Japanese Internment camps, what about The Trail of Tears, or child labor, what about the recent death of a Long Island Wal-Mart employee. Has humanity really overcome greed, or corruption, or pride, or arrogance, or selfishness? Do human works really render the whole of humanity, worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
    Without a constitution, and without a declaration of rights, how shall we restore our liberties? If all human reasoning fails, it we are unable to produce a justification for our liberty, what then? In times of great trial, will man once again look to his creator? For the only logic that holds, is that man is entitled to liberty, because it has been granted by God, The Supreme Ruler of The Universe, the only power that stands, ever greater, than any earthly king or government. Without a god, human beings are not entitled to liberty. Thus, any earthly government instituted among men to protect and maintain individual rights, has not the authority to deny the existence of God.
    ?If the heavens, stripped of his noble imprint, Could ever cease to attest to his being, If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.? François-Marie Arouet.

    God?s Footprint
    God is already a part of us. His existence, whether directly stated or specifically eluded to, is included in our Declaration of Independence, our national constitution, and without exception, the constitution to every state within this great nation (including our own).
    According to the preamble to the Constitution of the United States, ?We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.?
    While the United States Constitution doesn?t specifically reference God, it does assert that the purpose of our government is to secure the Blessings of Liberty. So, who or what has blessed the people of the United States with liberty? Isn?t this the same as the endowment question presented by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights? According to the United States Declaration of Independence, ?all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.? Why would our founding fathers draft a document which is contrary to the beliefs encompassed in the Declaration of Independence? Reason demands continuity. It is therefore impossible to believe, that our founding fathers would assert that anything other than God could be responsible for blessing the American people with liberty. So, while our constitution doesn?t directly mention God, it specifically eludes to His existence by declaring that human beings have been blessed with liberty.
    The Constitution to the State of Washington is more forthright. The preamble states the following: ?We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution.?

    This Is Not About Repealing the First Amendment

    The Bill of Rights guarantees that the government of the United States can not, by it?s very charter, deny or infringe upon the God given liberties of the American people. The First Amendment is merely an example of one of the many liberties which our government has been set up to protect. This amendment guarantees the following: ?Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.? .
    ?If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable,” Texas v. Johnson, United States Supreme Court (1989). Thus, citizens of this state and this nation can not be held in contempt on account of their personal morals, social values, or religious faith.
    However, this initiative is not about morality, or personal faith, or freedom of thought. It is not about what individual citizens choose to believe or disbelieve. It is not about personal speech. It is not about limiting the rights of individual citizens; it is rather about requiring government to do its job, to protect liberty.
    In order to protect and maintain religious freedom: ?Neither a state nor the federal government may set up a church. Neither can pass laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion… . Neither a state or the federal government may, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa,? Everson v. Board of Education, United States Supreme Court (1947).
    The Constitution of the United States maintains that individuals are inherently entitled to liberty: ?We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union?????.and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.? Thus, in order to protect and maintain the Blessings of Liberty: neither can a state nor the federal government deny the existence of a higher power.
    In this nation, it is the people who are sovereign. Our government has been instituted among us, with our consent, for the sole purpose of protecting and maintaining our rights. It is therefore our right, to ensure that our government monitors itself by squashing out actions and deeds which threaten to destroy our liberty.
    The purpose of any constitution, including our own, is to protect and maintain individual rights. The foundation of our constitution is that these rights are true and valid because they are endowed by a higher power. The stated purpose of our government, of any government, is to secure the liberty of the people which are governed. To deny the existence of a higher power, of a god, is to deny the source of all liberty, to deny the source of liberty is to deny liberty itself, by this a government defeats its purpose. It is therefore unconstitutional for the government (not the individual citizens) of the state of Washington to deny or infringe upon the existence of God, The Supreme Ruler of the Universe, The Supreme Judge of the World, The Creator.
    ?WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATED OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor,? United States Declaration of Independence.

  251. #251 Vestrati
    February 20, 2009

  252. #252 Kim
    February 20, 2009

    I am sorry you didn’t write to me. But, you did comment on what I wrote…….. so I thought that I would respond.

  253. #253 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2009

    Kim, your verbal diarrhea shows why we must be vigilant in keep god only in the homes and churches of this country. Your attempt to prove otherwise showed us why we are right. Freedom of religion means freedom from religion. Keep your religion in homes and churches, and you will have no problem. The public square must, perforce, be devoid of religion, since choosing any one religion negates all the others. And your is the wrong religion.

  254. #254 Kim
    February 20, 2009

    How do you define religion?

  255. #255 Sastra
    February 20, 2009

    Kim #250 wrote:

    Our world has changed drastically since the time of the American Revolution. However, our right to liberty still hinges upon the existence of a higher power.

    No, our right to liberty does not depend on the existence of a “higher power.” In fact, making any of our rights “depend” on a supernatural being does not secure, but endanger them.

    Let me explain. You are considering “rights” as a gift which is handed down from an Authority — a father, or king — to his subordinates — children or subjects. This is a top-down view of rights, which is grounded in the idea of a hierarchy of a Higher person who has Ultimate Right, and a lower person who has the duty to obey. Thus, the government style is that of kingship, or dictator.

    A government built on this model can go anywhere. The Ruler-King can make everyone under him equal by giving them all the same rights and freedoms. Or, he may decide, on his whim, to make some of his subjects rule over other subjects. He may decide that different sexes, or different races, may be subordinate to others. Whatever this Ultimate Authority decides, is what is — with no objection, no recourse, no appeal, no ability to protest.

    If you ground human governments based on a model of “obeying God” — you will get as many types of governments as you have Gods. And there are no intrinsic rights that stand up even if GOD Himself were to object. Or, someone else’s “false God” objects.

    They’re the same thing.

    Rights cannot be handed down and granted like gifts from a system of Master and Obedient Slave. Instead, they stand firm only when they are built from the ground up — “derived from Nature” and observations of nature, as Jefferson said. We note that no people are born with spurs on their heels, and others with saddles on their backs so that they may be ridden. Thus, natural equality.

    And when rational people form a group through common consent, they recognize that the only way to secure their need, is to recognise their duty to secure the same need, for their equal. Our rights are therefore intrinsic to human nature, derived from recognition of equality, and secured through common consent and reason.

    If they rest on the existence of a God, they can be taken away as soon as someone says “God says you have no such right.” HOw do rational people decide who is right about God?

    We do not vote on religion. We do not vote on whether or not God exists. Its existence is not self-evident. People are.

    So you’re mistaken.

  256. #256 raven
    February 20, 2009

    Our world has changed drastically since the time of the American Revolution. However, our right to liberty still hinges upon the existence of a higher power.

    That isn’t true at all. Our right to liberty depends on us defending those rights. Use them or lose them. And we weren’t granted them, we fought for them by shedding rivers of blood starting in the Revolutionary War and continuing to the present day. Millions died for our freedoms.

    Right now we face two threats.
    A minor one from radical Moslems who don’t much care for the USA.

    A major one from xian Dominionist fascists who hate the USA and want to destroy it. They had considerable influence with the Theothuglicans and left a pile of bodies in Iraq and have destroyed the US economy and that is spreading to the world.

    Kim is just anothe christofascist nihilist. Someone who hates the modern world and the USA. And wants to destroy it and head on back to the Dark Ages. There are many such.

    We all hope the Rapture occurs soon so we can all wave good bye to them while cheering wildly and sighing with relief. In the meantime, I doubt too many Americans really want to live in the Dark Ages but defend your liberties or lose them.

  257. #257 Sastra
    February 20, 2009

    Kim #250 wrote:

    It is therefore unconstitutional for the government (not the individual citizens) of the state of Washington to deny or infringe upon the existence of God, The Supreme Ruler of the Universe, The Supreme Judge of the World, The Creator.

    The government can have no opinion on the existence of God. It is neither theistic, nor atheistic. It is secular.

    Therefore, the government cannot declare that there is no God. Nor — and this is the point I suspect you miss — can the government say that there is a God. It is neutral. It does not deal with such issues.

    All uses of “God” in official capacity are ceremonial only. If they are not, then they have no right to remain — for the government has no right to deny, or affirm, matters of personal conscience.

    God does not become real because you think you need it to support an idea. Someone else can use the same “God” to argue for the opposite idea. There is nothing more subjective, more relative, and less ‘fixed’ than supernatural entities which have no test in reality, and rest only on someone’s desire to believe they are true. They multiply with every person, and the only thing they share in common is that they take matters beyond reason — because claiming that “God said it” ends discussion, ends debate, and ends compromise.

    If you want to secure anything, you have to do it in this world. Disputes about Other hypothetical worlds can not be resolved through reason. They can only be resolved through force — and might does not make right. Might cannot even grant authority to God.

  258. #258 Sastra
    February 21, 2009

    Kim #250 wrote:

    I look forward to continued thought provoking conversation.

    Which of course accounts for her failure to respond to anything I or anyone else wrote in response to her unconscionably long post at #250. I wake from sleep, breathless with anticipation, and … nada.

    Of course, from her other posts, it also looks like Kim doesn’t understand what a blog is, or how it works, since she seems to think she’d gotten an email from PZ. Someone must have sent her a link, and it confused her. I’m guessing she either figured out that this wasn’t email and didn’t want to learn how to handle a new forum — or started reading through comments and had the vapours over some of the language and tone.

  259. #259 A. Noyd
    February 21, 2009

    Kim (#250)

    However, our right to liberty still hinges upon the existence of a higher power.

    Well, unless your higher power’s existence hinges on our belief, then belief in him has fuck all to do with liberty.

    If our government was to fail, and our constitution ruled null and void, what authority would we have to claim for ourselves the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

    How would it fail and who would rule the Constitution null and void? What brand of ridiculous moral panic do you subscribe to that such is even remotely possible?

    But I’ll humor you to make a point. Even if that happened, we’d be left with our own authority as people who respect each other and want a good life for ourselves, our family, our friends, and even our enemies. Why do we need authority outside ourselves when doing right by others so they do right by us is sufficient?

    However, the word endow implies a dower, one who has done the endowing.

    “Dower” does not mean what you are trying to make it mean here. And what basis do you have for the claim that an endowment requires a supernatural entity to make the endowment? The word itself has no such restrictions. Your logic is completely flawed and biased.

    In this time, will we call upon the science of evolution? Will we refer to a theory based upon survival of the fittest, of competition, and of natural selection? Is evolution capable of endowing the weak, the hungry, the poor, the lame, or the blind, the right to life?

    For fuck’s sake, evolution is not a moral code it is “a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations” (source). No one sane teaches it as anything but what it is.

    The world, according to you, is constricted by the limits of your own imagination. Rather than educating yourself, you want laws put into place to protect you from irrational fears based on your ignorance. If the government of the United States is in any danger at all, it is from fanatics such as yourself who cannot be bothered to see past their strawmen and self-righteousness. In the name of liberty and justice, kindly fuck off.

  260. #260 Paul Murray
    February 21, 2009

    Odd that they are so hot for a “Supreme Ruler of The Universe” and at the same time (often) so hyper-american, when that supreme ruler gave America a rightful King – George the III – against whom the “founding fathers” committed the grossest of treason.

    Come on! If there is a supreme ruler, who mandates rulers below him in human affairs, then it’s time for the USA to apologise, disband your traitorous so-called “government”, and hand yourself back to Queen Lizzie. Just like God intends.

  261. #261 A. Noyd
    February 21, 2009

    Paul Murray (#260)

    If there is a supreme ruler, who mandates rulers below him in human affairs, then it’s time for the USA to apologise, disband your traitorous so-called “government”, and hand yourself back to Queen Lizzie. Just like God intends.

    Yeah, I was going to get into the whole bit about how so much of what our forefathers said about god granting us freedom was in direct argument against the divine right of kings (which claimed that since the king’s right to rule is mandated by god, not even the king himself could alter the hierarchy). They were all like, hey, we’re coming up with a new paradigm here, and if you try to bring god into it, rest assured, he’s on our side this time; so fuck you!

    But I’m entirely too lazy.

  262. #262 Yoshi
    February 22, 2009

    ” Posted by: arekksu | February 19, 2009 9:05 AM

    deny the Supreme Ruler? pah!
    i use it for measuring stuff every day, and it’s accurate to within a 100th of a millimetre. very handy.”

    lol, WIN.

  263. #263 Rey Fox
    February 22, 2009

    “of God, The Supreme Ruler of the Universe, The Supreme Judge of the World, The Creator.”

    Sheesh, are you introducing a professional wrestler here?

  264. #264 nellie
    February 23, 2009

    WTF?!!! Is this person in congress retarded or just plain stupid?!!??! this is no different than believing in the Flying spaghetti Monster… just plain stupid!! What a waste of time & resources…. I sure hope that this bill does not pass… shocking….

  265. #265 Manny the Polyathiest
    February 26, 2009

    Well, the Supreme Ruler use to be Freeza, but then Goku beat the crap out of him/her. Now Goku has the 7 Dragon Balls in him so I would think He’s the big guy now. But theres also the Supreme Kay. I wonder if the supreme ruler is actually a committee. hmmmm

  266. #266 Rod
    February 26, 2009

    I’m fine with it… because I’m the supreme ruler of the universe! ;-)

  267. #267 Steve_C
    February 26, 2009

    The supreme ruler is Zardoz!!! Get it straight.

  268. #268 History Matters
    February 27, 2009

    Yes, I know it sounds silly, but it would not have sounded silly to our Founding Fathers. This is ironic, because many groups that want to erect atheist symbols near Christian symbols are using the Constitution to justify the action.

    The Constitution, of course, was written by our Founders. Before the Constitution, our Declaration of Independence established the premise that any rights we have come from our Creator, not from the “generosity” of Government. Without that premise, we don’t have true rights. Even the Library of Congress has several examples of the recognition of the importance of religion by our early government. All 50 of our state constitutions recognize God in some way or other. Every President has recognized or invoked God in his Inaugural address.

    There have been several cases in U.S. courts where witnesses have not been allowed to testify because they did not have a belief in God. After all, how can you accept sworn testimony from someone if they are not susceptible to a “future system of rewards and punishments” (this is the wording used in some state documents)? It is clear that witnesses lie regularly. But I would still rather have that extra pressure of an individual thinking that God is listening when he considers whether to tell the truth.

    So I would not count on a Constitutional challenge to block this kind of thing. Certainly some courts would be sympathetic, but they would not really be following the Constitution of if they did so. Other courts might find differently. And by the way, many of the Founders, including Jefferson, were very wary of the courts being considered the final authority on such matters. That was not the intention of our balance of powers.

    If you think it is wrong, or even silly, then go to the legislators and let them know.

  269. #269 Tankred
    March 3, 2009

    In the small chance that this gets passed, I vote that all atheists take a vacation to Washington and go around to churches, proclaiming that they are God. When the churches denies this, record them saying that “You are not God.” Take it to court, play recording, ???, Profit!
    If anything, it will hopefully open some people’s eyes to the absurdity of this law.

  270. #270 Lee Vegas
    March 5, 2009

    According to your link to the summary of the legislation, it was withdrawn by its sponsor yesterday. She must have run it past a constitutional lawyer.

    LV