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Oct 12 2011

Church/State Separation Advocates = Terrorists

That’s what the mayor of Whiteville, Tenn. says after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter threatening to sue the city if they don’t remove a cross from the top of the town’s water tower.

“They are terrorists as far as I’m concerned,” said Mayor James Bellar about the Freedom From Religion Foundation. “They are alleging that some Whiteville resident feels very, very intimidated by this cross.” …

“A terrorist is more than a guy that flies the planes into the building,” he said. “It’s anyone who can disrupt your way of living, destroy your lifestyle, cause you anxiety. It’s more than killing people. If they can disrupt your routine in life, that’s what they want to do. They are terrorists as far as I’m concerned.”

Um. Yeah. Because that makes them just like terrorists.

“It’s just a cross on the water tower,” he said. “All we’re doing is exercising our right to practice our beliefs down here but this organization is now going to stymie that. We’re not out here knocking on doors trying to convert people.”

This has nothing to do with anyone’s right to practice their beliefs. And the mayor would know that instantaneously if it was a Muslim star and crescent on the water tower instead of a Christian cross. Ironically, if it was a Muslim symbol rather than a Christian one, he would undoubtedly be calling those who put the symbol up terrorists, rather than those who want to take it down. It all depends on whose side is being pierced, so to speak.

And Bellar is sure he couldn’t possibly have anyone in his town that could possibly object to the cross being there:

“As a matter of fact, I don’t even think it’s a Whiteville resident,” he said. “We don’t have people of that belief here and if we do they’re not going to raise that kind of ruckus for the rest of the town.”

Gee, when the mayor of the town would promptly call them terrorists, I can’t imagine why someone would be reluctant to “raise a ruckus.” Like nearly everyone who has ever filed a major church/state case in this country, that person would almost certainly be subject to harassment, bullying, vandalism, threats and violence. Because this isn’t about anyone’s freedom of religion, it’s about maintaining Christian hegemony.

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  1. 1
    shadowwalkyr

    Why do I get the feeling the only reason they’re not knocking on doors trying to convert people is that they don’t think there’s anybody behind those doors to convert?

    Besides, what I’d really like to see is a letter demanding cross removal from Beautify America or a similar organization, purely on aesthetic principles.

  2. 2
    MikeMa

    Probably no point in organizing an ‘Impeach the Idiot Mayor’ campaign. At least not until it starts costing the theocrats some cash.

    Maybe if he tried to be equitable and put up symbols for other religions on the tower, he’d figure out what is wrong here. Either the clods in town would whoop about a muslim or jewish (or pagan) symbol or vandalism would occur and highlight the problem directly.

    As for the ruckus, he is the author.

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    Once “terror” adopts its new meaning as “things I don’t like” maybe the “war on whatever I don’t like” will eventually wind down since nobody will be able to agree anymore.

  4. 4
    Worldtraveller

    I feel so empowered now!

    What with being a terrorist and all. I won’t have to dress up at all for halloween. I’ll just put a big red A on my door!

  5. 5
    Bronze Dog

    Fundie theocrat Muslims want to destroy the separation of church and state and have us live in a theocracy. They have a history of thuggish intimidation tactics to try to force us into compliance.

    Fundie theocrat Christians want to destroy the separation of church and state and have us live in a theocracy. They have a history of thuggish intimidation tactics to try to force us into compliance.

    People who fight the former get labeled as heroes, and yet when someone stands up to the latter for the same reasons, they’re labeled terrorists.

  6. 6
    d cwilson

    But if they take the cross off the water tower, how will they defend the town against aquatic vampires?

    Won’t somebody please think of the children!

  7. 7
    Pierce R. Butler

    … it’s about maintaining Christian hegemony.

    No, no, no! It’s about protection against those who “can disrupt your routine in life”.

    The mayor of Whiteville (I won’t say it! I won’t!), population 3,148, is passionately attached to his routine. If the town had a SWAT team, he would call it out if Delilah down at the diner ever served his pie before the coffee, instead of the way she always does it.

  8. 8
    jameshanley

    “A terrorist is more than a guy that flies the planes into the building,” he said. “It’s anyone who can disrupt your way of living, destroy your lifestyle, cause you anxiety.

    Oh, so my boss is a terrorist? As is the dog next door that barks all night!

  9. 9
    Abby Normal

    Bronze Dog, your post brings to mind a famous quote of Hélder Câmara, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

    We humans are funny critters.

  10. 10
    anandine

    A terrorist is … anyone who can … cause you anxiety.”

    For me that would include the Tea Party and right-wing evangelicals. My skin itches being around them.

  11. 11
    cptdoom

    You know, I was 7 blocks from the White House on 9/11 and lived through the hell of the DC sniper. I know what terrorism is, and wanting a heretical symbol off a water tower (I am sure it was put up there by Protestants) is hardly equivalent.

  12. 12
    Scott Hanley

    “If they can disrupt your routine in life, that’s what they want to do. They are terrorists as far as I’m concerned.”

    Never did like those terrorist funeral processions ….

  13. 13
    dingojack

    ‘“A terrorist is more than a guy that flies the planes into the building,” he said. “It’s anyone who can disrupt your way of living, destroy your lifestyle, cause you anxiety. It’s more than killing people. If they can disrupt your routine in life, that’s what they want to do. They are terrorists as far as I’m concerned.”’
    As a matter of fact, I don’t even think it’s a Whiteville resident,” he said. “We don’t have people of that belief here and if we do they’re not going to raise that kind of ruckus for the rest of the town.”’
    So why would that be? Perhaps it’s because the Mayor of Whiteyville (and all of sheet-wearing friends) would ‘disrupt their way of living’, ‘destroy their lifestyle’ and ’cause anxiety’.
    Meet James Bellar, the new poster-boy for cognitive dissidence.
    Dingo

  14. 14
    scifi the first (formerly scifi1)

    Dingo, you’d appreciate this one:

    Australian cricket legend and former WW2 fighter pilot, Keith Miller, was once asked if he felt the pressure of being a batsman in high profile Test matches.

    His reply ? – “Pressure, I’ll tell you what pressure is. Pressure is a Messerschmidt up your arse, playing cricket is not.”

    Let’s adapt that for this wanker in Whiteville.

    “Terrorism? I’ll tell you what terrorism is. Terrorism is getting violent with people ‘coz they don’t believe what you believe. Terrorism is watching a bomb go off two doors down from where your brother works in the middle of peak hour and waiting for the ‘phone call from him to say he’s OK. Terrorism is walking past a seat in your (public) workplace and seeing a 2ft metal pipe with sealed off ends lying there and wondering “Fuck, how long have I got? – to get away, get others away and call the authorities before the thing goes off.”

    And terrorism starts with you insisting that you are the moral gatekeeper, James Bellar, and a denial that anyone could possibly disagree with your POV.

  15. 15
    lmccarty

    There was an article yesterday in the NY Daily News about some Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn being upset by gov’t officials removing their signs attached to public property admonishing “precious Jewish daughter” to move aside when a man passes. One of the interviewees stated that “it doesn’t bother anybody.” Reminds me of these fellers insisting that no one is bothered by their cross. Whenever you hear someone say “it doesn’t bother anybody.” it’s a pretty good bet that it’s because they consider anybody who IS bothered as a nobody.

  16. 16
    scifi the first (formerly scifi1)

    @lmccarty

    “Whenever you hear someone say “it doesn’t bother anybody.” it’s a pretty good bet that it’s because they consider anybody who IS bothered as a nobody. ”

    Nailed it.

  17. 17
    Ophelia Benson

    dingojack already said it, but I have to say it again anyway -

    “We don’t have people of that belief here and if we do they’re not going to raise that kind of ruckus for the rest of the town.”

    He says threateningly, thus demonstrating exactly why “they” are not going to raise that kind of ruckus for the rest of the town.

    Bullying creep.

  18. 18
    TV200

    The motorcycle group that I am loosely associated with (there are no “members”) has the word “terrorist” in it’s name, in a very tongue in cheek way.

    We do not commit acts of violence, terrorism is a method of using fear to accomplish goals. The truth can be frightening, turning off the television can be frightening, some would even say that riding a motorcycle scares them. Governments are constantly trying to put fear into us, as is the media, and everything else. The terrorism that the UTMC offers has to do with the removal of the barriers of gender, class, race, religion, sexual orientation, philosophical belief and geography. Unlike most motorcycle groups we don’t use the details of the individual or what they ride as a factor. This diversity all in itself is something that invokes fear into many people. For some, diverse coexistence, open uncensored discussion and the revelations that can bring is the worst terrorism possible.

    I think the last sentence seems to sum up the definition of “terrorism” as used by the mayor.

  1. 19
    Today in Christian Hegemony: Religious freedom is terrorism | TRiG's links

    [...] illegal cross from their water tower. They mayor of the town responded by calling the FFRF “terrorists“. Dan Barker of the FRFF had a robust response. Fox News reports, “He’s the one breaking [...]

  2. 20
    ikawe

    ikawe…

    [...]Church/State Separation Advocates = Terrorists | Dispatches from the Culture Wars[...]…

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