One of those absurdly vile and perpetually smug Christians is complaining about the FFRF reminding a police department that they are a secular organization that is supposed to serve all citizens. The FFRF informed the police department of Oviedo, Florida that their awards ceremony violated the separation of church and state. This prompts this angry Christian to a rebuke.
The absurdly vile and perpetually smug Freedom From Religion Foundation claims to have just given a Florida police chief “constitutional lessons” following a clearly contentious departmental awards ceremony last month.
The offending event? It was an awards ceremony for officers, which just happened to be held in the multi-purpose building of a seminary.
Seriously. That’s it.
Oh, and because they actually dared to take two minutes out of an otherwise secular, non-religious ceremony to offer an invocation. Which is apparently all it takes to cause militant atheists’ heads to spin around and explode.
The police chief made a remarkably clueless excuse.
“Our Annual Awards Ceremony and Career Track Recognition was not held in a church,” Chudnow pointed out in his written response to FFRF. “Yes, the even was held at the Reformed Theological Seminary complex, but in a multi-purpose room and not a religious sanctuary.”
“Finally, as a practicing member of the Jewish faith, I was not offended by the invocation, nor did I receive any complaints from any attendees,” Chudnow added.
None of those excuses work.
So now a placed called “the Reformed Theological Seminary” is not a religious institution? That’s amazing. It’s about as silly as the argument that Christmas is a secular holiday (I’m fine with that, it just means we won the War on Christmas. Apparently, we’re also winning the war on Reformed Theological Seminaries.)
That one individual is not offended is irrelevant. You could find a member of the KKK who is not offended by burning a cross on someone’s lawn, too. The question is whether other people of a different faith (or no faith) would feel excluded or disinclined to participate in what should be a secular event because it was unnecessarily colored with religious overtones.
His last argument is particularly ridiculous. He is the boss. He has authority that can be misused. Of course people kept quiet.
I’d also point out that anyone who objected to the religious nonsense would not have attended, and so would be in no position to complain.
I was actually most fascinated by the comments at that fanatically Christian site. Guess what they wanted to complain about?
There’s nothing about Islam in the ceremony, nothing about Islam in the FFRF’s complaint, not even one word about Muslims in the bitter Christian’s diatribe…yet that’s what the commenters rave about.
CAN ANYONE TELL ME………
Do these secular demons ALSO go after Muslims…..
I’ve heard quite enough on the subject of Separation of church and state – a made-up agenda.
BUT HOW ABOUT SOME SEPARATION OF MOSQUE AND STATE……..those Muslims can do anything, anywhere. I don’t understand it.
If they’re just a religion, let’s subject them to the same strictures as Christians.
If they’re more than just religion, let’s not give them the protections of religion.
Bizarre. If Muslims possessed secular authority, and then tried to muddy it with religious rituals, of course the FFRF would be sending them polite letters and telling them to stop or their lawyers would spring into action. But here’s the thing: Muslims are a tiny minority in the USA. They don’t have the numbers to use their majority as an oppressive tool to compel non-Muslims to participate in their rituals. Christians do. They are subject to exactly the same restrictions as Christians — the problem is that Christians have an entitled status and regard any attempts to curtail their privilege to proselytize as unfair.
You know damn well what would happen to the Asstheists if they went after Islam…remember the beheadings on the beach? Or casting non-Islam believers (e.g., Asstheists) over into the ocean IN A LOCKED CELL?, or slitting throats? Yep…no asstheists need to bother getting after the the Muslims!
You knew that was coming. Did you know all Muslims believe in decapitation and throat slitting and murder and terrorism, and that atheists are afraid to criticize them? You probably didn’t, because it’s not true.
And here we go again…
Christians are just easier pickings because they don’t threaten to cut off your head. Muslims frequently irritate them.But when push comes to shove, Satan is the father of both. In all fairness, some Muslims are less radical and really would like to know God. They have just been taught lies about his nature and character. When they get radically saved they become the most awesome Christians.
No Muslim has ever threatened to cut off my head. But Christians regularly threaten my job, rage about expelling atheists from the country, and call me unAmerican. They even expect me to sit through their inappropriate religious ceremonies without complaint. I assure you that I personally feel far more threatened by Christianity than I do about any other religion, because Christianity has a huge amount of social and political power here.
The assumption that ‘converting the heathen’ is desirable is also exactly why the FFRF has to be diligent in checking the power of Christians in America, too.
Muzzies are the new protected minority for some sick reason. They will kill the lefties first.
Right. <Ethnic slur> is being treated too nicely! It’s OK to call them names and deny them the same rights Christians have, because they all want to kill us!
Yeesh. If only they had the ability to look in a mirror, maybe they’d realize why the FFRF needs to send out all these letters to smug Christians.
slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says
as private citizens, yes they can do anything, as private citizens.
I infer that this quoted comment was from someone who is in the Obama-a-secret-Muslim camp.
That all the rhetoric about beheadings and throat slitting by Mooslims* is calling for restoration of ‘Holy Crusades by the Christian Warrior Brigades’.
wasn’t it JC who said “turn the other cheek” when slapped on one cheek, and about the Good Samaritan who cared for a homeless Philistine injured on a roadside [re refugee sidelight]. Didn’t he also say something about ignoring all the insults slung at the “true believer” to be rewarded ‘in a little while’ [euphemism]?
Funny how atheists know more about Jesus teachings than those who ignore all of it, and just tack his name onto what they want.
*people who call themselves Muslim regardless of how the religion would object
consciousness razor says
A seminary, along with the specific denomination which operates it, is a religious institution. A multi-purpose room or building isn’t an institution, at least not of that sort. And it isn’t, like police chief dude said, designated as a sanctuary/temple/church/chapel or something to that effect.
These can be fairly large complexes, which (obviously, I thought) don’t consist entirely of churches. If you ever go to a seminary, you’re likely to find lots of different things there. A bunch of classrooms, a library, a theater, a cafeteria, a health clinic…. None of those are “religious institutions,” and you will find at least some of those in such places, just like you would almost certainly find a multi-purpose room.
All that said… In certain situations, people certainly do use places that aren’t churches for a religious ceremony.* On holidays or special occasions like a wedding/funeral, attendance can be much higher than usual or scheduling can become an issue, so some ceremonies may be set up elsewhere to accommodate everyone. However, if you’re already at a seminary, then it does seem a little unlikely that you’d choose a non-church on the seminary grounds for that (unless there was some special occasion which interfered as I said, if we knew something like that was the case here) — you probably wouldn’t do that when there is a conveniently-located church or two which are better suited for the purpose.
*That could of course be anywhere, even outside, which means the general location at a seminary shouldn’t particularly bother you. Perhaps it’s the only space in town which was available, because I don’t fucking know, there was no room at the inn. In any case, a religious ceremony at a public school graduation isn’t a problem because of its location at the school stadium/gym/etc., nor is a religious ceremony at a courthouse; and those things are problematic because of the nature of the ceremonies themselves. So, the fact that there was an invocation by some type of religious “authority” is probably where you should be bearing down, because unlike the other bullshit, we actually know that and it at least looks like it could be a coherent reason to object to the ceremony on first amendment grounds.
Uh… now you’re literally saying this one does work, since you’re “fine with that,” as silly as some unrelated argument may be? I mean, you may want to try to separate the rhetorical point-scoring nonsense from the parts where you evaluate the merits of the actual claims that are being made.
slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says
actually Christmas is a secular holiday that was simply abducted and rebranded by RCC to make them more popular.
Just like how Xians are now trying to claim the Constitution as a God-given document to claim this nation as fully Christian, etc.
aside from that.
yes it is a “silly argument”, that was PZ’s point. Claiming the venue was secular is just as silly as claiming Xmas is secular. the “Iokay with that one”, was parenthetical.
The location of the event is not a problem, as far as I am aware. But the invocation bit definitely was a violation of the establishment clause. It would have been ok to just call for a moment of silence, in which one may hold any thoughts on the solemnity of the occasion. [Bow your heads. Close your eyes. Think about donuts].
The vile and smug Christian? Wacky as a racoon raiding the dumpster behind the bar.
Marcus Ranum says
Christians would quickly resume cutting eachother’s heads off if it wasn’t for secularism.
consciousness razor says
If you mean Christians from a very large number of sects celebrate Christmas religiously, then you shouldn’t be referring to the RCC.
I don’t know what you mean by “secular holiday.” And I don’t especially care. But suppose it means non-religious people can celebrate it, or that people of whatever stripe can celebrate it in a non-religious way. There do still exist people who celebrate it religiously, who have just as much of a valid claim as the non-religious sort to celebrating/defining/understanding/etc. the holiday on their own terms. Why assume the religious are the ones who are in the wrong somehow? Maybe you’d want to say there are two (or more!) Christmas holidays, happening at the same time every year, so that it isn’t the sort of thing which must either be secular or religious, not both or neither. Why go around claiming some abstract thing like a holiday was “abducted” somehow, when sensible options like that are available? This abduction apparently didn’t work or never happened to begin with, if you’re saying that it now is a secular holiday, whatever that means — but maybe you think there’s a way to get your story straight. I still want to ask — why are you telling this story to me right now? What does it have to do with the argument I had for PZ?
You just claimed that “actually Christmas is a secular holiday.” So either you’re being fucking silly and don’t think that’s a genuine problem, or you don’t actually mean one or both of the claims.
So, um… just thinkin’…
If you type “ffrf islam” into Google, this is the first result (your google may vary):
Yep, it’s a story about the FFRF going after the Muslims. It’s bad enough that Xians have jihad envy, but seriously, guys. Google’s been around for about 20 years now, and if you’re making a blog post, we know you have internet access.
Actually, it was a pagan religious holiday…more precisely a number of holidays…not a secular holiday. Early Christians…the RCC didn’t really exist yet but they would like you to believe otherwise…adopted it.
It’s that faint trace of wistfulness when Christians talk about Muslims slaughtering atheists that worries me…
It’s a variation of Lewis’ Law (the comments section for an article on feminism justifies the need for feminism):
The comments section for a discussion on religious freedom justifies the need for religious freedom.
Oh, and early Christians didn’t so much “adopt” the holidays, as just continue to practice them. You couldn’t expect anyone to give up having so fun. Basically, they just stuck some new names on some old stories, and voila!…a new religion. (Inventing religions had some precedent as well. Check out the cult started by Ptolemy I Soter, which means “savior.”)
Great American Satan says
Didn’t DM actually threaten to cut off your head? I feel like that was a thing he was into for a while. So, xtian threatening decapitation. Is it a thing?
Gregory Greenwood says
Charming. You can feel the fatwah-envy flowing off this idiot in waves.
Also, if ‘Asstheists’ is the best this prat can muster, then it seems clear that the art of theist satire, such as it ever was, is now truly dead – it is just embarrassing.
Gregory Greenwood says
robro @ 8;
Make Saturnalia Pagan again…?
I’ve had many Arabian men threaten me with dinner, quite a few following through on that threat. Why, my arteries were positively in danger of clogging!
Seriously. I’ve even dined with Iranians in their homes.
Beware though, the Lebanese table, for you are at risk of leaving twice the person you arrived as. ;)
What the assholes can’t figure out is, few would really give a flying fuck that a secular ceremony was held in a facility that is more often devoted to religious purposes – if there was no obligatory religious service bundled in with that secular ceremony, thereby turning it religious.
For, the very first amendment grants freedom of religion and also freedom from religion. Treat religion like sex, keep it at home or in church/mosque/temple/synagogue.
The Roman Catholic priests certainly manage to do that.*
*I was raised as a Roman Catholic, priest jokes are as natural to me as peanut butter and jelly. :P
I love it when someone starts down this line of “thought” and uses PZ’s cracker episode as an example. It’s amazing how few people realise that there was a page of the Koran on the pyre as well.
“I bet he wouldn’t have had the courage to do it to the Koran!”
“Well, actually, he did… at the same time…”
“Um, er, MUSLIMS BAD!!!!”
Wouldn’t an “Asstheist” be someone who worshiped butts?
johnson catman says
OOOOOOHHH! Count me IN!
I think it’s more one who dwells on the eternal nature of god’s butt. Or would that be an asstheologian?
…And of course an “Assdeist” would be someone who worshiped butts, but only ones that haden’t been revealed?
The Asstheist thing is –
It’s hard to explain, but there are certain things that strike me in people’s writing that make me utterly disregard their mental ability. This is one of them. Terrible, vapid “play on words” kind of thing in an effort to classify a group or a person. It’s not just on the right, though it is more prevalent there, I see it occasionally on the left as well. Just something about someone trying to be clever, failing utterly, and spamming it over and over as if it might “catch on”, or that it’s just so good that it needs to be used over and over.
I genuinely, and probably to an unreasonable level, consider the person an irredeemable idiot. That is to say that even if the person got around to making a valid point I could very easily miss it because I’ve developed a bias, that’s how strong my reaction is.
Another tell that strikes me on a deep intuitive level is people who capitalize words that shouldn’t be capitalized in a way that reeks of authoritarianism. Like if someone is talking about Freedom and Justice and people of Faith.
That particular quirk both fascinates and alarms me. I start thinking about how internalized someone’s “respect” and “honor” for their particular concepts and beliefs must be, and really gives me the heebee-jebee’s about how fervent that person might be.
I don’t know, a lot of this is an almost subconscious, gut-level response. I am probably not explaining it well. Meh, what do you want from me, I’m an Asstheist, not a Man of God.