Fights worth Fighting

I’m not so concerned about the crosses that are left on public property, especially memorials in cemeteries throughout our nation. Many of these crosses are now a part of history, and while they are not inclusive, I don’t believe they’re particularly exclusive either. I think it’s a waste of time and money to take these issues to court; they also create a lot of unnecessary hostility between believers and nonbelievers.

Money is better spent, it seems, on pursuing more important issues in education and government that affect our future: keeping ID out of science textbooks, God out of the classroom, prayer out of public meetings and religious symbols off public property from this point forward.

With the growing number of Nones, no matter how diverse the group is, the consistent message is that Americans are rejecting religion. We want it kept where it belongs. So it is particularly irritating when a public official defies a judge’s order and opens a meeting with a sectarian prayer anyway.

Robin Bartlett Frazier, a commissioner from Carroll County in Maryland, opened last week’s budget meeting with a prayer that contained references to Jesus Christ, stating that “she was willing to go to jail to fight the preliminary injunction ruling.”

Take a seat because it gets better. The judge had given the okay to open with a prayer as long as it did not represent a specific religion. These words were approved for use: “…Lord God, our Creator, giver and sustainer of life, the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Heavenly Father, Lord our Governor, mighty God, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, creator of planet Earth and the universe and our own Creator.”

But that wasn’t good enough. Frazier wanted to stand up for her particular brand of belief. She said, “We’ve been told to be careful. But we’re going to be careful all the way to Communism if we don’t start standing up and saying ‘no.’”

Does she mean, standing up and saying no to government officials who think their superhero or their favorite team should be everyone else’s, too? Or maybe she would be happier (as I would be) if the judge just said no to any and all prayer. After all, there are special places for prayer, and they’re called churches, homes and heads. Yeah, a moment of silence would work, too.

I’m glad that Frazier will go willingly to jail since she’s basically given every American the finger in deciding that she and her belief system are above the law.

These are the types of issues we should be fighting.


31 responses to “Fights worth Fighting

  1. Here’s to hoping she does go to jail… yes, I said that.

  2. I get such a pain from religious god-bothered sorts who obviously never took a social OR religious philosophy class in their lives. Saying “Communism” and “Jesus” in the same conversation implies they are opposite; when actually the opposite is true. Ideal Communism and early (1st – 3rd century) Christianity would be almost impossible to tell apart in practice. The only reason I’d prefer to see her ignored than in jail is that she would get her martyr jollies and “persecution points” for being jailed.

    • @syrbal-labrys Very true–the “persecution points” would just fortify “the cause.”

    • Popularity. That is the only reason I can think of why this has not caused pretty much any uproar.
      Had it been a Muslim who would´ve wanted to have a verse of Quran read…

      Of course for historical reasons it is not a valid comparison. This only goes to show how littel respect some people have for legality – OTOH the same people are more than willing to hide behind the law when it (seems to) suit their agenda.

      Putting a moron like her to prison would only heighten her status as a soldier of God as s-l pointed out. There is a however counter-point to that IMHO – if the fundies are never stopped, they will never stop themselves.

  3. Hey Debbie, how are you?

    Damn, we get it already:
    “I’m a Christian and I couldn’t be prouder! If you can’t hear me, I’ll yell a little louder!”

    I think about Muslims here in Tennessee whenever I read articles like this. They can’t even have a cemetery here without Christians shitting their pants and taking them to court. I won’t even get into how Christians react whenever there’s any talk of a Mosque going up.

    Some Christians sincerely do NOT want true religious freedom. They only want their own brand of faith to be the law of the land. Religion doesn’t bother me as much as religious superiority does.

  4. I’m totally out of patience with Christians who think that if they aren’t allowed to push their beliefs into every nook and cranny of everyone else’s life, they are the ones being discriminated against!

  5. When it goes this far mockery is the best and only course of action. Demand that a Pastafarian get’s to also mouth a prayer to FSM… wearing a sacred colander.

  6. “the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”

    Wow — I don’t know what to make of that. Well, I do, but I literally had a physical reaction when I read this.

  7. “Or maybe she would be happier (as I would be) if the judge just said no to any and all prayer. After all, there are special places for prayer, and they’re called churches, homes and heads. Yeah, a moment of silence would work, too.”

    Or maybe she should read her Bible — and see what Jesus had to say about praying in public.

    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Mathew 6:5-7

    If the judge wants to throw the book at her, maybe it should be the Bible, specifically these verses.

  8. I think it’s all just a distraction by the commissioners from the real issues like “Where’s the tax money going?” County Boards in my state have been fighting for their “traditional” right to opening prayers even though they did not start praying until the early 1990s. The opening prayers likely came about during the “Moral Majority” movement of the 1980s. I might have some sympathy if it were a “Ye Olde Prayer” from the Great Awakening of the 1800s or something with some historical perspective, but it is not.

    What makes me uncomfortable is that whether you are testifying in court or attesting some document in front of a government clerk, it is automatically assumed you will swear on the Bible. Yes, you can legally ask to “affirm” or use another text, but that requires interrupting the process. When you’re a defendant in Small Claims court and the judge starts with “Please place your left hand on the Bible in front of you and repeat after me,” you don’t feel comfortable interrupting and asking for an affirmation. It’s bad enough being in court at any rate and getting the judge possibly irritated at you makes you just “go along to get along” even if you feel it’s wrong.

    • @Ripberger True, it may be a distraction. But I think it’s more likely that issues like this people can relate to. They’re personal and not complicated, so it’s easy to take a stand.

      It’s funny you mention the court issue. I totally get that. I was talking with someone the other day about a case where I was sworn in (in front of a jury). What do I say, “Ummm, can we do the godless version?” Where would my credibility go then? And as you said, how have you tainted the judge. I know, I know in theory it shouldn’t matter, but life is not like that.

  9. Yes, great points, Victoria! There are a lot of things in the Bible that are ignored by believers.

  10. Deborah,
    First off, I still love your blog and follow it daily. Your words are my cup of coffee for the day, I enjoy them immensely! This was another example of an excellent post!

    Second, I had this thought pop into my head after reading this blog about religious freedom. Is there really such a thing? I mean, think about it. You are totally free to pick or not pick a religion, I see that. However, that is where the freedom stops for the believers. Once you pick one a specific religion, the freedoms you have regarding beliefs are set down for you in a set of strict rules. For example, you are not a Christian unless you follow strict guidelines, ie, you must accept Jesus Christ as your savior. Must (the bible and therefore the church commands this) being the operative word here. In addition, most, if not all, churches dictate specific rules regarding worship, ceremonies, tithing, joining….the list goes on. Some churches require that you attend a set of classes before you can officially become a member. You must offer up your children up as guaranteed members and force feed them the church’s set of guidelines and beliefs. Once you join, if you don’t agree, or don’t like the rules, your only freedom left, unless you want to be an unfaithful member, is to quit and move on to another church. Not many churches are governed like a democracy. That is what compelled Robin Frasier to utter those words, she was commanded to by her church, otherwise she (he?) would be an outcast, labelled as unfaithful to the church.

    It was just a thought, not meant to be an ironclad argument. Have a great spring day Deborah!

    • @sringo. You bring up excellent points. Authoritarian religions such as Christianity, command in their ‘holy’ book that believers are to go out and make disciples of ‘men’, globally — i.e., the Great Commission. Lukewarm Christians usually don’t do this. By saying lukewarm, I mean those who don’t actually don’t put this presumed command/instruction from Jesus to action. From my own studies, though, the Great Commission was an embellishment which showed up in later copies.

    • @sringo — I should clarify by quoting the actual scriptures: It states in Matthew 28: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. …and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you: He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but He who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

      This is a problem — because believers who take this to heart will assume that anyone outside of Christianity, for example, is condemned. This leaves a very negative mark on anyone outside of their own tribe. To them, religious freedom is a humanistic concept.

      • @Neuronotes – You are correct, this does represent a big problem for believers. I have family members who have told us we are condemned because we have not been baptized. Kind of a hateful attitude when you are on the receiving end of such a comment. Some of Deborah’s thoughts on how to handle such remarks have been very supportive and helpful in dealing with these situations. I do my best to just avoid getting into them when possible.

        • ” I do my best to just avoid getting into them when possible.”

          Wise choice. Believers who take such scriptures as their duty to ‘save’ the world are solely functioning from their limbic system. Believe is emotionally based, which is why it can be so dangerous. Everyone in my family is a Christian. Besides my young adult daughter, I’m the only one in the history of my family on both sides who became a unbeliever. IMO, people who don’t follow the Great Commission are generally benign and not a threat to religious freedom and the stability of society.

        • @sringo — correction: *belief is emotionally based

          • Nice string of comments, and great insights. @sringo In regards to your reference about churches not being very democratic–it’s so true. Perhaps this is why so many have left the church and are instead calling themselves “spiritual.” They’re still attached to God, just not a church….

  11. I was at a Senate opening session invocation where the Senate chaplain Lloyd Ogilve droned on about what sinful lowly worthless worms we all were. I found it particularly offensive. Speak for yourself, Padre.

  12. Sometimes I wish that other religions (Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc.) were as vehement in their insistence on injecting their religious beliefs and ideas into government and secular life. I think at that point, Christians (and it’s not all Christians of course) would get the need to keep religion where it belongs and away from secular/government life.

  13. @Mike Monson Absolutely. I was just thinking the other day about school and the prayers they say at graduation. If a student invoked Allah or Mohammed, there would have been no end of complaints, and yet, as you said, it would be such a good lesson…

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