JABbering Stooge

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Some people just don't get it.

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. It's finals time again, and much of my time is consumed with studying for "examination hell." However, I do have time to respond to an editorial that appeared last week in response to my editorial on the War on Non-Christians. Enjoy!

Christians should be free to express their beliefs in America

Nathan Seltzer
Guest Columnist


James Baker’s article in The University Star’s Tuesday edition twisted the facts and misrepresented evidence to try to accuse Christians of fascism.


I would argue that I am not the one twisting facts and misrepresenting evidence, but that you are. We’ll see who’s right at the end, won’t we?

He accuses the "religious right" of trying to turn America into some type of fascist state because some Christians want to — gasp — practice their religion.


Well, that didn’t take long. Nowhere in my editorial did I suggest that Christians practicing their religion was not allowed under the First Amendment. And yes, this whole persecution complex for political gain thing is the sort of tactic a fascist would employ. So just who is "twisting the facts and misrepresenting the evidence" here?

It seems that the country, which was founded on Christian principles by predominantly Christian individuals, has deemed it appropriate to discuss and celebrate any religion except Christianity in public schools in the name of cultural diversity.


The claim that the United States was founded upon Christian principles is patently false. Not just for the reasons I described in my editorial. Consider the following: there is no mention of ANY divine being ANYWHERE in the Constitution (how's THAT for Constitutional literalism?). Congress met in session on Christmas Day the first year the Constitution was in effect. In fact, Christmas wasn’t even recognized as a federal holiday until 1870. Article XI of the Treaty of Tripoli (which according to Clause 2 of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution has the same force as anything else that’s in the Constitution) explicitly states that "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

As for the bizarre claim that "any religion except Christianity" can be celebrated in public schools, that simply is not true. You can still pray and celebrate your own religion in public school, so long as it is on your own time, and so long as there is no coerced participation by captive audiences, which is why the "making kids wear Muslim garb during Ramadan" example below also fails the constitutionality smell test.

Islamic religion and Muslim holidays are discussed in public schools, with some schools in California even going so far as to have the children dress up in traditional Muslim garb during Ramadan.


Merely discussing the Muslim religion and its holidays, particularly as part of a comparative religions ELECTIVE course, does not cross the line, so no enforcement is needed. However, the part about having children dress up in traditional Muslim garb during Ramadan DOES cross the line. And believe it or not, but the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State WERE ON RECORD OPPOSING THE ACTIVITY weeks before Pat Robertson began whining about it.

However, any mention of God or Jesus or even breathing the word "Christmas" in public schools is somehow deemed a violation of the separation of church and state.


Huh? Again, when did that ever happen? Just because you’re repeating the same "Christians are being persecuted" canard doesn’t make it any more true than last time.

I shudder to think what would happen if a teacher brought a nativity scene to school.


It would be the end result of the school being sued into bankruptcy by the Alliance Defense Fund’s 800-plus lawyers for having the audacity to have even one square inch missing a nativity scene.

Any Christians who challenge this view are deemed fascists by hardliner, antireligious zealots like Baker who somehow get the ear of the media with their hate-filled diatribes.


I didn’t paint all Christians with the fascist brush – just the modern-day Pharisees posing as Christians in the fringe right wing of the Republican party. Yet somehow I’m the "hardliner, antireligious zealot." I don’t know what skills are required over in the mass communications department, but clearly reading comprehension and critical thinking aren’t among them.

By accusing Christians of hatred, Baker makes the faulty assumption that the people he hates hate him back.


Well, according to the rhetoric of the religious right, I have no morals, I’m damned to hell unless I "shape up," I’m a termite who needs to be exterminated, and I’m not to be allowed to take part in governing the country of which I am a citizen. Nope, no hatred there.

Baker mentions the Christmas theme as being "Peace on Earth, good will toward men" but failed to mention that this message comes from the Christian Bible, which is not even allowed to be read in public schools.


The reason I brought up the "Peace on Earth, good will toward men" line (Luke 2:14) was specifically to point out the hypocrisy of those who claim, ever so loudly, to follow Christ (and that they are the only true Christians), who seem to have a hard time actually following his teachings. Matthew 6:5-6 in particular seems to send them for a loop.

How can anyone say Christianity is becoming the state religion when so few freedoms are granted to Christians to practice their religion in public institutions?


Still free to pray silently to oneself? Yep. Still free "to pray standing in the streets, that you may be seen of men?" Yep. Still free to gather with likeminded fellows to study your holy texts and pray together? Yep. Still free to force others to pray with you in your manner? Nope. Seems to me that the only "right" that has been "taken away" is your "right" to use your beliefs as a cudgel against anyone who believes differently from you. But what do I know? I’m just an evil, terrorist, traitor, spawn-of-Satan who needs to be shot on sight.

On top of all this, Baker says that Christian groups are seeking to make sure that religious diversity is "snuffed out by judicial or legislative fiat".


See below. And sometimes, they seem to need to feel the need to snuff out religious diversity by force of arms, as I will discuss below.

Far from seeking to snuff out religious diversity, campaigns such as Jerry Falwell’s "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign" seek to legally protect Christians who wish to practice their faith without being told they can’t pray or read the Bible as they see fit.


I don’t think I need to dignify this ridiculous (not to mention, repetitive) talking point with a response.

These campaigns have never and will never force Christianity on the unreceptive.


Tell that to KU Religious Studies professor Paul Mirecki, who had the shit beat out of him for saying religiously incorrect things about Intelligent Design and religious fundamentalism. Tell that to the victims of Eric Rudolph. Tell that to Matthew Shepard.

And I could go on and on. Florida state Senator Daniel Webster introduced an amendment excising language that recognizes a separation between church and state in the state constitution. Lawyer-author Edwin Vieira approvingly noted Stalin’s method for "dealing with" uncooperative judges.

Do you honestly believe that the likes of Dobson, Falwell and Robertson would be satisfied with mere "parity?" Robertson has called for a "godly fumigation" of the "termites" in office – anyone who isn’t his brand of Christian. And while you’re at it, look at the other Robertson quotes on that link and tell me that he won’t "force Christianity on the unreceptive."

Jerry Falwell has said that "if you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being." He has also said that "if we are going to save America and evangelize the world, we cannot accommodate secular philosophies that are diametrically opposed to Christian truth." Will he be satisfied with mere "parity?"

James Dobson talks about ideological differences as if it were an actual Civil War going on – one that he intends to win at all costs. He has also endorsed anti-abortion terrorist Randall Terry in his bid for Congress. This is the same Randall Terry who said, "I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good. Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism." Will they be satisfied with mere "parity?"

At the same time, living in the United States does mean that members of all religions can approach you and discuss their faith or attempt to convince you of their beliefs.


Which is already protected under the First Amendment. Therefore, there is no need for any of this "Religious Freedom Amendment" BS. What part of this is so difficult to understand?

Christians seek to spread their faith, not through legislation, but through word of mouth.


Liberal Christians, maybe, but not these modern Pharisees that conservatives keep trying to convince us are the only true Christians, as I pointed out above.

Christmas is about celebrating all that Christ’s birth has meant for us. It is about love, family, friends and togetherness. Even if you don’t believe in Christ, these other themes are universal.


Then why do religious conservatives keep acting like converting the heathens to Christianity by the sword is the only thing that matters, even at this time of year? Does it not strike you as mildly hypocritical that conservative Christians keep spewing the same hateful rhetoric that Osama bin Laden does?

Don’t allow the hate-speak and misinformation that is being spread to close your heart and mind to the spirit of the holidays.


Pot to kettle: You’re black!

Seltzer is a pre-mass communication junior.


Yeah, our mass communications department needs some work...

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