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Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

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Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby manoletters » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:02 pm

There's a time and a place for everything. IMHO, religion is a repressive anachronism that belongs firmly in the 12th Century. As a simple matter of FACT, not opinion, the First Amendment's Establishment Clause makes it bloody well clear that these bibles had no place at the Lowell Center. Long Live the Freedom From Religion Foundation!
http://host.madison.com/lifestyles/fait ... 0addb.html

But here's an alternate view:
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... 741e7.html
Last edited by manoletters on Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby HawkHead » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:20 pm

While I completely disagree about the 12th century opinion on religion, I am happy that they are removing the bibles from a publicly owned/funded hotel.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Sandi » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:54 pm

manoletters wrote:...the First Amendment's Separation Clause makes it bloody well clear that these bibles had no place at the Lowell Center.


There is no "Separation Clause" in the First Amendment.

"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."

What part of "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" don't you understand?
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:00 pm

I have to <shudder> agree with Rickert. It's a stupid thing to get worked up about. FFRF does fight some good fights, but a zero tolerance policy on silly ass shit like this makes them look as stupid to me as conservative Christians who hunt for things to offend them. If you don't want to see the damn bible, close the nightstand drawer.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:01 pm

I'm with Francis -- I think this is a good example of the FFRF picking really dopey battles. In the first place, I don't find Bibles in hotel rooms offensive (heck, sometimes I even flip through'em. The Bible can be entertaining in its own right, but the random emphasis of the Gideons is sometimes downright hilarious.) I mean, it's just a freakin' book. Ignore it if you don't want to look at it (and judging from the like-new condition of most of the ones I've seen, that's what I assume 99% of hotel guests do.) I also don't see any conflict here given that not a single dime is spent by anyone but the Gideons to have them there. I guess I don't see how the presence of a book in a hotel room suggests any kind of endorsement of what is in the book. Is the implication also that the hotel/university/public endorse all the services offered in the Yellow Pages? And given that I see no conflict, even if I was offended, so what? After all, the whole "I'm offended by this so it has to go" attitude is one of the things I detest the most about those who try to foist their religious beliefs on me. As Stephen Fry has famously said, “It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what?" Exactly. That cuts both ways.

There are actual instances of religion intruding where it doesn't belong that cannot be ignored by simply looking away (or just not opening the drawer) and which do tacitly imply endorsement of a particular point of view, so it's awfully hard for me to wrap my head around why this is a problem.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:08 pm

Sandi, I thought conservatives only believed in the original intent of the Constitution. Here is what Thomas Jefferson said about your concerns.

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.


The Supreme Court has repeatedly cited Jefferson in supporting that separation.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby peripat » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:25 pm

Hey, you want a bible in your hotel room bring your own, nobody is going to try to take it away from you. Heck, you can even read it in the hotel coffee shop without anyone trying to confiscate it. There is, however, no excuse for pushing any specific religion by distributing it's rule book through publicly owned institutions.
If a patron left one behind, the hotel would pr.bably remove it as part of it's room cleaning, but in the case of Gideon bibles they allow them to stay,
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:40 pm

peripat wrote:There is, however, no excuse for pushing any specific religion by distributing it's rule book through publicly owned institutions.
I just don't see this as "pushing" anything on anybody. I would agree with you if the public was paying for this in any way, but they're not. The only people pushing anything are The Gideons. And I find it hard to believe that anyone is so weak-willed that they check into a hotel room an atheist/Jew/Muslim/agnostic/Hindu/Zoroastrian/whatever and are so overwhelmed by the book in the bedside table that they have a spontaneous conversion (which is, of course, the delusion harbored by the Gideons. But then, they're nuts.) So where's the harm?

I guess I do wonder: have any other groups ever tried to have literature left in hotel rooms? If FFRF tried to get copies of, oh... I dunno, On The Origin Of Species (for lack of a better example) placed in hotel rooms, at no cost to anyone else, would hotels object?

By the way -- another way to "protest" this would be to simply take the Bible with you when you leave. Most likely, it wouldn't be replaced any time soon, I'd wager. But if it was, it would just be more money out of the pockets of the Gideons.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby snoqueen » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:56 pm

Somewhere in between the Gideons and the people who harangue women trying to enter an abortion clinic, there is a fine line dividing offensive from harmless.

I'd rather the FFRF stayed on the other side of that line, however that's up to them. I pretty much support their overall mission, but I wouldn't donate unless they showed an awareness of that line.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:14 pm

How would people react if the Quran Society put their holy book in government owned accommodations?
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Sandi » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:20 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Sandi, I thought conservatives only believed in the original intent of the Constitution. Here is what Thomas Jefferson said about your concerns.

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.


The Supreme Court has repeatedly cited Jefferson in supporting that separation.


I agree totally with Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist. However it has been widely mis-interpreted, even by the courts.

Jefferson's words were meant to keep the government out of religion, and it was a one way wall. Why else would the 10 Commandments be allowed in the Supreme Court? Why else would Congress sessions commence with a prayer? Why else would Presidents be sworn in with an oath on the bible?
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Sandi » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:20 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:How would people react if the Quran Society put their holy book in government owned accommodations?


Or the Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court?
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:30 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:How would people react if the Quran Society put their holy book in government owned accommodations?
I wouldn't care, for the same reasons I don't care about The Bible being there (again, as long as there was no cost to the public in any way). But I suspect I know how many of those who actually believe in The Bible would react. I'd sure like to see this experiment performed, just so Bible-thumpers would have to confront it given that "freedom of religion" in their mind usually translates to "freedom for MY religion."

Sandi wrote:... a one way wall.
This one always cracks me up to no end. (And if I'm not mistaken, this was the very first argument I ever had with Flanders here on TDPF.) What the fuck is a "one way wall", Sandi? Again, your mind never ceases to amaze me.

You can spin it anyway you want for your fellow true believers, but anyone who actually knows a damn thing about Jefferson knows your interpretation is ludicrous. Beyond that, the 2nd is clear: The government should stay out of religion and religion should stay out of the government.

And the 10 Commandments at the Supreme Court? That's exactly the kind of actual instance of religion intruding into the government I talked about in my first post in this topic. Have you ever bothered to actually read the 10 Commandments, Sandi? Because most of them have no bearing on our modern legal system, or even modern ethics, and it is willfully ignorant to pretend otherwise.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:23 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:How would people react if the Quran Society put their holy book in government owned accommodations?
I wouldn't care, for the same reasons I don't care about The Bible being there (again, as long as there was no cost to the public in any way).


Pretty much spot on here.

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:But I suspect I know how many of those who actually believe in The Bible would react. I'd sure like to see this experiment performed, just so Bible-thumpers would have to confront it given that "freedom of religion" in their mind usually translates to "freedom for MY religion."


Yup, it would be cool to see a "Quran society" do something like this for just this reason. To answer Henry, I think Christians getting pissy about the Quran would be the exact same stupid reaction that the FFRF has to Bibles.
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Re: Viva Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Postby Detritus » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:27 pm

Sandi wrote:
manoletters wrote:...the First Amendment's Separation Clause makes it bloody well clear that these bibles had no place at the Lowell Center.


There is no "Separation Clause" in the First Amendment.

"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."

What part of "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" don't you understand?

What part of "reading the whole damn amendment" don't you understand? See the five words preceding the part you bolded? Those constitute what is known as "the Establishment clause." Notice how they precede the "free exercise" clause? They precede it in law as well as in syntax: the prohibition against government establishing any religion overrides the right of those running government to practice their particular religion. The Lowell Center belongs to the State; the presence of Bibles promotes a religion, which the State is prohibited from doing; therefore, they must go. If the Lowell Center were private, then the Bibles could stay, if the private owners wished them to.

Really, Sandi, this is elementary enough that it shouldn't need explanation.
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