Saturday, October 31, 2009

The 09 war on Christmas has started.

So "reports" FOX Nation.

The first casualty of the year: A nativity scene, constructed without permission and without permit on the median of a public road.

...because if you can't use public infrastructure to promote your religion, your free-speech rights have been violated!

EDIT: If you conflate the difference between the constructs of secularism and religious persecution, you're merely displaying your ignorance of both. There's a world of difference between keeping road medians free from religious promotion and "banishing religion from the public commons" that binary-only minds might be incapable of grasping, but which I think most can.

If you'd like to discuss religion in public, please do so (and accept others doing the same, including voicing opposition to your perspective). If you'd like to build a religious shrine, it ought not to be done on my tax-funded property. The absence of a shrine isn't a shrine itself.


21 comments:

hemmingforddogblog said...

Every year it seems to start earlier...

rww said...

Well in a country where people apparently have a constitutional right to carry guns to a public meeting with the President nativity scenes on the roadways are a given, I guess.

Patrick Ross said...

LOL! Check it out! I bring the undead to life!

"If you'd like to discuss religion in public, please do so (and accept others doing the same, including voicing opposition to your perspective)"

The point being, Audrey, that there's a world of difference between voicing opposition to someone's religious perspective and attempting to have religious displays barred from the public commons.

Just like there's a difference between secularism and ecclesiastical atheism.

Perhaps you'd like them explained to you sometime.

Audrey II said...

I didn't claim the that there isn't a difference between voicing opposition to someone's religious perspective and attempting to have religious displays barred from the public commons, so you can put that strawman to rest.

What I did say (which you predictably did not address) is that "There's a world of difference between keeping road medians free from religious promotion and "banishing religion from the public commons"". It isn't "persecution" to have a "favoured" status that you might have enjoyed for a goodly long time removed. Those eager to advertise are still free to do what other product-sellers must: purchase a billboard.

The irony of illustrating the very kind of mind that I referred to above seems to have been something that you missed grasping.

Patrick Ross said...

Interestingly enough, Audrey, you objected to my blog post saying precisely that there was a difference between banishing religion from the public commons and secularism.

And quite frankly, the refusal to grant permission to erect the nativity scene in question for the reason that it "clearly displays a religious message" very much is the banishing of religion from the public commons.

Quite frankly, such a nativity scene doesn't represent favoured status for Christianity until requests for such displays by other religions -- including fundamentalist atheism -- are denied because they aren't Christian.

This story seems to suggest that no such thing has happened -- and it seems to suggest that no other religious groups have applied for that same privilege.

But, once again, these things don't fit into your cookie-cutter worldview. So what do you do with them?

Oh, right.

Omit, omit, omit.

Now, stay with me on this one, buttercup. Don't get all emotional again.

Audrey II said...

I didn't object to the noting of that difference (reading comprehension, FTW!).

What I did say, however is that secularism != religious persecution, and that although there might be some binary-only minds out there that are unable to grasp the distinction between "banishing religion from the public commons" and keeping road medians free from religious promotion (thanks again for the ongoing illustrations of this!), I think that most will.

Whether or not other religious groups have applied and been denied is irrelevant to whether or not the medians should be used in that manner. You're proceeding from the premise that assumes the very conclusion that's being criticized (circulus in probando). As well, do you really think that if the man in question had been using the public median to display offerings to Ba'al or to praise Allah that the practice would have been allowed to go on for as long as it had before someone questioned the tenability of the practice and (rightly, in my opinion) decided that it should stop? I think agreement creates a disproportionate tolerance for doing things that would otherwise be questioned.

Far from "omission", I'm quite happy to draw attention to the irrelevancies that you so desperately attempt to interject into the discussion threads here.

Sparky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Audrey II said...

Sparky,

Your above reply doesn't seem to be posting, so allow me to help, as it came through to my inbox:

"Well, Audrey, seeing as how you were the one who talked about having a "favoured" status of a religion removed, that makes the issue of whether or not any other religious group applied for use of that median for a religious display extremely relevant.

That is, unless you're having trouble with the meaning of the word "favoured". I recall you having trouble with the word "nonsense" before, so I fully expect it.

Now, as to your feeble attempt at a false equivalence argument:

I recall you once trying to lecture me about how repeating a poor argument doesn't make it any more compelling. (My argument at the time enjoyed the benefit of being backed by solid evidence, but I digress.)

Repeating your original argument verbatim doesn't make it any more compelling.

If you're going to insist that there's some kind of difference between denying an application for the use of public space because the message in question is "clearly religious" and banishing religion from the public commons, you're going to need to strengthen that argument significantly."


If enjoying favoured status was only possible through the granting/denial of permits, you might have a point. The point that I raised above (and which you didn't address) was that widespread agreement can also result in a tolerance that can be exploited that may not exist for others. I'm quite familiar with what both "favoured" and "nonsense" mean, although bonus points for the attempt at distraction.

You're right that repetition of an argument doesn't make it any more compelling. It does, however, sometimes become necessary to point out the difference between the argument that you've made and the strawman someone would prefer to duel with. There's a difference between repetition for the sake of repetition and repetition because someone's attempting to distort that I think most are capable of understanding. Best of luck on your effort to blur that.

As for "banishment of religion from the public square", the claim is yours. I think it's self evident that the issue in question pertains to the building of a display in a particular environment, not the much broader "religion" and "public square". If you want to go out on a street corner and bark rapture prophecies at the moon, please be my guest. I doubt anyone will object to you doing so on the basis of your "religious message", much less it result in your actions being prohibited. The broad construct of religion in the public square seems relatively safe to me, despite the histrionics some are having over not being able to set up a nativity scene on a public median.

On a related note, you might be interested in this. You and Patrick Ross happen to have the same I.P. address. What a coincidence!

Sparky said...

True that.
The above posting by "Sparky" is yet one more line item in a growing litany of reasons why dealing with Patrick Ross is a complete and utter waste of time and effort. He will stoop to whatever lows he has to to achieve a victory in his mind. Screw the facts, damn the truth.
Meh, he's happy living in his own little world. That's okay, I'll just leave him there.

Patrick Ross said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sparky, the reason why dealing with me is a waste of time and effort for you is that you always lose. No matter what.

So, Sparkles. Does it alarm you at all that your cohorts are apparently perfectly comfortable with you being a racist?

Patrick Ross said...

"If enjoying favoured status was only possible through the granting/denial of permits, you might have a point. The point that I raised above (and which you didn't address) was that widespread agreement can also result in a tolerance that can be exploited that may not exist for others."

This point isn't really worth addressing, but I'll show you some charity and shred it your you.

If that level of tolerance doesn't exist for others, then there's a problem. Granting a permit for a public display to any one particular group doesn't demonstrate a lack of tolerance for any particular group.

There certainly are ways to demonstrate favour for any one particular group aside from the granting or denial of permits. But that isn't what's under discussion here.

What's under discussion is the denial of a permit on the sole basis of the display being "clearly religious".

What I find particularly amusing, Audrey, is taht you've used the "strawman" complaint over and over again to distance yourself from an argument that you know you can't defend.

Now, Audrey, to deal with the silliest attempt at an argument I've ever seen you make (and you've hacked up some doozies): do you understand who owns the meridian in the middle of a public road?

It's public property, and thus counts as part of the public commons. Thus, any one citizen has as much right to use it as any other citizen.

That includes if they happen to be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or even an Atheist.

Why is it that you're so uncomfortable with the notion or religious equality?

Audrey II said...

"If that level of tolerance doesn't exist for others, then there's a problem. Granting a permit for a public display to any one particular group doesn't demonstrate a lack of tolerance for any particular group."

I think that the reason this had been allowed to go on for so long before anyone even suggest that a permit be needed is that there existed a degree of tolerance for this particular brand of religious advertising that doesn't exist in that particular place for others. Again, I think the probability of someone being allowed to build an Islamic crescent adorned with "Praise be to Allah" for years on a Kentucky road median without there being much in the way of questioning it is pretty low.

I don't think that incident is a "war on Christmas" like FOX News is touting it as being. I've seen no evidence whatsoever of other similar proposals from other religious perspectives being granted permits in that area. I think whoever was responsible understood the untenability of letting road medians become grounds for religious advertising. Of course, none of this plays into the populist persecution meme that some find politically advantageous.

"What's under discussion is the denial of a permit on the sole basis of the display being "clearly religious"."

Actually, what's under discussion is whether or not the display not being allowed to be built this year is (as Fox News claimed) a "War on Christmas". Scroll up. I assure you that the topic post is still there!

"It's public property, and thus counts as part of the public commons. Thus, any one citizen has as much right to use it as any other citizen."

Go urinate on the steps of your local courthouse, Pat. Be sure to use that argument on the arresting officer. "Public commons" status does not give individuals the right to do with it what they please.

"Why is it that you're so uncomfortable with the notion or religious equality?"

I'm not. Reading comprehension, FTW!

Sparky said...

"Sparky, the reason why dealing with me is a waste of time and effort for you is that you always lose. No matter what."
Only in your little world, Patrick

Patrick Ross said...

"I think that the reason this had been allowed to go on for so long before anyone even suggest that a permit be needed is that there existed a degree of tolerance for this particular brand of religious advertising that doesn't exist in that particular place for others."

Perhaps sometime you'd like to back up that argument.

Can you provide some example of Warren County denying permission to a non-Christian religious group to erect a religious display?

"Again, I think the probability of someone being allowed to build an Islamic crescent adorned with "Praise be to Allah" for years on a Kentucky road median without there being much in the way of questioning it is pretty low."

We're not talking about Kentucky here. We're talking about Michigan. Interestingly enough, Michigan had the largest Muslim population in the United States as of 2005.

So Kentucky might be an interesting case. But cases of discrimination in Kentucky should be dealt with either in Kentucky or in the United States Supreme Court.

This was a nice attempt to muddy the waters here, but it's pretty evident you're just trying to toss a distraction into the mix.

Too bad you failed.

As it pertains to Warren County, I doubt you've looked very hard for permits for religious displays being granted to other religious groups. More importantly still, I severely doubt you've looked very hard for evidence that other religious groups applied in the first place.

As for what's under discussion, Audrey, I'd daresay that you changed the topic of discussion here when you decided to lob a few ill-conceived complaints at my blog post on this same topic.

There is, however, one thing I'm prepared to agree with you on: the idea of a "war on Christmas" is indeed insipid. I'm not terribly interested in that.

What I am interested in -- the point of the blogpost that you want to treat as some example of "manufactured persecution", but rather about the perils of barring religion from the public commons.

(For the record, the public owns the media in question -- any member of the public has every bit as much claim to its use as any other member.)

When as highly regarded a democratic theorist as Benjamin Barber sees the value in allowing religious displays in the public commons as a form of cultural exchange, I take his opinion rather seriously.

Audrey II said...

"Can you provide some example of Warren County denying permission to a non-Christian religious group to erect a religious display?"

Why would I? I never claimed that they did, nor did I premise any argument on them doing so.

You're correct that I misidentified the state in which this occurred. The original Media Matters piece linked to several Fox Nation articles and it seems my memory mixed up the specific locations. Muslim demographics in Michigan are still dwarfed by their Christian counterparts, and my example isn't dependent on the specific minority religion involved (muddying the waters, indeed!). Do you really think that the same degree of tolerance for Christian advertising exists across non-Christian minority religions in the United States?

"There is, however, one thing I'm prepared to agree with you on: the idea of a "war on Christmas" is indeed insipid. I'm not terribly interested in that."

I realize that you're not interested in the actual topic of this post. You make this approach clear in comment thread after comment thread.

"What I am interested in -- the point of the blogpost that you want to treat as some example of "manufactured persecution", but rather about the perils of barring religion from the public commons."

...Except that no one is talking about (much less advocating) "barring religion from the public commons" (Rhetoric of Assholery, FTW!). I'm speaking to an example of FOX News whipping up manufactured persecution as part of the "War on Christmas" routine they flog year after year.

I'm not familiar with the commentary of Barber's that you're referring to, but I don't have an a priori objection to religious cultural exchange taking place in the public commons. Please feel free to place that straw stuffed cadaver right next to the "why do you have a problem with religious equality" one.

Patrick Ross said...

"You're correct that I misidentified the state in which this occurred. The original Media Matters piece linked to several Fox Nation articles and it seems my memory mixed up the specific locations. Muslim demographics in Michigan are still dwarfed by their Christian counterparts, and my example isn't dependent on the specific minority religion involved (muddying the waters, indeed!). Do you really think that the same degree of tolerance for Christian advertising exists across non-Christian minority religions in the United States?"

I believe that discrimination is best left to be dealt with when discrimination has actually occurred.

Barring one religion from erecting religious displays under the pretences that the state may discriminate against another religion is the silliest thing I've ever heard.

Either the state tends to discriminate, or it doesn't. You deal with discrimination after it happens.

Furthermore, avoiding discrimination had nothing to do with the decision in question. They were essentially bowing out to the FFRF (based in Wisconsin, by the way, not Michigan) to avoid them suing because the FFRF didn't want the display in question to go up.

What you don't seem to appreciate -- or are either overlooking in one of your characteristic acts of willful obtusity -- is that once they capitulated to the demands of an organization that explicitly states its goal as opposition to religion, they were taking sides on a religious issue, and quite explicitly violating any interpretation of the First Amendment.

As for Barber's writings, not only is it now entirely obvious that you never read the story in question -- likely never wandered much past Media Matters -- but it's pretty clear that you haven't read the blog post of mine that you linked to here.

I make a fairly detailed reference to Barber's work in that post. (And unlike yourself, who seems to barely know who he is, I've met the man.)

But I wouldn't try to sell that "Christians won't tolerate other religious messages" too much further with me, Audrey.

After all, I could always educate you on how they've handled these things in California -- and it's a positively splendid model!

Patrick Ross said...

And on another important note, Audrey, it seems that spouting off about things you clearly haven't read is a real problem for you.

You never know what you might find.

Audrey II said...

"Barring one religion from erecting religious displays..."

That isn't what occurred. This policy is neither restricted to "one religion", nor sweeping enough to encompass "religious displays".

"...under the pretences (sic) that the state may discriminate against another religion is the silliest thing I've ever heard.

That isn't what's being argued. Rhetoric-of-assholery FTW!

"they were taking sides on a religious issue"

What "side" is that? TPTB found merit in a complaint. That's a far cry from endorsing every view and or motivation of the complainant. Illustration of binary thinking, FTW!

"...and quite explicitly violating any interpretation of the First Amendment.".

Your rather radical interpretation of the first amendment != "any interpretation". The 1st doesn't protect the political graffiti-ing of state buildings any more than it protects the use of road infrastructure for religious advertising. It's great that the citizens of Mission Viejo are comfortable with their roadsides being used for that purpose, but even that example is limited to particular content, particular areas, and particular times of year and doesn't reflect your rather hysterical claims regarding first amendment protection of construction on public property.

And to return to the topic at hand (that you're so desperate to distract from) the removal of the nativity scene isn't an example of FOX's "war on Christmas". There's no evidence whatsoever that the policy in question doesn't apply equally to other religious displays.

"But I wouldn't try to sell that "Christians won't tolerate other religious messages" too much further with me, Audrey."

Since you've pulled that manufactured quote out of the same place the rest of your strawmen come from, that won't be likely. I haven't been "selling" that at all. Do have fun trying to plaster over that little bit of dishonesty, though. Maybe it will pan out better than your "why are you opposed to religious equality?" bit.

Patrick Ross said...

Audrey, you've made it perfectly clear at this point that you haven't actually read any of the news stories about this particular episode.

So on that note, not only are your attempts to weasle out of numerous poor arguments entirely transparent, but it's evident that you never knew what you're talking about in the first place.

I'm sure that you'll find it shocking to learn that there's more to the world than the various left-wing blogs you choose to restrict yourself to frequenting. In this case, that bigger world includes the very story you tried -- and evidently failed -- to blog about here.

Maybe next time you'd care to actually find out what it is you're commenting on before you comment.

Audrey II said...

I think that what's been made perfectly clear is that you're not interested in commenting on Fox's "War on Christmas" manufactured persecution. You've already explicitly admitted so at least once in this thread.

Instead, you've gone on this wild ride of radical First Amendment interpretations that don't survive reductio analysis, untenable claims regarding the use of state property, histrionic and wholly unsupported accusations of "being uncomfortable with religious equality", and now all you're left with is is this "you haven't read any of the news stories about this particular episode" rhetoric.

No one has to "weasel" out of anything, Pat. I'm quite comfortable continuing to point out the difference between the straw-stuffed shirts you stage battles with and what's actually said, and I think people are quite capable of scrolling up and verifying it for themselves.

Your last line is particularly hilarious in all its self-unaware glory, as you've done anything but comment on Fox's "War On Christmas".

Patrick Ross said...

You're right, Audrey, I'm not interested in commenting on the "War on Christmas manufactured persecution", as you called it.

I believe "insipid" was the word that I used.

No, Audrey, what I'm here to do is challenge you on your subsequent comment about something that I wrote.

Audrey, you admitted that you haven't actually read anything about this story. If you had, you would have known that story is taking place in Michigan, not Kentucky.

When I point out that you don't know what you're talking about, that's a fact, not "rhetoric" (I'm not shocked that you don't know the difference).

Pointing out the way that you continually try to slime your way out of your own arguments (by whining about non-existent strawman arguments) is just the proverbial icing on the cake.

Now I'd suggest you scamper off down that Yellow Brick Road you've built for yourself, and watch out for those oh-so-dangerous "strawmen" you're always whining about.

I know you're hearing footsteps.

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