....LMB: "You Have the Right to Worship Jesus"....

August 27, 2003

Perhaps you've heard about this controversy regarding a stone sculpture of the Ten Commandments and an Alabama courthouse. The statue was put there in the dead of night by Alabama chief justice Roy Moore almost 2 years ago. The courts have now decided that the statue cannot stay there, and today had the statue removed.

Really, this does not seem to be an issue of church and state to me. It seems to be an issue of "do I have a right as a judge to take my own personal posession and have in permanently installed on public property?" In a way, Moore was stealing a square of public land for his own use. Does he have that right? Probably not.

But it's always astounding to see a segment of America's Christian population which seems to get off on the idea that they are being persecuted by the rest of mankind. Like 80-90% of Americans are Christians. Who exactly is oppressing them, the Hindus?

Many bloggers are linking to this bit of craziness, and I'll be no exception:

An irate man initiated the "Put it back!" chorus after the monument was wheeled away from the rotunda.

"Get your hands off our God, God haters!" yelled the wildly gesturing, red-faced man.

Um. A rock carved with the image of the Ten Commandments is itself the embodiment of God? The irony meter jumps off the scale when we bother remembering what the first two of those Ten Commandments say:

I. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

II. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems to me that these Christians have made this carved stone into a graven image, and are worshipping and serving it rather than their god. But that's just me.

And while we're on the topic, our pal Geov Parrish speculates that perhaps Roy Moore is using the passion of these Christian faithful to launch a political career.

So what will happen to the monument? Some folks have predictions.

It's an interesting democratic question, the church and state thing. Our Constitution forbids the government from favoring any particular religion, but what if the majority of Americans truly wanted to have a Christian government? What then?

All I know is that when we look at existing theocracies, it never looks good. And on a personal level, since all religion strikes me as crazy, I'd rather not be ruled by any particular religious dogma.

Posted by Jake at 05:42 PM | TrackBack (0)

A constitutional convention is all it would take. But I think the likelihood of them bothering with such would be small. When was the last time we bothered to declare war?

Posted by: JohnC at August 27, 2003 07:42 PM

In this whole religious spew, you said exactly what I wanted to say. And I didn't know that the judge put it up 2 years ago, that makes a difference. Then it's not like it has 'historical' significance.
My husband works with alot of judges, and most of them are dicks anyways....lol

Posted by: Lindsey at August 27, 2003 07:45 PM

umm.. yeah... i can see waht you're saying. but if you honestly think that 80% - 90% of americans are christians you are nuts. do some further thinking. ..

if being a christian jsut means you are non-buddhist, hindu, muslim new-age... anything other than christian ... that's lame.

i would be surprised if more than 20% of the nation actually bought into the faith wholeheartedly... you see in the new testament the ten commandments are summarised like this... 'love the lord your God and your neighbour as yourself'... ie.. compassion and concern for others are the markers of Christianity. that and a professed faith in Jesus Christ... which is the difference between Christians and buddhists, muslims etc..

yes, i'm a christian. but i'm not a religious nut and i don't think that the judge should've gone ahead and done it the way that he did.. it was sneaky.

but at the end of the day... it is what the laws of the nation are based on.

i would prefer to see those Christian protestors feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and giving away more of themselves rather than fighting for some crazy-assed idea of 'power' or 'justice'.

isaiah 58.6 says 'is this not the kind of fasting i have choosen.. to loose the chains of the oppressed... '

so it's a prophet speaking the message of God to the Israelites, but it's application for today? be less concerned with your own oppression and spend yourselves on behalf of those who suffer.

Posted by: tash at August 28, 2003 06:00 PM

I know a few Christians. Most of them believe that the decline of morality is directly linked to the expelling of all that is religious from any public venue, such as schools, court houses, etc. I know you took what that man said quite literally, Jake. I just don't believe that he really meant this stone monument was, in itself, God.
What would they have us do for our trouble youth? Make them read articles about politics, or say a prayer on thier behalf? Are they going to stop a drive by,or a teen pregancy with a political "family values" stand while they snort coke, and cheat on thier wives? Personally, I think a bit more spirituality, and a lot less STATE, may be a good thing.
So tired of people talking about anyone's faith as if it were a waste of time.
Christian Tash, read your bible again. Try to remember this time that we are suppose to stand up for our beliefs in Christ's name. Use all the energy you want to feed the hungry, while the gov. slowly but surely removes any recognition of your faith or the constitutional rights to such.

Posted by: Erin at August 31, 2003 08:50 AM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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