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WITCHCRAFT NOT WELCOME:
"The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled a Virginia county can refuse to let a witch give the invocation at its meetings by limiting the privilege to clergy representing Judeo-Christian monotheism."
Next you'll tell me they argued this on precedent.
The Marsh opinion also strongly emphasized the long history of prayer in both Congress and the Supreme Court itself.
Nooooo Waaaayy!!!???? Well, you know, since we've already been doing it, why stop now huh?
"The Judeo-Christian tradition is, after all, not a single faith but an umbrella covering many faiths," Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in the opinion.
Covering the wide range of faiths... all the way from Methodists... to, um... Baptists? And all of us in between? But what am I saying? I'm just a crybaby. I should just shut up and go to church.
Or can I?
One former church member says Chandler [minister of a Haywood County Baptist church] told some of the members that if they didn't support George Bush, they needed to resign their positions and get out of the church, or go to the altar, repent and agree to vote for Bush.
And why oh why would he do this?
During last Sunday's sermon, he acknowledged that church members were upset because he named people, and he says he'll do it again because he has to according to the word of God.
The "word of God" says that we all need to vote for George W. Bush? I must have missed that in my Bible.
I should point out that the only reason that I see these fundie Christians as a threat is because they represent a very dangerous majority. If this were a predominately Muslim country it would be the Islamic fundies saying that everyone should be like them, and to dissent is to be un-whatever.
The bigger themes here are tribalism and the power of the majority to decide that they can dictate the lives of the minority. Here in America, its Christianity, elsewhere its ethnic tribalism, racial tribalism or some other kind of religious or geographic tribalism. It all comes down to US versus THEM. Even in nations where everyone is all the "same" religion, Protestant and Catholics, they have fought and killed each other for generations. No matter how alike we are, we'll always find some way to divide ourselves into factions. Sometimes it seems that the only way humans will ever put aside our petty squabbles and get along would be for aliens to invade from outer space.
(more at Pandagon and Paperweight's Fair Shot)
... a little more:
People have different ideas about what this country stands for. You have some who are defending their ideal of America as an ethnic and religious tradition. "Americans", in the eyes of some, are the original white, Christian settlers that came here from Europe to set up a new society in those traditions. (In fact, part of my own family is of German Catholic immigrants that settled in Arkansas.) Its not wrong to recognize the strong European Christian tradition in American society, but I feel that there is a bigger ideal that transcends all other tribal identities.
For me, you "become an American" not simply by being born here, or by moving here, but by accepting the ideals that made this country a unique experiment; individual freedoms and rights that cannot be taken away from you by a majority. Here you can set up a tribe of one, dress different, look different and even worship whatever or nothing and still have protections under the law. As long as you don't infringe on another's right to do likewise you're ok with us.
... at least that's the idea. The reality is that we sometimes fail to live up to this standard. Individual freedom is a dangerous concept to existing power structures who rely on tribal numbers to exert their control. When people are free to associate with whomever they please it means that keeping a tribe together becomes more of a challenge. All of a sudden it has to compete in the marketplace of ideas. You can no longer compel people to join you by power of force. When a group starts to fail and people start leaving its too tempting to reach for the power of the government to force people back into the fold.
Fundies like Pat Robertson can come on TV and implore people to follow him all he wants, that's fine with me, he's no different than the scads of ab roller and gutbuster commercials that run all night long. If people want to join his "700 Cult" and send him money, that's cool too. But when they start using government positions to push their "morality" on others then that's where they cross a line.
Personally I think Wiccans are nutty as all hell, but I think this case serves as a useful example of why we cannot make exceptions for religions that we prefer. If you open the gates for religion in government it has to be equal to all religions. But that's not what people really want. They want their religion to be let in to the exclusion of others. Can you really see a Wiccan on the floor of senate giving an invocation? There would be an outcry. But we accept the Christian ministers. Chesterfield County?s Board of Supervisors simply said no to the Wiccan. They should have no to the others as well.
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