http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/12/06/oklahoma-satanic-temple-piece/

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Oklahoma’s 10 Commandments To Get A Sister Memorial … From The Sata...

AUTHORNATHANIEL DOWNES DECEMBER 6, 2013 10:10 PM

Oklahomans Must Love That They Will Host The Satanic Temple's New Memorial

Remember the Satanic Temple, which performed a ritual to turn Fred Phelps’ dead ...? They are still at it, now in Oklahoma. The Satanic Temple has filed the papers to put up a memorial on statehouse grounds, next to the state’s display of the 10 Commandments. They are doing this by citing Okla.’s religious displays legislation, signed into law in 2009. And they are absolutely serious about it. According to their press release:

The Satanic Temple, an established New York City-based religious organization, has offered to donate a public monument to Oklahoma’s Capitol Preservation Commission for display upon Oklahoma City’s capitol grounds. Described as an “homage” to Satan, the purpose of the monument is to complement and contrast the Ten Commandments monument that already resides on the North side of the building. The donation offer has been submitted and is currently awaiting the commission’s reply.

The Satanic Temple Is Dead Serious About This.

When Patheos heard of this, they reached out to the temple, and had some questions answered. The statement boils down to the Satanic Temple’s willingness to embrace the new Republican-led insistence of religiously backed memorials, and they plan to take full advantage of it.

Earlier reports of the temple called them the Religious Yes Men. The irony is that the tenets of theChurch of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, not only make this mix of satire and dogma plausible, they embrace it.

While none would consider Father Guido Sarducci a spokesperson for the Catholic Church, Satanists have no problem with getting its message out through any means possible. After all, the founding principles of Satanism can be found in the works of none other than Ayn Rand. If anything, Satanism isthe epitome, and the end-form of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. With the popularity of Ayn Rand’s philosophy among the Republicans, including one-time GOP VP hopeful Paul Ryan, the idea of them rejecting the Satanic Temple’s monument is impossible to fathom. It would instead be a true affirmation to their love affair with selfishness.

Okla. brought the Satanic Temple upon itself.

Anton_LaVey_Memorial_High

To celebrate Oklahoma’s new religious memorial laws, the Satanic Temple has filed the paperwork to put up a monument on the state capitol building’s lawn.

Okla., thanks to its argument for religious monuments on public display, now must accept the Satanic Temple and their memorial. The law allows them to put it right next to the 10 Commandments, if they so desire. Next week, who knows, perhaps the Satanic Temple will get the opportunity to name a new public school. It’s not like the state would be hypocrites who would only accept their own narrow religious views in direct violation of the .... Wouldn’t that be something to witness?

So, what is it going to be GOP? A memorial to 666 himself, courtesy of the Satanic Temple and its members in Okla., or a return to the tenets of this nation, with a wall of separation between Church and State. Because once you open up the gates, and let the flood of religion into the public commons, you can no longer control whose messages go out to the public.

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*Laughing* Oh, how I adore stupid Republicans.

Perhaps this is the beginning of a grand new strategy. Satanic Temple, meet the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Can a monument to the Invisible Pink Unicorn be far behind? Or the Missionary Church of Kopimism? Or Dudeism? Or the Church of the SubGenius? Or the Last Thursdayists? Or the Saint Stupidists? Lets name a school after the Temple of the Jedi Order! Or that guy in the Matrix movies!

Pile up so many religious monuments and displays on the state house lawn that it looks like a hick town carnival. Naturally, all of the monuments must be of equal size and prominence. No favoritism now!

*Laughing* Oh, how I adore stupid Republicans.

And I love people who will use an issue like this to try to score partisan points.

I can assure you there are plenty of Republicans opposed to state religion and a shitpot of democrats who support it.

How about we focus on the actual issue here and leave the partisan bashing out of it?

Gallup: *Laughing* Oh, how I adore stupid Republicans.

Steve: And I love people who will use an issue like this to try to score partisan points. I can assure you there are plenty of Republicans opposed to state religion and a shitpot of democrats who support it.

Are you suggesting that the separation of church and state is not a partisan issue?

Everything from "In God We Trust" to "Under God" to the battle to allow prayer in schools, to the fight to teach creationism in schools, to nativity scenes at city hall, to the myth of the "Christian" origins of the United States are all rooted in and defended by the Christian right.

Oklahoma House Bill 1330 (the "Ten Commandments Monument Display Act"), was written by Republican Mike Ritze and passed by the overwhelmingly Republican state legislature in April 2009. Democratic governor Brad Henry signed the measure into law, which made no difference, since it had passed with a majority of 37 to 9 which was sufficient to override a veto.

But have it your way, Steve.

If there is a relevant "Christian left" out there, fighting to tear down the wall between church and state, I'd very much like to see this "shitpot" of evidence that it exists. Likewise, provide this plentiful list of Republicans with public records of opposition to 10 commandment monuments, prayer in schools, intelligent design, under God, and so on.

Show me all of the Democrats I have overlooked. I don't think many mainstream figures like these exist, but if any do, I'll be happy to include them in my bashing.

How about we focus on the actual issue here and leave the partisan bashing out of it?

Like it or not, there is every indication that religion and irreligion-- especially on issues of church and state-- are partisan issues in the United States. I'm not putting on the soft gloves just because that makes you uncomfortable in your party affiliation.

"While members of Congress avoid claiming no religion, there is a striking partisan divide in terms of faith traditions. Taken as a group, Republican members are more Christian and less religiously diverse than their Democratic counterparts, with nearly 69 percent of GOPers claiming a Protestant faith, along with 24.9 percent who are Catholics. In contrast, fewer than half of Democratic members--43.1 percent--are Protestant, while 34.1 percent are Catholic. According to Pew, there is only one Republican member of Congress who claims a non-Christian faith. That title goes to Virginia Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, who is Jewish. The Democratic Party, meanwhile, claims a far greater variety of non-Christian members, including 38 Jews, three Buddhists, two Muslims, and two adherents of “other faiths” not specified in Pew’s results. Six Democrats also either responded that they “don’t know” or refused to answer. This split is also evident among voters, according to 2010 National Election Pool exit polls (reported by CNN), which showed that Christians decidedly tend to vote Republican. Fifty-nine percent of Protestants and 54 percent of Catholics chose the Republican House candidates in their districts, while 74 percent of people claiming an “other” religion and 68 percent claiming no religion chose Democrats."
(source)

"The [religiously] unaffiliated, and especially those who are atheist or agnostic, tend to diverge from the general public when it comes to attitudes about the role of religion in politics. The unaffiliated are more strongly opposed to the idea of church involvement in political matters and to the notion of churches endorsing political candidates than is the public as a whole. They are less likely than the general public to think it is important for a president to have strong religious beliefs, and they are more uncomfortable with political candidates discussing their faith or religious commitment." (source)

If there is a relevant "Christian left" out there, fighting to tear down the wall between church and state, I'd very much like to see this "shitpot" of evidence that it exists.

I didn't say there was a "Christian left" like you describe out there.  I said there were "Democrats."  Quit strawmanning, 

And there are plenty of southern Democrats on board with this agenda.  Sure none of them will ever be nominated for president unless the (national) Democratic Party changes, but that's not the claim I was making.

My complaint with you is that you automatically equate "Republicans" with "the religious right" like they are one and the same.  And in point of fact, when your complaint should be with the "religious right", you just jump directly to "Republicans." 

OK, you want to complain about the religious right trying to do their thing?  Do so.  I will be right there, shoulder to shoulder with you.  But I know plenty of rank-and-file republicans who are disgusted with the religious right but swallow the bullshit because economic issues or the gun issue are more important to them, and it is bigotry on your part to just call all Republicans "the religious right" regardless of what their national leadership is doing.

I'm not putting on the soft gloves just because that makes you uncomfortable in your party affiliation.

I have not been a registered Republican since 1996.  I spent a number of years as a Libertarian after that but have been registered Unaffiliated for the last ten years.

Again, if you want to bash the religious right here, I will happily hand you the club to do it.  But, dammit, bash the religious right, not "Republicans."

On reading this over, I fear I could be misunderstood on one point.  I am NOT saying "never discuss political issues on T|A"  I am saying that when discussing maneuvers by theocrats of the religious right (which is what this topic is about), it is bigoted to ascribe that to "Republicans" as if all of them are guilty of it.

I am saying that when discussing maneuvers by theocrats of the religious right (which is what this topic is about), it is bigoted to ascribe that to "Republicans" as if all of them are guilty of it.

ascribed it to "stupid Republicans", as if the stupid ones are guilty of it, not "Republicans", as if all of them are guilty of it.

Quit strawmanning, Steve.

Gallup: Likewise, provide this plentiful list of Republicans with public records of opposition to 10 commandment monuments, prayer in schools, intelligent design, under God, and so on. Show me all of the Democrats I have overlooked. I don't think many mainstream figures like these exist, but if any do, I'll be happy to include them in my bashing. [Went on to provide several statistical examples naming Republicans and Democrats.]

Steve: I didn't say there was a "Christian left" like you describe out there.  I said there were "Democrats."  Quit strawmanning,

So when you said "there are plenty of Republicans opposed to state religion and a shitpot of democrats who support it", you didn't mean the political left has a religious counterbalance for the political right? You just meant "Democrats"-- the party of the left-- without the religious implications I described?

Tell me another one, Steve.

And there are plenty of southern Democrats on board with this agenda.

Apparently, they're so plentiful you still haven't named a single one.

How many Democrats find the separation of Church and state to be vomit-inducing? How many compare it to Hitler and Nazism? Or say that Satan himself thought it up? How many try to make Christianity the official state religion?

Likewise, where's your list of Republicans who have come out in favor of the separation?

Sure none of them will ever be nominated for president unless the (national) Democratic Party changes, but that's not the claim I was making.

Your claim is: "I can assure you there are plenty of Republicans opposed to state religion and a shitpot of democrats who support it. How about we focus on the actual issue here and leave the partisan bashing out of it?" 

You're saying the separation of church and state is not a partisan issue; that support does not run predominantly along party lines (with Democrats in favor and Republicans against). If you're not saying that, then exactly what are you saying?

ascribed it to "stupid Republicans", as if the stupid ones are guilty of it, not "Republicans", as if all of them are guilty of it.

You'll have to forgive me on that one.  The way you post about Republicans all the time, and on all sorts of different issues, had me thinking you thought Republicans were automatically wrong and democrats were automatically right, I mean "correct," and that this was just an intensifier.

Apparently, they're so plentiful you still haven't named a single one.

You seem to be suffering from the misapprehension that I was talking about politicians.  In spite of the fact that I said "rank and file" in a sentence that was specifically referring to Republicans.  And context should make it pretty clear that I could just as easily have said so in a statement referring to Democrats as well, but I do sometimes succeed in not being repetititve.  And I said this in my first post on this thread.

When you step into the rank and file, you will note that only 58% of Democrats would be willing to vote for an atheist.  http://www.gallup.com/poll/155285/atheists-muslims-bias-presidentia....  (You might be familiar with that poll.)  That's only ten points better than the number among Republicans.  Surely if the membership of the two parties (which, remember, is what I was talking about) were that far apart on church-state issues, the gap would be just a bit bigger, no?  And it means that 42% of the Great, Glorious Democratic Party is too bigoted to vote for an atheist even if she or he were otherwise qualified. 

But OK.  You want to talk officeholders?  You won't pay attention to the point I was trying to make about the membership of both parties, but will badger me until I point you to a legislator? Here goes then:

The very same law we are talking about, Oklahoma's Religious Displays law, HB 1330 from 2009, passed 83-2 in the House and 38-8 in the senate.  (http://newsok.com/oklahoma-state-capitol-to-display-ten-commandment...)

The composition of the OK house at the time was 61-40 R/D, and the Senate was 26/22 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/52nd_Oklahoma_Legislature)

Even making the most generous (to Democrats) assumption possible, that ALL of the non-voting legislators (16 in the house and two in the senate) were Democrats who would have voted "nay", and that every single Republican was present and voted "aye," that still means that at least 22 democrats (more than half of them) voted AYE in the house, and at least 14 of them (damned near two thirds) voted for it in the Senate.

It's more than likely that some of the absent votes were Republicans.  If so, that makes it even worse for the Democrats, even if you assume that all Republicans present voted for the bill.

Regardless of whether that is true, it is a mathematical certainty that a majority of Democratic legislators in each of the houses voted for this bill.  The very bill the Original Post was about.  And thus, there are plenty of Democrat officeholders willing to push this agenda.

But yeah, OK (pun intended).  "Stupid Republicans" it must be.

You'll have to forgive me on that one.

Not quite, Steve. You're not done offending yet.

The way you post about Republicans all the time, and on all sorts of different issues, had me thinking you thought Republicans were automatically wrong and democrats were automatically right, I mean "correct," and that this was just an intensifier.

I post about Republicans some of the time, not all of the time. I say Republicans are wrong or irresponsible on all sorts of different issues because of the pertinent facts, not because it's automatic.

The specifics are many, and beyond the scope of this thread, such as; not hurting our way to better public education, holding the nation hostage to stop ObamaCare, making an economy bigger by making it smaller, and discrimination against LGBT people, women, and racial minorities, and so on.

In this thread, we are discussing the separation of church and state, with the example of a law in Oklahoma which allowed a Christian monument to be erected on the public grounds of the state house.

A Republican instigated that law, and it was passed by a Republican majority state government. Likewise, Republicans have instigated and are now defending most other entanglements of church and state in the US. These things are all true.

Gallup: Apparently, they're so plentiful you still haven't named a single one.

You seem to be suffering from the misapprehension that I was talking about politicians.

Sure, Steve. Democrats, Republicans, political parties, and partisanship; none have anything to do with politicians.

I don't know what came over me.

In spite of the fact that I said "rank and file" in a sentence that was specifically referring to Republicans. And context should make it pretty clear that I could just as easily have said so in a statement referring to Democrats as well, but I do sometimes succeed in not being repetititve. And I said this in my first post on this thread.

Right, Steve. So when you specifically referred to Republicans, you could easily have made the same statement about Democrats, but didn't succeed. But thanks to context, it's pretty clear you meant something you didn't repeat, and I'm suffering from a misapprehension, all in spite of you not saying this in your first post on this thread.

I'm so glad you've cleared that up (whatever it means).

It still sounds you're arguing that separation of church and state is not a partisan issue; that the parties in general have symmetry on it. I can only guess, because you still won't state clearly what your point is. (I sincerely hope your paragraph above wasn't an attempt at clarification.)

When you step into the rank and file, you will note that only 58% of Democrats would be willing to vote for an atheist. That's only ten points better than the number among Republicans.

Sure, Steve. "Only" 58% of Democrats would vote for an atheist, which is "only" ten points better than the 48% of Republicans who would.

That's a statistically significant gap which supports my point and damages yours. For instance, "only" Democrats are capable of nominating an atheist for President. Presidential elections are "only" decided by single-digit margins of victory in battleground states. This difference-maker is an indicator of a divide that runs along partisan lines, as I said.

Surely if the membership of the two parties (which, remember, is what I was talking about) were that far apart on church-state issues, the gap would be just a bit bigger, no?

This is why it can be difficult at times to take you seriously, Steve.

You're suggesting this is a legitimate answer to a statistical question? The parties are not that far apart on church-state because "surely" the already significant gap on atheism in presidential elections would be even bigger.

Because... "surely"?

No response to the points I raised about partisanship on "In God We Trust", "Under God", prayer in schools, Intelligent Design in schools, nativity scenes at city hall, or the "Christian" origins of the United States?

No response to mainstream Republican Presidential and Congressional candidates and state legislatures with their vomit-inducing, Hitler-inspired, Satan-authored, official state religion-defying thoughts on separation of church and state? 

Come on, Steve. Cut the crap.

But OK. You want to talk officeholders? You won't pay attention to the point I was trying to make about the membership of both parties, but will badger me until I point you to a legislator?

I didn't ignore your point. You failed to make yours and ignored mine.

I presume after chiding me falsely for not paying attention to the point you raised-- that separation of church and state is not a partisan issue-- you'll continue to ignore my point: There is a significant partisan divide on the numerous points I raised above, in that Democrats are mostly on the right side and Republicans are mostly on the wrong side.

The very same law we are talking about, Oklahoma's Religious Displays law, HB 1330 from 2009, passed 83-2 in the House and 38-8 in the senate. 

The composition of the OK house at the time was 61-40 R/D, and the Senate was 26/22 

Yes, Steve. I had posted links showing the composition and votes to point out this was a Republican majority government.

Republicans controlled both houses of the Oklahoma state legislature-- including the ability to set the agenda-- most notably the House by 68.4% to 38.6%, where the bill was introduced by a Republican. It's perfectly reasonable to hold the Republicans mostly responsible. 

This next part is speculative, but in ultra-religious Oklahoma, how likely would an irreligious Democrat be to proffer an insincere vote to erect a Christian monument for the sake of political survival?

I don't know, but it's an interesting question in light of the Pew research on religion which shows all of the "other/unaffiliated/don't know/refused/non-Christian" elected politicians in Congress are Democrats, and all but one of the Republicans are Christians (and that one is Jewish).

But yeah, OK (pun intended). "Stupid Republicans" it must be.

Yeah, Steve. In each of the cases I listed above, and in this case as well, stupid Republicans are very often behind it. In this case, it was Republican State Representative Ritze.

You just don't see the same kind of in-your-face religious crap coming from the political left as you do the political right.


It still sounds you're arguing that separation of church and state is not a partisan issue; that the parties in general have symmetry on it.
Show me where I said they were symmetric.
Look, I have had several days to think this through.  I believe I can state things with more clarity than I did earlier.
My thesis is that there are sufficient numbers of Democrats on board with the idea that the United States is essentially a Christian nation, and that atheists are not fit for office and otherwise "defective", that it is unfair to simply blanket portray this as a "Republican" position.  And that to give Democrats who do this sort of thing a pass, whilst criticizing only the Republicans, is selective criticism.  And it hurts the cause of secularism to do so.
Sure, Steve. "Only" 58% of Democrats would vote for an atheist, which is "only" ten points better than the 48% of Republicans who would.
That's a statistically significant gap which supports my point and damages yours. For instance, "only" Democrats are capable of nominating an atheist for President. Presidential elections are "only" decided by single-digit margins of victory in battleground states. This difference-maker is an indicator of a divide that runs along partisan lines, as I said.
It may be a partisan divide (I certainly did not claim there was no difference), but it's not a terribly deep one, and certainly not deep enough to selectively condemn one side of it.  Nearly half of one party holds a position you are exclusively condemning the other party for.  A ten percent difference is sufficient to give one side a complete pass and brickbat the other?
86 percent of Democrats maintain that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure health care coverage, and 30 percent of republicans do.  That is a difference of FIFTY SIX PERCENT.  That is a stark partisan divide, not a weak one.  I think we can both agree one side of that issue deserves a brickbat; but I am going to go way, way, WAY out on a limb and say that I doubt we will agree which side that is. :-)
Here's another one:  "Gun laws should be more strict":  77% of democrats agree.  23% of republicans don't.  http://www.gallup.com/poll/165563/remains-divided-passing-stricter-....  FIFTY FOUR PERCENT.
Of course it would stereotying to say "All democrats support gun control, all Republicans oppose it."  But it's widely accepted shorthand to say "Democrats support gun control, Republicans oppose it."  About half the time someone will insist it should be qualified with "most" (and they are technically correct) but with a fifty-plus percent gap people generally see what you mean and will figure you don't literally mean "every single Democrat" when you say "Democrats."  But the reason this works is because the delta between the two parties is so huge.
Compared to this sort of divide on some very current issues, ten percent is freaking piddling.  That's what I was trying to say there.
A ten percent gap, with both sides within eight percent of an even split, and with the Democrats within the margin of error of being majority "I won't vote for an atheist" means you don't have enough of a difference to just blanket call it a Democrat/Republican difference.
Remember, it's an absolute certainty that this bill passed both houses of the OK legislature, with the concurrence of a majority of the Democrats.  (I tried to get a specific tally by name of the vote, then figure out the exact partisan split, but I was only able to get to a broken/removed page.)
Well that's Oklahoma.  Often called the "Buckle of the Bible Belt."  (Though I suspect it has plenty of competitors for that dubious distinction.)  But then there was the "In God We Trust" vote in the House of Representatives on November 1 2011.  Lots of people from thoroughly "blue" states in the US Congress, presumably from really "liberal" districts.  President Obama ripped the House a new asshole for this one--though his rationale wasn't an objection to the motto, but rather, basically, a call to quit focusing on trivia.  Not really secular street cred there.  But note that the vote was 396-9.  (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/02/us/house-of-representatives-affir...).
[As a side note, Obama has made religious references a lot since assuming office (he is, outwardly, a theist though many atheists seem to think he's a closet A), but I will give him kudos for being willing to acknowledge the existence and worth of atheists.  He's clearly not one of the 48 percent I am complaining about.]
What we are dealing with is a cultural divide that cuts across party lines.  Is it weighted towards Republicans?  Yes.  I never said otherwise, I did say there were a "shit pot" of Democrats on the wrong side of the line.  (And just to make sure I am not misunderstood, that statement does not imply that there isn't a bigger, shittier pot of Republicans.)  Personally I believe forty eight percent of registered Democrats unwilling to vote for an atheist no matter what, is enough to constitute a "shit pot."  Admittedly it's a non-scientific term so your mileage may vary. :-)
Is there a statistically significant difference (i.e., greater than the usual 3-5% margin of error) between the two parties on this?  Of course.  I did not say there was no statistical difference.
But the difference is not significant enough to let Democrats off the hook, simply because they are Democrats.  In fact, there are in absolute numbers ever so slightly more Democrats  who will not vote for an atheist than there are Republicans.  D party registration is 28%. 48 percent of them won't vote for an atheist, that's 13.44 percent of the total population.  R registration is 23%, 58 percent won't vote for an atheist, that's 13.34 percent.  A tenth of a percent difference is well within the margin of error and can be ignored.  Amongst the general population, the two pots may be sized differently, but they both contain the same amount of shit.
The Oklahoma vote shows that as you move up into leadership ranks, elected representatives and the like, the shift is noticeable, but not so noticeable that you won't still see a majority of Democrats vote to put a ten commandments monument on public land.
By selectively condemning Republicans only for being theocrats you ignore a substantial portion of the problem.  Why weren't these people "stupid Democrats?"  Why ignore their existence?

What you should have done right out the gate is condemn every single one of the stupid religionists who voted for it. 
This next part is speculative, but in ultra-religious Oklahoma, how likely would an irreligious Democrat be to proffer an insincere vote to erect a Christian monument for the sake of political survival?
You speculate that the ones who have a D after their name may have been intimidated (by threat of voter retaliation) on the issue.  If that were to turn out to be true, that would rather prove my point because that would mean that their Democratic-voting constituencies will reject them for doing the right thing.  Apparently they realize that there are plenty of Democrats on the wrong side of the divide.
But I think we agree that we really don't know the motives of that majority of Democrat legislators (or the ones in Washington DC in 2011) who voted for it.
But I would maintain that even if it were true, it doesn't excuse their actions.
I'd personally be surprised if none of them were intimidated, and I'd be surprised too if all of them were. But for those that were, wouldn't holding their feet to the fire give them one more reason--one little bit of added strength--to resist the pressure and do the right thing?  And if they weren't doing it out of a feeling of intimidation--that they sincerely thought it was a good idea to put the fucking Ten Commandments on public land, then it's definitely worth holding their feet to the fire.  Ds (since I am talking about them right now) and Rs too.  Blaming the whole thing on Republicans distinctly fails to do anything to correct the Democrats.  (One of the strengths of a group like FFRF is that they focus on just this sort of bullshit as their exclusive issue, and they do complain when Democrats step over the line, instead of ignoring the transgression.)
Making excuses (even if only speculatively) for theocrat-voting Ds and ascribing the whole ball of shit to Republicans accomplishes nothing, at least not anything towards getting those Democrats to not do it again.
As I said before, if you want to bludgeon the religionists for doing things like this, I'll hand you a figurative club to do it with--assuming I have a spare, because I'll be really busy doing likewise right then.
But if you want to spare the religionist Democrats the bludgeoning, just because they aren't Republicans, and engage in name calling directed at only one of the two parties (sure, namecall them both if you want) when both parties voted with a majority for the measure, I am going to call you on it.
Gallup: It still sounds you're arguing that separation of church and state is not a partisan issue; that the parties in general have symmetry on it.

Steve: Show me where I said they were symmetric.
Show me where you clearly stated any point about church and state at all, Steve. Failing that, I'll show you where you've resisted clarification.
First, you opened with: "And I love people who will use an issue like this to try to score partisan points. I can assure you there are plenty of Republicans opposed to state religion and a shitpot of democrats who support it. How about we focus on the actual issue here and leave the partisan bashing out of it?"
Your statement implies lack of partisanship. That is, a general balance (or symmetry) between the parties on church-state. But it was somewhat unclear.
So I asked you to clarify: "Are you suggesting that the separation of church and state is not a partisan issue?"
You responded with negative claims and attacked me falsely for saying all Republicans are the religious right, but would not clarify your point: "I didn't say there was a Christian left...[.] [P]lenty of southern Democrats on board with this agenda [...] that's not the claim I was making." "[I]t is bigotry on your part to just call all Republicans "the religious right."
I redirected back to church and state, and urged you again to clarify: "You're saying the separation of church and state is not a partisan issue; that support does not run predominantly along party lines (with Democrats in favor and Republicans against). If you're not saying that, then exactly what are you saying?"
And you produced this little nugget of wisdom: ("You seem to be suffering from the misapprehension that I was talking about politicians. In spite of the fact that I said "rank and file" in a sentence that was specifically referring to Republicans. And context should make it pretty clear that I could just as easily have said so in a statement referring to Democrats as well, but I do sometimes succeed in not being repetititve. And I said this in my first post on this thread.")
I really have no idea what you've been bitching about. It's not for lack of effort on my part, or lack of effort on your part to make it difficult.
So imagine my astonishment at reading the paragraph below.
Look, I have had several days to think this through. I believe I can state things with more clarity than I did earlier.
Oh, goody, goody.
You started to think it through-- was that before or after the ad hom attack, Steve?-- and now you're ready to make yourself clear, after the fact.

My thesis is that there are sufficient numbers of Democrats on board with the idea that the United States is essentially a Christian nation, and that atheists are not fit for office and otherwise "defective", that it is unfair to simply blanket portray this as a "Republican" position.    And that to give Democrats who do this sort of thing a pass, whilst criticizing only the Republicans, is selective criticism.  And it hurts the cause of secularism to do so.

Let me get this straight.

You're accusing me of unfair generalizations of Republican positions on church and state, despite the list of specific references (with citations) I have posted in this thread? You say that I'm willing to give Democrats a free pass?

You're delusional, Steve.

Here is is again, for the third time. Not blanket generalizations, but specific examples, with sources.

I have pointed out legislative efforts to join church and state, and public comments deriding the separation of church and state. They were committed by mainstream Republican candidates for President, a mainstream Republican candidate for Congress, Republican legislators, and Republican controlled governments. ("How many Democrats find the separation of Church and state to be vomit-inducing? How many compare it to Hitler and Nazism? Or say that Satan himself thought it up? How many try to make Christianity the official state religion?") Note, that's in addition to the example which inspired this thread.

On my so-called free pass to the Democrats on church-state? I've been inviting you to produce the mainstream Democratic counterparts to these mainstream Republicans.

Where are the Democrats who author the same kind of legislation? Which Democrats set the same agenda when they have control of government? Which ones make the same kind of statements on church-state when running for public office?

I specifically said it, up front: "Show me all of the Democrats I have overlooked. I don't think many mainstream figures like these exist, but if any do, I'll be happy to include them in my bashing."

I'm not selectively giving the same kind of Democrats a free pass. There simply isn't a comparable breed of Democrat to give a free pass to. The challenge stands: show me these same stupid Democrats, doing and saying the same stupid things, and I'll bash them too. Likewise, show me the plenty of Republicans struggling in opposition to these stupid Democrats, and they'll have my support.

You cannot do it: the symmetry does not exist. So the bashing of the stupid Republicans shall continue.

Moreover, until now, you made no substantive response to any but one of the points I raised (and note these are specifics, not a generalization) about partisanship on "In God We Trust", "Under God", prayer in schools, Intelligent Design in schools, nativity scenes at city hall, or the "Christian" origins of the United States.

The one you responded to was "In God We Trust", and you limited that to the 2011 resolution, omitting both its Republican origins, and its subsequent spurious defense by Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices using ceremonial deism.

But by all means, Steve, let's take the Pepsi Challenge with In God We Trust in 2011.

But then there was the "In God We Trust" vote in the House of Representatives on November 1 2011.  Lots of people from thoroughly "blue" states in the US Congress, presumably from really "liberal" districts.  President Obama ripped the House a new asshole for this one--though his rationale wasn't an objection to the motto, but rather, basically, a call to quit focusing on trivia.  Not really secular street cred there.  But note that the vote was 396-9.

The Republicans took control of the House on January 3, 2011, and with it, took the power to set the agenda. Thus, Republican Speaker John Boehner permitted Republican Representative Randy Forbes to introduce the bill to double down on IN GOD WE TRUST.

Now why do you suppose Forbes did that?

Primarily because President Obama (a Democrat) dared to use and subsequently defend the original secular motto of the United States and because of the more secular approach to government under Obama. Forbes elaborates on his web site, some of which I have included in the section below:

---------------------

Why Reaffirm 'In God We Trust'?

President Obama inaccurately proclaimed "E Pluribus Unum' as our national motto.  Last November before a worldwide audience, in a much-anticipated and much-publicized speech focusing on the United States' relationship with the Muslim world, President Obama falsely proclaimed that our national motto was E pluribus unum. The President failed to respond to congressional entreaties to issue a correction; the uncorrected transcript remains on the White House website.  Read more.

Efforts to remove God from the public domain by unelected bureaucrats.

  • Department of Veterans Affairs attempted to ban flag folding recitations at military funerals that referenced God or religion, even if specifically requested by the family of the deceased.
  • U.S. Mint attempted to remove the inscription 'In God We Trust' from the front of the new Presidential dollar and instead intended to print it on the edge of the coin.
  • Attempt of Navy and Air Force to enact policies affecting ability of military chaplains to pray according to their religious conscience.
  • Architect of the Capitol refused a teen's request for a certificate noting his grandfather's "love of God, country and family" to accompany a souvenir flag that had flown over the building.  Read more here.

---------------------

Tell me, Steve.

Do you think if the Democrats had controlled the House in 2011, they would have instigated a vote to rebuke Obama's secularism, reaffirm the nation's trust in God, and inject more God into the public domain?

Do you think if a mainstream Republican had been president-- McCain, Bush, Romney, Santorum, Gingrich-- he would have even considered using the secular "E Pluribus Unum" motto at a major political event (and then resisted correction afterwards) instead of using "In God We Trust?"

If a Republican president had done so, do you think a Democratic-controlled House would have voted to issue a similar rebuke, and demanded more God in government?

On all counts, no, I don't believe it.

There just aren't enough examples of the same kind of secular-mindedness from the right as from the left, or the same in-your-face religious extremism from the left as from the right.

While you're pondering that, consider the Dissenting response of the Committee of the Judiciary when the House was considering whether to take up the "In God We Trust" bill for consideration or not in 2011. Anyone on the committee could have dissented. Do you even have to look to know that none of those who did were Republicans?

-------------------

"H. Con. Res. 13 on its face lacks any secular or nonreligious purpose. In fact, the very language of the Resolution makes clear that it is intended to promote religious sentiment: it advances religion by preferring religion over non-religion and endorses a specific type of religion, monotheism, over other religions. By actively seeking to promote displays of the motto in public buildings, public schools and other government institutions, the Resolution creates unnecessary and excessive government entanglement with religion.

While the proponents of H. Con. Res. 13 are correct when they observe that the vast majority of Americans are religious, and that many prominent figures in our history have spoken eloquently of the importance of faith, they fail to understand that the Establishment Clause does not protect government from religion, but religion from government. It is precisely because we place such a high value on religious freedom—our first freedom—that we must keep the heavy hand of government away from that precious liberty. H.Con. Res. 13, by interjecting Congress into the private right of conscience, threatens that important constitutional bulwark of our freedoms in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
For these reasons, we respectfully dissent.

JOHN CONYERS JR.
JERROLD NADLER
ROBERT C. ‘‘BOBBY" SCOTT
MELVIN L. WATT
JUDY CHU

(All Democrats)

-------------------

The 396-9 vote, as I mentioned earlier, is questionable as a statistical measure because it is virtually unique as an extreme, and there is reason to doubt some of the Aye votes are sincere, rather than a vote for political self-survival, given that secularists are the most hated and despised minority in America.

There is also reason to believe most closeted secularists in government are Democrats. Why? Examine virtually every specific example I've posted and the pattern is similar: the Republicans, when they have the power to set the agenda, proclaim, instigate, author, and defend church-state entanglements. The Democrats rarely do that. Those who resist, or who are openly secular or non-Christian (and thus oppose Republican efforts to Christianize) are often Democrats, but almost never Republicans. 

Barney Frank, for instance, waited until after he was out of office to come out as an atheist. But guess how he voted on 'In God We Trust.' The guy isn't stupid.

Atheism is deeply unpopular. Theism is very popular. The public was watching.

It may be a partisan divide (I certainly did not claim there was no difference), but it's not a terribly deep one, and certainly not deep enough to selectively condemn one side of it.

Then you lose. There is a partisan divide. The Democrats are on the secular side. The Republicans are on the religious side. That's enough to condemn Republicans for what they do to entangle church and state, and support Democrats for their efforts to separate them. I'll continue to do that.

I disagree that it's not a deep divide. You simply haven't produced enough specific examples showing there is a Democratic a counterpart to the Republican church-state entanglement agenda. The GOP pushes hard for God, and the Dems cave with a few signs of weak resistance. (The victories we in are behind the scenes, or in the courts, where atheist minority rights are not subjected to a popular majority vote.) That's how it is.

I'm not going to condemn Democrats for caving; I think more would resist but do not, because they believe openly fighting "against God" means they'll be voted out, and then there will be more Republicans in office pushing for God.

No thanks. I'll keep condemning God pushers when I see them, not the ones they push. And the pushers are nearly always Republicans.

But if you want to spare the religionist Democrats the bludgeoning, just because they aren't Republicans, and engage in name calling directed at only one of the two parties (sure, namecall them both if you want) when both parties voted with a majority for the measure, I am going to call you on it.

I'll tell you what, Steve. When you see the same kind of religious crackpots among the Democrats, pushing away for God, you be sure to point them out. I'll be happy to join you in bashing them. I think it's going to be a long wait before we see them in the significant numbers we find them among the Republicans.

[A long recapitulation of my pre-clarification statemend--ignored.  I was hoping for less focus on this, in favor of focus on my cleaned up statement, especially since I acknowledged I wasn't being clear before.]

[stuff that is beside the point--my point--ignored.]

I'll tell you what, Steve. When you see the same kind of religious crackpots among the Democrats, pushing away for God, you be sure to point them out. I'll be happy to join you in bashing them. I think it's going to be a long wait before we see them in the significant numbers we find them among the Republicans.

A majority of them vote for this shit when presented with it.  The fact that their leadership usually works to ensure they don't get presented with it is utterly beside the point.  (I have refused to address your attempts to point this out in the past because whether it is true or not simply is not germane to my point.  This is like demanding that I address your claim that the sky is blue when I am trying to explain to you that grass is green.)  I am interested in the actions of specific individuals.  Because I want to hold them accountable.  I don't regard people as primarily cogs in a machine, letting them off the hook just because they are cog in my preferred machine, what they do as individuals I will hold them accountable for.  That's enough for me to condemn those individuals that do so.  In other words, I am not condemning the Democratic party as a whole, just some individual democrats.

My point is, these individuals voted for these bills when presented the opportunity to do so.  They are morally accountable for that vote, as are the Republicans for both presenting and voting for the bill.  Yet you refuse to hold them accountable, apparently because it would break the narrative you want to present that this is something only Republicans are responsible for.

You continue to insist that it is somehow relevant that it's Republican leadership that brings the bills forward.  That does not excuse the votes of a majority of Democrats for those bills.  Period.

Hold them accountable, for fuck's sake.  Stop laying all the blame on Republicans.

We're done here.

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Posted by ɐuɐz ǝllǝıuɐp on July 28, 2014 at 10:27pm 4 Comments

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