Monday, March 17, 2008

Clearly there is a God in Heaven - Because the Athiests Won

You know, I cannot think of a clearer example of the deliberate "establishment of religion" than the clear and obvious attempt to make public compliance with and participation in a Christian prayer a pre-condition of participation in school, school activities, or indeed, within the social matrix of the town itself, a small pimple on the panhandle of Oklahoma.

The behavior you clearly see in the video is of course, unconstitutional, prima facia, and I delight that the matter was taken to court - and on even better grounds than this rather old video clearly shows.

The Smalkowski case attracted national attention after Nicole Smalkowski was kicked off of the girls' basketball team after refusing to stand in a circle with her teammates on the gymnasium floor of the Hardesty public High School and recite the "Lord's Prayer." After school officials learned that she and her family were Atheists, lies were created about her as grounds to take her off of the team.

When her father Chuck discovered conclusively that public school and law enforcement officials had lied to him about his 15 year old daughter, he and Nicole and her mother Nadia went to the home of principal Lloyd Buckley to attempt to discuss the matter with him. Outside of his front fence, the principal struck Chuck, who blocked the blow. Both men fell to the ground and Buckley sustained minor injuries, the provable origins of which were strikingly contrary to his under oath trial testimony. Buckley then took out misdemeanor criminal assault charges against Chuck. After Smalkowski rejected the offer to drop the charges if he and his Atheist family left the state, the charges were raised to a felony. Chuck called American Atheists for help.

Chuck won his day in court - despite the room being packed by people literally praying for his conviction. I presume this is one case where the answer is "What part of 'I am a God of Justice' escaped you all these years?"

The school district will lose and I say that with the unstated but sincere underline - "if there is a God in heaven."

There is a specific reason I say that. And it is a reason that is absolutely critical to persons of all faiths - but most especially to Christians, inasmuch as these points were raised, exemplified and made to be conditions of faith by the example and words of Jesus. In other words, if you think as a Christian paster that what you see here is an example of what "good Christian kids do" than you are are in contention with the words in red and unqualified to lead a Christian church of ANY denomination.

You see, Christians may well dispute the positive meaning or the exact expression of those words in a positive sense - but when one is cheer-leading exactly the sort of thing that sent Jesus himself off on a snorting tirade of righteous indignation - that would be outside the bounds of sectarian variation, or even schism.

Indeed, in Christian theological definition that goes back to the earliest days of the church, one teaching in direct disputation of the direct words of Christ would be...

Oh, I'm sure you know this one. It's on the lips of every odious little thumper out there.

Yep. That's it: "ANTIChrist."

Now I state this, with absolute confidence that I can support it biblically, in depth - but all I really need to do is to point you to a decent concordance and council you to study the concepts of hospitality and to read what Jesus had to say about practitioners of public piety, such as the Pharisees.

But having said that, I'm going to further state that there is a much greater point at issue having nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not whether honest observers should quotes around the word Christian when referring to you.

The point is this - if you have to establish your religion by force and maintain it by indoctrination and immersion, if it cannot sustain itself in the face of one little teen-aged atheist who respects both her moral position and your own enough to not commit an act of dishonest piety for your town's comfort - you don't have a faith. Or rather more to the point, you clearly have no faith in your faith.

So, that would be a Vente Grande of What's the Point with whipped nonsense and bullshit, wouldn't it?

And since it is all that, and you are indeed using force to sustain it against utter collapse in the name of preserving social order and of course the social rank of it's most visibly pious practitioners, it really wouldn't actually be wrong for another church to come to town with a dutiful and militant congregation and practice exactly as you preach?

Would it?

Be careful how you argue against that, for that's pretty much exactly what has happened in many churches, due to leadership from various "Christian" organizations - the takeover of entire parishes by outsiders; takeovers that amount to theft on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now, an honest person and a good Christian wouldn't want to be seen arguing in favor of theft or covetous behavior. Those things are generally considered to be, what's the word again?

Oh, yes. Sins.

If practiced by the smugly unrepentant, it's rather conventional theology to assume that would be pretty much "go to hell, go directly to hell; do not pass through Purgatory."

But again, compelling as that argument is for both it's instructive and entertainment values, it does not stand particularly well in the public square. Especially when this is not a question of what Christian doctrine one may believe to be superior, or convenient or publicly acceptable, but a far more fundamental one; one critical, as I said, to all our freedoms; the right to hold opinions that many may disagree with.

Including the opinion that there is no god, and your religion is a crock.

I happen to agree with the young lady on the latter point, and tend to assume on the first that whatever God there may be (and I happen to believe there is Someone,) you wouldn't recognize Them if they set your personal bush burning - even though that would be entirely within the realm of the sense of humor associated with the Divine.

Look up "emroods."

But nonetheless, no matter how little regard I hold for the evident quality of your faith, o Citizens of Hardesty, you have the right to it. So long as and only to the extent that you do not use tactics like this to enforce and defend it.

Speaking purely for myself, though, and based on my understanding of ethics and of the Ten Commandments, if I were a Fundamentalist Christian, I would find the fact that Hardesty, Oklahoma has apparently not yet evaporated under a hail of fire and brimstone to be a challenge to my faith.

Fortunately, I am not, and I do not bother my God with such stray thoughts. Though, in all honesty - I must say that it would be far beyond my capacity for charity or tolerance to show much compassion at all should any disaster happen - and as I am an experienced believer in Karma, I 'spect it will. And as tempting as the idea of being able to own such a spread as the Smalkowski's did; I consider living downwind of that much bad juju to be unwise.

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