Positive Steps
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14-07-2017, 08:15 PM (This post was last modified: 14-07-2017 08:18 PM by outtathereligioncloset.)
Positive Steps
Bit by bit, the wall between Church and State has been eroding around here for some time. Today's victory in another part of my state is one I celebrate. One I hope Tinytown here will pay close attention to for guidance. (See link at bottom of this thread.)

As some of you may remember, in my opinion the Christian invocations at my town's meetings have reached the point of being oppressive to all non-Christian citizens. But what bothers me much worse is our town crest which has six symbols, three of which are Christian. One is the Christian cross. Another is the Bible. So it could be said that the town gives the appearance of favoring one religion over all others. Third is an image of a specific church here in town. So not only does the town crest appear to favor one religion over all others, it favors one denomination of Christian church over all other Christian denominations. And not just one denomination, but one specific church over all other churches of that denomination of that religion.

I choose my battles carefully here in Tinytown. But my buttons have been getting pushed lately. Our town commissioners take turns offering the invocation before town meetings. None of them could be considered remotely secular or inclusive in any way but some commissioners are more *beat them over the head with it* than others. At the last meeting I attended one of the, let's say "less oppressive" commissioners offered the invocation. I sat quietly and respectfully (as always) in the last row, not making any kind of 'show' of not bowing my head and not joining in the "Amen" after being instructed to pray "in Jesus' name." But I could not help but notice that the shall we say 'most oppressive' commissioner was apparently compelled to literally keep one eye open and strain his neck to look at me around other citizens, giving me the, well, let's call it *stinkeye* during the entirety of the invocation. THIS is the kind of thing that pushes my buttons and challenges me to take actions where I would normally just remain silent.

I've been considering for some time now, asking to be allowed to offer a secular invocation. I suspect this is the kind of thing that would result in a media circus here. Inasmuch as Tinytown media exists anyway. The week after I politely refused to swear upon a bible in order to be allowed to voice my opinion at a public hearing, and quietly told the person shoving the bible under my hand that "I am a secular humanist, I respectfully decline to swear upon the bible..." the local newspaper printed a particularly offensive column that (paraphrasing) said that secular humanists would be the damnation/ruination of the country. Coincidence? Nah, I don't think so. And my fear of waking up to a burning cross in my yard has kept me quiet until now. And it is not the way I wish to "come out" to my elderly parent, who would, frankly, be heartbroken and genuinely fearful for my soul. But it does give me pause and make me feel somewhat more empowered. I just don't know if I'm ready to let the [Image: shit-hits-the-fan.gif]. As far as choosing my battles/priorities go, I still lean more toward wanting to see the town change its crest than stop Christian invocations. Assuming I were to have some say or choice over either one or the other happening. At the very least I feel strongly compelled to send this article link to my town officials and point out the similarities and let them draw their own conclusions. I guess I'm too much of a coward to do much more than that. Yet. But Mr. Commissioner, don't keep pushing my buttons. I may have to give in to the temptation to sic the Freedom From Religion Foundation on you... Don't think I haven't considered it.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyath...-meetings/

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
"Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know." ~ Morticia Addams
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15-07-2017, 09:08 AM
RE: Positive Steps
I feel you. It's bullshit that we have to pick our fights when the law is blatantly being broken all around. I wish you all the best, and any small difference you can make will be worthwhile in my opinion. These attitudes need to change. These entitled fucks have to realize it's not a theocracy anymore. (I'm well aware this isn't all Christians, and many are great allies in the fight for preserving secularism.)

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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15-07-2017, 01:12 PM
RE: Positive Steps
Robvalue, I live with this all around me and feel like a coward for not speaking up. But I applaud these victories and hope to grow into the courage of pursuing justice over religion bullies. And that's what they are for the most part, at least around here. Bullies.

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
"Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know." ~ Morticia Addams
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15-07-2017, 02:41 PM
RE: Positive Steps
I agree, people like that are God's thugs. Why God needs thugs, I don't know.

I don't think you're a coward. Stepping up to the plate when you're in that much of a minority must be daunting. You're clearly giving it thought, instead of just pretending it isn't happening.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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15-07-2017, 03:03 PM
RE: Positive Steps
Thank you Robvalue. I know I'm not the only non-Christian person here but I believe we comprise less than 1% of the overall population here in Tinytown.

That particular commissioner is so far out there that he could probably be tipped right over the edge by nothing more than me rolling my eyes at him while he's giving me the stinkeye. I wouldn't do that simply because it's disrespectful. But if I did, I could easily see him start ranting, shouting and demanding that I bow my head. That would be a line for me. I have played that scene in my head and thought about what I would say. That scene would probably end with him being tossed off the town board by his own peers. I don't think the rest of the board would stick their necks out for him to put up with that.

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
"Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know." ~ Morticia Addams
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17-07-2017, 07:27 AM
RE: Positive Steps
I know this goes on in my area. I'm near Raleigh (the capital) and I've been at some local government meetings. I wish they would quit doing this. It bothers me because when they ask for more religious prayers, they mean "other Christians, not just Methodists and Baptists."

It's a small area, and there might be 5 atheists here.
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17-07-2017, 09:14 AM
RE: Positive Steps
(15-07-2017 03:03 PM)outtathereligioncloset Wrote:  I know I'm not the only non-Christian person here but I believe we comprise less than 1% of the overall population here in Tinytown...

That sounds like a really toxic environment. It pisses me off that as an atheist, you have to put up with this sort of 1950's bigoted bullshit. Spewing religious dogma like this on uninterested individuals is, to my mind, just as offensive as racism, homophobia, job and disability discrimination etc.

Here in Australia, we still recite the Lord's Prayer before the Parliament opens. Until recently, all members of the House were required by parliamentary law to attend the opening, after the doors were traditionally closed. Recently that law was amended in order to allow those members who were not Christians, or atheists, to remain outside until the Prayer was finished, whereupon the doors were re-opened and the non-Christians could enter the House.

I'm happy to report that according to our last Federal Census in September 2016, the largest "religion" in my town in Gippsland here in Australia is "no religion" at 31.9%. And atheists outnumber each of the Anglican (at 20.4%), the Roman Catholic (at 17.6%), and the United (at 9.7%) churches here. The remaining percentage was "unstated".

Has to be good news. Thumbsup

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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17-07-2017, 10:02 AM
RE: Positive Steps
"That sounds like a really toxic environment. It pisses me off that as an atheist, you have to put up with this sort of 1950's bigoted bullshit. Spewing religious dogma like this on uninterested individuals is, to my mind, just as offensive as racism, homophobia, job and disability discrimination etc." (SYZ)

I agree 100%.

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
"Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know." ~ Morticia Addams
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17-07-2017, 12:50 PM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2017 12:54 PM by Dr H.)
RE: Positive Steps
Ah, but things are looking up in Minnesota. Big Grin

More, if anyone's interested.

--
Dr H

"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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