Category Archive 'Coercive Secularism'
09 Sep 2010

Interesting Hypothetical

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Eric Erickson wonders what the elites would do if radical Muslims started demanding prayer in US schools.

19 Jan 2010

Mikey Weinstein: Use of Trijicon Sights Producing “Jesus Rifles”

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John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Mikey Weinstein, vengeful secularist crusader against expressions of Christianity by the US Military and founder and proprietor of his own advocacy group, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, really knows how to write the kinds of press releases the liberal MSM cannot resist.

This time, Mikey, having noticed that the Trijicon gunsight company makes a practice of placing Bible verse references to light and vision as a kind of corporate logo on its hardware, alerted ABC News, informing its shocked and gaping journalists that the use of aftermarker equipment featuring such expressions by the manufacturer is wrong and illegal and unconstitutional, too.

It’s wrong, it violates the Constitution, it violates a number of federal laws,” said Michael “Mikey” Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group that seeks to preserve the separation of church and state in the military.

“It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they’re being shot by Jesus rifles,” he said.

What Mr. Weinstein is insisting upon is the complete eradication of Christian religious expression, even to the point of banning references and allusions.

Presumably, someone serving in the US Military could not be permitted to wear a Yale t shirt or class ring either, since they would bear the Hebrew Urim and Thummim of Yale’s motto Lux et Veritas, another Biblical light allusion. And the CIA would need to give up its motto, inscribed on the floor of its Langley Headquarters, John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. The Department of Defense would have to uproot all the crosses in military cemeteries. Every single cultural allusion or reference to Christianity in history or to the Bible or religious expression in literature or music would have to be banned.

In reality, it is Mr. Weinstein, operating on the basis of a vindictive and malevolent hostility to a religious tradition different from his own, who is attempting to manipulate the media into assisting him in bullying public officials into enforcing his own irrational and extremist preferences, amounting to the illegal and unconstitutional suppression of Christian religious expression.

Frankly, there are a lot of Americans out there who think that if Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists out there complain they are being shot by “Jesus rifles,” that’s fine by us.

13 Feb 2009

Outrage at Boston College: Crucifixes in Classrooms

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How dare Boston College allow its committee on religious art to hang crucifixes in its class rooms. Why, you’d think the place was a Catholic school or something! indignantly huffed a number of secularly-minded faculty.

Iranian-born Chemistry Professor Amir Hoyveda expressed characteristic views.

Not only can such symbols be insulting to those who do not consider themselves Christians, it can be offensive to Christians as well. Taking umbrage by such symbols has nothing to do with the identity of one’s faith. It is about whether symbols that represent a specific branch of beliefs have a place in the scared (sic) space of a classroom where we are to teach the students to think independently and do all we can to be unbiased. …

In any respectable university, it is the faculty who are responsible for the level and the quality of the education of our students; this does not pertain to administrators, particularly those who are either not scholars or are have never in their lives been highly respected serious scholars. How can such a significant symbol be placed in a classroom and the very people who are responsible for teaching, not be consulted? To me, such an approach by a university administration is irresponsible and anti-intellectual; it is not how a progressive and enlightened university thinks and operates. I can hardly imagine a more effective way to denigrate the faculty of an educational institution.

Such symbols will have a negative effect on many visitors and prospective students and faculty, many of whom will likely be Christians. It represents a bias towards one way of thinking, elevates one set of ideals above others, honors one group of people in preference to the rest without any meaningful discussion or elaboration.

Hoyveda’s propositions are amusing.

Public expressions of religiosity by a religious school can constitute a sacrilegious assault on the (patently more sacred than someone else’s religion) animosity toward that religion of someone like Professor Hoyveda.

Moreover, the classroom is the turf of faculty employees, and mere administrators, lacking advanced degrees in things like chemistry, ought to confine themselves to signing pay checks, and leave all the big decisions to members of the faculty.

Enlightenment consists of pursuing an active policy of rejecting any open expression of affirmation of the superiority of any viewpoint, philosophy, or religious faith, except of course, for secular liberal political correctness which must not only be affirmed, but forcibly imposed, at every opportunity.

And so on.

Boston Herald

26 Nov 2008

Xmas Decorations Banned at Florida Gulf Coast U.

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Demonstrating once again the American propensity to entrust the education of the young to society’s biggest fools, the eminent Wilson G. Bradshaw, president of Florida Gulf Coast University, struck a blow recently for “diversity” by issuing a proclamation banning public acknowledgment of Christmas.

Fort Myers News-Press:

Christmas is just 30 days away, but Santa Claus won’t be stopping by Florida Gulf Coast University this holiday.

He’s not allowed on campus.

FGCU administration has banned all holiday decorations from common spaces on campus and canceled a popular greeting card design contest, which is being replaced by an ugly sweater competition. In Griffin Hall, the university’s giving tree for needy preschoolers has been transformed into a “giving garden.”

The moves boil down to political correctness.

“Public institutions, including FGCU, often struggle with how best to observe the season in ways that honor and respect all traditions,” President Wilson Bradshaw wrote in a memo to faculty and staff Thursday. “This is a challenging issue each year at FGCU, and 2008 is no exception. While it may appear at times that a vocal majority of opinion is the only view that is held, this is not always the case.”

The ineffable Wilson G. Bradshaw’s Holiday proclamation. .pdf

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UPDATE

11/27: Policy reversed.

06 Nov 2007

Red & Green Christmas Lights Banned in Fort Collins, Colorado

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Acceptable in Fort Collins: A display called “Source of Life”

WorldNetDaily:

A special task force in a Colorado city has recommended banning red and green lights at the Christmas holiday because they fall among the items that are too religious for the city to sponsor.

“Some symbols, even though the Supreme Court has declared that in many contexts they are secular symbols, often still send a message to some members of the community that they and their traditions are not valued and not wanted. We don’t want to send that message,” Seth Anthony, a spokesman for the committee, told the Fort Collins, Colo., Coloradoan.

He said the recommended language does not specifically address Christmas trees by name, but the consensus was that they would not fall within acceptable decorations.

What will be allowed are white lights and “secular” symbols not associated “with any particular holiday” such as icicles, unadorned greenery and snowflakes, the task force said.

The group was made up of members of the city’s business and religious communities as well as representatives from some community groups. Members met for months to review the existing holiday display policy, which allowed white as well as multi-colored lights and wreaths and garlands.

In previous years, there also was a Christmas tree at the city’s Oak Street Plaza.

A vote on the proposal will be coming up before the city council on Nov. 20, officials said.

“As far as I’m concerned, the group ended up in a very fair place in which primarily secular symbols will be used on city property,” task force member Saul Hopper told the newspaper.

The existing holiday display rules were adopted in 2006 after a rabbi requested that the city display a menorah.

The only apparent exception to the completely secular rule would be at the Fort Collins Museum, where a “multicultural display” of symbols and objects would be collected to represent Diwali, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas among others.

“I expect criticism from people who feel like we are taking Christmas away. And I expect we will get criticism from people who think educational display endorses religions,” Anthony said. “(But) to the extent we can, recognizing that offending no one will be impossible, we want to be inclusive.”

City officials touted their own efforts.

“I am really delighted to see us taking this step,” Mayor Doug Hutchinson said when the task force was being assembled. “I think Fort Collins is a great city, and I think great cities are inclusionary.”

“Inclusionary” obviously means including Jewish holiday symbols, Hindu holiday symbols, and made-up holiday (Kwanzaa) symbols, but excluding traditional Christian holiday symbols.

09 Oct 2007

Capitol Architect’s Office Censoring God on Flag Certificates

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Midland (Michigan) Daily News:

The U.S. Capitol’s architect won’t allow God to be mentioned in certificates of authenticity accompanying flags flown over the Capitol and bought by constitutents.

A 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Ohio reportedly was denied the request to have a certificate read, “This flag was flown in honor of Marcel Larochelle, my grandfather, for his dedication and love of God, country and family.”

“I can’t believe the U.S. House of Representatives can pass a resolution recognizing the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which we did this week, but can’t send out certificates with the word ‘God’ on them,” (Rep. David) Camp (R-MI) said. “It doesn’t make any sense. The policy needs to be changed.”

The controversy over certificate wording has arisen several times in past years, with the architect’s office saying religious and political messages should not be permitted, House leadership aides said.

17 May 2007

British Schools Ban Crosses, But Not Hindu or Islamic Symbols

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Daily Express:

School chiefs are today under fire for banning pupils from wearing crosses in class while allowing the jewel­lery of other faiths.

Christian groups and politicians condemned the education bosses and accused them of ­“double standards”.

The officials have told headteachers to ban jewellery except in “exceptional circumstances” when schools need to be “sensitive” towards other faiths. The “exceptions” include lockets worn by Muslims and Hindu bracelets.

But even Muslim leaders have join­ed the condemnation, arguing that all religious groups, including Christian­s, should be treated the same.

The guidance, issued to headteachers in Croydon, south London, has echoes of the row last year over Nadia Ewedia, the British Airways employee who eventually won her long battle to wear a cross at work.

“Where rights are in competition, some rights win out. So we have a situation where gay rights trump Christian rights and in some areas, Muslim rights seem paramount.”

Tory education spokesman David Willetts said: “People who issue these guidelines don’t understand how much resentment they generate by their clumsy attempts to respect every religion except Christianity.” …

A document issued by the Muslim Council this year said taweez amulets have religious significance for those who wear them and should not be considered as jewellery. It said schools should allow the symbols, which contain verses from the Koran, to be worn discreetly

The Croydon school guidance says the religious items that can be worn are: Rakhi, a cotton bracelet worn by Hindus; kara, a metal bracelet put on the arms of Sikh children when they are young and is impossible to remove; and taweez, religious lockets worn by some Muslim pupils on a string around the neck, arm or stomach.

Complete article

23 Mar 2007

Tiverton, Rhode Island School Bans Easter Bunny

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In what the Providence Journal (if asked for login, use BugMeNot) describes as “a show of sensitivity,” the nincompoop Superintendent of a Tiverton, Rhode Island Middle School has banned the Easter Bunny.

It’s not that he has anything against rabbits, or even eggs, he’s just worried about the use of the word “Easter.”

The Easter Bunny was to have made a stop at a craft fair at the Tiverton Middle School tomorrow, appearing for photos with students as part of a fundraising effort sponsored by the school’s Parent-Teacher Council.

But Schools Supt. William Rearick called a halt to the use of the word “Easter” at a school event, just as the word “Christmas” is out of bounds in school publications and activities.

Instead of the Easter Bunny, the Parent-Teacher Council booth will offer photos with Peter Rabbit.

Similarly, Rearick said, he has told officials of the Tiverton Land Trust that a flier inviting children to an egg hunt cannot include the word “Easter.”..

Rearick nixed the Easter Bunny in response to a complaint from Burk, vice chairman of the School Committee.

Burk said yesterday that the appearance of an Easter Bunny at a school event would violate federal prohibitions against the public schools “soliciting or encouraging religious activities or participating in such activities.”

Read the whole thing.

29 Oct 2006

William and Mary Removes the Cross From its Chapel

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The Flat Hat student newspaper reports:

The cross from the altar area of the Wren Chapel has been removed to ensure that the space is seen as a nondenominational area, Melissa Engimann, assistant director for Historic Campus, said in an e-mail to Wren building employees.

“In order to make the Wren Chapel less of a faith-specific space, and to make it more welcoming to students, faculty, staff and visitors of all faiths, the cross has been removed from the altar area,” Engimann said.

The cross will be returned to the altar for those who wish to use it for events, services or private prayer. Student tour guides have been directed to pass any questions or complaints about the change on to administrators

On the lighter side, Chuck at YARGB, thinks he knows who is responsible:

You know who fears the cross? Right, vampires. William and Mary has been infested by vampires. Hidden stairways in the faculty lounges lead to the crypts beneath the campus of America’s second oldest university; there the administration and tenured faculty spend their “break time” resting on a thin layer of rich soil lining the bottom of comfortable coffins. Soon garlic will be banned from the cafeteria because some find its odor “offensive.” Mirrors will be removed from the restrooms. There will be more night classes for “non-traditional students.” The town’s people had better lay in a stock of wooden stakes and torches, they are going to need them.

Calling Buffy. Where are you Vampire Slayer?

06 Sep 2006

Vengeful Secularist Wages War on the US Military

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Michael L. (“Mikey”) Weinstein comes from a military family. His father was an Annapolis graduate. He attended the Air Force Academy himself, and worked in the Reagan White House, in David Stockman’s Office of Management and Budget. But Weinstein became a secularist gadfly, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money, and growing his one man single-issue capaign into an organization combatting Christianity in the US military. Weinstein’s vendetta began in 2004, when his two sons who were then attending the Air Force Academy allegedly experienced anti-Jewish slurs and were subjected to proselytizing by Evangelical Christians. CNN

Weinstein’s latest demand is for the elimination of a unit’s nickname.

An Air Force Academy graduate from Albuquerque wants Cannon Air Force Base officials to end the 523rd Fighter Squadron’s use of “Crusaders” as the unit’s nickname.

Mikey Weinstein, who has sued the Air Force over allegations that Air Force Academy cadets were unconstitutionally subjected to Christian evangelization, has complained about the 523rd’s unit emblem, which features a cross, a sword and an armored helmet.

“The airmen of 523rd Fighter Squadron … not only have invoked the term ‘Crusaders’ to describe their unit, they use blatantly sectarian religious symbolism on the patches they affix to their uniforms and the official logo of their unit,” Weinstein wrote in an article for the Sept. 4 issues of the Air Force Times, Army Times and Navy Times.

Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the Cannon squadron’s symbols should be eliminated.

“I’m not asking them. I’m demanding they change it,” Weinstein said in a telephone interview Thursday.

03 Jul 2006

CA Supreme Court Allows Lesbian Lawsuit Against Religious High School

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Two teen-age girls expelled last September from California Lutheran High School in Wildomar, California for indecent conduct filed a lawsuit seeking readmission, along with unspecified damages and an injunction barring the Riverside County school from excluding gays and lesbians.

Last Wednesday, the California Supreme Court unanimously declined to review an appeal brought by the school, allowing the case to proceed to trial.

19 Jun 2006

ACLU at Work

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The ACLU is not content with censoring and then pulling the plug on high school graduation speeches in Nevada.

Officials and a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that administrators followed federal law when they cut the microphone on Foothill High School valedictorian Brittany McComb as she began deviating from a preapproved speech and reading from a version that mentioned God and contained biblical references.

“There should be no controversy here,” ACLU lawyer Allen Lichtenstein said. “It’s important for people to understand that a student was given a school-sponsored forum by a school and therefore, in essence, it was a school-sponsored speech.”

They are also hard at work on prohibiting the expression of dissent by their own board members.

Several board members of the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concerns at a meeting yesterday over proposed standards that would prohibit board members from publicly criticizing the organization’s policies and internal operations.

“I cannot vote for these proposals, as I have violated them nearly every time I have written an op-ed piece or spoken to the press,” said Mary Ellen Gale, an at-large member.

Bennett Hammer, a board member representing the organization’s New Mexico affiliate, cited examples of decisions in the last few years that he said had embarrassed the A.C.L.U. and contended that adopting the proposals would be yet another of “the things that have made us a laughingstock with the public.”

The board nonetheless voted against motions to strike the controversial provisions from the proposals and instead opted for further discussion.

Emily Whitfield, an A.C.L.U. spokeswoman, said the failure of the motions was not an endorsement of the proposals. “A vote at this early stage would have been a departure from the board’s deliberative process, and to suggest otherwise would be unfair and misleading,” she wrote in an e-mail message.

One of the provisions said, “a director may publicly disagree with an A.C.L.U. policy position, but may not criticize the A.C.L.U. board and staff.”

Another said, “Where an individual director disagrees with a board position on matters of civil liberties policy, the director should refrain from publicly highlighting the fact of such disagreement.”

Shouldn’t these guys change their name already?

03 May 2006

Two Culture Wars in Europe

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George Weigel in Commentary has a must-read essay, discussing Europe’s current unhappy position: faced with growing Islamic aggression and intolerance based in unassimilable immigrant communities, while simultaneously experiencing a continuing assault on her own identity and traditions by authoritarian secularism.

The aggressors in Culture War A are radical secularists, motivated by what the legal scholar Joseph Weiler has dubbed “Christophobia.” They aim to eliminate the vestiges of Europe’s Judeo-Christian culture from a post-Christian European Union by demanding same-sex marriage in the name of equality, by restricting free speech in the name of civility, and by abrogating core aspects of religious freedom in the name of tolerance. The aggressors in Culture War B are radical and jihadist Muslims who detest the West, who are determined to impose Islamic taboos on Western societies by violent protest and other forms of coercion if necessary, and who see such operations as the first stage toward the Islamification of Europe—or, in the case of what they often refer to as al-Andalus, the restoration of the right order of things, temporarily reversed in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella.

The question Europe must face, but which much of Europe seems reluctant to face, is whether the aggressors in Culture War A have not made it exceptionally difficult for the forces of true tolerance and authentic civil society to prevail in Culture War B.

05 Jan 2006

Italian Court to Decide on the Historical Existence of Jesus of Nazareth

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A comedic spectacle worthy of the old-time confrontations between the Communist mayor Peppone and Catholic priest Don Camillo in the novels of Guiseppi Guareschi will soon be playing out in an Italian courtroom:

An Italian court is tackling Jesus — and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.

The case pits against each other two men in their 70s, who are from the same central Italian town and even went to the same seminary school in their teenage years.

The defendant, Enrico Righi, went on to become a priest writing for the parish newspaper. The plaintiff, Luigi Cascioli, became a vocal atheist who, after years of legal wrangling, is set to get his day in court later this month.

“I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression,” Cascioli told Reuters.

Cascioli says Righi, and by extension the whole Church, broke two Italian laws. The first is “Abuso di Credulita Popolare” (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is “Sostituzione di Persona,” or impersonation.

“The Church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala,” Cascioli claimed, referring to the 1st century Jew who fought against the Roman army.

“In my book, ‘The Fable of Christ,’ I present proof Jesus did not exist as a historic figure. He must now refute this by showing proof of Christ’s existence,” Cascioli said.

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Signore Cascioli is evidently unacquainted with Flavius Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews (William Whiston, translation) 63:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

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