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1 researchok  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 2:35:06pm
The judge, however, said Santa Monica proved that it banned the displays not to squash religious speech but because they were becoming a drain on city resources, destroying the turf and obstructing ocean views. Churches can set up unattended displays at 12 other parks in the city with a permit and can leaflet, carol and otherwise present the Christmas story in Palisades Park when it is open, she said.

There is no problem.

2 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 2:38:15pm

What do you see as a foolish fight on the part of the atheist here?

3 sffilk  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 2:44:53pm

Considering that it's only Christian groups who set up scenes at this and other locations, it could have been a Jew who filed this lawsuit because of the concept of "separation of church and state." The only groups wanting to do this on public land are Christian or so-called "Christian," and they don't want anyone else, be they atheist, Jewish, Buddhist, etc., doing anything similar.

4 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 2:57:42pm

re: #2 Obdicut

I personally think it foolish to rain on the Churches parade so to speak. We all have a right to our religious beliefs, I consider that a core value for us Americans. I expect atheists and other religions to display that little bit of tolerance for each other.

IMO, let the church have it's display unmolested. Of course it follows that I don't want an evangelist out there trying to ruin the point of the atheist display. Each in turn, equal unfettered access.

To me an atheist looking at a religious display is not harmed, and vice versa. They may have very different desires or beliefs. But they also have an obligation to let the other have their place and time without public objection. Not as a law, but just as a courtesy to our fellow humans.

The idea an atheist is harmed in any way by a religious display in public is far too akin tpo a straight person seeing a gay person or couple. No harm is done. No foul. So, no need to object.

5 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 2:59:46pm

re: #3 sffilk

How is it you speak for those churches?

6 Locker  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:00:22pm

re: #4 Daniel Ballard

I don't think it's about "religious display in public" but more "religious display on public land/property" which I think should be completely free of all this crap. It's a public park, not a billboard for your favorite voodoo sect or lack thereof.

7 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:06:12pm

re: #6 Locker

I meant public land as in a public park. Public owned means public access to me. Community use and all that. Displays, weddings, birthday parties etc. So in that case we do disagree.

What harm is done to you by a display at a public park?

BTW Voodoo sect? Why are you being insulting?

8 KingKenrod  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:15:24pm

re: #6 Locker

I don't think it's about "religious display in public" but more "religious display on public land/property" which I think should be completely free of all this crap. It's a public park, not a billboard for your favorite voodoo sect or lack thereof.

If a public place is designated for free speech displays, then religious groups have equal access for their speech - as long as the same rules (city permits, for instance) apply to everyone. Religious folks don't lose their free speech rights just because they are on public property.

9 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:23:18pm

re: #4 Daniel Ballard

I didn't actually see an argument from you there, other than an assertion that the atheist shouldn't bother the religious people.

10 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:27:03pm

re: #8 KingKenrod

If a public place is designated for free speech displays, then religious groups have equal access for their speech - as long as the same rules (city permits, for instance) apply to everyone. Religious folks don't lose their free speech rights just because they are on public property.

Yep. All the rules were followed, but the atheist and other tongue-in-cheek displays were vandalized. The Christian group that put up the nativity complained because they didn't get to dominate the display, and they lost in the lottery.

Religion shouldn't be privileged above other forms of speech. They couldn't handle that.

They also then acted like assholes:

"The atheists won," said William Becker, attorney for the Nativity group. He then went on to compare the city to Pontius Pilate, the judge at Jesus' trial, saying: "It's a shame about Christmas. Pontius Pilate was exactly the same kind of administrator."

11 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:27:58pm

re: #9 Obdicut

By "see" do you mean agree or you literally did not understand my call for inclusion/equal access?

12 CuriousLurker  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:32:05pm

IMO the city was foolish to open a Pandora's Box by granting the exemption in the first place. If an exemption is granted then it has to be granted to everyone, as it seems to have been, which opens the door to speech/counter-speech.

It would be wonderful if everyone, believer or not, could be counted on to be consistently courteous & civil, but it's just not gonna happen. It might work for a while, but sooner or later someone is bound to get annoyed, feel insulted, etc.; hence the wisdom of the separation of church & state.

Heck, look at LGF—how often do you see 100% consensus here? I think I've only seen it once and I don't even remember what the subject was...I think it was the horribleness of a really evil crime or something like that.

13 dragonfire1981  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:32:11pm
"The atheists won," said William Becker, attorney for the Nativity group. He then went on to compare the city to Pontius Pilate, the judge at Jesus' trial, saying: "It's a shame about Christmas. Pontius Pilate was exactly the same kind of administrator."

Right because being told you to have to move a display is EXACTLY the same as being severely beaten and hung to die on a cross. EXACTLY the same.

Morons.

Also, the funny thing here is Pilate ordering Christ crucified was due to the will of the people, not an arbitrary decision of Pilate himself. He couldn't find any reason to penalize Jesus and even symbolically washed his hands after acceding to the wishes of the people.

14 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:37:33pm

re: #11 Daniel Ballard

By "see" do you mean agree or you literally did not understand my call for inclusion/equal access?

I didn't understand, since what the atheists did was exactly to push for equal inclusion and access, but you called them crass for doing so.

15 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:37:41pm

re: #10 Obdicut

Okay agreed they acted like assholes. So what? Wholly irrelevant to the 1st amendment access issue.

16 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:43:15pm

re: #14 Obdicut

Crass for trying to stop the religious display. I called for equal access in turn. The evangelists should not counter protest an atheist display and vice versa.

Let's turn this around. What substantive harm is done by these passive displays? Shall we ban menorahs from parks at Hanukkah next? I would say not. The community includes enough people that can appreciate the display that trying to shut it down takes something away from the religious public. Access to display at a public park in concert with a holiday.

I for one do not buy the idea at all that any of this is establishing a state religion.

17 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:43:38pm

re: #15 Daniel Ballard

Okay agreed they acted like assholes. So what? Wholly irrelevant to the 1st amendment access issue.

They were used to being the dominant force, because atheism even being acceptable to admit is a very recent thing. Times have changed, and a lot of Christian groups that are used to their speech being the only speech around are now caught short by others exercising their right as well. It deeply offends them, because to them it is not just about speech, as we can see by their ludicrous, hateful comparison.

It is part of the reason why fighting back against religious dominance of speech is so important.

18 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:45:29pm

re: #16 Daniel Ballard

Crass for trying to stop the religious display. I called for equal access in turn. The evangelists should not counter protest an atheist display and vice versa.

I'm not following you. The atheist displays were the ones vandalized.

Let's turn this around. What substantive harm is done by these passive displays?

Why are you talking about harm? What does that have to do with the issue?

Shall we ban menorahs from parks at Hanukkah next?

We should allow access to groups who want to engage in speech in public places. This town did it by lottery-- that's an okay system. There could be others. We should never privledge one group over another.

I would say not. The community includes enough people that can appreciate the display that trying to shut it down takes something away from the religious public. Access to display at a public park in concert with a holiday.

Why is their speech more important than someone else's? Because it's religious?

19 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:50:57pm

re: #18 Obdicut

I'm not following you. The atheist displays were the ones vandalized.

Why are you talking about harm? What does that have to do with the issue?

We should allow access to groups who want to engage in speech in public places. This town did it by lottery-- that's an okay system. There could be others. We should never privledge one group over another.

Why is their speech more important than someone else's? Because it's religious?

From the top-All vandalism is wrong. Let people have their displays unmolested.

I assert no harm is being done to anyone by these displays. With there being no harm, there is little to no grounds to object. A little tolerance for displays we might not agree with is called for.

I make no assertion about the primacy of any one display or message. I clearly implied the opposite-Equal access in due time. To be clear equal meaning all religions or atheism, or other displays that might be desired by some in the community. ASPCA might do a animal safety or anti cruelty thing. All the same in my eyes.

20 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:55:32pm

re: #19 Daniel Ballard

From the top-All vandalism is wrong. Let people have their displays unmolested.

Okay. But it was the atheist displays being vandalized, and yet you're acting as though they were the ones misbehaving.

I assert no harm is being done to anyone by these displays. With there being no harm, there is little to no grounds to object. A little tolerance for displays we might not agree with is called for.

But nobody did object. The atheists just joined the lottery and got their own displays to put up. Are you talking about a different case?

I make no assertion about the primacy of any one display or message. I clearly implied the opposite-Equal access in due time. To be clear equal meaning all religions or atheism, or other displays that might be desired by some in the community. ASPCA might do a animal safety or anti cruelty thing. All the same in my eyes.

But that's what happened. And then the atheist displays got vandalized and then city decided it was too much of a hassle to deal with the fracas.

In general, you're going to find atheists pushing back against stuff like this-- demanding their time for speech-- when the speech from the religious side is loudmouthed and pushy. This nativity display sounds goddamn huge, an in-your-face thing. Atheists wanted to have their spaces too, they won that right, and then apparently the Christians couldn't deal and vandalized the displays. I don't get why your sympathy here isn't for the atheists who had their speech repressed, but it is with the Christians who can't handle a rule being applied equally to everyone.

21 Sionainn  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:55:56pm

re: #19 Daniel Ballard

From the top-All vandalism is wrong. Let people have their displays unmolested.

I assert no harm is being done to anyone by these displays. With there being no harm, there is little to no grounds to object. A little tolerance for displays we might not agree with is called for.

I make no assertion about the primacy of any one display or message. I clearly implied the opposite-Equal access in due time. To be clear equal meaning all religions or atheism, or other displays that might be desired by some in the community. ASPCA might do a animal safety or anti cruelty thing. All the same in my eyes.

And the anti-choice folks can display huge photos of aborted fetuses, the KKK can have a display, etc. Yuck.

How about use the park for its intended purpose and if groups want to display things, they can display it on their own damn property.

22 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 3:56:04pm

re: #12 CuriousLurker

I think these displays illustrate our diverse society to mutual gain. Sure some will be dickish, that's the price of educating for tolerance. I am feeling a parallel here. Our society has to evolve more to further reduce bigotry. Religious, racial, economic and sexual. Evolving a culture has missteps and anger from time to time. But eventually we get it. I don't see a big difference between any of those. Same in principle, different in topic.

23 Skip Intro  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 4:01:39pm

There are these numerous, tax supported places called churches that would be perfect for religious displays. Religious people should consider using them.

24 CuriousLurker  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 4:09:49pm

re: #22 Daniel Ballard

I agree, I just don't happen to think you can force the evolution of consciousness or tolerance (at least not without an armed escort to keep the peace). The article says:

The judge, however, said Santa Monica proved that it banned the displays not to squash religious speech but because they were becoming a drain on city resources, destroying the turf and obstructing ocean views. Churches can set up unattended displays at 12 other parks in the city with a permit and can leaflet, carol and otherwise present the Christmas story in Palisades Park when it is open, she said.

Try to picture, if you will, Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan (it's technically only 1 day, but celebrations typically last around 3-4 days): Imagine 3 days where a bunch of Muslims have set up Islamic displays in said public park and are reciting the Qur'an, passing out leaflets explaining Islam and/or calling people to convert, etc. If there wasn't a freak-out of epic proportions over something like that, I'd be amazed.

25 Political Atheist  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 4:12:40pm

re: #20 Obdicut

I respect an atheist who wants his or her own display in turn. I disrespect those who brush religion off as voodoo (locker, I hope you are lurking) and those who would thwart a religions access to public space like a park. I make a straightforward call for mutual tolerance and it's being questioned at length.

Why would tolerance for religious (or any other) display in public space be looked at so suspiciously? I do not get that. Tolerance for the other persons beliefs and lifestyle is a net plus for our society. It should extend to shared spaces like parks. For some (present company excepted, I refer to the world beyond this blog) this is a bald exercise of anti religious bigotry.

As the elections showed we have a long ways to go with racial issues. About as far as we have to go for religious tolerance. AFAIK, I'd like to see a display for Ramadan. Peaceful outreach at a park. Not such a horrible concept at all. Push back on religious bigotry.

Obdicut I think/hope you can see where I am with this is quite apart from those that vandalized the atheist display whoever they are. I speak to all of the above in the identical spirit to my strongly supporting the mosque near ground zero.

Okay time for my commute. GTG

26 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 4:14:46pm

re: #25 Daniel Ballard

I respect an atheist who wants his or her own display in turn. I disrespect those who brush religion off as voodoo (locker, I hope you are lurking) and those who would thwart a religions access to public space like a park. I make a straightforward call for mutual tolerance and it's being questioned at length.

But they didn't thwart it. Arguably, the religious people here thwarted it by vandalizing the atheist's signs. The atheists did not thwart. They exercised their freedom of speech.

Why would tolerance for religious (or any other) display in public space be looked at so suspiciously?

No clue what you're talking about.

Obdicut I think/hope you can see where I am with this is quite apart from those that vandalized the atheist display whoever they are. I speak to all of the above in the identical spirit to my strongly supporting the mosque near ground zero.

I just don't get why you're blaming atheists for something the religious people did.

27 dragonath  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 4:15:26pm

Santa Monica is actually an anagram of "Satanic Moan".

28 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 4:19:33pm

re: #24 CuriousLurker

In an ideal world-- by the way, have you read the Culture novels, by Ian M. Banks? I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really strongly advise them. While they're dismissive of religion, in a way, they're not in any form hostile to it. They're about a post-scarcity galaxy-spanning society, and the main problem is ennui. Anyway.

In an ideal world, one with infinite resources and infinite space, religious people could build giant crosses floating in space, we could have a nine million mile minaret, we could have scenes from the Bodhisattva acted out by robot armies. It'd be awesome.

But we have such limited space, such limited time, such limited resources. We have humans who get red-faced and shouty at the drop of a hat. The best we can do is come up with rules and apply them evenly-- which is what the city did here.

The problem is that these particular Christians think that because they are a group, and a large group, they should be able to have a larger voice, and command more spaces. There's an argument to be made for that, but it isn't an American argument.

I'd love it if we could accommodate everyone. But we can't. The best we can do is to do our best to accommodate everyone who files the permits and fills out the forms, or, failing that, say "You know what? Fuck it. It's a park, we're going to keep it just a park" and anyone can walk around in it telling other people god is great or god doesn't exist if they want to.

Literally the only religion that would be penalized by this circumstance is a religion that demands its followers put up displays in public parks.

29 CuriousLurker  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 4:27:22pm

Nope, haven't read the Culture novels. I'll look them up, thanks.

As for the rest. well said (though I, and probably most everyone else here, wish it could be otherwise).

30 Obdicut  Tue, Nov 20, 2012 4:28:32pm

re: #29 CuriousLurker

Start at the beginning, with Consider Phlebas.

31 Randall Gross  Wed, Nov 21, 2012 12:55:29pm

re: #29 CuriousLurker

Nope, haven't read the Culture novels. I'll look them up, thanks.

As for the rest. well said (though I, and probably most everyone else here, wish it could be otherwise).

I'll second that recommendation.


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