Saturday, May 26, 2012

Free Thinkers on Parade

The setup:  My local newspaper is the Northwest Arkansas Times.  Although it is an excellent local paper and pretty good regional paper, it is an awful paper to get state, national, and world news.  The Times has a number of local writers on the opinion page, most of them leaning left.  As such, I find most of these columns funny, although the large majority of them are not meant to be so.

But there is one columnist who is intentionally funny, and largely succeeds.  Bob Caudle writes once a week about mostly local stories, and  is pretty irreverent.   Recently, he wrote a column that was pretty awesome if it is true.

I say if it is true because some of the content within it smells a bit like a put-on.  I would link to the column itself, but the Times only keeps articles for free online for one week.  After that one week, it will then put the article in the archives and charge a fee for you to access it.  It's a stupid system, I think, but nobody consulted me on its implementation, so what I think is irrelevant.

So, I will just reproduce it here, so that I can do some real liberal mocking afterward.

Oh, brothers and sisters, there’s foul news afoot. Some bunch of blasphemous Yankees from the North (as opposed to Yankees from the South) are trying to take away our God-given rights to pray and pass out Bibles.
A group from Madison, Wis., calling itself the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has attacked the mayors in Rogers and Springdale for participating in the National Day of Prayer.
The anti-religion group also claims it forced the Rogers School District to quit letting the Gideons hand out Bibles at Bellview Elementary School.
You know, I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels with a Gideon Bible in the drawer. That family must be bigger than the Duggars.
Oh, by the way, the foundation sells T-shirts that read, “This is what an atheist looks like” that will cost you $20.
A T-shirt that reads “Village Atheist” will run you $22 - obviously they don’t charge by the letter.
They also have a spot on the website asking for donations and reminding readers the donations are tax-deductible.
Apparently, the group hates everything about churches except for passing the collection plate.
The foundation also brags about its accomplishments - and that word is used loosely - on its website: “FFRF won a historic federal court decision declaring the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional in 2010.
“In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience,” wrote U.S.
District Judge Barbara Crabb, Madison, Wis. An appeals court in 2011 threw the case out on standing (not the merits), but FFRF continues to pursue two challenges of gubernatorial prayer proclamations in Colorado and Arizona.”
The King James translation of that statement is the foundation lost, but is still throwing money away.
Anyway, the foundation contacted the offices of Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse and Rogers Mayor Greg Hines about their offices sponsoring “prayer breakfasts” May 3 as part of the National Day of Prayer.
The Yankees might have a point in that officials with the two cities probably shouldn’t have promoted the event and sold tickets through the mayors’ offices.
Sprouse and Hines may never meet over a chess board, smoking pipes during a Mensa Club meeting, but they’re usually smart enough to stay within the law.
“We are shocked at the bad manners of these mayors who align themselves with events advertised as ‘Christian evangelicals need only apply.’ This kind of meddling in religion and promotion of one religion over another is what one would expect in a theocracy, not in our secular republic,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, a foundation co-founder.
For the record, the First Amendment to the Constitution says nothing about a separation of church and state. That phrase came later in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson.
And no one is forcing anyone to participate in the National Day of Prayer.
If you don’t want to go - don’t go.
But the best response to the Yankee atheists perhaps came from Rogers city attorney Ben Lipscomb, who answered stupid with stupid.
Lipscomb replied to the foundation.
This is what he wrote to Ken Earl, the foundation’s law clerk:
“As a graduate of East St. Louis, Illinois College of Law and Sheet Metal Work, I too have heard of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
I distinctly remember class that day, because the professor not only covered the entire First Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution (I think he called them the Bill of Rights, or something like that), but low hydrogen arc welding as well.
And in my humble opinion (which, by the way is the only one that counts, being that I am the City Attorney) the City’s participation in, as well as the planning of, the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, does NOT, in fact, violate the sacred document in question.
With Warmest Personal Regards,
Ben Lipscomb
Rogers City Attorney and Welder”
Now, who can argue with that?
Opinion, Pages 5 on 05/19/2012

  Now, I don't care who you are, that's a great response right there.  It's humorous and legally sound at the same time.  And it is real, too.

So, what happened after Bob's column ran in the paper?  Did you say that the tolerant atheists went ape-poopy about it?  If you did, you are 100% correct!

Which leads me to this, the greatest kook posting I've ever seen.

And the answers to your next three questions are yes, yes, and yes.

Yes, this really is untouched in any way, shape, or form.  If you go to the web page, you will see it just as you see it here.  Yes, he is being serious.  And yes, he really is this clueless and idiotic and pompous all the time.

FayettevilleFreeThinker believes that he is this font of information, and I can count on him to come through with material that I can use to mock and belittle liberals if I'm ever low on material.  (By the way, have you ever noticed that so-called freethinkers always have the same beliefs as other freethinkers?  Must be a coincidence.)

Now, my larger point here is that committed atheists will try anything to remove religion from what they consider to be a society that doesn't need it.  You see that in Caudle's column above, in which the Freedom From Religion Foundation tried to bully into not participating in the National Day of Prayer.  To the Rogers City Attorney Ben Lipscomb's credit, he told them to go soak their heads.

For a foundation that prides itself on using reason, it sure didn't use reason to sway others to their point of view.  It instead tried to bully and threaten others to see their point of view.

Is there a rational position that the FFRF can advance to convince others to join them?  Doesn't appear to be.  Why doesn't FFRF do so?  Maybe one of these jeniuses can explain that.

(If you think there is a misspelling in this post, you just might be a freethinker.)

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