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3:04 am EST        21°F (-6°C) in Edwardsville, IL

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In my last two updates, I’ve been promising to talk about how the so-called “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” have renewed their yearly claims to being the victims of religious persecution, as Christmas approaches. As usual, per their modus operandi, they are lying in an attempt to paint themselves as “victims” so that (they hope) Americans will sympathize with their “plight.” (In reality, they are trying to turn the United States into this “Christian” version of Iran in which their fascist interpretation of the Bible would serve as our Shari’a law, the fact that said interpretation of the Bible is as far away from true Christian values as you can get notwithstanding.)

These retarded idiots are too stupid to understand one thing: while a majority of Americans may well claim a Christian faith background, not everybody in this country does, and the First Amendment (which they simply ignore) guarantees all citizens the right to be free from religious oppression — that is to say, for example, that where atheists’ rights begin, the rights of “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” end, and vice versa. Do some of the militant atheists go too far? Absolutely, but then again, so do a lot of “fundamentalist ‘Christians.’”

The Constitution is quite clear about what government may and may not do in many areas. Both the Constitution and a large body of Supreme Court case law have made it clear that government at any level is prohibited from making any endorsement of any particular religious group. Why is it, then, that so many municipalities across the country are erecting, or allowing the erection (get your mind out of the gutter) of, Nativity scenes in front of government buildings such as city halls and courthouses?

The Nativity scene depicts the birth of Jesus, and as such is quite clearly a symbol of Christianity alone. Although I am well aware that such a display probably doesn’t bother a fair number of Jews and/or Muslims, it should go without saying that some of them could very easily be offended by the presence of Christian symbolism combined with the absence of Jewish or Islamic symbolism. I mean, if we turn the tables and put Kaaba stones in front of courthouses, or menorahs in front of city halls, the “fundamentalist ‘Christian’” wackos would go so insane about it that they would start shooting every “infidel” in sight, right? (Gotta trigger the start of the “rapture” one way or another …)

Let me be absolutely clear about this: I have no problem whatsoever with religiously oriented displays that are set up on PRIVATE property by, or at the request or permission of, the owner of that property. If a homeowner wishes to set up a cross or a Nativity scene in his/her front yard, even if it is visible from the road, that is his/her right, and those who use the road or live nearby and don’t share that same faith have no right to fight him/her about it — they do, however, have the right to not look at the display, or ignore it. By the same token, a church or religious organization is free to use any land that it owns for any religious display it wishes to make, and neighbors and/or passers-by do not have the right to override the church’s right to do as it pleases with its property.

However, churches and other religious organizations have no right to make use of PUBLIC (i.e., owned by some branch of government) property for their displays and/or activities. This includes, but is not limited to, city halls, courthouses, police/ fire/EMS stations, schools, county office buildings, sheriffs’ offices, state legislative or office buildings, state-supported university facilities, and governors’ mansions. Not only does the use of such public facilities constitute a government endorsement of religion that contravenes the First Amendment, but it also defies Jesus’ order to his flock in Mark 12:17: “Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and render unto God that which belongs to God.”

Why is it, then, that so-called “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” scream and cry when their churches are told they cannot use public property for religious activities, or when the Boy Scouts are prohibited from using public facilities such as schools because of their supposedly “religiously”-motivated discrimination against gay people? If you’re going to get special benefits such as free use of facilities from any unit of government, you have to play by the government’s rules — one of those rules is that all people must be given equal treatment under the law, as the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly states, and the government has every right (and the responsibility, which it sadly all too often neglects) to enforce these rules upon those to whom it confers special benefits.

(I am not saying that the Boy Scouts ought not have the right to exist, or to enforce whatever policies they choose; as a private organization, they have these rights without question. However, if our various levels of government were living up to their obligation to enforce the Constitution, the Boy Scouts would have to seek private sources of funding and private property for meeting space as a consequence of their choice to prohibit gays. Equal protection under the law means that gay people have equal access to public facilities, and the Scouts’ gay ban violates this most fundamental constitutional right whenever they are allowed to use public facilities for any of their activities.)

Some wrong-wing extremists are claiming that the official name of “holiday tree” formerly given to the spruce put up in front of the Capitol every year is just another part of the “war on Christmas.” They accuse “fundamentalist secularists” of insisting on such a name change out of “intolerance” of Christianity. (These morons come from the same crowd that claimed that voters who rejected the fantasy of “intelligent design” as a scientifically valid theory had just “voted God out of their schools.”)

However, as always, they are projecting their own failures and sins upon the righteous people who oppose them. If anybody is intolerant, it is these so-called “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” who can’t wrap their tiny brains around two facts: (1) not everybody celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday, and (2) a tree is a tree is a tree is a tree, and it only has any religious significance if you assign it some. (Frankly, the length to which some of these people go in their “pro-Christmas tree” zealotry really makes me wonder if they’re not violating the Commandment “thou shalt not have any gods before Me, and thou shalt not make any graven images.” They’re assigning more significance to a tree than to God, making it a “graven image.”)

I don’t even see what the hell the point is in carrying on such a protracted argument about the nomenclature of a tree; the whole thing seems pretty silly to me. I certainly don’t begrudge anybody the right to call it a Christmas tree, but these “fundamentalists” just make themselves look even more stupid by refusing to accept that some other people might want to have a “Hanukkah tree” or a “Kwanzaa tree,” to name a couple other religious holidays that (usually) fall in December. For that matter, non-believers still celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, so the “holiday tree” moniker makes sense to them.

(That’s another thing these “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” fail or refuse to accept. They complain that the “liberal left” and their blood enemy the ACLU are “secularizing Christmas,” but they don’t understand that it is already a secular holiday as well as a religious one. Come on, people: if you can accept the notion of a Holy Trinity that holds that there are three persons in one God, surely you can understand the dual nature of Christmas Day, right? Or are you too dumb for that? Or, perhaps most chillingly, are you really trying to force Christmas as a religious holiday upon everybody?)

You see, these people are at least astute enough to realize that propaganda is an extremely useful tool to divert attention from the war they are waging against mainstream American values. If they can make themselves out to be the “victims,” and enough people believe them and either sit on the sidelines or join them, they will greatly increase their chances of turning this country into a Third World “fundamentalist ‘Christian’” theocracy à la Saudi Arabia. The fact that such tactics were perfected by the Nazis in the 1930s should send chills down the spine of every patriotic American, and galvanize a strong majority of Americans to defend our country against them.

After I take this load to the company terminal in the epicenter of all suckiness, also known as Columbus, OH, I’ll be headed home for about a week. I really need the time off, mentally speaking, as I’m feeling pretty burned out from all the insanity of the last three weeks out on the road.