Sunday, March 25, 2007

Upside Down Perspective

Posted by myself today at Stop The ACLU-

I've been posting my cartoon here at Stop The ACLU during the past few months for Jay while he continues to serve overseas, without any accompanying commentary, but today let's do something different.

I reguarly post in forums which are critical of the cartoon. One of these sites is Portal Of Evil, which generated this recent comment, which I think is typical of pro-ACLU sentiment-

Howdy, Mr. Lacey.

I haven't posted on Portal of Evil in...quite some time. Let's face it, lurking is easier, equally entertaining, and cuts far less into my law school time.

However, I can't take cartoons like this anymore:

Click above to view larger image. Largest.

In short, I am very, very tired of devout Christians claiming that they are somehow "oppressed" because they are no longer able, thanks to our Establishment Clause jurisprudence, to use the machinery of government to broadcast a particular religious view to the masses. Be grateful for the Establishment Clause, since the neutrality that it imposes on the state is likely RESPONSIBLE for the freedom with which religion flourishes in America.

Your favorite whipping boy, the ACLU, thinks so too. The following links describe cases in which the ACLU defended the rights of Christians to worship freely. I know that even more exist, but I haven't the patience to find them. Please read every single one before you ever bash the ACLU again.

Also, try reading the Supreme Court cases that eventually held that school-led prayer was unconstitutional; the original plaintiffs in those early cases were Christian.


ACLU Defends Church's Mission to Feed the Poor

ACLU fights for Christmas Tree

ACLU Suit Protects Man Speaking Out Against Wal-mart's Policy on Gays

ACLU Defends Church's Anti-Santa Ads

ACLU Defends Church's Anti-Abortion Ads on Buses

ACLU Defends Prisoner's Rosary Beads

ACLU Defends Student Led Prayer in Public Schools

ACLU Defends Religious Symbols in Florida Cemetary

My response-

Thanks, SC.

I haven't read through all your points, but I suggest you drop the 'Treaty of Tripoli' argument from your forte.

1. The 'Treaty of Tripoli' was written in order to free some of our sailors who were being held hostage by Muslim pirates.

2. There's disagreement over who wrote the 'not a Christian nation' line in the first place. See here

3. The treaty was deratified.

4. A deratified treaty is not the equal of our founding documents, which mention God and providence many times over.

Whenever I see someone mention 'Tripoli' it's a flag that they shouldn't be taken seriously, even though they may have better arguments.

For what it's worth, I agree, if that's your point, that America is not a Christian nation. It's a republic, which (should be) good enough. Where I think we differ is the restrictions placed upon free speech. I say, if you truly want free speech, you have to suffer Christianity even if expressed on government property and time. That's what 'owning government' means. Government isn't meant to be an impersonal monster which runs over people, it's supposed to have a soul, and I think you've noticed the evidence of officials feeling instinctively that this is true when they introduce retch-worthy PC substitutes for verboten personal faith expressions, the latter of which some people will always find offensive but which work a heck of a lot better than the 'safe' alternative. By making government a no-man's land of personal (religious) expression, you've replicated the extremes of King George to their polarity, which is just as revolution worthy. If (just for argument allow me the pronoun) 'you' try to shut up Christians just because you have a giant Jones against hearing what you don't want to, and you manipulate our freedoms to achieve that end, the result will be the mess we live with now and the subsequent loss of free speech, which includes the loss of trust in government as being a reflection of our character. Promoting the fake and civil rights damaging 'I have a right not to hear someone's else's free speech' argument just shoots off your own foot and by definition restricts your own freedom.

I really hate this argument because, contrary to popular belief, I'm not a 'Christianist'. This sounds disingenuous because I'm famously a Christian, and a bad one at that, but I know that if the religious freedom canary dies in the coalmine, other freedoms follow. Freedoms 'granted by God' can't be withdrawn by man, who by nature aims lower.

You quote Jefferson in your arguments, but I could post many, many more quotes from Jefferson in favor of Christianity. Jefferson was completely free when, as the first rector of The University of Virginia, he allowed and encouraged on-campus bible study.

Jefferson was also the author of this-

"SECTION II. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. -Jefferson's Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in the State of Virginia.

I believe this means that you can profess your faith wherever. This means you can be an extremely rude Christian by talking about your faith while selling stamps at the Post Office, even if the clients think you're a total whack job. If the fellow next to you is a Muslim and does the same, so what? All that's required is that you competently sell stamps. That's the very expression and definition of a free and mature society. We used to have this sort of freedom, and our society was much more colorful, vibrant, abrasive, productive. This right is extended not just to individuals, but communities as well. The direct result of this freedom and the preaching of Christian based morality fables in the schoolhouse such as 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' was the civil war and the subsequent civil rights movement of the 1960's, which in both cases relied heavily upon appealing to our unifying principle of Christian consciousness and the absolute freedoms granted thereof. The sort of token cases you cited in your defense of the ACLU wouldn't have even been an issue before the time the ACLU started their campaign to redefine religious liberty. If you're a fan of the ACLU, and you believe they're virtuous defenders of civil liberty, you've been scammed. It's groups such as the privately funded ACLJ and the Thomas More Law Center, adversaries to the ACLU, which are protecting the root of a truly free society, but it's an uphill fight as the government actually pays the ACLU for winning cases, many times against school districts and communities too poor to defend themselves.

Also, Jefferson wasn't our only founding father. He was outnumbered by peers who had much firmer confidence in the reasons for their faith, including Benjamin Franklin, who wrote this to Thomas Paine regarding his 'Age of Reason'-

I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument it contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a general Providence, you strike at the foundations of all religion. For without the belief of a Providence, that takes cognizance of, guards, and guides, and may favor particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear his displeasure, or to pray for his protection. I will not enter into any discussion of your principles, though you seem to desire it. At present I shall only give you my opinion, that, though your reasonings are subtile and may prevail with some readers, you will not succeed so as to change the general sentiments of mankind on that subject, and the consequence of printing this piece will be, a great deal of odium drawn upon yourself, mischief to you, and no benefit to others. He that spits against the wind, spits in his own face.
But, were you to succeed, do you imagine any good would be done by it? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous life, without the assistance afforded by religion; you having a clear perception of the advantages of virtue, and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing a strength of resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations. But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point for its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her originally, that is, to your religious education, for the habits of virtue upon which you now justly value yourself. You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distinguished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should prove his manhood by beating his mother.
I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it. I intend this letter itself as a proof of my friendship, and therefore add no professions to it; but subscribe simply yours,
B. Franklin

You quote Adams, assign to him one quote and the Treaty of Tripoli, and but what about this?-

1798 National Fasting and Prayer Proclamation

AS the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God; and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him,

but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety, without which social happiness cannot exist, nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed; and as this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty and of danger, when existing or threatening calamities, the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity are a loud call to repentance and reformation; and as the United States of America are at present placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation, by the unfriendly disposition, conduct and demands of a foreign power, evinced by repeated refusals to receive our messengers of reconciliation and peace, by depredations on our commerce, and the infliction of injuries on very many of our fellow citizens, while engaged in their lawful business on the seas: —Under these considerations it has appeared to me that the duty of imploring the mercy and benediction of Heaven on our country, demands at this time a special attention from its inhabitants.

I HAVE therefore thought it fit to recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next be observed throughout the United States, as a day of Solemn Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer; That the citizens of these states, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies, agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming: That all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before GOD the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation; beseeching him, at the same time, of his infinite Grace, through the Redeemer of the world, freely to remit all our offences, and to incline us, by his holy spirit, to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction; That it be made the subject of particular and earnest supplication, that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it; that our civil and religious privileges may be preserved inviolate, and perpetuated to the latest generations; that our public councils and magistrates may be especially enlightened and directed at this critical period; that the American people may be united in those bonds of amity and mutual confidence, and inspired with that vigor and fortitude by which they have in times past been so highly distinguished, and by which they have obtained such invaluable advantages: That the health of the inhabitants of our land may be preserved, and their agriculture, commerce, fisheries, arts and manufactures be blessed and prospered: That the principles of genuine piety and sound morality may influence the minds and govern the lives of every description of our citizens; and that the blessings of peace, freedom, and pure religion, may be speedily extended to all the nations of the earth.
And finally I recommend, that on the said day; the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent Thanksgiving to the bestower of every good gift, not only for having hitherto protected and preserved the people of these United States in the independent enjoyment of their religious and civil freedom, but also for having prospered them in a wonderful progress of population, and for conferring on them many and great favours conducive to the happiness and prosperity of a nation.
Given under my hand and seal of the United States of America, at Philadelphia, this twenty-third day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the said States the twenty-second.
By the President,
TIMOTHY PICKERING, Secretary of State

I respect your opinion, but we could go back and forth on this forever, and we'd bore everyone to death. I've done these debates already. I'd rather just draw cartoons. They're much more entertaining.

Now it's 4 AM and I just farted off my drawing time (which is why I've always tried to avoid these discussions) so there's no way I can finish my rebuttal toon . I'll just post my original toon and your post, and follow up with a cartoon next week.

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