8.07.2005

the nutshell

I just received two emails at the movetocanada address. Kyle Couch says:
What are you waiting for? Get the hell out of this GREAT country. We don't need or want your cowardly attitude here.
And from a Canadian:
Welcome to the true melting pot.

Unlock your front door, grab a cold Canadian, exchange the uh for an eh & never forget what it means to be Canadian, & that's ... & that's...... Well, the answer won't come from some loud-mouth Rocker From Toronto, Living In Montreal with his beautiful, intelligent, American wife. She moved up here under the first King George. No, it will come from fine people like you. In fact, all of the immigrants sharing their culture with the natives, making them a little more intelligent & hopefully much more tolerant.

Yes sir America's loss is once again Canada's gain baby.
That's it in a nutshell.

Do you think Kyle Couch's grandparents, or great-grandparents, or great-great-grandparents, or however many generations back it goes (something tells me Kyle is not a Native American) were cowards when they left the country of their birth?

I thank Kyle Couch and all of his ilk: you make it so wonderfully easy to leave.

58 comments:

redsock said...

Hey, is that Kyle "I'm a loser who thinks it's cool if thousands of other Americans die or maybe have half their limbs blown off in a war I support while my fat, pasty ass remains glued to my" Couch?

I think I know that guy.

Crabbi said...

Gosh, I love unsolicited advice from total strangers. Maybe Kyle hasn't seen the countdown on the right. Dude, it's only 22 more days. Americans are so impatient!

And (awful current political climate aside), people need stop screaming that America is great. Putting your fingers in your ears and yelling "I can't hear you" to dissenters, stamping your little patriotic feet and telling people to get the hell out aren't exactly convincing.

L-girl said...

Putting your fingers in your ears and yelling "I can't hear you" to dissenters, stamping your little patriotic feet and telling people to get the hell out aren't exactly convincing.

But it's an American tradition!

Mario said...

I have lived for one year in the US, as an exchange student. During that year I studied American History and American Government. After this I would like to say that the US IS a great country... or at least if was. The laws and values that creates the basis of the American Society is a great one. The reality now, is far different. It seems the super capitalizm and now the reckless W administration has redused US to a joke. (In Europe americans, especially the president, is made fun of). Then you see persons like this "Kyle" clinging to the belief that his nation is flawless. L-girl, if you after so many years(because as I understand it you have lived for many many years in the US) decide to flag out, you must have good reasons... and I totally understand you. I would just like to repead what an old american friend said to me in an email lately:
"man, i can't help being a little jealous that you're from norway, especially considering how things have been in the US for the past couple of years. it's an ongoing mess that doesn't show any signs of slacking up"

James said...

"never forget what it means to be Canadian, & that's ... & that's......"

Back in 1972, CBC radio personality Peter Gzowski held a contest:

If someone can be "as American as apple pie", what would complete the phrase "as Canadian as _____"?

The winning entry was from Heather Scott, a music student, whose entry was:

"As Canadian as possible under the circumstances"

I've always loved that.

L-girl said...

The laws and values that creates the basis of the American Society is a great one. The reality now, is far different.

It could be great country. The foundation is there. And whenever people have forced the country to live up to the foundation (or at least take a step closer), it's gotten better.

because as I understand it you have lived for many many years in the US

Born here and lived here all my life. I guess that's many many. :)

You know, I'm not trying to convince anyone else to follow my path. Yet these people feel the need to yell at me as I'm leaving. As Crabbi says, unsolicited advice from total strangers. I can't imagine popping into someone's blog or sending them an email to tell them how stupid I think they are. Although the opportunity presents itself daily.

James: what a cool quote. So subtle and understated.

James said...

"what a cool quote. So subtle and understated."

I don't like jingoism, nationalism, or over-the-top patriotism; but I *do* think Canada's a great country. I think that quote sums up a lot of why: the Canadian ideal is something that hasn't been perfected, and maybe it can't be, and we realize that, but we can try to get as close as possible.

Kung-Fu Monkey is a former-American Canadian, and he has a nice little rant about the matter at

http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2005/02/oh-oh-canada.html

teflonjedi said...

Some days, I think I moved to the wrong country! Countries are only great when folks work at it, for a long long time, and just merely repeating that the country is "GREAT" isn't really going to work. Kyle, please, give it a little more thought.

L-girl said...

I don't like jingoism, nationalism, or over-the-top patriotism; but I *do* think Canada's a great country.

You know, I used to describe myself the same way in relation to the US. My parents, who were very liberal and highly critical of the govt, and never saw those as contradictory with patriotism. (Though they always made a distinction between patriotism and nationalism.)

I was raised to believe dissent is patriotic, and that the highest form of patriotism was to want your country to live up to its ideals - and to work towards that goal.

It's only in the last 5-10 years or so that I've turned my back on patriotism altogether, opting for a more international view.

Anyway, I'll check out that post, thanks.

L-girl said...

and just merely repeating that the country is "GREAT" isn't really going to work.

Yes! And yet that's all those types want to do. Just keep repeating the phrase "greatestcountryonthefaceoftheearth" and it shall be so.

You know, one of wmtc's most loyal and long-time readers is Kyle of the "Progressive Libertarian" blog (see blogroll), so let's not give Kyle Of The Couch too much ink, people may get them confused.

So teflonjedi, why did you move to the US? Work-related?

James said...

"My parents, who were very liberal and highly critical of the govt, and never saw those as contradictory with patriotism."

Yeah, that's why I put the adjective "over-the-top" on "patriotism". Unfortunate, the state of political discours in the US has perverted the word "patriotism" just as it has the word "liberal", effectively turning them into antonyms.

On an unrelated note, I went cycling today, and took a bunch of photos of Toronto. You can see them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jnl/sets/714840/

teflonjedi said...

Yup, work-related...wanted to work, and todo what I do, and there's not many places of employment which do what I do.

I'd give it all up, if there was a way for me to take over for Rick Steves...

L-girl said...

I'd give it all up, if there was a way for me to take over for Rick Steves...

I can relate. I live to travel. The hardest part of saving money for our big move has been not traveling.

James, thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

andym said...

I'm still trying to figure out what part of your journey Kyle deems to be cowardly? I mean, wasn't the USA founded by people who just didn't fit in with the repressive nation of their birth? Granted, the pilgrims were a bunch of religious nutbars...but an interesting comparison, regardless.

James said...

"I mean, wasn't the USA founded by people who just didn't fit in with the repressive nation of their birth?"

Not quite. Most of the original colonies were founded by religious groups who were tired of getting persecuted, and wanted a chance to set up a place where they were top dog and everyone *else* would get persecuted. With one or two exceptions, they each had a state-sanctioned flavour of Christianity, and all other religions and denominations were illegal -- or, at least, highly suspect.

L-girl said...

What James says doesn't make what AndyM says any less true. The colonies were founded by people escaping repressive policies - and of course by people looking to exploit the resources of a new land.

Later those one or two exceptions of religious tolerance became an example, and they were emulated.

Granted, the pilgrims were a bunch of religious nutbars

LOL :)

L-girl said...

I'm still trying to figure out what part of your journey Kyle deems to be cowardly?

You know, I never get this either. Either it's one of those empty expressions that really has no meaning, or I am missing something. I wish someone would explain it, but these types never stick around to chat.

James said...

"Later those one or two exceptions of religious tolerance became an example, and they were emulated."

In principal, yes, but in practice only up to a point. The tradition still exists unofficially. Consider Bush I's famous 1987 quote:

"I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

Good thing he wasn't in charge, eh?

redsock said...

Some cool quotes re: the US and its religious foundation [sic], including:

George Washington: "The United States is in no sense founded upon Christian Doctrine."

James Madison: "During almost fifteen centuries the legal establishment known as Christianity has been on trial, and what have been the fruits, more or less, in all places? These are the fruits: pride, indolence, ignorance, and arrogance in the clergy. Ignorance, arrogance, and servility in the laity, and in both clergy and laity, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."

Thomas Jefferson: "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."

Thomas Paine: "Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."

L-girl said...

In principal, yes, but in practice only up to a point.

No, that's not true. As a Jew and an atheist who has lived in the US all my life, I can tell you that the US really does have religious freedom. I may feel alienated and uncomfortable at times, because I am a minority, but I am free to worship or not as I see fit. In theory and in practice.

The quote above is one man's opinion, and even though that man was president, it doesn't change anything. In reality there really is religious freedom in the US.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

"You know, one of wmtc's most loyal and long-time readers is Kyle of the "Progressive Libertarian" blog (see blogroll), so let's not give Kyle Of The Couch too much ink, people may get them confused."

Thanks! I wouldn't want to associated with him just because of my name....

On the subject of religion, I say it's not the religion itself, but some of it's legends that permeate the American mind. Everone knows the old story from the Bible (or Torah or Koran, depending on your viewpoint) about how Moses led his people from persecution and slavery in Egypt to the chosen land of Israel. Many of the early pilgrims to America, especially the Puritans, felt they we're in a renactment of that old story, and they were being led by God to a new chosen land. It's an idea that's stuck in American culture, that somehow America and its people are more special than everyone else.

L-girl said...

It's an idea that's stuck in American culture, that somehow America and its people are more special than everyone else.

American exceptionalism, manifest destiny - it sure is stuck in American culture!

I should add that many Jews grow up with the same idea, from the same root - the chosen people. My father used to say, chosen for what, suffering?

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Here's a new horrifying comic book. Do people like (the other) Kyle really believe this crap?

" It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. America is under oppression by ultra-liberal extremists which have yielded governing authority to the United Nations. It is up to an underground conservative group (known as F.O.I.L.) led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden’s plans to nuke New York City."

Lone Primate said...

G. Gordon Liddy was born in 1930. Never mind F.O.I.L.; come 2021 he'll be lucky if he can S.O.I.L. his pyjamas. If the guy will still be alive and able to mount a motorcycle in 2021, then I want my cyanide-flavoured Captain Crunch right now.

Wrye said...

I am reminded of the independent comics in the 80's featuring Ronald Reagan and his freedom commandoes. It was hard to tell what was satire and what wasn't some days.


Kung-Fu Monkey's rant is excellent, btw. Anyone getting this far down who didn't check the link should do so.

Lone Primate said...

What exactly is an "ultra-liberal extremist", anyway? Someone who makes you smoke pot while forcing you to have an abortion? Honest to God, do they even think this stuff through, or is the ability to slap latinate forms together into something euphonious enough?

James said...

"No, that's not true. As a Jew and an atheist who has lived in the US all my life, I can tell you that the US really does have religious freedom."

More than most places, certainly, and in some parts of the US, as much as you could want. But not everywhere.

The blog "Atheist Exposed" (http://atheistexposed.blogspot.com/) demonstrates that: the very fact that someone was so nervous about outing herself as an atheist to her co-workers that she started a blog about it suggests that things aren't quite as free as they should be.

It'd be interesting to see an out atheist run for a prominent political office in the US sometime. Though I doubt that they'd actually get far enough along in the process to actually show up in the race.

The Canadian said...

Dear Mr Kyle Couch

A man is the sum of his fears.

Thats It Thats all

Please forward to your leaders

Wrye said...

What exactly is an "ultra-liberal extremist", anyway?

Outside the US, I think they're known as "centrists" and like to oppress freedom-lovers by collecting taxes to finance their depraved sewage systems, postal services, and fire departments. Oh sure, you're less likely to die of typhus, but at what cost? AT WHAT COST?

James said...

"What exactly is an "ultra-liberal extremist", anyway?

Outside the US, I think they're known as "centrists"..."

I still get very disoriented when I hear someone ranting about how Hillary Clinton's a left-wing extremist. Up here, she's probably be called a Tory. :)

RobfromAlberta said...

Up here, she's probably be called a Tory. :)

I'd vote for her.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

"The blog "Atheist Exposed" (http://atheistexposed.blogspot.com/) demonstrates that: the very fact that someone was so nervous about outing herself as an atheist to her co-workers that she started a blog about it suggests that things aren't quite as free as they should be."

Well, Texas is "like a whole other country", as they often say.

I would say when I lived in Illinois, people were probably more religious than here in Ottawa, but I don't think anyone would be a social outcast for being an atheist. Things might have changed though.

I'd say personally I'm agnostic, not an atheist. But there's real debate on that terminology. I don't know if there is a god, or gods, ghosts, demons, or Q from Star Trek, but I can't say I know there is none either.

James said...

"Well, Texas is "like a whole other country", as they often say."

It can certainly vary a lot from place to place. Certainly, you'll have far less trouble as a Jew and an atheist in New York City than in Texas; but then, a lot of people in Texas revile New York City for being a bastion of decadent, immoral liberals.

Anyone see this photograph of good ol' American patriots (i.e. the Minutemen) which hit the news today?
http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/uploaded_images/Minutemen%20rally%202-709064.jpg

You can image how interested they are in religious freedom for Jews and atheists...

And this was in decadent liberal California (though, admittedly, the most conservative part...)

Full details at http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2005/08/minutemen-home-for-extremists_08.html

deang said...

As a Texan, I can relate to the Houston atheist's concerns. I haven't personally had any nasty experiences by being an open nonbeliever, but I've known of people who were hounded out of jobs for not being Christian, let alone atheist. One woman, an agnostic, told us at an organizing meeting that after the attacks of 9/11, dozens of her coworkers, who she thought considered her a friend, sent her hateful, threatening emails telling her that the reason the attacks happened was because people like her refused to "believe on Jesus". Don't know how common that is, but she was pretty stunned by it.

L-girl said...

G. Gordon Liddy was born in 1930. Never mind F.O.I.L.; come 2021 he'll be lucky if he can S.O.I.L. his pyjamas.

What exactly is an "ultra-liberal extremist", anyway? Someone who makes you smoke pot while forcing you to have an abortion?

LOL!! You are really on a roll. This is hilarious, thank you for a much-needed laugh.

L-girl said...

As a Jew and an atheist who has lived in the US all my life, I can tell you that the US really does have religious freedom.

More than most places, certainly, and in some parts of the US, as much as you could want. But not everywhere. The blog "Atheist Exposed" ...


I have definitely hesitated before saying I am an atheist, and have internally cringed as I said "I'm Jewish..." But I'm drawing a distinction between policy, practice and individual tolerance.

Many people in the US are intolerant of other's beliefs or nonbeliefs, there's no doubt about that. But to me, there is also no doubt that people are legally and institutionally free to practice their religion or not.

This doesn't mean an employer never violates an employee's rights, or that's it's not difficult to be different. I just can't sign off on the idea that the US doesn't have religious freedom. It's too much of an exaggeration for me. Things are bad enough here, but that's not in the picture (in my opinion).

L-girl said...

I still get very disoriented when I hear someone ranting about how Hillary Clinton's a left-wing extremist. Up here, she's probably be called a Tory. :)

Real progressives down here call her the same thing. It is absolutely astounding the way the wingnuts hate her, the venom they reserve for her - and the left-wing claims they make for her.

Sexism? Nah!

L-girl said...

It'd be interesting to see an out atheist run for a prominent political office in the US sometime. Though I doubt that they'd actually get far enough along in the process to actually show up in the race.

You'll never see it in your lifetime. (Assuming you're talking about national office, not NYC or SF or Madison, WI.)

But this is true of any difference. US political leaders are overwhelmingly white, male, Protestant and heterosexual. This has changed only in the most token of ways. Christianity is just part of the package.

L-girl said...

The Canadian: cool post. Good on ya.

Wrye: thanks for reminding me, I will read Kung Fu Monkey's post more carefully and maybe blog about it.

L-girl said...

I'd say personally I'm agnostic, not an atheist. But there's real debate on that terminology. I don't know if there is a god, or gods, ghosts, demons, or Q from Star Trek, but I can't say I know there is none either.

Just to clarify, being an atheist does not mean I know there is no god. It means I personally don't believe in any. There's a big difference (which is perhaps the debate on terminology that you refer to, Kyle - I'm not sure).

I don't claim to know. I only know what I believe and what I feel. I wish others would be a little less sure, too.

James said...

"I just can't sign off on the idea that the US doesn't have religious freedom."

Well, I wouldn't claim the US doesn't have religious freedom, only that the religious freedom in the US is more limited in practice than it is in principle.

"which is perhaps the debate on terminology that you refer to, Kyle"

There are a few different definitions of atheist that are used: the negative "I don't believe in any gods" (yours) and the positive "I belive there aren't any gods" are the two favourites.

L-girl said...

Both those definitions of atheist apply to me. Either way, I wouldn't claim to know. That is just too arrogant.

It's also a simple personal statement: a-theist = without religion.

Practice or principle, I don't think anyone's religious freedom is limited in the US. But I do think it's a difference of definition here. I'm not including individual people's tolerance or personal dislikes within the definition of freedom. I'm thinking institutionally. Your neighbors might not like your choices, but you're still free to worship or not as you choose.

redsock said...

Kyle,

I found a link to that comic this weekend. Bizarre stuff.

... "Coulter laws" and a young leader named Reagan born on 9/11/01.

Oy.

Lone Primate said...

Well, Texas is "like a whole other country", as they often say.

Sometimes they even say that about Canada. :)

Lone Primate said...

It is absolutely astounding the way the wingnuts hate her, the venom they reserve for her - and the left-wing claims they make for her. Sexism? Nah!

Oh, yeah, there's no question they go after her as a girl who's gotten too big for her britches and who ought to be happy to stand behind Bill, smiling. It's amazing that twenty years after Margaret Thatcher (may her heart of coal be cursed forever) was Prime Minister of the UK, women in the US are still having such a rough time getting established politically.

James said...

"It's also a simple personal statement: a-theist = without religion."

Here's where it gets fun: there are atheistic religions as well. Probably the best known would be certain forms of Buddhism, which deny the existence of any dieties.

"I'm not including individual people's tolerance or personal dislikes within the definition of freedom. I'm thinking institutionally."

Yeah, I'm speaking more to a personal thing -- loosing your job because you're the wrong religion (or non-religion), harassment, etc. Unfortuantely, a number of US institutions will turn a blind eye to this sort of thing if the religion being affected isn't one of the popular ones.

Recently a court in North Carolina ruled that swearing in *must* be done on a Bible. No other holy book would do. Muslims, Jews, or atheists giving testimony must swear on a Christian Bible. (Specifically, the court refused to allow a Muslim witness to swear on the Koran.)

In 1999, Nebraska created a special festival for "people of many faiths", meant to appear religiously diverse -- except it was called "March for Jesus Day". So much for the inclusion of non-Christians. When asked if he'd support similar proclamations for other religions, Governor Johanns specifically excluded Wicca on the grounds that it's pagan.

In the 2000 campaign, Bush specifically excluded Wicca as a valid religion and support a US military ban on Wiccan services.

An excellent website on the matter is ReligiousTolerance.org -- highly recommended.

(Fun Fact from RT.org: atheists have one of the lowest divorce rates of any religious belief system, far lower than conservative Christians.)

This issue came up recently on a Skeptics mailing list I'm on, so it's been much on my mind lately. Sorry if I'm letting it run away with me...

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I said I wouldn't debate any terms, but here's how I've heard it broken down:

theist/atheist: belief
gnostic/agnostic: knowledge

An agnostic atheist doesn't believe in God, but does not know there is a God or gods.

A gnostic atheist doesn't believe in God and knows there is no God.

An agnostic theist believes there may be a God, but it cannot be proven

A gnostic theist believes there is a God, and knows that there is a God.

Link to the Debate

L-girl said...

there are atheistic religions as well. Probably the best known would be certain forms of Buddhism, which deny the existence of any dieties.

While I understand this might technically, linguistically correct, since Buddhism is a religion, most people would not consider a Buddhist an atheist.

(And of course people may question why I am Jewish and an atheist, though to me being Jewish is an ethnicity and cultural identity, which I can retain regardless of not practicing the religion... though many Jews disagree! :) )

Recently a court in North Carolina ruled that swearing in *must* be done on a Bible. No other holy book would do.

Again, I don't consider this an infringement on freedom of religion. No one is forced to practice Christianity, or forbidden to practice other religions. Christians are not given special privileges that non-Christians are denied. Non-Christians are full citizens. Etc.

There are huge issues around separation of church and state - why are we swearing on a holy book in the first place?? I hate that! - but that's a different issue, to me.

The Wiccan issue is a problem. A small minority religion certainly has problems being recognized as legitimate. I do see that.

Crabbi said...

why are we swearing on a holy book in the first place?? I hate that! -

Me, too. Suppose that book means nothing to me. Does that mean I get to lie? If I'm ever called to court, I will be bringing my own book, which presents a whole other dilemma - which one?

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

"And of course people may question why I am Jewish and an atheist, though to me being Jewish is an ethnicity and cultural identity"

I don't think people understand that being Jewish is different than being Christian or Muslim. Jews are a people, and Judaism is the religion of the Jews. I took a Jewish history class in University (I needed something to fill an elective, and it fit in my timetable). Actually, it was an interesting course. Apparently, Jews originally didn't believe in the definition of monotheism as they do today. YHVH was the God of Israel, just like Osiris and such were the Egyptian gods. However, when Israel was conquered (by I can't quite remember who), they couldn't accept the fact that YHVH could have been defeated. At that point, they started believing in YHVH as the one and only God, which was a way to explain how Israel could have been defeated.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

For those who don't know YHVH is pronounced "Yah-wey", but it's supposed to be a sin to say it out loud.

L-girl said...

If I'm ever called to court, I will be bringing my own book, which presents a whole other dilemma - which one?

Maybe something by Clarence Darrow. He was dynamite in court, and an avowed atheist. He said, "I don't believe in god, because I don't believe in Mother Goose."

Darrow was a hero of mine growing up, when I thought I wanted to be a lawyer.

L-girl said...

Kyle, cool history, I bet it was an interesting course.

Researching my ancient civilizations book, I learned that when the Israelites (a/k/a Hebrews) adopted monotheism, how much it set them apart from the other people of the time, how attacked they were for it. It started early... :/

I had known about this from Hebrew school, but the historical perspective was different.

James said...

"Again, I don't consider this an infringement on freedom of religion. No one is forced to practice Christianity, or forbidden to practice other religions."

But being forced to swear on the Bible and not a holy book you don't subscribe to is, in effect, being forced to endorse Christianity and deny your own religion, publicly.

"Christians are not given special privileges that non-Christians are denied. Non-Christians are full citizens. Etc."

Consider this example from a public (government) housing complex in Chicago:

"Elderly non-Christian residents of the 60-unit complex said they live in a "religiously hostile and intimidating environment," where they are barred from using common rooms for anything non-Christian, including card playing"

Via Republic of T.

They're suing the complex, but the very fact that government housing would do this in the first place tells us that there's a problem. Let's hope they win the lawsuit.

There are also the issues of the movement to force prayer back into schools; the attempt to push Christian theology into biology class through "Intelligent Design" creationism; the recent introduction of the Bible as a historical text in Texas public schools; putting the Ten Commandments in courts; Bible study classes in the White House; etc. All of these are happening in government institutions.

"why are we swearing on a holy book in the first place?? I hate that! - but that's a different issue, to me."

Yeah, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish. In *most* of the US, you're allowed to bypass that and simply affirm that you will tell the truth -- legally, that's considered just as binding. However, it's been found that in many parts of the US, affirming will result in the juries doubting your testimony far more than if you'd sworn on a Bible. (Though, of course, that's systemic, not institutional, discrimination.)

"The Wiccan issue is a problem. A small minority religion certainly has problems being recognized as legitimate. I do see that."

If atheists actually had "services", they'd be seeing the same sort of thing.

The US pioneered the concept of separation of religion and government -- they were the first to actually try to put it into practice, and more power to the US for it. Unfortunately, there's a backlash at the moment which is getting worse and worse, and the US has to be vigilant to keep its freedom of religion safe.

Canada, incidentally, doesn't have "separation of church and state". Public support for Catholic schools was written into the British North America Act in 1867 in order to persuade Quebec and the Maritimes that the Protestants in Ontario would treat them fairly. But in the end, we see a lot less religion in public life. We don't have politicians boasting about their faith constantly, for which I'm grateful. The only time I've heard the PM refer to his religion was when he was explaining that his Roman Catholicism was irrelevant when it came to legalizing gay marriage, because as PM he has to go by the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, not his private religious beliefs. An attitude for which I am also grateful.

I'm blathering again... Like I said, this has been on my mind a lot lately.

James said...

"Jews originally didn't believe in the definition of monotheism as they do today. YHVH was the God of Israel, just like Osiris and such were the Egyptian gods."

That's henotheism: essentially, belief in tribal gods. Yahweh was the god of the Hebrews, while next door there were the tribes belonging to gods like Baal, Asherah, Moloch, and so on. "You shall have no other gods before me" meant "you'll worship me out of this crowd", not "there aren't any others".

It was during the Babylonian Exile that the Hebrews changed from henotheism to monotheism, possibly because of exposure to Babylonian religious practises (IIRC, the Babylonians believed in power-of-good god and a power-of-evil god, sort of like the God/Satan pairing).

Crabbi said...

>Maybe something by Clarence Darrow.

I was going to say the screenplay of Inherit the Wind. Who would have thought a few years ago that the possibility of another Scopes trial would be even a remote possibility? It's like we're de-evolving or something.

L-girl said...

James, you are welcome to blather here any time. It's a great topic, and you're clearly very knowledgeable.

The creeping (marching?) Christianity entwined with govt in the US is deeply disturbing. If you look in the wmtc archives, I have various posts called things like "theocracy," "more theocracy," "yet more theocracy," and other (un)imaginative titles.

James said...

"James, you are welcome to blather here any time. It's a great topic, and you're clearly very knowledgeable."

Thanks. I do tend to go on (and on) when I'm on a subject that interests me...

"The creeping (marching?) Christianity entwined with govt in the US is deeply disturbing."

Very deeply. And the sad thing is how much it's enabled by many US citizen's ignorance of their own history. How widely known is it these days that the "under God" bit in the Pledge of Allegiance -- and the "In God We Trust" on the money -- are only about fifty years old? (Not to mention that the author of the Pledge was an avowed socialist!) It always seems to surprise religious Americans when I point that out.

Oh, one other example of institutional religious discrimination: the Constitutions of Texas, Massachusettes, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee all deny atheists or agnostics the right to hold public office.

Here's Article 1, Section 4 from the Texas Constitution:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

So... "No religious test" immediately followed by a religious test.

Though, I suppose that one could, as an atheist, acknowledge, say, Isaac Asimov as a Supreme Being... :)

"If you look in the wmtc archives, I have various posts called things like "theocracy," "more theocracy," "yet more theocracy," and other (un)imaginative titles."

Hey, it doesn't hurt to hammer home the point. :)