The war on Christmas actually kills people

I saw this by Jazz Shaw on Hot Air:


California atheists block out nativity scenes


posted at 10:30 am on December 24, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

I don’t like dredging up that whole “war on Christmas” thing, but (with apologies in advance to Allahpundit) this story kind of gets under my skin. In Santa Monica, California, there is apparently one particular stretch of road alongside a park which has traditionally been set aside for Christmas displays. The nativity scenes on display have been popular with residents and tourists. But in order to be fair to everyone, the city used a lottery to allocate space to groups wishing to put up Creche displays and related scenes. Now, a group of atheists are accused of swamping the lottery and taking over the lots.

You can follow the link to read the rest. Damon Vix, the organizer of the atheist group, a freelance prop maker who lives in Burbank, said:

I’m part of a growing movement in America of atheists standing up for their rights. It’s a very exciting time for us that we’re having more of an impact in our society. I’m a civil rights activist, and atheists have been discriminated against for as long as I’ve been an atheist — since high school.

Oddly enough, I have, despite my 58½ years on the planet, not been able to recognize an atheist just by looking at him. I can recognize blacks as being black, Asians as being Asian, but, kind of like I can’t tell a Methodist from a Presbyterian — unless I happen to see him walking into or out of their church — just by looking, I can’t just pick out the atheist from the crowd . . . unless he chooses to communicate his beliefs to me. Thus, I can’t discriminate against him unless he chooses to make his beliefs a matter of my knowledge.

And that, it seems to me, begins to call into question just what Mr Vix considers discrimination. To discriminate against (or for) Mr Vix actively, which would be defined as taking a decision which effected Mr Vix in some way, the other person would have to know what Mr Vix’s beliefs were and have some decision point concerning Mr Vix. But what Mr Vix and his allies seem to see as discrimination appears to be somewhat different: they seem to see themselves as being discriminated against if their visual field is encroached upon by symbols of religion.

As regular readers know, the Editor is a Roman Catholic. As it happens, just a couple of blocks down the street from my humble abode is a Methodist church. Now, as a Roman Catholic, I must, among other things, consider Methodism to be an errant belief, just as Mr Vix sees any religious belief as errant. Yet somehow, I do not find myself offended in any way, or somehow discriminated against, because I must pass a Methodist church almost every day.

Even worse, directly across the street from my parish church is a — [horrors!] — Lutheran church. I am compelled to actually see a Lutheran church, a fairly large one at that, every time I go to Mass. Are not these smug Lutherans telling me, with their large edifice with the bright red doors, that my faith is in error?

Of course, if I attempted to make such a claim seriously, all I would get would be derisive laughter . . . and I’d deserve it. Yet that, in effect, is exactly what Mr Vix and his товарищи are saying; the sight of symbols of religious faiths is actually offensive to them, and just having to see such sites constitutes active discrimination. And thus, they must take action to keep from being forced to see these highly offensive visual messages.

Mr Vix and his comrades wouldn’t be the only ones who think like that:


Christmas Attacks in Nigeria Kill 39


LAGOS, Nigeria (Associated Press) — Attacks across Nigeria by a radical Muslim sect killed at least 39 people Sunday, with the majority dying on the steps of a Catholic church in a massive explosion after Christmas Mass.

Elsewhere, a bomb exploded amid gunfire in the central Nigeria city of Jos and a suicide car bomber attacked the military in the nation’s northeast as part of an apparently coordinated assault by the sect known as Boko Haram.

The Christmas Day violence, denounced by world leaders and the Vatican, showed the threat of the widening insurrection posed by Boko Haram against Nigeria’s weak central government. Despite a recent paramilitary crackdown against the sect in the oil-rich nation, it appears that Africa’s most populous nation remains unable to stop the threat.

More at the link. Boko Haram1 is an extremist militant Islamist group waging a civil war in Nigeria, which hold, among other things, that voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers or receiving a secular education are haram, or forbidden to Muslims, and it claimed responsibility for the Christmas Eve bombings which killed at least 32 people and injured scores more. The church bombings were aimed at people who were not Muslims, but Christians; about 15% of Nigerians are Catholic. Like Mr Vix, they are offended by having to see other people who have different beliefs; Boko Haram is simply a lot more lethal in the actions they take against non-Islamists.

Mr Vix, of course, is the product of a Western society and Western education, and Western norms of religious freedom. The odds that Mr Vix or any of his comrades would actually plant a bomb are vanishingly small. But, in the end, their lack of tolerance for the beliefs of others is no different from the lack of tolerance by Boko Haram for the beliefs of others; it’s simply that their Western socialization has put acts like those of Boko Haram outside their paradigm.
________________________________

  1. People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad (Arabic: جماعة اهل السنةجماعة اهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد, jama’atu ahlis sunna lidda’awati wal-jihad), or Boko Haram in the Nigerian language Hausa, which translates literally as “Western education as sacrilege.

21 Comments

  1. LAGOS, Nigeria (Associated Press) — Attacks across Nigeria by a radical Muslim sect killed at least 39 people Sunday, with the majority dying on the steps of a Catholic church in a massive explosion after Christmas Mass.

    Here’s an UNPROVOKED attack by muslims on Christianity, and people wonder why there is a knee jerk reaction Bias against the islam religion.

  2. No excuses for those radical Muslims, but we should be sure we address all extremists, even when they happen to be Christians.

    In Nigeria, it should be noted that Christians have taken strong exception to the existence of homosexuals, not to mention also such as same sex civil unions. There are plenty here who feel the same way about it, just like, for example, Rick Perry.

    Moreover, examples seem to appear on a daily basis of discrimination in this country against Muslims, many of whom actually can be recognized not necessarily by the color of their skin, but also by what they wear.

    And Mr. Editor, I would hope that you would be equally magnanimous were a mosque built across the street from your Roman Catholic Church. Would you?

    It is so easy to extrapolate from the behavior of a minority of extremists to a blanket condemnation of an entire sect. To that kind of discrimination we must be careful to avoid.

  3. WW writes

    In Nigeria, it should be noted that Christians have taken strong exception to the existence of homosexuals, not to mention also such as same sex civil unions. There are plenty here who feel the same way about it, just like, for example, Rick Perry.

    Define “strong exception.” What have the Nigerian Christians done about their “strong exception?” And what has Rick Perry done about his?

    In other words, your attempt to equate the two is just so much gibberish. And you have the gall to tell others to “be careful.” Good one.

  4. WW wrote:

    In Nigeria, it should be noted that Christians have taken strong exception to the existence of homosexuals, not to mention also such as same sex civil unions. There are plenty here who feel the same way about it, just like, for example, Rick Perry.

    “(T)aken strong exception to the existence of homosexuals?” Has Rick Perry suggested that they ought to be rounded up and shot? Or hanged, as they are in Iran?

    Some conservatives do object to the notion that homosexual unions ought to be considered the legal and moral equivalent of heterosexual marriage, but no one with any influence at all is seriously suggesting that homosexuals should be rounded up and shot, hanged or deported. In short, in the United States, we are tolerant of that difference, even if some of us think it odd or difficult to understand or weird or just plain ick.

    Even the utter fringe group calling itself Westboro Baptist Church — Fred Phelps’ whelps — who protest at the funerals of soldiers aren’t calling for homosexuals to be killed; all that they are doing is protesting.

    Your primarily libertarian Editor doesn’t care if two (or more) men or two (or more) women or three or more men and women want to share a domicile in whatever sexual arrangements they desire; it’s none of his business. But he would say that their private affairs should be exactly that: private. They should not attempt to use their relationships to change the traditional structure of society and our culture’s preference for monogamous heterosexual marriage.

  5. WW wrote:

    Moreover, examples seem to appear on a daily basis of discrimination in this country against Muslims, many of whom actually can be recognized not necessarily by the color of their skin, but also by what they wear.

    That’s certainly true enough, because they are deliberately adopting cultural as well as religious norms outside of the mainstream; the problem is much worse in Europe, where their cultural norms are taking over some enclaves, and their idiotic calls for using shari’a law within their communities, as opposed to the established national law, are attempts to keep them separate. Rather than assimilating into the cultures of the nations in which they reside, they are trying for a separatist, and expansionist, autonomous culture. The actions of their co-religionists in the Middle East only inflames dislike of Muslims here.

    You can look to the various waves of immigration we have seen in our history, and how, despite some discrimination, the various other groups have all tried to assimilate into the larger American culture and society. Sometimes the immigrants were white, and could mostly blend in, and other times they were Asian — I’m thinking here of the major influx of Vietnamese in the 1970s — who were easily visible, but who nevertheless settled down, worked hard, and made themselves part of the American culture. Those who assimilate are not objectionable in the least.

    And Mr. Editor, I would hope that you would be equally magnanimous were a mosque built across the street from your Roman Catholic Church. Would you?

    T’would be a rather fruitless undertaking in this community, but if they buy the property legally, and obey the local zoning ordinances for building codes and parking facilities, they would have a perfect legal right to build a mosque. In fact, depending upon which corner we were talking about — my parish church is on the southeast corner of a four way intersection, while St John’s Lutheran Church is on the northwest corner — new construction would be a significant improvement. I’d even sell them the concrete to build their mosque, just as I had absolutely no objection to selling concrete to redo the sidewalks around St John’s a couple of months ago.

  6. Wagonwheel says:
    December 26, 2011 at 07:44 (Edit)

    No excuses for those radical Muslims, but we should be sure we address all extremists, even when they happen to be Christians.

    How many unprovoked attacks have Chrisitians pulled muslims? Do you remember that Lebanon was once a mostly Christian Country? Have you noticed that under the dictators, or semi dictators in Egypt like Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak left the Coptic Christians alone? For the most part Saddam left Christians alone. And do you know that there is a move to reinstate the Caliphate of the 1400′s?

  7. Mr Editor, I believe we are in agreeent about radical behavior, triggered by your topic piece on radical atheists. I tend to take a live and let live attitude, unless some behavior infringes significantly on others.

    For this reason, I am concerned by the anti-GLBT stance of prominent people like Rick Perry, and less prominent people as well, because statements like his encourage discrimination-like behavior against a particular group. And there is more to it than your position that they have a right to live their lives as they choose, but there should not be a formal/legal union which then provides benefits to which only legally married heterosexual couples are entitled. For example, one must be legally married in order to obtain the legal documents permitting medical decisions to be made by one for an incapacitated mate. So there are practical and legal restrictions/ramifications in states which do not permit civil unions for same gender gay couples. This is clearly discriminatory.

    Which is why I had written this:

    “In Nigeria, it should be noted that Christians have taken strong exception to the existence of homosexuals, not to mention also such as same sex civil unions. There are plenty here who feel the same way about it, just like, for example, Rick Perry.”

    Your position is called the “defense of marriage”, which I have never understood, since your marriage is not the least bit in jeopardy should the two men living next door have a civil union legally uniting them. Yours, Mr Editor, is an excuse to discriminate against gays, in my view.

    And Yorkshire, as we had discussed before on CSPT, extremist Christians make threats of violence against doctors who perform legal abortions, even that there have been several murdered, in the name of pro-life. These people are, in effect, terrorists.

    And then there are the Westboro Baptist Church members who interfere with the funerals of our soldiers; those extremist protests could easily turn violent, because their behavior is so abhorrent.

    And on the Coptic Christians who were permitted by Mubarak to practice their beliefs, they are now in danger, as they have been under attacke recently.

    My point is that even an apparently benign statement by a leader like Rick Perry can lead to troubles. He should be disciplined enough to keep his private beliefs to himself.

  8. WW wrote:

    And then there are the Westboro Baptist Church members who interfere with the funerals of our soldiers; those extremist protests could easily turn violent, because their behavior is so abhorrent.

    Surprisingly enough, the “violence” directed toward Fred Phelps’ whelps took the form of getting their tires slashed. They faced jeers and being shouted down, and if some of the deceased Army buddies or bikers chose to kick their candy asses, I’d simply say, “they got what they deserved,” but that hasn’t happened yet.

    My point is that even an apparently benign statement by a leader like Rick Perry can lead to troubles. He should be disciplined enough to keep his private beliefs to himself.

    Governor Perry is basing part of his campaign upon his moral, ethical and religious beliefs; every Presidential candidate at the very least tells you to what faith he belongs, and the voters have every right to base their decisions upon the candidates’ beliefs. And while Governor Perry’s religious views are fairly unremarkable and American mainstream, should Governor Romney win the nomination, I’m absolutely certain that we will see the attacks coming from the Democrats based on the fact he is a Mormon. Oh, they’ll try to make them subtle, if they can figure out how, and they’ll try to make them second- and third-hand if they can — nothing directly on the campaign websites, of course — but I guarantee you that they’ll be made.

    Your position is called the “defense of marriage”, which I have never understood, since your marriage is not the least bit in jeopardy should the two men living next door have a civil union legally uniting them. Yours, Mr Editor, is an excuse to discriminate against gays, in my view.

    That’s because you don’t understand what is being defended: what is being defended is the traditional and legal view of marriage as being between one man and one woman, period, as an institution. We absolutely support the view that monogamous heterosexual marriage is a preferred societal arrangement, and that all others, while legal and tolerated, are socially and culturally inferior.

    More, some activists wish to use the legalization of same-sex marriage as a weapon to attack the Church. It’s not difficult to see the path of attack which would be made: a homosexual couple goes to a Catholic priest, and requests a Nuptial Mass. The priest declines, and the couple then sues the Church for violating their civil rights. If you think that’s far-fetched, just change the word homosexual to interracial, and you can easily see where the legal liability would be.

  9. WW:
    And Yorkshire, as we had discussed before on CSPT, extremist Christians make threats of violence against doctors who perform legal abortions, even that there have been several murdered, in the name of pro-life. These people are, in effect, terrorists.

    I can believe they are terrorists, but if anyone kills in the name of christianity, they are not Christians in spite of how they play it.

  10. “That’s because you don’t understand what is being defended: what is being defended is the traditional and legal view of marriage as being between one man and one woman, period, as an institution. We absolutely support the view that monogamous heterosexual marriage is a preferred societal arrangement, and that all others, while legal and tolerated, are socially and culturally inferior.”

    Oh I understand what is being defended as you have described it, but I do not understand why it has to be defended. Well really I do, it is to impose “cultural values” on others who cannot possibly qualify to have them yet still feel like part of a family in the same sense that you can be part of yours.

    This, Mr Editor, is tantamount to rendering our GLBT sisters and brothers to a second class status, legally and culturally. This is identical to our historic practice of relegating people of color to second class status because they are not of our pure, white culture, an attitude that persists to this day. This is wrong, Mr Editor! This generates hatred and attempts to perpetuate same.

    Worse, why do some think that we need to pass legislation to defend marriage as being between a man and a woman? Now we need a law to enforce this absolute on us all?

    Where are your libertarian ideals? Where is your compassion for all peoples, Mr Editor, and for each individual as well. Who among us is able to control the genetic inheritance which has determined some of who and what we are? Have you not grasped the fact that we are all human beings, one not more or less so than another?

    For parochial “cultural” reasons, you have permitted yourself to assign yourself, a heterosexual male, to a superior position than your neighbor who happens to be a homosexual male. What possible justification can you now give for this?

    This issue, by the way, is just one example of an outcome derived from a held belief considered by an individual, you in this case, to be an absolute truth, therefore one which must be accepted by the rest of us.

  11. WW wrote:

    Worse, why do some think that we need to pass legislation to defend marriage as being between a man and a woman? Now we need a law to enforce this absolute on us all?

    Those were our laws all along, WW. And we required Utah to pass such laws, prohibiting polygamy, before the territory would be admitted into the union. We have need of such “defense” laws now because idiotic judges are “interpreting” existing statutes into something that they are not, and never were meant to be.

    Where are your libertarian ideals? Where is your compassion for all peoples, Mr Editor, and for each individual as well. Who among us is able to control the genetic inheritance which has determined some of who and what we are? Have you not grasped the fact that we are all human beings, one not more or less so than another?

    My libertarian ideals exist in the fact that I would not criminalize homosexual activity or non-traditional living arrangements, as long as they did not include the abuse of minors. But if someone does not fit within the cultural definition of marriage, that’s his problem.

    For parochial “cultural” reasons, you have permitted yourself to assign yourself, a heterosexual male, to a superior position than your neighbor who happens to be a homosexual male. What possible justification can you now give for this?

    Leviticus 18:22 is sufficient for me.

    This issue, by the way, is just one example of an outcome derived from a held belief considered by an individual, you in this case, to be an absolute truth, therefore one which must be accepted by the rest of us.

    This is more than me, but it is virtually all of society, and virtually all of history. I am absolutely willing to say that our society and culture are superior, and should not be ignored.

  12. WW writes:

    Mr Editor, I believe we are in agreeent about radical behavior, triggered by your topic piece on radical atheists. I tend to take a live and let live attitude, unless some behavior infringes significantly on others.

    No you don’t, else you wouldn’t be in favor of things like Obamacare, among others.

    You are indeed correct that abortion doctor killers are akin to terrorists; however, the difference between you, me, Editor and many others is that you push your head WAY down into the sand with regards to Islamic terrorism. Your silly attempts to equate abortion dr. murderers with the organized worldwide campaign of terror perpetrated by radical Islamists are laughable in the extreme. The main difference is that the overwhelming majority of Christians here in America and elsewhere soundly reject such violence against doctors, despite their abhorrence to abortion. OTOH, way too many Muslims believe terror is justified against what they perceive (usually wrongly) as legitimate grievances.

  13. “Wow, Editor. You can take the entire post of : December 26, 2011 at 17:15 , To the bloody, freekin’ bank!!!”

    Not in my opinion, Hoagie.

    This is exactly the mindset of bigotry which dominated our culture regarding the sin of slavery, of denying the vote to women, of the ubiquitous practices of racism, and now, of the denial of human and civil rights to gays.

    And here we see Mr Editor, a proponent of small and unobtrusive government, happy to turn Leviticus 18:22 into a defense of marriage law which we all must then obey.

    These highly questionable practices create a caste system, motivated by a desire to make people we do not like into second class citizens or worse.

    Moreover, Mr Editor, since you will invoke Leviticus 18:22 against gays getting married, what heterosexual practices will you invoke against straights getting married?

    So look here Hoagie, our editor here claims to be a small government advocate; then what about this?

    And worse, once again bigotry rears its ugly head, this time against gays. Cannot we ever get past these sins? What do you think Jesus Christ would say about this?

    And Mr Editor, finally, cultural values which are discriminatory, which create second class citizenship for some, are values we need to abandon, because they are not really values, now are they?

  14. “For parochial “cultural” reasons, you have permitted yourself to assign yourself, a heterosexual male, to a superior position than your neighbor who happens to be a homosexual male. What possible justification can you now give for this?”

    Rational self-interest might be one particularly good one. The notion of “just happens” is also quite misleading on an atheistic-materialist’s own premisses. It incoherently implies that some kind of identically preformed human persons [such as religious folks conceive of] are randomly dropped into various suits of physical clothing which they must then wear throughout life. However on the materialist and atheist supposition there is no such soul to be deposited, and no such imaginary fundamental metaphysical equality. [You are what your physically are, and not a, say, 'Dana Somebody' dressed up in slightly different flesh]

    People with radically different tastes and urges therefore, represent on some levels radially different and developmentally incompatible kinds; not the same kinds just dressed up differently, as you either wittingly or unwittingly assume.

    Though one can see easily enough see why leftists wish to preserve and deploy the old language of a ‘common humanity’ and mutual obligations descended from it, when such a deployment is in their practical interest.

    “This issue, by the way, is just one example of an outcome derived from a held belief considered by an individual, you in this case, to be an absolute truth, therefore one which must be accepted by the rest of us.”

    The Left’s absolute truth of course, is that politically coercive cost shifting and unconditional professions of social affirmation and engagement are absolute requirements which must be foisted upon anyone who is unfortunate to share a political space with them.

    Now, I doubt that many libertarians or even conservatives much care what buggers do to or with one another, as long as they are neither required to endorse the behavior nor share the costs incurred by the practitioners. This tolerance principle might equally well apply to say, and hypothetically, alcoholics or drug addicts or to anyone else having autogenic behavioral disorders.

    One would normally think that persons professing an abhorrence of absolutes would look very skeptically at any preachment of social solidarity – as well as at those who are seen to be cynically pimping the concept – as if it were an absolute or categorical moral requirement of some kind.

    Oddly enough, this never seems to be the case.

    Oh, Merry Christmas, by the way.

  15. “This, Mr Editor, is tantamount to rendering our GLBT sisters and brothers …”

    There’s that fictive and emotive language being deployed once again, in order to coax out a concession which reason itself probably cannot justify.

    I have no idea whether the use of such language is cynically manipulative in intent, or merely represents a mental confusion on the part of the user.

  16. Wagonwheel I don’t know how many gay or lesbian people you are aquainted with but I know three gay men and one lesbian. They are all “out” and all members of my club. They are in no way second class citizens. One owns a very successful “gay” restaurant and bar in Center City Philly, the two othe guys own a golf course (and a boat with a larger Sq. Ft. than my house) and ar “partners”. The lesbian is a teacher, not rich but quite content. They all vote, they all can own property and they can all share the very same rights we share. They can even marry any one they choose of the opposite sex, just like you and I.

    I’m sure you are not foolish enough to believe this “gay marraige” stuff is about some kind of equal rights. Right now there are two types of marriage: religious and legal. The former is a consecration of the church, the second a contract granted by the state. The entire “gay marraige” movement is to have the state contract accepted, but then to force churches, by the power of the state to recognize that which they never will thereby “church busting”. To people of all religions buggers are nothing more than sexual perverts so to leftists, the religeous “must go”. Ater all there’s a lot of valuable (and taxable) real estate held by those intolerant bastards that would be better served in the hands of the 99%’ers. If they can bust the church they can bust the moral, etical backbone of American culture and insure “social justice” for all the resulting rudderless serfs.

  17. Wagonwheel says:
    December 27, 2011 at 11:26 (Edit)

    “Wow, Editor. You can take the entire post of : December 26, 2011 at 17:15 , To the bloody, freekin’ bank!!!”

    Not in my opinion, Hoagie.

    This is exactly the mindset of bigotry which dominated our culture regarding the sin of slavery, of denying the vote to women, of the ubiquitous practices of racism, and now, of the denial of human and civil rights to gays.

    Why is it that Liberals and Progressives DICTATE what behavior we all must conform. That is dictorial in the least. I have listened enough to this Political Correctness BOVINE FECES long enough. It is the dictorial aims of Progressives to make the nation conform. I reject it.

    Next, a harangue about the Religious Right.

  18. We need to review these occasionally

    Declaration of Independence

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

    Preamble – Constitution

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

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