Pastafarians may not participate in a holiday display in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mayor Jim Schmitt described the proposal as "silly." He declared a moratorium on additional displays after a Wiccan wreath displayed with the nativity scene was vandalized.
After police announced Monday someone stole and damaged a Wiccan display overnight that had been placed on the roof Friday, Schmitt ordered that it wouldn't be replaced and that no other displays would be permitted until the City Council debates the issue tonight.
In fairness, the mayor may be well within his rights to put a stopper on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Seinfeldian Festivus (for the rest of us). But there are serious constitutional questions when the only remaining display is a Christian one.
"Who is to say what is a legitimate religious institution?" said Maureen Manion, a retired St. Norbert College professor of political science, with a specialty in constitutional law. "Is there a check-off list? That's shaky constitutional ground, as far as I'm concerned."
Faced with a law suit, after its Tuesday night vote to restrict the display, the city is scrambling to cover its bases.
Schmitt on Wednesday directed city maintenance workers to move a Christmas tree and wire reindeer next to the nativity display.
True, the christmas tree is one of the many vestigial pagan symbols that remain in the Christmas tradition. I doubt that it sufficiently replaces the damaged pentacle.
Schmitt said Monday he didn't realize until that day that the wreath and pentacle involved witchcraft. Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons, but Schmitt said he believed it was wrong to allow a Wiccan display next to the nativity scene.
"Wrong" to allow a Wiccan symbol near a Christian one... Well then, I guess we can be pretty sure that no bias went into his decision to restrict all but the nativity scene.
Not a fan of nativity scenes, myself. Although every year I play with the idea of putting up a display of the newborn Mithras in his cave, surrounded by the magi and shepherds, just to see if anyone notices the difference. I doubt Mayor Schmitt would catch on. After listening to this interview on NPR, I'm not sure he's ever heard of any religions other than Christianity. Certainly, he has never been touched by the noodly appendage. For my part:
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
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So as we inch closer to the election we begin to see the volatility all over again. This time it is springing up in the InsiderAdvantage poll:
I bet Huma is on bartender duty today.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I love the smell of a Lawrence O'Donnell meltdown in the morning. He goes off the rails better than any talking head in memory. Last Sunday may have been his best tirade ever; if for no other reason, the fact that he did not later retract it. If you're not a fan of The McLaughlin Group, you might have missed it.
I grew up on John McLaughlin and it's something of a tradition in my house. Every Sunday my husband and I drink our morning coffee to the mingled sounds Pat Buchanan's bloviating and my daughter's complaints of boredom. She sounds just like I did way back when my grandmother sat on her perch in front of the kitchen black and white. There are so few constants in the world of mass media. The McLaughlin Group is one to savor. At least once during every show, my husband or I will proclaim, on cue, "Wraaaahhhnng! I had oatmeal and banahnaaaaahs." It's kind of like "Hi Bob," only without the booze.
After last Sunday's McLaughlin offering, I searched the tv line-up for another airing. It was too good not to watch at least twice. YouTube to the rescue. (see above)
Here's what Frank Rich had to say, yesterday, about O'Donnell's anti-Mormon rant.
THIS campaign season has been in desperate need of its own reincarnation of Howard Beale from “Network”: a TV talking head who would get mad as hell and not take it anymore. Last weekend that prayer was answered when Lawrence O’Donnell, an excitable Democratic analyst, seized a YouTube moment while appearing on one of the Beltway’s more repellent Sunday bloviathons, “The McLaughlin Group.”
O'Donnell, for his part, followed his shocking television appearance with a more moderated, but still scathing write-up on Romney's Mormonism.
Romney felt politically forced to give the speech specifically because evangelical Christians seem to know a little too much about the faith of his fathers. Many evangelicals believe and have said publicly that Mormonism--contrary to Romney's assertions--is not a Christian religion but an abomination of Christianity. Here's a sampling of why: Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri; that Jews were the first people in America; that Indians descended from Jews and are a lost tribe of Israel; that Jesus came to America; that after the next coming of Christ (which will be the second or third, depending on how you count his trip to America), the world will be ruled for a thousand years from Jerusalem and Missouri; and to answer Mike Huckabee's now famous question, yes, they believe "Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, in the sense of both being spiritually begotten by the Father."
I find it disturbing that this is a conversation we even need to have. I agree with Eleanor Clift that all religions have some kooky notions; especially before they've had millenium or two to mature. But Romney opened the door with his passionate defense of his religion. I would have a far higher comfort level with Romney's Mormonism if he had forcefully stood up for separation between church and state, in his speech. He failed to meet that bar, saying instead:
Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom ... Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
He put his religion in play. We all have a right to know exactly what he believes, as it seems he doesn't know how to separate those beliefs from his governance. Lawrence O'Donnell had the balls to call him on his duplicity. That's exactly the kind of righteous indignation we need.
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Paul's single driving position behind the fundraising, including the November 5th, $4.2 million haul is his stance on the Iraq war and his rallying against the Bush civil liberty destruction machine. His supporters see themselves as true patriots and many of them are. Paul has the highest number of active military as donors than any other candidate. Go figure. Should we be surprised others in the GOP are fed up with BushCo and the war?
What is terminally sad is he is doing more to get us out of Iraq than Nancy Pelosi. The mind boggles.