Thursday, August 19, 2010

Federal appeals court agree with American Atheists Inc.

In Utah, there are 13 crosses along the roadside in various parts of the state that are memorials to officers of the Utah Highway Patrol who died in the line of duty at the spot where the memorials are located. Each cross is white, 12 feet tall with a picture and short biography of the fallen officer, and the insignia of the Utah Highway Patrol. The presence of these crosses drew the ire of a Texas Atheist group that sued to have them removed from pubic property. It isn't that the alleged offending memorials are anywhere in Texas. They obviously went out of their way to target Utah. A federal judge properly threw the case out of court, but a few days ago, the 10th District Federal Appeals Court reversed the ruling and sided with the Atheists.

In a 35-page ruling, the court said, “We hold that these memorials have the impermissible effect of conveying to the reasonable observer the message that the state prefers or otherwise endorses a certain religion. They therefore violate the establishment clause of the federal constitution.”

The notion that there is such a thing as separation of church and state in the constitution is nonsense and the notion that a cross on the side of the road erected by a group of private citizens at their own expense means that the federal government is establishing a religion is patent twaddle. Only a liberal activist judge or group of liberal activist judges could put forth such an idiotic ruling with straight faces. I don’t believe that they even believe what they have written. The ruling goes on to say, “We conclude that the cross memorials would convey to a reasonable observer that the state of Utah is endorsing Christianity,” they said. “The memorials use the preeminent symbol of Christianity.” Well, what do you know, does it take a cross on the highway to make one think that the state of Utah, the home of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) endorses Christianity? When I think of Utah, I think of Mormons and did so long before this imbecilic court decision. When I see a cross on the side of the road, I immediately know what someone has died there. It never enters my mind that the government is announcing a national religion.

Now that I've made it clear what I think about this federal appeals court, it’s time to talk about atheists in general and American Atheists Inc. in particular.

There are atheists everywhere and there are probably more of them about than one might expect. However, most of those who eschew religion keep it to themselves. That’s their business and none of mine. On the other hand, organized groups of atheists who stick their noses into the religion and religious practices of the majority of Americans are people with too much time on their hands that need to mind their own business.

The American Atheists Inc. is the Texas based outfit founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair, a Maryland transplant who was responsible for the ban on school prayer by the Supreme Court. She was eventually murdered and dismembered, along with her son and his girlfriend by a thieving employee of her organization. She proudly wore the title of "The most hated woman in the United States. The followers of Miz O’Hair exist for the purpose of antagonizing religious people and preventing them from exercising the practice of their religion in public—using the federal courts in the name of the First Amendment to go around the First Amendment. This outfit has a website, blogs, a Facebook page and other modern communications means of spreading the word. Their website has on online store where a disbeliever can buy trinkets. They are selling memberships for $20/yr, or $1200 for a life membership, which includes a life member pin and your name in the magazine. With all their evangelistic proselytizing, one might get the idea that atheism, like the groups
they furiously attack, is itself a religion.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Monument to the Muslim massacre of 2001

The question of whether or not Muslims should be allowed to build their victory monument to 911, two blocks from the scene of the carnage is getting a lot of attention in the news lately. It was only a matter of time before Obama offered his unsurprising opinion—it’s okay build the mosque in the name of religious tolerance. Why is it that when dealing with the most intolerant people in the world, we Americans are expected to take the high road, turn the other cheek, and bend over for these paragons of intolerance, in the name of tolerance?

It’s not that there is a shortage of Islamic places of worship; on the map, I counted 37 Mosques and “Cultural Centers” in the NYC/Newark area. So why do they want a 16 story Islamic building two blocks from Ground Zero? I think the answer may be in the original name of the project, The Cordoba House. Once the significance of the name was discovered, they changed the name to Park 51. I found the following on an Islamic website,

By the tenth century, Cordoba could boast of a population of some 500,000, compared to about 38,000 in Paris. According to the chronicles of the day, the city had 700 mosques, some 60,000 palaces, and 70 libraries - one reportedly housing 500,000 manuscripts and employing a staff of researchers, illuminators, and book binders. Cordoba also had some 900 public baths, Europe's first street lights and, five miles outside the city, the caliphal residence, Madinat al-Zahra. A complex of marble, stucco, ivory, and onyx, Madinat al-Zahra took forty years to build, cost close to one-third of Cordoba's revenue, and was, until destroyed in the eleventh century, one of the wonders of the age. Its restoration, begun in the early years of this century, is still under way.

It took about seven hundred years before Spain was able to regain control of their country and oust the Muslims. Is it possible that they (the Muslims) have similar designs on New York—to conquer the infidel incrementally?

I think this project, if built, will be considered by Muslims as a monument to their first major victory, a mighty act of war against the infidel. If not a symbol of victory, why did they intend to name it The Cordoba House?

Nobody is disputing the legality of going ahead with this project. They own the land—or part of it anyway, and the Jewish Mayor of NYC thinks it’s a good idea. He’s another one who thinks that every gesture of surrender to the Muslims is showing the world how fair and tolerant we Americans are. The world, on the other hand, thinks we are soft, easy pushovers. They’re right in a way. Our government is far too soft and someday we’ll pay a heavy price for the government’s lack of backbone.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A border encounter in Borneo

It was sometime in 1974, I think. Peter Rowles, an Australian driller and I were leaving Nunukan Island, off the East Coast of Borneo, working on a seismic exploration crew. If you have Google Earth you can find where we were camped. We were located about 3° 58’ 50.45” N, 117° 38' 17.87” E. Not long after our chartered taxi, a local boat with 3 40 HP Johnson outboard motors on the stern, left the island, we were intercepted by a steel-hulled Indonesian Navy boat containing several armed men. They escorted us to their ship, which was about a mile away. The “ship” was about the size of a torpedo boat. It was clear that it was an Indonesian Navy vessel because it had wet laundry hanging from the signal halyards where signal flags would normally be found.

Once aboard, we were taken to a cabin where two officers sat smoking and drinking coffee. We were offered coffee as is the custom of refined Indonesians. Eventually they got down to business. They wanted to know who we were, what we were doing so close to the Malaysian border and they demanded to see our passports, visas and police clearance papers. In our halting Indonesian, we attempted to answer their questions but we couldn’t produce any paperwork, because all of our documents were back at the base camp in the office safe. “A likely story,” their faces said as they glared at us skeptically.

What we didn’t do was call them pigs and racists. We didn’t say that we had a right to sneak into/out of Indonesia and that they could kiss our white, albeit rusty, behinds. No, such behavior is unacceptable outside the United States. Other countries have borders and authorities that enforce their immigration laws.

In our case back then, eventually they gave up any hope that they had nailed a couple of desperate criminals. They turned us loose. I left a fresh pack of cigarettes on the table when I got up to go—such courtesies were expected then, and probably still are.

We learned later that they went down to our camp, located a couple of our labor contractors, and shook them down for whatever they could get out of them. Such customs and practices were common then—and probably still are.