Posts Tagged ‘flying spaghetti monster’

The Seven Aphorisms

November 17, 2008

As you’ve probably noticed in the news, the Supreme Court has begun hearing the case of the Summum religion, who tried to erect a monument displaying their Seven Aphorisms in a public park in Park Grove Utah, and were turned down by the city. This, despite the fact that the park has a prominent display of the Ten Commandments.

Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog has a great interview on the case, the arguments being presented, and the direction the court will take. The primary disagreement seems to be whether the monument would be private speech, in which the government would not be permitted to quibble based on content, or government speech, in which the government gets more latitude about what it says.

I find that a bit puzzling. What does it matter if the monument is private or government speech? In either case, the Ten Commandments monument, and its proposed Summum counterpart, are religious statements on public land. They are promotions of religion. Either they should all be allowed, or none should be allowed at all.

The silliest opinion seems to have come from Justice Scalia. He holds that the Ten Commandments are not a religious display of all, because of their historical importance to America. Right. I suppose he doesn’t think the Establishment Clause holds much historical importance, then.

Personally, I think Park Grove should go in for a monument to the Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That would be a real show of support for religious freedom.

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Noah: Captain? Prophet? Hero?

June 7, 2008

I recently ran across my brother’s new blog. Unlike mine, which is a discombulated blob of whatever happens to be cluttering my head, his has a single premise: that Noah, leader of the only humans dubbed worthy by God of surviving the Flood, is the one true prophet, and the one true savior.

Of course he understands as well as I do that the Flood never happened. If I understand correctly, he’s using the premise of starting a new religion to critique the major religions in place today. For instance, one tenant of “An-arkism” (because Noah built “an ark”) is that God can’t be bothered to answer prayers over every niggling aspect of our lives. (Sounds a lot like one of the Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts.)

One more thing you’ll notice is that he hardly ever updates. Be sure to get on his case about that.

In the spirit of starting one’s own religion, I think I’ve discovered the one true God: entropy. I will now devote my life to worshipping Entropy, and to ensuring that its beautifully chaotic domain increases wherever possible. Pursuant to this, I will no longer be cleaning my room, making my bed, combing my hair, or engaging in any other sinful activity that detracts from the glory of Entropy.

South Carolina Senate permits display of 10 Commandments

May 31, 2008

The South Carolina Senate recently passed a bill that would allow the public display of 11 “historical documents” that “make up the nation’s foundation of law and government.” I use the scare quotes because this set includes two “documents” that manifestly do not make up the foundation of US government: the ten commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer.

I’ve got an idea for a law: legislators should have to read the Constitution before taking office. The Establishment Clause clearly forbids the passing of any law with the purpose or effect of establishing religion. This bill would allow public schools to post the Ten Commandments. Do they not see how blatantly unconstitutional that is?

The Establishment Clause exists for a reason: to preserve the freedom of every American to believe what they wish. This bill would singles out Christianity and Judaism. Why don’t they include Muslim commandments? Why don’t they include the Five Precepts of Buddhism? Why don’t they include the Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts of the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

In order to guarantee freedom of religion, public places and proceedings must either exclude all religion, or include all religion. To endorse one religion specifically, as this bill does, denies the freedom of those who follow all the others, or who follow no religion at all.

The bill has already passed the House, but the version passed in the Senate included one or more amendments (e.g. the inclusion of the Lord’s Prayer) that will need to go before the House before the bill can be sent to the governor. Let’s hope a majority of the representatives get some sense. If this bill passes, it will be challenged and struck down in federal court, but not before a gob of taxpayer money is pissed down the drain.