Saturday, November 14, 2009

1st Amendments & Such

I am pretty much a 1st amendment junkie. I tend to think that folks in first amendment related rackets tend to think similarly. This is one of the reasons I like blogs and don't like people who don't use them accordingly. Seems to me if you believe in the spirit of America, you would want to aspire to the tenets of the nation.
A couple issues came up recently, one being an atheist recruiting billboard in Cincinnati & the other being an ad in an NKU student paper.
Prior to hearing about the local billboard story, I was alerted to an article in The Daily beast about the movement to proselytize Atheism over at Chris's Commons.
Atheists, in my world, have fallen into 2 camps - people who have just "walked away" and people who have "angrily reacted & rejected". Most of the latter category have been Catholic while the bulk of the former have been Protestant or Jewish. When one hears about sexual abuse in the Catholic church, the motivations of the angry reaction & rejecter types gets kinda ominous. Apparently, there are 2 camps in the Atheist community in regards to the issue of proselytizing Atheism. I wonder how much these 2 camps represent my 2 camps? I certainly understand the folks like Richard Dawkins who go about debunking foolish myths that have been fairly proven wrong by science and I understand the anger towards people who perpetuate fairy tales, deny science and prattle on about scientists practicing their own heretic religion. The debate over the local Creation Theme Park -er- Museum being a prime example.
In the early 1800s, theocratic Muslim nations defended the actions of pirates in the Mediterranean Sea, plundering, killing and enslaving Christians, as perfectly justified in their society & religion and cited scripture in the Koran to back it up. Christian Europe was pretty much in the same mindset for centuries, too. We founded the USA as a secular nation, however, and we tend to condemn such beliefs and actions and promote free discussion instead.
So it was no surprise but disheartening to read, over at the Asylum, that religionists had intimidated the landowner who leased billboard space to the company who posted the Atheist billboard. I am very happy Lamar accommodated their customer with a new billboard. The only details are posted in a media release at Cincinnati Coalition of Reason website. What the threats were against the guy who hosted the billboard are not specified. They could have been threats of physical harm, boycotting or armies of protesters. Whatever, they got off easy with Lamar not identifying the people making the threats.
Meanwhile, down at NKU, the student newspaper accepted an ad for Resistance Records which specializes in White Supremacist music. First of all, if you don't think your beliefs and lifestyles are the best, what the hell are you doing ? Anyway, one of the great things about free speech is letting a person prove he is an asshole himself. Saves everybody else a lot of trouble. The Barbary Coast pirates felt they were superior. Running an ad is not an endorsement but publications do need to keep an eye on their advertisers to make sure they are not scamming the readers. Resistance is pretty daggone upfront about themselves. Would their ad have been better with some White Supremacist iconography ? Perhaps, but if they are denied the ability to publish their iconography, who would recognize it anyway ?
Sadly, some of the same people who would happily silence the White Supremacists condemn the folks trying to silence the Atheists. One guy at the Asylum condemned that blog for even mentioning the NKU story because it made people aware of the White Supremacist company.
One of the greatest things about the society proposed by the United States founders was the guarantee of the free, unfettered exchange of ideas and the inability of the government to impose or discriminate against faith. Keeping people unaware of ideas is tantamount to lying. For the most part, I applaud Lamar for their efforts in this case and I am disappointed by the NKU paper for stifling speech, especially in their quest for "diversity". Diversity as long as you agree with me is not diversity. Letting assholes speak is the best way to discredit them.

1 comment:

Mark Miller said...

Amen! Oops.
Halleluyah! No that won't do either.
Damn it, how does one make an exclamation of agreement that isn't dripping with religious association?
Many of the founders would have said "So mote it be."