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Happy Freethought Day!
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Published Saturday, October 11, 2014 @ 9:18 PM EDT
Oct 11 2014


(photo from threfreethinker)

Freethought Day is October 12th, the annual observance by freethinkers and secularists of the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials.

The seminal event connected to Freethought Day is a letter written by then Massachusetts Governor William Phips in which he wrote to the Privy Council of the British monarchs, William and Mary, on this day in 1692. He outlined the quagmire into which the trials had degenerated, in part by a reliance on "evidence" of a non-objective nature and especially "spectral evidence" in which the accusers claimed to see devils and other phantasms consorting with the accused. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Every man- in the development of his own personality- has the right to form his own beliefs and opinions. Hence, suppression of belief, opinion and expression is an affront to the dignity of man, a negation of man’s essential nature.
-Thomas Emerson

First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.
-Anthony Kennedy

For the First Amendment rests upon the premise that both religion and government can best work to achieve their lofty aims if each is left free from the other within its respective sphere.
-Hugo Black

Freedom of expression must be considered sacred and thought can only be corrected by counter thought.
-Mahfouz Naguib

Freedom of thought and the right of private judgment, in matters of conscience, driven from every other corner of the earth, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.
-Samuel Adams

Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.
-Chief Justice Robert Jackson

Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought.
-Graham Greene

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations; but, on a candid examination of history, we shall find that turbulence, violence, and abuse of power, by the majority trampling on the rights of the minority, have produced factions and commotions, which, in republics, have, more frequently than any other cause, produced despotism. If we go over the whole history of ancient and modern republics, we shall find their destruction to have generally resulted from those causes.
-James Madison

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
-Noam Chomsky

It is true that many Americans find the (Ten) Commandments in accord with their personal beliefs. But we do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.
-Sandra Day O'Connor

No people in history have ever survived who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies.
-Dean Acheson

The freedom of thought is a sacred right of every individual man, and diversity will continue to increase with the progress, refinement, and differentiation of the human intellect.
-Felix Adler

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.
-John Adams

They (the Pilgrim Fathers) believed in freedom of thought for themselves and for all other people who believed exactly as they did.
-Will Cuppy

Unreason and anti-intellectualism abominate thought. Thinking implies disagreement; and disagreement implies nonconformity; and nonconformity implies heresy; and heresy implies disloyalty- so, obviously, thinking must be stopped. But shouting is not a substitute for thinking and reason is not the subversion but the salvation of freedom.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

We are so proud of our guarantees of freedom in thought and speech and worship, that, unconsciously, we are guilty of one of the greatest errors that ignorance can make- we assume our standard of values is shared by all other humans in the world.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking or thinking I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.
-John Adams

You simply disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey the social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom.
-Charlton Heston


Categories: Atheism, Church and State, First Amendment, Freethought, Religion


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Signs of the Apocalypse, #911...
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Published Wednesday, July 09, 2014 @ 9:30 AM EDT
Jul 09 2014

... when Jesse Ventura is the voice of reason:

This is simply the protection of religion, again, to gain its foothold into our state houses, and to inflict their beliefs on people like me that don't want to believe what they believe.

You listening to me out there? I don't want to believe what you believe, and you can't make me. And you never will. Enough of this.

You have your religion, you're free to practice it, but stop bringing it into the state house and stop trying to pass now federal laws that protect you.

When the churches start paying taxes, then the church can have a say so."


Categories: Church and State, First Amendment, Jesse Ventura, Religion, Signs of the Apocalypse, Supreme Court, Video, YouTube


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I think I see the problem here...
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Published Sunday, July 06, 2014 @ 3:44 PM EDT
Jul 06 2014


Categories: Church and State, First Amendment, Religion, Supreme Court


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Happy Independence Day from Bizarro World
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Published Friday, July 04, 2014 @ 3:20 PM EDT
Jul 04 2014

Where men are people, corporations are people, and women apparently just don't make the judicial cut...

Corporations are people, my friend. Women? Not so much.
-Erin Gloria Ryan

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This is the kind of ruling where you look at the dissent and you think, 'Oh yeah, this is definitely going to get overturned on appeal,' and then you realize 'Oh God, there's no appeal.'
-Rachel Maddow

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Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (dissenting):

In the Court’s view, RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on third parties who do not share the corporation owners’ religious faith- in these cases, thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga or dependents of persons those corporations employ. Persuaded that Congress enacted RFRA to serve a far less radical purpose, and mindful of the havoc the Court’s judgment can introduce, I dissent...

...Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community. Indeed, by law, no religion-based criterion can restrict the work force of for-profit corporations... The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight...

The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor (dissenting):

Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word. Not so today.

Let me be absolutely clear: I do not doubt that Wheaton genuinely believes that signing the self-certification form is contrary to its religious beliefs. But thinking one's religious beliefs are substantially burdened... does not make it so. Not every sincerely felt 'burden' is a 'substantial' one, and it is for courts, not litigants, to identify which are.

The Court's actions in this case create unnecessary costs and layers of bureaucracy, and they ignore a simple truth: The Government must be allowed to handle the basic tasks of public administration in a manner that comports with common sense.

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The men who wrote this decision on behalf of the Supreme Court have entered into a war on women. They have become a blatantly political activist anti-women political organization. There are some [religious] beliefs that are so heinous that government should not respect them… Withholding basic health care from women is bigotry, plain and simple. We should not accept it, no matter how ‘sincerely’ the belief is held.
-Terry O'Neill, President, National Organization of Women

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Guess which justices supported corporations' refusal to pay for female contraceptives?

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It's good to know that the Supreme Court is dominated by the town elders from "Footloose."
-Frank Conniff

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John Fugelsang:

Supreme Court rules in #HobbyLobby case that religious preferences don't have to follow laws.
Your move, Rastafarians.

Hobby Lobby covers Viagra, not IUD; because a fertilized egg is clearly God's will but impotency clearly isn't.

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It may be time for some personal sidewalk counseling by liberals outside of Hobby Lobby doors.
-Susan Gardner

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KGB:

The U.S. Constitution and the Bible have a lot in common. Few people have read them in their entirety; they are quoted out of context and cherry-picked; their official interpreters wear robes and issue pronouncements that sometimes benefit an entitled few or discriminate against women and minorities; and their decrees and commandments are simply ignored when they interfere with the interests of those in power.

The Roberts court has certainly made history. Does the name Dred Scott ring a bell?

Let me see if I understand this: the Supreme Court upheld the Religion Freedom Restoration Act by allowing corporations, which the Court considers to be people, to force their religious beliefs upon those who do not share those beliefs. Ok. Got it. (facepalm)

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Re: today's Supreme Court cases: How many 2000 Nader voters still think it made no difference whether Bush or Gore won?
-@JeffGreenfield

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Pastafarian business owners free to deny coverage of celiac disease.
-@OmarJorge

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My corporation was Wiccan for 1-2 yrs after college and would only cover hyssop for purification and yarrow flower to dispel negative energy.
-@KenJennings

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Take away our sex ed, contraception, and access to abortions, then condemn us for having children, then make sure we get unfair wages so we can't support the children we have. Then take away the social safety net so we're totally screwed. Then call us irresponsible sluts.
-@Kelly Fineman

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@pourmecoffee:

Closely held 21,000 employee, 572 store $2.28 billion dollar retail craft store chains are people, my friend.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray my Boss my benefits keep
He watches me through day and night
Telling me what's wrong and right
Amen

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Religious freedom is your freedom to live according to the dictates of my religion's misconceptions, no matter how wrong.
=Mary W. Matthews

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@LOLGOP:

Conservatives are fierce defenders of your freedom to practice their religion.

It's just a coincidence my religious liberty concerns only target women and gays. And you pointing that out violates my religious liberty.

A Christian business that takes a stand against divorcees would impress since Jesus actually, you know, mentioned divorce.

If corporations could have abortions, abortion would be tax deductible.

Work's tough now that my boss decided that coffee breaks actually cause abortions.

This birth control mandate violates my religious belief that Obama shouldn't be president.

If forcing you to provide a resource to your employees that they could use in way you find wrong is immoral, only slavery would be moral.

Be back in a few hours. Boss is making me get circumcised.

Newt Gingrich can now object to your birth control coverage on moral grounds. Rush Limbaugh. Donald Trump.
On moral grounds.


Categories: Church and State, First Amendment, Religion, Supreme Court


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Cleaning off the desktop, part 2: Duck Amok
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Published Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 8:45 PM EST
Dec 22 2013


The real Duck Dynasty.

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Categories: Church and State, Civil Rights, Cleaning off the desktop, Duck Dynasty, First Amendment, Religion


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Speaking of speech
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Published Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 7:15 AM EDT
Aug 03 2013

[Lecturing to college students] was like being in a house with a whole set of very bright baboons. You expected them to burst into human speech at any minute, but they never did.
-Katherine Anne Porter

A good indignation makes an excellent speech.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

A speech is made great, not from the words used, but from the ideas conveyed. If the ideas, principles and values and substance of the speech are great, then it's going to be a great speech, even if the words are pedestrian. The words can be soaring, beautiful and eloquent but if the ideas are flat, empty or mean, it's not a great speech.
-Theodore (Ted) Sorensen

Anyone wishing to communicate with Americans should do so by e-mail, which has been specially invented for the purpose, involving neither physical proximity nor speech.
-Auberon Waugh

Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.
-Garry Trudeau

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, except to encourage attendance in Christian churches; or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, except to require prayer in schools; or abridging the freedom of speech, except for those questioning the Bush administration; or of the press, except that not owned by Rupert Murdoch; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, except those protesting pre-emptive wars; and to petition the government for a redress of grievance, except those we don't like.
-Gary Hart

During an election campaign the air is full of speeches and vice versa.
-Henry Adams

Election year is that period when politicians get free speech mixed up with cheap talk.
-J.B. Kidd

Freedom of speech in no way guarantees freedom from hearing.
-Pat Paulsen

I believe in the free speech that liberals used to believe in, the economic freedom that conservatives used to believe in, and the personal freedom that America used to believe in.
-Doug Mataconis

I want to be American. America is the coolest place on the face of the Earth. You've got freedom of speech. You've got McDonalds.
-Ozzy Osbourne

If figures of speech based on sport and fornication were suddenly banned, American corporate communication would be reduced to pure mathematics.
-Jay McInerny

If you want free speech, walk in a closet and talk to yourself.
-Howard Stern

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.
-George Orwell

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

It is not enough to "have" free speech. People must learn to speak freely.
-Christopher Hitchens

Liberty don't work as good in practice as it does in speeches.
-Will Rogers

Look wise, say nothing, and grunt: speech was given to conceal thought.
-William Osler

Making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg. It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.
-Lyndon B. Johnson

Nixon is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump for a speech on conservation.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

Of what use is freedom of speech to those who fear to offend?
-Roger Ebert

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.
-Søren Kierkegaard

Politically popular speech has always been protected: even the Jews were free to say "Heil Hitler."
-Isaac Asimov

Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.
-Susan Sontag

Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact- it is silence which isolates.
-Thomas Mann

Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both.
-John Andrew Holmes

Speech is not free if it costs people their jobs.
-Henry A. Wallace

Speeches easy to young speakers are generally very difficult to old listeners.
-Anthony Trollope

The adjective is the banana peel of the parts of speech.
-Clifton Fadiman

The best impromptu speeches are the ones written well in advance.
-Ruth Gordon

The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.
-Anthony Kennedy

The First Amendment was designed to protect offensive speech, because nobody ever tries to ban the other kind.
-Mike Godwin

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting "fire" in a theater and causing a panic.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish.
-Justice Robert Jackson

The price of liberty is, in addition to eternal vigilance, eternal patience with the vacuous blather occasionally expressed from behind the shield of free speech.
-Michael Shermer

The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.
-George Bernard Shaw

Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.
-George Orwell

Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them, either.
-Gore Vidal

We are so proud of our guarantees of freedom in thought and speech and worship, that, unconsciously, we are guilty of one of the greatest errors that ignorance can make- we assume our standard of values is shared by all other humans in the world.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

We have to go forth and crush every world view that doesn't believe in tolerance and free speech.
-David Brin

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.
-Hansell B. Duckett

Women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself-like, for instance, he can't find any clean socks.
-Jean Kerr

You have the right to free speech, as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it.
-The Clash


Categories: First Amendment, Quotes on a topic


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Trick question
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Published Tuesday, July 02, 2013 @ 7:10 AM EDT
Jul 02 2013

Uh... the one you can't use on basic cable?


Categories: CNN, First Amendment, News Media


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Sigh.
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Published Sunday, December 16, 2012 @ 12:10 AM EST
Dec 16 2012

Hey, t-shirt person.

If the "loving" god who demands your worship isn't bright enough to correctly interpret the establishment clause of the United States Constitution, and is so petty and vindictive as to turn his back and allow the slaughter of 20 innocent babies, then I have no use for either of you.

If you don't think teachers should be unionized but they should be armed, cancel basic cable.
-@LOLGOP

If more guns made things safer America would have the lowest murder rate on Earth.
 
The NRA reminds you their right to shoot more clay pigeons without reloading is just a bit more important than your life.
 
Welcome to America, where some of you will have an easier time buying an assault rifle than marrying who you love.
-John Fugelsang

Once, millions of Americans correctly argued the Constitution gave them the right to own other human beings, too. We changed.
-Jason Cochran

If the reason to have a thing is to protect yourself against people with the same thing, maybe that thing is a bad thing.
-@TheTweetofGod

It took two minutes, between 9:36am to 9:38am to kill 26 children and their teachers. How many hunters encounter 26 deer in two minutes?
-Roland Scahill

Too many conservatives refuse to regulate assault rifles, but they're fine with regulating the female reproductive organs. Because liberty.
-Bob Cesca

Sorry, but prayers and giving your kids hugs fix nothing; only having the balls to stand up to our insane selfish gun culture will.
-Bill Maher


Categories: First Amendment, Mass shootings, Religion, Second Amendment, WTF?


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Two out of ten isn't enough...
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Published Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 7:00 AM EST
Dec 15 2012

Happy Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the ratification of the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution on this day in 1791. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt first declared its annual observance on December 15, 1941.

Should unfortunate circumstances place you in the presence of someone pontificating on the manner in which the first and especially the second amendment really should be interpreted, do what I do. Ask the delusional pedant to recite all ten Amendments.

"You can't? Gee, a real Constitutional scholar, ain'tcha Skippy?"

"Now go away, before I taunt you a second time."


Categories: FDR, First Amendment, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution


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Quotes of the day: Arthur Miller
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Published Wednesday, October 17, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Oct 17 2012

Quotes of the day- Arthur Miller:
 
Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005) was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), and A View from the Bridge (one-act, 1955; revised two-act, 1956).

Miller was often in the public eye, particularly during the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, a period during which he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Prince of Asturias Award, and was married to Marilyn Monroe. (Click for full article)

A character is defined by the kinds of challenges he cannot walk away from. And by those he has walked away from that cause him remorse.

A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.

A suicide kills two people... that's what it's for.

An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted.

Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.

Few of us can surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that The State has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied.

He's liked, but he's not well liked.

I believe in work. If somebody doesn't create something, however small it may be, he gets sick. An awful lot of people feel that they're treading water- that if they vanished in smoke, it wouldn't mean anything at all in this world. And that's a despairing and destructive feeling. It'll kill you.

I figure I've done what I could do, more or less, and now I'm going back to being a chemical; all we are is a lot of talking nitrogen, you know...

I love her too, but our neuroses just don't match.

If a person measures his spiritual fulfillment in terms of cosmic visions, surpassing peace of mind, or ecstasy, then he is not likely to know much spiritual fulfillment. If, however, he measures it in terms of enjoying a sunrise, being warmed by a child's smile, or being able to help someone have a better day, then he is likely to know much spiritual fulfillment.

If I have to be alone I want to be by myself.

Immortality is like trying to carve your initials in a block of ice in the middle of July.

It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possibly lead in our time- the heart and spirit of the average man.

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.

The apple cannot be stuck back on the Tree of Knowledge; once we begin to see, we are doomed and challenged to seek the strength to see more, not less.

The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.

The enemy is within, and within stays within, and we can’t get out of within.

The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost.

The wedding of Christianity or Judaism with nationalism is lethal.

The world is an oyster but you don't crack it open on a mattress.

There might be a dragon with five legs in my house, but no one has ever seen it.

Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.

When any creativity becomes useful, it is sucked into the vortex of commercialism, and when a thing becomes commercial, it becomes the enemy of man.

When the guns roar, the arts die.

Where choice begins, Paradise ends, innocence ends, for what is Paradise but the absence of any need to choose this action?

Why is betrayal the only truth that sticks?

Without alienation, there can be no politics.

Work a lifetime to pay off a house- You finally own it and there's nobody to live in it.

You can quicker get back a million dollars that was stolen than a word that you gave away.

You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away- a man is not a piece of fruit.

You specialize in something until one day you find it is specializing in you.


Categories: Arthur Miller, Church and State, First Amendment, Politics, Religion, Video, YouTube


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Monday morning quiz
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Published Monday, September 10, 2012 @ 3:11 AM EDT
Sep 10 2012

How to Determine If Your Religious
Liberty Is Being Threatened

Column A Column B
I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my own choosing. Others are allowed to go to religious services of their own choosing.
I am not allowed to marry the person I love legally, even though my religious community blesses my marriage. Some states refuse to enforce my own particular religious beliefs on marriage on those two guys in line down at the courthouse.
I am being forced to use birth control. I am unable to force others to not use birth control.
I am not allowed to pray privately. I am not allowed to force others to pray the prayers of my faith publicly.
Being a member of my faith means that I can be bullied without legal recourse. I am no longer allowed to use my faith to bully gay kids with impunity.
I am not allowed to purchase, read or possess religious books or material. Others are allowed to have access to books, movies and websites that I do not like.
My religious group is not allowed equal protection under the establishment clause. My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings and resources as we would like, for whatever purposes we might like.
Another religious group has been declared the official faith of my country. My own religious group is not given status as the official faith of my country.
My religious community is not allowed to build a house of worship in my community. A religious community I do not like wants to build a house of worship in my community.
I am not allowed to teach my children the creation stories of our faith at home. Public school science classes are teaching science.

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions in column A, perhaps your religious liberty is indeed at stake. You and your faith group have every right to now advocate for equal protection under the law. But just remember this one little, constitutional, concept: this means you can fight for your equality- not your superiority.

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions in column B, then not only is your religious liberty not at stake, but there is a strong chance that you are oppressing the religious liberties of others. Please review the tenets of your faith, especially the ones about your neighbors.

Rev. Emily C. Heath
Clergy, United Church of Christ


Categories: Church and State, First Amendment, Religion


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Oops.
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Published Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 7:51 AM EDT
Jun 12 2012

The First Amendment was designed to protect offensive speech, because nobody ever tries to ban the other kind.
-Mike Godwin

Swear in public? Pay $20 fine in Mass. town


Categories: First Amendment


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Cartoon of the day
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Published Tuesday, February 21, 2012 @ 5:51 AM EST
Feb 21 2012


Categories: Cartoons, Church and State, First Amendment, Rick Santorum


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Remembering 9/13
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Published Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 8:23 AM EDT
Sep 13 2011

The Daily Show remembers 9/13... the day we started forgetting...


Categories: Church and State, Daily Show, First Amendment, Hypocrisy, Jon Stewart, U.S. Constitution, Video, WTF?


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Freedom To Believe…Or Not
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Published Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 11:03 AM EDT
Apr 25 2011


Categories: Church and State, First Amendment, Video


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Tough, honest questions
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Published Thursday, April 07, 2011 @ 6:49 AM EDT
Apr 07 2011

Again, one must ask- why are the clearest, most direct interviews performed by a comedian on a fake news show?

Stewart probes Huckabee's support of radical evangelical minister and discredited historian David Barton, who claims- despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary- that the Founders intended the United States to be a Christian theocracy. Stewart also questions why Huckabee- who is always reasonable and self-effacing during his Daily Show interviews- promotes Barton's extreme ideas when addressing his conservative base.

This is part three of three of the interview; consider watching them all. It's one of Stewart's- and Huckabee's- best efforts.

It also features two Stewart observations that made it to my quote database:

"As someone who is not Christian, it is hard for me to believe Christians are a persecuted people in America... maybe, God willing, one of you will rise up and get to be President of this country; or maybe 44 in a row."

"We need religion to give grace and comfort to a world torn apart by religion."


Categories: Church and State, Daily Show, First Amendment, Founding Fathers, History, Jon Stewart, U.S. Constitution, Video


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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Angriness
(permalink)

Published Sunday, January 16, 2011 @ 2:12 PM EST
Jan 16 2011

Sarah Palin knows now is not the time to determine ground elevation. (Might Lead To High Road)


Categories: Colbert Report, First Amendment, Second Amendment, Stephen Colbert, Video


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Signs of the Apocalypse #900
(permalink)

Published Friday, October 15, 2010 @ 8:05 AM EDT
Oct 15 2010

When Jesse Ventura is the voice of reason, we're all doomed...


Categories: First Amendment, Signs of the Apocalypse, Video, YouTube


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Headline of the Day
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, August 24, 2010 @ 7:35 AM EDT
Aug 24 2010

Outrage over Atheist's Plans to Build Vacant Lot in Jerusalem
(posting in reddit.com's self.atheism forum)


Categories: Church and State, First Amendment, Headline of the day, Snrk


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Fox News blasts unnamed 'terror mosque' contributor, who is... Rupert Mudoch's partner?
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, August 24, 2010 @ 6:33 AM EDT
Aug 24 2010

"Fox (News) tells us the terrible thing about this Kingdom Foundation... it's a very bad guy, but they never mention this fella's name. And they never showed this fella's picture. And they certainly never mentioned the fella they're talking about is part owner- of their company! Did the gang at Fox and Friends genuinely not know the head of the Kingdom Foundation's name and the fact that he is one of their part owners, or were they purposely covering it up because it did not help their fear-driven narrative?"-Jon Stewart

"If they're not as stupid as I believe them to be, they are really ******* evil."

"And if they're not as evil as I think they are, they are stupid."

"We're talking potatoes with mouths."


Categories: Church and State, Daily Show, First Amendment, Hypocrisy, Jon Stewart, Video, WTF?


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Charlton Heston supports the Ground Zero mosque
(permalink)

Published Friday, August 20, 2010 @ 7:55 AM EDT
Aug 20 2010

In principle, at least:

"Tragedy has been and will always be with us. Somewhere right now, evil people are planning to do evil things. All of us will do everything meaningful, everything we can do to prevent it. But each horrible act can't become an ax for opportunists to cleave the very Bill of Rights that binds us. America must stop this predictable pattern of reaction. When an isolated, terrible event occurs, our phones ring, demanding that the NRA explain the inexplicable. Why us? Because their story needs a villain... That is not our role in American society, and we will not be forced to play it. If you disagree, that's your right. I respect that. But we will not relinquish it, or be silenced about it, or be told 'Do not come here, your are unwelcome in your own land.' "-Charlton Heston

"Thank you, Charlton Heston. Of course, he was speaking out after another tragedy, when people on the left had demanded that the NRA, out of respect to the recent victims of Columbine, not hold their scheduled NRA convention in Denver, near the site of the tragedy. And by the way, I'm sure that I would have been one of those people: painting too narrow a picture, connecting irresponsibly the actions of two psychotics to an entire group of reasonable people expressing their Constitutional rights... the point is, I was wrong and Heston was right. And if you replace NRA with Muslim community and second amendment with first amendment, he's still right."-Jon Stewart, on The Daily Show, which is, inexplicably, still the best source of unbiased news and cogent commentary on cable.

 

The Daily Show clip above reminds me of what I wrote when Heston died two years ago.

Charlton Heston initially made his mark portraying Moses and Ben Hur. Most recently, he's remembered for his tenure as NRA president and the comment about prying his rifle from his cold, dead hands.

That's unfortunate.

Heston was a man who did not wear his beliefs like seasonal sportswear. He did not parrot the official party line or mindlessly repeat the neocon talking points du jour. His famous sound bite overshadows his true legacy: a conservative whose dedication to dignity, manners and reasoned discourse should be adopted by those of all ideological leanings.

Whenever I heard him speak at length- not the snippets pulled out of context for cable news, but in full conversations with qualified interviewers- he accomplished something that very few conservatives have been able to do. He made me think about my position, review the logic that he used to arrive at his different viewpoint and- in some cases- reconsider my stance. He rarely, if ever, actually changed my mind. But in eloquently stating the opposing view, he made me respect it and seek potential areas of compromise.

He didn't accomplish this with ad hominem attacks, alliterative or rhyming jingoism, macho bluster, or any of the other quasi-intellectual blunt instruments typically employed in what passes as discourse these days. And no one would have been better at it. Who else but Heston, True Lies director James Cameron noted, could play someone "who can plausibly intimidate Arnold Schwarzenegger?"

Read and listen to Heston's famous Winning The Cultural War address to the Harvard Law School Forum. While you may not agree with everything he says, you must agree it is a quintessential example of what free speech and political discourse should be in this country."

I don't know whether he would have backed the Tea Party movement given the suspect nature of its "grassroots" support. But I suspect the group would gain a lot more credibility if it followed Heston's advice:

"Well, the answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people.

"You simply disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey the social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom."

Heston was a gentleman and an American. We've lost a great guy.

"Political correctness is just tyranny with manners. I wish for you the courage to be unpopular. Popularity is history's pocket change. Courage is history's true currency."
-Charlton Heston


Categories: Church and State, Daily Show, First Amendment, Hypocrisy, Jon Stewart, Video


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