Sunday, April 13, 2008
Frankenmuth, Michigan In Church-State Controversy
Another city, this time Frankenmuth, Michigan, finds itself in the midst of a church-state battle. After city resident Lloyd C. Clarke argued that they violate the Establishment Clause, Frankenmuth removed two 1-foot tall crosses from its Main Street bridge. Clarke is also considering challenging a cross that appears on
Frankenmuth's city shield. That cross is part of a symbol of Lutheranism called the Luther Rose. (Saginaw News, Apr. 9). In response to all of this, three churches in the city have offered to make 1,000 3-foot wooden crosses for members to display at their homes and businesses. Clarke says he thinks that is completely appropriate. Another Frankenmuth group plans to sell shield pins with yellow ribbons that residents can wear. (Saginaw News, Apr. 11). Frankenmuth attracts over 2 million tourists annually to a year-round retail store, Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, that sells Christmas decorations and Christmas-themed items.
Posted by Howard Friedman --PermaLink: 1:42 AM
Clarke needs to take a vacation. Find a worthy cause like helping the poor.
Frankenmuth is known for its Lutheran and German roots --and Christmas emphasis. Does Clarke want all the cities to look alike, bearing no remnants of the religious heritage of the first founders of the American towns?
All our so-called "church-state violations" in city seals, on public buildings, in public ceremonies, etc. should be retained as part of our diverse American history which ichincludes religious diversity as well. Good traditions are just that: good traditions. Christmas and Easter are two of those traditions --public prayers --town seals that reflect the original purpose and faith of founders.
If we go to Salt Lake City, we expect to see remnants of the Mormon religion of the settlers there.
Same with Frankenmuth.
Calm down, Lloyd, and ask yourself what your real purpose is here in insisting on constitutional "purity" that would try to revise history.
Sun Apr 13, 03:18:00 PM EDT
Here we go again with the tradition/heritage defense. I realize these are not in the same category but you wouldn't advocate keeping images of slaves on the Seals in the South would you? That was traditional at one time.
I've said it before, I'll say it again, tradition is a lousy justification for anything.
Having said that, suing to take it off the Seal might be going a bit far. It would be nice however if the good people of Frankenmuth said to themselves, "You know, this might be a problem. Maybe we should put together a committee and see if we can't come up with a really nice Seal that includes everyone." I'm sure they could if they put their minds to it.
Instead, people get all defensive and insulted and hurt, etc., and I ain't talking about the Atheist here.
Sun Apr 13, 06:57:00 PM EDT
But it IS the atheist that wants the town to change to suit him --and HIS feelings/sensitivities.
They already tampered with the seal of Zion, Il --which the Christians founders thought of as a Zion:
" A place or religious community regarded as sacredly devoted to God.
An idealized, harmonious community; utopia"
Cities do not want to pay what it takes to defend the symbols of their religious history and heritage, so they cave to the hyper-sensitivies of the atheistic minority. Haven't you atheists got something better to do than wipe out the vestiges of the past which really were NOT offensive to the people when they settled the town --and shouldn't be since?
Racist elements should only be preserved to prove that we DO have a racist history. Not as a heritage we are proud of. E.G. preserving a slave ship, as they have done.
Sun Apr 13, 09:52:00 PM EDT
Maybe we Atheists should follow our Christian brethren's good example in how to spend our time wisely. Sign me up to help make one of those 1,000 three-foot high crosses they're putting together in protest. That would be a much better use of our Atheist time instead of educating ourselves about the fundamental importance of the separation of church and state or standing up for our rights and stuff.
Personally, I vote with you Barb that the Seal should be preserved to prove to future generations that we do have a religious history. But, like the slavery allusion, not something to be proud of.
I say, move on to a new Seal.
Sun Apr 13, 11:44:00 PM EDT
There is nothing to be ashamed about in a religious heritage. You show some bigotry toward most of our forefathers here by your view. Much that is good about the USA is because of that Christian heritage informing our view of civil rights.
It is Christianity that ultimately inspired the idea of the equality of man--because Jesus had died for all --and Paul said we were all one in Christ Jesus --and Jesus said we were all sinners --all needing repentance --and he elevated the poor, the lame, the halt and the blind --saying they should be invited to the banquet feast of the bridegroom --to the Church as the Bride of Christ. Jesus emphasized the importance of compassion for all people --and identified Himself with the poor, the widow, the hungry, the naked, the prisoner.
REal Bible study leads to the conclusion that "There is no male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free in Christ Jesus" --but all equal in value.
and the Ten Commandments suggest equal rights for all, the right to property, and the value of justice, honesty, marital fidelity, honoring parents, etc.
It was this foundation that made America the best.
Mon Apr 14, 02:00:00 AM EDT
Does Clarke want all the cities to look alike, bearing no remnants of the religious heritage of the first founders of the American towns?
Actually, no. He approves of the 1,000 crosses. At least that's what the summary indicates.
Barb, intentionally misrepresenting your opponent's position is offensive.
The idea that a seal representing a town should not include elements directly antithetical to a substantial portion of the population is not "bigotry". Essentially, Barb, by supporting these elements you're saying that Americans should be religious. While you have the right to say that as a personal matter, having the government say it is wrong.
You complain fairly regularly about "victims" of the ACLU caving because they simply don't have the resources to fight state-church battles. You do realize, you presume those are battles worth fighting? Like many of your fellow theists, you presume it's important to fight tooth and nail to preserve government-supported religion, and that's why these things ever get to the point of lawsuits in the first place?
You claim that atheists want to eliminate all displays of religion in public. This cannot be honestly be said to be a general position of atheists. Let me ask you, though -- what is the goal of theists? What would Christians do, given unlimited power to shape society as they see fit?
You've given us a taste of it, of course. Outlawing sodomy and homosexuality would be a start, apparently. Clearly you want prayer re-instituted in schools as well, so my kids would be taught prayers ("volutarily"? You should probably admit there'd be little voluntary about it) and probably have a Bible course. Would atheists be allowed to testify in court? Be judges (Bush has said they should not be)? Hold office? I would think a resurgence of Christian dominionism would lead to all of these things being prohibited. Christians have shown no reluctance to use symbology to argue for principles, so it's not just "feelings" that concerns atheists here. People use God in the Pledge and motto not only to recognize tradition, but also to claim that atheists are not American. The Bible does not teach that all are equal. It specifically segregates people based on religious belief.
Mon Apr 14, 11:43:00 AM EDT
Sodomy and homosex were already outlawed --though tolerated in the closet. I asked for no change in cultural morals --the liberals and the atheists and the homosexuals are doing that. I'm resisting change --not advocating it.
Since the beginning of the nation, prayer was a feature of public life --and public school was established to teach reading so people wouldn't be ignorant of the Bible and tyrannized by wrong use and deliberate mis-interpretations of it by leaders -- and schools were established for teaching of religion (NW ordinance) --not enough to proselytize or make anyone devout or members of any one group--just enough to acknowledge the same Supreme Being, Divine Providence, our Creator-God, that Congress, the Supreme court and the Continental congress and many presidents acknowledged through the years --as evidenced on the walls and in the artwork and in the speeches and writings of early america --because, silly them,they believed there really was a supreme being who said, "In all thy ways acknowledge me, and I will direct your paths." The believers thought this was important to do --the non-believers didn't really care; it didn't bother them --no one was making them believe anything.
The Constitution's establishment clause was about not having a church state like Roman Catholicism of Italy and many other nations--and Anglican church in England --and Cromwell's PUritans there --and Lutherans in Germany, etc.--because all of these tended to persecute the other churches --not being into Biblical love teachings, evidently.
You say I mischaracterize this man's intentions --saying he wants all communities to seem alike, devoid of their historical religious origins --I'm saying that's the effect of what he wants. I really believe he wants no evidence in the city of the religious roots that motivated this city's founding --that characterized this city's history. He wants no reminders that this city's people came together as a religious community.
So he SAYS, "FINE, put the crosses in your yards." But he wouldn't REALLY like that either--because it is a defiant act against his actions.
He is asking the town to conform to his sensitivities as an atheist with a strict application of the establishment clause, and he can use the establishment clause to do that --but if we do it everywhere, we'll have to deface and erase history and art from the walls of our D.C. buildings and many local courthouses.
We ought not change the past that way. That's who we were. Let it be. We are in grave danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater --if the bathwater is our evidence of religious heritage --and the good aspects of that heritage are thrown out with it --such that we no longer have any sensible approach to marriage laws, no idea of public decency, no regard for the lives and moral innocense of children, no respect for religious faith, just a desire to silence the religious.
The salt will lose its savor. the preservative of our best inclinations as civilized people will be lost as we no longer remember the difference between right and wrong --or realize why heeding the difference is essential to our survival as a great nation.
As de Toqueville said it, "If America ceases to be good --she'll cease to be great --the secret of her goodness is in her churches with pulpits aflame with righteouseness." And that faith did spill over into public, agreed-upon sentiments of religious faith in our seals, on our money, in our pledge, on our walls, in our school and community traditions. Let it be! Christian majority of the Biblical sort is the best friend the other religions ever had.
Mon Apr 14, 12:19:00 PM EDT
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible