Nightcrawler/Religious & Spiritual Discussion

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Postby Nightcrawler ZERO » Thu May 13, 2004 2:39 am

I don't know about the necessity of vhanging BC and AD to BCE and CE.

We have days of the week named after Norse Gods

We have Planets named after Roman (and now Inuit) gods

Why not have time seperated based on the origins of Christianity? Aside from being a religion, it's also one of the most impactfull forces on western culture (And remember- if it's not western culture... it's not culture.... :P ;) jk). It makes a decent historical marker for that reason.
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Postby thylacine » Thu May 13, 2004 6:48 pm

Since Christianity & religion in general has had a big impact on history & culture, that's my point as to why we should not just toss it all away like garbage. No religion is perfect, but it's an important part of our culture & society.

It's like the young mother who never had religious training while growing up... she named her daughter Bethany because she heard that name somewhere & thought it was pretty, not even realizing where the name came from -- it's a village in the Bible somewhere. Or the other person I used to know who thought that the Virgin Mary was an "unwed teenager" who "got in trouble" and this guy Joe married her later. It was pretty darn useless to try & explain that, no, that's God's kid and she wasn't fooling around, it was a "miracle" thing. And some people think Jesus' last name was Christ, too... It's not their fault, of course. But that's what happens when you decide religion is all phony or stupid and don't bother to teach anything to your kids or tell them anything about religion. This other lady I knew used to say, "What religion are we again? I dunno... ? Are we Methondist? We don't ever go to church, yah know. I think it's stupid. Church is for idiots, anyway... Are we Congregationalists? I forget what we're supposed to be. What? Your Catholic? That's the dumbest one of all." Her words, not mine.
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Postby The Drastic Spastic » Fri May 14, 2004 12:14 am

Originally posted by thylacine
Since Christianity & religion in general has had a big impact on history & culture, that's my point as to why we should not just toss it all away like garbage. No religion is perfect, but it's an important part of our culture & society.

It's like the young mother who never had religious training while growing up... she named her daughter Bethany because she heard that name somewhere & thought it was pretty, not even realizing where the name came from -- it's a village in the Bible somewhere. Or the other person I used to know who thought that the Virgin Mary was an "unwed teenager" who "got in trouble" and this guy Joe married her later. It was pretty darn useless to try & explain that, no, that's God's kid and she wasn't fooling around, it was a "miracle" thing. And some people think Jesus' last name was Christ, too... It's not their fault, of course. But that's what happens when you decide religion is all phony or stupid and don't bother to teach anything to your kids or tell them anything about religion.


What was your point again? Bethany is a pretty name. Who cares if it was a city in the Bible. You don't need to know that to enjoy the name.

And details about Jesus are only important to believers. Believing his actual last name is Christ isn't going to have much of an effect on the average person. And the whole thing with Mary... yeah, it seems incredible to people who were raised with it that people wouldn't know it was a Godly Miracle but seriously. Does it really matter? No one who doesn't believe is going to give much of a damn that believers think that's the way it was.

Did you know that Mormons believe when Mormon men die they go to a planet where they are waited on by all their wives and daughters? Do you care? It's an interesting/amusing factoid but aside from that it's useless. Cause you aren't Mormon. And you don't believe it.
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Postby Bamf Bunny » Fri May 14, 2004 1:06 am

Originally posted by The Drastic Spastic
And details about Jesus are only important to believers.

And if enough people get them wrong, they become official ... St. Agatha's breasts were cut off by the Romans, and she was depicted carrying them on a platter. Later generations misinterpreted the pictures, thought they were bells, and made her the patron saint of bellmakers and bell ringers.
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Postby Maelstrom » Fri May 14, 2004 3:45 pm

Originally posted by The Drastic Spastic
And details about Jesus are only important to believers. Believing his actual last name is Christ isn't going to have much of an effect on the average person.

.....

Did you know that Mormons believe when Mormon men die they go to a planet where they are waited on by all their wives and daughters? Do you care? It's an interesting/amusing factoid but aside from that it's useless. Cause you aren't Mormon. And you don't believe it.


Actually, I'm not sure that's quite right. The fact that I don't believe in the Mormon's view of the hereafter doesn't mean I'm not interested in hearing it. Why? Because those beliefs tell us something about the people who believe in them. Though I'm Orthodox Christian, I'm always eager to hear about the symbols, the beliefs, the rituals of others. The fact I don't consider them sacred to my religious core is secondary: I want to learn what is important to other people, because it makes communication and relations that much easier.

Here's a few true life cases where ignorance has caused trouble, or at least embarrasment. Names and dates have been removed to protect the innocent. Two of these are commonly-known dietary restrictions, which makes you wonder how insular people can be....:shakeno

* At a small company, honey-baked hams are given out as holiday bonuses. To everyone, including the one Muslim of the group. :doh!

* Another ham disaster: a catering company was doing a bar mitzvah, but they catered it with ham platters. If they knew anything about the Jewish belief set, they would know that any pork product is considered unclean, never to be touched. Compounding this, when they were told to remove the offending foods, the idiots just removed the ham from the platters and re-served them. To this day, I don't know whether they were bloody stupid, or whether they were anti-semites, and did this deliberately to a paying client to show disrespect. In any case they didn't get paid, and they never catered any Jewish events again once word got around of their behavior. That incident cost the caterers tens of thousands in future lost revenue, and it wrecked a boy's once-in-a-lifetime coming of age party. :(

* While in Greece, and attending a Greek Orthodox service for the first time, a man eats the bread of fellowship (available to anyone who attends service, regardless of their religion). As his Greek is poor, he is mystified as to why people in the communion line are shouting to him and pointing to the ground. Then he realizes that he is letting the crumbs drop inside the church. (This is a serious faux pas: it is disrespectful to let the blessed bread be carelessly dropped inside, where it helps nothing. Crumbs are always dropped outside, where birds can eat them, or they nourish the nearest flora.)

* A young American altar boy is attending a Greek Orthodox patriarch for the first time. The patriarch asks him to get him some Kolyva (which is prounounced similar to "cola" ). Since it was a hot day, and the boy was as yet unfamiliar with that particular name of the traditional sweetened almond and grain dish, he bypasses the place where the Kolyva is being served out, goes to the closest vending machine, and gets a Coke instead. (The patriarch just laughed good-naturedly and thanked him for the cool drink. ;) )

In cases of the responsible religions, knowing more about their way of worship is a broadening experience, showing you different ways of expressing what is essentially the same love. For cults, it's more a case of "know thy enemy." That knowledge lets you know what flashpoints and triggers are built in. It can also let you argue facts with them and have a chance of snapping them out.
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Postby The Drastic Spastic » Fri May 14, 2004 6:22 pm

Originally posted by Maelstrom
The fact I don't consider them sacred to my religious core is secondary: I want to learn what is important to other people, because it makes communication and relations that much easier.

In cases of the responsible religions, knowing more about their way of worship is a broadening experience, showing you different ways of expressing what is essentially the same love. For cults, it's more a case of "know thy enemy." That knowledge lets you know what flashpoints and triggers are built in. It can also let you argue facts with them and have a chance of snapping them out.


If you know you're planning on attending Mass on your trip to Greece, for sure you should do some research. But in general, there are just too many religions for everyone to have to worry about all the obscure customs and taboos. (Unless you're a caterer, for god's sake.)

It would be great if people knew more about everyone else in general. But I don't think parents should have to teach their kids all about Jesus if they don't believe in him.
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Postby Bamfette » Sat May 15, 2004 12:43 pm

I'm with Draz on this. I make a point of knowing about stuff, and i have had to learn a whole lot about a lot of different religions for Heathen Sent. but i don't think it should be necessary if it wont directly affect your life or your work. who CARES if someone decides to name their daughter Lilith not knowing about the demon in the Bible? so? does it really affect anything (aside form the kid potentially being teased)? what's the big deal if i don't know the details of the Bible? I don't believe anything in it to be true, so how would it affect my life if i didn't know? if you WANT to learn, great,i happen to enjoy learning about it. but... if you have kids, and you are of a belief system that differs from the general society, i don't think it shold be mandatory that you teach your kids about somethingyou have no belief in. it is nice to give the kids knowledge, and the option to decide for themselves. but then many christian households don't exactly give that option. i don't hear of many Christian/Muslim/Jewish etc. households teaching about Wicca, for instance. so why should an atheist/pagan household be held to different expectations?

IF it affects you, such as the catering companies should know what foods are forbidden by the major religions, yes, you should look it up. if you are planning on attending a ceremony in a place of worship, it would be good to ask if there are any customs you should be aware of, yes. but barring that? nah.

as for 'throwing it all away' i think you'r going to a bit of an extreme. so long as practitioners of the religion in question keep in line with what the beliefs are, (and if you ar going to call youself a member of ANY religion, you should learn about the one you ar in, yes.) it wont be 'thrown away'. not recognized by those outside the religion, maybe. but what should it matter if they don't?
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Postby BamfChyck » Sat May 15, 2004 12:46 pm

Originally posted by The Drastic Spastic
But in general, there are just too many religions for everyone to have to worry about all the obscure customs and taboos. (Unless you're a caterer, for god's sake.)


:) Or a funeral director. :P

Originally posted by The Drastic Spastic It would be great if people knew more about everyone else in general. But I don't think parents should have to teach their kids all about Jesus if they don't believe in him.


I see your point there, but I think it would be nice if kids were at least taught enough to be respectful about Jesus, for the sake of those who do believe. That just seems like good manners to me.

Many years ago, I dated someone who was an Orthodox Jew. I learned enough to be respectful of the religion, although I didn't agree with some of it. For instance, I hated having to sit up in the balcony during services because of my gender. But I did it, out of respect for the cultural.

These days, when I work a funeral in an Orthodox church, I don't go up to the front to close the casket, because I know the Priest prefers that a man do it. Even if it's "my" funeral, even if I'm in charge, one of my male co-workers will close the casket.

I think it's just polite to respect those kind of things, whether I agree with them or not. I certainly wouldn't join a church that I felt a conflict like that with, but as a visitor, I think it's good manners to respect those kinds of differences.
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Postby Bamf Bunny » Sat May 15, 2004 1:04 pm

Two of these are commonly-known dietary restrictions, which makes you wonder how insular people can be....

A company's giving out holiday hams? Miss Manners herself says, one, that companies are better off to recognize holidays with bonuses and time off, and, two, that you ought to take presents in the spirit in which they're given.

Without knowing more about the ham at the bar mitzvah story, it's hard to say. But did the customers specify that they wanted kosher food? If they did, the company's at fault for promising something they didn't understand - but if they didn't, that's another matter. Reform Jews don't necessarily keep kosher.

And the other two examples don't seem to stem from insularity, but people's ignorance of their own religions. I mean, you don't get sent to attend a Patriarch unless you're Orthodox yourself, right?
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Postby taekwondodo » Sun May 16, 2004 6:19 am

I see your point there, but I think it would be nice if kids were at least taught enough to be respectful about Jesus, for the sake of those who do believe. That just seems like good manners to me.


Why? Do you think Christian kids are taught about Muhammed for the sake of those who believe in Islam? Or anything about any other religion for that matter? Christianity is not relevant to my life and just because it's relevant to someone else's doesn't create any obligation on my part to learn about it or show respect for it beyond the simple fact of respecting their right to believe in it.

Now, I do happen to talk to my kids about Christianity - as a curiosity and along w/Islam, Judaism, the LDS and any other interesting cultural phenomenon that happens to strike our fancy at any given time. I don't think good manners require that my children know anything about Christ or Christianity, but simple curiosity and an interest in the history of our world does. But they also are learning about Norse and Greek mythology and Arthurian legend in much the same manner. As matters of interest and curiosity.

And as for the argument that the 'facts' of Christianity should be preserved as a cultural inheritance...the world won't suffer unduly if general knowleged of them is lost, any more than it did because of the loss of knowledge of any other belief system that's been common in the past. I don't think that anyone's going to argue that just because Zeus (or Jupiter if you want to go Roman) was the supreme god of the world's dominant culture for a *very* long time that we are now suffering greatly for the fact that knowledge of his history and proper worship is no longer common. The world changes and beliefs change. It's happened countless times throughout history and will certainly continue to do so. It's simply the nature of humanity.
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Postby Bamfette » Sun May 16, 2004 2:05 pm

I think what it boils down to is, if some of us are coming off as defensive, that Christianity is the dominant religion in much of the western world. and those of us that don't consider it to be any more valid than any other beleif system get really annoyed when it's suggested it or it's followers should get special treatment. because it so often DOES get it. the people who were attending a Christian College should have not complained, because they should have known going in that if it was run by monks there would be trappings of Christianity about. that i agree with. and that's an instance where it may be good to pick up atleast a few basics. but just learning incase you bump into someone on the street? (and how is someone going to offend a Christian in regards to their religion in day to day relations, anyway? besides just coming out and saying they think it's stupid or whatever. that is not derived of ignorance and could be said ieven if you are fully knowledgeable on the subject. that just comes from being thoughtless and rude. )

All i think me, or Draz or Tae etc are asking for is equality. you want us to learn/teach about Christianity for the sake of respect? fine. then you do the same. teach your kids about Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, Asatru, Vodun, Native American Spirituality, Celtic Druidism, etc. so they wont offend someone on the street with ignorance.

or just don't get offended if someone doesn't know everything there is to know about it, even though they are not a pracitioner of your religion. I don't get offended if someone is confused about my beliefs, just so long as they respect my right to believe what i want, and not say they are wrong, or that i am somehow not as good as them because of my beliefs. I am understanding that everyone out there wont know everything there is to know about MY beliefs. and i don't expect them to.

I admit with Christianity being so wide spread and such a big part of society in the western world, is it surprising if someone doesn't know something so basic as that in the bible Mary was a virgin and Jesus was God's child? considering there are well known Christmas carols on the subject, yeah, it's surprising. and i would say if someone raised in North America or Europe didn't know that, i would think they were probably ignorant of a great many things, just because it IS such common knowledge. is it insulting? i don't think so. no more so than many Christians and others being ignorant of what exactly all the gods in Hinduism represent. We've discovered recently that people get Hanuman (Hindu, an incarnation of Shiva) and The Monkey King, Sun Wu Kong (Chinese, not even a real god.) mixed up all the time. they see the DBZ character and think any monkeyish god character is The Monkey King, not realizing Hanuman is wholly separate. while the information isn't as readily accessable on Hanuman as it is on Christianity, the basic idea is the same at the core. why should you, as a Christian or anyting else, be expected to know that Hanuman and the Monkey King are NOT one and the same? how does that affect you in your day to day life?

just remember your beliefs are your own and they are important to you and anyone else that shares them. don't expect it to be important to anyone else. there are too many religions floating around to learn everything there is to know about all of them just for the sake of courtesey. since, in general, day to day interactions should have nothing whatsoever to do with religion, it shouldn't cause problems. not in North America, Europe, Australia and the like, anyway. unfortunately some countries it is harder to find this kind of freedom.
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Postby Bamf Bunny » Sun May 16, 2004 2:38 pm

Originally posted by taekwondodo
And as for the argument that the 'facts' of Christianity should be preserved as a cultural inheritance...the world won't suffer unduly if general knowleged of them is lost

The tenets of Christian belief, especially the stories, poetry, and teachings of the Bible, permeate Western literature - and, to some extent, Western history - so deeply that I don't see how you can understand one without a working knowledge of the other. For most of the history of literature in English, for example, writers could assume that their readers would recognize Biblical and Christian allusions (and classical mythology) and wrote accordingly. The authors may well have been atheists or Deists, they may have satirized Christian belief or used it as nothing more than a source of familiar metaphors, but readers unfamiliar with the faith will end up missing out on a lot.

It doesn't follow that Christianity is more true than other religions; it doesn't follow that, in a country founded on religious freedom, that Christianity should be privileged above other religions; it doesn't mean there's no great English-language literature informed by other beliefs (though I can't think of much from before the 20th century). But do I think you underestimate how much our cultural inheritance is intertwined with Christianity.
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Postby thylacine » Sun May 16, 2004 7:04 pm

Quote: "All i think me, or Draz or Tae etc are asking for is equality. you want us to learn/teach about Christianity for the sake of respect? fine. then you do the same. teach your kids about Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, Asatru, Vodun, Native American Spirituality, Celtic Druidism, etc. so they wont offend someone on the street with ignorance."

I agree. I think it would be an awesome idea to teach young people to respect all religions. I went to a Catholic school, and when we took religion, we had to also study world religions, which included Judism, Hinduism, Islam, & Buddhism. I liked studying Buddhism.

But here is my thing... the girl who thought that Mary was a pregnant teen in trouble called her a "whore" and that made me upset. I didn't say anything to her, though, because when someone goes on saying stuff like that, what can you say? She called the Virgin Mary a f--- ing whore, and I really felt awful because she knew I was Catholic and should have known better than to blast her mouth off like that. It's really sad. That's why I wish someone had taught her better. I was taught to respect other religions, so I would never make a crude remark about Jewish people or Muslims -- because I was taught not to.
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Postby BamfChyck » Sun May 16, 2004 7:33 pm

I see your point there, but I think it would be nice if kids were at least taught enough to be respectful about Jesus, for the sake of those who do believe. That just seems like good manners to me.


Why?

For much the same reason that I believe children should be taught enough about racial differences to be respectful of them. It’s politeness. I think it’s a good idea to teach children to be respectful of genders, or physical handicaps, or developmental disabilities, or any of the other millions of differences human have.

Please don’t read too much into what I’m saying. I did say “taught enough to be respectful about Jesus,” NOT “taught enough about Jesus to be respectful.” I’m not suggesting all children should be taught ABOUT Christian faith, but rather that they should be taught to be respectful of other people’s faiths, Christianity included.

Do you think Christian kids are taught about Muhammed for the sake of those who believe in Islam? Or anything about any other religion for that matter?

Well, I know I was, and I know the kids in my life are.
Many of the schools in my area (both public and private) had special events for the students to learn about Islam in the last few years. But youre right--I doubt all kids have those opportunities.

Christianity is not relevant to my life and just because its relevant to someone elses doesnt create any obligation on my part to learn about it or show respect for it beyond the simple fact of respecting their right to believe in it.

Im glad to hear that. Thats all Im asking for.

I hope that clarifies things.
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Postby Bamf Bunny » Sun May 16, 2004 10:39 pm

Originally posted by thylacine
But here is my thing... the girl who thought that Mary was a pregnant teen in trouble called her a "whore" and that made me upset.

This girl's problem is a lack of manners, not a lack of information.
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Postby CurlyyHairGirl » Mon May 17, 2004 3:16 am

Originally posted by BamfChyck
Well, I know I was, and I know the kids in my life are.
Many of the schools in my area (both public and private) had special events for the students to learn about Islam in the last few years. But you're right--I doubt all kids have those opportunities.

We have been learning about it in all of our history classes from seventh grade and on up. I am not sure but I think it might be a requirement in California for the history curriculum.
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Postby Maelstrom » Mon May 17, 2004 7:53 pm

Originally posted by Bamf Bunny
Originally posted by thylacine
But here is my thing... the girl who thought that Mary was a pregnant teen in trouble called her a "whore" and that made me upset.

This girl's problem is a lack of manners, not a lack of information.


Lack of manners, and a little something more.... If she was born and raised Catholic, it could be she was using this deliberate act of "blasphemy" as nothing more than a way to rebell against her parents and upbringing.

I'm reminded of the scene in Titanic, when Kate Winslet's character deliberately lit a cigarette in front of her mother (who detested the habit). Some of the more militant anti-smoking people screamed that this was just another case of Hollywood inserting gratuitous smoking in their movies. But those people were missing the point. This had to be taken in the context of a period piece. In the early 1900s, very few people outside the medical profession realized how lethal smoking was. And for a girl to smoke was about as bad as... *gasp*... bobbing her hair :shocked. This wasn't about smoking, it was an act of disrespect and rebellion. (Considering the circumstances, it was practically the only expression of rebellion the character could give.)

I look at the whole "whore" comment and see the same thing. The speaker is going for shock value, attention (even if it's negative), and rebellion against every single authority at one time (Church, parents, and school). I have to admit: she managed to efficiently cover a lot of bases with one comment.

That girl should thank the God she's currently railing against that she doesn't live someplace like the United Arab Emerites. An equivalent act of blasphemy there, no matter the root cause, will get you tortured or killed.


Webster's defines blasphemy as:
1 a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God b : the act of claiming the attributes of deity
2 : irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable

I'm of the opinion that blasphemy is more subtle than calling the Virgin Mary a "whore", or saying that Muhammad "laid down with pigs". Those are more fighting words to me; obvious, attention grabbing, and loud. I see blasphemy in the twisted words of people who selectively quote (that is, twist) scripture as a justification to hate and kill. Blasphemy is in a Columbian drug lord going to church every sunday, and plotting how to kill his latest rival/annoying non-curruptable judicial enemy on the way back in his car. Blasphemy is the reason Alabama had to bring in the entire national guard just to let five "negroes" (to use the word of the time) go to public school in 1952. :(
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Postby thylacine » Mon May 17, 2004 11:50 pm

Quote: "This girl's problem is a lack of manners, not a lack of information." Yeah... she was a unique individual. I worked in the same office with her... she used to walk around the office with her shirt totally open (size XXL black bra) & have obscene materials at her desk. She spent most of her time on the phone crying & fighting with the boyfriend (he was a thug) too! I covered for all her mistakes and did 75% of her work for her since she was pretty much incapable... I learned from that, though... Next time someone like her tries to get me to help her with her work & says she "doesn't know how to use a computer," then "Well, now is the time to learn, dear!" Wanna know what she looked like? She was a dead ringer for Anna Nicole Smith before loosing the weight, and talked just like her too! No kidding. Anna Nicole Smith's evil twin! I sometimes wonder what became of her... but then, why should I care?
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Postby Maelstrom » Tue Jun 15, 2004 3:52 pm

Well, it finally happened. Today the Supreme Court decided not to accept Michael Newdow's case against saying the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They tossed the case out on the grounds that Michael didn't have custody of his daughter when he filed in the fist place. (And, to be honest, he doesn't have custody of her now. A quote from CNN's site: "Newdow never married the mother of the child and the two are in a battle over his parental rights." Link: http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/06/14/scotu ... index.html )

Michael has said he is disappointed, seeing his earlier victory tossed out on a technicality, but that he has "several families lined up" for a class-action suit on the same subject.

I know what the Supreme Court did looked like a "cop out". In an 8-0 ruling, they unanimously stated "you don't have the right to bring this up", rather than addressing the thorny issue of church vs. state boundaries. This kind of dismissal must be incredibly frustrating to everyone who's been following this case since it garnered national attention (if not from when it was filed two years proir to that). But I've believed all along that Michael didn't have that right, for the exact same reasons, and I think that the Supreme Court did the best thing.

Can you imagine what would happen if they accepted the case and decided one way or another based on its merits, with that legal technicality unaddressed and hovering in the background? It would have made anything else they said ripe for scorn and contention by the losing side. No matter what, someone would contest the decision on that technicality, and a whole hell of a lot of time and effort would have gone down the proverbial drain.

Mike says he has families lined up to take up the torch. If so (and I have no reason to doubt him), more power to them. There are no doubt many, many aethiest families that are close-knit, with no paternity squabbles to get in the way; people with no "family issues" to taint their motives. As Newdow was/is still going through custody proceedings, it gave the everything the unwanted air of "this lawsuit is a way of getting back at my ex". No matter how pure his motives may or may not have been, it cast reasonable doubt over the whole thing.

If and when another parent takes this up, someone without distractions or ulterior motives, I will watch with fascination instead of mild disgust. TKD, if you decided that you didn't want your children constantly bombarded with the "under God" phrase, I'd hapilly listen to your point, because you'd make the point well, rationally and calmly, and with the full backing of your family. You'd have every right to bring it into the courtroom if you wanted, because you've got all your ducks lined up, legally and morally. And then we'd have a REAL church vs. state legal battle, based entirely upon the merits of the case, rather than the custody proceedings of one man with questionable rights.

Oh, and by the way: for those interested, Newdow gave CNN a short interview on this. Here's the transcription: http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/06/14/newdow/ Is it just me, or is this guy being really whiny? :rolleyes

If you're going to use the laws to your advantage, you'd better make sure you follow them yourself.

As an aside, the whole issue of "why didn't he get married in the first place" is frought with peril. Without more information, it's hard to tell who's at fault here. It's possible that the woman hid her pregnancy from him, or that he was out of the country for a year, and by the time he got back, Bang! But as this woman is a born-again Christian, I can't imagine her willingly having her child out of wedlock. She would have wanted to get married to *somebady*. In this case, it's not looking good for Michael's side; considering what I've seen from him, it's more likely that he couldn't have been bothered to go to a JP and get legally hitched before the birth of his daughter, and instead has taken this squabble to the courts after the fact. Does anyone have more information on this? Did the woman marry someone else before she realized she was pregnant with Michael's child, and only the paternity test showed otherwise? Did she attempt to get Michael to marry her? Or did she "realize her mistake" in getting involved with someone whose views were 100% contrary to hers, hide the pregnancy, and get married to J-random "good Christian" instead, for the sake of her daughter? Or was the girl actually born out of wedlock? I'm going to research this further.... :scratch
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Postby Bamfette » Tue Jun 15, 2004 6:37 pm

In this case, it's not looking good for Michael's side; considering what I've seen from him, it's more likely that he couldn't have been bothered to go to a JP and get legally hitched before the birth of his daughter, and instead has taken this squabble to the courts after the fact.


just because he never married the child's mother does not make his love and concern for his daughter any less valid. if he and the mother were not in love after she had gotten pregnant, no they should not have gotten married. that would have put the kid through hell. a child doesn't just need their parents to be married, they need their parents to be together in a LOVING relationship, or not at all. otherwise the parents fight, are unhappy, and just make things worse for a a kid rather than better. so i don't think anyone should blame him just because he's not married to the mother of his daughter. as an atheist, he woud not have any religious beliefs telling him he should get married 'just because' he would look at it in a more rational manner and what was really best for his daughter, and for himself. it's a shame she got pregnant in the first place, yeah. but i really don't believe he did anything wrong by not marrying the woman if they had fallen out of love or discovered they were otherwise incompatable since the conception of their daughter.

I really think it's a shame it got thrown out. he had valid concerns about the seperation of Church and State. i ask again fromt he other thread... what if this:

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Postby Bamf Bunny » Tue Jun 15, 2004 7:35 pm

Maelstrom wrote
But as this woman is a born-again Christian, I can't imagine her willingly having her child out of wedlock [...] it's more likely that he couldn't have been bothered to go to a JP and get legally hitched before the birth of his daughter


Newdow's wife became a Christian after the child's birth. The two do not seem to have been particularly close, except physically, for long.

But his relationship with his wife isn't what's before the courts. The girl is his daughter. He doesn't have primary custody of her, though he's fought for it. He pays child support.

The source story turned up as the "I feel lucky" Google match.

If you're going to use the laws to your advantage, you'd better make sure you follow them yourself.

What I can't find is a source that says Newdow broke the law. (Though I did see that he holds a law degree.) Do you mind providiing a source for this assertion?
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Re: this case

Postby thylacine » Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:09 pm

Hi guys... To me... this looks like another situation where a parent uses their kid to make trouble where it did not exist before or make a "federal case" or simply get themselves on TV. Does anyone ever think of the kid? Or how the kid really feels? How does the kid feel going to school knowing her daddy put her on the news as an atheist who won't say the Pledge and etc.? How are the kids treating her at school now? Are they all praising her as the brave heroine / freedom fighter? Probably not. They're probably beating the poor girl up after class over this! This man ought to be ashamed of himself for using his kid this way. (I don't know the whole story, but that's how it looks to me.) If it was really about his concern for his child's rights, then he would not allow the name(s) printed in the paper to protect her.
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Postby Maelstrom » Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:13 pm

Originally posted by Bamf Bunny
Maelstrom wrote

If you're going to use the laws to your advantage, you'd better make sure you follow them yourself.

What I can't find is a source that says Newdow broke the law. (Though I did see that he holds a law degree.) Do you mind providiing a source for this assertion?


It wasn't so much that he *broke* the law, which he has most certainly not done. But he brought forth a case that hinged on his legal relationship with his daughter.

As her father, he asserted she was being damaged, and that he had the right to stop this damage and indoctination into what he felt was an objectionable church-state collusion. If he was her father in the eyes of the law, this would have been a defendable position, but he wasn't. No matter how much love exists between them, Michael doesn't fit the legal definition of father. In fact, the opposition has a cooperative, built-in witness for them that he *doesn't* have custody of the child: the girl's mother. And he *knew* that when he filed in the first place. The foundation of his lawsuit was made with sand instead of stone.

Basically, I figure if you're going to court for an ideal and saying "I'm doing this for my daughter", you need to be able to prove she actually is your daughter in that same court of law. If you can't, then even the most popular, most transparently righteous, and universally acceptable movement is going to get dismissed somewhere along the line.

As he was taking on what he *knew* was a very unpopular and controversial position, he should have gone to great lengths to remove any wiggle room for his opposition. Instead, without the legal definition of father, he left that rug out to be yanked.

And Thylacine? .... I agree with you 100%. In fact, using your child to "attack" your enemy in a child custody battle has to be the most horrible thing you can do. Since I've been through that, as the child, it's a real button with me.

In this case, I'm trying real hard *not* to see this case as a "He's obviously using the kid to make trouble". I want to see that Newdow had legitimate concerns. But because of the atmosphere, and the shaky legal ground, these concerns invariably wind up tainted. Even if he had no ulterior motives at all, and was really worried about his daughter and the rest of the children in America, how can that ever be separated from the rest of the junk circulating around? There will always be room for vehement debate. He wasn't exactly a clean-cut "poster child" for the movement.

I guess that's what I want to see. I want someone who fits the legal definition of parent or guardian. I want no family problems that could taint public perceptions. I want a clear-cut, church vs. state battle, with American citizens excercising their civil rights on both sides of the fence. Perhaps, when the class action lawsuit Newdow has aluded to comes up, I'll actually be able to see that.
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Postby taekwondodo » Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:31 pm

I haven't bothered to follow or read everything associated with this case, so I may be incorrect here. But, to say he's not her *father* just because he doesn't have custody is grossly unfair and inaccurate. Unless there's an actual question of paternity he is, without doubt, her father. The fact that her mother has legal custody and the right to make decisions for the girl in no way negates this relationship.
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Postby Bamf Bunny » Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:54 pm

Originally posted by Maelstrom
If he was her father in the eyes of the law, this would have been a defendable position, but he wasn't. No matter how much love exists between them, Michael doesn't fit the legal definition of father.

Newdow is this child's father, both biologically and legally, and no one - not the mother, not the state, not the Supreme Court - denies that. The Supreme Court ruling was based on whether, as non-custodial parent, he had the legal right to represent the child's interest in a case in which he disagreed with the custodial parent.

Here is the full text of the Supreme Court decision.

The foundation of his lawsuit was made with sand instead of stone.

The Ninth Circuit Court found otherwise. Their decision unambiguously states that
"Newdow has standing as a parent to challenge a practice that interferes with his right to direct the religious education of his daughter". They go on to cite legal precedent.

The key difference in the Supreme Court ruling was the mother's intervention, which indicated a conflict between the parents. She spoke up after the Ninth Circuit Court decision, long after the initial filing, and after the Magistrate and District courts had heard the case, and the Ninth Circuit Court had reversed the District Court's decision.

Full text of Ninth District Court decision: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/FE05EEE79C2A97B688256BE3007FEE32/$file/0016423.pdf?openelement

Basically, I figure if you're going to court for an ideal and saying "I'm doing this for my daughter", you need to be able to prove she actually is your daughter [...] without the legal definition of father [...] I guess that's what I want to see. I want someone who fits the legal definition of parent

Where do you get this?
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