The Not Quite Adventures of a Professional Archaeologist and Aspiring Curmudgeon

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh, Grow Up, You Bickering Idiots!

Over the weekend, I posted an entry about some of my fellow atheists taking stances that I thought were A) stupid, and B) counter-productive. Well, here comes a story (also here) of both the non-religious and the religious being extraordinarily inept in their handling of a dispute.

So, this guy is called to appear in the local courthouse. The courthouse has church pews, complete with crosses, as their seats. Not the most appropriate thing, admittedly, but the reason why they are there is because the city had bought an old church building to turn it into a community center, and rather than have to buy new benches for the courthouse, they decided to recycle the pews from the church and use them. So, ya' know, that makes sense, and while I might be a mite bit grumbly, it doesn't seem like too big a deal to me*.

Not so the defendant (a self-described agnostic), who is now suing. Which is really pretty counter-productive, especially considering that the benches are in place because of a move that was intended to save the county money and not to proselytize. Inappropriate...yeah, basically, but intentional conversion tool? Probably not.

So, I'm more-or-less on the side of the local government up to this point. Should they do something to remove the crosses? Yeah, but it's not an emergency and they can do it as budget allows.

And then the mayor gets involved. Rather than pass the defendant-turned-plaintiff off for the over-reacting yutz that he is, the mayor declares this to be part of some sort of non-existent persecution of Christians:

Maybe it’s time the religious right stands up to the liberal left and says enough is enough. Where do you stop? Where’s the common sense? I’m not taking them out.

So, one idiot decides to sue over something that probably isn't too big a deal. And the response of the city government? To declare legal jihad against the evil Satanic "Liberal Left"! So, apparently the mayor believes that the correct response to someone else's childish behavior is to be even more childish.

Ahhh, false dichotomies, straw men, and delusion from all sides, with a dash of identity politics added for flavor. The logical fallacy parade continues!

Did I mention lately that we're doomed? Yep, we are, indeed.

*However, I suspect that many of the folks who blow this particular incident off as not a big deal aren't quite on the same boat as I am here. Basically, if the symbol had been Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Wiccan, Zoroastrian, Jain, Richard Dawkin's "atheist A", etc. etc. I would be having more or less the same reaction - the symbol is not appropriate in a court room, but there are bigger things to worry about. My experience has been that many people think that it's not a big deal when their religion's symbols are displayed, but if it were another religion's symbols, well, then it would be unacceptable!

So, here's the test, ask yourself honestly if you would brush this off if it were a symbol from another group, including groups who think that you are wrong and sinful. If you'd still think it wasn't such a problem, then we are on the same page. If you would think that it was a problem, then you really need to get the beam out of your own eye before you go looking into other people's motes, and you shouldn't assume that I am going to agree with you on any other issues...


Dave Hasbrouck said...

Honestly, being offended wouldn't remotely occur to me. The explanation that the pews were a remanent from the building that was converted from a church seems like a serviceable explanation to me. After all, I may be an atheist, but I'm a goddamn cheapskate above anything else, so believe me, I could certainly brush that explanation off.

Honestly, I think this cat is throwing a fit simply to delay his own trial. I would love to side with him on general principal, but as someone who's dumpster-dived more than his fair share of furniture I gotta say that you take benches where you can get 'em.

Anthroslug said...

That was kinda' my assessment as well.