11/30/2006                                                                                       View Comments

My Interview on Hannity & Colmes re the Decalogue

By Daniel Morgan

Here is the video on YouTube.



I wanted to point out a couple of things about the interview for clarification.
  1. I was contacted by FoxNews and asked if I would be willing to do this segment. I was not involved in any way with this story before, or besides, this small interview.
  2. I am not a lawyer, although they pitted me against one and tacitly framed me that way.
  3. The name of our group was mangled by Sean. It's the "Atheist, Agnostic and Freethinking Student Association" at UF. Oh well...
  4. I have never been to Dixie County (map) before last night. I have never spoken with anyone from Dixie County about the issue before last night. Thus, I am not "actively soliciting" any lawsuits. However, I would like to see someone from the area with the courage to challenge this illegal action on the part of the Dixie County Board of Commissioners.
  5. Sean said it was different than AL, and more "in keeping with" the KY and TX cases, although the KY and AL cases are almost identical here, and the judges ruled those displays unconstiutional, and had them removed. As I pointed out, the TX case involved multiple other monuments, and so it functioned in a true historic/sentimental way and not in the way this monument functions here -- as an endorsement.
  6. The Establishment Clause is best understood by the Lemon Test. This situation fails the test on obvious grounds, and by recent precedents in Alabama (Roy Moore case fell into the same district as ours -- the 11th Federal District -- and so the precedent here is unequivocal), Kentucky and Texas. For more background, see AL, KY and TX.
  7. I got in the little quip, "It'd make it illegal..." when Joey defended that the monument wouldn't make the community worse. It might've been hard to hear because all 3 of us were talking.
  8. Keeping the government religion-neutral is not "anti-religion".
  9. The 10 Commandments are unequivocally a religious endorsement of the Judeo-Christian worldview. Tell me what secular purpose the first four commandments serve? How are they consonant with our principles of democracy and freedom of religion? What about the name of YHWH in commandment 3? If the left tablet was gone, and the inscription at the bottom, there would be no controversy whatsoever, I am willing to bet.
  10. How would you feel if they put up a monument to Islam, or to Buddha?
  11. Read this for clear logical arguments against this sort of endorsement of religion (10 Commandments displays).
  12. I have no legal standing, nor real problem with generic "God" references, and while I wish the government would stay completely God-neutral, I would happily settle for it being religion-neutral. I would never bring a suit to remove "In God We Trust" or "Under God", although I disagree with the motives of putting them on our currency after the Civil War, and in our pledge during the Red Scare, respectively. Our Founders chose a secular motto for a good reason -- e pluribus unum.
  13. I really think that the sorts of people who want these affronts to judicial authority imposed are weak in their faith. They require the imprimatur of the government to help them believe. Although their believing ancestors were able to multiply and grow amidst various pagan and secular and extra-Christian governments throughout history, modern "born-agains" are apparently unable to comprehend why that is. They are also typically the types who are ignorant of the serious religious outcry against the secular Constitution, when it was written. I'm glad that our Founders had more brains, courage, and faith than these weak-kneed Evangelicals.
  14. The minutes of the Jan 19 meeting of the Board contains the following damning paraphrase/summaries, indicating they expect and are "bold" enough to do this despite the legality:
    Commissioner Driggers had a call from a resident who would like to see the Ten Commandments on the steps of the Courthouse. He wanted to know if the Board is bold enough to do this.

    All members agreed that they would like to see this accomplished.

    Attorney Lander stated that he will defend any law suits for free.

    Motion by Commissioner Land, seconded by Commissioner Valentine and carried to go ahead with having the Ten Commandments placed on the front of the courthouse steps.
  15. Although Joey Lander may be willing to defend the case for free, the county is certainly going to have to pay the legal fees of the ACLU or whomever takes the case. That sort of absurdity is a slap in the face to anyone who wants to use religion (and resources) for good. Rather than the county being able to use those funds to give back to their constitutents, they will piss them away on this religio-political nonsense. This sort of thing touches on the question I asked a while back -- what is the real agenda of the RR, versus Evangelicals generally?
  16. Read the Alligator article and the Gainesville Sun article for more.
  17. I'm sure this is the end of my involvement. I won't be commenting much more, aside from replies to comments here and at other sites about me or the interview. I've already gotten a lot of feedback from friends and family. Some positive, some negative.
  18. I really enjoyed the short segment, but I strongly recommend to everyone that they do more reading and less Primetime "infotainment-type" TV news watching. You never get the details, the understanding of the legal issues, etc., from sound bytes and talking points. Also, if you ever do something like this, go in prepared with quips and sound bytes, and expect to be misrepresented by those who strongly disagree with you (Sean Hannity).
Feel free to email me. Thanks for reading :)
________________
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Cross-posted to: AAFSA, GBLoGBB, DC, Ex-Xian

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

That Sean Hannity is a bastard who is a far right Republican and works with the Christian Rightists like Tony Perkins, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell. I saw him at the FRC Action conference last September.

FRC Actiopn Conference

He'll lie, distort, and misrepresent anyone who does not adhere to his extremist views. The best thing to do is state what you meant to say on your website.

Anonymous said...

Comment on Point 14:

I assume the issue is morality. I consider it unprofessional and immature for anyone to base decisions about morality on being "bold enough." Either we do what is right or we are accountable for our wrong-doing. End of story.

If I as an unbeliever live like that, and unbelievers are at the bottom of the morality ladder, where does that leave Christians? It seems kinda like someone stood the world on its head and asked why things aren't working properly. This is why we have to get rid of fundamentalist religion.

Daniel said...

PS: Here's my story on Ex-Xian, for those of you unawares.

Spirula said...

Considering the fools misspelled adultery (ADULTRY), it can stand as a monument to the ignorance in this way of thinking. Granted, all of us mispell words from time to time, but I don't think any of us would negligent enough to have it engraved in stone.

I live in Gainesville, FL (not far away from Dixie County)and believe me, Gainesville is a island of knowledge surrounded by a sea of ignorance. It almost literally starts at the city limits.

Warnepiece said...

I live southeast of Spirula and I can attest that he is absolutely correct! Both of my sons went to The University of Florida so we visited the Gainesville area on many occasions. Certainly not all, as I know several intelligent and thoughtful people in the surrounding counties, but the area is truly littered with the kind of folks that Spirula, on another thread, aptly pegged as the uneducated type who would answer any challenge to their faith with:

ME LOVE JESUS
YOU BAD
ME LOVE JESUS
YOU BAD

I don’t mean to plagiarize Spirula but that was such a great line, it had to get posted again!

Spirula said...

Thanks Warnepiece. I'm not that clever, it's just that I was reading some of the fundy postings on a thread and realized that this is all their argumentation really amounted.

Your right about the sprinkling of great, considerate, educated people out there in Crackerstan.

BTW, I have to travel to Jax frequently (kids live there) and it was the people I have to deal with (both on the road and off) in the area that made the word "Crackerstan" spring into my head. You can almost feel the IQ drop just driving through. I moved here from eastern NC and, shocking as this may be, it wasn't as bad there.

Spirula said...

errr...I could have sworn I hit preview

that would be "amounted to".

Warnepiece said...

Spirula,

I think we can both understand why there's a place called "Yeehaw Junction" down here.

Crackerstan...I like that. I hope other readers understand that we're not trying to scare anyone away from Florida. There are great people down here. But like Sam Kinison said, this isn't just the Bible Belt, it's a notch in the belt!

Anonymous said...

Daniel,

Thanks, I read your story now. I apologize. I don't think I ever looked at the author of the article, which embarrasses me, because I would have known that you are NOT a fundamentalist Christian.

I became aware of my mistake when I saw the same article on Debunking Christianity that I had seen and responded to here. I truly thought there must be some plagiarism going on because I would have recognized your name anywhere. That is why I believe I didn't even look at the author's name.

I guess the best I can do it apologize and try not to repeat my mistake. I applaud you for your patience.

Ruby

Blair said...

Look, you did a lousy job.

Explanations after the fact are understandable, but they are also whining.

Be a man.

Just do better next time.

Daniel said...

Spirula, Warnepiece,

Email me and we'll have coffee some time.

Ruby,

Don't worry about it.

Blair,

Are you talkin' to me [best Al Pacino voice/face]?

I usually don't like to feed trolls. But, I'll make an exception for you: If you can watch that interview and not conclude I was sandbagged by being invited to go there, then accused of being there to fish out plaintiffs, you're more of a dumbass than the dumbasses who carved their illiteracy into that granite.

Also, exactly what was "lousy" about it?

R. James said...

I've lived in Dixie county for over 14 years and am amazed at the defiance of the Commissioners, Mr. Anderson, Joey Lander, Mr. Bellott, and even Mr. Barber who carved the HUGE eyesore now sitting on our courthouse steps.

If Anderson wanted to spend THAT kind of money for something so massive, and then erected in the most inappropriate spot possible, why not have it hauled over to his front lawn? It sure would save time and all the trouble the thing will certainly create.

I love living here, away from the city, but I do not understand the mindset in this county. It's so backwards, so ignorant, so like an island unto itself.

But you dare not voice anything negative about something related to their religious beliefs.

Being blacklisted in this county is something you DO NOT want to have happen. It could actually become seriously dangerous.

What I find utterly hilarious is...other than beer and huntin'... adultery seems to be the national pasttime in this place and they spelled the word wrong on that *thing*.

There are a great many decent people in this area and once you 'ain't up-town' it's pristine and beautiful. But I have noticed so many hypocrites - generally the so-called church-going good Christians - who think nothing of stabbing someone in the back as they drive off to church to gossip and praise their God.

They stuff their religion in your face and then threaten you if you don't believe in their doctrines.

So if we're gonna go for broke let's give equal time to ALL beliefs if we have to make such a large display. DO IT Dixie...Git-r-done!...have Ben Barber carve something relating to everybody and put them all up there. Then again....you wouldn't be able to get into the building with all that stuff out front.

Guess that's why the back door to the courthouse is so appealing to me now!