Here is the video on YouTube.
I wanted to point out a couple of things about the interview for clarification.
- 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.
- I am not a lawyer, although they pitted me against one and tacitly framed me that way.
- The name of our group was mangled by Sean. It's the "Atheist, Agnostic and Freethinking Student Association" at UF. Oh well...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Keeping the government religion-neutral is not "anti-religion".
- 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.
- How would you feel if they put up a monument to Islam, or to Buddha?
- Read this for clear logical arguments against this sort of endorsement of religion (10 Commandments displays).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Read the Alligator article and the Gainesville Sun article for more.
- 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.
- 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).
Technorati tags: God, Religion
Cross-posted to: AAFSA, GBLoGBB, DC, Ex-Xian