Saturday, December 13, 2008

Feeding the Flames

Here in Washington State, we've decided that we've gone far too long without a Teapot Tempest, and so we've embarked upon giving everyone a cause to remember that favorite conservative cause - The War On Christmas. (I curious to see which side will prevail - Christmas... or the Christians. The Christians have proven more tenacious than I'd credited them, so they might yet succeed in destroying the Holiday.)

Freedom From Religion has posted a sign near the Nativity scene in the state Capitol building in Olympia. It reads:

At this season of the winter solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.
Just like Richard Dawkins, it seems, they've "[...] learned using logic and reason isn't enough. You have to be a dick to everyone who doesn't think like you." Of course, to be fair, Bill O'Reilly also seems to have learned this lesson quite well. And his story seems to have brought every Culture Warrior who can hold a weapon out of the woodwork. Not to mention your garden variety rabble-rousers, like the folks who have decided that what Washington State really needs is a Festivus Pole. Even those perennial wackos, the Westboro Baptist Church, have gotten in on the act, laying about them with wild abandon, and pressing for a sign that seeks to attempt to prove that no matter how big a dick that militant Atheists might be, it takes a Christian Church to really bring the hate:
You'd better watch out, get ready to cry, You'd better go hide, I'm telling you why 'cuz Santa Claus will take you to hell. He is your favorite idol, you worship at his feet, but when you stand before your God He won't help you take the heat. So get this fact straight: you're feeling God's hate, Santa's to blame for the economy's fate, Santa Claus will take you to hell.
“Santa Claus Will Take You to Hell.” Westboro Baptist Church
The idea - the one (in my opinion) that really drives the Culture Wars - that the best thing for the United States is to be a single cultural entity, where the "best" culture runs everything at the expense of deliberately marginalizing and de-legitimizing anyone with the temerity to disagree, is going to take us nowhere than over the cliff at the end of the Road to Ruin. The clumsy and ill-considered Washington State policy that created this mess in the first place (and has since been suspended by a moratorium on new and pending requests) needs to be changed. I don't think that there is any way to do this in a way that everyone will consider "fair," so that's not really the consideration. But state policies need to be not only neutral in the Culture Wars, but also avoiding adding fuel to the fires. The cultural arsonists do enough damage without government enabling them.

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