Re: It could just be a plus sign.

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Re the title of your post -- I don't know if this is still true, but when I went to school in Israel they didn't use "+" for addition -- a generalized cross-phobia I guess.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:47 AM
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Really?! What'd they use instead? A star?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:48 AM
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2: No, they just cut off the top, so sort of like "T" except not as tall.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:50 AM
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"We'll circumsize this Christian symbol!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:51 AM
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The minus sign had had a tiny percent of its length removed too.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:58 AM
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Sometimes two orthogonal cigars are just two orthogonal cigars.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:01 AM
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I googled this now, and it seems this is mostly just in elementary school -- I guess they fear young children might not be sophisticated enough to resist the attraction of the cross.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:02 AM
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A t-shaped cross is still a Christian symbol.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:06 AM
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8: Oh, no!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:10 AM
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Apparently Scalia also finds this point confusing.

Maybe he has a little George Michael in him, too.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:11 AM
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Honestly, for moments like that - the one in which Scalia stated that the cross is the predominant memorial marker worldwide, regardless of religion - there ought to be a laugh track that can be played in chambers and someone ought to receive a large salary and full benefits just to sit there and mash the LAFFS button when appropriate.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:11 AM
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Best line from the linked article:

Ping! Somewhere, a civil-procedure angel just earned his wings.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:14 AM
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BOGF's (horrible, alcoholic, abusive) mother told her that a lot of Jewish families put up Christmas trees*. Because, you know, Christmas is awesome.

* I realize this is not unheard of. But c'mon.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:18 AM
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What about infinitesimal calculus? Shining symbol of post Enlightenment thinking, or tool of the devil?

(This is really a question for HG. I've just discovered this approach to calc. and apparently there is some controversy. It sure seems a shed-ton simpler than the limit approach.)


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:20 AM
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I think it was commoner a generation or two ago -- I have a vague impression that secular Jewish families in, say, the sixties and seventies were fairly likely to do some kind of Christmas celebration.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:20 AM
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I have devout Muslim friends who celebrate Christmas. Not uncommon, either.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:22 AM
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You could crucify somebody on pretty much any symbol shape, seems like. What if Jesus had been nailed to a big B? He'd probably get painted to look just like Santa.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:24 AM
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8: A t-shaped cross is still a Christian symbol.

Unless! .... {power chord} It's actually a HEADLESS CROSS! {additional power chord} *

I didn't believe him, but stopped wearing the earrings anyway.

You just needed to do a little metal work and turn them upside down.

max
['{voice of Fin} An upside down cross... of GOLD!']

* Apparently I'm doing Wayne's World, 2009 motocross edition today. I have no idea why.


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:24 AM
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Probably the easiest thing to nail somebody to is a tree, and yet the Christian origins of Arbor Day are suppressed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:25 AM
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You know what would be fun, crucifixion-wise? A hash-mark. Look at it: "#". You could have one Jesus right side-up and then an upside-down one right next door. Kind of the Christian yin yang.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:26 AM
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Imagine if they'd nailed Jesus to the unicode snowman. How much would that mess up the Rankin-Bass universe?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:27 AM
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19: No, that's a celebration of the old Druid custom of cutting open Roman prisoners and winding their entrails around trees.
Which of course is why we have tinsel!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:27 AM
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I saw Scalia in person yesterday. Ug-ly! Looks like a toad.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:29 AM
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13: I guess it depends on your definition of "a lot".

My best friend from high school's family was Jewish and they put up a Christmas tree and kids got presents from Santa Claus -- actually as a teenager he claimed to still believe in Santa Claus.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:30 AM
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What if Jesus had been nailed to a big B?

Then we'd sing hymns to our Savior, brought to us by the letter B.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:31 AM
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14: agree it's much more intuitive. A shame (IM non-professional O) it's not more widely taught to undergraduates.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:31 AM
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You know, "The Old Rugged B," "When I Survey the Wondrous B," and that old gospel favorite "Gladly The B Would I Bear For Jesus."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:37 AM
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You could crucify somebody on pretty much any symbol shape, seems like.

A peace sign might be the most violent.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:39 AM
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Gladly The B Would I Bear For Jesus

Little kids would always get this one wrong, and sing "Gladly, The Bee-Eyed Bear."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:42 AM
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Thanks Brock! I'll keep reading.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:42 AM
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What about infinitesimal calculus? Shining symbol of post Enlightenment thinking, or tool of the devil?

I don't really have a clear idea of what infinitesimals are. From just now reading Wikipedia, it looks like they were formally defined in the 1960s. Four hundred years of being fuzzily defined would disincline people to use them, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:48 AM
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A couple of years ago I inherited a little cross pendant from the atheist/nominally Episcopalian side of the family. When I wore it in front of my devout Mormon grandma, she recoiled in horror and asked whether I'd converted to Catholicism.

In other news, Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:49 AM
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The funny thing is, I think that the cross came somewhat late to Christianity. By which I mean, it wasn't common for people to wear crosses and the like in the early church. Maybe it was Constantine who introduced it. Not sure.

There was one part of the article I found somewhat confusing. Maybe one of the lawyers could suggest something.

Stevens is as shocked by the fiction that the VFW might tear down the white cross as Scalia is shocked by the fiction that the cross is not a religious symbol. But then that's the great thing about these religion cases: We believe what we need to believe.

I guess that I would be equally surprised to find out that the VFW had torn down the cross. How is that a fiction? Or am I misreading what she said?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:49 AM
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Heebie, they're so cool they're hyper-real! That's like hyper-cool!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:52 AM
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I guess I don't really get how infinitesimals aren't the same as the arbitrarily tiny numbers you use when computing limits.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:53 AM
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Maybe it was Constantine who introduced it.

I believe James Carroll makes this argument.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:53 AM
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I associate the Chi Rho with Constantine, rather than a an ordinary cross -- wasn't that what he saw in the "In this sign conquer" vision? I suppose the use of the cross could date to the same era as well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:58 AM
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Wasn't the cross still in use as a means of execution at the time of Constantine? That'd certainly put a bit of a damper on its use as a symbol, I'd think.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:01 AM
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33

I think the passage is confused. Scalia argued that the cross was not a religious symbol while Stevens argued that the VFW wasn't going to tear it down. So one supports a legal fiction, the other opposes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:01 AM
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35: See http://www.math.wisc.edu/~keisler/calc.html. Or http://www.math.uiowa.edu/~stroyan/InfsmlCalculus/InfsmlCalc.htm. Or http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/analysis_hyperreals.html.

(Full disclosure: I haven't actually read any of those. I read this, though, which I thought was very good.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:01 AM
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As I understand it, e, the infinitesimal, is smaller than all reals. I thought when calculating limits you didn't actually use e but said you can pick any real n and f will get within n of the limit, which is a different thing.

Ummm... I'm not trying to teach you maths so you can fail me if you have to.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:03 AM
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Scalia's argument that the cross isn't a religious symbol isn't a 'legal fiction', just straightforward wrongness. "Legal fiction" suggests that while everyone understands that it is a religious symbol, there's some good reason for regarding it as not one under the law in this context. Scalia's arguing that there's a separate cross-as-memorial-for-the-dead symbol that's not religiously Christian -- not that we should act as if there were, but that it's really true that there is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:05 AM
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e, the infinitesimal, is smaller than all reals.

But I don't get "smaller" here.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:06 AM
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Is 40 trying to illustrate links which are infinitely close to not working?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:07 AM
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||

I just ordered a new laptop! So exciting.

Not just the newness (going from a 2003 Mac Mini to a new aluminum MacBook Pro) but the fact that I've got enough work (and income) to do this.

On an unrelated note, our foodstamps went up by $6 this month, to an even $500. We have been scrupulous about not using cash to supplement (because, before this month, we literally had none) except for a few stores in the Strip that don't take SNAP - no more than $10/week. And we've been able to eat very much in the SWPL manner on this budget. In fact, we bought far more fresh fruit (including organic) this summer than we otherwise would have, because it's pretty churlish to say no to your panting-after-berries baby when you've been given money expressly for that purpose, even tho the berries are a buck or two more than you'd ideally like to spend.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:08 AM
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Oh, and James is right in 39. I think Dahlia got twisted around in her desire for parallel constructions.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:08 AM
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44: Sorry, I think you have to remove the last period from each link. I blame html.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:09 AM
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Links:

For the pros:

http://www.math.wisc.edu/~keisler/foundations.pdf

For the rookies:

http://www.math.wisc.edu/~keisler/keislercalc-509.pdf

(Straight from my browser).

As for what smaller means -- I guess one should read the book. I'm going through the rookie book so I haven't got to the deep stuff yet.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:09 AM
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Re the title of your post -- I don't know if this is still true, but when I went to school in Israel they didn't use "+" for addition -- a generalized cross-phobia I guess.

Not true. I mean, maybe in orthodox schools or something, but I've never heard of this. Certainly not as something widespread. Everyone I know uses '+', I used '+' in elementary school (and still do, obv.).


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:10 AM
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Off to teach!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:10 AM
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35

I guess I don't really get how infinitesimals aren't the same as the arbitrarily tiny numbers you use when computing limits.

My understanding is that infinitesimals were an intuitive way of computing derivatives without limits. But because historically they weren't rigorously defined it was possible to go wrong using them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:11 AM
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49: Well, I could be crazy, but wikipedia backs me up --

'A Jewish tradition that dates from at least from the 19th century is to write plus using a symbol like an inverted T. This practice was adopted into Israeli schools (this practice goes back to at least the 1940s[9]) and is still commonplace today in elementary schools (including secular schools) but in fewer secondary schools.[10]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plus_and_minus_signs


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:14 AM
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To get infinitesimals to work in full generality, you have to make infinitely many arbitrary choices. For example, in the usual construction, 1/epsilon is an infinite integer. Is it even? Odd? A perfect square? For every possible question like that, you have to pick.

Plus, they don't work in the way that a lot of people would want them to. For example cos(epsilon) isn't 1, its 1 plus an even smaller infinitesimal. You get infinitesimals of all kinds of different sizes. For example, epsilon^2 is smaller than epsilon, but bigger than epsilon^3. You have epsilon^(1/2), epsilon^(1/3), etc.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:17 AM
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Wow, that's weird. I'll ask around.

On the other hand, my father was freaked out when sometime in my teens I wore an ankh pendant thingy (this was before goths arrived in Israel: I just liked the shape). Like HG, I tried to exert my withering powers, to no avail: 'really, Dad? You're afraid people will think I worship Ra?'
But it still bugged the hell out of him, so I stopped wearing it.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:20 AM
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54 to 52.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:22 AM
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"Legal fiction" suggests that while everyone understands that it is a religious symbol, there's some good reason for regarding it as not one under the law in this context.

The thing is... in the state of Utah, at least, the cross is a secular symbol to honor the dead. They've got white crosses on the side of the road and all that jazz despite the cross not being considered a holy symbol in the Mormon faith. Mormon girls don't wear crosses around their necks and their churches don't have crosses hanging in front of them. They don't use the cross to represent Jesus' death and resurrection. More.

There are still reasons that this particular cross should be constitutionally impermissible, but it isn't the same slam dunk that it would think it to be if it were taking place in Oklahoma.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:28 AM
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54: maybe he was just worried you'd attract the attention of Machikha Nash.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:28 AM
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My dad scrutinized the origins of any displayed symbols, and pointed and laughed if he thought they weren't congruent with a white girl from the suburbs. Now I wear exceedingly plain clothes (Levi's?! I'm not a miner. Although I am Californian. And live where Levi's were invented. But I'm not from Nimes, so is the denim too much of a reach?).

Just about the only printed items I've let myself wear in the last decade are shirts from the Ultimate league (which I genuinely played in) and this one, since I really do ride a single speed. Love the motto.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:32 AM
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I heard Egyptian schools use the ankh as the symbol for addition.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:34 AM
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In 8th grade my friend Jen asked her mom for "a cross with a little Jesus on it," like the one she had seen around the neck of some member of U2. Her mom -- Presbyterian -- freaked right the fuck out.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:36 AM
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56: I am not a lawyer, but it seems that the local tradition of symbols would only matter if this were a Utah state park or had only been constructed to honor the dead of Utah. However, I don't like the cross being on federal land and thus my reflex is to argue against it from any angle.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:43 AM
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60: When I was a child I got a very stern lecture from my mother at one point on how the crucifix is idolatry and the cross is sacred. It was full of religious justifications that boiled down to how much my mother really does not like the Catholic church.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:46 AM
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49: The Israeli guy in our office went to secular schools and used the wacky plus sign.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:46 AM
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The thing is... in the state of Utah, at least, the cross is a secular symbol to honor the dead.

I don't think that works. It's a non-Mormon symbol, and a Mormon using it is honoring the dead rather than engaging in an act of worship. But its function of 'honoring the dead' is closely linked with its Christian symbolism. If a non-Hindu has a statue of Ganesh in their place of business 'for luck' rather than because they believe in Ganesh, they're not worshiping Ganesh, but the statue still isn't a secular symbol -- it'd be a first amendment problem for a Christian to decorate the lobby of the state lottery offices with a Ganesh statue despite the fact that their intent wouldn't be to worship. (In isolation. You could probably do it if it were in amongst a cross-cultural grab bag of lucky symbols.)

Now, it's all a continuum -- there are religions dead enough that their symbolism is secular at this point, and you could argue about when a religion fell into that category. But even in Utah, I don't think Christianity is one of them.

(Also, while I don't know much about Mormon usage of the cross, they're still worshippers of Christ who believe in the fact of the crucifixion. Even though they don't use the cross in their religious practice, they have a strong historical and religious link to it. Protestants usually don't use a crucifix, rather than a plain cross, but that wouldn't make a crucifix a secular symbol in a majority Protestant region.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:46 AM
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Crucifix-pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:47 AM
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the wacky plus sign.

Anti-Semite.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:54 AM
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Furthermore, the Mormon memorial cross thing came about in the context of a nation that used Christian crosses as memorial symbols because they didn't give a flying fuck about respecting other religions (and non-religious). They weren't casting about for the Platonic form of "memorial" and determined it to be a Latin cross-shaped object.

LB's parenthetical comment is reinforced if you imagine the Mormons settling in the Middle East and adopting a crescent for roadside memorials; seems unlikely, doesn't it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:58 AM
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I remember hearing that the earliest cross symbols were used in Roman graffiti to mock Christians. "Ha ha, we killed your god." You could always say you were wearing one to bring that tradition back.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:00 AM
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Probably the easiest thing to nail somebody to is a tree, and yet the Christian origins of Arbor Day are suppressed.

The Book of Common Prayer follows Acts, inter alia, in a couple of other references to our L.&S. J.C. having been "hung on the tree."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:07 AM
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Question:Is the cross a Christian symbol?

What is the answer to the question? The problem. How is the problem resolved? By displacing the question. The problem ... disobeys the Hegelian negative because it is a multiple affirmation; it is not subjected to the contradiction of being and nonbeing, since it is being. We must think problematically rather than question and answer dialectically.

Foucault


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:13 AM
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15: I have a vague impression that secular Jewish families in, say, the sixties and seventies were fairly likely to do some kind of Christmas celebration.

Definitely true in the Fifties in the Long Island suburbs. There was a strong assimilationist urge for a while after WW2.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:16 AM
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The funny thing is, I think that the cross came somewhat late to Christianity. By which I mean, it wasn't common for people to wear crosses and the like in the early church.

One of the most interesting things about reading Old English literature was seeing how representations of Christ on the cross were so different back then. These days it's all about the suffering, and he's presented as meek and vulnerable and forgiving and all that. Back then it was all glory and strength. The Dream of the Rood being the best example of this.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:27 AM
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re: 72

Yeah, plus the harrowing of hell sequences in older Christian poems.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:31 AM
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23: Looks like a toad.

Froggish men, unpleasant to see. Were you to kiss one, Karl, nary a prince would there be..

Cryptic Ned, sing along!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:38 AM
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||

Despite myself, I feel a bit slighted that two close friends are missing the wedding to go to conferences.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:39 AM
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64: The Mormons are very explicit in their belief that the cross is an illegitimate representation of the death of Christ. Tacky is the word I used when I lived in the Mormon West. It's simply not something that they would use in a religious context. At all. It would probably help them be more included in Christianity if they gave ground on the subject, but they don't.

I would feel pretty similarly about Ganesh as I do about the cross in Utah. If the lottery wanted to use it, I would actually have less problem with that than I would this particular white cross. Even if it's religious in origin, the intent of the use matters. Likewise, if the people of Utah wanted to establish religion, they wouldn't use crosses on the side of the road where auto accidents took place.

So while Scalia may be right for all of the wrong reasons, and he may be wrong, I think that it's at least contestable.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:57 AM
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The Mormons are very explicit in their belief that the cross is an illegitimate representation of the death of Christ.

What does this mean? That they don't think he was crucified? Or they don't think tiny crosses symbolize big crosses? Or that it's sacrilige in some way?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:00 AM
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One of the most interesting things about reading Old English literature was seeing how representations of Christ on the cross were so different back then. These days it's all about the suffering, and he's presented as meek and vulnerable and forgiving and all that. Back then it was all glory and strength.

T.H. White makes a similar point in his gloss on the description of the panther, in his medieval bestiary translation. That bestiary is a wonderful book, by the way.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:02 AM
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75: Sorry, Heebie, but you know I love the MLA!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:05 AM
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61: I understand the reflex and as a former resident of the south where it was pretty difficult to view the cross as anything but a religious symbol, I share it to a degree. My time in the Mormon West, though, changed my perspective a little bit. In the case of this particular cross, I actually think that it does constitute a breach and should be taken down or accompanied by other religious symbols (for reasons not yet discussed here). But the highway department (of a state run by people that don't view the cross as their holy symbol) putting a cross to mark an accident as a sort of "be careful" is something of a different matter. I guess what I'm saying is that I view it as a more complicated issue than a lot of folks around here do.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:06 AM
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Try it this way. Non-Mormon Christians are a large minority in Utah, and to them, crosses are a religious symbol. Don't you think that probably had some effect on the acceptability of crosses as a memorial symbol in Utah? That is, say that Mormon anti-cross feelings were stronger than they are, and the Mormon majority wanted Muslim crescents as a roadside memorial -- wouldn't you expect the Christian majority to kick up a fuss about it? If that's true, and I think it is, then the religious significance of the cross is significant in why it was chosen as a memorial symbol.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:06 AM
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77: In the Book of Mormon, Christ is killed in a knifefight with a bear.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:06 AM
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The summer I turned thirteen, I went abroad for the first time, flying to Switzerland to go to my summer camp, which I'd previously attended in New Hampshire. It was not long after the Achille Lauro hijacking, in which Leon Klinghoffer was executed by the PLO hijackers after being identified as a Jew, and my parents bought me a St. Christopher's medal and told me to say I was of Polish extraction if the plane was hijacked.

Young though I was, my bullshit detector was tripped, and I started wearing the St. Christopher medal everywhere I went. "Take that off," my dad said, "it's a Christian thing." "You got it for me," I said. He took it away and I flew abroad unmasked.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:07 AM
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Likewise, if the people of Utah wanted to establish religion, they wouldn't use crosses on the side of the road where auto accidents took place.

Are these crosses put there by the government, or by individuals? Also, I don't know about Mormons in Utah, but in most religions there is often a wide difference between official church doctrine and how the religion is actually practiced by the masses. When you say "The Mormons are very explicit in their belief" do you mean the former or the latter, or both?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:08 AM
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82: Holy cow. That's bad-ass.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:09 AM
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77: They think that he was crucified and that using a cross (in a religious context) is celebrating the instrument of his death and is thus pretty tacky. They have a sort of ecumenical that To Each Their Own, but in four years of living amongst Mormons I never once saw one wearing a cross and did hear a fair number of derogatory comments regarding the use of the cross (as a religious symbol).


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:11 AM
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that using a cross (in a religious context) is celebrating the instrument of his death and is thus pretty tacky.

I've always found it a little bizarre, myself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:14 AM
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but in four years of living amongst Mormons

I like to picture you lowered into the Mormons, in a metal cage on a rope, armed with a camera and a pad and pencil.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:15 AM
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Jesus is fucking metal.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:16 AM
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Holy cow. That's bad-ass Hindu.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:20 AM
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"A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he's gonna want to see a cross? That's kinda like going up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on." -Bill Hicks


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:21 AM
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82: Holy cow. That's bad-ass.

And it only comes after he's already dispatched a wild boar with a pointed stick, a shark with a length of canvass, and a lion with a branch from a fig tree.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:21 AM
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I'd never heard of the Utah cross thing before this thread -- here's a Newsweek article on it:

Besides, he notes, just because the LDS Church does not use the Star of David doesn't change the fact that it is a religious symbol exclusive to one faith. At one point in Tuesday's hearing, an attorney for the UHPA underscored Barnard's point, noting that if a Jewish trooper were killed, his family would have the option of erecting a giant Star of David in place of a cross.

Robert Kirby, the former police officer who came up with the idea for the memorials, says the cross was intended to be an easily recognizable symbol of the sacred, not a religious statement. Kirby, now a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune, says that he and Perry debated a lot of different symbols--signs, giant rocks, tombstones--before settling on the cross. "We wanted something instantly recognizable at 75 miles per hour, something that would say, 'This is hallowed ground'," says Kirby. "I have a lot of respect for the atheists. I believe in separation of church and state. But this is a little bit picky, even for them."

Now, from wikipedia, a federal court ruled that the crosses were okay, so what I'm about to say is in conflict with at least one federal judge. But the quoted passage looks as though the crosses were unambiguously a religious symbol -- they're a symbol of the "sacred", and something instantly recognizable as indicating "hallowed" ground, and a Jewish family would have had the option of rejecting that symbol and putting up an alternative religious symbol. None of that sounds secular to me -- it sounds like the Utah government making use of explicitly religious iconography that's familiar from the general US culture, even if non-Mormon.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:22 AM
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In the Book of Mormon, Christ is killed in a knifefight with a bear.

That's going to cause an upset in the "Who would win in a fight between a bear and a dinosaur?" debate.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:23 AM
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and a lion with a branch from a fig tree.

That's what I get for bringing a microphone to a branch fight.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls, L/on | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:24 AM
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what I'm about to say is in conflict with at least one federal judge

Following twenty years of Reagan and the Bushes appointing religious fanatics to the federal bench, that's going to happen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:26 AM
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81: Christians and Mormons do not tend to have very amicable relations in Utah (and eastern Idaho). The social set-up is "Mormon" and "not" where Christians socialize more with atheists than with Mormons. If the Mormons wanted a religious symbol, appeasing the Christian minority wouldn't really come into play. It's unlikely that they would use a crescent because it's such an intricate symbol of someone else's faith, but if Muslims used something like a stake in the ground with a sphere on top or something like that, I don't have much difficulty imagining them adopting that symbol in a secular way (despite Muslims using it) over the protests of Christians.

84: The government. There was a lawsuit about it, actually. Both the church itself and its members reject the cross as their holy symbol. It's not a case of the church rejecting it but the members ignoring it. If anything, the people themselves are more hostile to non-LDS Christians than the church itself is. Well, the people in Utah at any rate. Those outside of Utah want more to fit in. Makes it all kinds of difficult to explain to people that like the Mormons they know how difficult they are to live among in large numbers and why that's more than sufficient reason that my wife and I are *never* moving back to the Utah-Idaho LDS corridor.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:28 AM
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Establishment Clause law has pretty much always been fuzzy, though. Like, while the Star of David thing undercuts the secularism of the crosses, it might make them okay because the memorial system as a whole is ecumenical now, like engraving religious symbols on military tombstones, or putting up a menorah next to the nativity scene.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:29 AM
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Christians and Mormons do not tend to have very amicable relations in Utah (and eastern Idaho).

Presumably due to little red headed Catholic kids beating up the Mormon kids.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:31 AM
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98 to 96. Another example that I've always liked is that Moses holding the ten commandments is in a ceiling mural at the New york County Supreme Courthouse, and no one minds in the slightest, because he's up there with Solon and Hammurabi and Justinian and Some Pilgrim Dude -- he's not establishing religion, he's just part of the history of law.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:32 AM
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100: Isn't that the mural that depicts Mohammed, though? People mind that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:33 AM
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It's unlikely that they would use a crescent because it's such an intricate symbol of someone else's faith, but if Muslims used something like a stake in the ground with a sphere on top or something like that, I don't have much difficulty imagining them adopting that symbol in a secular way (despite Muslims using it) over the protests of Christians.

Mmm. This comes into conflicting senses of plausibility, which are hard to argue about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:34 AM
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93

Now, from wikipedia, a federal court ruled that the crosses were okay, so what I'm about to say is in conflict with at least one federal judge. But the quoted passage looks as though the crosses were unambiguously a religious symbol -- they're a symbol of the "sacred", and something instantly recognizable as indicating "hallowed" ground, and a Jewish family would have had the option of rejecting that symbol and putting up an alternative religious symbol. None of that sounds secular to me -- it sounds like the Utah government making use of explicitly religious iconography that's familiar from the general US culture, even if non-Mormon.

The involvement of the Utah government seemed limited to allowing some of them on public land. And if the family gets their choice of symbol I don't see a problem.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:34 AM
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100/101: There's a court building on Madison Square that has sculptures of the various law givers perched around the facade. Mohammed was taken down some time in the 50s.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:37 AM
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The involvement of the Utah government seemed limited to allowing some of them on public land.

I thought the Highway Patrol was putting them up -- that it was government action start to finish.

And if the family gets their choice of symbol I don't see a problem.

This is a fair argument, but it's different from arguing that the cross is secular in this context, so doesn't carry over to Scalia's point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:37 AM
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Further to 105: Oh, you're right, it was the "Highway Patrol Association", not the Highway Patrol. Yeah, whether it's government action would depend on the degree of government involvement with the HPA, but that still doesn't have anything to do with whether a cross is a secular symbol.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:40 AM
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Christians and Mormons do not tend to have very amicable relations in Utah (and eastern Idaho).

Presumably due to little red headed Catholic kids beating up the Mormon kids.

As well as the Great Brain swindling them repeatedly.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:41 AM
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104: The First Department building? If you're walking by there, it's worth looking inside -- the first-floor courtroom is gorgeous, in an early-20thC Tiffany lampshade kind of way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:41 AM
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107: Awesome.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:44 AM
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107: Yay! I was beginning to worry no one had gotten it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:46 AM
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88: For all of my complaints, they kept their cage remarkably clean! And their magic underwear and the like gave me a lifetime's worth of stories.

93: I guess I'm just looking at it from a different angle. I see such terms as "sacred" and "hallowed" as being somewhat empty ones and of no particular threat to my relative lack of faith. My reaction would be quite different if they wanted to put a Moroni statuette above my grave or something more expressly Christian in the south.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:48 AM
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And if the family gets their choice of symbol I don't see a problem.

In the situation under review in Salazar v. Buono, no one has the option of choosing an 8-foot high Star of David.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:48 AM
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108: Is that the same as the Appellate Court? (I only really know it from sitting outside at Tabla next door.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:49 AM
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In the situation under review in Salazar v. Buono, no one has the option of choosing an 8-foot high Star of David.

A VR goggle kiosk!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:52 AM
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I see such terms as "sacred" and "hallowed" as being somewhat empty ones and of no particular threat to my relative lack of faith.

See, from this I'm going to guess that you, like I, are non-churchgoing but from a Christian family. Not religious, but the form of worship you don't engage in is Christian. So Christian symbolism comes off as harmless, normal, background noise that doesn't bother you, like Christmas carols. I don't think it comes off that way for people who aren't Christian, or from a Christian heritage. This is still hard stuff to argue about, of course, and the legal implications are really fuzzy and weird.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:54 AM
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But the highway department (of a state run by people that don't view the cross as their holy symbol) putting a cross to mark an accident as a sort of "be careful" is something of a different matter.

It may feel different to you, but it's not a different matter constitutionally. Utah isn't legally a Mormon state and this isn't a Mormon country.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:55 AM
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Video for 91.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:55 AM
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113: Your link isn't working for me, but I meant this place.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 11:57 AM
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this isn't a Mormon country.

Why does Sir Kraab hate Mitt Romney?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:01 PM
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116: Eh, I think it's a better argument than you're giving it credit for. There's a caduceus on the side of NYC Sanitation trucks, as a symbol of public health. And that's a secular symbol, because no one except J Roth's kids is currently worshiping Hermes or likely to see that as tending to establish the worship of Hermes as a norm. If Christianity were as dead as Hermes-worship, a cross would be a secular symbol despite its religious origins.

I just don't think Christianity is anything like that dead, even in Utah.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:01 PM
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118: Oooh. Yes. Now I really want to go inside. I always wave at Solon as I go by ("Hey, buddy! I found your poetry sort of humanist and touching! Rock on!").


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:01 PM
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121: Like all courthouses, it's a public place. Metal detectors, but there's no reason not to go inside and prowl around.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:02 PM
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A VR goggle kiosk!

I have a total awesome pair of cardboard glasses (like 3-D glasses) that turn every point of light* into a Star of David. They're awesome.

*Take that, Peggy Noonan!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:07 PM
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123: I love those. The coffeeshop near my house kept a pair next to their little light-strung Christmas tree.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:12 PM
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75: Ugh. That really does suck. A very good friend skipped my reception because he was studying for his medical boards. (He apparently came to the ceremony, but I didn't get to see him.) It was such an obviously acceptable reason to not come, but I was super disappointed (and a little mad) anyway. (I'm assuming your friends' conferences are in the "kinda important" category -- if they're just stupid lame-o conferences that mean nothing, then you should be super mad!)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:14 PM
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Wait. Scalia's quote sounds terrible, granted (and it's possible it sounds no better if put full context), but given that he's an intelligent person, I think it's surely the case that Scalia wasn't suggesting that the cross isn't a religious symbol (it obviously is), but that a religious symbol erected for a non-religious purpose is not impermissible. (The only constitutional requirement is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", after all.)

He's saying "yes, it's a cross, but it wasn't put up in order to worship Jesus, but to honor war dead." The fact that the only reason lots of people put up crosses to honor the dead is because this has historically been a majority-Christian nation is important to consider, but it shouldn't be determinative (or even close to it). Otherwise they're going to have to stop lighting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:16 PM
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The Rockefeller Center is privately owned, isn't it?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:19 PM
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127 is correct.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:22 PM
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Yep. And so not a problem. No one's trying to banish religion from the public sphere, just from direct government action.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:23 PM
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the only reason lots of people put up crosses to honor the dead is because this has historically been a majority-Christian nation is important to consider, but it shouldn't be determinative (or even close to it)

I'm curious to know your logic behind this. Does anybody put up crosses to honor the dead *other* than Christians?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:24 PM
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126: I don't have a full transcript, so I don't know the full context of what Scalia said. But "It's a religious symbol, but we're using it for secular purposes" has the potential for being used very disingenuously, and from Scalia that's exactly how I'd expect it to be used.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:24 PM
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Really? I thought it was a public/private mix thing. Well, okay, bad example. But cities wouldn't be allowed to light christmas trees (which many do), was the point.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:25 PM
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No one's trying to banish religion from the public sphere

Well, it's true that I'm not trying very hard, but I'd certainly be pleased to see that happen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:26 PM
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Okay, no one's using the First Amendment to banish religion from the public sphere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:26 PM
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130: not that I'm aware of.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:28 PM
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given that he's an intelligent person

Even accepting this as a given, I've never been able to bring myself to view Scalia as an intellectually honest person -- largely based on the juxtaposition of his steadfast disdain for legislative history as an aid to determining legislative intent and his equally steadfast vociferousness about the importance of original intent in constitutional interpretation. My ultimate conclusion was that his true steadfastness is in conviction to an "ends justifies the means" philosophy -- he'll find a rationalization for whatever position he wants to take, regardless of any real commitment to the rationale.

He's saying "yes, it's a cross, but it wasn't put up in order to worship Jesus, but to honor war dead."

How do you separate the two? Isn't the point of using crosses to "honor" the dead that your are invoking the underlying Christian meaning? Like, you use the cross to symbolize "S/he's with Jesus now..."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:28 PM
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But cities wouldn't be allowed to light christmas trees

Isn't the usual way of handling this that if you say yes to the Christmas tree, you don't say no to anyone who wants to put up a comparable celebratory religious symbol? Yes to the tree, and the menorah, and the Kwaanza candelabra, and whatever else. The problem with the instant case is that they want to leave the cross up, by itself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:29 PM
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Even accepting this as a given, I've never been able to bring myself to view Scalia as an intellectually honest person -- largely based on the juxtaposition of his steadfast disdain for legislative history as an aid to determining legislative intent and his equally steadfast vociferousness about the importance of original intent in constitutional interpretation. My ultimate conclusion was that his true steadfastness is in conviction to an "ends justifies the means" philosophy -- he'll find a rationalization for whatever position he wants to take, regardless of any real commitment to the rationale.

Yep. He's a clever guy, and a good writer, and a huge liar.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:30 PM
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I've never been able to bring myself to view Scalia as an intellectually honest person

I don't believe he's intellectually honest at all.

Isn't the point of using crosses to "honor" the dead that your are invoking the underlying Christian meaning?

Pretty much, which is why I think 131 is basically right. But that's just Scalia taking a less-strident approach to the establishment clause (which is to be expected), not him being deliberately ignorant or downright asinine.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:33 PM
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137: During the years when the Steelers weren't winning as many Super Bowls, Pittsburgh tried to achieve fame as a legal precedent. (As a result of this case, the nativity scene moved about 100 yards).

http://www.ffrf.org/faq/creche.php


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:44 PM
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He's a clever guy, and a good writer, and a huge liar.

Are you allowed to say that?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:45 PM
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123: I have a total awesome pair of cardboard glasses (like 3-D glasses) that turn every point of light into a Star of David. They're awesome.

This comment, however, is less than awesomely written or proofed.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:46 PM
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you don't say no to anyone who wants to put up a comparable celebratory religious symbol? Yes to the tree, and the menorah, and the Kwaanza candelabra, and whatever else

I hate this shit. In practice it often as not ends up being a five-story high, blazing Christmas tree in the center of the town green, with a ticky tacky menorah made of scrap lumber a few feet off, and maybe a half-hearted Kwanzaa thingy as well, with no mention at all made of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhist cult religion or the zillion or so smaller sect religions that continue to be practiced in the U.S. Why can't we all celebrate our own religions in our own homes, go to work on December 25, and take two days off for the New Year?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:46 PM
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||

A friend has a post on Facebook about how H1N1 vaccine causes Alzheimer's and autism, and there's a whole thread of people chiming in with ill-informed anti-vaccination stuff. I'm tempted to respond with a bunch of links, but I'm thinking it's probably better not to get involved.

|>


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:49 PM
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143: I get from 12/24 through 1/1 as paid vacation. In your face, small sects.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:49 PM
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The discussion of the depiction of the Prophet Mohammad reminded me of one of my favorite Fafblog posts.

"What if it's not really a picture of Mohammed," says me, "just a picture of a picture of Mohammed?"

"Metablasphemy!" says Giblets. "It is sacrilegious and pretentious!"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:49 PM
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Alzheimer's? Autism? Those are other vaccines. This is the vaccine that causes Gulf War syndrome.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:50 PM
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Are you allowed to say that?

Well, I think Thomas is a much cleaner writer, but I don't think it's that far off for LB to suggest Scalia is good.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:50 PM
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and take two days off for the New Year?

Yes, because January 1st is universally agreed upon as the start of the new year, everywhere.

(Although I'm being pedantic, I agree with the sentiment.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:53 PM
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131, 137: You are so pwned!!! I wrote a Note on the precise point before the internet was even invented:
http://www.heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/duklr1990&id=1&size=2&collection=duklrcf&index=duklrc
see p. 160

yes, Scalia was always a hypocrite.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:55 PM
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I hate this shit.

Me too. I agree with Christopher Hitchens on this.

If these dolts knew anything about the real Protestant tradition, they would know that it was exactly this paganism and corruption that led Oliver Cromwell--my own favorite Protestant fundamentalist--to ban the celebration of Christmas altogether.

No believer in the First Amendment could go that far. But there are millions of well-appointed buildings all across the United States, most of them tax-exempt and some of them receiving state subventions, where anyone can go at any time and celebrate miraculous births and pregnant virgins all day and all night if they so desire. These places are known as "churches," and they can also force passersby to look at the displays and billboards they erect and to give ear to the bells that they ring. In addition, they can count on numberless radio and TV stations to beam their stuff all through the ether. If this is not sufficient, then god damn them. God damn them every one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:55 PM
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When was the internet invented?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 12:57 PM
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152: RTFPlaque.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:00 PM
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Why can't we all celebrate our own religions in our own homes, go to work on December 25, and take two days off for the New Year?

Standard for a lot people in Scotland until quite recently.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:02 PM
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It's the standard for a lot of people in the US as well. Except for the "days off for the New Year" part. More now than ever, with the demise of labor unions and the insane proliferation of retail.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:04 PM
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154: Isn't that just a reflection of the Presbyterian bias against enjoying things?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:05 PM
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to ban the celebration of Christmas altogether.

He's a mean one, Mr. Hitch.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:15 PM
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The law on this stuff really is an illogical mess -- I have a hell of a time separating out "what makes sense to me as an interpretation of the Establishment Clause" from "what courts have done and are likely to do", and neither one is really "what I think the government should do as a matter of good governance, rather than as what's mandated by the First Amendment."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:17 PM
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"The problem with the instant case is that they want to leave the cross up, by itself."

Well, that and when they realised they couldn't, they (and Congress) did everything they could think of to subvert the establishment clause to allow it to stay up on its own in perpetuity. I mean, it's harder to come up with a clearer violation of the purpose prong of the Lemon test, no matter what Scalia or Roberts say.

Full transcript of the oral arguments here


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:20 PM
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120: It's the rod of Asclepius, not Hermes caduceus. Do not piss off Apollo by ignoring his son!

I remember Jewish friends having a "Hannukah Bush" that looked suspiciously like a Xmas tree, but decorated in blue and white only. My first husband, after we were married, suddenly declared that he couldn't have a Xmas tree in his "Jewish" home - despite the fact that when we'd been living together, I'd always had a Xmas tree. I pointed out that I wasn't Jewish and I intended to have a tree in my half of the apartment. The marriage lasted two years, and that was pushing it.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:36 PM
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151: A pop psychologist might speculate that Hitchens' antipathy to religion arises from the failure of his own totalizing attempts to find adherents anywhere, but I think he's just a tedious drunk.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:41 PM
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161: I'm a cafeteria Hitchian myself.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:47 PM
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161: I'm religious, tedious, and drunk.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:48 PM
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163: And when did you enter the priesthood, Moby?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:50 PM
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136: I've never been able to forgive Scalia for saying that gun violence and violence against women don't have a substantial effect on interstate commerce, but somehow Congress can regulate growing marijuana for personal use. He's all about textualism unless it involves drugs.


Posted by: Elizabeth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:52 PM
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165: I'm willing to try religious, tedious and stoned, but apparently I give-off a 'cop vibe'. Maybe a beard would help?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:56 PM
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Unless it involves anything where he has a strong policy preference. I am, for my sins, a bit of an Eleventh Amendment specialist these days (I know. Look, I work for a state government.), and the Eleventh Amendment as recently interpreted has nothing at all to do with the actual text of the Amendment. The weirdo interpretation of it is very convenient for me in my current job, but that doesn't make it make sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:57 PM
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Religious, tedious, stoned and bearded? Try UU ministry.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:58 PM
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165: I think Scalia is much simpler than that. He is in favor of things that benefit people like him or hurt people not like him, and in particular he likes hierarchies with people like him at the top. The opinions are jiggered to achieve the desired outcome.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 1:59 PM
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168: Or campus ministry at any small college with a lot of '70s-Stalin architecture.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:01 PM
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167: So, I went and read the 11th amendment. I would have to say that it makes no sense whatsoever to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:02 PM
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171: Wait until you've sobered up.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:03 PM
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I think he's just a tedious drunk

That goes without saying, but even a blind pig finds a stopped clock now and again. In a glass house. With pots and kettles. EIEIO.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:06 PM
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169: It's true. The only case I remember where Scalia didn't decide in favor of people like him, was a fourth amendment case saying that they couldn't use thermal imaging equipment to look for pot plants inside a house because the equipment could be used to view a woman taking her nightly bath.


Posted by: Elizabeth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:06 PM
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172: It just occured to me, that the 11th amendment must be what lawyers are talking about when they say "sovereign immunity." I'd always assumed that phrase was just to get me to leave.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:07 PM
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What it literally says is that the federal courts don't have jurisdiction over suits against a state by anyone who isn't a citizen of that state. Taking it literally, a citizen of New Jersey, or of France, can't sue the State of Kentucky in federal court. What the Supreme Court says it says (and Scalia has consistently voted this way -- I can't remember if he's written 11th Amendment opinions) is that no one, including a citizen of Kentucky, can sue Kentucky in federal court (with certain exceptions).

This isn't an expansive reading of an ambiguous term, like most of what the right gets het up about, this is just ignoring the text.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:09 PM
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175: That's right, and what the current jurisprudence is on the 11th Amendment comes down to is "Oh, this is an explicitly stated version of the doctrine of sovereign immunity. So 'sovereign immunity' is in the constitution, and we'll interpret that as expansively as we want, ignoring the explicit limitations in the text."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:12 PM
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Oh dear. Imagine I'd edited that into English.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:13 PM
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I just read the oral arguments. Good grief. Scalia's disingenuousness is truly amazing.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:14 PM
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179: Hearing part of the exchange yesterday, it occurred to me that Scalia is trolling, and has been for some time.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:16 PM
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175 didn't seem unclear to me. Maybe I'll try to figure out how to due PA in the federal courts. I think PA's liquor laws violate the interstate commerce clause.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:19 PM
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'sue' not 'due'


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:25 PM
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What about civil servants with religious neck tattoos? Could Scalia get a holy spirit heart on his neck or forehead to display it on the bench? While hearing cases about publicly displayed religious jewelry worn by federal employees?

What about subcutaneous implants that affect skin temperature so they are only visible with thermal imaging?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:30 PM
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169 174

It's true. The only case I remember where Scalia didn't decide in favor of people like him, was a fourth amendment case saying that they couldn't use thermal imaging equipment to look for pot plants inside a house because the equipment could be used to view a woman taking her nightly bath.

This is silly. Lots of Scalia opinions can't reasonably be explained in that way. For example on flag burning.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:34 PM
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As an agnostic/atheist myself I think these sorts of lawsuits are misguided. They give religious symbols an importance and power that they don't deserve. Better to appropriate them and use them in all sorts of contexts draining them of all religious meaning.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:48 PM
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I have a lot of respect for the atheists. I believe in separation of church and state. But this is a little bit picky, even for them.

Translation: I have no respect for atheists.

And their magic underwear and the like gave me a lifetime's worth of stories.

I used to get coffee with a post-op M2F transsexual who, when she was still a man, worked in menial labor at a Mormon factory in Utah. She had countless stories of wicked fun. I loved hanging out with her.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:49 PM
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at a Mormon factory in Utah

They made Mormons?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:51 PM
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The factory Mormons are crap. You should always spend the extra money for the handmade ones. They last way way longer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:56 PM
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188: "handmade" s/b "hand stretched"


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:57 PM
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They made Mormons?

That why she had to quit after the surgery.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:57 PM
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188: "handmade" s/b "hand stretched" should be artisanal.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 2:58 PM
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185: Mostly, I think the benefit is more to members of minority religions than it is to secularists from Christian backgrounds. I don't particularly feel excluded or offended by public displays of religiosity -- I disapprove in theory, but I don't think I'd notice much in practice (admittedly, living in NYC I'm pretty sheltered.)

When you start getting into the Muslim kid being the only one who doesn't participate in the school prayers, or the Hindu litigant having to make her case in a courtroom with the Ten Commandments posted prominently, it starts feeling more like the government defining who's a second-class citizen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:02 PM
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a courtroom with the Ten Commandments posted prominently

I remember being shocked when I found out that not only was this common, people didn't seem to think it was a problem. It still boggles my mind slightly.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:05 PM
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Muslim kid being the only one who doesn't participate in the school prayers, or the Hindu litigant having to make her case in a courtroom with the Ten Commandments posted prominently

But those things feel different than an erection and a cross in the middle of nowhere. I'm not sure James's point would extend to prayers in public schools.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:06 PM
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But those things feel different than an erection

Certainly, but that's not important right now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:07 PM
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194: Why bring Mapplethorp into this?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:07 PM
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erection of a cross


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:08 PM
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I say my joke is different enough to only be 2nd degree pwnage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:11 PM
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The remaining blue laws in MA are fairly Christian-oriented.

In the past you couldn't buy alcohol on Sundays (in a store, that is) but now it's 1 o'clock.

You still can't open a grocery store on Thanksgiving or Christmas and you have to pay grocery store workers who work on Sunday Time and a Half. This isn't particularly fair to other religions who aren't the dominant one, but it would be pretty hard for people who wanted Christmas off to force the issue, so I'm not particularly eager to push to get rid of it.

Likewise people get overtime on Sunday, because it's the Lord's Day, but it also happens to be one of the days of the modern weekend, and the policy is a strong incentive to limit the number of people who have to work then.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:21 PM
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Yeah, vestigial blue laws are one of the really trickily fuzzy bits of establishment clause law. If you tried to pass a law making the Feast of the Annunciation a state holiday, or Yom Kippur, it'd clearly be a violation of the First Amendment. But Sundays and Christmas are kind of grandfathered in. And then things like arranging school schedules around religious holidays are just practical -- you couldn't successfully run the NYC public school system over the High Holidays, because you wouldn't have enough teachers. What with all the considerations, there's no way to draw logical lines (at least not without a lot more political will than we have.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:26 PM
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... you couldn't successfully run the NYC public school system over the High Holidays, because you wouldn't have enough teachers.

To put it delicately, I sort of thought that the demographics of the NYC public school teacher sector had changed since the early '70s.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:30 PM
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Some, but not enough, I don't think -- I'd bet you'd have better than 20% absenteeism among the teachers, which would be very difficult to plan around. You could, but it's easier to just shut down.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:33 PM
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Honestly, when it comes to things like holidays and schools schedules and the like, I really don't have a problem with it, even from a strict anti-establishment POV. Iris has a half-day next Thursday and off on Friday. Holiday? No, conferences (not sure why the day before is a half day). This affects my life in absolutely no wise differently from the day off she had for Yom Kippur (or was it Rosh Hahanah?). Point being, unlike Xmas, which is the lone religious holiday among the scant half-dozen Federal ones, these one-off Jewish* holidays don't feel like any kind of endorsement. Hell, Pgh Public Schools announced that lateness would be excused the day after the last Superbowl - schools accommodate reality, they don't dictate it (which isn't to say that they don't do things that could dictate; I just mean that days off aren't especially establishing of anything in particular).

* I imagine that there are districts where other minority holidays - Eid? - are off


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:36 PM
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To put it delicately

I don't think you have to worry about delicacy; it's not like there was a pogrom or something.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:37 PM
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204: I thought they were trying to avoid calling LB old, not worrying about changing demographics.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:39 PM
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Actually, I was thinking of the Woody Allen joke about nuclear apocalypse occurring when Albert Shanker got the bomb.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:41 PM
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re: 156

No, you get hammering epically drunk at New Year.

When you start getting into the Muslim kid being the only one who doesn't participate in the school prayers, or the Hindu litigant having to make her case in a courtroom with the Ten Commandments posted prominently, it starts feeling more like the government defining who's a second-class citizen.

You'd be surprised. A lot of Muslims in the UK send their kids to Catholic schools. Anyway, I grew up in a country with school prayers. In principle I'm against it, but I find it hard to get much emotional froth up about it. School prayer or no, we are a damn sight more secular than you, so, meh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:41 PM
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And this is why we should never try to reason out authorial intent.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:42 PM
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203: Well, it's hard to draw a line. I don't have a problem with it for convenience. I might have a problem with it if it turned into inequitable catering to one religion over another with a similar sized scheduling problem. (I don't know of any such actual thing happening, but it could -- like, there's a spring vacation that covers either Easter or Passover in the years where one week won't cover both. If, in NY, where they're comparably significant religions, it was always scheduled for Passover, or always for Easter, I'd think that might be an Establishment Clause problem.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:45 PM
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207: Of course, in the UK you're used to not having codified civil rights.

But you're right, this all gets much easier when there's no substantial part of the population that actually gives a damn about religion, so it's all a charmingly harmless tradition. In the US, though, we're not there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:47 PM
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To put 203 a bit more succinctly: Certain things in civil society will acknowledge and even reflect the religious habits of the citizenry. This will, inevitably, have a slight benefit to the best-represented religious, but I think it falls far, far short of establishing, or even promoting, religion. In terms of practical inconvenience, it's no greater than Labor or Memorial Days, and most of the cultural weight comes from elements wholly beyond the gov't's control (store displays and such).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:50 PM
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schools accommodate reality, they don't dictate it

A friend who grew up in the Denver suburbs told me that their school year began in mid-August to accommodate their having most of January off. They got January off because everyone would just be skiing anyway.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:55 PM
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But you're right, this all gets much easier when there's no substantial part of the population that actually gives a damn about religion, so it's all a charmingly harmless tradition. In the US, though, we're not there.

The irony being, of course that if the US had had an established religion for 200 years, it would probably be nearly as secular as Britain now.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 3:56 PM
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schools accommodate reality, they don't dictate it

They accommodate certain realities, and those realities are Christian or Judeo-Christian. Christians get every Sabbath off, and major religious holidays. In some schools, they schedule major tests and things around Jewish holidays, but not always. Muslims don't get midday prayer accommodations, Hindus don't get their important holidays off, and neither do most anyone else.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 4:18 PM
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All that's true, but is also largely explainable by the population share of all of the above religions. Pretty much anyplace you go in the US, upwards of 80% of the population wants Christmas off. I don't think there's anyplace in the US where you'd get serious absenteeism related to conflicts with a Hindu holiday.

That's hard on minorities, and there's a justice argument for ignoring population realities and not accommodating any religious holidays at all. But accommodating all religions in the same way Christianity gets accommodated would get terribly unwieldy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 4:23 PM
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a justice argument for ignoring population realities and not accommodating any religious holidays at all. But accommodating all religions in the same way Christianity gets accommodated would get terribly unwieldy.

I would argue it's not just a justice argument, it's an Establishment Clause argument. I'm all for trying to accommodate minority religions as long as we have (as we do) a lot of Christian artifacts built into our public life (which look to my eyes a lot like Establishment). But if we're not going to do a lot of unwieldy accommodating of every tiny sect, I think I should get my mail on Sundays and my roads fixed on Christmas.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 4:32 PM
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jms, I don't think you're going to get your mail on Saturdays for much longer, never mind Sunday.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 4:37 PM
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192

Mostly, I think the benefit is more to members of minority religions than it is to secularists from Christian backgrounds. I don't particularly feel excluded or offended by public displays of religiosity -- I disapprove in theory, but I don't think I'd notice much in practice (admittedly, living in NYC I'm pretty sheltered.)

Well let them sue then rather than "American Atheists", the plaintiff in the Utah case.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 4:57 PM
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Or Tuesday. (I hadn't realized 6-day delivery only started in 1983.)


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 4:57 PM
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I get so little interesting paper mail that I'd be fine with twice a week delivery.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:02 PM
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The USPS should be working on optimizing their business processes such that only the interesting mail gets delivered. That's what would happen if it were privately run, I bet.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:18 PM
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Speaking of erections and crosses, the Dream of the Rood has some seriously phallic cross-related imagery. (Don't all go rushing to read it now.)


Posted by: y | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:23 PM
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203: I've heard that out in the rural part of western PA, the school close for the opening of deer season.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:24 PM
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I just realized, after having rejoiced at finally discovering the key to my argument in a Supreme Court decision, that it is in fact a Scalia opinion.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:27 PM
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216: I'm guessing that if you successfully invoked the establishment clause to get any public workers to do non-essential work on Christmas (or essential work without at least double-time), you'd see the establishment clause amended before the 4th of July. And probably amended in a half-assed way that caused legal knots for a century.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:30 PM
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207: School prayer or no, we are a damn sight more secular than you, so, meh.

I read this as: we are a damn sight more secular than you, so, nah. [Naaaah, sticks tongue out]


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:48 PM
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221: Dude, they already have. It costs extra, which makes sense.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:52 PM
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For an additional fee, they will also discreetly deliver you copies of your neighbors' interesting mail.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 5:57 PM
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I'm fine with five day delivery. What I wouldn't like is for them to stop bringing the mail all the way to my door. From what I've seen in the suburbs, in some parts of the country in newish developments, you only get a central mailbox for the whole block.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:10 PM
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Eh, the thing about the USPS is that they provide, they guarantee, universal service: delivery anywhere in these somewhat large United States. UPS and Fedex actually don't, not exactly. I heard an interview with the USPS Postmaster General recently in which he acknowledged that the USPS has contract agreements with, for example, Fedex: they fly a lot of the USPS's mail. By the same token, the USPS delivers private mailing companies' mail the last mile (a figure of speech): you don't think the UPS truck is actually driving 11 miles out a dusty road to someone's rural home, or their local P.O., out in East Absquatch to drop off a single letter or package.

Don't ask me why I find this interesting, but I do. Universal service, huh. That would be inefficient in light of all the remote areas, wouldn't it? As the carrier of last resort, you'd be getting the short end of the stick (as in, okay, we'll use you suckers if we *have* to).

UPS and Fedex cost a lot more than the USPS.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:20 PM
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I've heard that out in the rural part of western PA, the school close for the opening of deer season.

Also the rural part of eastern PA. And the suburban part.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:37 PM
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Heck, if it weren't for Netflix, they could cut my delivery back to once a week.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:38 PM
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UPS and Fedex cost a lot more than the USPS.

USPS's flat-rate envelopes and boxes are a pretty good deal. I use them whenever I can.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:39 PM
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231: I thought we were special out here. Now I suddenly feel like I should get a deer permit. If even the Philly suburbs are hunting, I'd better go connect with nature.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:42 PM
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232: Just wait until you're sending all kinds of legal mail back and forth all the time. Otherwise I'd be fine with once a week as well.

People will just have to adjust to a slow-down, eh? For Netflix too.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:50 PM
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The Dream of the Rood is actually a pretty mind-blowing poem when you consider when it was written. Even aside from the psychosexual imagery.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:51 PM
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224: the best thing I have ever done, objectively, involved using a Scalia opinion in a way that would make him very angry.

I don't mean that I pooped on it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:51 PM
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OT: I was looking at deer hunting rules and was surprised to see that the PA game Commission has a web form for reporting sick bats. Now, in addition to all my other jobs, I have to resist the temptation to report 'whatever bat is held by a Pittsburgh Pirate'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 6:58 PM
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238: There's a problem with sick bats. Various parties are trying to track it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:06 PM
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Since this is the OT thread:

I kind of hope some people have heard about or seen Keith Olbermann's hour-long special comment last night, which can be found here.

It's on the state of health care, of health care reform, our relationship to health insurance companies, and so on. I actually caught just the last 15 minutes, which part was passionate and incredibly well-spoken, and moved me. I recommend it. He's angry, and serious. The man gives good delivery, no joke.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:18 PM
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239: Yes, there were vivid pictures of 'white-nose syndrome'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:24 PM
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those realities are Christian or Judeo-Christian

But - as any honest evangelical will tell you - "Judeo-Christian" is a sham. I mean, yes there's a relationship between the two religiously (just as there is between Judeo-Christian-Muslim), but the term and the concept are new ones, created to reflect social, not religious, realities. Jewish holidays are days off not because Jesus was a Jew, but because many urban school districts have so many Jews that it only makes sense. And, indeed - oh look - in Dearborn, MI, where there are a ton of Muslims, the 2 days after Eid are school holidays. If there's a town in the US with a huge Hindu population, and there's a suitable Hindu holiday, I guarantee that they get it off.

Also, this:

Christians get every Sabbath off, and major religious holidays

What "major holidays"? Other than Christmas, what gov't-sanctioned holidays do Christians get off (in addition to Sundays, of course)? While Spring Break used to be Easter Break, it has become freed from Easter - while there are still plenty of school districts that still tie Spring Break to Easter, a huge number don't. I'm not sure what, if any holidays Protestants view as important other than Xmas and Easter, but Catholics have a half dozen Holy Days of Obligation, none of which are reflected in the civic calendar. I'm not saying they're oppressed by this - I'm saying that you're exaggerating the extent to which Xians are catered to. There's the Sabbath (plus Saturday; was that half of the weekend really selected to accommodate Jews/establish Judaism?), but beyond that there's 1 holy day - which is how many Jews and Muslims get in places where those sects are significant (let alone plurality) populations.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:35 PM
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Arbor Day, JRoth. Arbor Day.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:37 PM
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Well, New Years Day is a Holy Day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:39 PM
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Of course, New Years Day was New Years Day well before it was a Holy Day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:40 PM
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I have a question that I've always wondered: how did the Sabbath switch from Saturday to Sunday, in Judeo-Christian history?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:44 PM
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And why don't Christians ever notice that Sunday is always considered the first day of the week, and therefore not the seventh day when God rested?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:45 PM
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Another question I have: I know the early Christians deliberately stopped practicing all the tiny rules of Judaism. But how on earth did they stop practicing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Why aren't those dictated?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:47 PM
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246: Because the Resurrection was on a Sunday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:47 PM
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249: Am I being gullible if I say that makes sense?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:49 PM
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250: That's also why Easter is about the same time as Passover. There were probably other reasons. Most of the early Christians would have probably done both Sabbath and Sunday. And the Romans pretty well trashed out the Jews not so long after the start of Christianity. Being more than a Jewish sect might have been a helpful course.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:53 PM
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249: That is one reason given, but I think it was mostly adapting to Roman customs and distancing themselves from the Jews.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:53 PM
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247: Go talk to a Seventh Day Adventist. They get really, really animated about that very issue. Or at least the ones I grew up around did.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 7:56 PM
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Oops, that was me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:00 PM
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248: But how on earth did they stop practicing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?

Jesus preached a whole new atonement method, so I'm guessing that's what happened to Yom Kippur. Plus what was mentioned in 251 and 252. I'm guessing a bit as most of the New Testament stuff on diverging from Judaism focuses on circumcising gentile converts. The basic point seems to have been, if you are Jewish and convert, you were to keep following Jewish law. If you weren't, meh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:06 PM
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That's also why Easter is about the same time as Passover.

Wait, that's not exactly right. Easter is near Passover because Judah betrayed Jesus at a Seder dinner.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:12 PM
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251: 250: That's also why Easter is about the same time as Passover. There were probably other reasons. Most of the early Christians would have probably done both Sabbath and Sunday. And the Romans pretty well trashed out the Jews not so long after the start of Christianity.

The difference between Passover and Easter is dictated by different calenders and different computations for time of the full moon. There are differences between Greek Easter and Catholic Easter, and then both differ from the computation for Passover. If everyone computed via the same calender and observation systems, then Easter/Passover would fall on the same day. (I hope I haven't fucked that up.)

Apo is correct about Seventh Day Adventists. The Church originally used Saturday as the day of rest, but then shifted it to Sunday, in 300-something I think.

199: This isn't particularly fair to other religions who aren't the dominant one, but it would be pretty hard for people who wanted Christmas off to force the issue, so I'm not particularly eager to push to get rid of it.
200: If you tried to pass a law making the Feast of the Annunciation a state holiday, or Yom Kippur, it'd clearly be a violation of the First Amendment. But Sundays and Christmas are kind of grandfathered in.

Clearly then, we need to go to the four day/32 hour work week as fulltime, with pay increasing by 1/10th of hourly wage for each four hours added on. So that gets us Friday thorugh Sunday off.

max
['That pretty much takes care of everybody.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:14 PM
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And why don't Christians ever notice that Sunday is always considered the first day of the week

Ahem:

Early Friends made a big deal out of removing names of Mythology figures (Greek, Roman, and Norse Gods) and such from their speech. Thus the days of the week are referred to as "First Day" through "Seventh Day" instead of Sunday through Saturday, and "First Month" through "Twelfth Month" instead of January through December. This notation is common in writings like _The Journal of John Woolman_ and other classic Friends writings.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:22 PM
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If we go to a four day week, I think I'd rather have Wednesdays off than Fridays.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:22 PM
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"Judeo-Christian" is a sham.

Really? I always thought "Judeo-Christians" was just a sort of more formal name for the Jews for Jesus.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:23 PM
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Jesus fucking christ, I can't believe there is no response to 240. Admittedly, it was off-topic, and I said so. Okay, then.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:25 PM
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What? doesn't the term just refer to the shared history?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:26 PM
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I think I am developing a small crush on Al Franken.

Wonkette:

Here he is talking for seven minutes about his amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would defund KBR (Halliburton) or any other contractor that forces its employees to waive their rights to criminal or civil cases when they get abused or -- as was the case of one KBR employee in Iraq -- gang-raped by their co-workers. The amendment passed, 68-30.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:28 PM
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262 to 240.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:30 PM
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Re: 240: I have to admit that I have mostly buried my head in the sand regarding the healthcare discussion lately. The state budget crisis here is now in its 100th day and I'm trying to limit the amount of politically dispiriting news I hear.

Did something good happen? It sounds like Olberman at least was rousing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:33 PM
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256: I was skipping some steps. Seder was Holy Thursday. Crucifixion on Good Friday. Easter on Sunday. The days of the week are known, ironically, because Jesus's followers observed the Sabbath and were rushing for burial on Friday before sundown.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:55 PM
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265.last: Yeah, he was rousing. Very. He took it outside the beltway politics and the navel-gazing.

The religion discussion here is good and interesting, so I don't want to distract any more, so forgive me for the lengthy quote.

But Olbermann was rousing throughout, and in conclusion (see end of link at 240) like so:

Even as the pay-outs move inexorably downwards, to being less than what you have paid in over the years, we are such serfs to the insurance companies that just to invoke the true spirit of the founding of this nation, is to give them more power, not less.
So I propose tonight one act with two purposes. I propose we, all of us, embrace the selfless individuals at the National Association of Free Clinics. You know them, they conducted the mass health care free clinic in Houston that served 1,500 people. I want a mass health care free clinic every week in the principle cities of the states of the six senators key to defeating a filibuster against health care reform in the Senate.
I want Sens. Lincoln and Pryor to see what health care poverty is really like in Little Rock. I want Sen. Baucus to see it in Butte. I want Sen. Ben Nelson to see it in Lincoln. I want Sen. Landro to see it in Baton Rouge. I want Sen. Reid to see it in Las Vegas.
I'll donate. How much will you donate? We enable thousands of our neighbors to have just a portion of the bounty of good health, and we make a statement to the politicians, forgive me, William Jennings Bryan, "you shall not press down upon the brow of America this crown of insurance, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of blue."
We think these events will be firmed up presently. You will be able to link from our website. Trust me, I'll remind you. Because in one party, in one demographic, in one protest movement, we are all brothers and sisters. We are united in membership in the party that insists that every chance at life be afforded to every American seeking that chance.

It's really worth reading the whole thing, or better, watching him deliver it.

Carry on! Sorry, guys.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 8:56 PM
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267: Yeah, he was rousing. Very. He took it outside the beltway politics and the navel-gazing.

The Obama administration is primarily interested in health care reform for political propaganda purposes and economic ones - that is, they want to fix the Medicare part D problem and reduce the deficit in the future, so we can replay the 90's. A minority of Democrats wants Medicare for all. The remaining Democrats agree with Obama. The end.

So they're going to pass something that's ridiculously fucked up and that will eventually blow up in everyone's faces. You (as in you, and as in normal people) get zip. Also, the end.

max
['Your government: not going to be helping you out anytime soon.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:04 PM
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Thanks, max. I forgot how childlike and ignorant parsimon was, in her hopeless naivete.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:07 PM
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269: Uh. ned, max is incredibly cynical (or realistic) about health care reform. I know that. He may well be right, and I know that too. I need to hear something like Olbermann's speech to remember why it's worth fighting hard -- really hard, harder than usual -- on this one.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:30 PM
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Meantime, I'll be happy to donate to those free clinics in swing Senatorial states. I'm all in favor of political theater that also accomplishes a pragmatic end. I assume when Olberman says the link will be on "our" website he means the one linked to in 240?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:34 PM
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I assume so, yes. At MSNBC. Also Olbermann (two n's, or ns), pass it on. I'd like to see a few more people pick this up. It should be heard more widely.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:48 PM
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And why don't Christians ever notice that Sunday is always considered the first day of the week
"Always"?


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 9:54 PM
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Indeed. I certainly remember calendars in Spain that listed Monday as the first day of the week. If I had spent more time studying calendars in the course of my world travels, I would offer you more anecdotes.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:28 PM
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you shall not press down upon the brow of America this crown of insurance, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of blue

Good job getting back on topic.

And now a typographical defence of (Christian name) Tony:

Is is common that an asterisk means 'has a footnote' and that a dagger means is dead ('In military history, a dagger† is often placed next to the name of a commander who is killed in action.')
It denotes dead more than it denotes Christian.


Posted by: Econolicious †† | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:29 PM
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A friend from Sarajevo said that back before the war everybody she knew celebrated the end of Ramadan and Christmas (both of them). It was an occasion to get more presents and drink more booze. Nobody actually fasted for Ramadan, though they did hold regular evening parties to celebrate the end of not fasting. Liberally watered with booze, of course.

Clearly this was a war on Christmas and a direct cause of the slaughter that followed.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:29 PM
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At one of the places I lived in Chicago, National Sunday Law was delivered unsolicited (well, I sure didn't order it--maybe the rest of the building did) one day to every unit in the building. It did not convince me to become a Seventh Day Adventist.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:35 PM
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Monday is the ISO standard first day of the week. Religious lunatics start on Sundays.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10- 8-09 10:58 PM
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And now a typographical defence of (Christian name) Tony:

Is is common that an asterisk means 'has a footnote' and that a dagger means is dead ('In military history, a dagger† is often placed next to the name of a commander who is killed in action.')
It denotes dead more than it denotes Christian.

I'm pretty sure that the practice of putting a little cross by the name of a dead person is related to the practice of putting a little cross by the grave of a dead person.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 9-09 3:52 AM
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270: 269: Uh. ned, max is incredibly cynical (or realistic) about health care reform. I know that.

When David Brooks thinks you are not left-wing enough, you are in deep trouble:

The Baucus bill centralizes power, in contrast to the free choice approach, which decentralizes it. The Baucus approach aims to reduce costs, expand coverage and improve efficiency by empowering regulators to write a better set of rules. It aims to rationalize the current system from the top down.
This approach has many weaknesses. It entrenches a flawed system. It creates greater uniformity and rigidity. It redistributes income from the politically disorganized young to the politically organized old. It squeezes people into a Rube Goldberg complex of bureaucracies based on their income level. It will impose huge costs on people as they rise up the income ladder, distorting the whole economy.[...]
If you asked me to compare the Baucus approach with the Wyden approach, the answer is easy. But if you asked me to compare it with the status quo, the answer is hard. The Baucus bill contains hidden bombs that could lead to a rigid bureaucratic system that still doesn't address the fundamental problems. On the other hand, it contains hidden experiments that could lead to new models that might spread across the system.
If I were in Congress, I'd figure there's an 80 percent chance of something like this passing anyway. I might as well get engaged as a provisional supporter to fight to make it better, or at least to fight off the coming onslaught to make it worse.

He may well be right, and I know that too. I need to hear something like Olbermann's speech to remember why it's worth fighting hard -- really hard, harder than usual -- on this one.

I certainly wasn't trying to slam you. If you want to get invested, and willing to accept the damage from the disappointment, then I think Jane Hamsher has been doing the Lord's [of your preferred [non-]religion] work.

max
['Probably the best place to get behind and push.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 9-09 5:36 AM
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277: We received that book at our house as well. I almost linked to it when I first read the thread. Remember: Sunday Laws + US + Pope is the Antichrist (they're really behind the times) = End Times.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 9-09 7:43 AM
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And if the family gets their choice of symbol I don't see a problem.

Well, there's the free speech issue.

"We thought that poor Uncle Stoney would have wanted the giant marijuana leaf as his roadside marker"

"Bubba was their best customer, so when Ralph's Cut-Rate Liquor Open 24 Hrs offerred to put up the bottle with his name and their slogan, and contribute a bit for the funeral and such, we thought it was fitting. Yes, that big bottle among the crosses for all the evangelicals Bubba killed that sad day is a tribute to the diversity of this great country"


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 10- 9-09 9:05 AM
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187-191: I'm told that canned Mormon is high in mercury and that one shouldn't eat them more than once a month.

199: I am stunned to find out that NC is less blue-law-tastic than Mass.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10- 9-09 9:59 AM
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282

The memorials are for highway patrol officers killed in the line of duty so these scenarios aren't too likely.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 9-09 10:08 AM
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I used to wear crosses in my youth as anti-vampire devices.


Posted by: 'stina | Link to this comment | 10- 9-09 4:13 PM
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