Saturday, December 17, 2011

Athens, Texas: Battleground

I have lived in Texas for about 20 years or so and count myself no Texan. I agree with some that a whole lot of "Texans" can tend to be pretty silly about things. I find the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University grads and supporters to be somewhat of a cult and I find the way deer are "hunt" in Texas to be a bit, shall we say, pussy. It ain't huntin if you are feeding the deer. May as well shoot a cow at the trough. How could I think otherwise about Texas? I am, after all, a Southeastern Conference man. Yes I know those silly Aggies have jumped from the frying pan into the SEC fire, but that is because they lean a bit toward stupidity. Not to get sidetracked here.....

Now with all that being said there are a few things about Texas that I do like. One is the whole "don't mess with Texas" thing is a "real deal." I have learned from (you should check out his "rule 5" postings)  that some fruitloop group that goes by the name of The Freedom From Religion Foundation has threatened court action if a nativity scene in front of the county courthouse, in the little Texas town of Athens, be removed. Also they are demanding some sort of new age asinine banner be placed in the vicinity also. Don't think either will happen. Funny, just yesterday or the day before I made mention that the "war" on Christmas has subsided a bit. Guess I was wrong.

In this country we do have freedom of religion along with freedom from religion and that is an excellent concept (and policy). Be that as it may, in this nation we are predominately Christian folk and a little nativity scene hurts no one. Be it in front of a courthouse or on private property.

I would rather doubt that the nativity scene in front of the courthouse in Athens will be coming down anytime soon. It would be my guess that it  really will not matter what any court somewhere rules on the issue. I say if the folk at this "Freedom from religion" group are that adamant about the whole thing then they should just come on down and try to dismantle the offending decorations.

Wonder how that will work out for them.


Jill said...

As one of those goddamn heathen liberal Jews who are going to burn when Jesus comes back, I have to say that the nativity scenes on town property don't bother me at all. In fact, I have a lot more respect for the house in town that puts out a netivity scene, tacks a lit star to a tree and puts out a sign that says "Keep Christ in Christmas" than I do the guy who puts out a cheap plastic inflatable thing depicting Santa in a hammock between two palm trees drinking a margarita...right next to the cheap plastic inflatable Santa on a motorcycle. Or the cheap plastic inflatable Homer Simpson in a Santa hat clutching a six-pack of Duff Beer.

In fact, I would love it if Christmas went back to being a celebration of the birth of the Christian messiah, instead of this orgy of greed and resentment and spending money for tchotchkes that no one needs. But of course, the economy couldn't handle it. Christmas spending is crack to our economy.

What you have to understand is that just because a majority of Americans are at least some kind of marginal Christian, that doesn't make this a "Christian nation".

What makes me leery about all this "Christian nation" stuff is that Christians throughout the religion's history have about as much tolerance for those who do not believe the same way as those very Muslims you despise. You might call it "Sharing the Word", I call it imposing your religion on me. Your right to freedom of religion ends at my front door.

One of the reasons why nonbelievers and others are getting so hopped up about this nativity scene business is BECAUSE of all the religionflogging that has become part and parcel of our political system. No one is saying that you can't practice your religion. But you don't have a right to demand that everyone else believe the same way.

Bartender Cabbie said...

OK. You are certainly correct about Christmas becoming an orgy of commercialism. That is a shame.
You are also correct about the fact that this is not a "Christian nation" per se. It is not meant to be one. But as you say, the majoritity of Christians are marginal and the people of the United States do, for the most part, identify with the the Christian faith (or so most say).

I agree that there should be freedom of religion as well as freedom from. The area in which I live is chock full of "fundamentalist" types who tend to really do nothing more than annoy me. I am not afraid of them becoming a "Christian Schutzstaffel" or anything, but I do cast a wary eye in their direction.

I am fully aware of the unsavory nature of the history of "Christianity" as practiced by Man, in the past.

I do think that, in this country, any one can practice any religion that they so desire (or none at all). I do not think however that harmless nativity scenes on either public or private land are necessarily intolerant of those who believe otherwise. Now if there was a "convert or else" policy in this country..then we have a real problem.

You made note that I "despise" Muslims. Well you may (or may not)have a valid point. I have known Muslims in the Taxi business that I certainly do not despise. The contrary in fact. However, I do recall vividly the rejoice in Muslim lands after the attacks on Sept 11. I have met some Americans who have been permanently maimed in the struggle since. I have attended services for military members who have paid the price defending us.

I am (I hope) smart enough to know the difference between individuals and "lumping" people in groups. That being said, I do think that Islam, in general, is a danger to the "Western" way of life.

Mayberry said...

I think anyone who tries to dismantle the nativity will have their ass kicked. It's a Texas thang...

Bartender Cabbie said...

I am pretty sure you are correct about the asskicking that would occur. Don't know if it is just a Texas thing though.

This reminds me a bit of those protestors who, for whatever reason, decide to disrupt funerals of military members. I have not seen that type thing down here. There are just too many biker types who come to honor the fallen for there to be any disruption. A lot of those folk would not care a whit about spending a few days cooling their heels in the county jail after whipping someone's ass.

I kind of think this "nativity scene" thing would be along those same lines.

I do think we certainly need freedom from religion along with freedom of.....Religious fervor has been a cause of death and destruction throughout recorded time and right up to this day. I don't think some Xmas decoration on the courthouse lawn qualify as anything dangerous though.

Jill said...

I'm a big believer in picking and choosing your battles, and nativity scenes on government property are not a battle that I think it's productive to fight. (For the record, I also don't think OWS is helping itself by scaling fences around the Trinity Church-owned property they want to use for camping, either.)

Respecting or acknowledging religion is not the same as endorsing religion, and from where I'm sitting as kind of a lapsed Jew who believes in reincarnation, sort of identifies as a half-assed Buddhist with elements of Wicca and has a statue of the Hindu god Shiva on her desk, acknowledging the nativity as a primary symbol of the season is qualitatively different from the kind of crap we see the current crop of GOP candidates pulling in their race to appeal to those in their own ranks who would still burn witches and torture heathen if they could get away with it.

Perhaps if there wasn't this push on the right to affirm the word "God" in the national motto as a primary concern of Congress, and the increasing influence of people associated with Christian Dominionism, groups like the Free From Religion folks wouldn't have to exist.

When I was in high school, there was a big ruckus over the Christmas tableau which featured a nativity scene. This had been a fixture in the high school for decades, but it wasn't until the rise of what we then called 'Jesus freaks" that it started to be a problem. Perhaps if the fundies would stop their desperate need of the affirmation of all to the same faith that they have, and instead have, yes, FAITH in their own faith, we wouldn't be fighting these battles at all.

Bartender Cabbie said...

What it boils down to is that in fighting over religion is a bit ridiculous. Again, in this country, we can do as we please in regard to beliefs.

It is also silly however to get folk in an uproar by attacking symbols that have been part of the landscape of America. It just pisses people off. These Freedom From Religion groups basically are grandstanders in my opinion. Just out to get a rise out of the majority and stamp their little feet. Their right to do so of course but they should expect no one to really take them very seriously.

That is what really gets in their craw. The desire to matter about something. Same with the lot of this OWS crowd. They want to matter and maybe they even should matter but they just don't.

Anonymous said...

Fellow Texan deer hunter here - I agree with hunting OVER feeders (where feeder is within sight of hunter's location), that is pretty chickenshit. Thats not hunting, thats just harvesting, choosing which one you shoot is not hunting.

But if said feeders are not within sight and are placed inside brush where they feed unseen, I don't personally have a problem with it. Especially in drought years, the fawn crop really had it hard this year, and I see a future downturn in deer numbers.

I agree that it does affect the deer patterns, they know the sound of the feed hitting the aluminum spreader and will come very quickly to it. Not too cool.

And don't get me started on hunting high fence areas and calling it trophy deer, you are just buying it, plain and simple, its prostitution, plain and simple.

Bartender Cabbie said...

I think that any kind of feeding whatsoever is chickenshit. It always amuses me when folks get all decked out in sniper gear to go hunting an animal that they have fed. It would be just as easy to shoot the neighbor's dog at his food bowl.
I am not an anti hunter though. I just think that it should be nothing but still hunting with no feeding and no dogs. Any "unfair' advantage to the hunter is ridicuolous.

I certainly agree with your statements in the last paragraph. High fence, exotics, trophy hunts, etc. are bordering on criminal and are nothing but pussy to boot.