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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2004 :  18:43:08  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
Minorities on the city council of Tampa FL walk out on an atheist speaker... because he is an atheist....

pffft.... can't make it a clicky link, the url thingy here breaks the address off at the "+" .... so I'll put it in a quote... just do the cut/paste thing.

quote:
http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/671647051.html?MAC=74517a7d219cc9d8867a59d1c8d1dfbf&did=671647051&FMT=FT&FMTS=FT&date=Jul+30%2C+2004&author=DAVID+KARP&printformat=&desc=Council+splits+on+atheist%27s+invocation


http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/671647051.html?MAC=74517a7d219cc9d8867a59d1c8d1dfbf&did=671647051&FMT=FT&FMTS=FT&date=Jul 30%2C 2004&author=DAVID KARP&printformat=&desc=Council splits on atheist%27s invocation


Ok, that's bizarre.... it works in a quote, but not in the {url}{/url} things.....

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth

ConsequentAtheist
SFN Regular

641 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  06:45:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ConsequentAtheist a Private Message
From the article:
quote:
Later, White agreed that he was taking a stand. Listening to an atheist even one time could unleash a "snowball effect" on government. He compared it to having unprotected sex.
A snowball of unprotected sex! The mind races, the body shudders, ...


For the philosophical naturalist, the rejection of supernaturalism is a case of "death by a thousand cuts." -- Barbara Forrest, Ph.D.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  11:40:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
A wonderful invocation indeed.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  12:59:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Dr. Mabuse:
A wonderful invocation indeed.


I'll tell you what, and I will probably be flamed for this, but If I had been Harvey, I would have not interjected politics into the invocation. And while everything he said is correct, I probably would have sought to put them at ease and possibly make them look silly for walking out or protesting an atheist invocation by not making it too controversial.
quote:
Harvey:
History - that ever-unfolding, ever-flowering story of human civilization - teaches us that the rights and accomplishments of humanity are the results of its past struggles, and that the road less traveled is many times the highest path to human progress. We therefore invoke this council and all of our leaders to be guided and inspired by the invaluable lessons of history, the honest insights of science, the guileless wisdom of logic, and the heart and soul of our shared humanity - compassion and tolerance.

This was the best thing he said. Had he not used the moment as a platform for reminding the council of the establishment clause, he might have been invited back. The fact that he was invited in the first place was a bit of daring do on the part of Dingfelder. Dingfelder will never make that mistake again, and that is a pity. One good way to change things is to take part in the things that need changing. Baby steps.

I know, right is right. Sometimes however, discretion really is the better part of valor. What I see is that atheists got a foot in the door, confirmed the fear of those who could use a full dose of wisdom, and now the door is slammed shut. All we are left with is yet another tale of how intolerant some people are, as if we didn't know that. I think this was a lost opportunity...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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ConsequentAtheist
SFN Regular

641 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  14:47:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ConsequentAtheist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil

I know, right is right. Sometimes however, discretion really is the better part of valor. What I see is that atheists got a foot in the door, confirmed the fear ...
I agree.

For the philosophical naturalist, the rejection of supernaturalism is a case of "death by a thousand cuts." -- Barbara Forrest, Ph.D.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2004 :  18:55:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
As an atheist, I find it almost conforting that I have to (well, maybe will have to) fight for my rights. That makes them worth having.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2004 :  02:19:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil

quote:
Dr. Mabuse:
A wonderful invocation indeed.


I'll tell you what, and I will probably be flamed for this, but If I had been Harvey, I would have not interjected politics into the invocation. And while everything he said is correct, I probably would have sought to put them at ease and possibly make them look silly for walking out or protesting an atheist invocation by not making it too controversial.

Indeed!

You are right in everything you wrote.
The first part of the speech was a political statement (that should have been withheld) and the second part (that you quoted) was the invocation that I was referring to.

(edit: spelling)

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 08/02/2004 02:20:25
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2004 :  03:20:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Why shouldn't he have spoken about the separation of church and state? The council's reaction was a perfect example of WHY there should be separation, as an atheist, he was being excluded. Was there a written rule about the invocation not being political? Were there ever political statements made by others who had given invocations?

What did he lose by being political? The support of those couple folks in the council who weren't going to change anytime soon anyway. What did he gain? Attention to his being excluded for his beliefs. Perhaps that was a greater benefit. Such attention causes those baby steps in the bigger world, instead of merely in the council chamber.
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2004 :  05:11:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Kind of silly that you can talk about superstition at a council meeting, but you can't talk about how to make the world a better place.

What else would he talk about? Knitting? If the ministers there talked about the persecution of Christians or Jews, would they have been condemned for talking about "political" agendas? No. If they had talked about how God helped them in the civil rights movement would they have been condemned for a political agenda? I don't think so.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Wulfstan
New Member

USA
42 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2004 :  20:37:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Wulfstan a Private Message
I'm with Bestskeptigal and Gorgo on this one. There have been a number of episodes like this all over the country; one stuck out in my mind because I posted about it on my home board. I dug it up on American Atheists here Utah High Court Rules in Favor of "Alternative "Prayer" Bestskeptigal is asking the right questions and these walk-outs need to answer them.

Though I am not someone who parades their atheism around like some who wear their religion on their sleeves, I don't think baby steps really works. It wouldn't have mattered if he was political or not--once they knew he was an atheist, is part of an atheist organization and didn't invoke God, they would have treated him like a leper anyway. He was in their face and they didn't like it. There's no "nice" way to talk about separation of church and state with those who WANT it there, who believe it is right and part of our nation's heritage. It is hard enough to get people just to understand atheism---I have tried to get people to read about what atheism is on a most excellent site and they won't even bother to look. They've got these walls up that are no different than racial prejudice, gender prejudice, etc, etc. And strides in equality, civil rights, et al have never been made by baby steps.

It would be nice to simply live by example, but that doesn't get God out of the town council meeting or the Pledge or whatever. It doesn't make it heard that, "This is wrong," to allow only one kind of prayer in a publicly owned building. I have to give these people credit-it's not easy being an atheist and standing up for what you believe in when you are so outnumbered. I know so many people, including myself, who bite their tongues, because they're afraind of losing their jobs or being the office leper or what have you.

There were no baby steps in puting God in the Pledge, nor faith-baised intitiatives...those became movements because people spoke out; if people don't speak out and are not publicized in some way, then it's much harder to gather momentum with like minds. And there are religious people who do believe in the separation of church and state. I don't think passivity works anymore; what I've seen in the last few years is appalling to me--are we going backwards?? Kil, I don't know what you think he could have said to put them at ease. If he had invoked the sun or Zeus or something apolitical, it wouldn't have made any difference in their reactions-they would have complained about one thing or another.

I guess I'm thinking about how movements have gained momentum in history and that they were never sweet, clean and unpainful.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2004 :  23:06:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Wulfstan:
Kil, I don't know what you think he could have said to put them at ease.


I have already quoted the sort of thing he could have said. In fact, he said what he could have said. Here it is again:
quote:
History - that ever-unfolding, ever-flowering story of human civilization - teaches us that the rights and accomplishments of humanity are the results of its past struggles, and that the road less traveled is many times the highest path to human progress. We therefore invoke this council and all of our leaders to be guided and inspired by the invaluable lessons of history, the honest insights of science, the guileless wisdom of logic, and the heart and soul of our shared humanity - compassion and tolerance.


Since he was invited to do an invocation, that is what he should have done. So what if we now have a news story about how some people are not tolerant of atheists. What's new? If he had simply done the invocation without going political, those who walked out on him would have looked all that much more intolerant. For crying out loud, his being there was a political statement by the board member who invited him. Just sometimes, it happens that saying less is more. I'm suggesting that this was one of those times. The story is now history and Harvey will probably never be asked back. Had he played it cool, he might have at the very least caused the board to consider future invocations from atheists. Would that have been such a terrible thing? Now, those who walked out probably feel completely justified in doing so and are, unfortunately, off the hook.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Wulfstan
New Member

USA
42 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2004 :  04:57:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Wulfstan a Private Message
quote:
Kil said:
What's new? If he had simply done the invocation without going political, those who walked out on him would have looked all that much more intolerant. For crying out loud, his being there was a political statement by the board member who invited him. Just sometimes, it happens that saying less is more. I'm suggesting that this was one of those times. The story is now history and Harvey will probably never be asked back. Had he played it cool, he might have at the very least caused the board to consider future invocations from atheists. Would that have been such a terrible thing? Now, those who walked out probably feel completely justified in doing so and are, unfortunately, off the hook.

Invited back?
Let's looks again at what Harvey was up against:

1. "Even before Harvey began to speak, White was pushing to cancel the invocation. These are sacred moments that refer to a supreme being, White said, and this speaker is an atheist."

2. "We have never had people of an atheist group represent Americans," White said. "And I don't think it is appropriate in this setting."

3. "I just can't sit here and listen to someone that does not believe in a supreme being," she said.(Sounds like Sean Hannity)

4. "Mayor Pam Iorio, who did not attend the council meeting, said later that the invocation should be reserved for speakers who invoke God. She would not say whether she would have walked out."

5. "Later, White agreed that he was taking a stand. Listening to an atheist even one time could unleash a "snowball effect" on government. He compared it to having unprotected sex."(gee, just talking could "infect" someone)

There was opposition to his speaking before he spoke. Going by this article, it was THEY who made it political to begin with before they even knew what he would say. They were already uneasy. Like the article I posted from the case last year, we have no idea how political past speeches have been. The paragraph you quote Kil, wouldn't have been any less political standing alone--he didn't invoke God.
Those who walked out were looking to walk out...they might have even planned to do so. Their intolerance is evident in that they can't even sit there and just listen for 2 minutes and move on. What about the atheist council member who has to listen to these invocations at every meeting? I think I know where you're coming from, but the evidence presented in the article leads me to believe it wouldn't have made a difference if he left out the Constitutional stuff.

And why shouldn't we have another news story? There are tons of people running around, thanks to David Limbaugh, claiming Christians are being persecuted in this country--oh really? I went to a Greater Southwest Chamber of Commerce meeting...I didn't realize they started every meeting (a large chamber, btw) with the Lord's Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. The Lords's Prayer at a Chamber meeting? How inclusive is that?

Perhaps, Kil, you have this idea that if atheists quietly JUST invoke reason, love and tolerance of humanity, they will be accepted and deemed harmless in the context of government. I don't see that happening. Maybe I don't see where you're coming from...


(BTW, Kil, I wish this site wasn't blocked at work--the "Nanny" software program my company uses blocks this site, but not all the others people here post on. Do you have an idea as to why?)




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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2004 :  06:30:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
I understand and really appreciate your point, Kil, but on the other hand, I really don't see anything wrong with the way this was done. This is about the separation of church and state, and there is nothing wrong with him addressing that issue. It's not about being invited back, it's about making a point.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2004 :  08:42:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Wulfstan:
Perhaps, Kil, you have this idea that if atheists quietly JUST invoke reason, love and tolerance of humanity, they will be accepted and deemed harmless in the context of government. I don't see that happening. Maybe I don't see where you're coming from...

As an old political activist and as a very active skeptic I can assure you that I do advocate using most kinds resistance and activism to get the job done. In the above case, I do believe that less would have been more since Harvey's very presence was a political statement.

Let me ask you Wulfstan, Gorgo and beskeptigal a question. If a city council had an official policy of allowing invocations by theists and non theists alike, would that still violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment? Or would the violation occur just on the days the invocation was done by a theist? If they had a policy that did not advocate one point of view over and to the exclusion of another, would these invocations still be problematic? That they wouldn't be was and probably still is the position that Dingfelder held when he invited an atheist to do the invocation.
quote:
Dingfelder:
City Hall belongs to everybody - everybody - regardless of what they believe in or what they don't believe in," Dingfelder said, his face getting flushed. "Because that is what our nation was built on. And that is what our soldiers overseas are fighting for.

quote:
Dingfelder:
"I was honestly hoping it would not be a big deal," he said. "Obviously, I am a little naive about that." He blamed the atheist group for stirring up attention.
"I think they went out of their way to make it a media circus," he said.

quote:
And:
By the afternoon, Dingfelder was sounding somber. Asked if he regretted the invitation, he paused. "I don't know," he said. He paused again. "No, I don't think so."
His political career will probably be hurt, he said. "All I can tell you is I did this because I honestly believed it was the right thing to do."

Before the invocation:
quote:
Harvey, however, said he had been fielding reporters' questions for days, ever since news of the invitation broke earlier this month.

So, Harvey already had the media exposure he needed to make all the church and state statements necessary. That is fine, I think. But it was Dingerfelder who made the boldest political statement by words and action as a council member by inviting an atheist to speak.

By the time of the actual invocation, pretty much everyone's cards were on the table. And for the reasons I have already stated, I believe, from a political standpoint, a simple invocation would have been the best course of action on the part of Harvey. As rude as those members who walked out on Harvey were, I believe Harvey was rude to his host by undermining what he was trying to achieve. I just don't know how ells to explain how I see this. My regret is that all this can't be replayed to see how it might have turned out done another way...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2004 :  09:03:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Good point, Kil. If the point is to get equal time and equal time only, then equal time doing something more subtle would have been more effective.

I think my point would not be equal time, but questioning religious counseling as a part of a government function. If this is a private meeting between a preacher and some people, that's fine. If this is a public government function, get it out of there.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2004 :  02:38:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil
Let me ask you Wulfstan, Gorgo and beskeptigal a question. If a city council had an official policy of allowing invocations by theists and non theists alike, would that still violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment? Or would the violation occur just on the days the invocation was done by a theist? If they had a policy that did not advocate one point of view over and to the exclusion of another, would these invocations still be problematic? That they wouldn't be was and probably still is the position that Dingfelder held when he invited an atheist to do the invocation.
Actually, that would be a good start. I hope that at sometime in the future, science prevails over what I think is nonsense. And, at some point, I would like to see all the prayer and god references out of government. But in the meantime, I would happily settle for equal treatment. If a catholic wanted to say something pro-life in an invocation, and an atheist wanted to say something about separation of church and state, those topics would be comparable in that they had political meanings, don't you think? And, they might be topics that meant something to those persons.

Either let it all in or don't have it.

And how do you know the guy was rude to his host? Perhaps the councilman that invited the atheist knew what he would be saying? The article says the councilman was upset at the stirred up media but it didn't say he didn't know what would be said. It's always hard to tell from a news story. Reporters never get all the details and emotions correct.
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