Monday, July 30, 2007

Stand Up for Your Rights: Remain Seated

A story out of Exeter, England shows the difference between the courage of at least one British politician and our own collection of American wusses.

At a civic meeting — the American equivalent of which I assume to be a city council meeting — an Exeter councillor named Paul Pettinger refused to stand for a convocational prayer. The Lord Mayor, Hazel Slack, tightened up at this lack of “respect.” Whereupon the Conservative Party leader, Yolanda Henson, according to the Exeter Express & Echo, “said she would work for a new rule requiring anyone who does not want to stand at council meeting prayers to leave the chamber.” Here's Henson’s comment defending her theocratic reaction: “It doesn't matter what religion you are, the Lord Mayor is the representative in Exeter of the Queen.”

Pettinger, an atheist, was not allowed to state why he chose not to take part in the silliness; he was even told by the Lord Mayor that he’d have to leave the room right there and then if he continued to try to explain his position.

Here’s what Pettinger later told the newspaper:

I'm elected to do a job for my residents and the people of Exeter and faith has nothing to do with it. I am a secularist and believe in the complete separation of personal faith and state. I'm an atheist and don't wish to take part in Christian worship. It's highly inappropriate to put pressure on people to act in this way when there are people of so many faiths in this country.
Great Britain, I remind my fellow Americans, has no First Amendment, or even any equivalent prohibiting the establishment by government of religion. We do. And yet a Brit has the balls to stand up and say “screw this nonsense,” while our elected representatives, from the highest to the lowest, give religion unquestioning “respect,” in our townships, our cities, our counties, our states, and, indeed, in the halls of the federal Congress, itself— where it is expressly forbidden. Who among our governmental officials has ever dared to utter the opinion that convocational prayer is “highly inappropriate”? No one. Instead, they strive to outdo each other in speaking of their deep belief in god and in preaching (there’s no other honest word for standing in front of a religious congregation and electioneering) to the ignorati in churches, synagogues, and mosques. Not one voice rises up to say, in plain English, as Pettinger’s did: “I believe in the complete separation of personal faith and state.”

Some news reporter looking to make a name for him- or herself ought to ask the current pious crop of presidential contenders what they think of Pettinger’s words. But, of course, the U.S. media is just as craven before the power of Big Religion as the politicos are.

Anyway, the candidates would probably just answer that they’re representatives of the Queen. Or words to that effect.

6 comments:

Mojoey said...

It will never happen here. Simply expressing the same opinion in a city counsel meeting will bring down the wrath of the fundies.

It would be fun to watch.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

David Habecker, from Estes Park, Colorado, refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The result was a recall election in which he was removed from office.

Yet, today, almost nobody - even among Americans - knows his name.

We cannot, in fact, expect people to protest unless and until we are willing to stand up for those protesters - at least to the point of recognizing what they have sacrificed when they get removed from office, and honoring them accordingly.

Sarge said...

As an atheist, I've noticed that this religious thing is a badge. "We" do this, the alien other does not and is thus removed from full human status. I've been told many times that I should leave the country if I can't accept that this is a "christian nation".

tobe38 said...

As a Brit and an atheist, I'm extremely proud of Pettinger. Having said that, I wouldn't get too carried away thinking the Brits have got balls. We generally haven't (I have, of course), Pettinger is a rare exception.

tinny ray said...

Good post. Another school year is here and it is time to teach students about their right to remain seated and reject the Pledge of Allegiance and its robotic ritualism. Please help inform the public about new discoveries showing that the Pledge was the
origin of the notorious stiff-arm salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis). http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-pledge.html

The government also popularized robotic chanting to flags. The swastika was popularized as S-shaped symbolism for "socialism" in the late 1800's and early 1900's in the United States, eventually migrating to Germany with the
straight-arm gesture.
http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-swastika.html

A frightening photograph is at
http://rexcurry.net/pledge-allegiance-pledge-allegiance.jpg
More amazing photographs are at http://rexcurry.net/pledge2.html

Those historical facts explain the enormous size and scope of government
today, and the USA's growing police state. They are reasons for massive
reductions in government, taxation, spending and socialism.

"Stop The Pledge" (STP), a pressure group, works to repeal laws in those
states that still retain a daily Pledge ritual in government schools. The
group needs help in notifying the public to contribute information (via
email at pledge-of-allegiance@earthlink.net or the contact info below) for a
study of how many students are taught the whole history of the Pledge; how
many students still chant robotically each day; and how many students feel
they would be disciplined or persecuted for refusals. Many students say that
they sit during the Pledge because they "refuse to kiss the government's
butt every morning." STP pays students to reject robotic ritualism and to
"take the pledge not to pledge."

The ongoing Pledge litigation in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in
California includes these issues in the brief by Attorney Rex Curry at
http://www.restorethepledge.com/litigation/pledge/docs/2006-06-13%20Amicus%20Brief%20of%20Rex%20Curry.pdf
The brief is archived under "current litigation" at
http://www.restorethepledge.com

Dr. Curry showed that the early Pledge Of Allegiance did not use an ancient
Roman salute, and that the 'ancient Roman salute' myth came from the Pledge
Of Allegiance.
http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-metropolitan-museum-of-art.html

Government schools in the USA popularized the straight-arm salute for three
decades before, and through, the creation of the National Socialist German
Workers' Party (NSGWP). People were persecuted for refusing to perform
robotic chanting to the national flag at the same time in the USA and
Germany (to the American flag, and to the German symbol flag).

The dogma behind the Pledge was the same dogma that led to the socialist
Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part): ~60 million slaughtered
under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; ~50 million under the
Peoples' Republic of China; ~20 million under the National Socialist German
Workers' Party. It was the worst slaughter of humanity ever.

The author of the Pledge (1892), Francis Bellamy, was a self-proclaimed
National Socialist, as was his cousin to Edward Bellamy, author of an
international bestseller that launched the Nationalism movement globally.
Edward's book was translated into every major language, including German.
The Bellamy boys promoted "Military Socialism." They wanted government to
take over all schools and impose robotic chanting to flags. When the
government granted their wish, government schools imposed segregation by law
and taught racism as official policy. That behavior even outlasted German
National Socialism.
http://rexcurry.net/pledgebackward.html

Children are coerced into the robotic ritualism of the socialist's pledge
daily, and never learn of America's anti government libertarianism.

In addition to the notorious salute, American socialists (e.g. Edward
Bellamy teamed with the Theosophical Society) also bear some blame for the
notorious symbol used by the National Socialist German Workers Party on its
Swastika flag. While Edward and the Theosophical Society worked together,
the swastika symbol was used by the Society. It was used as alphabetical
symbolism for socialism, and adopted later by German socialists as their
flag symbol. The NSGWP had clear roots in National Socialism promoted in the
USA.
http://rexcurry.net/theosophy-madame-blavatsky-theosophical-society.html

Although an ancient symbol, the swastika was altered for use as overlapping
S-letters for 'socialism.' It was deliberately turned 45 degrees counter
clockwise and always oriented in the S-direction. Similar alphabetic
symbolism is still visible as the Volkswagen VW logo.
http://rexcurry.net/swastika3swastika.jpg

American soldiers used the swastika symbol in WWI (against Germany) and the
symbol was used by the American military during WWII.
http://rexcurry.net/45th-infantry-division-swastika-sooner-soldiers.html

The discoveries are part of the growing work of the historian Dr. Rex Curry
(author of "Pledge of Allegiance Secrets"). They have been reviewed and
verified on Wikipedia. Every journalist who has examined the new
discoveries has confirmed them. The research is receiving growing media
coverage http://rexcurry.net/audio-rex-curry-podcast-radio.html

Fan mail is also growing for work exposing the Pledge's poisonous pedigree
http://rexcurry.net/pledge_heart.html

The USA is still the worst example in the world of bizarre laws that require
robotic chanting to a national flag in government schools every day for 12
years. It has changed generations of Americans from libertarians to
authoritarians. The government bamboozled individuals into believing that robotic group-chanting in government schools is a beautiful expression of freedom. http://rexcurry.net/pledgetragedy.html

Real Americans don't pledge allegiance to big government. Help educate students in the new school year.

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.