Your Voice: Reprehensible defense of kooks
by Earl Jess, Tracy
Jul 17, 2009 | 1621 views | 19 19 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EDITOR,

I think the Tracy Press’ stance on defending the bunch of kooks from Wisconsin (Our Voice, July 11, “Sanctioned prayer not a part of council’s duty”) is reprehensible.

This country was founded on Christian beliefs and practices. If you are Muslim, agnostic or atheist, then don’t participate; simply walk out of the room.

We don’t tell you how to conduct your meetings, so don’t tell us how to conduct ours. If we want to have a Christian prayer prior to our meetings and you don’t like it, tough.

In my opinion, the same holds true with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or singing our National Anthem. If you don’t want to participate, then don’t, but don’t condemn us for doing so.

It’s a sad state of affairs when some off-the-wall minority group can start dictating to us what we can or can’t do at City Council meetings

Comments
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anonymous
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July 22, 2009
"It’s a sad state of affairs when some off-the-wall minority group can start dictating to us what we can or can’t do"

I agree completely. I mean, can you imagine if we started letting people of color vote, ride in the front of the bus or god forbid attend the same schools as our childen?

Oh wait a minute, thats right, this country now embraces equal rights so the majority can no longer push people who are different than them all around.

But dont worry because as the letter states, if you are not of the majority, you can always simply leave.

Thats a world I want to live in I tell you. "be like us, or you can go."

briandub
anonymous
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July 20, 2009
There are more than one anonymous on the Tracy Press websites. Several people have complained about the problem when their name shows up as anonymous. The problem must be with the Tracy Press server or it may be intentional. Who knows, but the use of the word retarted certainly shows your maturity level.
anonymous
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July 19, 2009
Ah, the ol statistics game, where we use the twenty somethings and under who read Harry Potter and perhaps were quick to vote for change in the grand scheme of things will it be called another social experiment called how to lie with statistics. All the while not accounting for Rowling's and Obana's religious affiliation? Yes, it used to be the older generation was said to be, "raised on radio" although the names have changed and the big hair of the 70's too. Turns out to be true. They were raised on radio. The radio churches are now full. Internet ministry extension's too. It's called the new Presberateranism. Telemarketers and pollsters need not call Aunt Annie and Uncle Albert. Megachurches and splinter churches publish their sermons online so even the "hoary haired" can attend from the privacy of their own homes. They meet in homes, small-groups, school gyms, storefronts, and yes in front of their televisions, computers, and MP3 players.

anonymous
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July 19, 2009
a
anonymous
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July 19, 2009
Josh,

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

There are several different religions claiming to be the “fastest growing religion”. Such claims vary due to different definitions of “fastest growing”, and whether the claim is worldwide or regional. There are also many unreliable claims and rumours, especially for conversion rates, that often spread as urban legends. Hard data is difficult to come by.

Claims to be the fastest growing religion

Note that it would be an argumentum ad populum to claim that being the “fastest growing religion” has any logical consequences about the truth of that religion.

Whilst it is possible to find claims that almost any religion is the fastest growing, it is much harder to find ones backed up by scientific data. A selection of the more credible claims are given below, but even these are often contradictory, and most of them only cover a limited period time or a single region of the world.

ElectricJosh
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July 19, 2009
I like the prayer and I want to keep it. That being said, this next question is in no way biased toward my opinion, but is rather just a simple question that I really want the answer to:

To the poster signing below as "anonymous": Are you retarded?

Judging your your comments, one would have to assume so, though you may just be saying things to get a laugh. But, like I said, you really do appear to be retarded.
ElectricJosh
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July 19, 2009
I like the prayer and I want to keep it. That being said, this next question is in no way biased toward my opinion, but is rather just a simple question that I really want the answer to:

To the poster signing below as "anonymous": Are you retarded?

Judging your your comments, one would have to assume so, though you may just be saying things to get a laugh. But, like I said, you really do appear to be retarded.
anonymous
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July 18, 2009
By the way, those surveys were conducted using different sampling methods. Random phone calls vs. ads on websites. And the article does say it expected different data outcome because of that.
anonymous
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July 18, 2009
benjdm,

The problem with these numbers is that they keep getting repeated, repeated, repeated until folks start to believe, believe, believe them and reapeat them, repeat them, repeat them on blog sites everywhere. It is like the bogus claim that the 'constitution says separation of church and state. It doesn't, but uneducated people repeat, repeat, repeat, it. Why? Probably because they read it on a blogsite or in an article and didn't use good sound reasoning.

And. Oh, look you repeated the same link as in your previous post, again. As proof, right? Nope, but just keep posting it. Did you happen to take a look at the website of every religion and happen to notice that they all say they are the fastest growing religion? Let's say every Mormons and Wiccans and pretty much every other religion and denomination out there claim an increase.

(btw, no reason for drawing those two names out here, just happened to pick them randomly)

Getting back. Do you really believe they are ALL growing by percent of population? In other words (market share)? And may I borrow the term "market share" since you are suggesting just that?

Nope. They ALL can NOT grow by taking 11% of the market share from other religions and denominations. It just doesn't work that way. You do the math.

A more reasonable explanation is that their particular religion/belief/faith/denomination/etc added 11% more new believers over the existing number of believers, in the last twenty years?

You do need to account for population increase. And as we've just learned, many polls are biased depending on who is taking them.
benjdm
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July 18, 2009
@anonymous,

The article is just a summary of one of many research polls. There is Pew polling data, there is the American Religious Identification Survey...they all show non-belief as the fastest growing religious demographic in the U.S.

The ARIS data is pretty extensive:

usatoday dot com/news/religion/2009-03-09-american-religion-ARIS_N

"So many Americans claim no religion at all (15%, up from 8% in 1990), that this category now outranks every other major U.S. religious group except Catholics and Baptists. In a nation that has long been mostly Christian, "the challenge to Christianity … does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion," the report concludes."

"The initial ARIS report in 1990 set the table for those surveys.

It was based on 113,000 interviews, updated with 50,000 more in 2001 and now 54,000 in 2008. Because the U.S. Census does not ask about religion, the ARIS survey was the first comprehensive study of how people identify their spiritual expression."

54,000 interviews is a pretty significant research effort. It could be that the 27% that Harris found in 2006 is overstating things or that the social desirability bias causes the 12% drop when you bring in human interviewers.

anonymous
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July 18, 2009
benjdm,

The research you provided is biased in that it chooses to use opinions of who are antagonistic toward religion. It is also inconclusive in that some numbers are up while others are down. The bottom line is that agnostics have existed for a lot longer than you may want to believe. Some of them are believers among many different religions and denominations.

Your article also drags political issues, such as Republicanism into the article. Now, wouldn't you thind they would have been concerned about how this makes it appear more like a Democrat funded advertisment instead of an article that has it's thumb on the pulse of religious America?

KDK
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July 18, 2009
Last I checked, anyone is free to place themselves on the Council's agenda to speak.

I don't see throngs of Muslims, atheists, Jews, Sikhs, or whatnot queueing up to do so.
benjdm
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July 18, 2009
Re: "Fastest growin?" Show us yer data ta confirm it.

Here's one:

harrisinteractive dot com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=707

From 2003 to 2006, atheists & agnostics grew from 21% to 27% of the population. This was a poll done by without human interviewers to overcome social desirability bias, resulting in less 'staying in the closet' of atheists.

Here's another:

usnews dot com/articles/news/religion/2009/03/13/leaving-religion-behind-a-portrait-of-nonreligious-america

"...the fastest-growing demographic on the American religious landscape: those who claim no religion whatsoever.

According to a comprehensive national survey released this week by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College, those identifying with no religious tradition, or as atheists or agnostics, account for 15 percent of the population, up from about 8 percent in 1990. "No religion" Americans are the only religious demographic that's growing in every single state."

There are many, many others.
anonymous
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July 18, 2009
I don't think I could say "shoving it down their throats" is appropriate when the very seldom even bother to get involved anyway? Unfortunately, many Americans don't even know what our founding fathers created - invokations - or what they are, until they read something about it on some blogsite, like this one. Then they think they are an expert and start saying making misleading statements like, "separation of church and state is in the Constitution". Nothing could be further from the truth, but they keep cramming it down our throats, don't they?

;)
shelly13
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July 18, 2009
PS I love the Pledge and the National Anthem, and I do and will always participate.:)
shelly13
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July 18, 2009
Wow Earl...I am a Christian and I believe that if invited all faiths or non faiths can and should participate in the invocation. Have a different speaker each week or none at all.

benjdm is right in the fact that he is part of the "we". City council is voted on by the "we" and does work and decision making for the "we".

Yes Chrisitans make up the majority, but that does not mean we have to shove it down other's throats. However, having said that...the invocations have previously given by more Chrisitan speakers, because that is who is volunteering. So if another line of thinking wants to jump in there and do it, go ahead. It is not our fault that you haven't volunteered and thus not been represented, if you will.

As another writer said, if you give well wishes to the council to make good decisions for our city, it does not matter what faith or non-faith you are as long as it has good intentions and comes from the heart!
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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July 18, 2009
Good on ya Earl, ya done good.

benjdm wrote, ""We don’t tell you how to conduct your meetings" - yes, you do, because 'your' meetings are 'our meetings.' Atheists and agnostics ARE a part of the 'We' of the United States - the fastest growing part of the 'we', as a matter of fact."

Really now? Well, it looks like ya got a long way ta go as about 80% of Americans, when asked, say they are Christian.

Sorry bub that ya feel sort of left out but in a land that goes with tha majority, looks like it will be a long time before ya can change it. Unless ya are successful in destroying it completely.

"Fastest growin?" Show us yer data ta confirm it.

Go to the census data if ya want ta prove my statement about th 80% of our population.

anonymous
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July 18, 2009
benjdm,

Did you don't know that many Agnostics are more religious than you suspected when you wrote the comment, and, well, they are praying folk too?
benjdm
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July 18, 2009
"This country was founded on Christian beliefs and practices." - a lie. "The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" - passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 1796 without a hint of controversy.

"We don’t tell you how to conduct your meetings" - yes, you do, because 'your' meetings are 'our meetings.' Atheists and agnostics ARE a part of the 'We' of the United States - the fastest growing part of the 'we', as a matter of fact.

This is the United States, where no religion is established nor favored nor shunned. If you want to live somewhere like that feel free to move to Saudi Arabia or Israel.


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