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Friday, December 5, 2008

The Culture War Comes to Washington

A great debate last night on the Factor

In Washington, the Alliance Defense Fund lobbied the Governor, Christine Gregoire, to allow the Nativity scene in the state capitol. After the Nativity scene was approved, other religious symbols like the Menorah were also placed in the state capitol. Then a group of Atheists lobbied to have a sign in the state capitol.
Governor Gregoire, in an apparent attempt to show tolerance, allowed this sign by the Atheist group to stand next to the Nativity Scene.

This set off a surreal debate. On one side were those that saw this as free speech, expression and religion issue. (unfortunately, the unbelievably anal author of the piece I just linked didn't feel the hyperlink was enough so here is the link

Reading O’Reilly’s column article, I am actually appalled at his reasoning. Granted, I believe in Jesus Christ, believe in his birth, ministry, death, resurrection and the Gospel Message he preached unto those of his time. And, much like any true American, I uphold the constitutional right to freedom of speech. Thus, what right does O’Reilly have to decry and speak for me, as a citizen of Washington State? He has no right to. I can speak for myself (and am due to the writing of this blog).

On the other side were those that saw this sign as nothing more than an inappropriate attack on Christmas.

Now then, the legalities seem fairly clear to me. Gregoire is on firm legal ground in allowing this sign, however she would also have been perfectly within her right to remove it or at least place it in a different portion of the Capitol. Not only is this sign hateful and inappropriate, but the Nativity scene, the Menorah, and the Kresge are symbols. This sign is no symbol. This is an attack on religion. It's one thing for the Capitol to allow all points of view, and quite another to allow any and all statements no matter how ridiculous or hateful.

Governor Gregoire appears to have wanted to show how tolerant and open minded she is. Furthermore, Washington is one of the more secular states in the Union. She may have believed that in her state such a stance would not have much backlash. She was wrong. This has set off a serious battle in the Culture War. It has also set off political theater that will ultimately damage her significantly. Dan Springer recently reported that all sorts of groups are rushing to the capitol with their own signs including one group that had a satirical Festivus sign, a reference to an old Seinfeld episode. Furthermore, there will be a significant rally of religious leaders on Sunday.

There is a line between being tolerant and allowing all speech, and then there is allowing everything in a government building, appropriate or not hateful or not. Governor Gregoire stepped over the line and now she will feel the political bite.


Radix2 said...

It is atheist not Aetheist. An atheist is just one who does not believe in god(s). Nothing more and nothing less. I have absolutely no idea what an "Aetheist" is. Is that one who does not believe in theism expressed electronically?

The plaque is a symbol to those who do not share the religious delusion. As such, it has an equal right to be displayed on public property. If it is removed (actually it ended up being stolen - thanks wingnuts) then so should all symbols that relate to belief or non-belief. Be careful what you wish for theocrat.

mike volpe said...

A symbol is not a paragraph spewing hate. That's what this sign is. It would be one thing if you wanted a question mark or whatever up there, but they wanted to put up something that demeaned and derided religion. That is no symbol but a hateful diatrobe. Furthermore, just because someone disagrees with you doesn't actually mean they are a theocrat.

Radix2 said...

What is hateful about the text on the plaque? It doesn't preach death and damnation. It doesn't do anything but state the atheist position.

Even if it was critical of a particular religion, since when does criticizing something equate to hateful diatribe?

I think I've nailed you. Theocrats always want to quash dissenting opinion. How are you any different?

Radix2 said...

PS - thanks for correcting the spelling of both atheist and O'Reilly (my Irish Grandma would have been spinning in her grave) :-)

mike volpe said...

The sign goes on beyond the picture I found. It continues to say

Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds

So, another words anyone who believes in heaven and hell and religion is someone with a hardened heart and enslaved mind. Yet, you continue to maintain there is no hate.

Furthermore, from reading one blog post you presume to make judgments about me and my personal spiritual view of the world. That is presumptuous and full of hubris.

Anonymous said...

Just a helpful hint, you need to give credit where credit is do.

Thank you for taking my statement from my blog at entitled Did Christine Gregoire Go to Far?

Please go back and edit this and cite the proper source or remove it from your article.

Plagarism is not tolerated by this writer.

Thank you,

Timothy R. Berman.

Anonymous said...

My apologies, just realized you linked it above the paragraph... lol...

My sincere apologies. I had not realized until just now you linked to my blog.

Hope you accept my apology.

mike volpe said...

Hey genius, I did. You should join us in the 21st century and learn what hyperlink is. The article is cited and that's how you found my site because they clicked over from mine to yours using the hyperlink.

Now, learn how to use hyperlink on your own site and it will all look a lot more professional. Don't go around accusing people of plagiarism just because they have learned basic blogging technology.

Radix2 said...

I retract the Theocrat label I have used. It is unhelpful to the conversation. I still think you need to learn something about the marketplace of ideas though.

Criticism is not hate. Hate would be saying that all Christians should be burnt at the stake or incarcerated just because they profess a different belief to mine and *insert other belief system here*. To maintain that all argument and discussion should cease because someone is offended is the death of what defines us as humans. Organised religion is very good at trying to destroy us in this manner for the Priests' benefit alone.

Personally, I *do* think that religious dogma enslaves the mind and hardens the heart. We as humans need to focus on doing the right thing here and now so that our children and theirs can have a better world. Religious dogma is a distraction at best and anathema to that ideal at worst.

Anonymous said...

Christianity is good on a certain level and I have seen it help many friends of mine to give them something to believe in. This is needed for a lot of people. If one stops the questioning there and gets all warm and fuzzy then its all good.


The beliefs of the man-made religion called Christianity state that if one consciously rejects Jesus and choose another religion or no religion then you will burn in hell for eternity. Such an extreme ideology should be argued against at every opportunity.

I think such a belief system is fairly open to criticism.

Free speech isn't it Mike?

Christianity, while doing good for a lot of people, does not stand up to rational scrutiny as "truth".

Of course it is impossible to get Christians out of the bondage of their own delusions when priests characterize such attempts to reason with them as temptations from Satan and tests of their faith.

mike volpe said...

Well, I appreciate your honesty. You are welcome back anytime.

That said, if you think that someone that is religious is "in bonds of their religion" then you are a hater.

That said, if you want to criticize them, that is your right, however it is not appropriate for you to do it in the capitol in a display meant to recognize the FEDERAL holiday of Christmas that is inappropriate and out of place. While the Governor, who runs the capitol, can put up this criticism, she or he (in a different state) has the discretion to decide whether your criticism should be put up and certainly where in the capitol it should.

You do not have the right to put up your criticism in the capitol.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I did apologies for the accusation because I did not see how you linked it. There is a difference between linking and citing.

Proper citation rules apply to electronic citing sources.

Yes, I use proper citations. Nowhere on your blog is it referenced who you are quoting.

In fact people who read your blog will not understand where the quote in question is coming from because you do not provide the proper citation.

The only link is a fifteen word sentence that has no relevance to citing.

So, as I have apologized, I am also asking that you properly cite the source and not just in a hyperlink that does nothing to show the reader where the quote is extracted from.

If this is not resolved then I will submit a DMCA takedown request to Blogger regarding this.

So, please, from one writer to another writer, correct the post with the appropriate citation or remove my quote from your article.

mike volpe said...

With all due respect, a hyperlink IS A PROPER WAY TO GIVE ANY GIVEN AUTHOR THEIR DUE.

Still, this is beneath me. I will link to your site as you want.

Anonymous said...

Now your attitude is unprofessional.

I appealed to you from writer to writer.

If you want proper citation rules for Electronic Citation look up the Little Brown Handbook.

I do not appreciate you calling me "Anal" and ask that you remove such ad hominem immediately.

Any further such tactics will be reported.

Thank you.

mike volpe said...

I've had it with you. I did everything you asked. Report me. If blogger sanctions me because I called you anal so be it.

Anonymous said...

Here is the source, since you think I am "being Anal" and do not know Modern Blogging Technology:

Is Deep Linking Legal:
One of the biggest advantages that blogging has over traditional media is the convention to include links in an article which connect the reader directly with the source. The links could direct the reader to a file, a different page on the same site or to a new site altogether. Despite the generally helpful nature of linking and the internet’s open platform, however, linking is not free from US government regulation.

What is the law?

The biggest issues in linking right now revolve around copyright law and deep linking. Deep linking involves a blogger who places a link on his site that leads not to the front door of a site (e.g., but instead to a particular page within that site (e.g.

Currently, there is no law that explicitly bans all deep linking to content you do not own. However, courts have declared that individual deep links are in violation of state law if they are not cited correctly. Thus, it is clear that passing off someone else’s work as your own by linking to a site in a manner in which it appears that the linked to content is a part of your site, is considered copyright infringement and it violates state laws that govern competitive business practices. But, it also appears that if you make it clear that the deep link you are providing isn’t to your own site then you are in the clear. The leading case in this area is Ticketmaster Corp. v., Inc. where TicketMaster argued that a deep link by to a TicketMaster actual ticket purchase page was a copyright infringement because traffic was routed through the back door of the site. Thus far, however, no court has found that deep linking by a blogger is a copyright infringement or trespass.

from Twelve Important Laws Every Blogger needs to know:

So, yes you did link to my blog, but it was in a manner that would is not actually citing my blog. Meaning, had you actually used my blog article title as a link, there would be no problem, you used a fifteen word sentence that has nothing related to where this information came from and it gives the reader the appearance that it is of your own writing. That is why I requested to have the change made.

If you have a problem with being corrected, and go down the road of attacking people with third grade name calling then I would appreciate that you do not at any given time or place copy from my blog or my writing.

Thank you very much.

mike volpe said...

If you thought I was being corrected, you didn't read the piece altogether carefully.

Here is what it says

"The biggest issues in linking right now revolve around copyright law and deep linking. Deep linking involves a blogger who places a link on his site that leads not to the front door of a site (e.g., but instead to a particular page within that site (e.g.

Currently, there is no law that explicitly bans all deep linking to content you do not own. However, courts have declared that individual deep links are in violation of state law if they are not cited correctly."

Now, frankly, if what I did is illegal, then there is a lot of illegality going on since that is what is the common practice.

Frankly, what really bugs me about you is that you are doing all of this in some bullying attempt to get as much traffic from my site to yours. I gave you the proper credentials.

The reason I use hyperlinks is because that way the shape of the piece doesn't look unprofessional. If I had to give the specific web address to every piece I linked every piece would be nothing but web addresses. Clearly, I drove traffic to your site. That's how you found it. I know because you came to my site right after it was published from your admin's position. That means you noticed that suddenly you were getting hits from my site to yours. That's all anyone can ask. You wanted more. You noticed that the manner in which I linked to you wouldn't maximize the traffic and suddenly you start threatening copyright infringement. You do it on something that is done each and everyday by blogs and newspapers all over the place. No one actually provides the full address of the main site. They provide a hyperlink to the source they got the quote from. That is common practice. The blogging world is fine with it because the link is an opportunity for my readers to read your work. I am under no obligation to provide a platform to maximize traffic to your site. I gave you proper credit. I provided a link to the piece you wrote that I quoted. You seemed to think that this wasn't enough. You wanted to provide the actual link. I did that. Then, you threaten me more. Enough.

Anonymous said...

The presumption you used "attempting to get more traffic" is fallaciously wrong.

no, if you actually READ MY PREVIOUS comments, you would have seen that I stated this:


What this does is it gives THE READER the illusion that the paragraph from my article that is in your article is presumably your own writing.

That is what I am referring to.

I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you about this.


Because you did not and it gives the reader the illusion that you are not quoting from me constitutes copyright infringement.

Your link is a FIFTEEN WORD SENTENCE that has no relevance to actually professionally citing my link.

This is what I attempted to correct in a friendly manner.

Yet, it shows that the person being unprofessional about this and can't handle honest critique and request is being a child about it.

I have given you the information.

You have done so.

Now, please remove the anal reference from your blog.

Otherwise, remove all reference of me from your blog article including these comments.

Thank you.

mike volpe said...

Whether or not my link has any relevance to your piece is a matter of debate. What is not a matter of debate is that you are anal. The word anal is not out of bounds, and it won't be removed.

On the other hand, removing any mention of you from this piece is likely the best approach. As such, I will find some other piece that says what yours says, and hopefully the author will merely appreciate that a source got them traffic and isn't like you.

That is all.