Nobody Cares

Thou Shall Not Move dedicates Ten Commandments monument in Uniontown

This past Sunday, the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Uniontown, PA unveiled a giant seven foot tall by six foot wide monument of the Ten Commandments on their front lawn.  This was done as a display of solidarity with the town’s local school district’s battle with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

This is also in the event you forgot what they were, especially if you’re one of those “Christmas and Easter” Christians.  You know who you are.  And we do too.

The monument was presented as a show of support for a court battle between the Connellsville Area School District and the Freedom from Religion organization. The Freedom from Religion organization is representing an atheist and student who want a half-century [old] monument removed from the school grounds of Connellsville Junior High, explained the Rev. Ewing Marietta, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church of Uniontown and a Connellsville resident who is an organizer with Thou Shall Not Move.

Let’s put the ten commandments on our church’s front lawn. That’ll show … somebody.  (Lori Padilla | Daily Courier)

There’s more of them on the way, too.  The people behind the “Thou Shall Not Move” organization intend this to be the first in a much broader campaign to irrevocably festoon the area with large expensive reminders of laws we really don’t follow anymore.

And what better way to do it than with granite?

“In God we trust,” added David Show of the Fayette Patriots. “We want to have monuments like this one all over Fayette County. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution assures us freedom of religion — not from religion.”

It’s both.  I’ve said before that the Constitution protects them the same way it protects us and people of every other faith.  The government can’t punish you for worshiping your god, nor can they force you to worship theirs.  Normally that sounds like a fair deal, except Christianity has become so hopelessly institutionalized in this country that doing things like taking down pictures of Jesus or passages from the bible is interpreted as an act of oppression.

Show said it is his hope that motorists traveling along busy Morgantown Street will see the monument and think about what the Ten Commandments mean to the United States, which was founded on Christian principles.

That’s a tough claim to back up considering the mutual exclusivity of the First Commandment and the First Amendment.  As for the legality of graven images, blasphemy, keeping the Sabbath, honoring your parents, and coveting everything your neighbor has (which is the foundation of modern advertising), I think it’s pretty safe to say that the monument will only stand as a memorial to a way of life of a people long dead, from a time long past, in a place half a world away.  And if David and his friends consider the prohibition against perjury, murder, and theft an exclusively Christian idea, then he’s even further into the weeds than I thought.

“Freedom from religion offends Christians,” Colatch said. “Christians don’t believe that atheists should tell us what we can and cannot do. This monument is the free speech zone. […] No one is going to move this stone. We will not allow it. We’ve decided to stand up for this monument and to stand up for Jesus Christ.”

First, of course you’re offended.  There’s no law that protects you from that, so get used to it.  This is what it means to live in a pluralistic, secular society during a time when people are beginning to see to it that the de facto religion plays by the same rules as the everyone else.  That’s something else you need to keep in mind:  this isn’t about atheists “telling you what to do”.  It’s about making sure the state is in compliance with the US Constitution.  Tradition and privilege have overlooked Christianity with things like this for a long time.  You’re on the wrong side of the fight by supporting Connellsville School District, and in this case the local government, at least, will be told what to do.

Second, of course no one’s going to move the stupid stone, but that has less to do with your defiance and more to do with the face that it’s on your goddamned lawn.  It’s private property.  You’re making it sound as if it’s the equivalent of putting it on the steps of a courthouse in some act of protest, but it’s really not.  Instead, the whole move ends up looking kind of silly.  In the end, I really don’t think any non-believer is going to care one way or the other, as long as you do it all from the privacy of your front yard.

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9 Responses to Nobody Cares

  1. Can we say “preaching to the choir here”? Literally? The only ones who are going to care about that slab of granite are the ones who ALREADY believe in Jesus. I sincerely doubt someone’s going to be walking along, see that stone, and suddenly say “I have seen the light!!!” Not anymore than my reading a bumper sticker on the back of someone’s car is going to convince me to be anti-abortion.

    But they never really learn, do they? Part of the problem is that so many of these people grew up in their faith and have never really known anyone who wasn’t a Christian, and therefore have no idea the best way to actually convert someone. Here’s a hint: don’t put up a billboard of your stupid rules, don’t jump on the people when they walk in and call them constantly to return – normal people think that’s stalking, and don’t warn them of hellfire before they believe in heaven. It doesn’t work. But just like Republicans, they keep trying out the same old thing hoping that THIS time it will succeed.

    The only people of faith who ever had my respect were some of the Catholics I’ve worked with, and only because they did not attempt to convert me. I still don’t care for a lot of their tenets, but at least they didn’t tell me to go to Jeeezus or a pit of Hell. Also, and here’s another wacky idea, I respect those of faith who actually do good deeds like help the homeless WITHOUT expecting a new convert or a public pat on the back. Think of all the people they could feed with the cost of that stupid rock? Or the many additions to the church? Ugh.

    • Exactly. It’s easy to act tough and say things like, “we won’t let you move this stone!” when it wouldn’t even be legal in the first place. I was also wondering why they didn’t just move the one from the front lawn of the school to the church instead … maybe save a few thousand dollars and give that money to the poor instead?

      The really devout Christians you’ll see in some of these rural areas have probably lived their entire lives without seeing a Muslim, atheist, or LGBT person in the flesh … at least, that they know of … so it’s very easy to see any group of people who doesn’t share their values as this nameless, faceless “other”, making it easier to dismiss them instead of treating them as people. The cognitive bias resulting from living in a town where everyone’s basically just like you doesn’t help. I’m afraid that the lawsuits from the FFRF and AA won’t endear us to people like this at all, but it’s still necessary to show everyone that no religion gets special treatment just because everyone in the local community aligns with one particular belief.

      By the way I sent you the dissection … did it get through your spam filter?

  2. Charity says:

    I don’t understand why such a huge, and powerful being would need so many spokespeople to speak for Him and do His work. It ends up making Him look incredibly small and weak.

    • … especially when his louder and more devout followers come across as a bunch of loons. Using the bible as a reason for being good is one thing; bigotry and science denial is another.

  3. I think they might be getting the idea. Keep your religious stuff on your religious property (where you probably aren’t even paying taxes).

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