Rhode Island Skeptics Society Message Board › This Holiday Season Help me stand up for the consitstution
There has been a lot of talk about the Bishop saying that what we call the spruce tree standing in the middle of the state house is not trivial. The Bishop is right this is no small matter. What we have seen here is what I call the American Taliban. A small group of religious zealots who want to control the speech of the rest of us. They like to play the victim claiming that there is a war on Christmas, and their religion is being oppressed. In the next breath they point out that they are in the majority that over 80% of the US is Christian. It is simply a historical fact that the minority cannot oppress the majority, rather it is the majority, in this case Christians, that oppresses the minority, in this case any other word view.
Bishop Tobin and Costa are the two biggest oppressors of non Christians in RI. Just like the Taliban they want to use the government to force people to conform to their religious world view, this is the same tactic that the Taliban employs. Doreen Costa attempted this through here non binding resolution, by REQUERING that the trees be referred to by a Christian name, even if law makers and other state house employees are not Christian. This sounds like the Taliban to me.
Keep in mind that as a tea party candidate Costa claims to be a strong constitutionalist. In fact during the month of January 2011 the tea party was saying that they would require everything that went before the house Law or not to be accompanied by a direct citation from the constitution that would so what part of the constitution the document was based on and how it was constitutional. At that time I wrote to Costa asking her to cite the portion of the constitution the Christmas Tree Resolution was based on, I have also ask her this many times face to face each time she refused to do so. Why is this? does she know that the resolution is unconstitutional? Keep in mind that the resolution REQUIRES all law makers to refer to the tree as a Christmas tree, even if they don't see it as such. This if forced speech and is unconstitutional.
I also ask Helen Glover to cite the portion of the constitution the resolution was based on. She read my email to Costa, laughed at a few typos but never addressed the issue. http://www.920whjj.co... I am asking everyone to email Costa rep-Costa@rilin.state.ri.us and Glover email@example.com and demand that they cite the portion of the constitution the resolution is based on. Keep emailing them daily until they do so.
feel free to use the hand out we gave out at the tree lighting for a historical I will cut and paste it below.
We are Protesting Representative Costa, Not Christmas
Representative Doreen Costa's very first act as a state Representative had nothing to do with the very real problems facing the State of Rhode Island such as the state budget, the high rate of unemployment, or our under funded public education system. Doreen Costa's priorities instead had to do with how state employees refer to the decor during the holiday season.
Doreen Costa's first act was an attempt to force all state employees, regardless of their religious beliefs, to describe trees that are "customarily erected or displayed'' between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day as Christmas Trees. According to her resolution, all state employees must refer to decorated evergreens by the religiously inspired term Representative Costa prefers.
This is a small step towards government-endorsed religion.
When Representative Costa ran as a Tea party candidate she stood on one of the Tea Party’s main plank that no bill or resolution should be considered until all those voting on it have read it. Representative Costa violated her beliefs with her first action in office. The House approved her resolution within moments of introduction, without any of the lawmakers getting copies of the measure on which they were being asked to vote.
Representative Costa also claimed to be committed to citing the portion of the United States Constitution that justifies a proposal up for consideration in the legislature. Which portion of the state or federal constitution inspired Representative Costa to submit a resolution that dictates how free Americans are required to refer to holiday decorations? Is it a reasonable use of Rhode Island citizens house, time and money to put forth resolutions that have no basis in the Constitution?
According to Gordon Fox's legal counsel John Flynn, Doreen Costa's resolution "was not properly before the body.'' You would think that before Representative Costa submitted anything, especially her first effort as a freshman lawmaker, she would take steps to ensure that she did so correctly, and according to procedure. Her failure to do so speaks to her level of incompetence.
We are not here to protest Christmas. This is not about Christmas Trees, Holiday Trees, Yule Trees or whatever other terms free Americans might want to use.
We are objecting to the attention seeking behavior of Representative Doreen Costa, who was elected to work for all Rhode Islanders, not just those who share her beliefs. Her tree lighting ceremony is not a protest or a counter action, rather it is a transparent attempt at lobbying on behalf of a small plurality of religious believers who want the secular freedoms enshrined in our Constitution to be weakened or even eliminated.
Costa is using this manufactured controversy to promote herself and her narrow religious agenda.
And we object.
|A former member||
As an avowed atheist I have no problem with a Christmas Tree being called a Christmas Tree. I call my own tree a Christmas Tree.
I'm highly skeptical of statements such as the one quoted below which seem like so much hyperbole and which leave a bad taste in my mouth.
Bishop Tobin and Costa are the two biggest oppressors of non Christians in RI. Just like the Taliban they want to use the government to force people to conform to their religious world view, this is the same tactic that the Taliban employs.
I believe in going to battle over important issues and in choosing battles carefully. There will be big battles coming over the separation of church and state, prayer in schools, as well as free speech and privacy.
I'm going to hold my ammunition in abeyance for more important battles than a Christmas Tree in the State House or where-ever. This type of nit-picking plays badly in the public's mind.
I'm interested in knowing if anyone else shares my view or whether or not they think this one is a battle really worth fighting given all the negative publicity and the public's distaste for this type of picayune nit-picking.
I won't be joining this fray but good luck to all who feel it is worth it in putting their time and energy toward this "Christmas Tree" issue.