Buncombe commissioners may end official prayer at meetings ***UPDATED 12:01 P.M. Friday***

Buncombe commissioners may end official prayer at meetings ***UPDATED 12:01 P.M. Friday***-attachment0

On Jan. 5, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners may replace an official prayer before its meetings with a moment of silence, according to County Attorney Michael Frue. Contrary to Frue’s original announcement, the commissioners have not yet made a decision.

“I probably erred by implying they had taken action or made a decision,” Frue told Xpress. “I shouldn’t have assumed they would necessarily follow my advice. No action has been taken, and we’re looking at several options.”

The board discussed the matter during closed session at its meeting on Tuesday.

“I just apprised them of the status of current legal cases, and they discussed some possibilities,” Frue added.

The case foremost in the county’s mind is in Forsyth County, where a lawsuit over the county’s pre-meeting prayer has not gone the county’s way. Frue said that Forsyth’s policy and Buncombe’s are similar enough for him to be concerned. Specifically, while the Constitution forbids the establishment or endorsement of a state religion, the vast majority of invocations end up being Christian.

An announcement sent by Frue to local government officials on Wednesday read:

“Beginning with its January 5, 2010 meeting the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners have determined that it will no longer include an invocation as an agenda item and the Chair will simply ask for a moment of silence before opening the meeting.”

In that announcement, Frue described the situation faced by Forsyth, and his legal reasoning for recommending a change in the current policy.

“On November 9, 2009 a magistrate judge with the US District Court for the Middle District of NC issued a recommendation of judgment against Forsyth County as the practice violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Frue wrote, noting that while Forsyth is still fighting the decision, the legal costs for a defeat would be considerable.

“The Forsyth case is based on facts establishing that out of 33 invocations prior to meetings only 7 did not contain some reference to Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Savior, or the Trinity, and none of those 33 invocations invoked another deity associated with any faith other than Christianity. Such statistics are no doubt common here in the Bible Belt and I believe are also fairly representative of such a sampling before our Board.”

Under existing law, prayers before the opening of a government body must be non-sectarian in nature and not endorse one faith or denomination over another. That’s likely to be unattainable, Frue asserts.

“I believe that selecting clergy or other invocators at random and leaving the invocation content up to them will likely always lead to violations,” he concludes.

The decision is already attracting a sometimes angry backlash. Outgoing Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower criticized the announcement, saying in an e-mail release: “It is my hope the new council demonstrates more courage and conviction than others may muster in defending the right to pray in political chambers. Anything less mocks both the Constitution and those who value their freedom of religion and the opportunities found within.”

He asserted that Council’s current invocation policies are in line with the First Amendment.

“Council has no procedures or laws determining how Council members pray — and the prayers vary significantly among the members. Our prayers are not controlled or orchestrated events and those in attendance are free to respond, or not, as their values lead them to.”

Conservative activist Don Yelton was even more blunt in his condemnation, and sent out an e-mail calling on citizens to oppose the step.

“I am reminded of what some [Jewish] friends told me, they did not know how fast it could happen. Hitler,” he wrote. “We are knocking on the doors of hell right now. Please get your pastors to get awake and take a stand.”

The full text of Frue’s announcement is below.

—David Forbes, staff writer

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Dear Mayors and Managers –

David Gantt has asked me to pass along some of my thoughts and research regarding invocations made at the opening of public meetings before local governments.  Forsyth County is currently defending its practice and policy of opening invocations before meetings of its Board of Commissioners.  On November 9, 2009 a magistrate judge with the US District Court for the Middle District of NC issued a recommendation of judgment against Forsyth County as the practice violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, together with the Free Exercise Clause, (”… or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”), these two clauses make up what are commonly known as the “religion clauses” of the First Amendment.  Joyner v. Forsyth County, North Carolina, M.D.N.C. 1:07CV243 (2009).  This judgment has not been adopted by the presiding judge and Forsyth has filed an objection to the magistrate’s recommendations, however the magistrate’s decision is consistent with case law.  Also, note that the recommendation is for an award of the nominal costs plus the plaintiffs attorneys’ fees which I understand come to about $100,000.

The Forsyth case is based on facts establishing that out of 33 invocations prior to meetings only 7 did not contain some reference to Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Savior, or the Trinity, and none of those 33 invocations invoked another deity associated with any faith other than Christianity.  Such statistics are no doubt common here in the Bible Belt and I believe are also fairly representative of such a sampling before our Board. 

Forsyth policy called for the clerk to invite prospective speakers in November each year out of the yellow pages, internet and local Chamber and then schedule them to deliver invocation at particular meetings.  Neither the board nor clerk engaged in any prior inquiry, review or involvement in the content of any prayer to be offered.  The invocation is not listed as an agenda item and it takes place shortly before the opening gavel that officially begins the meeting.  Despite this policy designed to insulate the Board from the “personal speech” of the speaker the invocation practice is found to be “government speech”  because the central purpose of the program is the business of government.  The government plays a central role in selecting and scheduling the speaker and even over the content, although to a lesser extent.  This is so given that a board member delivered the invocation on 3 occasions reflecting some control over invocation content.

Therefore, the magistrate determined that these prayers were sectarian invocations that violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Again, this is consistent with existing law.  Leading cases on the issue are: Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983) involving non-sectarian legislative prayer; and Wynne v. Town of Great Falls, S.C., 376 F.3d 292 (4th Cir. 2004) holding that town council violated the Establishment Clause in opening its sessions with prayers that frequently contained references to Jesus Christ, thus advancing one religion over all others.  The rule remains that such invocations must be nonsectarian and that any such “divine appeal be wide-ranging, tying its legitimacy to common religious ground” and “transcend denominational boundaries and appeal broadly to the aspirations of all citizens.”  Marsh. 

I believe that selecting clergy or other invocators at random and leaving the invocation content up to them will likely always lead to violations.  The Marsh case demonstrates that a legislative body may generally “invoke Divine guidance for itself before engaging in its business,” but it cannot “exploit” this opportunity for prayer “to affiliate the government with one specific faith or belief in preference to others.”  Here, in order to avoid running afoul of the Establishment Clause, great care must be taken to have rather Unitarian invocations directed at the governing body only for guidance in its endeavors and deliberations. 

Beginning with its January 5, 2010 meeting the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners have determined that it will no longer include an invocation as an agenda item and the Chair will simply ask for a moment of silence before opening the meeting. 

For specific advice on how your boards might handle this issue you should discuss the matter with your city or town attorney, but if you have any questions please let me know.

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250 thoughts on “Buncombe commissioners may end official prayer at meetings ***UPDATED 12:01 P.M. Friday***

  1. Barry Summers

    Yay, Don Yelton wins the “let’s invoke Hitler” race!!!

  2. shadmarsh

    Dear Carl,
    You, and everyone else, still has the right to pray whenever and wherever you want.

    Don,
    You are a moron. The fact that you would invoke Hitler in something like this betrays a lack of morality, and supreme insensitivity to those who actually are and were persecuted. May you choke on your own (severally misplaced) self-satisfied sense of moral superiority.

  3. Barry Summers

    I actually like Don Yelton, even though we disagree on most things. I believe he’ll come to regret his choice of words here, and recognize that as Shad said, everyone still has the right to pray whenever and wherever they want. They just don’t have the right to compel everyone else to pray like they want.

  4. Barry Summers

    And besides:

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven… And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

    Matthew 6:1-34

  5. Jessica B.

    Yelton is a hypocrite. If someone of a faith other than Christian were to be asked to give a prayer at a council meeting, he’d be among the first to complain.

  6. Peacewarrior

    The scuttlebutt is that the incoming “progressive” City Council candidates asked for this change over at County so they could more easily have a moment of silence at the City, instead of a proper prayer to Jesus Christ and God. Bothwell and Smith want to be able to silently give their allegence to the Communist Manifesto before City Council sessions begin. :)

  7. Piffy!

    [b]Matthew 6:1-34 [/b]

    oh, barry, you don’t think they actually [i]read[/i] the Bible, do you?

    They just use it as a political tool, not a source for contemplation and ‘spiritual’ betterment.

  8. Bert

    Sweet quote, barry. Kind of hard for Mumpower and Yelton to argue with Jesus himself.

  9. Michael Muller

    Barry,

    Personally, I happen to like Don too. He’s very smart, charming, and he has a great sense of humor.

    Politically, however, he happens to be a festering pustule on the rump of the local GOP elephant. These things need to be popped and drained before the healing can begin. Know what I mean?

    MM

  10. Don Yelton

    Well I am just about the only one that posts with my full name. Most others hid behind some kind of shadowy picture or some name. Frankly I will not change my choice of words. It is with great respect that I repeat what some of my Jewish friends said. I believe it was also said by a well known general that they take a lot of pictures because some day an idiot will say it did not happen. I took the step of calling anyone that thinks it did not happen an idiot.

    We have had all faiths step forward and offer prayer at the Commission meeting. The Preachers fail to take a stand because they are afraid they will lose the non-profit status.

    I suggest that you all read the constitution if that means anything to you. It calls for freeom of exercising your religion. I think that is what some pagen religions have been fighting for was that freedom of exercise of their beliefs.

    This action prohibits the exercise of your religious beliefs. What part of that do you not understand. All religions which include, jewish, christian, non christians and other intelligent people should be able to see the danger in this action.

    That is the most important comment, other intelligent people and we lack in intelligence. We build below the ocean and rivers and blame others when we flood. We build on steep slopes and want others to pay for our house when it slides down the mountain. We have insurance to cover for the person that don’t give a damn and has none. We want others to give us a house, food and health care and bitch when we don’t get it.

    Barry now they have been deprived of any reward and we have been deprived of seeing just how big a lot of the hypocrites really are. I think some of the commissioners pray when the preacher is there.

    Actually the scriptures tell you not to judge too. read it all not just what you want to use.

    The act of prayer to YOUR God or whatever is a reminder of a moral compass that we as human creatures really need. That is why it was important to have prayer in school.

    The act of speaking out is what freedom is about. Silence is what happens when the Church ignored Hitlers actions. (read The Deputy which was one of the books to be read by the liberal school of UNC-A) Silence is what happened in China when they force silence on their people today.

    I am totally amazed at the silence amoung the churches because of rendering more to Casear than they should. The church gave up their power when they submitted to the 501 3 c non-profit structure.

    All should be outraged at the silence and that should include Christians, non-Christians and all others that desire to be called something other than Christian or non-Christian. It is about Freedom. What about that do you folks not understand.

    To him that has an ear let him hear and to all other this is foolishness. So be it.

  11. Jeff Fobes

    The Asheville Citizen-Times reported late yesterday that the commissioners have retreated from their position.

    According to reporter Mark Barrett, the commissioners decision was made in closed session, after a briefing from Michael Frue.

    But as Chairman David Gantt pointed out: ““We were in closed session so we can’t make any decision. We talked about the issue”

    http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20091203/NEWS01/91203017/1009

  12. Barry Summers

    Don – a moment of silence at the beginning of a meeting is a perfect time to pray to whatever deity, or moral compass, as you put it. I heartily agree that this is necessary and proper. I don’t understand the need to take that moment of silence and turn it into a semi-official endorsement of one religion over others. That is what happens when you have Christian ministers delivering a prayer at every meeting – the message goes out that the Government is favoring one religion over others. How is that fair in a free society?

    Nobody is taking away your right to pray at the beginning of meetings. You can still do it.

  13. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Both blatant and neutralized prayers of any sort, including structured moments of silence, in governmental/public arenas are a bastardization of separation of church and state.

    In a county outside Buncombe, I have seen a Christian fish symbol affixed to the back of a town police car, a Christian nativity scene on the courthouse grounds, a biblical verse displayed as a footer on a public powerpoint presentation by the county planning commission, and Christian prayers at numerous governmental-sponsored meetings and school events. In our democracy, that kind of state-sponsored in-your-face promotion of religion is simply wrong, whether blatant or sanitized.

    Religion and spirituality are individual matters, and public events should not be used as a platform for promotion of any religious beliefs. Individuals attending state-sponsored functions should not have to wait for religious proponents to do their religious promotions before getting on with the governmental work of the public.

    By the way, I’m as religious and spiritual as anyone else, but I do not think I have the right to project my personal and individual beliefs onto other people at any governmental gathering. When people come together to attend to governmental matters of the public, they should not have to be subjected to any semblance of religious proselytization, neither yours nor mine nor the government’s. Pray all you want, just not in my face or on public agendas in front of a captive audience.

  14. Barry Summers

    Well said, Betty, although I disagree over the moment of silence. I don’t just consider it a valuable compromise for those who feel their rights to prayer are being taken away (they clearly aren’t there in the first place – nobody has a right to structure sectarian religious worship into government activities). I do think compromise is important, but also, I think a moment to clear one’s head and focus and ask for inner wisdom while doing the people’s business is a good thing. If Don is sitting next to me and praying to God, it has nothing to do with me with me saying to myself “okay, try not to be an ass like you were at the last meeting.”

  15. chops

    Prayer, meditation, etc. are not duties for any public officeholder. Get yourself together on your own time, not the taxpayers’.

    I agree with Betty Cloer Wallace.

    No “Moment of Silence” is justified.

  16. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Why should people at any government-sponsored event be expected or required to sit and wait silently for any amount of time (a moment or otherwise) for other people to engage in their own individual prayer or contemplation or whatever? Arbitrary imposition upon and intrusion into people’s individual time at the behest of governmental officials is not a valid function of government, and my idea of meaningful individual prayer or contemplation is not through momentary time-bites scheduled for me by a governmental body.

    Religious zealots do have a bad habit, though, of thinking they have a right to impose on other people’s time and thought. It’s really a form of control and disrespectfulness.

    Over the past thirty years or so I have had numerous promoters of assorted religions appear at my door, wanting to share their beliefs. I always ask about how much time they will need for their sharing. They usually answer ten minutes or so. So I say, “Well, I will listen to you for ten minutes if you will then listen to me for ten minutes.”

    In thirty years I have never had anyone take me up on my offer. They always say they don’t have time; they have someone waiting for them out in their car or they have some other reason for leaving just as fast as they can.

  17. Betty Cloer Wallace

    What would happen if, during a government-mandated “moment of silence,” citizens stood up and prayed aloud, or sang a hymn to their creator, or silently danced as a form of meditation?

    Would the government-official-in-charge tell the offenders to sit down and shut up? To leave the gathering? Would the offenders be arrested and fined for their public-policy offense?

    Just a thought.

  18. Barry Summers

    Personally, I can’t picture Don Yelton dancing at a County Commissioners Board meeting, but I could be wrong.

    Don, you’re not going to get up & dance for us, are you?

  19. Jon Elliston

    Folks,

    No matter how much you disagree with someone, please refrain from calling them names like “moron.” We’re trying to maintain a civil, if passionate, dialogue here. Thank you.

  20. shadmarsh

    I will let the dictionary speak for itself:

    mo?ron –noun
    1. a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment.
    2. Psychology. a person of borderline intelligence in a former classification of mental retardation, having an intelligence quotient of 50 to 69.
    Compare feeble-minded.

    Origin:
    1905–10, Americanism; < Gk m?rón, neut. of m?rós foolish, dull

  21. Barry Summers

    Thanks Jon. Don doesn’t need or probably even want my help here, but I’d like to also ask Shad to lighten up. Don has his strong opinions that I usually disagree with, but I’ve always found him to be intelligent and sincere, and he deserves better than to be called names.

    It’s not that I’m a particularly nice guy – I’ve called people names plenty of times…

  22. Barry Summers

    Well, then try to sharpen up. Look at how blurry you are!

  23. Chad Nesbitt

    Christians pray for good things to happen.
    Here are a few examples:

    1. Dear Lord please help the family down the street. The Democrats have been in power in NC for over 130 years and have raised taxes so high that they can barely afford to live.

    2. Dear God, please help my little cousin Mary. She has been hit by a car.
    Her parents can’t afford the health care because U.S. tax payers have to pay for the health care of the millions of illegal aliens crossing the border into our nation.

    3. My Heavenly Father, I pray for all the people that do not have heating oil to heat their homes.
    The liberal Democrats will not allow the U.S. to safely drill for oil, so families have to pay high prices from terrorist run countries.

    4. My God Almighty, my neighbor shot a burglar that broke in to her apartment. Because she shot him at her doorway and not inside her home, she has been arrested for attempted murder and the burglar is suing her with the help of the ACLU. Please help my neighbor prevail.

    5. Dear God, Dear GOD, DEAR GOD! Cecil Bothwell has been elected to Asheville City Council.
    He want’s the Asheville Police Department to stand down from arresting drug dealers and prostitutes.
    Dear God, may Mr. Bothwell please receive syphilis.

    Seriously,
    No matter what you liberals say, The United States of America was founded on Christian philosophy.
    The proof is in the constitution, writings by our founding fathers, and monuments all over Washington DC and across the United States. God is in our Pledge of Allegiance and is mentioned in oaths of offices.

    Asking a minister of God to say a prayer before a government meeting is not just a prayer. It is a reminder to elected Politian’s to uphold their office in a moral, fair, positive, fashion. (Unlike liberal Democrats like David Gant and the commissioners voting to do away with prayer in a closed door meeting – that was against the law by the way).

    Prayer is also a reminder for Politian’s to fight against things that would harm the people.
    Such as syphilis.

  24. Barry Summers

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. Wait – which one of you was talking?

  25. Barry Summers

    Chad – you miss the difference between what prayer should accomplish and what government can accomplish. For example, when they sentenced Al Capone for tax evasion, instead of a life sentence in prison, they gave him a dose of syphilis, and he died of it. Government action at work, dude.

  26. cwaster

    Pray whatever you want- but don’t force others to pray as you do. Freedom of religion is a basic thing that our country was built on.

  27. John B

    OK. I’m with the moment of silence folks. Where are they standing again?

    A moment of silence may annoy non-reflective citizens before a meeting but unconstitutional it isn’t. If the prayer in question pushes one sect – say Christians – over another – let’s say Jews – , then one might have a case. I fail to see how a moment of silence does this. Even if the atheists complain, a silence moment professes no favoritism of one sect or even a belief in God.

  28. cwaster

    Wishing syphilis on someone is a real Christian thing to do, Chad.

  29. Ken Hanke

    Chad, God was stuck into the “Pledge of Allegiance” during the McCarthy witchhunt era. It was not part of the original pledge.

  30. Barry Summers

    What am I missing here? Are we no longer able to post web addresses? This gets stripped of it’s URL, and leaves a ‘file’? I can right-click on this & see the image, but I don’t know if that’s because I posted it & have the address in my browser. Can others see this image by right-clicking on it?

  31. Jeff Fobes

    Barry: I don’t see your links. I’m not aware of anything having changed on the website, but possibly something is up. If you can’t workaround it, I suggest an email to the webmaster.

  32. teh pfff

    [b]1. Dear Lord please help the family down the street. The Democrats have been in power in NC for over 130 years and have raised taxes so high that they can barely afford to live.[/b]

    But i thought NC was “Conservative territory”?

    [b]2. Dear God, please help my little cousin Mary. She has been hit by a car.
    Her parents can’t afford the health care because U.S. tax payers have to pay for the health care of the millions of illegal aliens crossing the border into our nation.[/b]

    Really? the government is keeping them from being able to afford health care that is privately controlled? Fascinating.

    [b]3. My Heavenly Father, I pray for all the people that do not have heating oil to heat their homes.
    The liberal Democrats will not allow the U.S. to safely drill for oil, so families have to pay high prices from terrorist run countries.[/b]

    Yes, that three days of oil we have offshore would surely help. Now, don’t we control most of Iraq? Sholdn’t that lower the price of oil.

    [b]4. My God Almighty, my neighbor shot a burglar that broke in to her apartment. Because she shot him at her doorway and not inside her home, she has been arrested for attempted murder and the burglar is suing her with the help of the ACLU. Please help my neighbor prevail.[/b]

    An anecdotal story i sincerely doubt is true. Proof?

    [b]5. Dear God, Dear GOD, DEAR GOD! Cecil Bothwell has been elected to Asheville City Council.
    He want’s the Asheville Police Department to stand down from arresting drug dealers and prostitutes.
    Dear God, may Mr. Bothwell please receive syphilis.[/b]

    Wow, shad is warned for using a word appropriately, and Thunderpif gets to wish syphilis upon Cecil Bothwell! Classy!

    [b]Seriously,
    No matter what you liberals say, The United States of America was founded on Christian philosophy.

    The proof is in the constitution, writings by our founding fathers, and monuments all over Washington DC and across the United States. God is in our Pledge of Allegiance and is mentioned in oaths of offices. [/b]

    Actually, no it wasn’t. Your lack of even the most basic, easily researched aspects of American history is laughable.

    [b]Asking a minister of God to say a prayer before a government meeting is not just a prayer. It is a reminder to elected Politian’s to uphold their office in a moral, fair, positive, fashion. (Unlike liberal Democrats like David Gant and the commissioners voting to do away with prayer in a closed door meeting – that was against the law by the way).

    Prayer is also a reminder for Politian’s to fight against things that would harm the people.
    Such as syphilis. [/b]

    Again with his wishing syphilis upon others. Nice moderation, John.

  33. Chad Nesbitt

    Hanky,
    Thank God for McCarthy.

    Cwaster,
    Lol. Jus sayin!

    You lay with dogs you get fleas.

  34. Chad Nesbitt

    ScrutinyStomper,

    Like you last name.
    Your first one needs some work.

    Like I said. Prayer before a government meeting is not just a prayer. It is a reminder to our elected officials to do the moral thing for the good of the community and our children. Liberal councilman Bothwell wanting the police to shy away from arresting drug dealers and prostitutes is not good for the community.

    Asheville pretty much advertises to the world that Asheville is gay friendly.
    Gordon Smith’s first thing he wants to do is have same sex benefits for gays.
    With all this said, the Buncombe County Health Dept. recently said that STD’s are up in Buncombe County. They attributed it to the number of gay’s that have moved into the community.

    STD’s are not good for the community.

    Let’s face it! The real reason liberals are pushing God out of schools and government is because Christians don’t jive with the homosexual lifestyle. This pisses the gays and liberals off and they will do anything to destroy Christian traditions to get their way.

  35. Jon Elliston

    teh pff makes a good point: Please do not wish STDs, or any other kind of affliction, on people on this Web site. We’re trying to have a civil dialogue here, and that necessitates not wishing harm to others.

    On another note, Chad writes:

    “With all this said, the Buncombe County Health Dept. recently said that STD’s are up in Buncombe County. They attributed it to the number of gay’s that have moved into the community.”

    I had not heard this. Can you point us to a source for this assertion? Thanks,

    Jon Elliston
    Mountain Xpress

  36. Barry Summers

    “Thank God for McCarthy.”

    That says it all, Chad. Pretty much everyone recognizes that the McCarthy era was a horrible stain on our history. But from someone who prays to his God to give syphilis to another human being, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

  37. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Chad Nesbitt wrote: Prayer before a government meeting is not just a prayer. It is a reminder to our elected officials to do the moral thing for the good of the community and our children.

    Why do our elected officials need to schedule a public prayer to remind themselves “to do the moral thing for the good of the community and our children?”

  38. Jessica B.

    Chad Nesbitt claimed: “With all this said, the Buncombe County Health Dept. recently said that STD’s are up in Buncombe County. They attributed it to the number of gay’s that have moved into the community.”

    Let’s see some proof they actually said this, Chad. Your anti-LGBT bias is well known. Show us a link to the Health Dept. actually making this statement.

  39. The Trolls Troll

    Chad, for your own self-preservation, please stop talking. On the other hand, keep it up. Your comments here and on your little, outdated Web site provide much needed comic relief. You should take your act on the road, preferably far, far away from here.

  40. Peacewarrior

    Still, after all these years, it is the Christian tradition that has made this part of the country great. Christianity is an important part of who we are as Southerners here in Western North Carolina. Newcomers may think Asheville is some new age mecca where you can be as weirdly hedonist as you want. We are tolerant Christians,but we do have our limits. Asheville still is guided by the principles of Jesus Christ, son of God Almighty. And may my dear hometown remain a Christian town, with the reverence of Christian prayers at our political meetings.

    God bless Asheville, North Carolina. And God bless the America of our forefathers!

  41. Chad Nesbitt

    Barry,

    Obviously you don’t get my humor.

    Elliston,

    I’m looking it up hold on.

  42. Chad Nesbitt

    Eliston,

    From the ACT –
    Source – http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20091201/NEWS01/912010302/1009/NEWS01

    Buncombe County saw an increase in syphilis cases in 2008, and is continuing to see the increased numbers this year, according to Sue Ellen Morrison, disease control specialist at the Buncombe County Health Center.
    The county reported 17 cases of syphilis in 2008 and has reported 14 cases so far this year, compared with five cases in 2007.
    Syphilis cases have been predominately among young men who are having sex with men and who are HIV positive, although this year the county also reported some cases among men 45-49 years old and among some women.

    Note* – I’m jokeing about Bothwell getting an STD. But he sure isn’t jokeing about giving STD’s to the rest of the community.

    I found more articles.
    I can post them here as well if needed.

  43. teh pfff

    [b]But he sure isn’t jokeing about giving STD’s to the rest of the community. [/b]

    Really, is this the kind of blather that gets put in the un-moderated Queue?

    Kinda pitiful, really. What’s the point of even letting him post this crap while shad gets tut-tutted for the word moron?

  44. Bert

    Founding Fathers weren’t uniformly Christian. Jefferson called St. Paul a “corrupter” and didn’t believe in the divinity or miracles of Jesus. He took scissors to his New Testament and cut those parts out. Franklin said in a letter that he had “some doubts” regarding Jesus’ divinity. Look it up, if you don’t believe me.

    The very word “Christian Nation” is such a contradiction in Christian theological terms; because Christians are supposed to believe that faith is an act of individual conscience. If government is Christian; then it gives the individual no opportunity to make a sincere faith choice on their own. I find that historically Christians behave very badly when they are in power and very faithfully when they are out of it.

  45. Ken Hanke

    Obviously you don’t get my humor.

    Oh, so you don’t thank God for Sen. Joe McCarthy and his witch-hunts? You think that was a vile, shameful thing, eh?

  46. Ken Hanke

    So, Chad, where exactly in that article did you find this notion — “They attributed it to the number of gay’s that have moved into the community”?

  47. Barry Summers

    Don’t bother, Ken. Chad and the facts? Not so much. He takes the fact that syphilis predominates among gay men and twists that around to mean that an increase in syphilis can be blamed on “the number of gay’s (sic) that have moved into the community.” He ignores that the article also says that:

    “The trend mirrors national statistics, which show syphilis and other STD rates rising across the country.”

    And that:

    “…the CDC moved more than $1.3 million in funding for syphilis programs from North Carolina to other states…” “We are back having this problem again because of a lack of commitment and investment,” Foust said.

    It’s not because of all those pesky “gays” moving to our community, Chad. STD rates are up everywhere because prevention and treatment programs are underfunded nationally. They’re up here especially because the CDC moved our funding to other states.

    Read this article about decreased funding for STD programs, and then come back with more homophobic rhetoric:

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/std-programs-facing-severe-cutbacks-affecting-public-health-infrastructure-70198737.html

    You just can’t wait for the day when you can run through town with a pitchfork, can you Chad?

    Ken – Good call on “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. It’s been a while since I enjoyed watching an animated movie so much.

  48. travelah

    Chad, while you parody of prayer was obvioulsy done in jest, it was not in good taste.

  49. Barry Summers

    Here’s Thomas Jefferson on the wisdom of trying to unite a diverse society under the banner of christianity:

    “Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand.”

  50. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Barry’s Jefferson quote is a good one, and quite valid for this discussion thread.

    The assorted Christian colonists/sects/separatists who arrived on the east coast of the North American continent were already splintered–since long before the Protestant Reformation–and Jefferson insightfully foresaw further splintering of Christianity.

    Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, et al., rightfully deduced that religion could not and would not be a lasting basis upon which to form a united confederacy of states.

  51. Jessica B.

    Chad Nesbitt says: “From the ACT –
    Source – http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20091201/NEWS01/912010302/1009/NEWS01

    Buncombe County saw an increase in syphilis cases in 2008, and is continuing to see the increased numbers this year, according to Sue Ellen Morrison, disease control specialist at the Buncombe County Health Center.
    The county reported 17 cases of syphilis in 2008 and has reported 14 cases so far this year, compared with five cases in 2007.
    Syphilis cases have been predominately among young men who are having sex with men and who are HIV positive, although this year the county also reported some cases among men 45-49 years old and among some women.

    Note* – I’m jokeing about Bothwell getting an STD. But he sure isn’t jokeing about giving STD’s to the rest of the community.

    I found more articles.
    I can post them here as well if needed.”

    Not one word from the Health Dept. saying the increase is due to more gay people moving into the area. You’re a liar, Chad.

  52. Betty Cloer Wallace

    George Washington agreed with Jefferson and the other “founding fathers” that the emerging form of government–a democracy of united states–should not have a monarch who would be head of both government and any church or religion.

    A government formed by such diverse states’s interests under one king as head of church and government (the European model) would never come together and unify; and remaining separate as states would eventually result in disintegration of most or all of them. Only a looser confederation respecting diverse economic and religious interests could ever result in a democracy with elected representation, including an elected president, and a unified country.

    To try to force discrete religious practices, however watered down, into our government now is unconscionable, useless, and regressive–and antithetical to the intentions of our founding fathers.

  53. travelah

    Jefferson’s comments may be found in full context here:
    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions40.html

    His principle concern was over the establishment of a theocratic institutionalism of one Christian sect over another and the codification of religious dogma into the charter of laws under which all persons, dissenters of that dogma as well, must exist. What exists today in the modern interpretation of the 1st Amendment would be quite foreign to Jefferson’s sensibilities as well as those of all the founding fathers. The quote taken above, while offering a good rhetorical soundbite, doesn’t fit well with the purposes for which it is used.

  54. travelah

    Jefferson’s regard of what we call the establishment and free exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment are best expressed with the Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty, passed into law in 1786. It is the basis for the language and intent of the 1st amendment with respect to religious freedom.

    The purpose of the statute was to acomplish the disestablishment of the Anglican Church from the management of affairs of state. It was not to remove Christianity and all vestiges of it from public life. Jefferson considered the Virginia statute one of his greatest acomplishments and when reading the Statute today, one has to marvel at how remotely distant today’s anti-Christian efforts against Christianity is from Jefferson’s intents.

  55. Barry Summers

    Careful, Puppet. I don’t think anyone on this thread is “anti-Christian”. Nice try at victimization, but the truth is, we just don’t want your beliefs forced onto us. I know, to some xenophobic and un-christlike persons, refusal to grant your views supremacy is the same thing as an attack. Poor baby, please grow up & worship the way you want without needing the force of government to validate you.

  56. travelah

    barry, is your entire life consumed with making constant insults and pejorative comments?

    You used a common quote without taking the full context into account. I merely added the appropriate context to the post. I consider myself to be quite Jeffersonian with regard to the establishment and free exercise clauses and have no idea where you think I wish to force anything down your throat.

  57. Barry Summers

    Anonymous Puppet, you used the term “anti-Christian” in the context of this discussion. I find that offensive. As I have said elsewhere, I have four ordained Christian ministers of various denominations in my family, and I myself was raised Southern Baptist. I, for one, am not “anti-Christian”, nor do I believe the vast majority of Americans who favor a secular government should be tarred that way. It is an insult to wield that term against people who simply want fairness and equality for various religious views. You are the one who resorted to insults, not me.

  58. Chad Nesbitt

    Elliston, Hanke,

    I had to buy the article from the ACT archives.
    Funny how it has been taken down from the internet but if you google “Buncombe STD rate high” you can see where the gay community comes out in defense to the article just like they are trying in this Mntx comment section.

    Asheville Citizen – Times – Asheville, N.C.
    Author: Nanci Bompey
    Date: Dec 22, 2008
    Start Page: A.1
    Section: News
    Text Word Count: 709

    Here are some quotes –
    “ASHEVILLE – Health officials are urging residents to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases following the near-doubling of syphilis cases in Buncombe County this year.

    There have been 23 reported cases of syphilis in the county from January through November of this year, compared with 12 cases of the disease over the same period last year.

    Like other states around the country, North Carolina has had an increase in cases of syphilis in recent years, but outbreaks have generally been localized in larger cities in the state.

    Most of the cases in Buncombe County are among men who have sex with men, a group whose syphilis rates are on the rise nationwide, said Dr. Steve Swearingen, medical director at the Buncombe County Health Center.

    “It’s not a real prevalent disease, but that’s almost a doubling, he said. “That’s something we’ve not seen in Asheville.

    Michael Harney, an educator at WNCAP, said declining condom use and visitors coming to the Asheville area may have contributed to the current increase in syphilis cases in Buncombe County. There is an ever increasing awareness but somehow syphilis has gotten here to our community,he said.”

    Well, well, well, – The Buncombe County Health Dept. say’s – “Most of the cases in Buncombe County are among men who have sex with men.”
    and the director of the WNCAP says, “Declining condom use and visitors coming to the Asheville area may have contributed to the current increase in syphilis cases in Buncombe County.”

    My point has been proven.
    And Hanke, I alway’s back up my points. That’s why you alway’s loose your arguments. Lol.

  59. Chad Nesbitt

    By the way – Bothwell may no be on city council.
    Injunction filed.

    Love it!

  60. Barry Summers

    Yes, it’s hilarious to tear down democracy, isn’t it?

  61. Ken Hanke

    And Hanke, I alway’s back up my points

    Now, that is funny. Chad, I have never “loosed” an argument with you. No one has. You merely “prove” things to your satisfaction and say you’ve won. That may impress the Stompers, but it doesn’t do much for anyone else. But, keep it up, you and the Stompers continue to be the best friends the Democrats have ever had.

  62. teh piff

    All i can say is, Thank Goodness for Betty Cloer Wallace. Her points are incredibly refreshing in this sea of hyperbole and misconceptions.

  63. travelah

    barry, it is rather clear to note that there has been a rather activist atheist campaign against having any Christian sentiment expressed in a public venue that has been weaged for the past 45 years. Rather than trying to establish a theocracy or support any such move, I have made it very clear that I am Jeffersonian in that respect and have no interest in such. I am much more interested in seeing Jeffersonian principles restored, in particular the sentiments noted in his Danbury Baptist letter of 1802 (a letter that has a long history of liberal abuse)

    As for being offended and coming from one who without fail refers to me as a puppet knowing I am not, please excuse my rather amused lack of contrition.

  64. travelah

    Chad, what purpose does it serve to contest Bothwell’s seating?

  65. teh piff

    [b]it is rather clear to note that there has been a rather activist atheist campaign against having any Christian sentiment expressed in a public venue that has been weaged for the past 45 years.[/b]

    Really? I hadn’t noticed. I had, tho, noticed the very pro-christian activists who attempt to ram it down everyone elses throats at every conceivable opportunity, and who generally seek to impose it in government-sponsored capacities.

  66. Chad Nesbitt

    Hanke,

    “you and the Stompers continue to be the best friends the Democrats have ever had.”

    Ever wonder why Smith and Bothwell had no challenges or satire commercials from the Carolina Stompers during the election?

    We voted that way.
    Sometimes it is better to let things happen so that more people wake up to the evils of the Democrat Socialist Party.

    Bothwell wanting APD to stand down from arresting drug dealers and prostitutes.
    Smith wanting same sex benefits for government employees to be first on the agenda.
    And now prayer taken out of the BC Commissioners meeting without a vote.
    Stupidity like this is what helps my cause.

    You are mistaken again. Buncombe County citizens are not going to stand for this liberal agenda anymore not to mention Americans on national issues.

    When I was a Democrat I tried to tell Otto and other party leaders that our party was going down the hill.
    The last conversation I had with two of your leaders was with Blake Butler and Doug Jones.
    After that conversation I knew the party was lost. These two guys were brainwashed like the rest of them and yet the old timers like Otto kept saying “we need them Chad, we need them”. “Remember we are a family.” he said. I will never forget those words.

    The sad thing is the old timers are dying off and the radical liberals have taken over.
    Just as I predicted.

  67. Barry Summers

    Travelah Puppet, you are participating in the perfect puppet show as to why religion has no place in secular civic life. Here is a “Christian” puppet, Chad (or someone like him), gleefully trying to throw sand in the gears of democracy, and claiming that there is a justifiable, moral reason for doing so.

    He’ll claim that state law doesn’t allow anyone who doesn’t bow down to the Almighty to serve in elected office, even though the US Supreme Court threw out all those laws 50 years ago.

    He’ll claim that decent, moral puppets don’t want suspect individuals like ‘Cecil Bothwell’ in office, and he’ll find a way to slop a coat of phony religion-speak on it.

    And all the while, everyone will know that it’s all a sham – Chad simply opposes Cecil politically, and he has no shame, no shame at all, in trying to use religion to accomplish what he couldn’t at the ballot box.

    And you, the reasonably sincere Christian puppet, will watch your faith get dragged through the mud of politics. And the audience, people like me, will become more convinced that these puppets that loudly proclaim themselves to be “Christians” are actually kind of pathetic.

    Demanding that politicians honor Christian rituals in secular settings doesn’t speak well for your faith, dude, or for your politics.

  68. teh piff

    [b]The sad thing is the old timers are dying off and the radical liberals have taken over. [/b]

    But aren’t those ‘old timers’ the ones you always condemn as being the corrupt leaders of NC “for over 130 years”?

    Also, I don’t think Ken Hanke considers Democratic party heads as ‘his leaders’, as you say.

    [b]Ever wonder why Smith and Bothwell had no challenges or satire commercials from the Carolina Stompers during the election?

    We voted that way.
    Sometimes it is better to let things happen so that more people wake up to the evils of the Democrat Socialist Party.[/b]

    Right, Chad. “You” have that much power over the voting public that you got the so-called ‘silent majority’ to stay home, with the intent of empowering the “Socialists” to gain control of city council. It has nothing to do with a larger trend in national politics, or the actual demographics of Asheville whatsoever. It was all just a part of your careful manipulation of your political empire. A coup de gras to the Democratic party. You are the Karl Rove of WNC!

  69. Chad Nesbitt

    Barry,

    Christians have a sense of humor! Laughing out loud that an atheist like Bothwell has to abide by a law from years ago when Politian’s put their faith in God all while the current BC Commissioners want to do away with prayer is funny to me. It just proves my above comments further. It was probably the Democrats that made it law to believe in God before you could hold a public office. It had to have been because they have controlled NC for over 130 years. Now the radical Democrats have to abide by it or throw it out.
    WAY TO GO OLD TIME DEMOCRATS.
    YOU SOCKED IT TO THEM FROM THE GRAVE!

    This injunction will make national headlines and will wake people up further.
    Mark my word.

  70. shadmarsh

    This injunction will make national headlines and will wake people up further.
    Mark my word.

    First, if one is awake how can they be further awakened? Secondly, if this doesn’t do as you believe it will, will you engage in some sort of (public or not) act of contrition? If so I have a few ideas for you.

  71. Chad Nesbitt

    Shadmarsh,

    Some are still in a coma.
    No.
    and I don’t need your ideas.

  72. shadmarsh

    Then they are now awake to begin with, and need to be woken up, not “wake up further.” You see the difference here?

    on a side note, it is glad to see you continue your war on the English language. You seem quite determined to mangle it.

  73. Barry Summers

    I know some people that really want to see Chad in that pink dress again. Not me, of course…

  74. teh pfff

    Is Cecil Bothwell really an “atheist”?

    should Chad be allowed to constantly call him that if it isn’t true?

    Is this blog turning in to Topix?

  75. Betty Cloer Wallace

    I’m still wondering what would happen if, during a governmental board’s “moment of silence,” citizens stood up and prayed aloud, or sang, or even silently danced as a form of meditation–if, in fact, meditation is what the moment-of-silence is all about?

    Would the government-official-in-charge of the meeting tell the offenders to sit down and shut up? Or to leave the gathering? Would the offenders be arrested and fined for their public-policy offense?

    Should the price for a citizen attending a city or county government meeting be that he/she must sit silently through the board’s structured “moment of silence” agenda item so that board members can “remind themselves to do the moral thing for the good of the community and our children”? Wasn’t that what we elected them to do in the first place? Why then must they take OUR time at every meeting to remind themselves to be moral in doing the civic work we elected them to do?

    I’m with Chops (see his earlier post). Let those elected board members get themselves together on their own time, not the taxpayers’; and don’t expect citizen attendees to be forced to wait (silently or otherwise) for them to do so.

    Citizen attendees at a government board meeting are not captives. No free person in this democracy should be forced to sit SILENTLY at a public meeting while elected officials carry out a pseudo-religious ritual (silent or otherwise); and no citizen should be forced to choose between the options of sitting silently or leaving or engaging in some other untoward action while the board members are “meditating.”

  76. Anasazi

    The progressive and thoughtful blog topics offered by Mountain Xpress seem to degenerate into the most hate filled blathering of right wing externally controlled fundamentalist extremists. May these antichrist “Christians” keep busy on the blogs and stay out of any actual contribution to their narrow minded pursuit of a hate filled world fueled by the fires of their paranoid fantasy.

    Hate to tell you Chad and Travelah, but god is not pleased with his teachings being mangled into “righteous” reasons for the cruel infliction of pain on those who don’t agree with you.

    Wishing Syphilis onto anyone is not of Christ.

    Perhaps it is a good thing we remain silent for a few moments to avoid any opportunity for this virulent hate speech to be granted permission to flow.

    Any person should be able to contemplate their faith and do so with the support and encouragement of their government. And it should be done in private as the Bible demands it be done:

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”~Matthew 6.5

    In other words I quote the Bible to inform you that the Bible literally informs all of us that you are hypocrites for criticizing the very document you uphold that shames you directly for your behavior as you uphold it.

    Any faith has the right to be honored in the absence of disavowing the faith of others, not just your view of this nation being solely Christian, or to further your surgically imprecise dismantling of the very tenets that faith professes and you bastardize while espousing to uphold it as a rationale for your hatred.

    As a believer in the teachings and moral compass afforded by Christ, I can guarantee he would be appalled by what is being said by those who are taking his name and defiling the goodness of his passion.

  77. Anasazi

    Having fully reviewed this thread I will give Travelah credit for his posts on Jeffersonian thought. They demonstrate critical thought and deference to the ability to tolerate and not create a state theocracy. He deserves credit for that.

    I will also credit Travelah for his rebuffing of the absolutely horrid ruminations of Chad’s prayer for the demise and illness of fellow human beings.

  78. Barry Summers

    “Is Cecil Bothwell really an “atheist”?”

    Cecil claims that Joel Burgess misquoted him in the AC-T. I know Cecil, and when confronted by a right-wing smear flyer calling him an atheist, he probably said something flippant that Joel reported as a ‘non-denial’.

    Cecil has quoted author Salman Rushdie on one of his books, and said that he agrees with this viewpoint:

    “I do think that the question of origins and the question of ethics—which are the two big things which lead people to religion—are things which are not answered by religion. I don’t believe in any of the religious stories of the origin of the universe and I don’t look to priests for my moral answers.”

    He’s also said it’s more accurate to consider him an agnostic than an atheist. An atheist is someone who firmly believes there is no God, an agnostic is someone who doesn’t believe we can know one way or the other.

    But none of that will stop Chad. Like I said earlier, Chad and the facts? Not so much.

  79. Ken Hanke

    I don’t need your ideas.

    At least then you’d actually have some ideas, Chad.

  80. entopticon

    A few relevant Thomas Jefferson quotes:

    “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”

    “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    “Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.”

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

    “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”

    “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”

    “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter.”

    “We find in the writings of his biographers … a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications.” (referring to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

    Of course, Jefferson also believed that as superstition gave way to the reason, the nation would move towards becoming Unitarian Universalists:

    “I trust there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian.”

  81. Bugg

    In the Xpress’ quest to be “balanced” they allow people like Nesbitt to post things that they have censored me saying in the past. Bravo, Xpress. Way to let those spreading falsehoods and outright lies control the tone and topic of the conversation.

  82. Peacewarrior

    Enepticon quotes Jefferson? Careful for what you bring out here Enepticon. It’ll bite your point of view.

    First of all, it is obvious from your posts that you are a socialist liberal in favor of a big powerful government. Thomas Jefferson’s view: “The government that governs least, governs best”.

    Is Jefferson a Christian or a Deist? In a letter to Dr Benjamin Waterhouse, Thomas Jefferson lays out his view on religion, which is right in line with his Christian beliefs:
    “1. That there is one only God, and He is all perfect.
    2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments. (read Heaven and hell)
    3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.” (Jesus Christ’s primary teaching)

    On the matter of whether Bathwell and Smith have a religion, I would aver that they do indeed, subscribe to a religion. Not the religion of their fathers, but a dogmatic system of belief nonetheless.Their religion is the religion of liberal socialism. A closed system of beliefs that proffers that a large nanny government knows better what is good for the individuals under it’s bootheel. That government knows better how to spend a workers’ hard earned money. That government is so much smarter than the average citizen, us lowly worker bees. Government will tell us how much electricity, water, and heat to use. What kind of energy to deliver this (it’s green or you are an evil republican Dr Billy Graham supporter!).Bothwell is in favor of making the electric company publish people’s electric bills so “encourage conservation”. LOL, now wouldn’t it be funny if we found out comrade Bothwell was living an Al Gore lifestyle? A lifestyle where he tells us how to live one way, but he himself lives another way? To wit: a few years back it was uncovered and reported that the champion of small carbon footprints, Al Gore (inventor of the internet you know) flew around the world in a private plane and has electric bills of $5000 a month in his mansion.

    Chicagoans, New Yoikahs,and Bostonians have shunned traditional religion in their cultural circles of influence. ASHEVILLE HAS NOT! We are the Bible Belt and will remain that way. Those who want to force us to be like those far leftwing states north of the Mason-Dixon Line, can either desist or move back home. Here in Asheville, we will continue to proudly pray to Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and to His Father, God Almighty! Praise God, Amen!

  83. Michael Muller

    BREAKING: the Carolina Stompers will be performing “Jesus is a Friend of Mine” during the public comment period immediately following the Asheville City Council swearing-in on Tuesday: http://tinyurl.com/yzqqunw

  84. “Religious zealots do have a bad habit, though, of thinking they have a right to impose on other people’s time and thought. It’s really a form of control and disrespectfulness. Betty Cloer Wallace”

    I’d add arrogance to control measure and disrespectfulness. I have to wonder at folks who have so little awareness, that they take it upon themselves to deliver the heatherns from the bondage of their evil ways. One can only really know if a person is in need of spiritual enlightenment by actually observing an individual closely. Such as how a person gets through hard times. How they treat those who are beneath them in their social stature. How they treat their family behind closed doors. How their very lives reflect their inner spirit and character….all are measures of an individuals inner spiritual strength.

    It’s the height of arrogance to think you can walk up to someone and suggest you have the answer for them.

  85. Piffy!

    I have it under good authority that Cullen teh Peacewarrior is an avid baby-eater and wants to impose vegetarianism as a mandatory diet for all WNC. Be ware the socialist vegeatrian activists!

  86. Piffy!

    [b]In the Xpress’ quest to be “balanced” they allow people like Nesbitt to post things that they have censored me saying in the past. Bravo, Xpress. Way to let those spreading falsehoods and outright lies control the tone and topic of the conversation. [/b]

    Fair, AND Balanced!

  87. Michael Muller

    Am I missing something here? The United States Constitution expressly forbids any religious test for public office in Article VI, section 3. Cecil’s personal beliefs are nobody’s business but his own.

  88. entopticon

    Cullen/Peacewarrior/Namvet, do you really think you had an argument there? You are way out of your depth. Did you even bother to read the above Jefferson quotes?!? He repeatedly rejected the divinity of Christ!!!

    In actuality, Jefferson was plagued by endless newspaper editorials and political opponents claiming that he was an atheist in his day. He was not. He was raised Anglican, but became disillusioned and was later was influenced by deists such as Bolingbroke and Shaftesbury and Unitarians such as his good friend Richard Price.

    Read this report from the Monticello Research Department for a bit of reality on the subject:
    http://www.monticello.org/reports/interests/religion.html

    From the report, read it and weep:

    “Jefferson believed in the existence of a Supreme Being who was the creator and sustainer of the universe and the ultimate ground of being, but this was not the triune deity of orthodox Christianity. He also rejected the idea of the divinity of Christ, but as he writes to William Short on October 31, 1819, he was convinced that the fragmentary teachings of Jesus constituted the “outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man.” In correspondence, he sometimes expressed confidence that the whole country would be Unitarian, but he recognized the novelty of his own religious beliefs. On June 25, 1819, he wrote to Ezra Stiles, “I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.”

  89. Barry Summers

    I’ll just try to bring this back to the here & now – no matter what you believe the ‘Founders’ intended, there can be no doubt that forcing one religious sect’s beliefs into the secular realm of governing is always going to be divisive. Why pursue that? Let’s just have a moment of silence & be done with it…

  90. entopticon

    I am always kind of dumbfounded by the way that so many Christians just assume that you are okay with their public prayer in group settings, even though public prayer is strictly forbidden in the bible (see above) and they certainly wouldn’t be very tolerable of others dong the same to them.

    I would love to see what would happen when a Christian sits down with a devil worshipper who without even asking, suddenly says something like, “thank you Satan, for the food we are about to receive. We honor your magnificence. We ask you to bless this food in Beelzebub’s name. Amen.” Or one that starts off a meeting thanking the Devil for good luck in the day ahead.

    Or any other religion for that matter. I’d like to see how they would like it when someone they sit down to a meal with says “We thank you lord Allah, for this meal.” Or I would love to see how they liked it when a pagan started praying for goddess blessings before a strategy session.

    The double-standard is outlandish.

  91. Piffy!

    [b]I would love to see what would happen when a Christian sits down with a devil worshipper who without even asking, suddenly says something like, “thank you Satan, for the food we are about to receive. We honor your magnificence. We ask you to bless this food in Beelzebub’s name. Amen.” Or one that starts off a meeting thanking the Devil for good luck in the day ahead.[/b]

    i just had one of those LOLs you all talk about so much.

  92. travelah

    I’ll just try to bring this back to the here & now – no matter what you believe the ‘Founders’ intended, there can be no doubt that forcing one religious sect’s beliefs into the secular realm of governing is always going to be divisive. Why pursue that? Let’s just have a moment of silence & be done with it…

    I am not sure how one arrives at the notion that anything is forced. If a strong majority wish to have a public prayer, then let the minority enjoy their moment of silence. If it is the other way around, then the minority that might want a public prayer should be content with their moment of silence.
    Being a contuctionist, I consider founding intentions to be a good guide to how Constitutional matters are to be interpreted threfore the issue is not a matter of exclusion of all religion from public expression but instead is a matter of excluding the establish of a state church or regulating the religious affairs of others.

  93. travelah

    too bad we don’t have a short period of editing capability.

  94. entopticon

    The separation of church and state is not in place to protect the majority; it’s there to protect the minority. If it were an issue of rule by majority, this would indeed be a theocracy.

    It really is pretty hilarious that people pretending to be Christians are calling for public prayer, which Christ strictly forbade:

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
    ~Matthew 6.5

  95. travelah

    Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 from which the phrase “wall of separation between church and state” originates was written specifically to lend support to the Baptists. They were being legislated against by the State of Connecticut and therefore acting against the intents of the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment. It was never intended to be a barrier against public religious expression.

    With regard to public prayer, the distinctions entopticon is making are not valid. The context of the Matthew passage is dealing with the personal prayers of the individual and specifically addressing the public spectacle individuals of the sect of the Pharisees would make of their personal prayers. Public prayer in worship gatherings are found throughout the scriptures and as a matter of proper orthodox Christian doctrine, the prayerful entreaty of two or more persons gathered together in Christ’s name is always blessed with the presence of Christ (believers will grasp this, unbelievers will not)

  96. Barry Summers

    “too bad we don’t have a short period of editing capability.”

    We do – it’s called the moment before you hit ‘submit’. Not that I always take advantage of it…

    “…the issue is not a matter of exclusion of all religion from public expression but instead is a matter of excluding the establish of a state church or regulating the religious affairs of others.”

    Are you suggesting that those of us who don’t want Christian prayers at government meetings are hoping to exclude “all religion from public expression”? If so, it sounds more than a little victimy, and is an unfair distortion of the debate, IMHO.

    “regulating the religious affairs of others”

    This is what we’re talking about – requiring people who wish (or need) to participate in secular government activities, to first participate in a religious observance that they otherwise wouldn’t choose to. That’s just plain wrong.

  97. travelah

    If it were an issue of rule by majority, this would indeed be a theocracy.

    This strikes me as a tacit admission that the leftist-liberal statist fundies are truly a rather small minority in this country. If that is the case, perhaps public interest is best served with your observation of a long moment of silence.

  98. travelah

    barry, you do not need to paticipate at all. You can simply wait for your order of business like everybody else. Now, how does shuting down an outdoor display impede your business before the government?

  99. Barry Summers

    What ‘outdoor display’ are you referring to? Are the Commissioners considering holding their prayers under a revival tent on the lawn now?

  100. entopticon

    Perhaps traveliar shouldn’t be blamed for his lack of reading comprehension. Fundamentalists are the least educated religious demographic in America after all.

    Pay careful attention traveliar:

    “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”

    There is absolutely no wiggle room there traveliar. He couldn’t have been any clearer. There is no “except” there. It is a superlative statement. If he wanted to add all sorts of desperately convoluted qualifiers as you have, that’s exactly what he would have done, instead of specifically laying out a superlative statement, as he did.

    Your argument doesn’t even have basis in history or sound theology. He was saying that prayer is a private matter, in contrast to the Romans, who believed in public display. He even specifically cited the Lord’s prayer as a specific example of a prayer that should be in private!!!!! (Matthew 6.9)

    Yes, as Thomas Jefferson aptly argued, the Christian bible is certainly rife with contradictions, so your appeal to the fact that it says so elsewhere (not in the words of Jesus) is laughable at best.

    “Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.”

  101. travelah

    barry, come now …. I hadn’t taken you for a stupid person. How does a public prayer to begin a meeting impede your busness before the Council?

  102. travelah

    entopticon, I would rather you just continue in your ignorance.

  103. entopticon

    traveliar the statist fundamentalist said:
    “This strikes me as a tacit admission that the leftist-liberal statist fundies are truly a rather small minority in this country.”

    You really are a head case. 76.5% of America identify themselves as Christian, right, left, and in-between. Your obsession with liberal conspiracies really should be professionally treated. If the mob ruled, we would indeed be a theocracy. The separation of church and state is there to protect the minority, not the majority.

  104. Barry Summers

    MM said: “Am I missing something here? The United States Constitution expressly forbids any religious test for public office in Article VI, section 3. Cecil’s personal beliefs are nobody’s business but his own.”

    Not under witchhunters like Chad, who apparently think McCarthy was a great guy. Actually, as I said above, I don’t think Chad has any real interest in religious or spiritual matters. It’s all about feeling like he has found a way to throw some sand in the gears of that liberal commie juggernaut he fantasizes about. The progressives fielded better candidates, ran better campaigns, and benefited from a general lefty trend in national politics.

    There is no legal case here, despite what Matt Mittan led his listeners to believe. The US Supreme Court decided this decades ago.

    Hey Chad – Why don’t you run for City Council yourself? Oh wait – do you even live in Asheville?

  105. entopticon

    It really is side-splitting to see traveliar repeatedly use the term “fundie,” completely oblivious to the fact that he is impugning himself. “Fundie” is a pejorative contraction of the term “fundamentalism” which was coined by and about conservative evangelicals such as traveliar, in reference to their fundamental belief in the inerrancy of the bible.

    Here is a little etymology lesson for you traveliar, straight from the wiki:

    “Fundie or fundy (plural fundies) is a pejorative slang term used to refer to religious fundamentalists of any religion or denomination, although it is primarily directed towards fundamentalist Christians. The term is intentionally derogatory, and is used most commonly by those opposed to the Christian Right movement. The term is often associated with religiously motivated conservative moral beliefs, especially those regarding social issues.

    In etymological terms, fundie is an example of a mutated contraction resulting from relaxed pronunciation, where the original word (in this case Fundamentalist) is shortened and slightly altered. There is no recorded first use of the term, though its appearance in the American English vocabulary coincided with the rise of Christian politics in the 1970s. An early use of the term “fundie” was Isaac Asimov’s short story collection, I, Robot, published in 1950.””

  106. entopticon

    traveliar asked: “How does a public prayer to begin a meeting impede your busness before the Council?”

    So you don’t think it would be an impediment for there to be a public prayer to the lord Satan before every meeting? Or are you just being a blithering hypocrite as usual?

  107. Barry Summers

    “barry, come now …. I hadn’t taken you for a stupid person. How does a public prayer to begin a meeting impede your busness before the Council?”

    Travelah Puppet – First of all, we’re talking about the County, not City Council. Second, you know very well how this potentially affects anyone who goes to the government for action or redress – the meeting opens up with:

    “Hail Satan – All business conducted today will be focused 100% on undermining everything good and pure, and we apply our energies to clearing the way for His Dark Lordship to return and begin the Age of Darkness. Hail Satan. Sit down, Mr. Young, you’ll get your chance later.”

    How would you feel about your secular government, or your chances of getting fair treatment from them, if they opened with a religious invocation that diametrically opposed your beliefs? Never mind, I don’t really expect an answer…

    In the year 1695, a Quaker could be put to death simply for entering the Commonwealth of Virginia. We know from history that people act viciously from the place of their religious beliefs. I think it should be left out of the sphere of government, so all citizens feel like participating and trusting their elected leaders.

  108. teh pfff

    [b]barry, come now …. I hadn’t taken you for a stupid person.[/b]

    More of that fabulous, un-moderated “Balance” from the so-called right, eh moderators?

  109. Barry Summers

    BTW, as I understand it, Satan worship is actually not a distinct religion in itself, it’s a Christian heresy. They believe in the Christian God, they just think he screwed up when He cast out Beezlebubba, or whatever name you call him.

    So, the tongue-in-cheek prayer I posted above is actually a Christian prayer, just from the red-headed stepchild of the family…

  110. teh pfff

    [b]Being a contuctionist, I consider founding intentions to be a good guide to how Constitutional matters are to be interpreted threfore the issue is not a matter of exclusion of all religion from public expression but instead is a matter of excluding the establish of a state church or regulating the religious affairs of others. [/b]

    That’s awesome! i like how you used a bunch of words and yet said nothing.

    You guys sure are doing a good job proving those you disagree with right.

  111. travelah

    barry, if you think “satanists” could command that much influence on county or city government and there is a majority of the electorate that would tolerate it, I would recommend everybody else move ….

    The year 1695 predates both the Virginia Statute and our 1st Amendment, both of which were determined to fight the very thing you mention.

    Satanism is not a heresy of the Christian faith. Heresy is a schism introduced into the church that creates factions opposed to orthodox dotrine. I do not think that you will find a listing of recognized heresies that include “satanism”, whatever that might entail. Then again, you might given the state of many churches today.

  112. travelah

    So you don’t think it would be an impediment for there to be a public prayer to the lord Satan before every meeting? Or are you just being a blithering hypocrite as usual?

    I think anytime someone invokes your unholy presence, the meeting just goes to ha’el

  113. Jon Elliston

    Good Lord. To reiterate, please don’t call each other names. Don’t call each other stupid. Call an idea “stupid” if you want, but not a fellow Xpress reader.

    Thanks.

  114. entopticon

    It just gets better and better…. traveliar said:
    “Heresy is a schism introduced into the church that creates factions opposed to orthodox dotrine.”

    So then by traveliar’s own definition, our country was largely founded by “heretics” such as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, John Adams, etc, etc, who all vehemently opposed orthodox doctrine! I love it.

    “”Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
    ~James Madison

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
    ~also James Madison

    “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of….Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and of my own part, I disbelieve them all.”
    ~Thomas Paine

    “…Some books against Deism fell into my hands….It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quote to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations, in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.”
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    “Denominated a Deist, the reality of which I have never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian.”
    ~Ethan Allen

    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.”
    ~Thomas Jefferson

    “The Doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”
    ~John Adams

    and finally:

    “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
    ~The treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams”

  115. Barry Summers

    Travelah Puppet said: “I do not think that you will find a listing of recognized heresies that include “satanism”, whatever that might entail.”

    So since the Church doesn’t list Satanists as
    one of the “recognized heresies”, that makes them illegitimate?

    Fine, I should’ve said that Satan worshipers are the ‘Carolina Stompers’ of the Christian family.

  116. entopticon

    traveliar said:
    “I think anytime someone invokes your unholy presence, the meeting just goes to ha’el”

    So in other words, you couldn’t actually answer the question as to whether it would be okay with you if meetings started out with a prayer to Satan honestly, because your rhetoric is sheer hypocrisy, as usual.

  117. Ken Hanke

    Don’t call each other stupid.

    In many cases, this is called belaboring the obvious anyway.

  118. Barry Summers

    Jon said: “Good Lord. To reiterate, please don’t call each other names.”

    For the record, Jon, I would be more comfortable if you refrained from invoking sectarian religious observances as part of your official duties.

  119. Barry Summers

    Lighten up, Everybody. Just a joke. Everybody just CALM DOWN!!!

  120. Barry Summers

    Travelah, the Dodging and Weaving Puppet said: “barry, if you think “satanists” could command that much influence on county or city government and there is a majority of the electorate that would tolerate it, I would recommend everybody else move.”

    Congratulations on not answering the question at all, as I predicted.

  121. How much you wanna bet the extremists posting here, have kids who run the other way with a vengeance….once they’re able to escape the oppressive-ness.

    I know as a young woman I sure did…and it took years for me to even consider stepping foot into anything halfway resembling organized religion. Come to find out, that was true religion at all, but a bastardization in order for people to feel superior and lord power over others. There are recovery groups to help people understand how they’ve been warped, but only the truly fortunate ever get any real healing from being under the power of the philistines. Lot’s of interesting movies on these folks….Elmer Gantry, Night of the Hunter, Face in the Crowd and the recent Carnivale series on TV.

  122. travelah

    barry, what part of my answer did you not understand. The recommendation to move or whether such a scenario involved a majority?

    “Good Lord. To reiterate, please don’t call each other names.”

    Good LORD, you would be removng 2/3 of entopticon’s entire grasp of English composition.

  123. Barry Summers

    Travelah the Desperately Ducking and Weaving Puppet said:

    “barry, what part of my answer did you not understand. The recommendation to move or whether such a scenario involved a majority?”

    Nice way to softly call me stupid, again. Your answer is nonsense. I asked how you would feel if for whatever reason, a government body that you had business before opened their meeting with a religious invocation that was wildly opposed to your beliefs. What part of that question did YOU not understand?

    Never mind, I won’t stoop to calling you stupid. You know very well what the question is, so you pretend not to get it. It’s called intellectual dishonesty, otherwise known as lying. Didn’t the Bible have something to say about that?

    I accept your implied surrender, you poor little feller.

  124. travelah

    Davyne, who are the extremists and what do you think makes one an extremist? Would you consider yourself an extremist for making any realistic comparisons to the television program “Carnivale”? Defining extremism on this board is an exercise in absurdity. Entopticon considers anybody to the right of Trotsky to be an extremist (of course that too is an extremist statement but I am sure you get the point). Are conservatives with libertarian social views and an appreciation for Jeffersonian ideals extremists? If so, you have labeled perhaps 40% of the electorate as extremist. If you add in the 20% hardcore fan base on either side of the spectrum, well, you have nearly a full house of extremism.

    The truth of the matter is extremism is recognized as being excessive , regardless of whatever side you fall on. Of course, that sounds simple doesn’t it? It should but it seems several of you don’t get it. The extremes are found in the 10% on each side and not among the mainstream conservatives and liberals of either side. This should be a common sense notion but then, this is MX where the extremities flail extremely so. The solution to that is open up the brain and give it a good flush. If you keep feeding off each other’s idiotic ideas and pabulum, you spew a pile of mulch. Just look at entopticon’s constant vitriolic pile.

  125. travelah

    barry, don’t you think my suggesting people move rather than live under your scenario actually answers your question??? If not, well, I am not sure what would.

  126. Barry Summers

    Travelah the blah, blah, blah:

    “barry, don’t you think my suggesting people move rather than live under your scenario actually answers your question??? If not, well, I am not sure what would.”

    So that’s your answer? Seriously? Thomas Jefferson & I would prefer to think you’re still joking. If you don’t like the dominant religion of your region, and feel like your local government officials might not treat you fairly as a result of your minority status:

    Move.

    Wow, now that’s Americany!!

  127. travelah

    John Elliston, come on …. what does calling someone stupid have to do with anything when we have gems such as this …
    Travelah the Desperately Ducking and Weaving Puppet
    Travelah, the Dodging and Weaving Puppet
    traveliar
    Travelah Puppet
    you just being a blithering hypocrite
    Anonymous Puppet

    Now, personally, I find it as amusing as all ha’el but what about all the tongues that are nearly bitten off avoidng the obvious??

  128. travelah

    barry, seriously, you cannot understand that my encouraging people to move rather than live under a local government that embraces satanic prayer addresses your question? That speaks to your lack of comprehension rather than anything else. Aside from your rather ridiculous example of satanism, I would rather not reside in a community of people completely at odds with my sense of morality, ethics and social well being. I would move and encourage others to do likewise. I would never live in Asheville proper. I would live in the surrounding counties and still do, but not Asheville.

  129. Barry Summers

    “That speaks to your lack of comprehension rather than anything else.”

    Every time you call me stupid I get to call you a sockpuppet. Is this a great country or what?

    I comprehend just fine, thank you. You found yourself backed into a corner – you know it is unacceptable in our society to expect that people be turned into refugees to flee religious persecution. You know that especially in a place like Asheville, there are people that resent being told that they must bow to a dominant religious ritual in order to participate in secular government. So you pretend to misunderstand my humorous hypothetical.

    Forget Satan – suppose a bunch of Pagans got elected to a majority of City or County government, and you had to sit through a calling to the various Gods and Goddesses before a meeting (something I would tire of myself, personally), and whoever conducted these prayers makes a point of counting you as a convert and tells you that if you sit through this, you are supporting their religious beliefs. You’d resent it plenty, but I doubt you would feel like moving. What would you do?

  130. entopticon

    Amazingly, traveliar actually said:
    “Aside from your rather ridiculous example of satanism, I would rather not reside in a community of people completely at odds with my sense of morality, ethics and social well being. I would move and encourage others to do likewise.”

    Then what on Earth are you doing trolling on the liberal weekly’s website all day long for years on end? I can’t believe the cartoonish hypocrisy of what you just said is completely lost on you. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  131. Anasazi

    The protection required in this country is not from the Satanists or bogeymen, but rather from the skewed christian insensibility that manifests in the mangling of the very religion they profess to represent as the righteous “majority”.

    The nature of the protection afforded us by our founding fathers was without regard to their spiritual beliefs, it was afforded because the ferocity and violence of the professed belief in any religious/theocratic mindset can be utilized to demean devalue and dehumanize others when granted access to inappropriate power.

    Thank gooooooodness fundamentalists so convinced in their infallibility that all must capitulate to their god for salvation are kept at bay by the separation of church and state. Congratulations to the recognition by the council that open christian prayer in a public forum is not in the spirit of that separation.

    Remember god only got into our pledge of allegiance and our money during the fear mongering of the good christian Senator Joe Mc Carthy. god knows we would have fallen to the commies had we not put in such important safeguards to their menace.

    Give me a break.

  132. entopticon

    Now this really takes the cake. Traveliar is lecturing people on extremism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The same right-wing extremist who thinks that virtually every person he has ever argued with is part of some vast Marxist conspiracy.

    The same extremist who thinks that evolution and dinosaurs are liberal conspiracies.

    The same extremist that thinks that the President is a Kenyan-born. Maoist islamic mole.

    The same extremist that thinks that the President and Democratic Party are part of a secret Marxist conspiracy.

    The same extremist who thinks that Nancy Pelosi has a secret plan to destroy healthcare.

    The same extremist that fears something called “bicycle activists.”

    The same extremist that thinks that global warming is a liberal conspiracy to make Al Gore money, even though hundreds of thousands of research papers by tens of thousands of scientists in dozens of different disciplines have convinced an overwhelming 97.4% of the active climate scientists on the planetthat the evidence for global warming is irrefutable.

    The same extremist that calls the father of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, a “snot” and condemns anybody who admires him as part of a liberal conspiracy.

    The same extremist that is part of the movement that is the global poster-child for right-wing extremism, fundamentalist evangelical Christianity.

    The same extremist that warns us that “black thugs” are out to get us.

    The same extremist who thinks that anyone who supports the healthcare bill must be a fundamentalist statist, even if they don’t have a fundamentalist belief in the state.

    The same extremist that is anti-gay, anti Islamic, anti immigrant, and laundry list of other bigoted insanity.

    And the list goes on and on and on. That traveliar thinks he is not an extremist is hilarious beyond imagination.

    I am liberal on some issues, and conservative on others, and apparently that makes me a Trotskyite to a full blown fundamentalist extremist like traveliar.. I didn’t support Ralph Nader, I supported Barrack Obama, a moderate incrementalist, and according to an extremist like traveliar, that makes me a Marxist. The fact that traveliar thinks that it is normal to endlessly rant about “Oba Mao” and his “Marxist” conspiracies is a telling example of the full-blown delusion of the extreme fundamentalist right.

  133. I was hoping the bait would hook the biggest extremists fish…you just reeled him in & gutted him. Thanks!

  134. entopticon

    On the upside, I am glad to hear that traveliar is a sudden convert to “Jeffersonian ideals” like the triumph of reason over anti-scientific supernatural fairytales that traveliar is so fond of, like making loaves of bread magically appear and living in the belly of a whale.

    As Jeffersonian biographers frequently point out, he often railed against people like traveliar. He was convinced that as superstition gave way to reason, America would become an overwhelmingly Unitarian country. traveliar called my friend Anthony Freeman an insane, heretical, lunatic for notions that were very close to Jefferson’s, which is just too funny. Jefferson never would have imagined that there would still be people like traveliar in this day and age.

    “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter.”
    ~Thomas Jefferson

  135. Anasazi

    It is in the pursuit of awareness and truth we find our majesty. Not in our infallible knowing with certainty of any particular truth. It is in the bearing witness to that majesty in the origin/creation of this universe that makes me feel both unimmaginably small and simultaneously so blessed and amazed.

    The narrow subscription to believing anyone is the possessor or confessor of the truth is the very danger the founding fathers (and Entopticon so eloquently expresses with research and factual attributions) were attempting with insight and remarkable prediliction to protect all of us from.

    In the absence of the ability to have doubt and question is the terrifying and fear based certitude that the founding fathers were wise enough to philosophically understand and legislate remarkable relief and protection.

  136. John B

    Wow. So, ummm, who’s in favor of the moment of silence and wants to do away with prayer time?

    And has anyone noticed the words of our founding fathers are always cherry-picked to produce a certain result? I’m pretty sure only one person in history knew if Jefferson was an atheist.

  137. travelah

    I was hoping the bait would hook the biggest extremists fish…you just reeled him in & gutted him. Thanks!

    It looks like you really are a troll. You also failed to address a single thing I posted.

  138. travelah

    barry, a significant part of this country was founded by refugees of one sort or another. Just look at Asheville. It is full of refugees.

  139. Barry Summers

    And if we continue to be religiously intolerant, and we simply copy the attitudes of those who made refugees of our ancestors, then this American experiment was a huge failure. Congratulations.

  140. travelah

    From my perspective, the most intolerant and bigeted segment in the country are the statist fundamentalists, the leftist-liberals. It is a growing intolerance among this political demographic that seeks to demonize Christianity and those whose moral compass is founded upon that Judeao-Christian experience. These are the same demographic groups that can beat a black man calling him a nigger and be charged with nothing but a misdemeanor while the leftists who would crucify a right wing bigot for the same thing sit by and remain silent, approvingly. I speak of the recent SEIU incident. You can do an entopticon and google it. There is another example of some of the most bigoted and intolerant posting I have ever seen and he is regarded as the Statist poster boy of MX. Your ideology is at war with teh very basic foundation of what has constituted our country for many generations and, quite frankly, your compatriots seem ready to stop at nothing.

    Yes, the most hate filled, intolerant, bigoted enemy of intellectual thought is the leftist-liberal, a fundie if there ever was one. Don’t believe me? Open your mind up and just read the threads but don’t tell anybody for you too will become what you hate.

  141. shadmarsh

    oh, and can someone have my above comment translated into idiot so Chad can read it? Thanks.

  142. Barry Summers

    Oh, Travelah puppet, an innocent sock with some mean old man’s hand up you, I’m done being polite with you – it’s led me nowhere and allowed you to think you can spread lies with impunity. The “beating” of the guy in St. Louis that you refer to – I have already watched the video of it repeatedly, back when it happened.

    http://www.weaselzippers.net/blog/2009/08/raw-video-seiu-union-thugs-beating-on-obamacare-protesters.html

    There was no “beating”, it was a shoving match in a parking lot that lasts 10 seconds, and you can watch the entire thing from beginning to end, and the ‘victim’ walks away unscathed. As for the ‘n’ word, as you hear from the ‘victim’ himself, the guy that he claims assaulted him was black also. If he used the ‘n’ word to a fellow black person, that’s another matter than what you suggest. I’m not excusing people letting their tempers get the better of them, but this is no lynching, as you describe it. The thing was blown up and phonied up by bloggers nationwide, and people gasp and cry for the poor ‘victim’, until they watch the video & say – “what beating?”

    But none of this will penetrate your fantasy, will it? People like you need some outrage to hang your trumped-up hatred of the left on, so you cooked this up. I pity you.

  143. travelah

    barry, your blue shirt SEIU thugs attacked the man. What were your liberal fascists doing there but to intimidate and stir up strife. I saw a man shoved to the ground in an attack. Now, the statist fundies would be all over a Republican doing that calling for hate crime prosecution and you know it.

    Here is some more of the intolerant and bigoted Oba Mao Nation at work. Of course you will have an excuse for this too! Oba’s Attorney General did. I mean, these Obama thugs carried weapons to a polling place for the purpose of intimidation.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neGbKHyGuHU

  144. entopticon

    Golly traveliar, are you the non-extremist type of guy who thinks the President is a Kenyan-born Islamic mole with a secret plan for a Marxist takeover? Bwaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha.

    Or maybe the non-extremist type of guy who thinks that anybody who supports universal healthcare must have a fundamentalist belief in the infallibility of the state?

    What the hell do I have to do with the Service Employee’s International Union? Absolutely nothing. Every time you are pushed into a corner by the facts you come out spouting the latest right wing extremist conspiracy theory, no matter how bizarrely irrelevant it is. You refer to black people as “thugs” and you refer to the father of the civil rights movement, who gave his life for the rights of millions, a “snot.” And you are seriously going to lecture me about racial sensitivity? You really don’t understand what an imbecilic argument that is, do you? How sad.

    The enemy of intellectual thought? Coming from someone who thinks that dinosaurs and evolution are vast liberal conspiracies, and the Democratic Party are secret Marxists, that’s quite a compliment. Again, look at the etymology of the term fundie, because every time you use it you just make a bigger joke of yourself.

    On a regular basis I sit through the rhetoric of evangelical Christians. I have actually spent a good deal of money and time helping them. When is the last time you sat down with a liberal gay atheist or maybe a progressive agnostic lesbian? When is the last time that you had trouble making ends meet yourself, because you were helping one of those liberals that you obsess about? And I am the intolerant one? I would love to see you tolerate the same ignorance that you inflict on others.

  145. travelah

    Now, if you ask me why I posted that, I’ll be very plain speaking. I am just one man but I will deliver 1,000 votes to the polls next November. There are another 150 just like me in the small group I fellowship with and they too are committing just as activily as I am. Every time an elderly person is made aware of just how devasting the Democrat plan is to their healthcare costs and availablity, it is another vote likely to go Republican next November. Every time that scoundral lying scumbag, harry Reid opens his mouth and pollutes the environemnt with his own allotment of CO2, he loses more ground in Nevada.

    You don’t understand whats going on.

  146. entopticon

    If you want to stop giving away the fact that you are a fanatical right wing extremist, you may want to stop referring to the President as Oba Mao. There is no vast communist conspiracy coming to get you. It’s all part of your delusional imagination. You can take your tinfoil helmet off now.

  147. travelah

    entopticon, were it not for your constant lying, you would have no words at all.

  148. Barry Summers

    Person hiding behind the nickname, Travelah? I’m done sparring. You’re obviously full of hate, and I’m sorry for you.

  149. entopticon

    traveliar, I may be caustic sometimes and I don’t always pull punches, but unlike you I don’t lie. Your claim is empty, and you can’t back it up, because it is just another of your confabulations. Conversely, time and again, I have irrefutably proved that you were in fact lying.

    You are going to deliver a thousand votes next November? There you go again. As if the right-wing extremist fundies in your “small group fellowship” were swing votes. As if anyone with half a brain would change their vote because of you. By all means, ell all the right-wing extremist fundamentalists that you want who to vote for. You are too funny.

    traveliar, it’s you that doesn’t understand what’s going on. You don’t even know what century you are in.

  150. entopticon

    More of the SEIU blather. I’m not in the SEIU and I don’t know anybody in the SEIU. They are hard working blue collar Americans, and they certainly aren’t radicals. You are just spouting completely irrelevant right-wing extremist nonsense, as usual.

  151. travelah

    entopticon is not a liar? Let’s look at just one recent post:

    Golly traveliar, are you the non-extremist type of guy who thinks the President is a Kenyan-born Islamic mole with a secret plan for a Marxist takeover? Bwaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha.

    I am not a birther. I don’t consider him to be a Muslim.

    Or maybe the non-extremist type of guy who thinks that anybody who supports universal healthcare must have a fundamentalist belief in the infallibility of the state?

    Nope … half the people who support this foolishness haven’t given it much thought. The other half are just statist fundamentalists. As for whatever you are talking about with regard to the infallibility of the state, that’s something going on in your own mind and not mine.

    >i>You refer to black people as “thugs” and you refer to the father of the civil rights movement, who gave his life for the rights of millions, a “snot.”

    Nope, I refer to thugs as thugs. If they happen to be black, well, they have a lot of company with white thugs. I considered the quote your sock puppet employed to be snot, not the man.

    Now, you see how easy it is to show you are a liar?

  152. travelah

    Who implied entopticon had anything to do with the SEIU? Do you really think every post here is about you and directed at you with you in mind? What a conceited arrogance that is … and funny too?

    Say, did I read that you are a slum lord in Asheville with murders going on in your buildings?

  153. Don Yelton

    Words of wisdom and wit said with emotion and full of ____. Just fill in the blank. Freedom of expression and this rant and back and forth is just an example of how the liberals want to control the conservatives and the conservative control the liberals.

    What part of freedom of expression do you sexual intellectuals not understand. It is all about freedom. I am more concerned about what Bothwell thinks about closed door meetings and getting rid of Davis and Russel because they stand in the way than his beliefs because that reflects his beliefs.

    There is the danger of censorship. What happens when someone decides that your thoughts, actions and speech is wrong.

    Actually the attorney caused the problem. The Prayer or non-prayer or jewish prayer, or christian prayer or what ever can be said before the official meeting and we all know who says what. How about that for a solution. But who would not want that because someone might say something that offends them.

    Look back over the thread and see who wants to control others. Him that has an ear let him hear, to all other foolishness.

  154. shadmarsh

    looks like travelbot has been hitting the sauce pretty hard tonight. Mix in a glass of water now and again, you’ll thank me in the morning.

  155. travelah

    mayor, if you were running things, would your ‘tards wear blue shirts or green or no shirts at all?

  156. shadmarsh

    What part of freedom of expression do you sexual intellectuals not understand.

    Well, for starters what is a sexual intellectual.

  157. travelah

    A sexual intellectual is one who having finished 6 pints of winter ale can still tell the difference between a sheep and his wife. Smaht fellah. There are no sexual intellectuals living in Candler.

  158. entopticon

    A modicum of thinking power? Gee how did I manage an ivy league grad degree without a modicum of thinking power? It’s a good thing they grow on trees.

    Of course you think it is reasonable to believe that the President is a Maoist and communist, because you are an extremist loon.

    Bearing false witness again I see. That’s a very serious sin traveliar. Eternity in a lake of fire, right? I am not a slumord. You are a liar. I own an empty building that had at least one murder in it before I purchased it.

    I am glad to see that you are no longer questioning Obama’s birth certificate.

    By the way, when you used the term “black thugs,” you weren’t even referring to anyone specific. You are so full of crap.

    Still no coherent explanation of what the SEIU has to do with anything. I guess I should be glad that you don’t think I am one of the “your” in “your Oba Mao nation.”

    So you are the non-extremist kind of guy who thinks the white house is part of a vast Maoist/communist takeover of America? hwaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaha!

  159. travelah

    A modicum of thinking power? Gee how did I manage an ivy league grad degree without a modicum of thinking power? It’s a good thing they grow on trees.

    George Bush has an Ivy League degree, in fact has TWO of them. You think he is a shrub so I guess you have confirmed your worst fears.

  160. Don Yelton

    Shadmarsh if you would come out of the haze you might understand sexual intellectual. Travelah who knows what might happen down the road.

  161. entopticon

    You are smashed drunk, aren’t you traveliar? I was wondering about the especially egregious incoherence. Now you are making sexual sheep jokes about my wife? Hmmmm. Don’t quit your day job (trolling the liberal weekly). Right wing extremists and humor just don’t mix.

  162. shadmarsh

    Well one of those is a complete sentence Don, you are making progress.

  163. travelah

    I own an empty building that had at least one murder in it before I purchased it.

    Ahh it was empty and before you purchased it it had not one muder but at least one … and that makes you an expert on crime statistics how? I guess I didn’t read you were a slum lord. I am curious to know why you think it might have had more than one murder in it and did that have anythiing to do with your desire to purchase it?

  164. travelah

    entopticon, there you go thinking everything is about you … does the word sheep instil some sort of guilt pang in you because I don’t think I so much as mentioned you drinking 6 winter ales and able to think past your nose, ale or no ale.

    (and no, I do not drink liquor although I am adept at brewing my own ale.)

  165. entopticon

    “George Bush has an Ivy League degree, in fact has TWO of them.”

    Yeah, you keep saying that traveliar. Problem is George Bush was a C Student who had to have his daddy pull strings because he was nowhere close to getting in on merit. If he had actually got those degrees on merit, that would actually be impressive, but he did not. Conversely, I did not have anyone pull strings, and I was graduated a year early for exceptional performance.

  166. travelah

    well, it is late …. adios tuckfards … I must make a $1,000 tomorrow to stay ahead of the Oba Mao express.

  167. travelah

    Oh … they DO grow on trees (had to point that out to you because … whup, went right over yur head.)

  168. entopticon

    You are such a liar traveliar. You are seriously going to pretend that that Candler quip wasn’t about me, even though you quip about the fact that I live in Candler every time you are losing the argument particularly badly? What a pathetic lie.

    I never said you were drunk on liquor, but that’s an interesting response. A little too much winter ale there perhaps?

  169. entopticon

    “Oh … they DO grow on trees (had to point that out to you because … whup, went right over yur head.)”

    Ho-ho-ho traveliar. All that hard work for naught, I could have just picked mine off of a tree because paper is made from trees. Ho-ho-ho, what a card you are. You are just so fun when you are drunk.

    ” adios tuckfards … I must make a $1,000 tomorrow to stay ahead of the Oba Mao express.”

    That is just so funny. It’s like you are an extra from Napoleon Dynamite.

  170. entopticon

    “Ahh it was empty and before you purchased it it had not one muder but at least one … and that makes you an expert on crime statistics how?”

    What the hell are you talking about? You are incoherent even when you aren’t drunk, but this is a little much.

    “I guess I didn’t read you were a slum lord.”

    No, in fact you didn’t. That was what is commonly known as a lie.

  171. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Moments of silence on government agendas are a covert attack on separation of church and state—the camel’s nose under the tent leading to more egregious religious practices intruding into and imposed upon civic/secular/public arenas.

    Surely no one believes that a moment of silence at a public event is designed or expected to be “secular”; and so if it is not secular, then by definition it is “religious” in intent, even if it is declared to be “non-denominational” or “non-sectarian.”

    Other manifestations of the camel’s nose? In a county not far from Buncombe, I have seen Christian prayers and moments of silence at numerous government-sponsored meetings and school events, a Christian fish symbol affixed to the back of a town police car, a biblical verse displayed as a footer on a public powerpoint presentation by the county planning commission, a Christian nativity scene on the courthouse grounds, ten-commandment signs in courtrooms, and candidates for public office campaigning on religious platforms.

    In our democracy, such state-sponsored promotion of religion (either blatant or camouflaged) is wrong and dangerous, whether in your face or on the nose of the camel.

  172. Betty Cloer Wallace

    entopticon, please give the source for your “REPENT” photo. What a work of art!

    I want to get a copy of it since I fall into several of those categories on the sign. It’ll be a reminder for me to keep up my guard against such tyrannical religiosity.

  173. Barry Summers

    Betty – While I share in general your concerns about religious practice in government settings, let me remind you, the camel isn’t trying to get his nose under the tent, the camel currently inhabits the tent. IMHO, a moment of silence is a compromise that gradually moves the camel out.

  174. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Barry, I appreciate your statement that the camel is already in the tent, with which I agree; but what should a citizen of a democracy do about the other blatant conjoined state and church practices—the Christian fish symbol on the town police car, the Christian quote on the planning commission powerpoint being presented in numerous public gatherings, actual Christian prayers and specious moments of silence (wink, wink) at numerous civic events and school functions (especially sports), the biblical ten-commandments signs in courtrooms, etc.?

    Are all those intrusive attempts at creating a religious-based government all subject to compromise? Should we agree to all those practices, too, in hopes the camel will pull himself out of the tent?

    I think not. The operative camel-nose stereotype (“give an inch, take a mile”) is in its full glory in many places in WNC and elsewhere nationwide, and therein lies a grave danger to our democracy.

    I don’t see any compromise anywhere that is moving the camel out of the tent. What I see is more and more empowerment of that camel every time I see that Christian fish symbol on that police car patrolling around town.

    Why should there be any compromise about separation of church and state? It seems pretty straightforward to me: SEPARATION of church and state.

  175. piff

    [b]I want to get a copy of it since I fall into several of those categories on the sign. It’ll be a reminder for me to keep up my guard against such tyrannical religiosity. [/b]

    Are you a ‘gangster rapper’ and “Obama voter”?

  176. travelah

    Betty, what would your response be if a majority of citizens empowered themselves to restore the original intent of the establishment clause and dismissed every one of your complaints?

  177. John B

    Betty,
    I admire your pluck but you’re going to be hard pressed to prove a moment of silence somehow violates the constitution. There is no proof that anyone is professing a belief in God and, therefore, violating an atheist’s religious freedom. You’re making a leap of fact very similar to a religious person’s leap of faith.

    That said, I do understand your objection to the quasi-religious nature of a moment of silence. I just think it would be difficult to prove in the legal sense. Cheers.

  178. Barry Summers

    I’d say that this comes pretty close to promoting violent revolution. Why do you hate America?

    Oh, and how’s the hangover?

  179. Betty Cloer Wallace

    travelah, voting is the ultimate empowerment in a democracy, and we already have that power at the ballot box. We just don’t always use it until push comes to shove or until a spark sets off some uprising that can’t be ignored.

    Sunshine does help, though, calling attention to clear abuses so that more people pay attention and encourage more people to run for public office and to vote.

  180. chops

    How fair would it be, for the taxpayers, to pay for a moment for our officials to “snack” before a meeting while we all waited?

    As with spiritual nourishment, you cannot deny the right for a person to eat, but is it right for us to make the act of eating official? (even if I don’t specify what you can eat, because you have a right to choose your own food, or not to eat)

    Separation of Food and State!
    ;)

    This argument is ridiculous. We do not need to provide time for personal activities for public office holders!

  181. travelah

    barry, since I do not drink to any excess and have not for many years, I do not experience hangovers. As for violent revolution, what in ha’el are you talkng about??

    Betty, I am speaking of a majority taking back political power and enforcing what you hold in disdain. I am referring to the impending pendulum swing back to sanity.

  182. travelah

    chops, how about eating while they are conducting business or perhaps they culd just announce their eating before hand and give you the opportunity to come in after they eat. Perhaps they just start a little earlier so as not to inconvnience you and you can come in at your regular time?

  183. travelah

    A moment of silence gives the athesist a time to reflect on their god of self. Call it personal development time.

  184. entopticon

    “A moment of silence gives the athesist a time to reflect on their god of self.”

    I think carrying around that heavy sandwich board all day has been drawing blood away from your head there traveliar.

  185. Piffy!

    [b]This argument is ridiculous. We do not need to provide time for personal activities for public office holders! [/b]

    Poppycock. If politicians cant pretend to pray to God before a government meeting, how would they get spiritual guidance for selling off Asheville to developers and buying us rainbow-powered buses?

  186. Ken Hanke

    I am speaking of a majority taking back political power and enforcing what you hold in disdain.

    You presuppose that the religious right is the majority. I doubt that.

  187. travelah

    Ken,
    I was not referring to what some call the “religious right”. I am instead pointing to that majority who are not satisfied with the direction our country is being taken and are getting fed up with it. Of course the liberals scoff at the idea but the political pendulum always swings back and this time it is coming a whole lot sooner than expected. I would expect there will be a greater support than ever to avoid the scalpel in fixing the economic mess Democrats are making and instead take a roaring chainsaw to anything that even looks like a Democrat initiative.

  188. Ken Hanke

    I was not referring to what some call the “religious right”.

    What you would call the religious right and what I would call the religious right are probably not the same thing. Would you call yourself a member of it?

  189. Peacewarrior

    I thank Barry Summers for some restrained, good points here. Barry, your compromise on “moment of silence” is so right on. And although I describe myself as a Christian, I agree 100% with you on this. Although I have no problem with Christian preachers delivering a short message. But that message should be very generic in talking about God, so everyone feels included. Well, except perhaps for Cecil. But you can’t have everything. Personally, I’d like the Reverend Billy Graham to deliver the opening invocation for Asheville City Council. Perhaps The Rev Graham would be willing to substitute “Karl Marx” for “Jesus Christ” so Cecil will be comfortable. -:) (the last part is a JOKE for those who are overly-serious)

    And on another note:

    “But he sure isn’t jokeing about giving STD’s to the rest of the community. Really, is this the kind of blather that gets put in the un-moderated Queue? Kinda pitiful, really. What’s the point of even letting him post this crap while shad gets tut-tutted for the word moron?”- teh pfff

    “the pifff”. wow, another sock puppet account Dave? And for you to be calling anyone out for being allowed a wide margin of free speech considering the absolute crap you have posted under previous sock puppets? Get real. What’s good for a goose like you is also good for a gander like Chad.

  190. travelah

    Ken,
    No, I have never considered myself part of the old Moral Majority/ Ralph Reed reactionary wing of the Republican Party. As I have stated several times in the past, my views regarding social issues are rather libertarian. Liberals have a tendency to regard all conservative evangelicals as the “religious right”. My conservatism in that regard applies to my theological views and not my political. Political conservatism and theological conservatism are two distinct and separate identifiers. The “religious right” blends the two in an effort to force their moral standard into their vision of the political world. While I might share their moral compass to a certain degree, I oppose their semi-theocratic intention.
    My conservatism is that of Goldwater, Buckley and Reagan, neither of whom would fall into the identifier of “religious right”.

  191. Ken Hanke

    No, I have never considered myself part of the old Moral Majority/ Ralph Reed reactionary wing of the Republican Party. As I have stated several times in the past, my views regarding social issues are rather libertarian

    Yet your views tend to seem very conservative based on your posts and, unless I’m misremembering, I seem to recall that you are part of a church that believes in deprogramming gays. (You may have another term for it.) Now, that’s pretty conservative, too. With the two things put together, I’m hard-pressed not to think religious right when I think of you.

  192. Piffy!

    [b]My conservatism is that of Goldwater, Buckley and Reagan, neither of whom would fall into the identifier of “religious right”. [/b]

    and yet they actively court and align with said social conservatives at every possible opportunity to further their own political aspirations. funny, that.

    and please, save your ‘the democrats do it too’ argument in defense of this basic fact.

  193. Piffy!

    oh, and cullen the ‘peacewarrior’, me writing in as ‘teh pfff’ or some such thing is hardly a sock puppet account.

    That would be you and your multiple names and identities that all claim to not be the same person, despite reiterating the same exact points more or less word for word.

    I really doubt anyone with a shred of gray matter in their skull could question that any variation of the ‘piff’ or ‘pfff’ or ‘teh pfff’ isn’t me.

  194. Piffy!

    [b]too bad we don’t have a short period of editing capability. [/b]

    You mean you’re not a ‘contuctionist’?

  195. Piffy!

    [b]I was not referring to what some call the “religious right”. I am instead pointing to that majority who are not satisfied with the direction our country is being taken and are getting fed up with it. Of course the liberals scoff at the idea but the political pendulum always swings back and this time it is coming a whole lot sooner than expected. I would expect there will be a greater support than ever to avoid the scalpel in fixing the economic mess Democrats are making and instead take a roaring chainsaw to anything that even looks like a Democrat initiative. [/b]

    Notice how he tries to imply that dissatisfaction with the current Administration somehow equates to unified support for the other party, but avoids actually claiming that the republican party is a ‘solution’, since this would obviously be a laughable conclusion?

  196. entopticon

    traveliar has finally jumped the shark. He actually just called himself a Barry Goldwater conservative and a Reagan conservative in the same breath, as if those two things weren’t in fact diametrically opposed. Too hilarious. If there is one thing Goldwater couldn’t stand, it was bigoted religious fanatics like traveliar.

    And what’s even funnier is that traveliar actually believes that his endless theories about Marxist conspiracies at the highest level of government are not a case of McCarthyesque right-wing extremism at its worst.

    traveliar called an old friend of mine a deranged lunatic just because he doesn’t believe in the supernatural mumbo jumbo in the bible. traveliar, Marxists are not transmitting messages through your Rice Crispies, and you are nothing if not a right wing extremist, and then some.

  197. travelah

    Yet your views tend to seem very conservative based on your posts and, unless I’m misremembering, I seem to recall that you are part of a church that believes in deprogramming gays. (You may have another term for it.) Now, that’s pretty conservative, too. With the two things put together, I’m hard-pressed not to think religious right when I think of you.

    I am quite conservative however I have no tolerance for theocratic designs ie. I have no desire to attack homosexuals, persecute pot smokers, throw prostitutes in jail or levy sin taxes. I do not believe one’s religious convictions are a litmus test for public office. That alone removes me from a general definition of what most consider the “religious right”. My church denominations have been Methodist and Congregationalist although I am Reformed Arminian in soteriology. None of the churches I have attended or spoken in have had “deprogramming activities” for homosexuals so I am not quite certain where that misinformation came from.

    Now of course my views here are quite conservative however most astute observers would not consider Bary Goldwater or William Buckley to have been representative of the “religious right” yet their views are closest to my own when I try to fnd examples from the political spectrum. Perhaps you are confusing Christians who are conservative for the “religious right”?

  198. travelah

    My conservatism is that of Goldwater, Buckley and Reagan, neither of whom would fall into the identifier of “religious right”.

    and yet they actively court and align with said social conservatives at every possible opportunity to further their own political aspirations. funny, that.

    Considerng they are each dead, they don’t do anything of the sort. For your own education, Goldwater was a tolerant conservative, somewhat libertarian in outlook. Buckley was a social libertarian and a Roman Catholic (sort of the antithesis of the religious right “bible thumping” independent Bapatists). funny, that.

  199. Bugg

    Buckley was a social libertarian and a Roman Catholic (sort of the antithesis of the religious right “bible thumping” independent Bapatists). funny, that.

    Buckley also referred to Gore Vidal as a “queer” and threatened to “sock him in the jaw” until he was “plastered”.

  200. pfftastic

    [b]Perhaps you are confusing Christians who are conservative for the “religious right”? [/b]

    No, I am saying that the Republican party, and fiscal Conservatives in general, have aligned themselves with “social conservatives” for decades now in order to gain political power and further their own goals.

  201. Peacewarrior

    I applaud the reconsideration of a led public prayer before our public functions, just as we have done long before politically correct atheists from up north moved into town wanting to change us to what they left behind. Praise God Almighty! Amen!

    teh pfff: “me writing in as ‘teh pfff’ or some such thing is hardly a sock puppet account. That would be you and your multiple names and entities that all claim to not be the same person, despite reiterating the same exact points more or less word for word. I really doubt anyone with a shred of gray matter in their skull could question that any variation of the ‘piff’ or ‘pfff’ or ‘teh pfff’ isn’t me.”

    Lord, man. You are so important that everyone knows when you post no matter which sock puppet name change your are current as, or that you are doing it simultaneously under 2 different names at the same time? And you should get by with this even though no one else does?

    Have you considered getting a life? This posting “job” of yours takes way too much of your time. Time you should be devoting to your real day job, Dave. Or are you so “in” with the boss, that you can slide? Or rather, the boss is “in” with you? LOL, I guess so. Your inane points of view here are even championed by a supposed impartial MX employee. LOL, keep it up though. it is very entertaining!

  202. entopticon

    Jon…

    What I want to know is, why hasn’t traveliar been tossed for good yet? On another thread (Justice Undone?) he called people “ragheads.”

    He is always pretty offensive, but that really does cross a line. If you can’t get tossed for using a term as unconscionably bigoted as “raghead” about people, it is hard to even imagine what could possibly be grounds for getting kicked off for good.

    It’s not exactly his first such incident (think “black thugs” etc, etc). It’s time for traveliar to go.

  203. Ken Hanke

    I am quite conservative however I have no tolerance for theocratic designs ie. I have no desire to attack homosexuals, persecute pot smokers, throw prostitutes in jail or levy sin taxes.

    And yet — and this would make you Reaganesque — you will support those who do either directly or indirectly by supporting the part that makes use of people like this. And surely you aren’t so naive as to not realize that these people railing on about wanting public prayer do indeed have theocratic designs.

    None of the churches I have attended or spoken in have had “deprogramming activities” for homosexuals so I am not quite certain where that misinformation came from.

    My memory may be playing me false, or you may be playing semantics. I could swear that you have yourself posted remarks to that effect — though I grant it probably wasn’t called deprogramming and was more likely termed counselling. In any case, I got the distinct impression that part of the ministry involved saving homosexuals from their sinful ways. Am I incorrect? If so, I apologize.

  204. travelah

    In any case, I got the distinct impression that part of the ministry involved saving homosexuals from their sinful ways. Am I incorrect? If so, I apologize.

    It would appear that you would have to consider evangelizing to be deprogramming. If that is the case, then I can understand why you used the term deprogramming. When you use the term deprogramming, I think cult or the idea that people can be psychologically convinved to change their ways.
    If you ask me do I beleive Christ can save souls from depravity, the answer is yes. If you ask if I embrace “deprogamming tactics”, whatever they may be, the answer is no.

  205. Ken Hanke

    It would appear that you would have to consider evangelizing to be deprogramming.

    No, I consider it programming.

    If you ask me do I beleive Christ can save souls from depravity, the answer is yes. If you ask if I embrace “deprogamming tactics”, whatever they may be, the answer is no.

    So you’re saying that your church is okay with homosexuality and does not attempt to convert gays to a heterosexual way of life? (Considering you use the word “depravity” in this connection, I’m skeptical.)

  206. tatuaje

    By the way – Bothwell may no be on city council.
    Injunction filed.

    Love it!

    So, Chad!

    How does it feel to make Cecil a minor national celebrity while helping him sell more books and build national connections?

    I think it’s so funny that basically you just made him thousands of dollars and for all intents and purposes made it possible for him to move beyond city government into the national arena.

    You, sir, are a brilliant political mastermind!

    Oh, the lulz.

  207. shadmarsh

    I’m still waiting for this mythical injunction to surface…and considering Cecil has already been affirmed as a member of City Council, I’m guessing Chad and his cretin cohorts are A)lairs or B)a day late and a dollar short or C) both.

  208. travelah

    So you’re saying that your church is okay with homosexuality and does not attempt to convert gays to a heterosexual way of life? (Considering you use the word “depravity” in this connection, I’m skeptical.)

    No, homosexuality is not ok in any orthodox setting. However, there is no attempt to convert one or deprogram anybody from one way of life to another, at leat not among those I have fellowshipped with over the years. Instead, salvation is a matter of grace rather than works or performance and along with that grace comes a rebirth or new creation (spiritually). If you are suggesting that recognizng homosexuality as a state of sin is a defining characteristic of the “religious right” and that all Christians who agree with such are by default members of that group, you are making broad generalizations.
    Deprogramming carries the suggestion of intelletual effort to bring about spiritual changes. That is not orthodox Christian thoght, at least not among Reformation minded Protestants.

  209. Ken Hanke

    No, homosexuality is not ok in any orthodox setting

    I’m not sure I completely agree, but that’s a separate matter.

    However, there is no attempt to convert one or deprogram anybody from one way of life to another, at leat not among those I have fellowshipped with over the years.

    OK, I’ll take you at your word. So a gay person — or even a gay couple — would be readily accepted into your church? And with no strings attached and no attempt to change them?

    If you are suggesting that recognizng homosexuality as a state of sin is a defining characteristic of the “religious right” and that all Christians who agree with such are by default members of that group, you are making broad generalizations.

    No, but taking an active stand against homosexuality most certainly is a defining characteristic of the religious right.

    Deprogramming carries the suggestion of intelletual effort to bring about spiritual changes. That is not orthodox Christian thoght, at least not among Reformation minded Protestants

    So “orthodox Christian thought” allows no effort to be made in converting gays to “orthodox Christian thought.”

  210. travelah

    Ken, While understandable, you clearly have no grasp of orthodox soteriology. Homosexual couples or singles would not be accepted in fellowship with the church. Their lifestyle is considered sinful and unacceptable to the church body as a whole. That does not mean that they are condemned by the church, ignored or treated in a shabby manner. Instead it means they are considered unredeemed just as any other unbeliever. While there is no fellowship within the church as accepted members of the body of Christ, there is also no active outside condemnation of the people involved or any active persecution of such souls. The churches I have been involved with have never been active in protesting against homosexuals or any other particular group of unredeemed souls.
    Perhaps you could share an example of the “deprogramming” efforts you are thinking of.

  211. Ken Hanke

    Ken, While understandable, you clearly have no grasp of orthodox soteriology.

    I think what we have is a different concept of orthodox, though I suppose the 18th century salvation aspect is where this comes in, since it appears grounded in fundamentalist, literal belief. That’s a huge sticking point with me — and, no, not just because of the cherry-picking way in which it’s applied, i.e., condemning homosexuality via Leviticus, yet ignoring the business about shellfish, stoning witches and slavery in the some book. But personally, I do not consider the Episcopal church to be unorthodox, and yet it holds no such belief.

    The churches I have been involved with have never been active in protesting against homosexuals or any other particular group of unredeemed souls

    I don’t believe I actually suggested any such thing. I merely suggested that these churches likely have some approach for attempting to persuade these “unredeemed souls” to get themselves “redeemed” and that they perhaps might even recruit such people for this purpose.

    Perhaps you could share an example of the “deprogramming” efforts you are thinking of.

    The kinds I have encountered all work on the assumption that sexual orientation is strictly a matter of choice, that it is learnd behavior and can be unlearned. I personally do not subscribe to that belief — and I have seen great emotional damage done to people I’ve known — and beyond them to the people they’ve become involved with in their attempts to “become heterosexual” — based on this notion. One of the central problems with any of this is that one person’s fact is another person’s matter of opinion. For you, the Bible is factual and belief in it is apparently absolute. For me, that’s simply your opinion. While you’re entitled to it, that doesn’t make it fact. However, I realize that by the standards you’re apparently holding, I am so thoroughly sunk in moral depravity that I cannot understand the factual nature.

  212. ” However, I realize that by the standards you’re apparently
    holding, I am so thoroughly sunk in moral depravity that I cannot understand
    the factual nature. Ken Hanke”

    Here lies the problem all non fundamentalists have with the those who rant on like a street preacher, & cherry pick and choose their scriptures to lord over folks they consider “un redeemed”…..the not so hidden holier than thou-ness just reeks.

    And why I continue to say, it’s easy to talk the talk, very very difficult to walk the walk.
    “Holier than thou” is not Christian behavior. Period.

  213. entopticon

    In a world that was still suspicious of the notion that the Earth is round, the cult of Jacobus Arminius may have made sense to a lot of people in the late 1500′s, but when the outlandish superstitions and Draconian view of God and humanity are filtered through a contemporary lens, the result is the horrifyingly twisted and backwards dementia of the extreme religious right, as evidenced by evangelical Arminianism. Hence the bizarrely anachronistic views about homosexuals and virtually every demographic other than the extreme religious right.

    The God of Arminius is a wicked, vain, jealous, and vengeful creature with a human form that floats around in the clouds and curses those that do not sing his praises to a pit of damnation in an eternal lake of fire. According to that dark and antiquated spiritual outlook, if an 11 year old girl was raised somewhere where she never heard of Christianity, or chose not to believe it, she would burn in hell for all eternity for not worshipping Jesus, even if she was the kindest person that ever lived.

    During the Enlightenment, thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson came to vehemently reject that dark and dangerous spiritual outlook based on the logic that if God’s love is infinite, it is universal, so that kind 11 year old girl is loved whether or not she sings the praises of any one, or no religion.

    Jefferson predicted that it was just a matter of time before most people of his day figured that out, so he would undoubtedly have been horrified to find that in this day and age, there would still be people such as traveliar holding onto that anachronistic, xenophobic, and dangerous world view.

    Today there are some on the far right that are finally starting to wake up to the fact that that world view is antiquated, inhumane, and destructive. Frank Schaeffer is one prominent example. Another is Carlton Pearson.

    If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend a viewing of the profoundly moving story of Pearson’s awakening. Pearson experienced what Wesley waited his whole life for, but never received; the voice of God, who revealed to him that the true nature of God is universal love, and not the wicked, vain, and jealous creature conceived by the far right. You can see the video of Pearson’s story of awakening here:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14337492/

    If it wasn’t to late for Schaeffer and Pearson, maybe it’s not too late for travelah either.

  214. entopticon

    I love that traveliar actually has a picture of the pro-abortion rights, pro gay rights, anti religious right Barry Goldwater as his moniker icon. Truth is stranger than fiction

    “I don’t have any respect for the Religious Right. There is no place in this country for practicing religion in politics.”
    ~Barry Goldwater

  215. travelah

    People who engage themselves with intelligent and articulate discourse realize that I am not part of the “religious right” as I have explained a few times recently. Barry Goldwater is considered one of the fathers of the modern conservative movement. Rather than being a proponent of abortion and homosexuality, Goldwater was a libertarian and recognized the futility of certain moral enforcements. To suggest that Goldwater was allied among the statist Fundies of the left today is rather odd. His vision of government is so at odds with their designs as to be completely unrecognizable in what constitutes today’s liberal fashion. Try reconciling the following with any expression of liberalism today.

    I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents “interests”, I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.

  216. entopticon

    That may be one of traveliar’s most hilariously ridiculous posts ever. You are not part of the religious right?!?!?!?!?!?!?! That is nucking futs. You are not just on the religious right, are are to the extreme of the extremes. Pretend all you want, it is certainly amusing.

    You spend all day for years spouting the right wing extremist religious fanatic rhetoric of conservative evangelicals, and even brag that your little church group is going to turn the tides of the next election, and now you actually expect to be taken seriously claiming not to be part of the religious right?!?!?

    You have truly gone off the deep end traveliar, aka, Mr. Mallett.

    Here is an excerpt from Mr Mallet’s (traveliar’s) personal blog, just to give a small taste of the extremities of his right wing extremist religious fanaticism:

    “The Episcopal Church seems to have driven another apostate nail into its side with the recent election of an openly homosexual woman to the position of assistant bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. If confirmed this would be the second bishop in service with the Episcopal Church living in an outward and open reprobate lifestyle. While I have never had any interest in participating in this liberal and fallen organization, I have been curious to observe the parallels between this Anglican organization and the Presbyterian liberal factions noted most perversely among the PC-USA sect. I suppose it demonstrates that regardless of Calvinist or Arminian leanings, apostasy can gain a footing in any organization. Prayer for these souls is essential.”

  217. travelah

    Perhaps you could explain what that opinion has to do with the “religious right” of the political spectrum?

  218. travelah

    You spend all day for years spouting the right wing extremist religious fanatic rhetoric of conservative evangelicals, and even brag that your little church group is going to turn the tides of the next election, and now you actually expect to be taken seriously claiming not to be part of the religious right?!?!?

    I am not involved with a church group engaged in political activities. You have not read carefully.

  219. entopticon

    I am thrilled that you are championing a vehemently pro-abortion rights, anti religious-right, champion of the separation of church and state such as Goldwater. It’s just kind of funny because you represent so many things that he openly despised.

    “Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar.”

    A few years before his death he went so far as to address the right wing:

    “Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you’ve hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have.”

    And in 1996, shortly before his death:

    “We’re the new liberals of the Republican party. Can you imagine that?”

  220. entopticon

    “Perhaps you could explain what that opinion has to do with the “religious right” of the political spectrum?”

    If you seriously need that explained to you, you are not going to understand. In fact, if you seriously need to have the bigotry of that sort of insane, anachronistic fanaticism explained to you, you are not going to understand.

  221. travelah

    Goldwater was not addressing the conservatives of the Republican Party. Goldwater was libertarian in his social views. The social reflections of Goldwater and Buckley as well are admirable and represent much of my own thoughts on such matters. This is why I prefaced my comments with … People who engage themselves with intelligent and articulate discourse …

  222. travelah

    entopticon, it would appear you have nothing to reply with and should be left with just that. This is beyond your sensibilities.

  223. entopticon

    Mr Mallett, it is truly entertaining watching you squirm in the ludicrous hypocrisy of your claim that you are not part of the religious right, and your failure to recognize that you are the very thing that Goldwater so openly despised is pure gravy. You were a Bobby Jindal supporter. Jindal is the poster child of everything that Goldwater despised about the religious right.

    “Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”
    ~Barry Goldwater

  224. entopticon

    Mr Mallett, so you are the type of Bobby Jindal that isn’t part of the religious right? Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaha!

  225. travelah

    Bobby Jindal is a practicing Roman Catholic and as such might feel somewhat awkward sitting through a meeting of Independent Baptist fundamentalists and like minded souls who constitute what is commonly perceived as the “religious right”. He is opposed to abortion and I suppose that makes him a target for smear campaigns.

    Ignorance must be bliss.

  226. entopticon

    There are few things funnier than the right-wing extremist evangelicals tat are so far gone that they think that being a Catholic means someone can’t be part of the far right. Bobby Jindal has his head so far up the religious right’s ass that he can see out of their mouth.

    The right-wing extremist religious fanatic that believes that evolution, dinosaurs, and global warming are conspiracies, and that the President is colluding with the Democratic Party for a Marxist takeover of the United States government, just said “Ignorance must be bliss.” Irony just doesn’t get any better than that.

  227. entopticon

    It must be swell in a deliriously oblivious kind of way to be so outlandishly far removed from reality that you actually think that a Republican Governor from the deep South, let alone one of the three biggest stars of the religious right such as Bobby Jindal, isn’t even part of the religious right.

    In reality, Jindal, a self-professed exorcist, is a hyper anti-choice (even in the worst cases) anti-gay religious fanatic that doesn’t even believe in evolution and wants to teach creationism in public schools.

    One of many examples of Jindal’s blunt use of theocracy as a legislative hammer was his formation of the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family, which is comprised of a veritable who’s who of anti-gay right wing extremist religious advocacy groups such as Tony Perkins, the president of the anti-gay advocacy group known as The Family Research Council, Gene Mills, executive director of the far-right Louisiana Family Forum, and Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a right wing extremist religious advocacy organization.
    Article:
    http://www.bilerico.com/2009/01/jindals_latest_attack_on_louisianas_fami.php

    And here’s a little info from Religious Right Watch on the three stars of the religious right, Jindal being one of them of course:
    http://www.religiousrightwatch.com/2009/01/jindal-conjures-up-conservative-power.html

  228. Alan Ditmore

    Buncombe’s hand on invocations will be forced by the courts, but they can delay long enough to let Asheville and Bothwell take the lead on this issue, and with it most of both the credit and the flak. The difference is that Buncombe would be unwise to want the lead because the flak will probably outweigh the credit, where in Asheville, and especially in Bothewell’s voter base, the credit will probably outweigh the flak. So let’s give Bothwell enough time to lead on this.
    Plus it’s Asheville that depends on it’s global reputation to attract nonchristian taxpayers and tourists, Buncombe not so much.

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