This is… Oklahoma!

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Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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24 Responses

  1. Avatar dhex says:

    golf claps all around for the satanists on this one. well played.Report

  2. Avatar Rod says:

    LOL These people can’t even abide Mormons and barely abide Catholics. I love a good petard- hoisting.Report

  3. Avatar Glyph says:

    Did you notice the name of the Satanists’ spokesperson?

    “Lucien Greaves”.

    Perfect.

    Seems an interesting guy, and if you didn’t suspect it already, this looks half a prank:

    http://www.vice.com/read/unmasking-lucien-greaves-aka-doug-mesner-leader-of-the-satanic-templeReport

  4. Avatar James K says:

    The children are just the cherry on the top, aren’t they?Report

  5. Avatar DavidTC says:

    This is… Oklahoma!

    Is it weird that I’m imagining that sentence starting out like ‘This! is! SPARTA!’, but then transitioning into the song Oklahoma?

    This! Is! Ooooo-klahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…

    But, anyway, this is the sort of thing you can see coming from a mile away, that literally everyone *except* the Christianists saw coming from a mile away.

    And I would argue it would actually be a constitutional violation for them to *now* change the rules, remove the ten commandments, and disallow any moments there. You can’t just change the rules when a ‘religion you don’t like’ decides to put something up.

    I’m sick and tired of theocratic assholes giving Christianity special privileges for *decades*, eventually being forced to open then up to everyone in theory, operating for another decade or so, and then removing those privileges *the second* anyone else steps in to use those privileges. No. Just no. Government does not get to operate that way.

    The ten commandments got X years, the Satanic statue gets X years. Period.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

      The exact same thing happened in the craze that swept the South a decade ago.

      An LGBT group want to start a club at school? Ban them! Oh, that’s not allowed? Well, just Ban all clubs from the school!

      Fuck this idea and the horse it rode in on.

      There are legitimate and illegitimate reasons for the government to provide, and stop providing, public spaces and public access to things. ‘Only people we like tend to use it’ is not a valid reason to provide such access, and ‘People we don’t like sued for access and now they can use it also’ is not a valid reason to *stop* providing access.

      I wish we had a Supreme Court that I believed would be willing to state that.

      Hilariously, this it the Supreme Court that said it was invalid for the Federal government to remove a specific level of Medicaid funding to the states, for perfectly valid reason of providing health care to everyone. But we all know they’d have no problem with any level of government just randomly refusing to provide funding to something because ‘the Satanists’ managed to get near it.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to DavidTC says:

      I get your frustration, but I’d argue that this isn’t “changing the rules” so much as “being forced by example and embarrassment to follow the ones already in place”.

      I agree it seems unfair/unjust, but I’d rather they [stop doing unconstitutional activity X] rather than [hand off unconstitutional activity X to another group, in the name of ‘fairness’].Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Glyph says:

        I agree it seems unfair/unjust, but I’d rather they [stop doing unconstitutional activity X] rather than [hand off unconstitutional activity X to another group, in the name of ‘fairness’].

        Letting all people put up random statues is not *really* unconstitutional. I mean, it would be one thing if I was proposing something that actually harmed people (Like if the government only allowed Christians to hold office, I certainly wouldn’t be proposing only allow non-Christians), but I’m not really seeing the harm here.

        It’s a ‘government establishment of religion’, but in the most trivial sense. Heck, I’m not really proposing they have to take down the ten commandments. I’m proposing they can’t just *stop* providing a public space because someone tries to put up something they don’t like.

        The reason is that Christianists going to keep pulling this bullshit until they actually are faced with the consequences. But if everyone in the nation being able to point to the town in Oklahoma that was forced to keep a *Satanic statue* up for a decade because of their bullshit need to have the ‘Thou shall have no other Gods before me’ posed on *government land*, well, this will result in other idiotic proposals being rejected, and existing ones removed in a panic, immediately, before the courts can do the same thing to them.

        Same with school prayer. Same with all other theocratic nonsense we have to put up with.

        As it is now, there are literally no consequences….be theocratic as much as you want, because the worse case scenario is you have to eventually *stop*, after multi-year lawsuits.

        No. That is not even slightly workable, or how the government is supposed to behave.

        Basically, there needs to be a constitutional test when the government removes a public space, and that test should be ‘Did that government remove that space *solely* because there was speech there it did not like? If so, no. Just no. The space remains open for a certain amount of time.’Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Hmmm. I am not sure that costly multi-year lawsuits that may be eventually lost, and thus the cost of removing the Decalogue, and thus (presumably) voters getting mad about the unnecessary expenses and throwing out those who put it there, is “literally no consequences”.

        IMO, these particular “Satanists” don’t *really* want a statue of Satan erected, at least not in any serious way. They want to point out the consequences of the way things are being handled. Which, mission accomplished. To simply have the Decalogue removed would be a “win” for them.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Glyph says:

        There’s actually a perverse incentive at play.

        Generally speaking, the more locally an official is elected from — the smaller the district that official represents — the smaller size the control coalition in the electorate needs to be. In some places, that can come down to a handful of churches.

        Here in my lovely hometown, a lawsuit very similar to the SCOTUS case I linked to in the OP has been pending for four years now. The issue is whether sectarian prayers can be used to open meetings of the city council. It’s quite clear to me that the city council members like that the lawsuit is underway: they get a foil against which they can truthfully say they are fighting. Some of our local officials have made opposing the pending lawsuit a campaign plank and been re-elected.

        It also helps that the city has prevailed at the trial-court and initial appellate levels thanks to lucky judicial draws. Whether the city’s luck persists upon en banc appellate review, or in the wake of the pending SCOTUS case, remains to be seen.

        But even if the city had lost consistently every step of the way, even if the legal opinions had been along the lines of “Even my dog knows you can’t do that, so knock it off,” given that the control group at the electorate level has a reflexive distaste for the kinds of people who have brought the lawsuit (atheists and their lawyers) losing the suit still helps provide a banner around which the officials may rally their troops, a sideshow with which to distract the voters from other issues which probably substantively matter quite a lot to them, like zoning changes, water and sewage infrastructure, and crime prevention.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Glyph says:

        There are legitimate and illegitimate reasons for the government to provide, and stop providing, public spaces and public access to things. ‘Only people we like tend to use it’ is not a valid reason to provide such access, and ‘People we don’t like sued for access and now they can use it also’ is not a valid reason to *stop* providing access.

        Not providing a limited public forum based on the viewpoints represented in that forum is not a valid reason in my opinion; however, of your two examples, only the former triggers a First Amendment issue (viewpoint discrimination).

        I remember reading about the problems the Gay-Straight Alliance had getting access to after school facilities in certain Florida school districts. They sued under the Equal Access Act, a law that was, perhaps ironically, heavily advocated for by religious groups that wanted to access school facilities. Go figure.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Glyph says:

        Hmmm. I am not sure that costly multi-year lawsuits that may be eventually lost, and thus the cost of removing the Decalogue, and thus (presumably) voters getting mad about the unnecessary expenses and throwing out those who put it there, is “literally no consequences”.

        Except that voters *don’t* get mad about that. Voters will decide that it was ‘the fault’ of the Satanists, and be happy about the fact the people they voted into office were able to delay things this long, even if they eventually lost and had to remove the ten commandments.

        And it has *no* deterrent effect *at all*. Christianists in other locale are still perfectly willing to waste taxpayer’s money with this bullshit.

        IMO, these particular “Satanists” don’t *really* want a statue of Satan erected, at least not in any serious way. They want to point out the consequences of the way things are being handled. Which, mission accomplished. To simply have the Decalogue removed would be a “win” for them.

        I think I have a fairly legitimate point that Christianists have had years to proselytize to passerbys, and Satanists (Satanistists?) have the *right* to ‘proselytize’ in exactly that way also. It’s a basic matter of fairness. The government cannot just *stop* providing public space because ‘the wrong people’ start using them.

        However, if the *Satanists* don’t want to take this any further, that’s another matter. We shall see.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Glyph says:

        Not providing a limited public forum based on the viewpoints represented in that forum is not a valid reason in my opinion; however, of your two examples, only the former triggers a First Amendment issue (viewpoint discrimination).

        I can see why that is *more obviously* a first amendment violation, but I am actually arguing that, yes, removing a public space simply because the government does not like the message now being presented there *is* a first amendment violation and the Supreme Count needs to actually declare it as such.

        I mean, the courts already do a similar thing with voting, and discrimination. They look at the *intended result*, it doesn’t matter how ‘neutrally’ the law looks as text…did lawmakers forbid library patrons from wearing a hat because of some reasonable reason, or was it an attempt to bar Muslim women? Did a voting rule change about the number of people per precinct make any sense, or was it an attempt to make lines longer for black people?

        And the nice thing is that Christianists literally have no censor on their mouth. When they remove the ‘public display’ area, shutting down the ten commandments and the satanic status, they will explain *exactly* that they’re shutting that down to *stop a certain religious expression*, although they of course won’t be able to conceptualize it as that. (They will call it ‘stopping the evil of Satanism’.)

        The Supreme Court should slap them upside the face for that behavior, and then override their clearly-non-religious-neutral law removing that public space, and make them keep up the damn statue.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to DavidTC says:

      The bastards that did this should be voted out for their stupidity.
      Next crop of bastards can change it as they please.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to DavidTC says:

      And I would argue it would actually be a constitutional violation for them to *now* change the rules, remove the ten commandments, and disallow any moments there. You can’t just change the rules when a ‘religion you don’t like’ decides to put something up.

      Disallowing all monuments would be seen as religion-neutral and not at all unconstitutional.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dave says:

        Except that the decision will clearly *not* religion-neutral. It will be made, in fact, *specifically* to target a certain religion, to stop them from getting their message out.

        Yes, that has not happened yet, but I can *psychically* predict the debate within the state government. 90% of it will be talking about how this specific statue must be stopped because Satan is evil. There will be no other justification for the law given. They are too dumb to *not* condemn themselves with their own words.

        Just because a law the government passes is phrased in a neutral-sounding way does not mean that it is ‘neutral’.Report