WickedEye's Quotient

12/08/2005 at 14:11


Below is an email I sent in response to one of the "if-you-don't-like-it-then-leave" puddles of vitriol splashing about shortly after September 11. The points I made are valid and still under contention, though more subtly, now; so I decided to publish the text of the email (including the text of the original, for context) below.


Guess you might have known that I completely disagree with this blatantly false and nauseatingly jingoistic rant. If you have questions about the facts I cite, references are provided at the end.

>>>After hearing that the state of Florida changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver's license with her face covered this is an editorial written by an American citizen, published in a Tampa newspaper. He did quite a job; didn't he? Read on, please!

>>>IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.
I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants.

Well, that's damned condescending of the Tampa him/her/it. In point of fact, unless you live on an Indian (Native American) reservation or have some very close relatives there, you and your family are (relatively recent) immigrants.

>>>This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

He/she/it either completely forgot what he/she/it wrote in the previous paragraph, or doesn't understand the basics of the English language of which he/she/it thinks so highly. This country IS a multicultural community, whether he/she/it likes it or not. The statement that "Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants" is merely a rephrasing of that fact.

>>>We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

I beg to differ on this matter. Who exactly is "we"? The oldest [European] immigrants here? As a statement of fact, "we"- the population of this country- speak all the above languages, and many more.

If he/she/it wishes to express a preference for the English language (which, by the way, Americans- I include myself- DO NOT speak- we have OUR OWN DICTIONARY of "American" English {1}) based on the fact that it is the language in which American laws and statutes are written, and believes every person in this country should speak fluent English, so be it- as long as he/she/it realizes that this is a personal preference, not a fact. Stating wishes as though they are facts isn't just arbitrary and misleading, it's dangerous and terrifically prejudicial (I use the word in its literal sense, as in "leading to premature judgment or unwarranted opinion" {2}) as well.

>>> "In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.

Wrong again! Where is he/she/it getting his/her/its so-called "facts" and "documentation"? Most of the Founding Fathers were deists, not theists. Even the myth of George Washington's ardent Christianity (created by his most influential biographer, who also made up the story about the cherry tree and was, oh-so-coincidentally, a Christian minister) is shattered by Washington's own faithfully kept journal, which shows that he rarely attended church and never referred to any spiritual matters or thinking. (He was, however, a dedicated Freemason- and therefore a deist- like many of the other Founding Fathers; inducted into the order at the age of 20, and a member until he died.) {3}

Here are some quotations from other Founding Fathers regarding Christianity:

THOMAS JEFFERSON: "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology... Millions... 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..." {4}

JOHN ADAMS: "The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity." Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 of that treaty states: "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." {5}

THOMAS PAINE: "Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity." {6}

JAMES MADISON: "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution." {7}

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: "...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 quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist." {8}

Whether the Tampa he/she/it chooses to agree or disagree with these men and their beliefs is certainly his/her/its privilege. Lying about their beliefs, however, is not.

As far as his/her/its assertion that "We adopted this motto because Christian men and women... founded this nation...", I cite the U.S. Treasury Department's website:

"The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins... it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861... It was written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, and read: [quoted] You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered… Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation?... This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism...

The Congress passed the Act making "In God We Trust" our national motto on April 22, 1864. This is- obviously- quite a bit after the founding of this country, or the establishment of its fundamental principles and bases in English Common Law. {9}

>>>It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

Again, an apparent misunderstanding of some fairly simple words: "Separation of church and state." This principle has been entrenched in American traditions of common law and subsequent legal precedent from the very earliest acts and government of this country. James Madison, "Father of the Constitution", defended that separation repeatedly, and most explicitly in his written opposition to a bill which would have authorized tax support for Christian ministers in the state of Virginia (sound familiar, anyone?).

Many of the other Founding Fathers, including Jefferson and Franklin, also wrote repeatedly on this principle and the importance of its inclusion in American law and government. {10}

>>>If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from.

Wow. Are you sure he/she/it is from Florida and not Tennessee, Alabama, or Mississippi? What an extreme and uncalled-for statement.

Once again, I object to his/her/its use of the word "we". He/she/it, and all other like-minded beings, have a perfect right to state whatever beliefs he/she/it sees fit to proclaim. However, the megalomaniacal thinking inherent in proclaiming these thoughts to be the thoughts of every American is cretinously stupid at the least, insulting- and, frankly, disgusting- at the worst.

>>> This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

Here is the text of the famous First Amendment in its entirety:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. {11}

Nowhere within it does one find any specific prohibition on (to quote him/her/it from Tampa) "complaining, whining, and griping". However, it and the legal precedent laid down upon it do in fact support open and free speech in criticism of government or any institution thereof.

This criticism is a right so vigorously protected by legal precedent that it is actually EXEMPT from the single longest-standing tradition of common law- that of standing to sue:

"As a corollary, the Court has altered its traditional rules of standing to permit- in the First Amendment area- ‘attacks on overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated'... Litigants...are permitted to challenge a statute not because their own right of free expression are violated, but because of a judicial prediction or assumption that the statute’s very existence may cause others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or expression.” -Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White (emphasis added) {12}.

As an American, I take great pride in the fact that I have the right to challenge a law because it may inhibit others' freedom of speech. Besides, that freedom is there for a reason. If no one has a right to point out the flaws in a system, how can that system become better?

>>>If you agree-- pass this along; if you don't agree-- delete it!

Why delete it? So that this palpable tissue of lies, misstatements, crass bigotry and deliberate misrepresentation of historical and current fact and law can continue to be read by people who may or may not look up the- actual, documented- facts for themselves?

{1} Webster’s New World Basic Dictionary of American English
{2} Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
{3} www.earlyamerica.com
{4} The Memoirs, Correspondence, and Miscellanies from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 4 vols. Ed. Thomas Jefferson Randolph
{5} www.postfun.com
{6} The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine
{7} Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, James Madison
{8} The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin
{9} www.ustreas.gov
{10} www.stephenjaygould.org
{11} caselaw.lp.findlaw.com

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