That’s what the mayor of Whiteville, Tenn. says after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter threatening to sue the city if they don’t remove a cross from the top of the town’s water tower.
“They are terrorists as far as I’m concerned,” said Mayor James Bellar about the Freedom From Religion Foundation. “They are alleging that some Whiteville resident feels very, very intimidated by this cross.” …
“A terrorist is more than a guy that flies the planes into the building,” he said. “It’s anyone who can disrupt your way of living, destroy your lifestyle, cause you anxiety. It’s more than killing people. If they can disrupt your routine in life, that’s what they want to do. They are terrorists as far as I’m concerned.”
Um. Yeah. Because that makes them just like terrorists.
“It’s just a cross on the water tower,” he said. “All we’re doing is exercising our right to practice our beliefs down here but this organization is now going to stymie that. We’re not out here knocking on doors trying to convert people.”
This has nothing to do with anyone’s right to practice their beliefs. And the mayor would know that instantaneously if it was a Muslim star and crescent on the water tower instead of a Christian cross. Ironically, if it was a Muslim symbol rather than a Christian one, he would undoubtedly be calling those who put the symbol up terrorists, rather than those who want to take it down. It all depends on whose side is being pierced, so to speak.
And Bellar is sure he couldn’t possibly have anyone in his town that could possibly object to the cross being there:
“As a matter of fact, I don’t even think it’s a Whiteville resident,” he said. “We don’t have people of that belief here and if we do they’re not going to raise that kind of ruckus for the rest of the town.”
Gee, when the mayor of the town would promptly call them terrorists, I can’t imagine why someone would be reluctant to “raise a ruckus.” Like nearly everyone who has ever filed a major church/state case in this country, that person would almost certainly be subject to harassment, bullying, vandalism, threats and violence. Because this isn’t about anyone’s freedom of religion, it’s about maintaining Christian hegemony.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: