Here’s a great example of where I don’t want to go after religious people, but they’re doing just enough to push me away from them.
Agnostic Carrol Roberson was in court on a disorderly conduct charge when he noticed that the pews in the Southaven, Mississippi courtroom had crosses on them. This made him upset. He felt he couldn’t get a fair trial if religion played a role at the courthouse. (I don’t actually understand that since his beliefs had nothing to do with the reason he was in court in the first place…)
Maybe he was just overreacting to something that wasn’t a big deal at all? Unlike a Ten Commandments plaque in a courtroom, these pews don’t seem like the masterwork of a religious idealogue trying to sneak religion into the government.
Southaven Mayor Greg Davis explains that the pews were put into the courtroom because the city purchased an old church (to convert it to a community center) and instead of throwing away the pews, they figured they could save money by putting them into the courtroom.
Honestly, that makes sense to me.
I’m not saying it’s necessarily appropriate, but it doesn’t sound like the Christian Right was involved or that they were purposely trying to do something nefarious.
“I don’t think we’re sitting up here saying you have to be Baptist,” says Mayor Davis, “or you have to be Methodist. Or Episcopalian. Or Catholic. Or Jewish. It’s not even discussed in the courtroom.”
So I’m slightly torn. Roberson is right and those pews shouldn’t be there, but I think filing a lawsuit is the wrong way to go about making this change happen. You end up pissing off the other side and making them even more defensive.
Davis added that if someone would be willing to donate pews with no religious symbols, he’d be happy to have them replaced, but he doesn’t want the city to have to pay additional money for them.
I’m just kidding.
Davis couldn’t keep his mouth shut and just dug himself into a hole that makes me dislike him:
“I welcome the challenge,” Davis says. “Maybe it’s time the religious right stands up to the liberal left and says enough is enough. Where do you stop? Where’s the common sense? I’m not taking them out.”
This isn’t the Religious Right versus the Liberal Left.
This isn’t a slippery slope to anywhere.
But now that I know Davis wants the pews there at all costs, I really want them out of the courtroom.
Or, at the very least, I want the crosses to be filled in and varnished over. Then you don’t even have to take them out! Problem solved.
This isn’t the biggest problem in the world, but both sides are handling it in an inadequate way.
(Thanks to kindofabuzz for the link)