Michael Egnor is displeased with me. He came to my blog and dropped a big pile of lame in the comments. I rebutted that comment. Now he’s issued me a challenge which, frankly, deserves a td;dr (too dumb, didn’t read).
If you read my response to Egnor, you’ll see that I took excerpts of what he said and responded to those excerpts. This is how dialogue happens, by responding to what people say. Egnor responded not by rebutting anything I said, but by vomiting up a whole bunch of talking points on the Jessica Ahlquist case. What’s more, those talking points are a bunch of easily answerable confessions of ignorance that could have been answered by either reading the judge’s decision or by learning to use google.
The proper response is to just ignore people who change the goalposts, but gosh dangit, you know me: I try to please everyone.
I’ll throw in later. Dad has already gone in there and sprayed some whup ass.
“In what way was Jessica Ahlquist harmed by the prayer mural?”
The way she was harmed was “legally”. If you had read the 40 page decision, you would know this. It is explained clearly and at length by the Judge. Actually, had you read the decision, most of your sophomoric questions would have been answered. Why didn’t you bother to read it before exposing your ignorance in this manner?
“Is feeling “excluded and ostracized” by a prayer on a wall the reaction of a reasonable person?”
Yep. At least, it is the decision of an impartial court that is exactly the reaction of not only a REASONABLE person, but also an OBJECTIVE person.
From the decision: “While Plaintiff recalls feeling ostracized and alone, the constitutionality of the Prayer Mural turns not on Plaintiff’s feelings, but rather on the Court’s assessment of how a reasonable and objective observer, fully aware of the background and circumstances, would view the Prayer Mural and the conduct of the School Committee.”
“During the 50 years the mural was on the wall, how many other people reported experiencing the same harm?”
Some, but it doesn’t matter how many. Of course, based on the vitriol, ostracism, bullying, harassment, threats of assault,rape, and death from good tolerant Christians over this, very few people would likely have the courage to protect the rule of law as Jessica did.
From the decision: “Nor did it matter that few children had complained of the practice, for the measure of the seriousness of a breach of the Establishment Clause has never been thought to be the number of people who complain of it.”
And this from the decision: “What to most believers may seem nothing more than a reasonable request that the nonbeliever respect their religious practices, in a school context may appear to the nonbeliever or dissenter to be an attempt to employ the machinery of the State to enforce a religious orthodoxy.”
This explains it very well: “Tommy P. Baer, international president of B’nai B’rith stated:”We believe in religion and we believe in the importance of prayer. What we don’t believe in is government-sponsored religion expressed in public places…As a minority, we have felt the pain of being the outsider. No one — especially school children — should be made to feel inferior because they do not believe in the religion of the majority…”
“In what way is Ms. Ahlquist now benefitted by removing the prayer?”
1) She will no longer feel ostracized from looking at it 2) she will no longer feel marginalized to second class citizenry by her own government as excluded from the preferred religion, 3) she has the comfort of knowing she has supported our Constitution and the rule of law–a benefit every American SHOULD access but which you don’t. We ALL benefit when the rule of law is upheld, including Ms. Ahlquist.
More importantly, why do you even ask this? The real question, and one you avoid assiduously, is “Did the school violate existing case law and jurisprudence?” That is what the trial was about. Nothing else. Keep your eye on the ball.
“Would it be of benefit to Ms. Ahlquist to learn to tolerate displays of the beliefs of others?”
In terms of the trial, this question is a non sequiter. However, the answer is “In terms of THIS banner, that is her decision to make.” As to tolerating “displays of the beliefs of others?”, we all–including Jessica— do this all day every day. From our money, to clothing and jewelry on others, to icons and sayings on their cars, to churches on every corner, to Jehovah Witnesses trespassing on our doorsteps, to Westboro Bapist, to the church organized abortion protests, to bibles in hotel rooms….the list is literally endless. A much better question would be, “Would it be of benefit to people like you to respect the rights of citizens who do not subscribe to your preferred religion?”
“Do atheists have a Constitutional right not to see religious expression with which they disagree?”
Depending on WHERE that religious expression is and who is promoting it….yep.
From the decision (again): “The Supreme Court has traditionally drawn a clear line between government conduct which might be acceptable in some settings and the conduct which is prohibited in public schools.”
No one claims “atheists have a Constitutional right not to see religious expression with which they disagree” in general. However, they do in specific circumstances. That is exactly what the case was about. How could you miss that? Oh, yeah…you never read the decision.
“If atheists don’t have that right, what standing did Ahlquist have to bring the suit?”
They do have that right in instances like this one. However, the judge addresses standing. Had you read the decision, you would have the answer to this, as well as most of the other questions. If you REALLY want answers to these sophomoric questions, why aren’t you reading the actual decision of the court instead of asking them to a music major (Mr. Eberhard)? The pretty obvious answer is you don’t really want answers, you are just attempting to sow the seeds of confusion…..and failing miserably, I might add.
Well, enough time spent advising you to do the simple thing you should have done long ago: read the decision. Most of the answers you demand are there. Like the old saying says, “When all else fails, read the instructions”.