Steve Ford and the MAJORITY

Steve Ford, noble defender of faith, waltzed into the facebook group Support the Removal of the Cranston High School West Prayer and said something.  All I heard was “Please string me up as an example of how faith permits and encourages hatred and stupidity!”

“Alright,” I said.

Pathetic… As an older American, I see the county falling apart due to people like you who think that they are more important than what this country represents. I understand that FREEDOM for all is what this county is about, but at the expense of others? Why do you think your personal peeves are more important than the majority of the nation? The democratic society was built on the fact that the MAJORITY rules based on the ability of everyone thoughts and opinions. People like you are grouped into the same greedy bastards that control wall street and the government…. It is all about you… at the expense of anyone who gets in your way… You and your groupies are the lowest form of American, (??), on the face of the earth. There, I express my constitutional right to speak my mind… Something our fathers fought for and was approved by the MAJORITY of people.

Take a moment and go read some more FtB to counteract all the dumb.  I’ll wait here.

As an older American…

Whoa!  Age automatically makes someone right?  So…all I need to do is find someone older than you who agrees with Jessica and this is settled?  Let’s save time and find the oldest person in the world then and ask what they think.

I understand that FREEDOM for all is what this county is about, but at the expense of others?

Freedom has a limit, Mr. Ford.  People are not free to hang “Whites only” signs above drinking fountains, for instance.  And our government is not allowed to treat one group of Americans as second-class citizens.  I suspect that’s why you didn’t use the phrase “I understand that EQUALITY for all is what this county is about, but at the expense of others?”  To quote Justice Sandra Day O’Connor…

Protecting religious freedoms may be more important in the late twentieth century than it was when the Bill of Rights was ratified. We live in a pluralistic society, with people of widely divergent religious backgrounds or with none at all. Government cannot endorse beliefs of one group without sending a clear message to non-adherents that they are outsiders. 

Or this from Justice Hugo Black…

When the power, prestige, and financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, the indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion is plain.

That is precisely what the prayer banner did.  If you work for the government, such as in a public school, you cannot give sectarian religion precedence.  The “freedom” to marginalize others in that capacity is afforded to nobody, and rightly so.

Why do you think your personal peeves are more important than the majority of the nation?

She thinks the rights of minorities to receive equality from their government is important.  Apparently you don’t.

The democratic society was built on the fact that the MAJORITY rules based on the ability of everyone thoughts and opinions.

The majority is not allowed tyranny over minorities and several checks were put in place to ensure that.  This nation was actually built with the idea that particular rights belonged to everybody.  They are enshrined in our Constitution and its amendments, such as the Bill of Rights (go re-read the first one).

The majority is not given absolute power and rightly so.  That fact protects racial minorities from inequality, it protects atheists from inequality, and if Christians were in the minority it would keep others from outlawing their right to worship among other things.  If the majority wanted to behead a particular group, that also wouldn’t fly, because our government is set up so that majority has the greatest influence, but they cannot oppress the minorities.

That’s why the judge who, unlike you, knows a thing or two about the Constitution and its history, sided with Jessica in a no-brainer lawsuit.  If you love the foundations of this country so much, let’s see a little of your disgust with the administrators of the school who displayed such contempt for those values.  Of course, we won’t see that from you because your whole screed about FREEDOMOMGCAPSLOCK is a smoke screen.  It’s about religion.  It’s about Christianity being everywhere so others have the “freedom” to provide obeisance to your religion.

Well we don’t all care for Christianity.  Some of us despise it.  We have nothing but contempt for the silly idea of somebody rising from the dead or the putrid idea that we must worship anything under pain of torture.  We take pride in pointing out that Christianity is twelve degrees of dumb, and I hope that chafes you somethin’ fierce.

People like you are grouped into the same greedy bastards that control wall street and the government….

That makes sense.  Jessica’s totally throwing her weight around to control the little man.  Wait a minute, that’s you and all your “majority rules” bullshit.

It is all about you…

And the rights of millions of other minority Americans, of which she is one.

…at the expense of anyone who gets in your way…

Please tell me who Jessica has harmed.  Please tell me exactly what right of yours she has infringed upon.  You keep implying this but you’re pretty lacking on the specifics.  Is it your right to insist others be treated as lesser citizens by the government?  Sorry Steve (not really), but that’s not a right.  Hell, it’s something no decent human being should even want.

Also, you accuse her of trampling on anyone who gets in her way.  Tell me if this sounds familiar: “MAJORITY rules!  MAJORITY rules!  MAJORITY rules!”  I mean, who cares if a minority gets in the way of that, eh?

So yes, trampling on anybody who prevents you from getting your way is bad.  I agree with you.  Now, I’ve explained to you how Jessica (and other atheists) were marginalized by the banner and therefore treated with injustice by government officials.  Exactly how have you been treated with inequality?  If you can think of nothing, perhaps stop with the disdain for the well-being of anybody who is not in the majority (or, as many seem to call it, “Christian love”)?

 

Steve continues…

You and your groupies are the lowest form of American, (??), on the face of the earth.

If a young woman who never threatened anybody else, never called anybody else a dirty name, and told nothing but the truth is your idea of the lowest of the low, then the problem is with you, Steve.  Your scope is focused on one person and not anywhere nearly wide enough.  Consider the Cranston West administrators who lied repeatedly throughout this ordeal.  Consider the denizens of Cranston who supported that lie (people like you).  Consider the self-serving Americans who would elevate special privilege for their personal beliefs over the equality of others (and question the citizenship of those who don’t kowtow to those beliefs).

It seems Jessica represents the best of American values where people like you do not.  She has been honest, whereas those in your camp lied in court.  She has been calm, whereas those in your camp have been derisive and threatening.  She believes in the Constitution, whereas people in your camp attempted to subvert it through perjury.  She fought against inequality, while people in your camp maintain it as a moral value.

If you’re looking for the people actively vandalizing Lady Liberty, you need only look into the mirror, Steve, as well as to other people who elect to bring glory to god with unseemly behavior.

There, I express my constitutional right to speak my mind…

Your mind is full of insipid ideas, religious delusions, and hate.

Something our fathers fought for and was approved by the MAJORITY of people.

Against which nobody is fighting.  Ditch the persecution complex.  It doesn’t fit for somebody in the MAJORITY.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • dmf

    I’m always amused by anyone’s “democracy!” argument about the US. Because it’s not one. It’s a democratic republic. Precisely designed to do the opposite of what all these “we outnumber you!” knuckle-draggers say that it justifies.

    Silly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zekewolf23 zekewolf

    I always love when the Xtians say “ONE NATION UNDER GOD!!!!” When they are quoting the pledge of allegiance. THE NEXT WORD IS INDIVISIBLE STUPID!!

    Great blog, well crafted and very poignant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/damnedscholar Holland Wilson

    Those quotes from Justices O’Connor and Black, which cases are they from?

  • jamessweet

    “All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

    –Thomas Jefferson, “older American”, in his first inaugural address in 1801

  • jamessweet

    “We may appeal to every page of history we have hitherto turned over, for proofs irrefragable, that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous and cruel as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power … The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.”
    –John Adams, “older American”, in a letter to fellow “older American” Thomas Jefferson

    I thought old people liked history?

  • jamessweet

    Perhaps I was just confused, because the Founding Fathers were talking about the “majority” but Steve Ford was talking about the “MAJORITY”. Yes, that must be it. The Founding Fathers believed that the “majority” must be kept in check, lest they shit all over the rights of any minority group they happen to disagree with. But as long as it’s in ALL CAPS, well… fuck the Constitution!

  • Mark

    With the First Amendment under our belt, who is going to start fighting for the Second Amendment in Cranston West High School?

  • Anonymous

    The Sandra Day O’Conner quote was in the (coincidentally) Rhode Island case of Lynch v. Donnelly (1983). http://atheism.about.com/library/decisions/holydays/bldec_LynchDonnelly.htm

    The Justice Hugo Black quote was from Engel v. Vitale (1962).
    http://www.infoplease.com/us/supreme-court/cases/ar10.html

  • John Eberhard

    The Sandra Day O’Conner quote was in the (coincidentally) Rhode Island case of Lynch v. Donnelly (1983). http://atheism.about.com/library/decisions/holydays/bldec_LynchDonnelly.htm

    The Justice Hugo Black quote was from Engel v. Vitale (1962).
    http://www.infoplease.com/us/supreme-court/cases/ar10.html

  • jon

    the majority of americans is dead and therefore not breathing.
    so will all americans just follow the majority….

  • Ann

    Hey, I’m an old lady (65, finally get $.50 senior discounts!), and I think I’m going to go kick some Steve Ford butt.

    I’ve met Jessica, and her elegance and poise takes my breath away. I still couldn’t do what she did, and I’m not in high school! The comments in the newspaper and FB are so vile. What kind of person does that to a young girl standing up for the US constitution?

    I do hope sehh’s got some police protection.

  • http://cognisump.posterous.com Kobal

    Damn, sir, you can write! Excellently put.

    I have nothing but respect and admiration for Miss Ahlquist. Not only has she had to put herself in the sights of these odious people, she and her supporters have (as far as I can see) stayed firm, polite and witty in the face of the most appalling tantrums and entitled behaviour, a la Steve Ford.

    Bravo!

  • baal

    I can just imagine Steve Ford standing on his lawn in his bathrobe and slippers and waving his fist at folks while reciting his comment. It fits the grumpy old man sterotype too well.

    @ Holland. The google haz intertubes search.
    The first case is Lynch v. Donnelly. I leave it to you to practice google-fu and find the other one.

  • BKsea

    What is sad (and scares the hell out of me) is that if the implied contention that a majority* of people want to allow government establishment of Christianity is true, it could be done**. You just need to get the first ammendment repealed and then pass a law establishing Christianity. The fact that this is extremely unlikely (please tell me it is impossible) undercuts the argument.

    *caveat: this implies 2/3 majority of states to ratify, etc. but I think this is possible even if a minority of people hold the position. You just need a 50% majority in 2/3 of the states.

    **caveat 2: in which case I will be on the first bus to Sweden or some such place.

  • hotshoe

    Or it could be done (but not legally) by fundies and ReThugs electing a sufficiently theocratic government willing to ignore the Constitution. The US Air Force and Marines would almost certainly side with christian Dominionists if it came to that.

    See Heinlein’s 1940/1953 novel “If This Goes On–”

    “The story is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_This_Goes_On—

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda—-Happy New Year, everyone!

    “British citizen faces jail time for ‘Insulting Islam’.” I guess that’s OK with Steve Ford, since the Brit is a minority in the country where he is.

  • SuperM

    “Your mind is full of insipid ideas, religious delusions, and hate.”

    Great response.


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