Daily dose of Cranston #1

The videos of those who spoke at the Cranston hearing are getting uploaded now and just…wow.  It’s like they’ve taken bad arguments and done everything in their power to make them worse.

First up, Ms. Lima.

And away we go.  She opens by referring to it as the Cranston “icon” as if that will fool anybody.  It says “school prayer” at the top.  It invokes religious language.  Pay no attention to the evidence behind the curtain though, it’s just a neutral little “icon”.

Of course, she knows it’s a prayer.  The crowd screamed “under god” when reciting the pledge beforehand because the banner’s religious overtones are what’s being defended by these people.  Calling it an “icon” is a demonstration of the believers’ willingness to weasel toward victory rather than win by being honest.

“Obviously, the majority of residents of Cranston want you to appeal.”

The majority wanted them to go to trial the first time.  How well did that work out?  The plain fact of the matter is that the law does not change because a large number of people in Cranston want to break it.  There’s a reason that Cranston’s attorney never cited that argument in court the first time.  The judge would’ve looked at him with the Dave Silverman face.

“I also feel very strongly that the ruling was not justified by the facts in this case…”

What about all the cases Judge Lagueux cited in his decision?

This religion of humility seems chock full of people who think they know biology better than biologists and law better than lawyers/judges.

“…and appeal is necessary because the principle is far too important to be left unchallenged.”

Wait, no explanation for why the judge got it wrong?  Just “I believe the ruling wasn’t justified” and not even slowing down on the way to the next point?  Well shit, as long as you believe it, Ms. Lima…

And what principle is this?  That placing religion on government buildings is a more pressing use of money for a school than, say, music programs?

“To do so would give encouragement to others who seek to interpret our Constitution in ways that were never dreamed of by our founding fathers.”

Because Ms. Lima knows better than decades of Christian judges who have studied Constitutional law their whole lives and, despite their Christianity, have still repeatedly made rulings on the side of neutrality/separation.

Don’t worry.  I’m sure she took a civics class at some point.

Of course, the crowd of people who are convinced she has greater knowledge than experts in the field cheered.

“The recent Massachusetts suit I read about today in the journal seeking to stop the pledge of allegiance to the American flag was, what I feel, a direct result of this Rhode Island.”

First, got any evidence?  Or is this like your opinion on the judge’s decision: you believe it, and that should be sufficient for us?

What’s more, even if this were true, so what?  I think the pledge is silly and I don’t say it.  I think flags are divisive.  I think they’re a symbol of an us vs. them mentality.

“To leave it unchallenged would only lead to a myriad of other unjustified attacks on our Constitution.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  The judge, and decades of previous judges (you know, the experts with decades of study under their belts), rule that the school is acting in violation of the Constitution…and somehow the people who were on the winning side of that argument are the ones assaulting the Constitution?  But if the Cranston residents don’t blow half a million dollars earmarked for education pitting the expertise of Ms. Lima against the experts (the ones vested with the power to make that call by the Constitution) then it will empower these nebulous, but unidentified people fighting the Constitution?  In what universe does that even begin to make sense?

“Where will it stop?  Are we going to change our currency?  Are we going to stop the pledge of allegiance from being recited?”

While those are completely separate issues, one can only hope so.

“An appeal of this ruling is not only the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do.”

No, Ms. Lima, it is not the only thing to do.  The board could elect not to mortgage the futures of the students in their charge in order to fight a battle in court where the outcome is already all-but-decided.

As one of the board members said: they don’t need to be spending a dime on anything that’s not educating those kids, and that includes displays that have been deemed illegal not just by Judge Lagueux, but by countless other justices in the last half century.

“The Constitution protects everyone’s right to practice religion or to not practice.”

And if that were in dispute, that statement would be relevant.

“It’s also in the Constitution, I believe, its intent, to not have the government impose a religion on anyone.”

Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Hence neutrality!

“I disagree with the judge’s ruling.  I think it was incorrect and therefore [the banner] should remain.”

Wait, your disagreement is your reason for concluding the banner should remain?  What about your reasoning behind your disagreement that you never got around to providing?  I wish that worked on tests.  “I disagree with the biologist’s answer, therefore I think mine should be counted as correct.”

Dave Silverman face.

“We are one terrorist attack away from losing all our rights and freedoms!”


First, how so?

Second, how is that at all relevant to this case?  The board elected not to appeal, and so far it doesn’t seem like the terrorists are winning.  How do these people live with this kind of paranoia?

And the crowd went wild.  It’s as though they were cheering at something as inconsequential as a football game, just loving the home team.  Doesn’t matter how batshit crazy this lady’s rant got, they ate it up.  It is time to admit that religion doesn’t do shit for making people better.  In the case of those begging the school to hemorrhage green, faith has been instrumental in keeping them irrational and fervently tribalistic while simultaneously causing them to treat the products of their unreason as though eternity were on the line.

This is a terrible state for people to be in, but it is a state toward which faith is constantly coaxing those it infects.

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