Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Flag for "Honoring God"?

I thought this was an interesting piece of news:

A 17-year-old Eagle scout wanting to honor his grandfather's "love of God, country and family" with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol has helped remove a ban on the word "God" in certificates that accompany these flags...The boy had asked that the certificate read: "this flag was flown in honor of Marcel Larochelle, my grandfather, for his dedication and love of God, country and family." But the Architect excised "God" from the inscription, saying it violated a policy, set in 2003, banning religious and political expressions on the certificates.

My position on this bit of stupidity might surprise you. I don't see the harm in putting what your constituent wants in such a certificate. Of course, it must be handled equally. My relatives should be able to request a flag to be flown in my honor with a certificate that reads something like: "this flag was flown in honor of csm, for his dedication to truth and country, and his long-standing battle against belief in gods."

Who wants to make a bet on whether that inscription would ever get put on any such a certificate?


Heathen said...

I don't see why anything the government is involved in should honor any god. And the kid was an Eagle Scout, so fuck him, the Eagle Scouts, and his grandfather!


Better an Eagle Scout than a gang member.

csm said...

Eagle Scouts are just another type of gang.


That is like calling a rock band a gang(and in a way it is). Let me ask you this, csm, it is midnight and you are in a seedy downtown area, you are coming up to a desolate intersection; would you want six Eagle Scouts walking in your direction or six toughass muthufuckin' gang members doing the same. Oh, and by the way you are by yourself.

As an aside, I have latched onto a new band(since I brought up rock bands)I heard about from They are from NY and go by the moniker A Place to Bury Strangers. They kind of remind me of a cross between real early Jesus and Mary Chain with Joy Division and Pornography-era Cure. They are billed as the "Loudest Band in New York" and it is rather noisy(feedback and sonic crunch), and it does kinda harken back to a bygone time. The guitarist makes guitar pedals and boxes for a living and you can tell he uses all of them. You can catch some of their videos on YouTube. I would start with "Fix the Gash in Your Head". Pretty cool, IMHO.

Ceroill said...

csm, as to the original post, I agree a hundred percent. As to gangs and such, I recall an interesting idea from a science fiction book I read years ago.
The concept is that a gang is essentially a tribal organization formed of (supposedly) like-minded folks. In this version of the future a group of disaffected teens could apply for tribal status, and if accepted they would essentially be emancipated from their parents and family, and be allowed to create their own micro society. With all that entails- They would have to police themselves, the city cops wouldn't interfere unless it was a conflict with the city. They also would not get the benefit of city services, such as police, fire, and such, without a special request from them. Gang on gang violence was not a police matter unless/until it bled over to regular citizens.
Ok, that's enough for now. Thanks for letting me ramble.


One other thing about A Place to Bury Strangers, if you want to get the cd you have to order it from They only originally pressed 500 cds and when I ordered it they already had to go to a second pressing.

csm said...

I don't accept your parameters for weighing the benefits of a "gang" described as you do versus eagle scouts. Both "organizations" push others around - one seemingly physically and the other based on who you are. Both suck. I choose to associate with neither.

Thanks for the band suggestion - I'll look into them!

Bob, any idea what the title/author of that sci-fi book was?

Ceroill said...

csm, as I recall it was in a book called simply Earth, of all things. Can't remember the author right off...let me look around...dang, not having any luck. Sorry. If you find it let me know. It's a science fiction book published in the 80's or 90's.

Marino said...

Damn, let see if I have this correct. A bunch of atheists that despise Eagle scouts?

I now have a better understanding on why Americans distrust athesits.

I noticed quite a bit of God discussion on this athesit blog as well. Such an obsession with a being that supposedly doesn't exists? Sorry, not buying it.



I am an atheist and I do not despise Eagle Scouts. An anomaly, I think not. You just might be the one who pigeon-holes people. Nice trait, eh?

Maino said...

Since the owner of this blog, not to metion the contributors, tend to refer to republicans, religous and eagle scouts with the implied all inclusive term, I thought I was free to do the same.

You will be known by who you assoiate.

Good Luck with your reasoning!

csm said...

Like a clueless naif Marino wonders "why, oh, why would an atheist hate the eagle scouts"... well, when an organization systematically excludes atheists (not to mention gays) and then goes on to expect (and actually receive) government handouts, I fail to see any other option for a thinking atheist.

Marino said...

The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the scouts, as a private group, have a First Amendment right to bar homosexuals from membership.
As an Eagle scout from may years back, I have never heard of an incident where an atheist scout was exluded due to atheism. He would be certainloy find many reasons to live in a constant state of hate. Not a good situation for him.

Discrimination comes in many forms as csm just demonstrated.

csm said...

The official policy of the Boys Scouts of America is to exclude homosexuals and atheists.



Well that makes two of you who don't think I think.

csm said...

Can't say I know what you are talking about there Bawdy. Care to illuminate?



Please reread your post from Oct. 19. I personally find way, way too many organizations are getting funds from the federal government; some of these groups I agree with and some I do not. I don't think ANY should get the funding, but I don't hold that against the organization; I hold that against the federal government. As far as hating the Eagle Scouts because they exclude atheists(and I am not sure this is true, my brother was a Boy Scout and he had no religious affiliation at the time, and as luck(or irony) would have it he is now atheist AND gay), I believe in the Freedom of Association which allows private organizations to exclude whomever they want. Atheists can associate freely and exclude freely as well as the pious. The only beef I have is the funding part and for the record, I do not hate the Eagle Scouts. Hate is such a strong word and much over-used.

csm said...

OK, Bawdy, and you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. Private organizations are entitled to exclude whomever they choose. I, as a private individual, can then choose to hate them.

And I do take exception to both the government giving funds to private organizations associated with religion (the BSA are associated with LDS), and the private organization asking for and taking the money.

If, as you stated, you believe that this means I "do not think," then so be it. I find that assertion to be ridiculous though.



You have me wrong, and I get now you misunderstood me from the beginning. I was accusing you of asserting I wasn't a thinking atheist because I didn't necessarily agree with your position on the Eagle Scouts. derF, was the other poster I believe doesn't think I think.

You can hate anybody or anything, I just find life too short to hate much, disliking intensely, is another matter.

csm said...

No problem, Bawdy, it is easy to misunderstand things when they are typed instead of spoken... I didn't mean to imply that you specifically were not a thinking atheist, but after re-reading everything again I s'pose I can see how you got that impression.

csm said...

Regarding "hate" versus "disliking intensely" I think you are splitting hairs to avoid using a word you "dislike intensely"... Don't be a pussy, man -- if you hate something, hate it!



Hate, IMHO, is a "black hole" word like "never" and "always". Words without wiggle room. If you really do hate something using hate would be appropriate. I just don't hate that much; I feel it is a waste of time most often. I guess I like "wiggle room" and the chance my mind could remotely, sometimes very remotely, be changed. I guess in your eyes that makes me a "pussy". LOL

csm said...

I just used the word "pussy" for shock value... don't take me too seriously, ever...

derF said...

I don’t believe that you’re completely thoughtless, Bawdy. Instead it seems that you, like most people, are susceptible to the process of ‘toney-mandering’. That is the human propensity to, if told the same lie incessantly, to accept the familiarity of the lie as truth.

I don’t know how old you are, Bawdy. I suspect that you are in your forties. If that is the case, for the vast majority of your life the same neo-liberal analogy of society as market-place has been express to you, as if it were the way of the world rather than a metaphor used to justify the support of questionable business practices.

I’m an old guy so for much of my life the submission to market forces was viewed as a quaint deception of England’s 18th C ruling elite. However, I have a personal antidote that may help to illustrate just how deeply the fein shey of European imperialism runs through our American paradigm.

When I was a young guy I had a map of Vietnam taped on the inside of my bedroom door. It showed a line of demarcation between North and South Vietnam, I believe the north was tinted red. There may even have been a quotation from Ho Chi Minh’s declaration of independence scribbled on the paper.

I think the map had been there when we first moved into the house. I saw it each morning when I woke and each evening when I retired. Yet, I never really understood it. I asked people to explain it to me and several tried. I heard stories of French colonists, Kennedy’s military advisers and carpet bombing campaigns but, the truth is, throughout the Vietnam War I never really did understand.

Now, some 5 decades later, I think I’m starting to get a handle on it. Those lines on the paper taped inside of my door were a European invention. They were the result of a long struggle with the problems of navigation and had found this application on the map of the world as a means to differentiate what belonged to my king from what belonged to yours.

The importance of borders was not fully realized until the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries. As European powers discovered new lands in the Americas, Africa, and Asia and consolidated their domains in Europe, they had to make a clear record of their territory and its resources. The record often took the form of maps created by skilled surveyors and cartographers who were sent to the newly explored lands.

A boundary line that divides one geographic area from another, however, is often more complex than it seems on the map. The map may simply show a line of dashes running along the crest of a mountain range or down the middle of a major river, or just a straight line across an empty desert. But not all boundary lines are of the same type.

In addition to formal boundaries, there are many informal types that reflect cultural differences, ethnic group distribution, or religious influences. Because of the dynamic nature of these kinds of boundaries and their own cultural paradigms, cartographers were unable to collect the precise data required to draw such maps. Yet these boundaries can be just as real as an official international boundary because they not only can divide the geographic space but also delineate the behavior and practices of the people in that space. These people must contend with a disputed political boundary that slices through their traditional landscape and thus affects their ability to interact as they have for centuries.

Over time colonizing agents came to believe they held clear title over the territories and resources they had subjected to lines of demarcation. These properties could then be legitimately appropriated along with the populations that inhabited them. Often, as in America, title was transferred to favored subjects of the crown.

During the Second World War, old European money fled the continent for security from the destruction their greed and avarice had fostered. Uncomfortably, as most of the world had already been subjected to a Europe’s linear perspective, most of the world was now at war. However, the rubes in America, feeling no continental allegiance, had not raced to enter this war. This situation established the USA as an attractive shelter for ‘old world’ assets. Money flooded into the US. However, the agents behind these investments expected representation within government which approximated what they had become accustomed to in other markets. Fortunately for them, there were always actors of political privilege, such as Prescott Bush, who were willing to promote their concerns.



Two points, one, as far as the unofficial boundaries you speak of, I have an idea of them and I would use the current situation of the Kurds as an example. The Kurdish influence runs through portions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, as you may know, and the aforementioned countries have a major problem with that. I would love for this country to slowly(it would have to be)inoculate these countries with the idea the Kurds are worthy of their own land and since we have overtly injected ourselves into this region and have "used" the Kurds for our own ends(let alone fucking them over on more than one occasion)we actually owe it to them. Will it happen? Probably not for a variety of reasons, most hypocritical and self-serving.

Two, I, like you, have a healthy disdain for powerful people who use that power for their own benefit ONLY. I include politicians, bureaucrats and the federal government into this category, not just global corporations and their management. I find these people to be the problem as they can manipulate the market system for their own benefit. To combat this we(the people) have our weapon - the Internet. To me, the equation is (Internet + Unbiased, Independent and Truthful Media) X Informed Consumers = Market Solutions; the Global Corporations and Federal Governments be damned. Since the Internet can traverse borders, I find it to be our best option to become "one humanity of individuals". China is having a devil of a time controlling information to it's population. Consumer dialogue on the Internet ultimately forced the Chinese government to look at their pet food exports and pinpoint the exact problem of those exports for the world to see(could you have imagined this just ten years ago?). This after only nineteen American pets actually died(I realize hundred of pets were stricken, but reportedly only nineteen were pronounced dead). Our own government cannot control Internet gambling. These are just some examples.

Since this country still has a modicum of freedom for it's citizens and an ingrained history of such(I realize we are not perfect), I feel it is our responsibility to try to instill a respect for individual rights throughout the world. I have always posted this should be done through example, not at the end of a gun. I still maintain free and fair markets(financial democracy)are part of this solution. If we were to follow these principles(and not just give them lip service) and promote freedom and prosperity EVERYWHERE(and we must temper the natural desire to win all the time, show some fucking patience and truly be joyous when other countries, even our historical enemies, make strides)we can make a difference worldwide.

I keep coming back to Russia after the Soviet Union dissolved. We promised the Russians help to get them up to speed in the "market- driven world". What we gave them were World Bank dictates, NGOs which chipped away at their periphery and a cold shoulder as their economy went into the toilet. Now with Russia back on its feet thanks to commodity prices and no help from us, the Cold War is back on and the world has regained some of the complexities of the past which could have been avoided if we were true to our word and were actually as Big a People as we like to think we are.

Maybe, derF, I am coming full circle and have become that utopian optimist I was in my early twenties; thinking there may be a way "we can all get along". I just don't see us getting along as long as we have strong central governments(and not just our own)where power is concentrated with limited agendas benefiting a few. This is the reason I am a strict Constitutionalist. This is the reason I hold Thomas Jefferson in a great light. This is the reason I love this country even considering our many faults. I feel we are this world's last great chance to become a utopia, but maybe I am just a dreamer. I have been told this before.