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  • Absence de religion dans le Wisconsin

       April 05, 2005

    Local gadfly Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has joined French leftists in their outrage over the lowering of flags to honor Pope John Paul II. Gaylor says:

    "The pope was the world's leading sexist," Gaylor said in a statement issued today. "Why should Wisconsin women be expected to revere his anti-woman, antediluvian teachings?" The pope also had been critical of gay marriages, the statement noted.

    "Let's reserve the honor of half-staff for true American heroes," Gaylor said.

    On Monday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation issued a lengthy criticism entitled "the pope has no vestments." That statement assailed his position against abortion, contraception, sterilization, women's rights, divorce, stem cell research and gay rights.

    "Sure, he finally admitted Galileo should not have been condemned by the church, some 350 years too late," the foundation's statement said.

    "True, he opposed capital punishment, as most freethinkers do. But think of the capital punishment, slaughters, the witch-burning, purges, tortures and inquisitions committed by the Roman Catholic Church and its followers through history."

    Let's see, Gaylor is personally blaming the Pope for:

    • Galileo's persecution
    • the Salem witch trials
    • the Spanish Inquisition
    • the Crusades
    • assorted purges and slaughters (where? she doesn't say)
    • the entire human history of sexism
    • and, one can only assume, the high price of buttermilk in China

    Wow. The Pope was awful busy. With a hand that evil, I'm frankly afraid not to lower the flag in his honor. He's likely to claw his way up from the bowels of hell (which, of course, don't really exist) to smite us if we don't.

    In any case, the Pope is the religious leader of 26% of Americans [1], and 31% of Wisconsinites. Lowering the flag in his honor doesn't endorse Catholicism, but rather acknowledges that a large percentage of Wisconsinites lost a man we consider as our spiritual leader. It shows respect for the Pope, but it also shows the State's empathy to its Catholic residents. Empathy is not an endorsement. Rather, it's a natural human reaction that too many of my city's liberals lack.

    [1] Reader Bonnie points out that my original 60% number is totally wrong. She's right. I must have been blinded by my annoyance at typical Madisonians. Here's a look at some statistics on Catholics in America.

    Update: I titled this post in French to poke fun at Madison liberals aligning themselves with their fellow cheese-eaters in France. But, thinking about it more, using French illustrates an important point. The title translates to "Freedom From Religion in Wisconsin". In English, freedom FROM religion and freedom OF religion (which, ahem, is what we're guaranteed in the Constitution) sound a lot alike. In French, you more easily see that they are two completely different concepts. "Freedom of religion in Wisconsin" translates to this: "Liberté religieuse dans le Wisconsin". "Absence" vs. "Liberty", that sounds about right to me.

    Posted by at April 5, 2005 01:17 PM

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    #  April 5th, 2005 1:56 PM      kris
    Yeah, you're right. I was quoting something in that forum and read it wrong. The 60% refers to, I think, people who belong to any religion or something.

    Your number sounds much more reasonable. Thanks for the catch!  
    #  April 5th, 2005 3:19 PM      james
    i would correct it in the text to avoid confusion, maybe drop a footnoet or something. either like this [1] or using the sup tag  
    #  April 5th, 2005 3:20 PM      kris
    No, I want to leave it in the text. I don't think it's right to change it after the fact. I made a mistake and it's out there, no need to pretend that I didn't.

    Plus, our readers should know that we really do read their comments and respond to them.  
    #  April 5th, 2005 3:22 PM      james
    thats why i said drop a footnote pointing out that you corrected it. the same goals will be accomplished

    it's silly to leave it as it.
    #  April 5th, 2005 3:25 PM      kris
    okay, as long as you're cool with it.  
    #  April 5th, 2005 3:53 PM      james
    it's very easy to find things that you don't like about a person to protest any honor bestowed upon them. especially when the things you find are unsubstantiated generalizations and accusations.

    the fact is, ms gaylor has a chip on her shoulder because the pope is a religious figure, and she is the founder of the "freedom from religion foundation." she should say as much instead of trying to come up with 1000 alternate reasons to not honor the man.

    of course, she won't, because that's a losing argument. she's instead taking this opportunity to cast aspersions upon the whole institution.  
    #  April 5th, 2005 4:07 PM      kris
    For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Gaylor, her organization is behind lovely things like this display in the Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda at Christmas:

    #  April 6th, 2005 12:17 PM      marcus
    Hey Freedom From Religion Crazy,

    I have a question for you. If religion makes people so bad ('hardens hearts") why do the names of so many old hospitals have St. in front of them?

    Only now that hospitals mean big $ does it seem that new hospitals do not have St. in front of their names.  
    #  April 6th, 2005 12:20 PM      marcus
    One last thing!

    In case you missed it Ms. Gaylor, Pope John Paul II apologized on behalf of the church for many of those institutional wrongs committed throughout the ages.

    I think I found today's winner of Blogger Beer's Eight-Ball Award!  
    #  April 7th, 2005 10:55 AM      jonts
    I feel sorry that the pope died, he was human and he did what he thought was best.

    I just think that that catholic church is just getting increasingly out of touch with reality- whether you are a liberal who wants to give condoms to everyone or a right wing gun nut who believes the right to shoot first and retreat later (see other discussions on this site) overides any need to protect life as far as possible.




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