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Praise the Lord, and pass the resolution

Dan

Dear Leader
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Here one for y'all to consider. Are there still places where it's common to start off a City Council or Planning Commission meeting with a prayer or invocation? How about a prayer asking Jesus for forgiveness and salvation, or otherwise getting fairly specific with regards to a particular religious belief?

One place I worked had different religious leaders offer invocations before each city council meeting -- sometimes it was a rabbi, other times a Catholic priest or Muslim cleric. Folks got uncomfortable if a specific prophet was mentioned, but otherwise it was common practice.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
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In the City I worked for previously, it was (and still is as far as I know) common practice for a religious person to be invited for an invocation or prayer before City Council meetings. Likewise, it was multi-denominational...no particular religion seemed more represented than any others.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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Those crazy Deities

I've had moments of silence, but nothing outright to one religion. Heck, around here they didn't even do the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of meetings (until 2 months ago). I guess religion is less of a government cross-over issue in the north?

On the religious vein, we have a "special" resident that thought he could lose his *long* police record by changing his name. He changed it and is now officially named after every worldly prophet -- I dont recall the exact order, but its something like "Jesus Mohammud Budda Jevhovah....". Its great to hear the cops talk about their run-ins. Things like, "Then I ran after Jesus and tackled him to the ground. Jesus resisted arrest, yadd yadda"
 

el Guapo

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5,942
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A reading from the Book of Earnhart, 3:16

In the planning hinterlands where I practice it is very common to open almost everything with a Protestant oriented prayer or blessing. As a semi-practicing Catholic I prefer a little more guilt, condemnation and chain of command references in my invocations, but what is an infidel to do?

Anyway, I was always of the opinion that the guest respected the local custom and did not expect the locals to change for them – despite what 6 judges in D.C. say on occasion. In Germany you keep tidy. In Canada you write everything twice. In Saudi Arabia you don’t shake with the left hand. In the south you affix a gun rack to your vehicle and pronounce Jesus as slow as you can – hitting all of the letters individually.

To give you an idea of how politically incorrect it can get here in the outback I once witnessed a county commissioner ask the county clerk in a meeting, with a reporter present: “Rita, you know why a woman doesn’t need a watch?”

“No Ed, Why?” said Rita.

“Cause she’s got a clock on the stove” Said Ed.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Re: A reading from the Book of Earnhart, 3:16

El Guapo said:
In the south you affix a gun rack to your vehicle and pronounce Jesus as slow as you can – hitting all of the letters individually.
"Ju-HEE-uh-suh-hus" is the preferred pronounciation around here. Either that, or in the next town over, "DUY-yul".

Here's an officially sanctioned display from a VERY Catholic, VERY blue collar 'burg outside of Buffalo.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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A closeup.

I remember during my undergrad days attending various Planning Commission meetings throughout the Buffalo area. One town's PC meeting started with an invocation that went something like "Oh, blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, we beseech you this night to grant us the wisdom to provide wise and fair leadership to your followers. Amen." Growing up in Buffalo, I feel like I'm something of an "honorary Catholic," but still ...

I'm waiting for Brent's reports on the pre-Planning Commission drum circles, ritual American flag burnings, and invocations to Brigid and Mother Earth that he'll encounter over in the PRoB. Not to mention determination of a quorum by "working it 'til there's nothing but stems and seeds."
 

Dan

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Guess what? The doorbell just rang. Another missionary. Second one this week.

Yup, Orlando is part of the Deep South. Uh huh.
 
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None of my planning boards in either S.C. or NY have ever started with either the pledge of allegiance or a prayer. But within our first two weeks of moving into our first house in S.C. I was asked to 8 different churches (all Baptist) by neighbors, co-workers and even our plumber. I nipped them all in the bud by letting them know that we're Catholic (well, my husband is a lapsed Catholic) and the nearest Catholic church was 2 towns over, 25 miles away.
 

planasaurus

Cyburbian
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215
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Have a Blessed Day

I thought it was only in my City! Not only do we start out City Council and Planning Commission meetings with prayer, but we have several religoius leaders sitting on Council, one on the Planning Commission, and one on the BZA. Everything we do starts out with prayer. I skipped the Christmas party last year because I could not stand to sit through another evening of listening to fat old ladys talk about Jesus. I would estimate that 75% of the screensavers and wallpapers on computers are religious in nature. Many of the phone messages end saying "god bless you", or "have a blessed day".

They don't even try to hide the bias for Christanity, which I would imagine makes the Hindus and Muslums (mostly the engineers) quite uncomfortable. It makes me very uncomfortable, and I do not subscribe to any particular religion. We are in the midwest, which is not where you would generally expect it. Perhaps it is because of the large number of African-American employees at the Planning Dept. (probably about 250 out of 300 employees), or the fact that most people working here are quite old.
 
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17
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1
Prise the Lord, et al.

As a convert from being a non-denominational to a Catholic, and from a native Michiganian to a happy resident of South Georgia - all about 12 years ago - I always enjoy seeing the following show up at evry other county commission meeting: some just-released, local who is a felony weed distributing, child molesting, DUI-homicide offender, turned peacher-minister (never priest, rabbi, et al.) from the Holy Covenant Third Baptist Christian Church at Colonel Sanders Mobile Home Park, Lot #33, Enigma, Georgia - to do the invocation.

(No disrespect intended to my fellow southerners who are protestant - especially those who attend real churches with respectable ordained ministers - but, I think you can relate!)

Then you hear one of the commissioners say, "he's a good boy...he just got into a little trouble!"

No s--t! Gag me with a spoon.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Always...

And without fail it's a protestant denomination with the preacher beseeching the lord to give the council guidance, blah, blah, blah... Close my eyes and bow my head? Not this agnostic...

And since "under god" was added to the Pledge of Alliegance during the red scare of the 50's by Joe McCarthy, I refuse to say it as well. I might fight to the death to protect their right to say it... but it doesn't mean I'll join them!
 

mike gurnee

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There are groups that want to add "born and unborn" to the end of the Pledge. Haven't heard it at a public meeting yet, but I moved away from the south.
 

Mastiff

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Even McCarthy had to pass his "under god" addition through Congress. I can't imagine them doing anything like that now... it would be political suicide. Politicians love to ride the fence on the abotion issue as much as possible.
 

Dan

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Mastiff said:
And since "under god" was added to the Pledge of Alliegance during the red scare of the 50's by Joe McCarthy, I refuse to say it as well. I might fight to the death to protect their right to say it... but it doesn't mean I'll join them!
I don't really have too much of a problem with saying "under God," since I see the concept of God as being something that should be determined by the individual. "God" isn't necessarily the Judeo-Christian concept of a bearded white guy on a throne in the clouds -- it's the things and ideals that drive and guide you. Even if you're an athiest, you could take "god" to mean the laws of physics. (Personally, I'm a Unitarian who believes in the existence of G*d/Yahweh/Allah/The Great Spirit.)

I do have a problem with the concept of the Pledge, though. It seems a bit strange, making a pledge not to a nation or a concept, but rather a flag. Yes, I follow proper flag protocol when I raise and lower the town flag, or display a flag personally -- out of honor and respect to what the flag stands for, not necessarily because I'm handling what some see as blessed woven fibers. I say the Pledge, it tends to be a rote action. When I put my hand over my heart and talk to the Stars and Stripes, I reflect on what it's like to be an American, and acknowledge my allegence to a nation and its ideals, not just a piece of cloth.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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Dan's got it right

Dan nailed it - We are reaffirming our personal civil compact with the values of democracy and freedom when we say the pledge: Not the particular landmass or fabric pattern. And including GOD is nice way of getting any existing deities on your side – not that he/she/it may care. As to myself - it all depends on what day you catch me whether I am and atheist or a Catholic or somewhere in between. I have been working on that problem since about 12. I don’t have the solution - however I have enjoyed working on the problem. Fibanaci sequences and Calibi-Yau folds in space just tend to confuse the issue. http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/009928992X/sim_b_books/026-1616957-4378812 They are both proof of a master plan and pattenly obvious prohibitors of the existance of God. What's a guy to do?

PS. If anyone out there has verifiable proof of a divine plan or deity and clear up this whole mess for me without using the word faith in the construct of the logical proof, I'd be interested in hearing it. It sure would save me a lot of time reading, praying, meditating and philosophizing. I could use that spare time for other things. Depending on the answer, I’m either going in to deep prayer or some serious hedonistic thrills.

One thing I am certain of; two 19 year olds on bicycles are not going to deliver divine truth to me at 9:00 am Saturday morining.
 

Mastiff

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To loosely quote the movie "Dogma", "No one's nailed it yet..."

El Guapo said:
Dan nailed it - We are reaffirming our personal civil compact with the values of democracy and freedom when we say the pledge: Not the particular landmass or fabric pattern. And including GOD is nice way of getting any existing deities on your side – not that he/she/it may care.
No, I disagree. I think the values of democracy and freedom are far removed for religion, and the separation of church and state should be held in high regard. Those values, to me, reflect the good in mankind, and not any religion.

Dan says he has no problem with the wording, because ""God" isn't necessarily the Judeo-Christian concept of a bearded white guy on a throne in the clouds -- it's the things and ideals that drive and guide you." But, if you look into the matter at hand, this was added to the pledge for reasons that make me cringe. Read up on the McCarthy era (assuming you have not), and you'll find that "god" was a big hammer used to do some dispicable things to people... often very good people.

Also, you make a very bold statement when you say "under god"... What if the diety you claim as your own finds you highly presumptuous, and decides a good kick in the fanny is in order? And, along that line, the foul excuses for human beings that flew planes into buildings claim... that god is on their side. Hence, people who act "in the name of god" scare the living daylights out of me...

El Guapo said:
PS. If anyone out there has verifiable proof of a divine plan or deity and clear up this whole mess for me without using the word faith in the construct of the logical proof, I'd be interested in hearing it. It sure would save me a lot of time reading, praying, meditating and philosophizing. I could use that spare time for other things. Depending on the answer, I’m either going in to deep prayer or some serious hedonistic thrills.
Go with the latter... it's worked very well for me so far. And Jefe? The whole concept of "god" is based on faith... If it weren't, why wouldn't a diety craving worship and such simply come on down and show itself?

El Guapo said:
One thing I am certain of; two 19 year olds on bicycles are not going to deliver divine truth to me at 9:00 am Saturday morining.
Heh heh... I sic my girl on those fellows. I pull up a chair, pop a beer, and watch her rip their arguments to shreds. They seem to be avoiding my house these days.
 

el Guapo

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28
Yea, but...

Agreed, secular humanism is not the evil the religious tend to make it out to be. I agree that we can celebrate human goodness without always dragging a God into the fray.

And, granted -Joe McCarty was an ass. But that era was filled with people that really tried hard, through surreptitious means, to establish communism in the US. Some sold our nuclear and other life endangering secrets to the Russians. This endangered members of our armed forces, some of whom were family members of mine. Of the major combatants in World War II the only ones that didn’t kill millions of civilians were the Democratic and Capitalist Allies. Uncle Joe wasn’t a nice fellow. And the Viet Cong were not nice happy smiling peasants either. Cambodia anyone? I know this is not a popular idea in our “acceptance/diversity for diversity's sake climate”, but I'm all about persecuting commies. They want to enslave me. I don’t want to work for the benefit of others – especially communists. What with the drab clothes, tacky art, turnip based diets, and the constant work songs? The fewer commies that exist – like small pox bacteria - the better IMO. I personally spent several years keeping socialist Western Europe safe from the ravages of communism. So, I have earned my “better dead than red” credentials.

And I believe in the separation of church and state, as you do. I just don’t believe it has to be as quite as sterile a separation as the ACLU wants. It’s just not realistic. Even on my worst atheist days, I believe we are a kinder people living a religiously inspired ethos. If they put “under god” in the pledge to upset the red menace – It doesn’t make me as uncomfortable as telling me I have to approve of the drivel taught to my child by the government education hegemony in a value and judgment-free environment.

As to Gods, who can predict what makes them happy? A plethora of Pinatas?
 
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Mastiff

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7,181
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Indeed... and further...

El Guapo said:
And the Viet Cong were not nice happy smiling peasants either. Cambodia anyone? I know this is not a popular idea in our “acceptance/diversity for diversity's sake climate”, but I'm all about persecuting commies. They want to enslave me. I don’t want to work for the benefit of others – especially communists. What with the drab clothes, tacky art, turnip based diets, and the constant work songs? The fewer commies that exist – like small pox bacteria - the better IMO. I personally spent several years keeping socialist Western Europe safe from the ravages of communism. So, I have earned my “better dead than red” credentials.
That'd reinforce my point that "god on your side" doesn't always add up! We got our butts kicked in Vietnam... Of course, I don't think the powers ever wanted to really win, but that's another story.

Also, I think having my great-grandfather murdered in front of his wife and kids by Commies earns me the BDTR badge... Besides, he had millions stolen that would now be mine! Mine! Mine! (See? I'm a true capitalist.) My point was never, and will never, be that communism is a good thing, but I'm happy it failed on its own merits. The point was more of a "the ends don't always justify the means" type thing. If it were only a couple words in a pledge, no big deal, but to me it's more.

El Guapo said:
And I believe in the separation of church and state, as you do. I just don’t believe it has to be as quite as sterile a separation as the ACLU wants. It’s just not realistic. Even on my worst atheist days, I believe we are a kinder people living a religiously inspired ethos. If they put “under god” in the pledge to upset the red menace – It doesn’t make me as uncomfortable as telling me I have to approve of the drivel taught to my child by the government education hegemony in a value and judgment-free environment.
You hit that one on the screws... I saw a bumper sticker that said, "As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools". As amusing as it is, it's true. I don't really care if they want to pray! Even at my council meeting its fine... just don't you dare say I have to do the same! Personally, I don't feel I need "gods guidance" to plan for the city. Besides... as a planner, I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't.

Oh, but I'm not sure that a "religiously inspired ethos" is all that desireable. While it can inspire people to great things, it can also be debilitating and harmful, especially taken to extremes. There is a certain good in people, and that is what makes living with one another tolerable... of course, evil is out there, too.

El Guapo said:
As to Gods, who can predict what makes them happy? A plethora of Pinatas?
Jefe? What is a plethora?
 
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el Guapo

Capitalist
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Plethora, we don't need a stinking Plethora.

No! I hate commies more than you! ;-)

"Carmen, do you know what foreplay is? "
"No?"
"Good, El Guapo doesn't either."
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
No way!

El Guapo said:
No! I hate commies more than you! ;-)
Oh right! Like it was the COMMIES that made you a poor lowly planner! Uh huh... Well, they did it to me! ;o)

El Guapo said:
"Carmen, do you know what foreplay is? "
"No?"
"Good, El Guapo doesn't either."
"I suppose you could say that everyone has an El Guapo. For some, shyness may be an El Guapo. For others, lack of education may be an El Guapo. But for us, El Guapo is a large ugly man who wants to kill us!"
 
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