My Interview on Hannity & Colmes re the Decalogue

Here is the video on YouTube.


I wanted to point out a couple of things about the interview that were misleading and need clarification:
  1. I was contacted by FoxNews and asked if I would be willing to do this segment. I was not involved in any way with this story before, or besides, this small interview.
  2. I am not a lawyer, although they pitted me against one and tacitly framed me that way.
  3. The name of our group was mangled by Sean. It's the "Atheist, Agnostic and Freethinking Student Association" at UF. Oh well...
  4. I have never been to Dixie County (map) before last night. I have never spoken with anyone from Dixie County about the issue before last night. Thus, I am not "actively soliciting" any lawsuits. However, I would like to see someone from the area with the courage to challenge this illegal action on the part of the Dixie County Board of Commissioners.
  5. Sean said it was different than AL, and more "in keeping with" the KY and TX cases, although the KY and AL cases are almost identical here, and the judges ruled those displays unconstiutional, and had them removed. As I pointed out, the TX case involved multiple other monuments, and so it functioned in a true historic/sentimental way and not in the way this monument functions here -- as an endorsement.
  6. The Establishment Clause is best understood by the Lemon Test. This situation fails the test on obvious grounds, and by recent precedents in Alabama (Roy Moore case fell into the same district as ours -- the 11th Federal District -- and so the precedent here is unequivocal), Kentucky and Texas. For more background, see AL, KY and TX.
  7. I got in the little quip, "It'd make it illegal..." when Joey defended that the monument wouldn't make the community worse. It might've been hard to hear because all 3 of us were talking.
  8. Keeping the government religion-neutral is not "anti-religion".
  9. The 10 Commandments are unequivocally a religious endorsement of the Judeo-Christian worldview. Tell me what secular purpose the first four commandments serve? How are they consonant with our principles of democracy and freedom of religion? What about the name of YHWH in commandment 3? If the left tablet was gone, and the inscription at the bottom, there would be no controversy whatsoever, I am willing to bet.
  10. How would you feel if they put up a monument to Islam, or to Buddha?
  11. Read this for clear logical arguments against this sort of endorsement of religion (10 Commandments displays).
  12. I have no legal standing, nor real problem with generic "God" references, and while I wish the government would stay completely God-neutral, I would happily settle for it being religion-neutral. I would never bring a suit to remove "In God We Trust" or "Under God", although I disagree with the motives of putting them on our currency after the Civil War, and in our pledge during the Red Scare, respectively. Our Founders chose a secular motto for a good reason -- e pluribus unum.
  13. I really think that the sorts of people who want these affronts to judicial authority imposed are weak in their faith. They require the imprimatur of the government to help them believe. Although their believing ancestors were able to multiply and grow amidst various pagan and secular and extra-Christian governments throughout history, modern "born-agains" are apparently unable to comprehend why that is. They are also typically the types who are ignorant of the serious religious outcry against the secular Constitution, when it was written. I'm glad that our Founders had more brains, courage, and faith than these weak-kneed Evangelicals.
  14. The minutes of the Jan 19 meeting of the Board contains the following damning paraphrase/summaries, indicating they expect and are "bold" enough to do this despite the legality:
    Commissioner Driggers had a call from a resident who would like to see the Ten Commandments on the steps of the Courthouse. He wanted to know if the Board is bold enough to do this.

    All members agreed that they would like to see this accomplished.

    Attorney Lander stated that he will defend any law suits for free.

    Motion by Commissioner Land, seconded by Commissioner Valentine and carried to go ahead with having the Ten Commandments placed on the front of the courthouse steps.
  15. Although Joey Lander may be willing to defend the case for free, the county is certainly going to have to pay the legal fees of the ACLU or whomever takes the case. That sort of absurdity is a slap in the face to anyone who wants to use religion (and resources) for good. Rather than the county being able to use those funds to give back to their constitutents, they will piss them away on this religio-political nonsense. This sort of thing touches on the question I asked a while back -- what is the real agenda of the RR, versus Evangelicals generally?
  16. Read the Alligator article and the Gainesville Sun article for more.
  17. I'm sure this is the end of my involvement. I won't be commenting much more, aside from replies to comments here and at other sites about me or the interview. I've already gotten a lot of feedback from friends and family. Some positive, some negative.
  18. I really enjoyed the short segment, but I strongly recommend to everyone that they do more reading and less Primetime "infotainment-type" TV news watching. You never get the details, the understanding of the legal issues, etc., from sound bytes and talking points. Also, if you ever do something like this, go in prepared with quips and sound bytes, and expect to be misrepresented by those who strongly disagree with you (Sean Hannity).
Feel free to email me. Thanks for reading :)
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Cross-posted to: AAFSA, GBLoGBB, DC, Ex-Xian

12 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

Congratulations Daniel. You had your 15 minutes of fame!

Daniel said...

More like 5 ;-)

Dave Armstrong said...

National TV! Pretty cool.

I noticed that they spelled "adultry" wrong on the monument. LOL

Glenn Dixon said...

Frank said Morgan knows that practically everybody is open to the public display at the county courthouse. It was fair, legal, and democratic.

Legal? Well, yeah, except for that part about violating the Constitution.....

I note with interest that several of those things the Hebrews were commanded to NOT do are perfectly legal here in the United States. Doesn't displaying them at the front of the courthouse imply that the people of that county treat them as law? Don't the very large capital letters at the bottom stating "LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS" reinforce this notion?

How long before the county passes laws against coveting, lying, and mowing the lawn on Sundays?

Anonymous said...

"How long before the county passes laws against coveting, lying, and mowing the lawn on Sundays? "

Great point, Glenn! Those crazy fundamentalist Christians and their lunatic laws, WHEN WILL THE PERSECUTION OF FREETHINKERS EVER END???????

"Doesn't displaying them at the front of the courthouse imply that the people of that county treat them as law? Don't the very large capital letters at the bottom stating "LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS" reinforce this notion?"

It does indeed! That is exactly what it implies. One of the judges may see the laws on display in front of the courtroom and decide to start chucking atheists in jail left, right, and center.

Imagine how hard it would be to enforce laws against lying! The costs of policing it would be disastrous to the American economy sending it spiralling into debt to the Arab nations. They could use their new found stranglehold over the Western world to procure nukes and bomb us into oblivion! We could all die!!!!

Free thinking - hey, it's free!

Glenn Dixon said...

Dear anonymous,

Nice example of 'over-the-top' reaction, but seriously - I wasn't implying (as I'm sure you know) that freethinkers are being persecuted. My comment about law-passing was somewhere between rhetorical and tongue-in-cheek. I wasn't worried about atheists going to jail either. But if I *were* on trial in that county I'd have a hard time believing I could find an unbiased jury with THAT on the courthouse steps, especially if I were of some other faith (or of NO particular faith).

Gregfl said...

Great Job on that hate show, Hannity & colmes. Daniel, you did a great job. I assume you are ignoring the hate monger-christians that are trying to poke fun at your appearance. They have nothing to criticise you for, so they go after your television voice.

You were professional and presented your case very well. Congrats again.

Daniel said...

Thanks, Greg.

I am indeed ignoring the troll that lingers about our hallowed halls ;-)

Bill Snedden said...

All I can say, Daniel, is that you have a lot more forbearance than I. I can't even listen to Hannity's smarmy, self-righteous voice without retching. Thanks for taking such an ugly job and making the best of it!

Krystalline Apostate said...

Daniel:
So you're a celebrity now? Can I get your autograph? ;)
I rather liked Hannity's question: will it have any benefit?
I was rather surprised: I'd always thought Hannity was the token liberal.

Dave:
I noticed that they spelled "adultry" wrong on the monument.
That's incredibly amusing.

Daniel said...

KA,

Celebrity? Oh I wish. That was just my 5 mins of fame, I'm afraid. But hey, I love my fans ;-)

It was actually Colmes who asked that. Hannity is the large guy with the loud voice, Colmes is little and has glasses.

I like Colmes as an individual, but he's a pretty poor representation of the left, IMHO. Obviously, he is hardly the most photogenic/TV-worthy face, and he isn't aggressive enough to match up with Hannity well.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Daniel:
It was actually Colmes who asked that. Hannity is the large guy with the loud voice, Colmes is little and has glasses.
Oops, that's who I meant. My bad.
I like Colmes as an individual, but he's a pretty poor representation of the left, IMHO.
That was the general impression I received from the DVD 'Outfoxed'.
Rupert Murdoch sure has a lot to answer for.