Category Archives: Pastafarians

Summum Trolls the Supreme Court

(Cross post from ChaoSkeptic:

Some time later on this spring the Supreme Court of the United States will hear the rather interesting case of Pleasant Grove City (Utah) vs. Summum. For those who have never heard of Summum, they are a religious group based in Salt Lake City founded by a man named “Corky” Ra. It’s sort of Gnosticism meets Mormonism meets Scientology. Weird but mostly harmless.

Back in 2003 they petitioned the government of Pleasant Grove, Utah to ask if they could erect a monument to their “Seven Aphorisms of Summum” next to a thirty year old monument of the Ten Commandments in the city park. The city, of course, said no and Corky, of course, filed a law suit saying that his free speech rights had been violated. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit agreed with Corky, stating that since the park is a public forum and that the Ten Commandment monument was private speech from the original donor Corky is allowed to erect his monument. The city appealed it to the highest court in the land which that brings us around to today.

Interestingly enough, Pleasant Grove is being represented by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice, a right wing Christian group that has often fights against the separation of church and state. I say interesting because the ACLJ is going against their usual argument that religious groups should have equal access to public property. They are actually arguing that the original Ten Commandments monument government speech rather than private speech and that the park isn’t a public forum. This means if they win there would be a precendent in the legal system saying that monuments on public property is government speech and every single Ten Commandments monument in America would be subject to removal.

However, if Summum wins it could also be a huge win for all minority religions and irreligions. All public property that currently has a religious monument on it could be considered an open forums that would have to accept almost any religious monument. Discordians could argument for a monument to the Law of Fives. The Pastafarians could argue for even more Flying Spaghetti Monster statues. Atheist could ask for a monument to… um… nothing? It would be just like the chaos in the Washington state capitol last December times several thousand. Sounds like a great idea for a GASM to me.

John Gray kicks up a storm at Comment is Free

While some of you may remember that I was not totally impressed with the conclusion to John Gray’s book, Black Mass, I nevertheless found it a good and enjoyable read, which tied up the links between utopianism, religion, the Enlightenment and secular extremist movements rather well. Gray’s got a lot of perspective in his worldview, which I like. He instinctively understands both the historical context of the movements and how that applies when considered in the current context of events.

Which is why I am enjoying his book review/Comment is Free article. Gray committed the hideous crime of knocking down a few New Atheist sacred cows, and so the usual suspects have come running, howling and moaning with their usual strawmen about atheist inspired terrorism, totally ignoring the context of the argument or addressing any of the issues.

I have yet to see a commenter actually address his point about repressed religion being much like repressed sexuality, or the origins of secular liberalism being tied into the history of Christianity, and Nietzsche’s critical attacks on this. I have yet to see someone either deny that belief in such secular follies as free markets, global revolution or the global spread of democracy and progress are any less ridiculous than belief in a god, or try to claim they are in some way different.

Sure, the comments page may be filled with 300+ screaming monkeys trying to make Gray look like an idiot, but if they think they succeeded in this task, they’re only fooling themselves.

Even a committed agnostic such as myself can take pleasure in such a spectacle.