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Scoot's Blog

Tune in to "The Scoot Show" for lively, candid discussions about news, politics and culture with WWL's "Radical Moderate!"

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Twitter: @scootwwl
Email: scoot@wwl.com
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Posts from April 2014


Scoot: Does the death penalty diminish us as a society?
On the death gurney, last night, Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett was described as writhing uncontrollably and clenching his teeth in apparent agony after he was injected with the death drugs. Lockett ultimately died from a heart attack about 45 minutes after the first injection.
 
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ordered an investigation into the botched execution, along with a 14-day stay of execution for a second death row inmate, Charles Warner, who was scheduled to be executed shortly after Lockett.
 
The execution-gone-bad, combined with a growing controversy over lethal drugs used to execute inmates and a new study showing that 1 out of 25 death row inmates is innocent brings new attention to the debate over the death penalty.
 
The assumption is that the death penalty is the ultimate punishment and prevents a convicted criminal from committing another crime, but there are conflicting studies about whether death penalty as punishment actually deters crime in America.
 
The United States is 1 or 22 countries that reported executions in 2013 and is the only country in the Americas to execute a prisoner.
 
New statistics from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that about 4% of death sentences are based on erroneous evidence – that’s about 1 out of 25 prisoners or about 120 of the approximately 3,000 death row inmates in America.
 
For the longest time – I was a strong supporter of the death penalty. But after watching the documentary “Execution,” which followed a Louisiana death row inmate to his execution, my support of the death penalty changed. Even the prison warden admitted that he reluctantly oversaw the execution.
 
My opinion of the death penalty changed because I realized that killing a person during a crime or in defense of life or property was different from the calculated killing at the hands of the human beings in charge of a civilized society.
 
I understand the argument that a person convicted of a vicious murder deserves the fate of his victim. However, there should be something humanely unsettling about the methodical killing of another human being in a sterile environment. I also understand that argument that horrible killings are not erased when a prisoner changes or “discovers God” while sitting in prison.
 
Dr. Keith Ablow – Fox News contributor – writes in his article at FoxNews.com, “God was in the execution changer with Clayton Lockett. He pulled back the curtain and let America see, at least this once, the ugliness and defeatism and sadism of the death penalty.”  As a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Ablow argues that “When a society has a person under lock and key and can keep him under lock and key, but decides that it wishes, instead, to kill that person, the society diminishes itself. Every time.”
 
And that is the epiphany I reached in my soul searching about the death penalty.
 
Because the act of murder in our civilized society is so horrific and senseless - it is extremely difficult to forgive those who commit that act and those human struggles to forgive are forgivable. Anyone found guilty of murder no longer deserves to be part of that civilized society, but the death penalty is, in fact, the premeditated act of taking a human life in a controlled setting.
 
Dr. Ablow says, that “no doctor who attends an execution and administers a lethal dose of ‘medication’ is someone I am willing to address as ‘Doctor.’” He also points out that if we “kill killers,” we do not separate ourselves from the killers.
 
Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, the debate over executions in the United States has escalated. Is the death penalty punishment that deters crime or is it punishment that manifests society’s revenge?
 
Since there is not consensus that the death penalty deters crime – then support of the death penalty is based on revenge. Should a civilized society allow revenge killing?
 
If it is estimated that 120 of the nearly 3,000 currently on death row in America is innocent – wouldn’t it be better to make certain that no innocent person dies – even if it means the guilty do not face the ultimate fate of death?
 (84) Comments




 
Scoot: Stop defending Sterling's racism with your excuses
There is ironic justice in the NBA banning Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the Clippers’ games for life, since the punishment resulted from him telling his girlfriend not to bring blacks to his games.
 
READ MORE: NBA bans Clippers owner for life

Sterling’s own demand that certain people not attend Clippers games with his girlfriend led to the NBA demanding that he not attend Clippers games – or any NBA related meetings or functions. The NBA also fined Sterling $2.5 million, which relative to the value of the team and his worth is minor, but the maximum fine allowed by the NBA.
 
The toughest part of the NBA’s punishment of Sterling for making racist comments will probably be the blow to his ego. Men, like Donald Sterling, do not like to be told what to do and that’s exactly what the NBA did. The NBA publically humiliated Sterling.
 
Sterling, who owns rental property, was fined by the federal government for refusing to rent property to blacks. His comment about how he gives blacks, his players, houses, cars, etc. reveals the mentality of a man who feels as if he owns and controls people through his wealth. He has now learned that he doesn’t own and control everyone.
 
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban were among the NBA owners who totally supported the NBA’s harsh punishment of Sterling.
 
The sad reality in the overall reaction to Donald Sterling’s racist rant is the support some people have expressed for Sterling. Some defend what he said by saying that people like Spike Lee, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson do the same thing in reverse. Lee, Sharpton and Jackson have agendas to advance acceptance and equality for blacks and that could lead to statements that might be perceived as racist against whites, but just jumping to the excuse that others do the same thing is a way of supporting Sterling’s racist rant. 

READ MORE: Kristian: Sterling got what was coming, good riddance
 
One of the first things that must happen if America is going to have an honest conversation about race is that whites cannot assume they understand what it is like being black in America. Though much has changed over the years, even young generations of blacks in America today have grown up with stories from their grandparents about a time when blacks were segregated from society. Racial persecution does not disappear when laws change. There are still many aspects of institutionalized racism in America. Unfortunately, many white Americans have a chip on their shoulder and do not make an effort to try to understand life from beyond their perspective. 
 
Today, there is too much score keeping when it comes to race.  If “blacks say the same things” then why is only the white man condemned? If blacks can use the “N-word” then why can’t whites?" If there is a "Miss Black America beauty pageant then why isn’t there a Miss White America pageant?"

READ MORE: Twitter reaction to Sterling ban swift and immediate

The ignorance of those comparisons is revealing. Because of the way blacks were treated in America, there was a need for a Miss Black America beauty pageant, and yet, for many, that is a convenient way to point out reverse discrimination. And the truth is – the Miss Black America beauty pageant doesn’t impact white America – so why is there concern over its existence at all?
 
When it comes to words – the source of the words – the messenger is always a factor to be considered. Because of America’s history of the mistreatment of blacks, the “N-word” or comments about race will always be perceived differently coming from a white American. That may not be fair, but since we are humans and not robots or computers, we interpret the things humans say.
 
This is easily explained through an example using stand-up comedy. A thin, well-fit comedian making jokes about fat people is perceived differently than a fat comedian making jokes about that group that he is part of. I once judged a stand-up comedy contest with a young, white comedian saying derogatory things about black culture. The mostly white audience was so uncomfortable that the comedian left the stage before finishing his routine in total embarrassment. If Chris Rock had said the same things, they would have been funny. My point is, the messenger is part of the message’s content.
 
It may not be fair that the source of words matters as it does – but that is a human reality that will never change.
 
Before you defend the racist rant by Clippers owner Donald Sterling by saying that others like Sharpton and Jackson say the same kind of things in reverse – think about your own personal reaction to the source of words spoken to you.
 
One more thing about Sterling’s rant. He told his girlfriend not to bring blacks to his games or to post pictures of her with blacks on Instagram for everyone to see because he didn’t want to get any phone calls. That means Sterling associates with a lot of people who are just like him! 
 
Putting down others is a cheap way to make some individuals feel better about themselves!
 (34) Comments




 
Scoot: Sterling's rant reminds us that racism is still alive
Ignorant expressions of racism are still alive! Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, is accused of telling his one-time girlfriend, V. Stiviano not to bring blacks to his games and to stop posting pictures with blacks on Instagram. If you haven't yet, listen to the conversation between Sterling and Stiviano below, courtesy of TMZ.

 
Outrage to the comments was immediate and widespread. Michael Jordan and LeBron James were only two of countless NBA and former NBA players that condemned the comments by Sterling.
 
President Obama said, “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.”
 
State Farm, KIA, CarMax and Virgin American were among the major sponsors that immediatly pulled their sponsorship deals with the Clippers.
 
It is perplexing that anyone in 2014, but especially someone who so benefits from the hard work of his black players, would have such a prejudiced mentality. During the conversation on tape he defends how he feels about blacks by telling his girlfriend that he gives the black players on the Clippers their cars, homes and money – almost suggesting that he owns them.
 
The Clippers are in the playoffs, and lost a game last night to the Golden State Warriors. With the series tied at 2-2, Chris Paul and the Clippers return home to play game 5 against the Warriors Tuesday night. Several hours prior to the game, the NBA is expected to make an announcement about its investigation of the alleged racist tirade.. Apparently, there are limits to what action the league can take against one of its owners.
 
Some have said they are not surprised by Sterling’s racist attitude and say it reveals his true character.  How sad.
 
The first thing that comes to my mind is the statement this incident makes about the desire for money. Donald Sterling apparently had a girlfriend and a wife. Did the wife stay with him because she didn’t want to lose her plush existence? And was the very attractive and much younger girlfriend just with a paunchy, older rich man because he has money?
 
Many women will sacrifice looks and infidelity for money – the key word being “sacrifice!”  During the conversation in which Sterling allegedly criticized his girlfriend for promoting her association with blacks, there were times that she says she is sorry for making him angry and what can she do to make things better. His girlfriend is black and Mexican – why would she have a relationship with a racist?  Does money trump mentality?
 
I grew up as part of a generation that criticized the Establishment and stood for equality. It is always embarrassing to discover another member of that generation that continues to promote a racist mentality.
 
Ironically, Donald Sterling was set to be given a lifetime achievement award by the NAACP in Los Angeles – he will no longer receive the award.
 
And before fans condemn the apparent racist mentality of the team’s owner – they need to ask themselves how much respect they give black people who are not in uniforms. I’m sure there are many fans of the Clippers and even the Saints, who do not see color when blacks are wearing their team’s uniform, but are racists at heart.
 
I disagree with conservative pundit Bill Kristol, who said Sunday on “This Week” that while the comments were “bigoted,”  the reaction has been “hysterical.” Reaction to blatant racism is never hysterical. In 2014, the racist mentality of a wealthy white man who bases part of his fortune on hiring blacks is simply ignorant and unacceptable.
 
If we have learned anything as a country, we have learned that it is wrong to judge a person by the color of their skin. There is absolutely no justification for the judgment of blacks and anyone who judges an individual by the color of skin reveals a deep-rooted insecurity within themselves.
 
The good news is – we may not be able to pass laws that ban racism – but allowing unbridled freedom of expression is a great way to expose the ignorant.
 (12) Comments




 
Scoot: Is the power of the Pope in the robes or the man?
I’m Catholic and I’m confused!
 
Pope Francis told a Catholic woman who is married to a divorced man that she is welcome to take Holy Communion and that her parish priest was wrong to deny her communion.
 
Jacqui Lisbona wrote a letter to Pope Francis telling him that the priest at her church told her that every day she was “living in sin” and he refused to give her communion. Pope Francis called the woman and told her that she is free to take communion, but that goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church, which says that those who are divorced or married to a divorced person are not welcome to communion unless the original marriage has been annulled. This has been a rule many Catholics worldwide have vehemently disagreed with and has caused many to leave the church.
 
Does the Pope telling a Catholic woman married to a divorced man that she is welcome to take communion indicate that the Catholic Church is changing church doctrine? The Vatican has issued a statement saying no!
 
The Vatican statement read in part, “That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope of personal relationships, and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion.”
 
The Vatican is trying to say that if Pope Francis has a personal conversation with an individual – whatever is said in that personal conversation has no bearing on the church or Catholic Doctrine. But that leaves only one obvious conclusion – the power of the pope lies in his robes and not in the man.
 
Again I say – I am a Catholic and I love going to church – but I do not agree with all of the actions and teachings of the church.  Many Catholics have been alienated by some of the man-made rules that seem to contradict the spirit of what we have been taught about an understanding and forgiving God.
 
From the beginning of his reign as Pope, Francis has made controversial statements, including statements about accepting gay priests and that atheists can have a path to Heaven. When the pope, who is the leader of the Catholic Church, tells a Catholic that she is welcome to communion even if she is married to a divorced man and the Vatican quickly responds by distancing church teaching from what the pope says in a personal conversation, it is easy to get the impression that the Catholic Church is more interested in rules than in humanity.
 
If what Pope Francis says in a personal conversation is not congruent with Catholic teachings and the Vatican dismisses what the Pope said, then the power of the pope lies not in the man – but only in the superficial robes he wears. This mentality further exposes the Catholic Church’s desire to control its flock with an abundance of rules set by the hierarchy of the Church.
 
It is almost as if the church rules are more important than what is in the best interest of the congregation. The manner in which the Catholic Church has handled the countless cases of sex abuse by priests is another example that protecting the Catholic Church is more important than doing what is right. Moving priests the church knew were sexually molesting young boys to different parishes and working to keep those horrific sins a secret from parishioners and law enforcement served only to protect the Church and not the congregation of humanity.
 
If Pope Francis told you something in a private conversation – would you accept what the Pope told you – or would you reject what he said and revert to the man-made laws of the church?
 
The Vatican’s dismissal of Pope Francis telling a Catholic women married to a divorced man that she is welcome to take Holy Communion confirms what so many have come to believe – the Catholic Church is a bureaucratic institution and not a living body made up of human beings.

Photo via PBoGS, Flickr
 (25) Comments
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Topics: Religion_Belief
Social:
People: FrancisJacqui Lisbona




 
Scoot: Is Louisiana moral or moronic?
The actions of state legislatures define the mentality of a state, and a few of the issues the Louisiana Legislature has dealt with in this session beg the question – is Louisiana moral or moronic?

A bill that would have lessened the penalties for pot possession was rejected, which gives Louisiana the distinction of being among the remaining states with the stiffest penalties for even simple possession of marijuana.

Another bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against gay employees was pulled from consideration because of the projected lack of votes for passage.

And Louisiana made national news this week when the legislature refused to pass a bill that would have removed the unconstitutional law that bans sodomy from the books.

Even though the bill that would have made the Bible the official state book was rejected, the fact that the idea came from an elected official in the state was an embarrassment.

Louisiana is a state with a diverse culture and uniquely historic traditions and citizens are rightfully proud of their state – but Louisiana is part of the United States of America and cannot live in political isolation. 

The argument will be made that Louisiana has strong moral values and refuses to follow changing national trends on issues, like legalizing pot and gay equality.  But defying established legal precedent is ignorant, and potentially costly to a state dealing with chronic financial shortcomings.

Governments and individuals should not sacrifice morality for convenience, but the justification behind using legislation to promote morality is shrouded in hypocrisy.  People have a tendency to harshly judge the sins that are not their sins.  Condemnation of pot use is supported by people who abuse alcohol or prescription meds, and those who condemn homosexuality as a clearly defined sin in the Bible are more accepting of the sins they and their families and friends commit.

Ignorance surrounding the ban on sodomy in the state abounds.  Sodomy is not exclusive to gay sex and yet, it is used to condemn gay sex and gay marriage.  Furthermore, the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that any ban on sodomy is unconstitutional.  That makes Louisiana’s law completely meaningless – but it remains on the books.

If our system of government in America has taught us anything – it has taught us that we can’t “legislate morality,” and yet, state representatives seem prone to ignore the law and arguably, the Constitution in their attempts to uphold specific religious and moral beliefs.

Like every state, Louisiana is made up of regions with strongly differing opinions and contrasting ideas and that always leads to hotly contested legislative battles.  The attitude about many issues in New Orleans is completely different from the attitude in the Bible Belt region of the state – but all areas of the state are ruled by the same legislature.

Issues that deal with equality or the sensible reassessment of marijuana in American society supersede a state’s morals and should be addressed with respect for the law and the Constitution.  I am certain those who oppose same-sex marriage would love to find a place in the Constitution that would make it unconstitutional, but it is the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s rulings that actually support same-sex marriage.

I can honestly say, “I love Louisiana!”  It’s a beautiful state and I have had the opportunity to live in beautiful states across the country.  I’ve lived on beautiful water in Miami and San Diego, I’ve lived in areas overlooking mountains and seen snow-capped peaks year around, I’ve lived in historic buildings and viewed the four seasons from my window - but in coming back to New Orleans I have come to see the majestic beauty of this state. 

The moss that drips from towering oak tress, the stoic cypress trees embedded in the swamps that are home to a diversity of wildlife, the architecture and history of small Louisiana towns that seem protected from the modern world, and the ultimate uniqueness of the mystic French Quarter are all things to appreciate and treasure about our state. 

The post-Katrina buildup of New Orleans continues and with it a migration of new people to the area who are contributing to a new direction for New Orleans and Louisiana.  But we will not advance this state forward as long as we have mentally crippled voters and legislators that continue to defy logic and a changing social and political landscape.

The actions of this legislative session make it easy to define Louisiana as moronic – not moral.

Do you agree?
 (7) Comments
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Topics: Social Issues
Social:
Locations: LouisianaMiamiNew OrleansSan Diego




 
Scoot: Don't blame the TV for your bad choices
TV smoking influences adult tobacco use, study says” was the headline of a story at FOXNews.com.  This is another headline that is totally deceiving, because that’s not what the study showed.

The lead author of the study, Patrick E. Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, was quoted saying, “Movie tobacco cues promoting smoking initiation in teens have been extensively covered in the literature, but this [study] emphasizes that TV programming-promoted tobacco has been understudied and may be important as well.”  That statement says nothing about smoking in movies or on TV actually leading to an increase in smoking in the real world.

In the same article, Kristin Carson, senior medical research scientist for respiratory medicine at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia said, “There is a concern that seeing smoking on TV may cause adults to both re-start smoking after they have quit and keep them from quitting.”  The word that cannot be ignored is “may” – that word only suggests a possibility. It does not establish any direct link between smoking in entertainment and smoking in the real world.

It is common practice for the news media and for researchers to draw conclusions from research that has not actually been proven by the research for the purpose of attracting the attention of the public, or to satisfy what can be a predetermined conclusion.   For example, money may have been provided for the research on the influence of smoking on TV as part of an effort to blame smoking on TV for encouraging smoking!  

After the re-election of President Reagan in the mid-80s, Attorney General Ed Meese set up a commission to study the effects of pornography on society with the predetermined goal of finding that pornography inspires deviant behavior.  The conclusion of the Meese Commission Report established a direct link between pornography and deviant behavior, but it was soon revealed that the report actually failed to establish that direct link, and the report was a payback to the Religious Right for helping get Reagan re-elected.
 
To suggest that smoking scenes on TV and in movies encourage people to smoke based on the visual reference to smoking is a convenient ploy to attract the attention of an audience through a preconceived and simplistic theory: that we are all victims of anything we are exposed too.

If an individual can be inspired to smoke by the sight of smoking on the big or small screen, and if it is important to censor all smoking scenes, then it would also be important to prevent anyone from seeing anyone smoking in public.

From 1955 to 1964 there was an average of about three smoking scenes per hour in primetime.  Between 2001 and 2010 the number declined to less than one every three hours.  Smoking on television has decreased and I don’t see signs of gratuitous smoking on television, but the frequent smoking that appears in a series like “Mad Men” reflects the authenticity of the era. 

Reruns of sitcoms, like “The Andy Griffith Show” and “I Love Lucy” continue to air with numerous smoking scenes.  I doubt that either of those shows is targeted for criticism.

As a society, we have been conditioned to blame our negative behavior, including bad habits and addictions, on the outside influences of television and movies, which feeds into a general hysteria in America.  To blame smoking on a TV show suggests that we are not accountable for our actions, which supports the growing loss of respect for personal accountability in this country.  If something bad happens or if my actions are wrong – it’s not my fault!

We get ideas from television and movies, but I don’t believe entertainment can make us do something we are not already considering.  Television and movies do not make you do something you really don’t want to do.

Television and movies give us ideas, but I don’t think either can be directly blamed for our negative actions.  We have the power to decide what is right and what is wrong and regardless of the decision we make – we are ultimately responsible for our decisions.
 (3) Comments




 
Scoot: Respect for diversity and religious tradition
Freedom in America means freedom for all, not just for Christians.

A controversy surrounds a 19 ft. cross and a 10 ft. picture of the resurrected Christ in Chicago’s Daley Plaza this Easter weekend.  Atheist group Freedom From Religion has countered the Christian symbols with 8 ft. tall signs that focus on secularism.  One of the signs features a picture of Thomas Jefferson with the words, “In Reason We Trust.” The other sign features President John Adams with the words, “Keep State and Religion Separate.”

FOXNews.com gave the controversy the headline, “Unholy War on Easter.” FOX News has also promoted the idea that there is a “War on Christmas.” 

VIDEO: FOX News: Atheist group resurrects War on Easter

Christians should have a right to acknowledge their faith during Easter Week, or anytime for that matter. And atheists have a right to promote secularism. Freedom should not discriminate. As a Christian and an American, I am conflicted over the controversy. I respect the expression of Christian faith during religious traditions, but as an American, I respect the freedom others have to express views that differ from mine.

Let us not forget something we talk about often on “The Scoot Show” on WWL – the news media benefits from controversy. Even without the media coverage of atheists countering Christian views during Easter Week, there would be reaction, but the news media magnifies the controversy by finding guests who represent the situation in black and white terms. If we allow ourselves to get upset with a religious controversy – we need to realize that the news media is often motivated to deepen the controversy for the purpose of defining two distinct sides.

It is also important to step back and not allow the news media to brainwash us into thinking that the expression of atheist views robs us of our Christian faith – or any faith.  If the media coverage of atheist views in the face of Easter does impact your faith – I suggest that your faith may not have been that strong to begin with.

It is also fair to point out that atheists who wish to exercise their rights to freedom of expression should be respectful of Christians and other religions, and at the same time Christians should be respectful of the views they disagree with. But flaunting atheist views during Easter Week could be considered showing a lack of respect for others.

I celebrate America’s diversity and I appreciate our individual freedoms, but our respect for religious diversity is robbing us of wonderful religious traditions.

Last year, the Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Alabama has removed the word “Easter” from all Easter-related activities. Easter eggs became simply “eggs.” The Easter Bunny was just “the bunny.”

The school’s principal, Lydia Davenport, instructed her staff to no longer use the word “Easter” because it might be insensitive to others. Davenport said, “Kids love the bunny and we just make sure we don’t say ‘the Easter Bunny’ so that we don’t infringe on the rights of others because people relate the Easter Bunny to religion. A bunny is a bunny and a rabbit is a rabbit!”  Wow – what words of wisdom from a principal!

The attacks on celebrating Christmas and Halloween have been present for years, but the attack on Easter is a reminder that attempts to make America more sensitive are actually creating a soulless America.

Easter and Christmas have both religious and pagan roots, but until some people pointed that out, most of us distinguished between the religious and pagan aspects of both holidays.  Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ, has the tree, which is a pagan symbol. Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, has the bunny and the eggs.  It is possible to blend religious and pagan meanings, while also distinguishing between the two.

Acceptance of diversity in America should not mean that we dismiss the traditions that are part of the fabric of American society. Celebrating Christmas or Easter does not take away any individual’s right to recognize and celebrate their religious beliefs.  No one is denied their religious rights as a result of some religious-based celebrations and the mere celebration of Christian beliefs in schools or anywhere in public does not force religious beliefs on anyone.  Recognizing and celebrating a traditional religious date in America has gotten confused with an attempt to instill specific religious beliefs in others. 

I am a Christian and I love Easter and this time of year! Easter celebrates the joyous resurrection of Christ at a time when flowers, trees and life around us is resurrected from the winter.

In the case of Christians vs. atheists – both sides should show respect as they exercise their rights.

Happy Easter!
 (6) Comments




 
Scoot: Respect for diversity and religious tradition
Freedom in America means freedom for all, not just for Christians.

A controversy surrounds a 19 ft. cross and a 10 ft. picture of the resurrected Christ in Chicago’s Daley Plaza this Easter weekend.  Atheist group Freedom From Religion has countered the Christian symbols with 8 ft. tall signs that focus on secularism.  One of the signs features a picture of Thomas Jefferson with the words, “In Reason We Trust.” The other sign features President John Adams with the words, “Keep State and Religion Separate.”

FOXNews.com gave the controversy the headline, “Unholy War on Easter.” FOX News has also promoted the idea that there is a “War on Christmas.” 

VIDEO: FOX News: Atheist group resurrects War on Easter

Christians should have a right to acknowledge their faith during Easter Week, or anytime for that matter. And atheists have a right to promote secularism. Freedom should not discriminate. As a Christian and an American, I am conflicted over the controversy. I respect the expression of Christian faith during religious traditions, but as an American, I respect the freedom others have to express views that differ from mine.

Let us not forget something we talk about often on “The Scoot Show” on WWL – the news media benefits from controversy. Even without the media coverage of atheists countering Christian views during Easter Week, there would be reaction, but the news media magnifies the controversy by finding guests who represent the situation in black and white terms. If we allow ourselves to get upset with a religious controversy – we need to realize that the news media is often motivated to deepen the controversy for the purpose of defining two distinct sides.

It is also important to step back and not allow the news media to brainwash us into thinking that the expression of atheist views robs us of our Christian faith – or any faith.  If the media coverage of atheist views in the face of Easter does impact your faith – I suggest that your faith may not have been that strong to begin with.

It is also fair to point out that atheists who wish to exercise their rights to freedom of expression should be respectful of Christians and other religions, and at the same time Christians should be respectful of the views they disagree with. But flaunting atheist views during Easter Week could be considered showing a lack of respect for others.

I celebrate America’s diversity and I appreciate our individual freedoms, but our respect for religious diversity is robbing us of wonderful religious traditions.

Last year, the Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Alabama has removed the word “Easter” from all Easter-related activities. Easter eggs became simply “eggs.” The Easter Bunny was just “the bunny.”

The school’s principal, Lydia Davenport, instructed her staff to no longer use the word “Easter” because it might be insensitive to others. Davenport said, “Kids love the bunny and we just make sure we don’t say ‘the Easter Bunny’ so that we don’t infringe on the rights of others because people relate the Easter Bunny to religion. A bunny is a bunny and a rabbit is a rabbit!”  Wow – what words of wisdom from a principal!

The attacks on celebrating Christmas and Halloween have been present for years, but the attack on Easter is a reminder that attempts to make America more sensitive are actually creating a soulless America.

Easter and Christmas have both religious and pagan roots, but until some people pointed that out, most of us distinguished between the religious and pagan aspects of both holidays.  Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ, has the tree, which is a pagan symbol. Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, has the bunny and the eggs.  It is possible to blend religious and pagan meanings, while also distinguishing between the two.

Acceptance of diversity in America should not mean that we dismiss the traditions that are part of the fabric of American society. Celebrating Christmas or Easter does not take away any individual’s right to recognize and celebrate their religious beliefs.  No one is denied their religious rights as a result of some religious-based celebrations and the mere celebration of Christian beliefs in schools or anywhere in public does not force religious beliefs on anyone.  Recognizing and celebrating a traditional religious date in America has gotten confused with an attempt to instill specific religious beliefs in others. 

I am a Christian and I love Easter and this time of year! Easter celebrates the joyous resurrection of Christ at a time when flowers, trees and life around us is resurrected from the winter.

In the case of Christians vs. atheists – both sides should show respect as they exercise their rights.

Happy Easter!
 (16) Comments




 
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