The Feathers Are Going To Fly: Your Alternative to the Fargo Forum
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Monday, October 1, 2007
Fargo Politics: Crash goes the Monument in Fargo?
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Recently the Fargo City Commission heeded a petition drive, reversed it's earlier decision to divest itself of the Ten Commandments Monument and rejected the "gift" of the Red River Free Thinkers of a copy of a Treaty between the United States and Algiers, a Barbary state or close to it. The treaty clearly states that the United States is not a Christian country. I don't take this treaty seriously: looks like diplomacy to me, but I don't think we've heard the last of this. First, most court cases involving things like the Monument result in their removal. The court that ruled on the Fargo case based its ruling on the idea that Fargo would accept any other such monument. Even this isn't good enough for many, including me. My spiritual beliefs are mine, and I do not share them easily. I certainly don't want to build monuments to them and don't think monuments to others beliefs should be on government sites. By rejecting the Free Thinkers gift, the Commission has negated the courts reasoning, setting themselves up for another court case, unless the Free Thinkers are either tired of this or are out of money to spend on attorneys. Now, what about the Commandments themselves? I've heard two arguments for keeping it. One is that the Founding Fathers were devout Christians, the other is that the commandments are in some sense universal, applicable to everyone. I think both are rather obviously false. The inconvenient truth about the religious beliefs of our Founders is that most were Deists. At least, that's what the scholars seem to be saying. A Deist believes in a Supreme Being, but do not believe it interferes with the Universe as we know it, does not hear or answer prayers. This seems to indicate they are not Christians. I find it difficult to reconcile Deism with the public statements of many of our Founders save one: Thomas Jefferson, "that notorious Deist(Harpers)". That's good enough for me. There being no evidence that our Founders wished to found a Christian Society, that's pretty strong evidence that they didn't. With regard to who would accept the commandments, I do not think it the Governments Business to outlaw idolatry(nor are they trying to), or enforce the observance of the Sabbath, although they've tried. Since the Sabbath is not the same to everyone(in fact, most think it's Saturday), this clearly can't be done without espousing one or more religions.
A number of Fargo's leading Citizens are Hindus. US Citizens that got that way by legal means within the intent of the Constitution. Hindus believe in three gods, not one: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. I think that unless Fargo wants to offend these citizens, crash goes the monument.
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