Friday, February 05, 2016

Establishing Some But Not All Religions

The latest dust-up between church and state has occurred in Phoenix, Arizona, my old hometown.  City Council allowed various faiths to offer an opening prayer at its meetings but balked when the local Satanic Temple requested an opportunity to offer the prayer.  Suddenly, the practice didn't seem like a good idea, especially to the Christians who approve of some but not all prayer.  Council members decided to ax the whole idea of a prayer in favor of a moment of silence.

A moment of silence at the start of a city council meetingseems plenty appropriate to me.  The Christians and followers of other religious traditions can pray to their respective gods and goddesses and everyone else can use the time to reflect on their purpose in attending the meeting.  Or maybe just to think about something else altogether. 

What it all comes down to is that some prayer (read:  Christian and possibly Jewish and occasional Muslim) is acceptable.  All else is suspect. 

Some religions are apparently more privileged than others.


Monday, February 01, 2016

Suicide Sainthood

The man who said he preferred to die rather than face incarceration did just that.  Clever man that he was, LaVoy Finicum used his death to purchase a martyrhood that his fellow sagebrush rebels can use as both justification and inspiration for continuing their disruption of life in Burns, Oregon.  I can't say that he willingly planned his death but I don't put it past him.  He presented himself as a principled man, a grandfather, risking his life for his beliefs.  I won't gainsay his belief, however dubious, nor do I question his calculation so, yeah, he could have decided to take a bullet for the cause.  After all, Jesus did the same and look what that started.

Getting killed by police is pretty easy, even for a white person.  Brandishing firearms and making threats for weeks on end will make police edgy.  Trying to run a roadblock, and then dropping your hands toward a weapon that you've bragged about to the entire nation  is guaranteed to elicit an armed response.  A man who wanted to live would have raised his hands well into the air and frozen in place as soon as he exited the truck.  Instead, he taunted the beast and died.

Maybe Finicum wasn't that clever but he got what he said he wanted.  His fellows have another grievance to stoke their anger and challenge the government.  I don't doubt that Finicum would approve.