I’m always a little disappointed when I read a Selwyn Duke column and notice that he hasn’t really done a very good job of controlling flakes and itching, nor has he successfully made my scalp tingle. Then I realize that I have, once again, confused him with the dandruff shampoo Selsun Blue, which inevitably makes me feel bad, because the latter contains the active ingredient doctors recommend most; and its political views are considerably more coherent. Still, since the available evidence suggests that Mr. Duke is not, in fact, a commercial product designed to inhibit ecdysis, I suppose I’ve wronged him as well, and should probably atone by reading his bio. Join me, won’t you?
Selwyn Duke is a tennis professional [his former vocation], entrepreneur and writer whose works appear widely on the Internet. He is a columnist at NewsWithViews.com, Renewamerica.us (Alan Keyes’ site), as well as at many others, and a frequent contributor to the American Thinker. Selwyn has traveled extensively in his life, visiting exotic locales such as India, Morocco, Algeria and Taiwan, as well as quite a number of other countries.
The “other countries,” were occupied primarily by pink people like Selsun himself, and therefore did not meet his exacting standards of exoticism, which require, at minimum, dusky-hued aborigines, abundant and spontaneous folk dancing, and a shortage of Jesus. Anyway, as you may remember from previous visits, young Mr. Duke prides himself on how wrinkly his brain is, and has dedicated his massive cerebellum to the cause of proving that you’re a moron. Today’s intellectual feast will be toasted cheese sandwiches, Tater Tots, Pudding-in-a-Cloud, and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Dig in!
The militant atheists are at it again, using the separation-of-church-and-state artifice to impose their values on others. This time they’re targeting high-school cheerleaders, telling them they cannot display banners bearing religious sentiments despite the fact that the girls created the banners themselves.
This is just as unfair as forbidding your high school science teacher from passing out Bibles during Biology, even though he printed them at home on his own Gutenberg press. Anyway, the situation that’s sloughing dander over Selsun’s blue serge suit occurred in Georgia, where a pep squad has been going all Brides of Christ on the local football fans since 2003. Eventually someone objected on Constitutional grounds and the superintendent told Betty and Veronica to take their Sunday School outside the stadium. Naturally, this didn’t sit well with the day players from Inherit the Wind who populate Catoosa County:
[T]he ban prompted a rally tonight in support of the cheerleaders outside the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Battlefield Parkway so people can show their support for the cheerleaders and their signs [...] Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Ronnie Cobb vehemently disagrees with the ban and said he’ll call on the City Council to support the cheerleaders and their signs.
The signs don’t infringe on anyone’s religious rights and are good for school spirit, he said.
And the school Holy Spirit.
“I’m totally against them doing away with it,” Mr. Cobb said, adding that the cheerleaders’ rights are being abused.
If Thomas Jefferson were here right now, Mayor Cobb would horsewhip him to a pantalooned pulp in the parking lot of the Chick-fil-A.
“If it’s offensive to anyone, let them go watch another football game,” he said. “Nobody’s forced to come there and nobody’s forced to read the signs.”
Too true. Not only is that a sensible solution, but it draws on established precedent, since you’ll recall that Ferdinand and Isabella made a similar offer to 15th century Spanish Jews.
Save the Cheerleader Sign, Save the World. Except for the Jews. And the Muslims. And the Buddhists. And the Hindus. And the Zoroastrians. And the…
But really, how can these signs violate the separation of church and state, since the cheerleaders, as youth minister Brad Scott points out, are not “part of the state,” but belong to a nebulous Fourth Branch that includes Dick Cheney and the supra-national crimefighting organization U.N.C.L.E. Besides, football and Christianity share a long history, going back as far as da Vinci’s depiction of the Apostles pouring goblets of Gatorade over Jesus’ head at the Last Supper.
Ultimately, however, this miscarriage of justice is significant only insofar as it allows Selsun another chance to read from his Teacher’s Edition of the Constitution (with all the answers in the back!) and tell us how stupid we are.
People will often mount legal arguments when debating this issue, but, really, confining ourselves to that guarantees a loss. This is because the relevant law here, the First Amendment, hasn’t changed; it is the interpretation of it that has, and this is the result of cultural change.
Let’s argue with the culture.
What if I said to you that all the American-Indian place names dotting our map must be struck from it or that history involving black people should be purged from school textbooks? You would rightly recognize this as completely arbitrary and view it as indicative of prejudice. But is it really any different from deciding that all religious elements must be purged from school, regardless of their quality or social and historical relevance? Here you may say, “Come on, Duke, it’s not even remotely the same thing.” Well, let’s find out.
Those familiar with Selsun’s methods will have surmised that he’s built a Burmese Tiger Pit of logic, and is crouching in the bushes, waiting for his prey to collapse its fragile crust of twigs and leaves and become impaled on the sharpened bamboo spikes of his rhetoric.
What if I said the following to an atheist: If religious ideas really are handed down by God, the Creator of the Universe, Author of All, don’t we have an obligation to infuse our public square with them? Isn’t it then incumbent upon us to instill children with them in school? Now, this is where the atheist will roll his eyes and say, “Well, you may believe the ideas are God’s handiwork, but not everyone agrees with you. I believe they’re just man-made.” Is this checkmate? Yes, it certainly is . . . for the atheist.
Actually, it’s more checkmate for the agnostic, and Yahtzee! for atheist.
Here is how you respond: All right, but if these ideas are man-made just like “secular” ones, why do you discriminate against them? Why do you say that man-made ideas we happen to call “secular” may be in the public arena but man-made ideas we happen to call “religious” may not be? If they’re all man-made, wherein lies the relevant difference?
Maybe because, while people of good faith may hold differing views on Congress’ authority to fix the Standards of Weights and Measures, the issue rarely inspires them to burn each other at the stake. But with all that vast cortical acreage in his skull, you’d think Selsun would have found room for some of the elementary school lessons about the Founders and their weird insistence that the U.S. not repeat the European experience of religious turmoil and persecution.
Getting back to my racial discrimination analogy, it’s more apropos here than you may imagine.
It usually is in your columns, Sel.
After all, regardless of the civilization, discrimination has often been justified with the idea that the targeted group is something less than human.
Christians are the Jews of Atheist Fascism.
But it becomes much harder to justify when it’s realized that the groups’ members are people just like everyone else. Likewise, how do you justify discrimination against religious ideas if you believe they’re people-made just like every other idea? If it’s just a “feeling” that they don’t “belong,” you start to seem a bit too much like the KKK or Black Panthers.
Who can forget those dark days of the early 20th century, when D.W. Griffith’s Bring It On inspired a rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan and a brutal rash of cheerleader lynchings.
Of course, being sub-human isn’t the only thing that would justify discrimination; being something more than human would justify the brand known as favoritism. That is, if we discovered that some among us were divine, they’d deserve a special place.
On a cross, for instance.
But, then, what if we discover that some ideas are divinely inspired? The point is that religion has the advantage over secularism in this debate; after all, it at least makes the claim of divine pedigree. Thus, there may be a reason to confer upon religion higher status than secularism — but never lower.
Tell you what, Sel, hang from a crosstree until you die, then come back to life three days later, and I promise to give your ideas the serious consideration they deserve.
Now, at this point, certain “friends” of faith — such as the very slippery “Reverend” Barry Lynn — may disgorge the old argument that the reason to be so zealous about purging religion from the public sphere is to protect faith. Wow, with friends like that, who needs communists?
Government neutrality toward religion is the same as suppression, which is why so many of America’s once proud cathedrals have been turned into museums and discos, and Stuckeys.
Yet this reminds me of how some people would justify slavery by saying it was for the slaves’ own good. Just as with religion, they had to be kept in private hands because they just couldn’t negotiate the real world all by themselves.
Which reminds me of another great right wing porn title: Puritans in Bondage.
At the end of the day, atheists are left with the argument that having religion in the public square is offensive, and this is in fact what’s often claimed.
No, no, government endorsement of a particular faith is unconstitutional.
See the difference?
And this is why I say they’re guilty of prejudice.
And Selsun should know, since he’s the guy who sussed out the universal bigotry of black folks: “For all intents and purposes, politically liberal blacks are by definition bigoted. This is true virtually to a man.”
What’s offensive is completely subjective. For example, some people may find sharing a swimming pool with people of a different race to be offensive. And I certainly find much of secularists’ handiwork so, things such as multiculturalism, feminism and radical environmentalism.
Which is why atheists haven’t been allowed to use the pool ever since Duke joined the board of the Valley Swim Club.
Aside from applying reason, we also need action. Many years ago slaves in Brazil developed the martial art of Capoeira, but they disguised it as a dance because their masters didn’t like the idea of them learning self-defense. Likewise, when we can’t overtly defy our atheist philosophical slave masters, we should at least be clever.
Actually, I take it back; if Thomas Jefferson were here right now, he’d be busy having sex with Selsun and knocking him up.
And here’s an idea for the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe cheerleaders: Your next banner should read “Commit to You Know Who.”
Because the cheerleaders are secretly Death Eaters who serve Lord Voldemort.
Moreover, remember that advantage religion has over secularism. If atheists are correct, we can at least say that the right to religious expression is a struggle for civil rights. But if we are correct, it is a matter of a certain kind of divine right.
And that’s basically what the Constitution is all about.
Either way, our place is not at the back of the school bus.
Exactly. You should make that Negro seamstress give up her seat, and make yourself comfortable. After all, it’s your divine right.
UPDATE: Jesus’ General has a heart-to-heart with Mayor Cobb.