from Miami imc; http://miami.indymedia.org/news/2006/02/3780.php
Christmas Denier Gets Three Years Sentence (Satire)
by William Hughes Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 at 10:42 AM email@example.com
(email address validated)
This fictional piece is about what happens when a freethinker bumps up against fundamentalist religious thinking in a court of law. It is set in the state of Tennessee. The case presented here in a satirical manner, may remind you of another legal battle played out recently in the news. Question: Is the U.S., as it drifts more to the Right, headed down a road, where our First Amendment traditions will soon become relics of the past?
"I may not agree with what a man says; but I will defend to the death, his right to say it.” – Voltaire
Circuit Court House
Feb. 24, 2006
Yesterday, spectators in the court room broke out in cheers as Judge Pat Robinson announced his decision: "I find you guilty and sentence you to three years in prison for denying our Bible." The defendant, Joan Doubter, is known as a notorious Christmas denier. Her knees buckled when she heard her fate. Doubter had objected to President George W. Bush's lighting a "Christmas Tree," on the White House lawn, on Dec. 1, 2005. She also took issue with what he said as he was doing it: "God is on our side in Iraq. He guides me in all of my actions, since I was, mercifully, born again as a Christian. Praise the Lord."
Incensed over the incident, Doubter penned a letter to the editor of the "Starchamber Gazette" criticizing Bush. She wrote : "Christmas is a fairy tale and the President has crossed a First Amendment line, with his flaky actions." The Rev. Jeremiah Upwell, who is part of the town's ruling clique, threw a hizzy fit when he saw the letter. He filed a criminal complaint against Doubter, an unemployed textile factory worker, for violating the state's law. Upwell was also the main witness at the one day trial. No jury trial, under Common Law, is permitted in a blaspheme related case. The defendant also couldn't afford a private lawyer. The judge, however, refused to appoint a public defender for her, ruling, "It would just be a waste of taxpayers' money to do so." Doubter, an eloquent woman, was forced to act as her own counsel.
It is a crime in Tennessee-a felony, punishable by up to ten years in the slammer-for anyone to deny, as an historical fact, the birth of Christ, his life, crucifixion, death and resurrection. After Doubter's indictment, the Special Prosecutor, Tom DeLooney, found out that the self-taught philosophy buff, and serial pamphleteer, had in her possession a book, "The Age of Reason," which was relevant to the charges. (1) It was put into evidence as state's "Exhibit No. B." Doubter's letter to the editor was offered as "Exhibit A." In the "The Age of Reason," Tom Paine, its author, who was an English-born freethinker, had written:
“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church..." (2)
The Hang-Them-High, GA-based, "Jesus Loves You Always Center," welcomed the tough sentence. "While Doubter's rantings wouldn't be a crime in some ultraliberal states, like Maryland, Massachusetts or California, it's important that we support Tennessee's struggle to fight Christmas denial and Christmas revisionism," said Pastor "Jimmy Bob" Thornton, its spokesperson. The Rev. Ezekiel A. Doubling, head of the "Christianity AgiProp Trust," said: "Christmas denial is anti-Christianity dressed up as intellectual debate. Christianity is based on solid historical facts, not Hollywood fables. If we have to put some nut cases in jail every once in a while to make that point, so much the better."
Doubter did take the stand and testify on her own behalf. She insisted that the Jesus story was "a myth...a Jewish version of a pagan myth." She traced its origins to ancient Egyptian texts. They revealed, according to her, that "Osiris was a God who became man and wandered through Egypt teaching the people about religion and the right way to live. He was put to death by the forces of evil, but was magically restored to life and ascended into Heaven to become the judge of the souls in the afterlife. Egyptians believed that by worshiping Osiris and following his teachings they would enjoy eternal life." (3)
Judge Robinson could barely contain his rage listening to Doubter's testimony. But, he allowed her to have her say. She continued, "The myth of the dying and resurrected God/Man was known by different names, like: Dionysus, Attis, Adonis, Mithras, Serapis, to name a few; and then, finally, Jesus. Initiates of the mysteries learned that the God/Man was a giant allegory, every element of which could be decoded to reveal profound spiritual truths that lead to the experience of gnosis. The Apostle Paul had declared that the great secret of Christianity was the mystical revelation of the 'Christ in You,' which represented the one awareness that is the true identity of all of us. It's a big mistake for anybody," Doubter shouted, "to take the Bible literally." (3)
At that point, Judge Robinson cut Doubter off and roared at the handcuffed defendant, "I've heard enough from your foul mouth today, Madam. Your own damnable words in this court room," Ms. Doubter, "are more than enough to sustain your conviction. You are an unrepentant Christmas denier! And, the U.S. Constitution doesn't protect vile hate crimes like yours."
I decided to contact the "League of Righteous True Believers" for a comment about Doubter's trial and sentence. It had crossed swords with her in the past over her writings and was responsible for putting the harsh Christmas-denial law on the books in TN. and six other states as well. It is also working to enact the same tough law in a number of European countries.
Its fearless leader, Ms. Lizzy Tightbottom, told me: "Some matters, like Christmas, should never be open to question by anyone, particularly pseudo-philosophers. Even though, it's history, it's holy history. When someone openly rejects Christmas, like Doubter, it causes pain to all Christians. In order to avoid such cases, the government is needed to step in and pass a strict measure, with penal sanctions, to tell people exactly what they can think and what they can say on the issue."
"Wouldn't it be better," I probed, "to leave the debate over Christmas to the marketplace of ideas and to combat the few naysayers, some of whom may be abusing their First Amendment privileges, in that arena?"
"No, that tactics just plays into the hands of the Christmas-bashers. Offenders need to be criminalized," she emphasized.
"How do you answer the critics," I followed up, "that say if matters, like the Black Slave Trade and the Genocide of Native Americans, can be disputed, then why shouldn't Christmas?"
She replied sharply: "Because, Christmas is unique! There is nothing else like in all of recorded history!"
Finally, I asked Tightbottom, "Do you have any concerns that Doubter might become a cause celebre for those who oppose government-sanctioned censorship."
She answered: "Doubter is a very sick woman, a Christian-hater, without any support groups. It's possible she could become a martyr for a demented few in this country, but it's highly unlikely. Don't forget that the Church executed one of its leading dissenters, Giordano Bruno, a brilliant philosopher and scientist, for heresy, in 1600. The world hardly blinked an eye at that outrage. (4) Doubter, on the other hand, is a loser, misfit and crackpot. She will quickly be forgotten!"
1. "Tom Paine and Revolutionary America," by Eric Foner.
3. "The Jesus Mysteries," by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy.
© William Hughes 2006.
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘’No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Enough reality behind this satire
Exposing Christian right extremist's agenda
This may be fictional satire, though there is enough reality behind these works to make the potential very real. The Christian right is organized now like never before, we truly face an impending Inquisition if people don't take the fundamentalists seriously. This is multi-faceted, dealing with issues from the environment to women's rights, Jewish segregation (Zionist Israel) to fueling the fires of equally homophobic/patriarchal Wahhabist Islam (Saudi royalty, UAE, etc.) What it comes down to is the Christian right extremists are pushing humanity down the road to a man-made Armageddon, straight of of existentialist interpretations of the book of Revelations..
The Christian right's attacks on environmentalist, ecologists and other's concerned about the over/misuse of Earth's resources by corporation's is featured in the recent Spring 2006 Earth Island Journal magazine article titled "Unholy Alliance". This article describes the lack of concern for the "temporary" Earth environment expressed by many in the far Christian right as an example of their "use it up now, cause The End is nigh" sort of mentality.. http://www.earthisland.org/eijournal/journal.cfm
The main difference between the Christian right and moderate Christians in the interpretation of the Bible verse that states people are either stewards and caretakers of the Earth (moderate view) or people have dominion and control over the Earth (far right extremist view). Paleo-conservative newspaper commentators like Cal Thomas serve as mouthpieces for this illogical view that the Earth's environment doesn't matter and all "real" Christians eyes should only look into Revelations and CBN for further instructions. Whereas most Christian moderates (not "real" Christians according to the far right) are content to maintain the Earth's ecological stability for their grandchildren's grandchildren, the far right extremists advocate exhausting the resources and creating an ecological collapse, thus ushering in an "Armageddon", "Second Coming", etc. while living in luxury from the profits of the resource consuming corporations..
As an aside, we also see the mirror image of far right extremist Christians segregating themselves from "unreal" Christian moderates in Islam, with the far right Wahhabist Islamist extremists of petrochemically obsessed Saudi royalty, UAE (given control of US ports by Bush regime) and Khartoum segregating themselves from moderate Muslims like Sunnis and Sufis, whom they would sooner kill than dialogue with..
Of course the CIA expolits religious differences for political gain, while the majority of Muslims (and Christians, Jews, etc.) desire to live in unity and harmony with their neighbors..
With regards to the Middle East, we see this scenario unfolding before our eyes daily as escalation with Iran, Syria, Palestine continue and Zionist Israel recieves incresing military support from political lobby organzations like AIPAC. Here the neo-conservatives in the Bush regime have forged ties with Christian right extremists like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, etc.. promoting the apartheid Israeli regime and deliberitely angering Palestinians (and the Muslim world)living in occupied territories. Christian Broadcasting Network, owned by Pat Robertson, actively promotes the resettling of the global Jewish diaspora to the Zionist state of Israel. This may seem like the Christian Zionists care about protecting the Jews, though the reality is relocating Jews into a segregated state. The history of Zionist Israel is about relocation and segregation of Jews, from the frying pan into the fire..
Many moderate Jews and Christians are aware that the current policies of Zionist Israel and the Bush regime are escalating tensions with the Muslim world and are actively supporting dialogue and actions that desegregate and support the Palestinian self-determination. By engaging in dialouge and marginalizing the Christian far right, peace and justice in Israel/Palestine may become reality..
Challenging Christian Zionism; http://www.christianzionism.org/default.asp
Jews for Justice for Palestinians; http://www.jfjfp.org/
Jews on First review of Rabbi James Rudin's book "The Baptizing of America" where he invents the term "Christocrat", describing the religious right's attacks on civil liberties; http://www.jewsonfirst.org/05a/sep046.html
Petroleum corporations are also doing their part in escaliting tensions by monopolizing alternatives to petroleum dependency. Despite rhetoric from the Bush regime about petroleum addiction, there were already alternative available for decades, though suppressed and marginalized by the petrochemical corporation's and their quest for short term financial profit at the expense of the ecosystem, human lungs and independence. While cars seem to promote independence above public transit, we are now discovering the oppposite is true. If only Firestone and GM had been stopped before they paved over the trolley tracks of so many cities (LA, Philly, etc..) in the US, people would have pedestrian/transit/bicycle friendly cities instead of sprawl and smog..
BTW, regarding the US ports given to the UAE, neo-conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer has unleased his mental freak-o-rama on the US public via corporate media claiming that anyone opposed to the turnover of US ports to the UAE's Dubai corporation is an anti-Arab racist (read Krauthammer's opinions about the Palestinians to uncover the definition of anti-Arab racism) and hypocrite. The lines in the sand have been drawn, eh Krauthammer?
The political grandstanding about fears of terrorism and anti-Arab hysteria with the UAE's Dubai takeover of the US ports masks the underlying cause of the symptom, corporate profit..
This from the WSWS;
"The conclusion that must be drawn is that in the Dubai takeover of the ports, as far as the White House is concerned, nothing very important is at stake. Bush & Co. see no reason to interfere with the everyday commercial motives which underlie the sale." http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/feb2006/port-f22.shtml
Whether the P & O or the UAE control US ports, civil rights of dockworkers remain stifled by hostile anti-union Bush regime. Industrial Workers of the World may offer some relief;
Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union 510 http://www.iww.org/unions/dept500/iu510/