Left In Lowell

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January 10, 2014


by at 9:03 pm.

Well, thanks to the 40 minute debate and Council vote to put baby Jesus back on our civic lawn, so to speak, Lowell’s city council meeting has now reached a nationally read atheist blog. I said on Tuesday night that all CC. Mercier was going to do was bring attention to the unconstitutionality of all the religion in our city meetings and at city hall - resulting in more of a chance to waste our taxpayer dollars on fighting that lawsuit (and others - official council prayer, anyone?) she wanted to have us pay for (and lose).

“Were we afraid of being sued?” Mercier said. “Because if we were, this is one lawsuit I would have no objection to fight all the way.”

Famous last words of elected officials spending other people’s money. She should ask the Dover school board how that attitude worked out for them.

And I will also say that while Rita said “let them all come!” talking about menorahs and such, do you really think she’ll have such an equitable reaction if something like this is placed next to the manger next year? Because this public hissy fit over religion on our Council floor, like the inevitable lawsuit, makes it more likely someone will ask to do it.

Now, Ed Brayton merely found the news the Lowell Sun posted. What kind of reaction will the secular humanist community have to the actual rantings of the several people over the course of the discussion, do you think? Oh wait. I’m editing that video as we speak.

Rita just landed us in a heap of trouble. *shakes head*

18 Responses to “Notoriety!”

  1. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    Yeah I knew that was going to happen. Leave it at St Anne’s it is a prettier setting anyway.

  2. afraidtousemyname Says:

    I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when I watched the city council meeting today online.

    bad enough that Elliott is mayor and Bernie’s had enough, but to have the first hour of Elliott’s council be taken up with this religious crap? one guy goes on for ten minutes telling me that the manger isn’t Christian because Jesus wasn’t a Christian, and then a woman says “that’s why this country was blessed, because we trust in Jesus and he loves us” EXCUSE ME? are we in City Hall or is this church???

    I know that lots of people believe in god, and that’s their right. I don’t want to disrespect their beliefs, but I don’t want other people’s religious beliefs forced on me.

    I hate the council prayer and I’d love to join an organized fight to get rid of it, but would it only deepen the divisions between us? probably. I guess the really hard political work is work that brings people together, but it’s so hard to just sit here and get jesused all the time.

    I hope the city gets sued, and loses.

  3. Tim Little Says:

    How about something like this on front of City Hall, Rita?


    Whaddya say?

  4. Eric J Says:

    Okay. Tuesday night was rife with fanciful facts and Constitutional chaos wrapped in a heaping helping of inane assertions and political posturing. I agree that the manger doesn’t belong at City Hall and that it’s optimal home is right there in front of a church.

    But the eye-rolling histrionics, snark and sarcasm is a little over the top and disingenuous.

    By his own admission, Lynch was uneasy about the manger being at city hall last year, knew he was playing ” Russian roulette with potential litigation but it stayed at City Hall nontheless and there was none of this outrage.

    And while the meme is that the Council is acting like rabid Pentacostal holy rollers they are actually in step with precedent and tradition. The U.S. Senate and House both open their sessions with a prayer and both have an office of the chaplain.

    I have to wait until after 12 noon to buy beer on Sundays in Mass. for no other reason but it’s the Sabbath. Our kids will have Good Friday off from school. What about the whole notion that Christmas being a Federal holiday in the first place?

    Are we going to have to re-name Christian Hill?

    Our laws rely on precedent - when we discuss a Supreme Court nominee we spend much time concerned with stare decisis which is just a fancy way of saying precedent. So why are we so surprised when people assert precedence for a practice that was endorsed by the City Manager as recently as last year?

    The nexus of culture and religiion is complex and for elderly folks who see many of their traditions being discarded by society, it becomes very emotional.

    It’s easy to assert you’re for “All of Lowell” when its amongst everyone you agree with but what makes that slogan so powerful is the implied notion that it bridges these kinds of differences. Now, when I say that I am speaking of people acting in good faith and that typically doesn’t apply to politicians.

  5. Lynne Says:

    The blue laws in MA ought to be rescinded. Everyone who finds out about these laws and what’s still on the books thinks that.

    You are literally promoting one (type) of religion with the prayer and the manger. Why is this so obvious to the rest of us, and not to you?

    I assure you, it’s utterly uncomfortable for me, as an atheist, to sit in that Council chamber at a meeting and have to have this prayer thrown in my face. It’s peer pressure by the government - participate so I don’t stand out, or stand out and stick to my principles. It’s a minor thing, but actually, fairly powerful, and we have an alternative - not praying at all. That doesn’t HURT religious people, as they have plenty of places (including silently, to themselves, any place they want!) to pray. Not praying is WAY more inclusive than praying before our civic meeting, don’t you think?

  6. Eric J Says:

    I never advocated prayer at civic meetings. I was saying that the Lowell City Council were emulating Congress and were not outside the mainstream in conntinuing this practice.

    Lynne, with all due respect, I expressed that quite clearly and I submit that you are so bent on beng an idealogue that you don’t even take the time to think about what was being said. And I din’t believe you are uncomfortable maintaining your principles, but I have no doubt there are people who would be uncomfortable.

    My point was much of this hand-wringing is about your dislike of Rodney and Rita because when Lynch allowed the Manger at City Hall there it did not generate any of this “outrage.”

  7. Christopher Says:

    Lynne, I wouldn’t rush to rescind all the Blue Laws. The ones that remain are what keep MA free of some of the insanity of retailers forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving because they just can’t wait for Black Friday.

  8. Mr. Lynne Says:

    “I was saying that the Lowell City Council were emulating Congress and were not outside the mainstream in conntinuing this practice.”

    Agreed. It’s mainstream and that’s still a problem.

  9. Lynne Says:

    You had a nine paragraph comment, attacking me because I didn’t address one specific point in a list of a bunch of them is rather unfair.

  10. Eric J Says:

    I get whiplash Lynne, when you shape-shift from sardonic satarist to shrinking violet. You totally misrepresent my position, hector me for a view I don’t hold and then emerge as the wounded party!

    And I am more apt to believe the Rodeney is secretly a member of Code Pink than to think for a second that my meager comment taxed your ability to comprehend.

    Apparently an honest discussion is not in the offing so when you folks go on about having a dialogue, anyone with a respectful but slightly different take should just save their time.

  11. Lynne Says:

    You are perfectly within your right to refrain from commenting. I’m sorry that I’m human. Also, I was responding in kind to your fairly rude-ish comment “But the eye-rolling histrionics, snark and sarcasm is a little over the top and disingenuous.”

    If you want to start a good dialog, I suggest you not start by insinuating the original writer is going through histrionics. You are hardly totally without fault, here.

  12. Eric J Says:

    “In Jesus’ name and in the name of all those who are right and holy, we pray.”. The conclusion to the invocation at President Obama’s inaugural invocation.

    See? Rita, Rod & The Prez all together speaking in tongues and getting all Jesused-up and I remember the discussions about how upset everyone was that Christ would be invoked right there on the steps of the Capitol.

  13. Mr. Lynne Says:

    You’re right, the national issues on establishment are also glaring. You’re right we haven’t talked about them much here. I realize your intent is to frame this as some kind of hypocrisy but it isn’t. The issue now is local and so this local blog is commenting on local and current events.

  14. Lynne Says:

    Wow. You are not making an interesting point. What it appears you’re doing is trying to play gotcha in a game, but all by yourself. *shakes head*

  15. Eric J Says:

    I was challenging the double standard and questioning the assertion that the City Council prayer was freakishly outlandish given that Congress does the same thing. For that I was marginalized, accused of “attacking” and had my position mischaracterized.

    The irony is that I agree with the over-arching premise that religion is best left out of government.

    It’s obvious you want the succor of your echo chamber. I’ll only comment when I’m in complete agreement!

  16. Eric J Says:

    @ Mr. Lynne: If you take a gander at the left margin of this blog’s home page you will see a listing of topics. Included amongst them are “National politics” “The Obama Adminstration” so apparently it is only restricted to local topics on a selective basis..

  17. Mr. Lynne Says:

    Now you’re moving goal posts. You keep wanting to talk about ‘freakishly outlandish’, we keep bringing up legality.

    As to ‘national politics’, the objection wasn’t that you brought it up. The objection is that you seem to think we’re supposed to bring it up in this subject otherwise we’re guilty of some kind of hypocrisy. Not the case at all - we bring up what we want. Lynne brings up what she wants. It’s her blog. The particular ‘balance’ or ‘obligations’ of local to national isn’t up to you.

  18. Mr. Lynne Says:

    With regard to agreement and commenting, we’re outlining where we disagree. There are people who have posted on only points on which we agree and you’re right - those don’t generate a lot of back and forth. Should they? Should it be that comments in agreement are the ones that get repeated and comments of which there is conflict should die on the vine? I know which of those scenarios makes more sense and is more productive. I think you’d agree.

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