Entries Tagged 'religion' ↓

A little ‘Old Time Religion’ at the Sioux Falls council informational meeting


“. . .  and please Jesus, make our streets safe for Patrick Lalley when he is riding his bike on them.”

I attended the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting today where they talked about ‘Complete Streets’ (yawn). One of the presenters decided to throw a little old time religion into the presentation where she said;

“Live, work, play and PRAY.”

Pretty soon we can expect ‘praying lanes’ on our streets, and trust me, we will need them to endure the next 3 years of this mayor.

The difference between the religious and non-religious

What I find interesting about this study is that the two groups are very similar in a lot of ways.

• Religious People Are Happier

• Non-Religious People Are More Tolerant

• Religious People Can Handle Stress, Anxiety Better

• Non-Religious People Are More Intelligent

• Religious People Have Better Physical Health

• Non-Religious People Are More Generous

Mayor continues to politicize the Jesus Snowplow issue

Man, this guy really doesn’t get the whole ‘Freedom of Religion, Establishment Clause’ thingy;

Mayor Mike Huether’s office was informed yesterday that the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty was planning to acknowledge the City of Sioux Falls and also Mayor Huether in a news release issued today. This relates to the City’s Paint the Plows program, which uses student artwork.

“Sioux Falls is becoming more and more diverse every day, and that is something we celebrate here. We value diversity and differing opinions. Everyone is important in our town,” says Mayor Mike Huether.

Here is the acknowledgement;

This year, inspired by the good cheer and common sense of the Mayor Mike Huether of Sioux Falls, we are bestowing the city of Sioux Falls the (momentary) Ebenezer award but promptly toasting the mayor.

Sioux Falls was our #1 contender for the Ebenezer award after it notified a private school that the city snowplow blades its young students had labored over and decorated would be repainted and censored. Why? Because the students had decided to celebrate the season with—gasp!—artwork celebrating the religious nature of Christmas.

The city, which had previously accepted religious art, momentarily lost its way when one lone atheist claiming to be part of the Siouxland Freethinkers filed an informal complaint.

The irony of this is that the Mayor is using city resources (Website, IT and Communications public employees) to applaud an award from a Religious Organization that promotes religious liberty (infiltrating government with theocracy). He demonstrates he still doesn’t understand the US Constitution OR the Establishment clause, and further uses tax payer resources to promote a specific religious view.

Mike, if you want to brag to your friends at church or to your co-workers about the award, go for it ‘Mr. Wear My religion on my sleeve’ but stop using tax dollars to promote Christianity.

I just finished reading American Lion, the book about President Andrew Jackson, here is passage from the book that I think Mayor Huether should read;

A third early president—Andrew Jackson—was similarly convinced that the Establishment Clause prohibited presidents from declaring a national day of prayer. Though a devout Christian, Jackson was prepared to veto a proposal by Senator Henry Clay to declare a day of prayer and fasting. His veto message would have explained that, although he personally was convinced of the “efficacy of prayer in all times,” the Constitution “carefully separated sacred from civilian concerns,” and accordingly he believed it his “duty to preserve this separation and to abstain from any act which may tend to an amalgamation perilous to both.” Jon Meacham, AMERICAN LION: ANDREW JACKSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE 207 (2008) (quoting draft veto message). Once his opposition was made known, the proposal died without the need for him to veto it. Id.

Argus Ed Board: Paint over Snowplows

First, I would like to say that I like this new and improved ED Board, they are not pulling any punches.

Secondly, I do understand the right to your opinion and freedom of expression. I will defend anyone to create art, but please, use your own canvas, not my tax dollars to promote your opinion.

As for the ‘art’ argument. What the Lutheran school kids painted on the plows ‘WAS NOT’ art. They simply copied a popular image from the internet. That’s it. It is one thing to say ‘artistic expression’ it is a whole other ball of wax to ‘plagiarize’.

With that being said, there are two great lessons here. First, the obvious, promoting religion on government owned property is unconstitutional. I expand on it during the council meeting public input (FF:6:18).

Secondly, copying someone else’s ‘art’ or ‘design’ is also a No-No.

But I think the Argus Ed board states it very well;

Obviously, there should have been clearer guidelines on the types of messages that would be acceptable for the art project in the first place. Someone in the city should be assigned to review the artwork before it’s put on public equipment for public display anyway.

Would there be no oversight to what community groups might paint on park benches or city streets during a beautification project? Or on city buses, for that matter?

Well there are guidelines, the city has them for private businesses in the sign code, and they must be followed. There is also a volunteer commission that is called the Visual Art Commission that approves public art and the use of public art. They should weigh in on these guidelines.

We trust the city is working to clarify the parameters of this project to avoid future problems.

But recognizing this unique conflict and removing the religious messages would not have meant denying the Christian beliefs displayed.

It would have reinforced the notion that governments can’t favor one religion or belief set over another.

Exactly! It really is that simple. But instead we have a mayor who has to politicize EVERYTHING! Sometimes Mike, we just want you to make a fair and just decision, not take sides.

Have Coke and a Smile


UPDATE 2: City of Sioux Falls Crack Legal team agrees, Jesus plows violate separation clause


“Students at Lutheran High School of Sioux Falls spent time and effort designing the plow blade they submitted for the city’s Paint the Plows event, Principal Derek Bult said.”

You mean original designs like THIS.

I figured this was coming. I’m wondering when Christians, or for that fact, any religious sect are going to figure out the separation clause is there to protect you from government’s interference in your religious lives and beliefs;

Two private schools in Sioux Falls have been asked to repaint city-owned snow plow blades after a group complained about student artwork with Christian themes.

I think Amanda sums it up very nicely

Some residents might be upset about a protest of Christian-themed art on city snow plows, but all they need to do is consider a role reversal, Amanda Novotny said.

“It would have no business on a plow, I would never do it, but if I painted a plow that said ‘There is no god,’ I think people would be very, very upset about that,” she said.

This commenter to the story also makes a fine point;

It is not discrimination against A religious establishment, it is protection for ALL religious belief.


This is going to get ugly. Already talked to a city councilor who has been getting blowback about it.


IMAGE: Facebook.


Welcome to South Dakota, where the Constitution doesn’t apply

When I see stuff like this, I just shake my head, especially when a governmental body doesn’t understand the US Constitution, ESPECIALLY a school board. Apparently in Miller, SD, they don’t teach any civics courses;

Zacher said he was disappointed the board was forced to change its policy and disallow the Bible distribution.

First off, NO one forced the board to do anything. Following the US Constitution should be a duty of any governmental body, it shouldn’t be something you should even have to think about or second guess, it should come naturally. I bet if someone tried to take away your guns in good ol’ Miller, the Constitution would rear it’s ugly head and be on your side. But like most Hicks, you like to pick and choose what parts of the Constitution you think should apply.

“Our founding fathers felt God very strong in this country,” he said.

Zacher, you are absolutely correct. In fact they thought so highly of God and religion, they wanted to keep government OUT of their personal beliefs on God. The US Constitution’s view on this is to protect people from government’s intrusion into your religious beliefs. When are you going to figure this out?! Does somebody have to hit you upside the head with a bible or better yet a copy of the Constitution. Geez!

My mixed feelings about the ‘invocation’ and the Supreme Court Ruling

Screen shot 2014-05-05 at 9.30.03 PM

Believe it or not, as a deist, I support it, to a degree. Ben Franklin, my favorite founding father, convinced me that a ‘prayer’ or a time of ‘reflection’ helped calm lawmakers. He felt that before the debates and disagreements in the Congressional Congress started, they essentially ‘broke bread’ together, they shared a time of common good, and reflection, and how our fellow man is our brothers and sisters and while we may want to strangle each other over the next several hours, we will meet in peace first, go fist-a-cuffs, then enjoy some barley pop afterwards.

Of course, our fine mayor must twist it into being about water, wine and tennis;

“Whether it be a motivational reading or a prayer, we have stewards of all denominations actively engaged to help represent the increased diversity of our town,” Huether said.

I wonder if anyone has told Mike that Dale Carnegie wasn’t the son of gawde?

This isn’t about religion, as much as people want to make it about that on both sides, I will say this is about getting along.

Religion and Politics

Trust me, I am not one to come to Joel Rosenthal’s defense that often, to tell you the truth I am on the opposite side of what he says most of the time. I also think calling Stace Nelson a racist was a bit harsh, but as Joel admits, sometimes us blogger’s get things wrong;

Rather than what I “thought” I heard candidate Nelson say.

Following is what Montgomery says his recording of the event shows what Nelson actually said,

“I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order, and I’ll be the latter as long as it supports the first two.”

It is an important distinction if Nelson is exclusively referring to himself.

My reaction, as Montgomery suggests is different when I read the words, but that does not alter my reaction to what my mind heard.

So what did Joel originally say?

Such xenophobic logic has no place in our political debate. Taken on its face, since Christ was a Jew, would he not meet the Nelson Republican Litmus Test? – And be denied to be a Republican?

Joel doesn’t go into detail but he is pointing out something that has often been a peeve of mine when it comes to politicians; Don’t wear your religion on your sleeve. It’s interesting that Stace thinks you have to be Republican if you are Christian or if you are Christian you should be a Republican. Maybe someone should tell Mayor Huether about Stace’s philosophy. Huether often wears his religion on his sleeve, and he is a Democrat (or at least that is his current registration).

Do I want politicians to be people of faith? Sure. But I really believe it is none of my business what they believe, I think a person’s faith is their personal business. I don’t think a politician is more qualified to lead because they either read the old testament or the new testament. I would much prefer they read a book about law or economics then the bible.

You believe in God. Great. Now tell me what you are going to do to make things better on earth for us mortals, you can discuss heaven in private with God, I have no need to be a part of that conversation. God doesn’t pave our roads, educate our children or fight our wars, tax payers do. We ultimately are the ones that tithe government, we are the congregation of this great nation.

Religion & Politics are like oil & vinegar

After reading Dannika Nash’s blog post about marriage equality and the church, I wonder if Dannika is missing the bigger point;

I’m writing this because I’m worried about the safety of the Church. The Church keeps scratching its head, wondering why 70% of 23-30 year-olds who were brought up in church leave. I’m going to offer a pretty candid answer, and it’s going to make some people upset, but I care about the Church too much to be quiet.

Someone said to me the other day, “I’m too smart to be a Christian.” Pretty poingnant. People like Nash who are constantly questioning their religion will find themselves leaving that religion. Sometimes these people leave their certain religion for another one, some just choose to float into outer space (agnostics). Others just give up on God all together. Myself, I believe in a higher power, I just don’t believe it belongs to a church or a religion. The problem with religion is that it constantly wants to be a political force. God is NOT a politician. I believe God created us to make wise decisions on our own, and we don’t need clergy to tell us how to vote, where to work, who to be friends with and certainly NOT who can be our lover. I think there is a conscience inside of all of us that tells us when we are doing right or wrong. I think this is also a gift from God. Religion tells us how to think, how to act, who to love. This is why I choose not to have a religion. I think someday Ms. Nash will figure out that the combination of religion and politics is just a recipe for disaster. This is why our country and world is so divided. Not because of our skin color, or because we love a certain person, but this belief that OUR God is the ONLY God to follow.


I can’t tell you what to believe, nor do I want to. But you must find PEACE with your own God. And if you find that in a church pew, good for you. I’m just saying that religion is not always the answer to your questions. Dig deeper. THINK. God wants that from us.