Sunday, June 22, 2008

City Jerk moves to town and pushes for censorship in that town

There's an old saying used at some old time taverns. Be good or be gone. It's a good saying for many communities. As someone who grew up in Livingston County back when it was country, I am quite sensitive to this type of story. I also hate censorship in general. Both are prominent in this story.

From the Detroit News:

FRANKENMUTH -- If this popular tourist mecca 80 miles north of Detroit wears Germany on one of its sleeves, the other contains Martin Luther.

Founded by Lutheran missionaries who vowed to retain their old ways, the community of 4,800 has one of the highest concentrations of Lutherans in the Midwest. The city seal contains a Luther rose, the symbol for Lutheranism.

So when local atheist Lloyd Clarke wanted to remove a cross from the seal, along with ones in a city park and on a state bridge, residents rose nearly as one against him.

Children taunted the 66-year-old Clarke. A letter writer accused him of trying to reduce Frankenmuth to "Satan's pit." Another said crosses were as much a part of the town as its renowned chicken dinners.

"People who like to cite the Constitution to justify their hatred and bigotry should take the time to read it," resident Judi King wrote to the local paper.

I think most people have been to Frankenmuth at some point. For those that haven't, I'll just say that the culture there is as German as South Boston is Irish. It's fairly obvious from the name of the town which was settled by Lutheran missionaries from Franconia. It is still largely German to this day. It's also most well known for Bronner's Christmas store that draws customers from all over the country. It's still a heavily religious and conservative area. It markets that. It markets its culture. You see it in the stores, building, street names, and last names of the people there. I can't explain this in a website. You have to see it to understand it. It's a great town to visit, and I don't have to be German or Lutheran to appreciate it.

Clarke said he moved from Bay City to be closer to family in Frankenmuth and a neighboring town.

He didn't notice the foot-long crosses on the bridge until he drove past them a few months ago, he said. He felt they made Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians feel unwelcome.

I've never seen a religious symbol on a bridge in all my life," he said.

Clarke has a long history of activism. A retired UAW organizer, he has belonged to anti-war groups and ran for the state Senate in 2006 as a Green Party candidate, receiving 2.5 percent of the vote.

After he objected to the bridge crosses, the city promptly removed them.

Boy, that was easy, Clarke thought. He then tried his luck with removing the cross from the city seal.

But the city balked, the churches got involved, the residents turned on Clarke, and Frankenmuth hasn't been the same since.

U.S. courts have given conflicting rulings about religious symbols on public property. But judges seem to support such emblems if they represent the history of a community, said legal scholars.

So you feel unwelcome after pushing the city around. Tough crap. Go home. Go back to Bay City, Clarke. You have only been in Frankenmuth for four years. You have not EARNED the right to push this crap around. You may have the power, but not the right. There's a German word that describe people like you who move into a town and force your views upon it. The word is Arschloch. Flatlander is another good term for people like that as well, but that's more applicable to areas like New Hampshire and Vermont which has problems with invaders of their own.

Ann Arbor is not my type of town. It's a leftist paradise with heavy regulations on its citizens. If I move there, I wouldn't push for the courts and others to change the things there, especially the core things there. It's there city, not mine. If I moved there, I'd know what to expect, and accept that it is how things are done. If I didn't accept it, US-23 is right there. I respect that.

If this was a case opression or force by government or things like that, that is one thing. This isn't it. This is just Johnny come lately imposing his one man culture war on the established community and its culture. I can't stand people like that, whether from the left (California natives are notorious for that - which came the term Californicators) or even when it is from people on the right. Be good or be gone. That doesn't mean you have to agree with all the views of the community, but respect the community to which you move. Don't bring your crap here, leave it at your old place.


bluzie said...

I sold Real Estate in Ann Arbor for 14 years, where do you come up with this heavy regulation business?
I cannot fathom what you are talking about!

Communications guru said...

I agree. Dearborn was once all white, but people came along and tried to change that. I don’t think a defense against violating the Constitution is “that’s the way it has always been.” It’s also a little scary that a person with the kind of attitude could be a lawyer. said...

Maybe some day someone will move into a city like Ann Arbor and start suing because everywhere they look there's an absence of belief in a higher power. Atheism is every bit the religion that Christianity, Islam or Judaism are.

Or maybe someone could move to Hamtramck and sue over the calls to morning prayer. Public air space being infiltrated by religious "symbols."

Or maybe we can remember that the Constitution provides us a freedom OF religion, not FROM it.


Communications guru said...

No wonder you bar people from your blog that make you look silly.

Anybody can sue anybody, but with this Supreme Court if you’re an ordinary citizen you will lose. You have no case anyway because Ann Arbor is not endorsing any religious view like Frankenmuth.
I don’t believe it’s the city government in Hamtramck initiating the morning call to prayer you claim is being made. The First Amendment bars government from establishing or endorsing religion. No one is stopping anyone from practicing their religion in Frankenmuth.

If you’re the best dan has to defend the crap he writs maybe he shouldn’t bother. said...

And I quote:

"If you’re the best dan has to defend the crap he writs maybe he shouldn’t bother."

Good times.


Communications guru said...

To the guy over at wrongmichigan, since they do not allow opposing views there. I do get it. Government has no business in religion, and by incorporating Christian symbols in exclusion to all others that is an endorsement or establishment of a state religion.

No, the separation of church and state is the issue here, not atheism or censorship. I don’t oppose the decision of one to choose to believe, but oppose the city government to decide which world religion is best.

The Dearborn example is dead on. The original post argues that it should be allowed because that’s the way it has always been, and no "outsider" should tell them otherwise. The Freedom Riders were also outsiders. If it takes an outsider to change something that is wrong then so be it.

How am I “demonstrating it's intolerance by attempting to quell other's expressions of faith in the manner they see fit?” No one is stopping any individual from going to church seven days a week if they see fit, or practicing their religion in any way. Shame on you for advocating discrimination.

Communications guru said...

Is that supposed to be a clever comeback? I guess when you can’t defend your position you have to seize on a typo.

Republican Michigander said...

Kevin, the Dearborn example is a very poor one. Arabs, Chaldeans, and others from the Middle East have worked for Ford (which build Dearborn) for almost 100 years. Many have come more recently, but they go back to the 1920's. Dearborn also has had a decline in population since Ford's heyday in the 1960's, and the Middle Easterners there replaced those who moved more than moved in and told Dearborn how to run its city. That wasn't a case of Californication.

Now while the precident has been poor lately due to some judges pushing censorship in the name of the first amendment instead of stopping government from pushing mandatory religion, this still is a tough test for Clarke if it goes to court. While the Cross is religious, it is also historical and part of Frankenmuth history, and that can be used as a defense. The Crosses off the bridge needed to happen since that wouldn't fly in court. I have mixed views about public symbols, but I can see a valid arguement on the bridge - not here. The precident has been mixed on these issues. Some have been upheld, and some have not. The most similar case has been Lynch v Donnelly, and a nativity scene was upheld on city property. Another case shot it down when it was on the courthouse stairs (also nativity scene).

But even that aside, I go back to how Clarke may (or may not) have the power but not the right. If this was a 25 year Frankenmuth area resident, or even a 10+ year Frankenmuth area resident pushing this, I wouldn't have posted this. He would be from there, lived there, and earned the right. This instead was from some cityboy up in Bay City moving to the small town and telling it to change its culture. As a saying goes at one of my favorite taverns, "Be good or be gone." If I move somewhere, I'm not going to tell them to change their culture to accomidate me. I adapt to it or live with it. There is no right not to be offended.

Communications guru said...

Dearborn might not be the best example, but it’s a valid one. Philadelphia, Mississippi may be a better example. The “that’s the way things have always been” is no defense, and I don’t care how long you have lived in a place, wrong is wrong. Have no idea what “Californication” is.

The cross historical? Please. Mr. Clark has both the right and power to ensure the city is upholding the Constitution. How long you have lived in a community is completely irrelevant. Since when do you have to live in an area a certain time before you can right a wrong? This has nothing to do with small towns, big cities or culture. Everyone should be offended at governments ignoring the Constitution.

Republican Michigander said...

Californication is when Californians move to towns outside their state and try to turn it into the California they left over the objections of local residents. It's a term often heard in Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon.

As far as this violating the constitution, that is doubful both on a literal sense (where all censorship of religion is wrong) and from a precidence stance given Lynch v Donnelly and the Lemon test. (1971 Burger Court case) If an 1980's SCOTUS gave us Lynch v Donnelly as passing the litmus test, this certainly should pass the test.

Communications guru said...

Although it has been quite a few years since I have lived in California, I have never heard of that ridiculous, made up word. I think you made it up. I’m not a Constitutional lawyer, but there is no censorship here. What we have is an endorsement of a certain religion by the government, in my opinion. You may be right on the court cases. But you are way off on the reason this guy should not bring the violation to light.