Texas Gov. Rick Perry signs ‘Merry Christmas bill’ into law

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Schools will now be able to display religious symbols as long as at least one secular or other religion’s symbol is also displayed. At the signing ceremony high-school cheerleaders wore t-shirts that read ‘I cheer for Christ.’


Texas Gov. Rick Perry is fighting on the front lines in the so-called “war on Christmas.”

On Thursday, Perry signed what has been dubbed the “Merry Christmas bill” into law. The measure allows schools to display religious symbols such as nativity scenes and Christmas trees so long as at least one other religious image or secular icon is also included.

In addition, the new law allows staff members and students at the state’s public schools to exchange traditional holiday greetings, such as “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” and “happy holidays” without fear of reprisal.

Written By: David Knowles
continue to source article at nydailynews.com

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  1. Has somebody told this wingnut that Christmas trees are not a religious symbol? Basically pagans (and for that matter ancient Egyptians and other cultures) saw evergreen trees as a symbol of life enduring through the winter months, and Christians adopted it (possibly not before the 16th century when Martin Luther allegedly and probably rather dangerously decorated a tree with lighted candles).

    I don’t really understand America on much of this stuff. Whilst supporting separation of church and state, where is the harm is schools having Christmas trees? It would be a very rare UK school that did not have one. And also a nativity play with a lot of kids dressed up a sheep. And I don’t really have a problem with any of that.

    • In reply to #1 by Stevehill:

      Has somebody told this wingnut that Christmas trees are not a religious symbol? Basically pagans (and for that matter ancient Egyptians and other cultures) saw evergreen trees as a symbol of life enduring through the winter months, and Christians adopted it (possibly not before the 16th century whe…

      Forwhatit’sworth… St Bonaventure was an English missionary in Dark Ages Germany. The Druids were in the saddle then, and St B was getting nowhere, so he performed a vandalistic stunt.

      On Christmas day he went out into the forest and found the biggest, oldest oak tree. The oak was the sacred tree of Druidism and this one was the most sacred of all. (As an aside; hence mistletoe, a parasite on the oak, was considered even more sacred, especially since it was evergreen in winter. It was, I suppose, some sort of fertility symbol, and it still is, hence the central role it plays in office Christmas parties.)

      On with the story… He chopped down the tree, which due to its extreme age was hollow, and growing inside, in the hollow, was a perfect little pine tree. So the canny St B went for a bit of logo substitution, and brought back the pretty pine, covered in sparkling frost and snow, and it became a symbol of Christ’s birth, blending neatly with the pagan mid-winter festival.

      The violent action against other people’s religious symbols was lauded by the Christians, and went unpunished. They haven’t changed much.

    • I don’t see christmas as a christian celebration. I am aware of the history of the winter
      solstice and christian religious traditions being combined. But the best parts (as others have mentioned)
      are the pagan influences, such as the decorations and feasts/parties. I think the gift giving was
      introduced as a much more modern pagan tradition.

      It seems that in the US the religious right are focused on ensuring that the winter holiday
      season is seen as primarily a christian religious celebration which is quite ironic when you
      consider that it was the religious conservatives (puritans) of the time that got christmas
      celebrations banned in the UK and US for some years in the 17th century.

      The christians are very keen to get their message across in the US schools (get them young)
      but US law against the promotion of religion in public schools is making it very difficult for them.
      It seems the “war on christmas” campaign has also been a very good fund raiser:

      http://tfninsider.org/2011/11/30/tis-the-war-on-christmas-silly-season/

      In the office at work, the little christmas trees and a few decorations come out of storage in
      December and they brighten the place up – nice at that time of year when the weather can be
      miserable and the colds and flu are doing the rounds.
      Like you, I have never worried about christmas decorations and nativity plays etc in schools either.
      But I guess my opinion might be different if I lived in the US, where the political/religious environment
      is altogether different.

      In reply to #1 by Stevehill:

      Has somebody told this wingnut that Christmas trees are not a religious symbol? Basically pagans (and for that matter ancient Egyptians and other cultures) saw evergreen trees as a symbol of life enduring through the winter months, and Christians adopted it (possibly not before the 16th century whe…

    • In reply to #1 by Stevehill:

      ……..I don’t really understand America on much of this stuff……….

      I live here and I don’t understand them either. Many on the religious right are so misinformed they don’t realize much of what they want to do is already protected. Want to wear a Jesus First t-shirt go for it, protected by the 1st Amendment. Want to pray, go for it protected by the 1st Amendment.

      Want to be an ignorant ass who doesn’t understand the Constitution or Bill of Rights, pass “Merry Christmas” legislation.

    • In reply to #1 by Stevehill:

      I don’t really understand America on much of this stuff. Whilst supporting separation of church and state, where is the harm is schools having Christmas trees? It would be a very rare UK school that did not have one. And also a nativity play with a lot of kids dressed up a sheep. And I don’t really have a problem with any of that.

      Steve, the problem is that nativity plays and Christmas trees in our public, taxpayer funded schools are seen as an endorsement of one particular religion to the exclusion of all other religions and world views. One solution would be to allow all religions to have free access to schools and public spaces to install their own special displays. I’m sure I don’t need to list off all the different varieties of Xianity we have here in the States, not to mention the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans Satanists, and every other form of brainwashed wacko bunch you could ever imagine. I’m thinking that the year doesn’t have enough days in it to get all of our holy-days on the schedule!

      In schools we will have the additional scheduling problem of including all the students birthdays amongst the holy day celebrations of all the students. The birthday celebrations have already become a disruption in our classrooms here since on the child’s birthday, the mom brings cupcakes etc for the entire class and obviously nothing further will be accomplished that day. Some schools have now declared that there will be no more of this allowed. Thank goodness. Perhaps the students could spend the day on academic activities and improve their understanding of subjects that will serve them well in this life, like critical thinking for example.

      Is it too much to ask that if I need to go to our town hall to see about a bit of paperwork that I shouldn’t have to wade through crosses and menorahs and installations of Middle Eastern virgins holding their babies surrounded by sheep and angels and halos over everyone’s heads? Mind you, our town centers usually have several types of Xian churches that have every right to put these displays on their front lawns.

      If you really want to understand America on this stuff you have to see it to believe it. The love affair between America and Capitalism is strangling us. We no sooner finish one holiday with decorations and gifts and pigging out on tons of food and going broke with the mindless spending then the next holiday is upon us. Did you know that we have permanent Christmas decoration stores in many locations now? Also Halloween costume and decoration stores are year round establishments. Halloween used to be for kids and a simple, limited affair but now is extended to adult participation and goes on for all of October. Salvation Army Santas bangin’ and clangin’ outside of evey store for weeks on end yelling out, “God bless you! Jesus saves!” and Capitalist bullying TV commercials that take more time than the show itself, and wrapping paper and blinking colored lights everywhere! Everywhere!! and AAAGGGGGHHH!!!!

      I realize that our American Atheists who comment on this website may give the appearance of aggressively charging out of the corner swinging on these issues of separation of church and state here. We’ve had some good discussion of this on other threads having to do with removal of crosses and ten commandment displays on big cement bibles on public property. Of course it woud be nice if people could use common sense and good taste but with the current frightening level of religiosity here in combination with free market capitalism, common sense and good taste are relics of a bygone era. I always support the action of FFRF without reservation and I hope you can see what we’re up against in this place.

      I’ve read that the Atheist Alliance is having their convention here in Boston in late August and I was thinking that if only they would postpone it a couple months then we could all celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all at the same time. Of course, there would be no time left for convention activities.

      • In reply to #31 by LaurieB:

        In reply to #1 by Stevehill:

        Steve, the problem is that nativity plays and Christmas trees in our public, taxpayer funded schools are seen as an endorsement of one particular religion to the exclusion of all other religions and world views. One solution would be to allow all religions to have free access to schools and public spaces to install their own special displays. I’m sure I don’t need to list off all the different varieties of Xianity we have here in the States, not to mention the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans Satanists, and every other form of brainwashed wacko bunch you could ever imagine.

        I’m going to tread on dangerous ground here. I think Religious Education (not “worship”) in schools is great, and America ought to try it.

        My kids, in a state primary school on the edge of Dawkins’ very own Oxford, don’t just celebrate Xmas. They celebrate Eid, Diwali, Hannukah and all the rest. They learn something about these religions. They go on field trips to mosques and synagogues. This is par for the course in UK (non-faith) schools, unless parents exercise a right to opt out of RE.

        So UK kids (not in faith schools, who focus only on The One True Faith, whatever it happens to be) end up at least tolerably informed about all major religions, and grow up with the idea that by and large they are all OK-ish and not harmful. (They may all be as mad as a box of frogs for believing any superstitious nonsense at all, but it’s my job to address that question).

        I can well imagine the average US parent recoiling in horror at the idea of the kids getting even minimal exposure to somebody else’s faith. And they are right to be concerned.

        Because learning that there are lots of faiths, and lots of gods, makes kids work out quite quickly that they cannot all be right. From there, it is a short step to concluding that maybe none of them are right.

        In other words RE creates atheists. Ad as a usefull by-product it creates a certain amount of respect for people of other faiths, and a broad grounding in our cultural history which is worth knowing for its own sake.

        Look at the relative numbers of believers versus atheists in the US as compared to Europe. Most Brits do not believe in god. The establishment clause is the best ally the religious right in America could wish for.

        • In reply to #47 by Stevehill:

          I can well imagine the average US parent recoiling in horror at the idea of the kids getting even minimal exposure to somebody else’s faith. And they are right to be concerned.

          I don’t think this happens because there is no way to avoid being exposed to other faiths unless the kid lives in a large homogenous community that is self isolating. We do have some of those but they’re viewed as cults by the mainstream Americans. In most suburban neighborhoods there is a mix of various sorts of Protestants, Catholics and Jews. Muslim families are more in evidence than a decade ago. These kids all mix in their public schools and after school they interact in the neighborhoods. When I was a kid we used to all go off to our different Sunday school religious classes and then meet up after everyone got home to play games outside in the back yards. None of us gave it a second thought. When someone had a wedding or funeral in their family of course we all went to that person’s church or temple for the formal ceremony. Granted, as Methodists, we always felt like skunks at a garden party when we were in the Catholic church for whatever reason we were there. Probably the Catholic kids felt the same way in our church.

          I can’t speak to how the public schools deal with what you call RE now-a-days, but when I was in school and what I know from my own kids going through school, this information was covered in other classes as the need arose. How can any history course be taught without covering the religious material that is pertinent? Can we read about WWII without learning the basics of Judaism? How about Shintoism in Japan? The Crusades and the Reformation? Native American spirituality and the Incas vs Spanish Catholics? I understand completely that it’s important to learn basic information about these belief systems and in fact I consider it important to read the Bible and Koran and any other so called holy book as part of a basic education, but do we need a whole required course on it? I’m not sure. There is no shortage of these religious survey courses at college level mind you. They’re quite common.

          In other words RE creates atheists.

          I guess I’ll go along with that although, just personally, I can’t relate to it. Is that how you came to be an Atheist? I came to Atheism through feminism in the late 70′s and early 80′s and this was solidified in my mind from living in North Africa for a few years after that where I observed just how severely religion wrecks women’s lives. When I look at the picture in our article above, I feel so sorry for those young women on the right. It’s internalized misogyny. I hope they find it within themselves to think their way out of it. I pity the young boy as well. I feel like he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting out of his disgusting religion when he’s surrounded by a bunch of alpha males all beaming smiles and just enfolding him into their delusional mindset. The adult woman on the left inspires anger in me for being a gender traitor and accepting her role as powerless babymaker and inferior human as defined by her hideous religion, and coercing girls and young women to follow her example. Ugh.

          One thing I’m not sure about and maybe you have a better understanding of, is that if a student is in a public school class that is reading the Bible, say, and there is a decent diversity of students all around them, what sort of comments do those kids make? When they read the story of Joshua for example, does everyone just nod their heads and say, “oh yes, right, that’s interesting…” or would some brave person say that it was a damn genocide how he massacred all those people like a psychopath? How would that work out? I’m not trying to be a wiseass here. I feel like it would be a nightmare trying to teach a class like this. heh. I would also say that I really prefer to learn history and literature in a multidisciplinary way. It gives me a wider scope and I can put information into better context that way. For example, I would like to read about Henry VIII and Elizabeth I and then I’d like to read about the Reformation and let’s throw in a little Shakespeare while we’re at it. See what I mean?

          • What was it with Methodists and Catholics? In catholic school they were always spoken of in hushed tones but no one could ever tell me why!

            As for the question about reading Joshua, we kinda skimmed over old testement god. I happened to be a reader though and so have read the whole bible a few times over (you can’t read Shakespeare or Marlowe without it!). As a girl the wars and atrocities felt like the nepolianic wars and atrocities. Distant and “other”. They disgust me as an adult now that I understand the bibles innuendo.

    • In reply to #1 by Stevehill:

      Has somebody told this wingnut that Christmas trees are not a religious symbol? Basically pagans (and for that matter ancient Egyptians and other cultures) saw evergreen trees as a symbol of life enduring through the winter months, and Christians adopted it (possibly not before the 16th century whe…
      Maybe they were not, but they are now

  2. There IS no war on Christmas, and NOBODY objects to having a Christmas tree in a public place. NOBODY. And there have never been ‘reprisals’ — never — not once,– for saying Merry Christmas. It’s all part of the posturing of Christians of being persecuted. It’s all smoke and mirrors and fake victories in fake battles in a fake war. When your brand of mythology is being ridiculed, and you’re not smart enough to know it’s because it’s nonsense, all that’s left is to play the martyr.

    • So so true. I’ve been finding this ‘I’m being persecuted for not being able to express my hatred & intolerance of others with different sexual orientations or non religious beliefs’ quite shocking.

      In reply to #2 by justinesaracen:

      There IS no war on Christmas, and NOBODY objects to having a Christmas tree in a public place. NOBODY. And there have never been ‘reprisals’ — never — not once,– for saying Merry Christmas. It’s all part of the posturing of Christians of being persecuted. It’s all smoke and mirrors and fake vi…

  3. Rick Perry is an asshole who has power. The cool thing is that this is all he could get done. Wow. asshole, you got nativity scenes to be allowed where nativity scenes have always been allowed. What a douche.

    • In reply to #3 by crookedshoes:

      Rick Perry is an asshole who has power. The cool thing is that this is all he could get done. Wow. asshole, you got nativity scenes to be allowed where nativity scenes have always been allowed. What a douche.

      No he is not. He is a dumb asshole and you know it!

  4. What’s up with the crazy Jewish guy in the background? Is that Texas’s piss poor attempt to show plurality? But, this doesn’t bother me one bit. Let the Christians have their day of fantasy. I’m an Atheist and every year I put up a Christmas tree and all the good stuff. Even the nativity set ups don’t bother me. I’m more concerned with keeping Christ out of the Biology classroom.

  5. The First Amendment prohibits a law “respecting an establishment of religion”, not “respecting exactly one establishment of religion without simultaneously respecting a symbol of irreligion”. You can’t just make laws that kinda sorta obey the Constitution but really don’t because to pretend otherwise they have to misremember the words in it.

  6. In the US there’s a strict Constitutional bar to any state favored religion. Texas will be sued, and millions in taxpayer money will be wasted when Texas defends this ludicrous political ploy. The bill will be struck down but a bunch of pols are making hay today off it today. The group doing the suing includes Christian clergy; But educated ones who want a secular commons and religion as a private matter. Like the law calls for.

    Non American posters need to understand that Texas is an incubator for sheer lunacy, as well as a part of the Bible Belt. And this is political grandstanding. The law won’t pass Federal Judicial review. Gone.

    • In reply to #7 by TheBunny:

      In the US there’s a strict Constitutional bar to any state favored religion. Texas will be sued, and millions in taxpayer money will be wasted when Texas defends this ludicrous political ploy.

      I’m not sure they will be sued. I think this law is really just symbolic, it makes things legal that were never illegal to begin with. For example, its not illegal to say “Merry Christmas” in a public school. It never was illegal but now this law just affirms that. I’m pretty sure that is correct but either way I agree its clearly a waste of time and money.

  7. Christmas is after all a pagan winter solstice celebration. You know, when people in the cold northern areas of Europe had parties to welcome the start of the lengthening days. But typical of xtians they stole it for their own and bastardised it into a religious rite for the sole purpose of promotion of a confected myth about a saviour who like the islamic analogue has been a blight on humanity ever since the primitives of the fly blown Middle East incubated the whole evil notion.

    • In reply to #10 by N_Ellis:

      How long before the secular image is ‘nothing’ representing atheism?

      Yeah. All the empty space in schools at the moment represent the non-existence of any supernatural beings. In other words, wherever one goes, schools or other governmental institutions, there are atheist symbolism everywhere. Everything reminds us of the non-existence of gods.

      • In reply to #26 by Aztek:

        In reply to #10 by N_Ellis:
        How long before the secular image is ‘nothing’ representing atheism?

        Yeah. All the empty space in schools at the moment represent the non-existence of any supernatural beings. In other words, wherever one goes, schools or other governmental institutions, there are atheist symbolism everywhere. Everything reminds us of the non-existence of gods.

        Yea! Like when the Manchester “Air and Space Museum” first opened, but had a problem with delivery of its exhibits.

        It was the local joke that it was full of air and space! ( A bit like Rick Perry’s head.)

  8. This question might come across as a little ignorant, but what is it exactly about Texas? Why does it produce all these loons? Is it some kind of frontier mentality from the 1800s? Unexplained unique cultural characteristics? The harsh climate? Why is it that the north seems to socially progress (albeit slowly) while the southern states, and particularly Texas seem stuck in a time warp?

  9. There’s a scene in an episode of American Dad where a bunch of people dressed in nineteenth century costume warn Stan about the Holiday Rapist, and Stan gets angry and retorts it’s the Christmas Rapist.

  10. In reply to ;-

    … so long as at least one other religious image or secular icon is also included….

    Does that means the religious images or icons have to go round in pairs. and Secular/atheist/pagen images will still be banned?

    I have always likes the idea of Darwin, Dennett, Pratchett and Randi, ( the guys with big white beards) being pictured as Santa Clause/s. Mr Dawkins is excluded untill get grows a beard.

    • Could Darwin Claus leave barnicles in the stockings of naughty children?

      In reply to #13 by old-toy-boy:

      In reply to ;-

      … so long as at least one other religious image or secular icon is also included….

      Does that means the religious images or icons have to go round in pairs. and Secular/atheist/pagen images will still be banned?

      I have always likes the idea of Darwin, Dennett, Pratchett and Rand…

  11. @OP – In addition, the new law allows staff members and students at the state’s public schools to exchange traditional holiday greetings, such as “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” and “happy holidays” without fear of reprisal.

    Yuletide greetings – with a nice picture of a reindeer or horse, roasting over an open fire, and the Viking beer festival in full swing.

    The Romans had some real swinging mid-winter parties for SATURNALIA http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/20617780.

    **”Io Saturnalia!” Two thousand years ago this was the seasonal greeting which would have chimed out across most of Europe, not “Merry Christmas”. The Roman mid-winter festival of misrule has heavily influenced many Christmas traditions – including the time of year we celebrate. **

    “The Christian Church appropriated quite a few Pagan festivals and Pagan activities,” according to Sam Moorhead, national finds adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum.

    So many of our Christian traditions can be traced to Roman mid-winter festivals that a time-travelling centurion would feel quite at home sitting around the table for the Christmas banquet or joining in office party revelries.

    “People would go round the streets and there was merry-making and singing songs, which some people associate with modern carolling,” adds Mr Moorhead.

    “You were also not allowed to give lectures at the time, unless they were witty or funny – which could be seen as the origin of cracker jokes.”

    Originally a one-day feast at the end of autumn, Saturnalia gradually moved to later and later dates, with longer celebrations, throughout the Roman period.

    Pagan ritual and Christianity coexisted for many decades after the conversion of Constantine the Great. This period was not always harmonious, especially in the fourth century, with tense and bloody episodes between the new Christian elite and those who still worshipped the old gods.

    Simon Sebag Montefiore looks at some of the Christian-pagan hybrid celebrations

    Festivals like the Lupercalia – held in February – where men ran through the streets of Rome naked, whipping women with strips of goat-hide, were still marked by Pagans and Christians alike.

    According to Dr Nicholls, it may have seemed expedient for the new Christian ruling classes to allow Pagan traditions to be merged with the new state religion.

    “Pagan temples and shrines were a frequent focus of religious conflict, and bans or interdicts provoked riots and civil unrest.

    “In that climate a complete ban on Pagan worship would be provocative, and allowing some festival practices to continue under a new religious regime would be a way of softening the transition.”

    But there have been more modern attempts to ban aspects of Christmas because of their links with Paganism.

    Carolling, or rather the dancing and drinking that often accompany it, has yo-yoed in and out of favour with Churches because of its association with the more debauched side of pagan festivals like Saturnalia.

    • Does this mean that when someone asks me for “the reason for the season” I can call out “Io Saturnalia!”?

      Cause that would be awesome.

      In reply to #14 by Alan4discussion:

      @OP – In addition, the new law allows staff members and students at the state’s public schools to exchange traditional holiday greetings, such as “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” and “happy holidays” without fear of reprisal.

      Yuletide greetings – with a nice picture of a reindeer or horse, roas…

  12. The “War on Christmas” always brings to mind this satirical number from South Park, in which class teacher Mr Garrison wants to extend seasonal greetings to all people of all nations – on one condition… [warning- contains swearing!]

  13. Festivals like the Lupercalia – held in February – where men ran through the streets of Rome naked, whipping women with strips of goat-hide, were still marked by Pagans and Christians alike.

    Sounds like an improvement on Xmass in Boston. Would like to see this implemented forthwith.

  14. Articles about Christmas in the middle of… let me check… June!

    For anyone who, like me, is quite impressionable and has a Pavlovian reaction to the mere mention of the Isthmascray word, and perhaps wishes to pretend that it is indeed the Most Wonderful Time of the Year even though it’s a balmy summer day (at least where I am), here is the Christmas 2011 episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage, featuring our own Richard Dawkins among the guests, and presented, as always, by the curmudgeonly Robin Ince and moptop astrologer Brian Cox:

    TIMC, The Science of Christmas, BBC iplayer

    Or you can download it free here. (It’s not the top one; you have to scroll about halfway down)


    “Hello, I’m Robin Ince, and happy Christmas. Or, as we atheists say, happy Christmas.”

    • I think Brian Cox might not appreciate being called an astrologer.

      In reply to #19 by Katy Cordeth:

      Articles about Christmas in the middle of… let me check… June!

      For anyone who, like me, is quite impressionable and has a Pavlovian reaction to the mere mention of the Isthmascray word, and perhaps wishes to pretend that it is indeed the Most Wonderful Time of the Year even though it’s a balmy…

  15. I’d having to think that that smirk on the Jewish dude’s face is an optical illusion caused by the refraction of light due to the dense medium sitting right below him. Since he is surrounded by several females, all in tight, hip-hugging jeans, some of whom may be menstruating, I’d expect him to look more like a trapped mongoose than a stoner.

    • In reply to #27 by joseywales:

      I’d having to think that that smirk on the Jewish dude’s face is an optical illusion caused by the refraction of light due to the dense medium sitting right below him. Since he is surrounded by several females, all in tight, hip-hugging jeans, some of whom may be menstruating, I’d expect him to look…

      Way to judge someone based on nothing more than the clothes they’re wearing.

      I wish I had the power to see into people’s souls like that.

      It’d save a heck of a lot of time which might otherwise be spent learning their name and talking to them.

      • In reply to #28 by Katy Cordeth:

        Way to judge someone based on nothing more than the clothes they’re wearing.

        I wish I had the power to see into people’s souls like that.

        It’d save a heck of a lot of time which might otherwise be spent learning their name and talking to them.

        So you only judge people after learning their name and talking to them? Funny, you must have spoken to me while I wasn’t listening.

        I wish I had the power to learn everyone’s name and talk to them before judging them. But since I’m not you, I’m going to settle for some plausible assumptions.

        • It didn’t read like you were making judgements. I thought those plausible assumptions were to construct
          a fairly amusing joke. Watch out, posters 4, 6 & 8.

          In reply to #29 by joseywales:

          In reply to #28 by Katy Cordeth:

          Way to judge someone based on nothing more than the clothes they’re wearing.

          I wish I had the power to see into people’s souls like that.

          It’d save a heck of a lot of time which might otherwise be spent learning their name and talking to them.

          So you only judge p…

          • In reply to #32 by Marktony:

            It didn’t read like you were making judgements. I thought those plausible assumptions were to construct
            a fairly amusing joke. Watch out, posters 4, 6 & 8.

            In reply to #29 by joseywales:

            In reply to #28 by Katy Cordeth:

            Way to judge someone based on nothing more than the clothes they’re wearing….

            If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here, Mark, it’s that some people can’t even tell when you’re making a joke. Check out this comment.

          • No worries. It was a indeed a joke.

            In reply to #34 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #32 by Marktony:

            It didn’t read like you were making judgements. I thought those plausible assumptions were to construct
            a fairly amusing joke. Watch out, posters 4, 6 & 8.

            In reply to #29 by joseywales:

            In reply to #28 by Katy Cordeth:

            Way to judge someone based on nothing more than…

          • In reply to #35 by Marktony:

            No worries. It was a indeed a joke.

            In reply to #34 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #32 by Marktony:

            It didn’t read like you were making judgements. I thought those plausible assumptions were to construct
            a fairly amusing joke. Watch out, posters 4, 6 & 8.

            In reply to #29 by joseywales:

            In reply to #28 by Katy Cordeth:

            Way to judge someone based on nothing more than…

            Sorry, guvnor, you’ve lost me. What was a joke? I know that that part of my comment was; you don’t need to tell me that.

            Do you mean your response where you informed me that Professor Cox might object to being called an astrologer was a joke?

            If you do then I think you owe Alan an apology, because he evidently thought you were being serious. (Don’t worry about the other, anonymous likes you got on that comment; they were from me.)

            This modern humour foxes me. There’s far too much irony for my liking. :-(

          • That’s better.

            In reply to #36 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #35 by Marktony:

            No worries. It was a indeed a joke.

            In reply to #34 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #32 by Marktony:

            It didn’t read like you were making judgements. I thought those plausible assumptions were to construct
            a fairly amusing joke. Watch out, posters 4, 6 & 8.

            In reply to…

          • In reply to #34 by Katy Cordeth:

            If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here, Mark, it’s that some people can’t even tell when you’re making a joke

            Nice recovery. That would be my excuse as well, if I were in your shoes. Not that I’m assuming you wear shoes, since I don’t know your name and I haven’t spoken to you yet.

            Curious to find out which part of your comment to me was meant to be a joke. Wouldn’t want to make any assumptions and knot your panties any further. Not that I’m assuming you wear panties, since I don’t know your name and I haven’t spoken to you yet.

      • In reply to #28 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #27 by joseywales:

        Way to judge someone based on nothing more than the clothes they’re wearing.
        I wish I had the power to see into people’s souls like that.
        It’d save a heck of a lot of time which might otherwise be spent learning their name and talking to them.

        The man is Jewish. Just accept it.

  16. The embarassment of riches coming from the Perry administration is enough to make the Koch brothers blush.

    Rick Perry is just too dumb for words. All sizzle and no steak….as they say in Texas.

  17. In reply to #38 by Marktony:

    That’s better.

    What’s better? Butter than margarine? To have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? The passing of a kidney stone? Captain Picard than Capt. Kirk? What?

    And to what does…

    No worries. It was a indeed a joke.

    …refer?

  18. But it noted that educational institutions controlled by religious organizations are exempt from some federal requirements that might conflict with the organizations’ religious tenets.

    And why the fuck is this? Why is it that just because an organization’s policies are religious in nature would they be allowed to skirt the law?

    When did that ever make sense?

  19. Normally, I give people the benefit of the doubt, but this is a law, and people will bend the letter to conform to their own needs, and this is Rick Perry, who’s history indicates he really does want Jesus smiling at your child from her breakfast cereal.

    This law will be utilized so that a wreath on the door justifies adorning the rest of the school with Jesus Is the Reason For the Season propaganda.

    The whole war on Christmas movement is specifically a device not to include Christianity but to exclude non-Christians from participation.

    Ironically, Jesus just isn’t as fun as Santa Claus, and my experience with Christmas is that it’s not about Christ, it’s about the kids, and Christianization of the winter festivities tends to kill the winter festivities, because Mass is really not all that fun, even when you throw in some carols.

    Chrismas was almost dead when Charles Dickens revitalized it. Scrooge’s notion that Christmas was a humbug was common, even popular. Scrooge and his tale of ecstatic transformation is the real saint of Christmas.

  20. In reply to #45 by Comment Removed:

    In reply to #34 by Katy Cordeth:

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here, Mark, it’s that some people can’t even tell when you’re making a joke

    Nice recovery. That would be my excuse as well, if I were in your shoes. Not that I’m assuming you wear shoes, since I don’t know your name and I haven’t spoken to you yet.

    Curious to find out which part of your comment to me was meant to be a joke. Wouldn’t want to make any assumptions and knot your panties any further. Not that I’m assuming you wear panties, since I don’t know your name and I haven’t spoken to you yet.

    Okay.

    Sighs

    Here’s the timeline:

    Comment #19 by Katy Cordeth in which our heroine provides a link to an episode of a radio programme she thinks her fellow members may find entertaining. In this post, for comic effect, she affects not to know the difference between astronomy and astrology. It’s a gag she’s made before.

    The moving finger… moves on:

    Comment #23 by Marktony (still extant on this site), in which the first of our heroes doesn’t get the joke our heroine has made, or at least professes not to.

    At this point, because she enjoys messing with people, our heroine while cloaked in anonymity likes comment #23, not once but twice; this gives another member who shall remain nameless the courage to like the comment him or herself.

    Enter hero no. 2, our Clint Eastwood fan, who in comment #27 (still extant) posts a comment which our heroine finds slightly objectionable; or at least pretends to because she is familiar with online discussion sights and likes a barney as much as anyone.

    Comment #29 finds hero no. 2 trying to defend his position by saying he is happy to settle for time-tested/plausible assumptions. Our heroine doesn’t respond because… well, because she doesn’t feel the need to and would rather this comment sat in the conscience of hero no. 2 and did its own damage there.

    Reenter, stage left at comment #32, hero no. 1, who shows his solidarity with no.2 and is rewarded with a like from the latter.

    With me so far?

    Okay. From stage right our beautiful, sexy minx of a… sorry, our heroine appears and in response to hero no. 1 says that in her time at this website she has found that not all jokes made are understood.

    This is the important bit with regard to your own comment #45:

    our heroine, in saying…

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here, Mark, it’s that some people can’t even tell when you’re making a joke

    …was speaking about hero no. 1′s misunderstanding of the innocuous, so she thought, joke about Professor Brian Cox’s profession.

    I hope this clears things up: our heroine was referring to the joke she made in comment #19.

    And I hope the mods, before they remove this comment, let it sit on this website for half an hour or so before they delete it.

    Twenty minutes, guys. Come on! Ten. Five? Oh, okay… 4… 3… 2…

  21. I noticed some floods in the news a couple of weeks ago. They were in Texas. Has Rick Perry been trying to interfere with God’s eternal plan yet again?

    Somehow, I can’t see Rick Perry getting through them pearly gates. St Peter will be on special watch for those trying to interfere with the Cosmic Plan, as set out 13.82 billion years ago !

    (Tongue firmly removed from cheek !)

  22. Wow, all of Texas’ real problems must be solved, since its whacky Governor has time to spend on fixing the imaginary problems of whiny religionuts. Every Texan has a job that pays the bills in a safe workplace that won’t blow up on them. No Texan is poor, homeless, discriminated against, or without access to healthcare. Texan children have the finest, most up-to-date education, and none of them are poor, hungry, abused, or ill. There are no disaster sites or victims that need help. Texas’ budget is balanced and everybody is getting what they need. All these things must be true, since any sane person would address these issues before worrying about Christmas greetings and religious symbols….right?

    Right?

  23. Schools will now be able to display religious symbols as long as at least one secular or other religion’s symbol is also displayed.

    So that means schools can now display religious banners stating things like “Christianity is the one true religion” alongside secular banners stating things like “It is against the constitution for a public school to endorse any religion”.

    Genius.

  24. In reply to #29 by joseywales:

    In reply to #28 by Katy Cordeth:

    Way to judge someone based on nothing more than the clothes they’re wearing.

    I wish I had the power to see into people’s souls like that.

    It’d save a heck of a lot of time which might otherwise be spent learning their name and talking to them.

    So you only judge people after learning their name and talking to them? Funny, you must have spoken to me while I wasn’t listening.

    I wish I had the power to learn everyone’s name and talk to them before judging them. But since I’m not you, I’m going to settle for some plausible assumptions.

    We have spoken before on this site, Josey. And I know your name. Both criteria have been met.

    Plausible assumptions are all well and good under many a circumstance. If the label on an item of clothing proclaims it to be 100% percent cotton, it’s plausible to assume it will breathe, as I think they say in the garment industry. And if you’re wrong, the worst that will happen is you might get a bit sweaty if you wear it on a hot day.

    Making assumptions about human beings tends to be more problematic. Which is why I think it’s best to hear what someone has to say before deciding to label them as bigoted.

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