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The Fundy Post: Issue 7

The Fundy Post: Issue 7

See: I told you we would be weekly from now on. This issue comes wearing a hair shirt: readers may have noticed that I sent it to hundreds of addresses using the 'To:' field in my email program, not the Blind Carbon Copy. If you tried to print it, you might have had to wade through pages of addresses before reaching the text. Apologies to all.

In my haste to send out the last issue, I forgot to include the Rules of Engagement, which are as follows:

1. The Fundy Post is a production of the NZ Association of Rationalists and Humanists, and is sent by email to just about anybody who has some sort of contact with this organisation.

2. If you do not wish to receive it, email me at paul@nzarh.org.nz and you will be removed from the distribution list.

3. Your email address will not be passed on to any other person or organisation, so you need not worry about receiving advertisements for body enhancing products.

4. Pass on the Fundy Post to your friends and you will receive Good Fortune and Double Happiness.

5. The Fundy Post is also available at our website at: http://www.nzarh.org.nz/thepost.htm

Before we go on with the show, first some reminders:

The NZARH conference, The Tolerant Society and its Enemies, will be held on Saturday 16th October at AUT's Wellesley Street Conference Centre. I will be the warm-up act, after which we will have Kathy Sunderland on Blasphemy, Max Wallace on Church and State and Ray Bradley on his journey from fundamentalism to Atheism. Our keynote speaker will be Hon Chris Carter MP. Readers can sign up for the conference at www.nzarh.org.nz/conference.htm or by phoning us at (09) 373 5131 or by calling in at Rationalist House, 64 Symonds Street, Auckland. Please come, it will be fun. NZARH members and their guests are also invited to our annual dinner after the conference.

It is not too late to show your support for the Civil Union Bill and Relationships Bill. For a minimum of $20, you can sign an advertisement that will be published in a major national newspaper. Here's the deal: go to https://www.civilunions.org.nz/ad?r=f and use your Visa or Mastercard to have your say. Or, if you prefer, download and print the form (PDF or Microsoft Word) and post us a cheque. Please sign the ad today and forward this message to your friends and colleagues who support the Civil Union Bill and Relationships Bill. The ad will include the names of all who sign the message and will read:

We support the Civil Union Bill and the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill. We believe that our country's laws should reflect the diversity of relationships within society, treat all people in relationships fairly and equally, and not discriminate against de facto and same sex couples.

To be a Rock

Some tour news for rock fans: Roy's Rock is on tour. Confused? You should be. Here is the story so far.

In 2001, On August 1, 2001, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore authorized the placement of a 5,200 pound granite monument in the rotunda of the Alabama State Judicial Building located in Montgomery. The monument did not depict the Founding Fathers, The Presidents of the United States of America, the Justices of the Supreme Court or anything else relevant to the judicial process. It is a two-ton slab of stone carved to represent the Ten Commandments, as if they had been carelessly left on a rock by their owner. It is in a style that could best be described by art historians as School of Franklin Mint. If you happened to have missed Moore's point, that the USofA is a God-Fearing naton, he has helpfully smothered the rock's plinth with every reference to The Man he could find in an official document, including the National Motto ("In God We Trust"); the Pledge of Allegiance ("One Nation Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All"); and the Judiciary Act of 1789 ("So Help Me God"). This rock is something of an over-egged pudding.

One quotation stands out: the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" from the Declaration of Independence. Yes, Your Honour, Nature's God; not the God of the Old Testament or the New. Thomas Jefferson wrote it and he didn't believe in the Christian God and nor did most of his mates who signed the Declaration. He also made some passing comment about a wall of separation between Church of State, a wall that Moore and his armies are trying to take down, brick by brick, while repeating the lie that the US was founded on Christian Principles. American fundies also claim that the Ten Commandments are the basis of American law because it incorporates English common law, which the say was based on the Commandments (some idiot from the Maxim Institute made the same claim in a New Zealand paper recently). Jefferson knew this claim is rubbish: the Anglo-Saxons had a legal system for a good two hundred years before they got Jesus and the Bible has never been a legal document in Blighty.

The truth and fundies have never been friends, but the Constitution is quite clear: it prohibits the establishment of religion. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Judge Moore was sacked for refusing to remove the rock and it was taken away. Now, after several months in retirement at an "undisclosed location", the rock is on a fund-raising tour. Appropriately, its first date was in Dayton, Tennessee, scene of the Scopes Monkey Trial and what HL Mencken described as the "buckle of the bible belt".

I suppose there is nothing surprising in all this, given America's current moral climate and the propensity of fundamentalists to state as truth what is plainly false. So we should leave aside the fact that no-one has ever gone to jail for coveting his neighbour's ox; after all, covetousness is the foundation of our global economic system. However, we should give some consideration to the text of the Ten Commandments, particularly Rule 2: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth". Being a morbidly realist depiction of a book on a rock, this monument is (a) graven and (b) an image. Trust me on this, I am an art historian. So in causing the monument to be made, Moore broke one of the commandments he was upholding by having it placed in his courthouse. I think we need to reconsider this work and its creator. Roy Moore is not a judge (not anymore, he isn't), he is a conceptual artist. He has created a work of art that forbids the making of works of art. His legal bombshell is a piece of self-denying ordnance. This could be the greatest work of Situationist paradox since Guy Debord published a book with a sandpaper cover so it could not be shelved alongside other books.

Website of the Week

We received the following email this week:

If you've been looking for the answer to conveniently baptize, look no further.

The Portable Baptistry is the perfect solution to finally have your baptisms whenever (and wherever) you want.

Baptism, or 'Baptizo', can galvanize the believer's commitment by this very public demonstration of their faith.

With the Portable Baptistry, the ordinance of baptism can now be the integral part of your church's daily culture that it was ordained to be.

Furthermore, the elegant form and contemporary appeal of the Portable Baptistry can even enhance the feeling of participation of the entire congregation, bringing everyone into the believer's experience.

Please contact us to receive more information, including the FREE Video and Catalog. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely,

Go to http://www.portablebaptistry.com and I am sure you will agree about its elegant form and contemporary appeal. However, the marketing department should do a little thinking about where they are promoting it.

Sorry, this is a very brief Fundy Post this week: places to go, people to see. More stuff next week, including the long-awaited Fundy Post Newswire.

ENDS

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