Posted by: DD | September 23, 2006

no. 278 – Extinguisher

I won’t link to where I was flamed in comments. Frankly, I’m a little embarrassed by the hullabaloo. But today there was a follow-up post in response to the comments and now I’m just pissed. Pissed enough to unsubscribe with two clicks of my mouse. I don’t remember how I found the blog, but I found her frank humor refreshing. I had only commented once before the Flame, and she welcomed me warmly in the comments.

I don’t know quite how to explain what happened without potentially opening myself up to a flame-job from any of you, but I don’t want you all to stroke me either if you disagree. I’m going to try to make this simple: I think it’s sad that prayer is not allowed in school, but I support the amendment on the separation of church and state. Because I would support one’s  grievance if they felt they were being exposed to prayer in the public school, I would not expect you to assume I am a godless pagan or atheist. I have a tendency to stand up for the underdog and take the least popular side of an argument. It’s just the way I am.

I tried to compare how those people might feel who are strongly opposed to prayers in school to how I sometimes feel when I see an American flag.

OK. Go ahead now and gasp in total horror and disbelief. Now go ahead and assume I am not from the United States and that I am an unpatriotic bitch. Make sure to give the screen the "finger" in the hopes I will somehow see you; and tell me if I don’t like it here in the U.S. to "fucking leave!" because my kind isn’t welcome or needed.

Here’s the thing. I don’t need the flag in my school or my church to remind me to be patriotic. I’m not that simplistic. Patriotism is something I feel when I go down Main Street, Little Town and walk into any privately owned shop; it’s something I feel when I go a community pancake feed; it’s something I feel when I take my son to an activity at the YMCA. Just as I don’t need the crucifix to remind me of my Christianity, I don’t need the flag to remind me of my allegiance to this country.

I am instantly suspicious of anyone who emblazons their personal spaces with overt symbolism. To me they are nothing more than magicians with all the smoke and mirrors giving lip service to whatever it is that they are promoting. And when someone gets defensive, belligerent and down-right rude? Not only do I lose any respect, but my suspicions become justified.

If you don’t agree with something I have said or done, then just say so. Don’t call me names or tell me to fucking leave. And if you talk nice to me, I may even change my mind. Just ask Jenny over at Mama Drama. My opinions and beliefs are just that, mine. More importantly than being mine, they are flexible. But the harder you blow, the stiffer I become. And if those persons are stopping here today, sweet whispers will get you much further than harsh shouting.



  1. As an unpatriotic atheist, ex-officer’s wife, and ex-seminary candidate, I wholely support your views, even as I am thrilled there is no prayer in school and think the minutes of silence imposed on our youth each morning are bunk. No one else’s religion or beliefs belong in my face; I force no one to endure mine.

    Your point reminds me of the fluff that is Mother’s Day; don’t fake on one day what you could be doing year ’round.

  2. Regardless of my beliefs, I support others expressing theirs (as long as respectful – and I am sure you were). I have little patience for those who throw out potentially controversial topics and then attack when someone doesn’t agree. I love to hear other perspectives on topics (sometimes because I find it illuminating, sometimes because their ignorance – in my mind – amuses me).

  3. I am of the mind that part of the beauty of being an American is that you have choices. We are not forced to pray everyday in my family, we just do. That is our choice. We pray before meals, whether we are in a restaurant or not. We do not yell, we do not shout. We do not intentionally draw attention to ourselves. We are only exhibiting our choice.

    I think that it’s sad that it’s become such a hot button issue. There are extremes on both sides. To flame someone else because their decision for their family is different than yours is innapropriate. Educate your children on why you make the choices you make for them. Do not fire them up. In my oh so humble opinion, the people that tend to get the most riled up with someone who has a different viewpoint than theirs only gets that way because they are unable to properly back up their choice.

    And wow, that was quite a mouthful of a sentence!

  4. I agree with Jessie (and the rest of the above comments). I’ve often said to myself (and others, because I love to hear myself talk) that the more staunch someone’s opinions, the more inflexible their position, the more insecure that person really must be about their position. They don’t have any enlightenment so they don’t have any wiggle room and on top of that they probably operate out of fear. Of course, I always thought this most with the pro-choice/pro-life issue, but it pops up everywhere.

    Of course, it’s easy to say when no one is really infringing on my rights or limiting my freedoms. So, I can be pretty glib about my opinions.

  5. I grew up in catholic Ireland where religion was shoved down our necks in school. Strangly it doesn’t make me anti religion. I don’t care one way or another if my son will pray in school. What will bother me is if he is forced to pray if he doesn’t want to. I think prayer should be allowed in school but should not be mandatory. That’s my opinion and I respect those who don’t have the same view. What is alarming to me is the “my way or the highway” extremism that seems to be prevalent in this country. It was pretty obvious in Bush’s speech last Friday when his anger at Colin Powell for expressing his views was quite distressing. Anyway. I hope mentioning the Pres won’t start another controversary but I want to give you my support in having the right to our own opinions.

  6. Damn you, unpatriotic heathen!!

    Did you at least tell them that it is patriotic to support everyone’s right to worship (or not) as they please? That whole “freedom” thing and all…

  7. I also like to think of myself as flexible and open-minded – and accepting of people’s choices that may not be the same as mine. It boggles my mind how many people take the “if you’re not with me you’re against me” mindset. Since when was life so black and white?

  8. “…sweet whispers will get you much further than harsh shouting…”

    If I could just remember that when I’m reminding the husband for the 87th time that the kitchen sink is STILL plugged.

    Not quite on topic but, you know… still food for thought.

  9. Ack. I forgot to close the italics thingy…

  10. Sorry you had to be the recepient of such an attack. It will never make sense to me why some people find it so difficult to posses BOTH passion for their personal beliefs and respect for others.

  11. So sorry you got flamed. I think we are all entitled to our own beliefs and thoughts.

    Take care

  12. DD – I feel the same about the Australian flag. Here, it has become little more than a symbol of anti-immmigration (or “patriotic” apparently) bullshit. Both meaningless and racist.

  13. It’s always the political blogs that flame too. I don’t know if it’s because more men read them or what. It’s happened to me a few times and the thing I hate the most is that they immediately make it not a about the content of the post, but take it to a personal level, attacking your intelligence or morality, etc.
    Grow up people this is not elementary school.

  14. Nothing brings out the worst in people like discussions on politics and religion. I support the separation of church and state for the simple reason that not everyone believes the same. I teach my son that patriotism, just like christianity, is something you feel in your heart – and there need not be public display to feel it.

  15. You rock. Never stop speaking your mind.

    I’m personally against prayer in school in a big way…but I can still listen to the arguments for it. Why get so bent out of shape about patriotism when the whole thing about America is the ability to disagree and NOT be persecuted for your opinions?

    You go girl.

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