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Huether Botches First Amendment Response to Snowplows for Jesus

Mike Huether has waded into the snowplows-for-Jesus debate; I guess I have to, too.

The City of Sioux Falls let some school kids paint their snowplows. Naturally, some Lutheran kids painted happy Jesus messages (along with one improperly cited Bible verse). The Siouxland Freethinkers suggested religious messages on public equipment is inappropriate. The city lawyers said, "Ah, you may have a point" and asked the kids to repaint the plows.

Then Mayor Mike Huether comes barreling in for some wrongheaded grandstanding:

"I don't want to repaint over those snowplows," Huether said. "To me, we should repaint over all of them at the same time and that's at the end of the snow season."

Huether told me that he hoped to bring together the schools, the Siouxland Freethinkers and city officials to find a compromise.

But Huether seemed adamant that the plow blades wouldn't be removed.

"We are not going to be painting over those plow blades. We will not be painting over them unless I get some Supreme Court case that says that I have to," Huether said.

Heuther is also reluctant to suggest changes to the "Paint the Plows" program for fear of trampling on the First Amendment rights of participating schools.

"That's one of the things we're struggling with," said Huether. "How do we move forward and still allow people to have freedom of expression?" [Greg Belfrage, "Huether: 'We Are Not Painting Over Plow Blades'," KELO-AM Radio, 2014.10.28]

Mayor Huether, we are not talking about First Amendment rights of participating schools. No one has a right to paint messages on public equipment... although if that's what you're positing, don't let Ryan Gaddy and Annette Bosworth near City Hall. The city invites schools to decorate snowplows. The city has complete control of the forum and the content participants post, just as it asserts control over what people can say and when they can say it at City Council meetings. The city has an obligation (which it failed to fulfill in this case) to establish and explain clear criteria for the use of the privilege of decorating snowplows.

Imagine if some smart kids had painted "Vote for Rick Weiland" or "Hillary 2016" on the plows. The city would have shut that noise down right away. We have laws restricting the use of public resources for such politicking.

Better yet, imagine if some Muslim kids painted "Allahu Akbar!" on a plow. Let Greg Belfrage see that holy cry bearing down on him in his rearview mirror, and he'll get why some of us would prefer the city not be toting giant Jesus messages around on its equipment.

Mayor Huether, the city messed up. Instead of acting like Mike Rounds, how about 'fessing up to your error, owning the problem, and saying you'll do better at teaching kids about the First Amendment in full next time around?


  1. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    For Belfrage to freak he would have to be able to read backwards or kids would have to be taught to paint backwards. Otherwise you are spot on as per usual.

  2. lesliengland 2014.10.30

    do they maintenance/paint plow blades after a snow season? I don't think so.

    A legal action the mayor mentioned could be an unfortunate expense. geez, mr. mayor, listen to your city attorney, you political dufus. christen constituents can't bitch about the constitution, can they :)?

  3. JeniW 2014.10.30

    Why re-paint? After pushing hard snow along with the chemicals used to melt the ice, the paint will wear off.

    Next year there needs to be some guidelines spelled out in terms of what is and what is not acceptable.

    I do think it is funny that one of the schools used the Coca-Cola logo format. Nice promo for Coca-Cola! LOL

  4. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    "The city has complete control of the forum and the content participants post, just as it asserts control over what people can say and when they can say it at City Council meetings."

    And the secular humanist believe their religion should be used to determine that control? So much for free thinking. Perhaps the city should get out of the snow moving business and turn it over to the private sector so we can have some freedom to think for ourselves, instead of having a group of self-righteous elitists believing they are above the rest of us and then have to think for the rest of us.

  5. JeniW 2014.10.30

    Actually, I think it is a wasteful program. The paint could be used for more constructive purposes, and could still give kids something fun to do.

  6. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.10.30

    Settle down Steve. Sioux Falls already hires contractors to help with moving the snow in our City. You are one who believes that government has no place in our country. Do you know who else believes/believed in dissolution of government? Yes, communism.

  7. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    "You are one who believes that government has no place in our country."

    Yes I do, but is should not include telling us we can't talk about Jesus Christ. As I have been saying, we have another example of the original Constitution being put aside so that the USA can become another USSR. Combine the two and we see the foundation to a One World Government. And that is not something new:

  8. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    JeniW actually using Coca Cola's "trade dress" is an intellectual property no-no. It might have been a good lesson to teach the kids why. Coke probably won't say anything, but if the kids try to pull something like that with Mickey Mouse when they grow up, they'll get a nasty little letter from good old uncle Walt Disney, Inc. :-)

  9. John Hess 2014.10.30

    How long would the "art work" stay if it somehow put Huethers in a bad light?

    Do they know the law protects religious freedom?

    There's a reason we don't have a Church of the United States.

  10. Thad Wasson 2014.10.30

    Are the free thinkers so weak minded that if they see the word "Jesus Christ" they will fall on their knees, repent of their sins and follow the Lord?

  11. Dave Baumeister 2014.10.30

    Mr. Sibson,
    The whole point of separation of church and state is so we CAN talk about Jesus. If people didn't stand up for keeping religion and government separate, then at some time there would be a government religion, and some people (including Mr. Sibson) might not like what it represents. But this is really a silly issue. The powers that be should have put some restrictions on what was painted, and the adults responsible for the groups should have had enough sense not to let them put specific religious messages on government vehicles. Cory is right, the people who look at this as a "freedom of speech" issue would be talking out of the other side of their mouths if they didn't like the religion being touted. But previous posters are right, this will wear off the plows after the first or second large snowfall, and, if the program continues, which I very much doubt, policies will be put in place to keep this from happening again.

  12. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    "Cory is right, the people who look at this as a "freedom of speech" issue would be talking out of the other side of their mouths if they didn't like the religion being touted."

    Cory wants his religious theocracy to be the only model allowed in the Church of the United States:

  13. Jenny 2014.10.30

    Go hand out bibles or something, Sibby.

  14. Jenny 2014.10.30

    Sibby gets really turned on by religion talk.

  15. Lynn 2014.10.30

    I really hope Mike Huether does not run for Governor or higher office though it sounds like it may be in his future. He would not get my vote Dem or not.

  16. Jenny 2014.10.30

    A little Neo-Marxism with a little religion turn you on there, Sibby! Come on, we know you love us lobbies!

  17. Jenny 2014.10.30

    I meant libbies. I'm going to wear a neo-Marxist costume for Halloween! :)

  18. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    If only one of the kids thought to paint, "Atheism Rocks"

  19. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    Here is why the free thinkers nor Cory cannot be trusted with the First Amendment or anything to do with the Original Constitution:

    Can a Humanist of the modern type be loyal to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? The answer is largely no. The American Revolution was religious in nature (not as in Calvinist' Christian theology) in that the Founders believed our rights derive from God, not man. God cannot be overruled by man be it dictator or popular mob vote.

    Thanks Jenny for bringing up the Neo-Marxism. Read the link.

  20. Jana 2014.10.30

    Neighbor Tom thinks its a good idea. Kind of like a cue card for what to say when the snowplow pushes a glacial load of snow and ice into your newly shoveled driveway.

  21. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    More from the link I provided:

    The Secular Humanist must reject in total the entire Foundation of America and the concept of individual rights, liberty, and property. Without individual rights and rights to property, there are no rights. Rights to a Humanist are dictated by the collective humanity (or the manipulated mob), thus the State.

    One of the primary misconceptions of Humanism going back to its origins in the bloody French Revolution (the first Humanist Revolution by the way) was man was basically good and 'bad' was simply a product of upbringing and culture.

  22. Lynn 2014.10.30

    Remember Oklahoma had the Ten Commandments Monument placed at the state Capitol? It was vandalized.

    After that monument was installed every other religion wanted to have their own monuments placed at the Capitol too including Satanists and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Where does it stop? As mentioned above there should be a clear separation of Church and State. Dumb move in Sioux Falls without giving it much thought. This should be a good civics lesson for those students.

  23. WayneF 2014.10.30

    I respectfully suggest that those who read Madville Times NOT respond to anything that Steve Sibson posts. He will be a voice crying in the wilderness and may find another audience to listen to ... and respond to ... his pap.

  24. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    Lanny, you brought up communism. The link I provided has this about the Soviet Communism:

    McNally attempts to separate Soviet Communism from 'true' socialism/Humanism by referring to it as 'state capitalism.' They cling disparately to the myth that it's material inequality that is at the root of all problems in society. That 'liberty, equality and brotherhood' is just waiting for all of us through 'faith' in Humanist' dogma.

    By refusing to rationally note the innate tendencies of humans towards greed, lust, etc. Humanism becomes obsessed with controlling the culture, economy and all facets of life to engineer that elusive 'happy' human. 'Re-education' wasn't invented by 20th Century Marxism nor was the concept of 'enemies of the people.' The first secular mass murderer was a deist and 200,000 people died on the gallows, the guillotine, and prisons this first experiment in Humanist governance produced.

    But Humanism is more a secular pseudo-religion and like all blind dogmatic belief system the 'religion' is right and 'others' caused it to fail. If God is the opiate of the masses, then Humanism is the opiate of the atheist. And Humanism applied in the real world is called Marxism.

  25. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    "NOT respond to anything that Steve Sibson posts"

    Wayne, thanks for showing that you can't respond when your worldview is exposed for what it is...a lie.

  26. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    Lynn, try putting the Communist Manifesto on a snowplow blade.

  27. leslie 2014.10.30

    my exposed world view, lie or not, seconds the request to STFU sibby.

  28. Don Coyote 2014.10.30

    Painting a few plow blades hardly qualifies as an establishment of religion. Ranks right up there in insignificance with "In God We Trust" being printed on the money.

    Constitutional scholar Leonard Levy who wrote extensively on Establishment said it best: “… to have courts hold unconstitutional every cooperative relationship between government and religion can damage the cause of separation by making it look over-rigid and ridiculous. One of the principle arguments of separationists against certain practices that breach the wall of separation, particularly in the field of education, is that those practices are divisive and stimulate conflict among people of differing faiths. Some silly suits, such as those seeking to have declared unconstitutional the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance or in the money motto “In God We Trust”, have the same deleterious effect. Separationists who can not appreciate the principle of de minimus [lacking significance or importance : so minor as to merit disregard] ought to appreciate a different motto - “Let sleeping dogmas lie”. "

  29. Douglas Wiken 2014.10.30

    The secular humanists are coming, the secular humanists are coming, the sky is falling.

    Huether's statement was ignorant and dumb. He probably looked at the KELO story on this and saw the totally ignorant comments there and decided to go with mythologist flow. And while we are at it, the new entertainment facility is a money sucker pulling money out for the coasts and bigger cities headquartering the overpaid entertainment.

  30. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    Douglas, looks like the link I found understands the nature of the free thinker's worldview. It quotes Dr. Paul Kurtz:

    Humanism must address itself to the heart and the passions; it must have some relevance to practice and conduct; and it must have some effect upon how we live. I submit that broadly conceived the freethought movement has failed in that direction. Marxism was an effort to apply humanism to practice, and indeed Marx said that atheism was merely abstract, that it only became meaningfully expressed when it was realized in terms of Communism; and so Communism offered a program and an agenda for the future liberation of mankind.

  31. Bill Dithmer 2014.10.30

    Never let a Mormon set your buzz level

    Never let a Baptist teach morality

    Never let a Catholic get control of your reproductive rights,

    And never ever give em free advertising.

    Religion is a lot like paint. It wears over time until it is unrecognizable when compared to the original. Every now and then it needs a fresh coat to return it to its former luster. And without scraping the old crap off its value becomes less and less every day.

    Just imagine the uproar if the plows had, "SNOWPLOWS FOR SATAN," or "BLOWING SNOW FOR BUDDHA. "

    Oh well, that's Sioux Falls, that's South Dakota, and thats bullshit.

    The Blindman

  32. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    I kinda like the idea of Lutheran snow plows, Catholic snow plows, Jewish snow plows, Muslim snow plow. They could all drive around and bump into each other, like a demolition derby. Then the Hindu snow plows could drove around the perimeter of all of them honking their horns, while the Zen Buddhist snow plows just sat there ideling, realizing that there wasn't really any snow at all to plow.

    Could be a kick!

  33. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Don C-I doubt the FFs would describe adding "under god" to our money or pledge as de minimus. There is/was no compelling reason to add it to either.

  34. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    ...and the "Sibby's Custom Personal Religious Service Center" guy could run around letting the air out of all the other guys tires. LOL

  35. JeniW 2014.10.30

    Bill, thank you for the laugh!! :)

  36. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    ...while the boring, generic, secular-humanist trucks just went around and actually cleaned off the streets.

  37. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Thank you for laughing, JeniW. :-)

  38. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    I demand a "Great Spirit" snowplow.

  39. Lynn 2014.10.30

    Actually the Trucks with the Flying Spaghetti Monster might not be too bad with some really good sauce options.

    Lets be careful though so we don't come across as bullies. lol

  40. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Cool Roger, what does it do? Get rid of the streets altogether, and let the grasses grow back?

  41. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    Hey Fleming, make sure you put liberation theology on the Catholic snow blade. More from the link describing the humanist theocracy:

    Like a virus this destructive 'dogma' is rooted in particular in academia and higher education and its adherents weld a disproportionate amount of power far beyond their numbers through law, government and the media down to the public education system.

    Marxism was simply applied Humanism and didn't end with the so-called 'Fall of Communism'. It has been repackaged and sugar-coated with more academic babble often under names such as 'social justice', 'environmental justice', and 'liberation theology.'

  42. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Righto Sibby got it. There could be two of them actually. And they could want to marry each other. Your "service center" could refuse to do the ceremony.

  43. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    My Great Spirit snowplow would immediately institute a retroactive immigration law dating back to 1492

  44. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Sounds good, brother Roger. If I can come up with a half-million trade beads, could I maybe plow my way up to the front of the line?

  45. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    Now there's an idea Bill, let's get to work on it.
    Given the population of the U.S., my snowplow will only charge $5 to activate your new immigration status.

  46. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    "And they could want to marry each other."

    Right Fleming, only a materialistic Marxist would think about marrying snow blades.

  47. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    "Snow blades." I like it. They scrape up their savings and scootch on down south together in the winter.

  48. Jim in DC 2014.10.30

    Bill F and Roger -- These are classics! Laughing hard over here on the right coast. Thanks! Dibs on a ride in the 'Great Spirit' plow.

  49. Steve Hickey 2014.10.30

    Two things from me here for your rumination.

    1. This is what I sent to the mayor and city council. In subsequent conversations with counsel members it appears it was well-received...

    Dear Mayor and Sioux Falls City Council,

    Thank you for your service. Regarding the controversial matter of Jesus on the city snowplow, I certainly know how it feels to have your inbox fill up with vitriol because of a decision or vote cast. Know that I have publicly encouraged those within my sphere of influence to always be gracious in writing elected officials and to be articulate, not angry or ugly.

    Please keep the school painting as is on the snow plow. More people will be offended taking it off than leaving it on. Far more. Consider the character of Eric Novotny and his group. Isn't this the guy who was arrested for child porn in the early 2000's? I'd think others of you would agree with me that he and his group would be just fine with "Jesus in urine" and defend it as an artistic expression and free speech. Considering their name, it's ironic they are offended by Jesus on a city snow plow.

    You aren't "establishing" a state religion allowing the painting to remain on the city plow any more than you are establishing a state mascot letting a high school paint theirs on a city plow. Please consider the establishment clause sits right alongside the free exercise clause in our First Amendment. I know self-funded national legal groups that specialize in attacks on religious freedom in America today and they are prepared to help city councils defend challenges to religious expression. This nation has a long and rich history of religious expression in the public arena and even recent activist judicial rulings contrary to that long history aren't standing up when we fight back legally in situations like these.

    The diversity of this city is something to celebrate and each group has something for us to consider and appreciate. Let the Buddhist kids put Buddha on there and highlight positive aspects of his message. Surely a Muslim school could have their kids paint aspects of Islam for us all to appreciate. Please notice the freethinkers only take issue that Christians don't think as they do. They take no issue with the vast Native American religious symbolism on state property today. Their issue is with Jesus, the stumbling stone.

    With all that kids in our city could be painting on city property these days, please, let's not discourage them when they contribute something positive. I would feel the same way about a positive expression of another other faith group in our city.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Rev./Rep. Steve Hickey, District 9, Sioux Falls

    2. The second thing are some of my tweets which are notably more terse...

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 25
    I'm guessing the SF Freethinkers would defend art like "Jesus in urine" as free expression. It's Jesus on a snowplow that offends them.

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    Rule #1 when writing city council members/elected officials: be gracious always. Be articulate not angry. I'm hearing ugliness isn't helping

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    It appears the @argusleader censored my comment on the Freethinkers/snowplow article. What is this, China?

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    Yes a Muslim school could paint a plow too. Not Mohammad w/a 6 yr old wife, burka eyes or bloody knife but sure Muslim kids can express too.

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    Why don't the SF Freethinkers target Native America religious symbolism on SD state property? Apparently only Jesus is the stumbling stone

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    Sioux Falls, we don't want kids to think like Communists... no God and only certain way of thinking and believing is tolerated.

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    No Allahu Akbar isn't tolerable for same reason Hiel Hitler isn't. These are warcrys against America/Humanity. YingYangers don't behead.

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    With all kids could be drawing on pub. property, not sure we should discourage it when they express religious views. Paint a fat Buddha too

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    Dear SF Freethinkers, you oppose free expression so ur ironic name gets lols all over town this AM. New name suggestion: Sioux Falls Bullies

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 24
    Since the Sioux Falls Freethinkers have demonstrated they oppose free thought, art and expression, maybe we should call them something else.

    stevehickey @stevehickey · Oct 23
    Atheists impose their "religion" and free speech gets restricted in Sioux Falls

  50. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    "What is this, China?"

    Yes, as my research shows, the so-called free thinker's worldview is secular humanism, which leads them to a communist approach where it is their way or the highway. And then comes Fleming with his art of deception so that they don't have to talk about the humanist theocracy.

  51. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Jesus next to a male Hispanic is acceptable. Anything else is not.

  52. bearcreekbat 2014.10.30

    I am surprised that no one gets the joke these kids are playing on religious Christians. Putting Jesus' name or picture on the blade of a snow plow that will guarantee that the name is covered with dirt and filth from the roadway seems no different than putting Jesus' name or picture on the inside of a urinal or bottom of a toilet. This strikes me as more of an insult to Jesus and Christians than proselytizing. I bet those those high school artists are enjoying quite a laugh at Christians.

  53. Douglas Wiken 2014.10.30

    Bearcreekbat, don't know if the kids thought about that, but it seemed to me it was altogether too much like painting religious symbols in the gutter behind cows.

  54. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    Exactly bear, remember not too long ago Republicans were laughing (didn't know they even had a sense of humor) when someone placed pictures of President Obama in urinals.
    What other implements will these Christians want picture of Jesus on, household plungers?

  55. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    BCB any wise tantric practitioner will tell you that there is a very, very thin line between sacred and profane. The ecstatic, the numinous and the transcendent are often made manifest in the most ironic of forms.

    Or, as Paul Simon sings it. "One man's ceiling is another man's floor."

  56. Jenny 2014.10.30

    I was just thinking earlier today that that we would probably be hearing from His Holy Hickey on this. Sorry Steve, sometimes we just like to have fun on this blog.

  57. Jenny 2014.10.30

    I think the kids should have painted two beautiful gay men in an embrace. That is love at its most beautiful.

  58. Jenny 2014.10.30

    Then with the message - Love Is Free

  59. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    "This strikes me as more of an insult to Jesus and Christians than proselytizing."

    BCB, How would you know? Your are not Jesus and your are not a Christian. You are like the free thinking atheists, one who is easily insulted.

  60. Steve Sibson 2014.10.30

    "I think the kids should have painted two beautiful gay men in an embrace."

    Promoting sexual immorality to children should be banned.

  61. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    Rev. Hickey has been busy on the Mount writing new commandments, or should I use Sibson favorite, neo-commandments.

  62. john tsitrian 2014.10.30

    This thing is a promotion of fine arts. As such, the city has no business defining what is and what is not art. I'm an "art for art's sake" guy, and I say a religious message has as much a place in the realm of the arts as any other expression. This opens the door for religious messages supporting non-Judeo-Christian creeds in the name of art, but so be it. I celebrate diversity in all activities, including the arts. Leave the Jesus stuff on the snow plows. I may not be cool with the message, but I applaud the effort at expression. If people fear and loathe the consequences of a city-wide call for artistic expression, then they should get the city to cease making the call. Otherwise, tough cookies. The kids want to call it art and I'm okay with it.

  63. Jenny 2014.10.30

    Love between two consenting same sex adults is beautiful, not immoral. It is happiness, confidence, acceptance, tolerance, human, normal and powerful. I like that, and seeing it gives me a little bit of happiness for those same sex couples out there.

  64. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Attaboy John! Way to rock the arts!

  65. bearcreekbat 2014.10.30

    Nice song link Bill. Too bad the KC Royals didn't have a baseball version of that song last night, something like "Oh dear Jesus, make me the bat . . . that Baumgartner can't . . . strike out with each nasty Satan pitch so fast" . . . .

  66. Roger Elgersma 2014.10.30

    First the Sioux Falls Free Thinkers put up billboards all over town promoting that they do not believe in God. Then Huether and the counsel let them take a turn addressing the counsel when only pastors had given a prayer before. Now the free thinkers 'think?' that it is time to stop those religions people from having freedom of religion and freedom of speech. They may think but not real logical or fairly.

  67. Roger Elgersma 2014.10.30

    The constitution states that the government shall make no law concerning religion. Letting someone have free artistic expression is not a law that you have to believe what the art says anymore than we have to believe what the sculptor walk art downtown depicts on every piece of art. Limiting those kids freedom of religion or freedom of speech is not freethinking.

  68. Barry Smith 2014.10.30

    Speaking of rockin - Everyone's rockin today.. Thanks for the laughs everyone. I think Jana's neighbor got this one right. :-)

  69. jerry 2014.10.30

    Neo-commandments, that could get wheels.

  70. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    So, is anyone planning to watch the Constitutional Officers debate tonight on PBS?
    I'm watching to see if Chad Haber actually shows up to discuss the law.

  71. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    "What is this China?"
    It very well maybe Steve, the way Mike Rounds let all that Communist Chinese money flow into the state. The commies just might end up owning Northern Beef Packers.

  72. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.30

    You folks do get wild while I'm at work, don't you? Let's see, where to begin....

    Roger, I maintain that telling kids they cannot paint certain messages on city snowplows does not violate the First Amendment. First, no one has a right to paint messages on snowplows. Second, if granted the privilege to use such public space, the public must still respect the restraints under which the city government must labor. They cannot co-opt taxpayer resources to promote religious or political messages.

  73. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.30

    Mike, good point about the rearview-mirror-flip issue! Muslim insurgents, keep that in mind. Paint "Allahu Akbar" in some funky, Coke-like font backwards so no one can recognize it on first straight glance. Let the message only come clear when people catch it in the mirror! Trick!

  74. leslie 2014.10.30

    another thread commandeered for 10 hours by Sibson. some say reid has an agreement w/ pressler. what if cory has an agreement with the devil (Sibson)?

  75. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Like these, Cory?
    (p.s. sometimes art, the theatre of the absurd, and unconditional love trumps all reason. Think of it as benign anarchy ;-)

  76. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Good solution, JeniW don't you think? Cory?

  77. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.30

    Steve, Steve, Steve. I'm not telling you that you can't talk about Jesus. I'm telling you that you can't force city employees to drive around town promoting Jesus on the taxpayer's dime.

  78. Don Coyote 2014.10.30

    @Bill Fleming. I believe there exemptions to copyright/trademarks/trade dress under the fair use principle. Artistic expression (think Andy Warhol and Campbell Soup) and scholarship are both exempt.

  79. john tsitrian 2014.10.30

    JeniW, I think the words "Sioux Falls" should be replaced by "Milan" and that the disclaimer should be hung over The Last Supper. This is beyond absurd.
    Religious expression has been an ingrained part of Western art for millenia. I feel for those kids who are being told that their spontaneous expression of religious devotion has no place in the jurisdictional reach of the City of Sioux Falls. Showing it off is not proseltyzing. Disclaiming it with a silly sign is not protecting a precious Constitutional imperative.

  80. PrairieLady - Gayle 2014.10.30

    Why not sell the space for ads like the buses? Maybe we could get some help paying for them.

  81. John Hess 2014.10.30

    You can't compromise law. From the beginning Mayor Huether should have said he respects everyone's views but it being a legal matter handed it to the city attorney and let them deal with eliminating a religious message which is clearly not art but just a sneaky way to try and promote a religious view and allow a school to wrongly encourage a lack of respect for a law that ironically protects them.

  82. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    Just wondering what message these kids would have written on the snow blades if they were not supervised.
    They may chosen to express their freedom by following Annette Bosworth's example with her porn graffiti wall.

  83. john tsitrian 2014.10.30

    Mr. Hess, there is a difference between "promoting" and "expressing." My view is that the kids are expressing a view, which is an objective conclusion. That you see it as "promoting" is in your eyes, strictly subjective. Why do you believe the force of law should be brought to bear in support of your subjective conclusion?

  84. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Grafiti is art and free expression. Do gang members get to express themselves on city property?

  85. john tsitrian 2014.10.30

    mfi, this gang members are not participating in a city-wide promotion of an event. Fact is, there is actually a city-endorsed promotion of grafitti going on in Rapid City. It's called Art Alley. On occasion I see Christian-themed drawings. What's the big deal? It's all art.

  86. tara volesky 2014.10.30

    Roger, you are a chauvinistic pig going after a Woman MD who has a big mouth and fights for children and the disenfranchised. When a guy speaks out, he's a leader, when a strong women speaks out, she is crazy. You just watch, the state will try and have her committed.

  87. tara volesky 2014.10.30

    You guys play right into the Republican playbook.

  88. John Hess 2014.10.30

    Promoting, expressing. Splitting hairs. Separation of church and state: Very simple (and beautiful) concept that should be revered by everyone unless you want people to conform to your beliefs.

  89. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    Bosworth made herself a public figure when she ran for a very public office, I have said nothing about her sexuality, not even between the lines, Get a grip tara
    As far as he being committed, Chad should get help for his wife but won't since she owns the purse.

  90. John Hess 2014.10.30

    Mass delusion scared people need as a crutch. Then again give me 10% and you'll live forever. Nice work if you can find it. Grow up.

  91. tara volesky 2014.10.30

    Roger, you don't have to say anything about her sexuality. As a woman I am very offended how you have under minded a Woman who is on the same page as Kathy Tyler. pro-life, but pro conceptive. Please don't trash women. You are disgusting for saying Annette needs help. Thank God women have leaders like Bosworth and Tyler that will put their reputations on the line. I have Male MD friends that love Annette Bosworth.

  92. owen reitzel 2014.10.30

    I think its time for Bosworth and after the election Chad Haber to just fade away and hopefully stay away.
    Lets move on

  93. john tsitrian 2014.10.30

    I worry more about those who think they can enforce their definitions of art on the rest of us than about a bunch of high school kids who seek to share their beliefs within the community as part of an art project. Interesting sidebar is that the Indian Honor Song that the Indian students wanted to sing at their Chamberlain High School graduation--which I strongly and unequivocally supported in my blog--has a first line that includes the words "Staff of God," or "Staff of the Creator." I believe the graduation ceremonies were to be held in a publicly owned venue. I supported the right of those Chamberlain kids to bring their song into the community just as enthusiastically as I support the right of the Lutheran kids in Sioux Falls to do the same. I stand by my opinion that there is a substantial difference between expressing and promoting. Here's some information about the "Lakota Honor Song" that was the object of so much rancor:

  94. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.30

    What what? Attacking Bosworth is chauvinism? Dang, I guess I did mention Bosworth, so I asked for it. Bosworth's graffiti stunt stands only as a reminder of how not to campaign. Tara, please don't insult Kathy Tyler or any honest politician by claiming they are on the same page as Bosworth. She is on a page of her own, a page to which I would happily never turn again.

    John T., your discussion of "expressing" vs. "promoting" sounds like the Twitter disclaimer "Retweets ≠ endorsements." But the kids weren't just retweeting the Bible. They weren't saying, "Jesus—hey! Just a point of view, not something we want you to believe." They were promoting Christianity.

  95. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Great conversation! On the flip side of it, study Caravaggio and some of the ways he foiled some of the religious patrons who commissioned his works. Talk about breaking the rules!

  96. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Don you're right. Like I said, I hope that was part of the lesson. By the way, trademark and trade dress rules are different than copyright rules. Related but not the same.

  97. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    Tara, Bosworth is or was a politician that happened to be a woman and is fair game, she did that to herself.
    I don't care if she is pro-life (Steve Hildebrand says she isn't pro-life) or if Kathy Tyler is pro-life. I repeatedly said that women's reproductive rights are none of my business, any man's business, and certainly not the government's business.
    My comment was about Bosworth's profanity laden graffiti wall, what is so difficult for you to understand.
    The women that post on this wall can attest to the fact that I never demean women in anyway.

  98. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    Gotta go, Jackley and Haber about to debate on PBS.

  99. grudznick 2014.10.30

    I, for one, have not read or heard anybody questioning young Dr. Bos' sexuality. And I don't think the insane actions of any one woman cast doubts upon all women, or womenkind. But I do think the state might try and institutionalize Dr. Bos here in a week or so. Ms. Volesky, that's not misogyny, it's big government kindness to those who need it.

  100. John Hess 2014.10.30

    Someone has to define art. What do they say? I know it when I see it. That ain't it.

  101. john tsitrian 2014.10.30

    My fav observation re: art, Mr. Hess: Art and love are a lot alike. There's no explaining other people's taste. Thanks for a good conversation.

  102. Bill Fleming 2014.10.30

    Hess, art is a dynamic emotional transaction between an artist sender and an audience receiver through form.
    (Formal definition)

    How do you know if something is art? Have a million experiences of it. Then you just know.
    (Existential definition)

    In other words, art isn't the thing, it's how you feel about the thing. Feeling captured in form. Probably most universally understood by listening to music. No one has to explain that.

  103. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.10.30

    My hero, the Blindman, said, "Religion is a lot like paint. It wears over time until it is unrecognizable when compared to the original. Every now and then it needs a fresh coat to return it to its former luster. And without scraping the old crap off its value becomes less and less every day."

    There is the best description/definition I think I've ever heard.

  104. grudznick 2014.10.30

    How did the Jackley/Haber debate go on PBS? Was there a clear winner and was Mr. Haber's wife shown on camera much?

  105. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.30

    You couldn't even call what PBS did a debate, there has to be another name for that mumbo jumbo.

  106. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "I'm telling you that you can't force city employees to drive around town promoting Jesus on the taxpayer's dime."

    Then if every snow plow driver refuses to drive them, then you have a point. Until then, your aim, and that of the communist free thinkers, is to dictate what we see in public. And that means banning Jesus Christ, unless it is done with urine and elephant dung.

  107. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "They may chosen to express their freedom by following Annette Bosworth's example with her porn graffiti wall."

    Yes, we can expect that from the communist public schools.

  108. larry kurtz 2014.10.31

    christians are neo-Marxists.

  109. JeniW 2014.10.31

    Employees at certain drug stores are allowed to refuse to sell birth control pills, so why can't an employee refuse to drive a plow that he/she objects to?

    What is done at the drug store is that someone else does the selling of the birth control pills. The employee who objects to a plow that has objectionable art, can drive a different painted plow, or a plow that does not have any art work on it.

  110. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    Lol Larry, the Christians in the Acts of the Apostles were Marxists way, way, way before there ever was a Marx. Proto-Marxists? Crypto-marxists?

  111. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31


  112. larry kurtz 2014.10.31

    christians boooo-opted so many pagan and communitarian concepts it's impossible to name them all.

  113. John Hess 2014.10.31

    If the kids had drawn Allah and a verse from the Koran would the same people still insist in their right to display the artwork? Sibby?

    If the answer is no, then it's the consensual promotion of one religious view.

  114. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "Christians in the Acts of the Apostles were Marxists"

    Right Fleming, they said covet thy rich neighbors property and then we take credit for taking care of the poor so we can all go to heaven, including secular humanists.

  115. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    John, if the kids had drawn a picture of Allah or Mohammad, the Christians aren't the only ones who would be upset with them. That's a big no-no in the Muslem faith. But yeah, a picture of the word maybe. In Arabic script. Those letterforms are quite beautiful actually. Although with all the terrorist messaging, many of has come to react negatively when seeing that particular style of calligraphy and letterforms. See? The emotional power of art. You can actually make some peoples guts churn by showing them a brush stroke or a simple swastika.

  116. larry kurtz 2014.10.31

    caution: snowplows for satan santa could be working on either side of the road.

  117. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    Sibby, you're not welcome in my sandbox today. Take a hike, buddy.

  118. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    John, and you would not have a problem with the Allah painting. Christians like me have to deal with pagan imagery all the time. We should have the right to say it is wrong, but do we have the right to make the government take it down? Trying telling the government to take down the pagan freemasonic statue of liberty once:

  119. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "my sandbox"


  120. larry kurtz 2014.10.31

    Steve, for someone who spends his time trying to blaze a third way in politics how do you rationalize your affinity for either/or in discussions about dog?

  121. John Hess 2014.10.31

    Although he doesn't see it, Sibby makes my point. Strong religious views too often get in the way of a logical conversation. It just goes circular and there's no way forward.

  122. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    Yes Sibby, I have personal space both here and in non-digital reality. Stay away from me today with your bullshit. I don't want to feel obliged to respond to you. Talk to someone else.

  123. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    Now you all (those who are true free and critical thinkers, not you fake ones) know what it is like when tyrants decide to control who can speak and what can be said.

  124. larry kurtz 2014.10.31

    Steve, put up a rational post about Bendagate at your place and i'll pound it into twitter.

  125. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "Strong religious views too often get in the way of a logical conversation."

    It was illogical to say the Apostles were Marxists. That was an anti-religious view. I believe you have it backwards John.

  126. Craig 2014.10.31

    Hickey: "More people will be offended taking it off than leaving it on. Far more. "

    Since when does our Constitution depend upon public opinion? Sorry Mr. Hickey, but it doesn't work that way. We don't determine constitutionality based upon popular opinion, and allowing a overt religious message on a snowplow can very easily be seen as an endorsement of a specific religion.

    Had those kids chose to paint something about "God" it likely would have flown under the radar because most religions have a deity they refer to as God (or a word which can be translated to mean god). However they didn't do that - they opted to instead paint about Jesus Christ, which is a direct connection to Christianity.

    You are right that the city could allow other schools or groups to paint a plow for Muslims, or for Jews, or for Scientologists, or for Buddhists, or for atheists, or for Hindus... but they didn't do that. They delivered plows to the public schools, and to several private Christian schools. There was no effort made to include other groups or to involve other religions. There was no effort made to make this a diverse event or a celebration of culture. There was no effort to make this an inclusive exercise... because those in charge were simply ignorant and never thought about the consequences or the implied endorsement of only seeing one specific religion displayed on public property.

    So here we are - we have two plows which clearly endorse religion both of which are city owned property. This means effectively the city 'owns' and is by default endorsing that artwork, and is very clearly in violation of the 1st Amendment.

    What the city should do is either paint over the plows, or offer plows to other groups to create an inclusive (rather than exclusive) atmosphere. However I don't expect that to happen, because most city residents are Christian and therefore the most vocal amongst us will protest any action taken to neutralize this entire debate. Hey - there are elections to be won here... we can't let a pesky thing like the Constitution get in the way of political aspirations can we?

    I have no doubt that a court challenge would be successful and the city would be legally obligated to remove those plows from city streets and/or paint over them - however I don't think anyone is interested in pushing things that far. I just find it sad that we have city leaders - and elected officials such as yourself - who don't respect our Constitution enough to defend it. You can dance around the issue all day long and make numerous excuses... but in the end you are putting your personal religious views ahead of law, and that saddens me.

    By the way, I don't personally know the two people from the Freethinkers who originally made this complaint, but I did notice you made a rather bold accusation against one of them. I have no idea if what you claim is true, but I can say I searched the South Dakota Sexual Offenders list and wasn't able to find his name. That said, this isn't about him nor is it about his criminal record if one does exist. This is about our Constitution, and if you have to rely upon character assassination to make your point somehow more valid, then you have already lost the debate.

  127. John Hess 2014.10.31

    OK Bill I get your point, but please don't run so far with it you meet Sibby on the other side.

    Let's say the kids draw the word Allah in the same Coke fashion and use a verse of similar size from the Koran lettered in the same way. Yes, the shape is going to be somewhat different since the letters are not the same, but the images would be profoundly similar. We have to use reason at some point.

    Would the same bulk of people still find beauty in that and insist on protecting it? Or were they deriving beauty from the meaning of the words?

    If it's because they saw the word Jesus (or Allah) and their concept of Jesus (or Allah) is beautiful to them, it's religious. If they read the religious verse and derive beauty from a religious verse, then it's religious.

    If it's religious it has no place being promoted by the state.

  128. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.31

    Good points, Craig. The background of anyone complaining about a violation of the First Amendment does not affect the facts of the violation of the First Amendment. The city can't send money to drive mobile billboards around town telling people to read the Bible any more than it can spend money to circulate messages telling people the Bible is bunk.

  129. Jana 2014.10.31

    Pastor Steve, I do appreciate your conviction and your opinion. But one thing bothered me about your letter to the mayor and city council.

    "More people will be offended taking it off than leaving it on."

    It shouldn't be about what is popular, but what is right.

    Many civil rights advances weren't popular, but they were right, both morally and constitutionally.

    The Christian as an oppressed minority is as far from reality as you can get.

  130. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.31

    Bill mentions swastikas. Would the city be justified in forbidding students from painting swastikas on the snowplows?

  131. larry kurtz 2014.10.31

    The Father Comes Singing

    There is the father coming,
    There is the father coming.
    The father says this as he comes,
    The father says this as he comes,
    "You shall live," he says as he comes,
    "You shall live," 'he says as he comes.

    - Sioux Ghost Dance Song

  132. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    John H., I'm not kidding when I say it would be fine with me if the kids painted any religious image they wanted to. I agree with Tsitrian on this point. The more religions represented, the more in keeping with the 1st amendment the exercise in it's entirety becomes.

    And besides, it's an art project, and as John points out, the great preponderance of artistic human endeavor throughout history has been inspired by religious themes. It is only fairly recently historically speaking that secular "art for art's sake" has come into vogue.

    Let's let the Authoritarians be the ones who decide what kind of art is, or is not allowed in their authoritarian state. Art is all about the liberation of the human spirit. Always has been. Go to Paris and just look around. :-)

    The irony here is, that even though I am essentially agreeing with Sibson on this, he still wants to argue with me, because he doesn't think my motives are pure enough.

    Well, hey, hear that big loud popping sound?

    That's the big bang of Sibby's head coming out of his a**.

  133. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "We don't determine constitutionality based upon popular opinion"

    But that is exactly what is happening since the leftists started to call it a "living document".

  134. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "because those in charge were simply ignorant and never thought about the consequences or the implied endorsement of only seeing one specific religion displayed on public property"

    So Craig, there would have been no problem if only public schools were allowed to paint the blades so that only the secular humanist religion would have been allowed?

  135. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "The irony here is, that even though I am essentially agreeing with Sibson on this, he still wants to argue with me, because he doesn't think my motives are pure enough. "

    No Bill, I don't what your motives are because you are all over the map. First you say get out of your sandbox, and now you are throwing rocks at me. Bad enough that you call the Apostles Marxists.

  136. larry kurtz 2014.10.31

    President Jefferson believed a new constitution should be drafted every generation and that all christians were fatalists doomed to lives of despair.

  137. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "This is about our Constitution, and if you have to rely upon character assassination to make your point somehow more valid, then you have already lost the debate."

    Craig, the Constitution has been put aside. The free thinkers are using it to put the last nail in its coffin. This is playing right into the hands of those who are replacing it with a One World Government.

  138. JeniW 2014.10.31

    The more comments I read about the plow painting, the more I am convinced that it is a wasteful program that had proven to cause way more problems than what it is worth.

    I still say, use the money that is used to purchase the paint, to buy paint to paint a house that needs it, or donate the money to a more worthy cause that will create more good than harm. The kids can still be involved in a constructive and fun activity.

  139. John Hess 2014.10.31

    Equality of representation would not make it legal and misses the point entirely. The issue is separation of church and state. That's it. Very simple.

    I remember being in an art class and shown a blank canvas. Entirely blank white canvas. It hung in an art gallery and was meaningful to someone. If the definition of art is so broad that everything is art then there are no boundaries and no law can apply to it.

    But at some point absurdities have to stop and reason prevail although it seems clear when you're talking religion as well as art people can't think logically.

  140. John Hess 2014.10.31

    This could have been a fun program. What's sad people will blame the atheists although the stupidity lies with the kids and whoever should have been monitoring them. Makes a person wonder what they teach at that school.

  141. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.31

    I liked Groucho Marx-ist

  142. Don Coyote 2014.10.31

    @Larry Kurtz: In an exchange of letters with Jefferson, Madison pretty much destroys Jefferson's arguments on the issue of "Dead Hand of the Past".

    More relevant to this discussion of painting Jesus on snowplow blades, Madison had resigned himself to Congress hiring a chaplain with public money, declaring it de minimis.

    Madison also stated that his declarations of religious days of fasting and thanksgiving were only following the traditions of his predecessors and that therefore there was a presumption that "you reserve to the Govt. a right to appoint particular days for religious worship throughout the State, without any penal sanction enforcing the worship."

    Now if that's not Establishment of Religion, then painting Jesus on snowplows certainly isn't.

  143. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    John, I'm guessing you'll have a rough time comprehending the work of Robert Rauschenberg then. Especially his telegram portrait to a patron that says 'this is a portrait of you if I say so.' Hint, some art is made specifically to throw people off. Never mind thinking outside the box. Sometimes there's not even a box. :-)

  144. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    Ps those minimalist canvases are ther so you can watch yourself responding to them. Notice how they make you feel. That feeling is the art happening.

  145. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "I still say, use the money that is used to purchase the paint, to buy paint to paint a house that needs it, or donate the money to a more worthy cause that will create more good than harm."

    Right JeniW. Ban art from schools and use that money to pay math teachers. Since someone's art may offend someone else in society, we need to ban it all together. Is that want you liberals really want?

  146. JeniW 2014.10.31

    Oh, Steve, you make me laugh. That is the one positive thing I can say about you, you always give me cause for laughter.

    Where did I write to ban art from the schools?

  147. larry kurtz 2014.10.31

    Jefferson and Madison were best of friends who disagreed on many things: both would be horrified to see profligate religious imagery displayed for political gain.

  148. Douglas Wiken 2014.10.31

    What seems to have been forgotten in this is that freedom of religion also requires freedom from religion. Will the good city of Sioux Falls allow kids to paint "God is dead" on the plows? KELO-TV has put some of the most ignorant people in SD on TV whining about how terrible the resistance to Christ on the plow blades is.

  149. mike from iowa 2014.10.31

    and wingnut economics and math should offend everyone,especially the part that says if the rich pay less taxes the gubmint has more tax revenues to spend-trickle down economics.

  150. mike from iowa 2014.10.31

    Do christian schools pay property taxes or are they exempt? If they don't pay taxes they should not be allowed to place graffitti on public equipment.

  151. mike from iowa 2014.10.31

    John T-what is fine art. Is it something you should get fined for doing in public according to whose ox is being gored? No matter what "it" is someone is sure to be riled up about "it."

  152. jerry 2014.10.31

    mfi, that property tax deal is a whole different thing to think of. Correct, if they do not pay taxes, what was the city thinking when he decided to do this?

  153. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    "No matter what "it" is someone is sure to be riled up about "it."

    Mike, exactly. It ain't really art unless that happens. :-)

  154. JeniW 2014.10.31

    It could be argued that the parents of the children have paid property taxes, and sales tax.

    Even kids pay sales tax, so they could rightfully so, be considered tax-payers.

  155. John Hess 2014.10.31

    If you let government become a medium for a message (one they want to moderate as they do here), then they essentially end up controlling the message and that's dangerous. That's a slippery slope and why the wall of separation is needed and must be enforced. And what Bill says we should see more of would only be what they find acceptable. That's not acceptable. We can't let the government control our free speech. It's so disappointing the schools didn't use this as a civics lesson rather than say they feel bad because their kids are confused why people have misgivings. Then educate the kids to the beauty of the law.

  156. Bill Fleming 2014.10.31

    Best argument you've made yet, Mr. Hess. Kudos.

  157. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.31

    So, we have a bunch of kids painting graffiti on government property and not only do they get away with it, they are encouraged to do so.
    What is that, justifiable vandalism?

  158. Craig 2014.10.31

    Steve: "So Craig, there would have been no problem if only public schools were allowed to paint the blades so that only the secular humanist religion would have been allowed?"

    I'll go on record as saying "secular humanist religion" is an oxymoron. I'm sure you are the type who believes every belief system must somehow be a religion, but that doesn't make it so. From what I understand (and what the actual definition of secular humanism tells us) is that it specifically rejects any religious dogma, thus it doesn't apply here.

    Our Constitution is clear - there is a separation between government and religion. The Supreme Court has ruled on this issue time and time again and in each case they have affirmed this separation. Therefore you can try to twist and manipulate the conversation as you most surely will continue to do, but by only allowing Christianity to have a special place at the table, the city is in fact violating our Constitution. Fact.

    Steve: "Craig, the Constitution has been put aside. The free thinkers are using it to put the last nail in its coffin. This is playing right into the hands of those who are replacing it with a One World Government."

    I'm not even going to attempt to decipher whatever it is you are trying to say. Between you feeling you get to define who is and is not a Christian, or a Republican, or a Liberal, or what is a religion and the intertwined conspiracy theories of Neo this, Neo that, New World Order, One World Government and whatever else you read on the Interwebs that you feel the need to repeat ad nauseam I'm not entirely convinced you could pass a turing test much less convince someone of your opinions.

    By the way Steve... the Constitution remains as important and as powerful as ever. The rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

  159. Lynn 2014.10.31

    The Satan snowblade could actually save taxpayers quite a bit of money. Rather than pushing the snow to the side wouldn't the snow just vaporize from the fire and brimstone of hell?

  160. mike from iowa 2014.10.31

    How does one paint jesus on a snowplow when no one has a clue what jesus looks like if jesus was even real? Might just as well paint pink unicorns.

  161. JeniW 2014.10.31

    LOL mfi, Jesus cannot be painted on a snowplow because he is long dead, and there is nothing left of his body. Even if there was any remains still in existence, students in Sioux Falls would not have access to them.

    You are correct that no one knows what Jesus looked like. I believe that he did exist. That said, what can be painted on the snowplow, which was done, was the word "Jesus."

  162. bearcreekbat 2014.10.31

    JeniW, While you are right that "Jesus . . .is long dead," you might have overlooked a small point when you say "and there is nothing left of his body." Some folks speculate that Jesus' foreskin is still around as it apparently was removed long before his death.

    Now I wonder if the free thinker complaints would have objected to a painting of that foreskin on the SF snow plow.

  163. JeniW 2014.10.31

    Even if Jesus' foreskin is still in existence, no one in little ol' Sioux Falls would have access to it and be able to mix it in the paint so that it can be painted on anything.

    Jesus' body is indeed long dead, but IMO his spirit remains very much alive. (Thought I should add that statement so I do not get a bunch of hostile messages.)

  164. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.10.31

    Lynn, the Satan snowplow comment is hilarious! I love it!

    I've seen illustrations of what Jesus probably looked like. It was based on the average Middle Eastern resident of 2 millennia ago. He wasn't what I'd call handsome.

    This image, though on the Popular Mechanics site, comes from the BBC. In my oh-so-humble opinion, it's probably quite accurate.

  165. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "Do christian schools pay property taxes or are they exempt?"

    Do public schools pay property tax or do they only spend them?

  166. Steve Sibson 2014.10.31

    "I'll go on record as saying "secular humanist religion" is an oxymoron. I'm sure you are the type who believes every belief system must somehow be a religion, but that doesn't make it so."

    They themselves argued, and in courts, that they are a religion.

  167. mike from iowa 2014.11.01

    Bill F-I saw Pee Wee Herman do his rendition of this song in a Frankie and Annette movie-Back to the Beach. The original,as bad as it was,was far superior.

  168. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.01

    Steve, no court has held that secular humanism is a religion. In Torasco v Watkins (1961) (in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled a state cannot require an individual to swear belief in God in order to hold public office), Justice Hugo Black mentioned secular humanism in a list of "religions." However, footnotes have no force of law, and in Peloza v. Capistrano (1994), in which the Ninth Circuit rebuffed a teacher who refused to teach evolution on Establishment Clause grounds, "because neither the Supreme Court, nor this circuit, has ever held that evolutionism or secular humanism are 'religions' for Establishment Clause purposes."

    What I believe, Steve, is not a religion. The city can let students paint flowers, apes, molecular reactions, and E=mc2 on city snowplows with no Establishment Clause impact whatsoever.

  169. leslie 2014.11.01

    you sib are a religious bigot, and you wiken are a racial bigot. there is no room in the dem party for racism.

  170. mike from iowa 2014.11.01

    The constitution is quite clear that there are to be no religious tests to hold office. Why is this being brought up?

  171. Bill Fleming 2014.11.01

    'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'

    Climbing on my devil's advocate snowplow here, and driving in a little circle around the 1st Amendment above... What does it really say about this issue, Cory? Seems to me, there's a lot of wiggle room there. Enough to drive a truck through, actually. :-)

  172. Steve Hickey 2014.11.01

    I get confused which Steve is being addressed in various comments.

    Would the city be establishing a state mascot letting a high school paint their mascot on a plow? No, they would be tolerating free expression. It's unconstitutional to remove a certain speech from the public arena. Religious speech and expression in government is undeniable in every period of our national history. Unconstitutional tax code and activist lower court judicial rulings don't trump the First Amendment. This thing will not prevail in court. Groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom win every time and they defend religious liberty all over America.

    Christians tolerate secular religious expression - in your face expression - every day, in schools and everywhere else. Evolution theory is as unscientific and faith-based as it comes and it receives state endorsement.

    Happy Saturday to you all.

  173. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.01

    Whoops! Sorry, Rep. Rev. Hickey! My comment was aimed at Mr. Sibson and his erroneous assertion of precedent. I hope you had a happy Reformation Day!

  174. larry kurtz 2014.11.01

    Hickey: I'm not a scientist but gravity just a theory.

  175. Bill Fleming 2014.11.01

    Hickey, all I can say is that your willingness to tolerate the laws of of physics is just mighty darn nice of ya old buddy. :-(

  176. larry kurtz 2014.11.01

    Never mind that humans and great apes share 96% of genes.

  177. Steve Hickey 2014.11.01

    Gravity and physics, now that IS science. That complex LIFE is the result of random unguided mutation at statistically impossible odds... that's not science. And it defies what is self-evident.

    I may title my next book Self-evident. More and more it's as if people have blinders on and they aren't able to see what is right before their face. It is self-evident that the city of Sioux Falls is not endorsing Missouri Synod Lutheranism as a city religion. The city is full of Lutherans.

    The title I have reserved for my book on the origins of LIFE is "Just Add Zeros." It's nuts that thinking people think just adding a few zeros (years) makes the impossible possible. :-)

  178. larry kurtz 2014.11.01

    Is economics science? Or archeology? That you are not evolving is unsurprising, Rev. Hickey. Do your genome and you'll likely discover a higher-than-average Neanderthal contribution.

  179. Bill Fleming 2014.11.01

    Oh good! Hickey knows the physics, that led to the chemistry, that lead to the beginning of life on Earth. Can't wait to read your science, Steve. Because if you know that answer, you'll win the Nobel Prize!

  180. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.01

    mfi, that's an outstanding post. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I'm shocked that -any- Lutherans would be so demonstrative to paint religious symbolism observable to the public!

    Oh Hickey. Yup, evolution is just a made up thing that has somehow fooled generations of otherwise smart, methodical, careful scientists. What dummies.

    Sarcasm sometimes seems like the only thing left when facts are dismissed. The fact is, those millions of scientists around the globe who agree that evolution is real, are 99.9999% certain. But there is a small percentage who disagree. A very small percentage.


    Please folks, remember that Hickey's backward beliefs do not reflect the majority of Christians.

  181. mike from iowa 2014.11.01

    Is this Sibby,Angelo or both?

  182. Lynn 2014.11.01

    MFI it looks like spam. I did a check on the web without going to the site which could be malware and virus infected.

  183. Craig 2014.11.03

    Steve Hickey:

    "It's unconstitutional to remove a certain speech from the public arena."

    Nobody is suggesting speech be removed, merely that it cannot come in the form of a government endorsement. I'm sure you have read and heard from many who have openly stated they are not against the message, merely against the method of delivery. I've not heard from a single person who has even so much as suggested those two private schools shouldn't continue to display or speak about their beliefs. The core issue is how they do so - they are free to display their messages on their busses, on their buildings, and they can stand on the corner holding a sign... but they have no right to insert their overtly religious message upon public property.

    Steve Hickey: "Evolution theory is as unscientific and faith-based as it comes"

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we need to start electing candidates who actually understand science, rather than those who attempt to define what science is and is not based upon a personal belief.

    To quote Daniel Patrick Moynihan...

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts."

  184. Bill Fleming 2014.11.03

    Craig, I agree. Hickey's asseration is completely baseless. He might as well have said, "Religion is as scientific and reason-based as it comes."

    Beats me how ideas like that surface in one's mind and actually make it through their editing filter.

    Someone should tell our friend Mr. Hickey that he doesn't have to believe every thing he thinks, and that not all his ideas are created equal. ;-)

  185. bearcreekbat 2014.11.03

    Nice post Craig. It reminds of John Adam's comment, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

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