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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Bill would allow religious symbols on public land

February 2, 2013

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— The Kansas House is considering a bill that would allow the display of religious symbols on public lands, if the symbols are considered part of a community’s history or heritage.

The bill, which was discussed Thursday before the Federal and State Affairs Committee in the Kansas House, was introduced in response to a controversy last summer when the Mennonite community of Buhler was threatened with a lawsuit because its city symbol contained a cross, The Wichita Eagle reported.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation claimed the city’s official design violated the U.S. Constitution by favoring Christianity over other religions. Despite pleas from some residents to fight the threat, Buhler leaders took down the city symbol and replaced it with two similar ones on private land.

Rep. Don Schroeder, R-Hesston, told the committee Thursday that he believed religious displays like Buhler are constitutional.

“A lot of people talk about ‘separation of church and state,’” Schroeder said. “That’s not in the Constitution. However, there is an establishment clause, which says the government shall make no law regarding religion. It doesn’t go the other way around; it doesn’t say that religion cannot be involved in government.”

A representative of the Great Plains chapter of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State disagreed with Schroeder’s interpretation.

“Why would you have in the Constitution the fact that the government can’t interfere with religion, but religion can interfere with the government?” said Vickie Sandell Stangl. “How does that protect the government? How does that make a stable society if it’s not a two-way street? That does not create a stable society. That would be my answer to them on that.”

The bill also would allow religious displays in public schools, although they must be connected to a course of study that “does not favor or disfavor any religion or religious belief,” according to written testimony from Mark Tallman, spokesman for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfried, R-Olathe, said he expects the chamber to vote on the bill next week. He said he believes the bill is constitutional

“I do not believe that having a cross on a sign forces an atheist to be a believer,” Siegfried says. “I just don’t believe that.”

Comments

ljreader 1 year, 2 months ago

Will this clear the way for a statue of Obama on public land?

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 2 months ago

It took a lawsuit and two and a half years before the VA would put a pentacle on the headstone of a Wiccan soldier who had died in Iraq. I can guarantee it would take a lawsuit and another two years before the state would allow one next to a cross at the capitol.
The only "freedom of religion" these people accept is the freedom of their own religion.

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oldexbeat 1 year, 2 months ago

nice that our little town/s history now includes Buddhist and Muslims. Going to love that crescent moon being up there by that cross. And a stupa being built next to those. Wonder if these fools wanted that all along -- you know, bring in ALL the religions.

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In_God_we_trust 1 year, 2 months ago

Sounds like a good law that will restore the true and correct intent of the 1st amendment, as it once used to be in this State and Country. May God's blessings come back upon our land as freedom to worship God freely is restored. There is always the freedom to reject God (but I don't recommend it), so God haters still have their freedom of choice.

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loverofidiots 1 year, 2 months ago

Liberal thinking people like many of you want inclusivity, until it is someone who doesn't agree with your way of thinking.

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Slowponder 1 year, 2 months ago

We need to get this bill passed and signed ASAP and then watch with glee as the Phelps crowd petitions Topeka to permit them to erect one of their " God hates Fags" on the lawn between the courthouse and city hall in Topeka as part of the religious history of Topeka. No good deed goes unpunished!

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verity 1 year, 2 months ago

Not this again! I so don't care. What does bother me is the glee with which some of these idiots try to force their Christian symbols on the public.

And the last sentence of the article. Could someone say anything more ridiculous and stupid?

We will pay for an extended session because of this frivolous crap.

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Agnostick 1 year, 2 months ago

BTW, one of the more recent pleasures on this lovely site has been watching the distribution of the votes, or the "thumbs up!" given to posts. Without naming specifc users, what I've noticed is that:

Moe always gives thumbs up all of Larry's and Curly's posts.

Larry always gives thumbs up to all of Curly's and Moe's posts.

Curly always gives thumbs up to all of Moe's and Larry's posts.

They also slip up and vote on their own posts, too. It's hilarious!!

agnostick@excite.com

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Agnostick 1 year, 2 months ago

And what is "history?"

How long is it? How deep is it? How wide is it?

Who sets that standard?

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JackMcKee 1 year, 2 months ago

There is no end to the time these clowns can waste. We should seriously consider shortening the legislative session to 2 weeks to avoid these types of bills. If you want to surround yourself with religious symbols do it at home or in church. You can wear a cross around your neck. You can carry the bible with you wherever you go. You don't need to put the stuff on every single thing, living or dead.

Just add this to the list of bills that will end up in litigation. Assuming it passes.

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hujiko 1 year, 2 months ago

“I do not believe that having a cross on a sign forces an atheist to be a believer,” Siegfried says. “I just don’t believe that.”

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toe 1 year, 2 months ago

A good idea. A camper in a state park will be able to set their bible outside the trailer or tent without risking having it confiscated.

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 2 months ago

The religious bigots are out in force today. We have so called "artwork" scattered all over Lawrence and considered religious symbols by the church of the extreme left. What's the difference!

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msezdsit 1 year, 2 months ago

".....if the symbols are considered part of a community’s history or heritage."

The right wing wack job's self proclamaion of religion is "what we define it as" could make this worthless clause fit anything they wanted including "not including" any religious symbol they disapprove of.

These heathens are no more and no less than the devil in disguise and they will get their comeuppance when their day comes.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 2 months ago

It is clear that when they use the word "religion", those pushing for display of religious symbols on public property really mean "christian".

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UneasyRider 1 year, 2 months ago

Wouldn't it be nice if we could get State Legislators working on solving state's real problems?

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 2 months ago

I wonder if anyone knows how much of our tax dollars (indirectly) goes to support the ACLU?

2

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 2 months ago

Part of the answer is a loser pay court system. This would stop many of these BS lawsuits.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 2 months ago

I'll chip in for an Anton LaVey statue. With minor editing some of his 9 principles sound like a corporate manual.

The Nine Satanic Statements from The Satanic Bible, ©1969. by Anton Szandor LaVey

  1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence.
  2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams.
  3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit.
  4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates.
  5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.
  6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires
  7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all.
  8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification.
  9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years.

You mean this one?

You mean this one? by Paul R. Getto

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 2 months ago

The Kansas Legislature can pass all the bills they want. If they're unconstitutional, then they're unconstitutional.

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Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

You know, roundabout intersections are an anti-Christian means to rid the world of crosses, replacing them with pagan Whole Earth symbols that remove the ability for folks to meet their Maker head-on as God intended.

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appleaday 1 year, 2 months ago

I'd like to see what Siegfried would say about a Muslim symbol on a sign.

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lawslady 1 year, 2 months ago

They may want to get legal advice from an expert in Constitutional law and consider that some communities may have non-Christian symbols before costing the state more legal fees.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 2 months ago

It's just a symbol, good grief. What if some loonytoons declare that the symbol of their new religion is the flag of the United States of America? Then suddenly it would be illegal to display the US flag on public land. Don't laugh - that concept is not that outrageous.

For instance, 'Jedi', from 'Star Wars', is now an official religion.

from:
http://www.jedichurch.org/

The Jedi Church recognises that there is one all powerful force that binds all things in the universe together, and accepts all races and species from all over the universe as potential members of the religion. Join the Jedi Church today!

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JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 2 months ago

Burkas for our women will be next...god help us with these clowns...

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JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe the legislature should focus on equitably filling the billion dollar hole in the state budget over the next decade resulting from last years income tax cuts rather than right wing 1950s style morality laws that remind me of modern sharia law and the Taliban...

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