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Display taken off courthouse grounds by vandals

photoThe Santa skeleton display after it was vandalized on Dec. 10 where it appears the head is missing. Courtesy Photo/NBC 4 Washington

A controversial Santa skeleton display has once again been vandalized, and this time the culprit can add larceny to their list of charges.

On Dec. 10, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office reported that the controversial skeleton Santa display on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn was vandalized, but this time the perpetrators took a piece of it with them.

The display was first vandalized on Dec. 5. The removal received a plethora of media attention nation-wide. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors also decided on Dec. 6 to allow the next board to make a decision for next year’s displays on the courthouse lawn.

The owner of the display is Middleburg resident Jeff Heflin Jr., according to Julie Withrow, a Loudoun County administrator.

On Heflin’s application for inclusion in the courthouse display, he described his entry as “art work of Santa on a cross to depict society’s materialistic obsessions and addictions and how it is killing the peace, love, joy and kindness that is supposed to be prevalent during the holiday season.” Heflin is not part of any organization and sponsored the display himself.

According to Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, a portion of the display was taken, but he declined to say which part was stolen.

Not only do the vandals face a destruction of property charge if a criminal complaint is filed, but they also face a larceny charge for stealing a piece of the display.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for guarding the displays at the courthouse complex and grounds and the Leesburg Police Department also patrols the surrounding area in Historic Downtown, Troxell said.

The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have the manpower to specifically guard the displays as a part of its daily job, but deputies plan to take action to try and keep people from vandalizing the displays, Troxell said.

“The agency will enhance our current security measures at the courthouse, to include directed patrols in the area,” Troxell said. “We have security measures for the courthouse and the grounds and because they’re county property or considered county jurisdiction, we will investigate any criminal activity on these grounds.”

A Sheriff’s Office report said the display was put back up on the evening of Dec. 9 and vandalized on Dec. 10. The incident is still under investigation. 

Comments


I call for fellow constitutionalists to stand up and protect the rights of free speech for every citizen of every -ism. I say we post 24 hour sentries on the courthouse lawn to protect these constitutionally protected displays of free speech against every self-rightous, religious zealot out there that decides that your freedoms are not as important as their religion.


It’s obvious that religious people are gullible people, who believe in childhood myths because they can’t come to grips with death.


The person is a vandal. That display was legally there and protected by the constitution under free speech. The person who took the head is unAmerican.

If you want Christmas to be left alone I suggest you stop demanding a religious display on government property and leave it at the church or on your private property where it belongs. If you want it on government property prepare to see counter beliefs go up along side it.


So now the person who took the skeleton’s head is labeled a vandal?  wtf?  Too bad the vandal(s) didn’t just take the whole thing and toss it in the nearest trash receptacle.  The kid responsible for this needs to find something a bit more constructive to do in his spare time.  Let Christmas be for those who appreciate and believe in it…. not for others to make a mockery of the Holiday and abuse their so-called “freedom of expression” as an excuse to publicly show their stupidity.


Truth abides, humanly.


Forgive my sentence structure.  A smart person recognizes his fault and attempt to correct.  These quotes are in honor of Christopher Hitchens.  They simply rhyme in his sentiment and provide real truth.


RIP Christopher Hitchens.  Here are a few fellow thinkers who have spoken in the honor of your insight:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
-Epicurus

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”
-John Adams

“In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”
-James Madison

“Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separated.”
-Ulysses S. Grant

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
-Susan B. Anthony

“It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
-Mark Twain

“No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says; he is always convinced that it says what he means.”
-George Bernard Shaw

“The world holds two classes of men - intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.”
-Abu Ala Al-Ma’arri

“Whatever we cannot easily understand we call god; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.”
-Edward Abbey

“If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.”
-Woody Allen

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
― Christopher Hitchens


Again, Ken Reid is quoted, not in The Washington Post, calling for the removal of Christian symbols in the courthouse grounds.  What a jerk!


An Enlighted Being:

And I can’t fathom your God because everything I’ve stated contridicts what I know of your God, from the bible.  If you believe the bible, the earth is ~6,500 years old and there was Adam and Eve, and then that guy with the ark, and so many other things I just could never believe happened just on faith.  And if one thing is wrong in the bible, and it claims to be written by God, then why not everything else?  Unlike science where something can be wrong and later corrected, if God wrote it, it should be right the first time. We’re humans, we will make mistakes, but God should be 100% on the ball. Too much of the bible has to be ignored or interpreted in wierd ways for me to believe any of it.

I am thankful that we were able to have a somewhat thoughtful and respectable discussion amongst the hate around here. And although I think you’re wrong, I’m happy having you as a neighbor. Most atheists typically do not hate religion and are tolerate of others beliefs.  I hope people realize that in the middle of all this name calling by a select few.


Dan - Sorry, I just can’t fathom the complexities of Humans or even the Natural Selection without a God, even given your explanations, cuz I believe all of that happens because our God made it so. Our main difference in understanding is where it started, you think at the cellular level & I don’t.  I’ll stop fun’n with ya. It’s been fun.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you and your Family


@An Enlighted Being

I’ve attempted rational discussion and honest logic with you.  It’s clear that you are unwilling to consider other possibilities than God. 

I wish you and your family a Happy Festivus.


I’m hurt that you care so little about my germs and offspring.  It’s difficult to have an intelligent conversation when you diss my family in such a way.


@An Enlighted Being

The fact the germs were emitted from you does not mean they shared your DNA or are your offspring.  I don’t understand this line of questioning or your point regarding it.  Please explain how this is related to our conversation and I will be happy to try and respond in a manner that will address your questions or concerns.

As to why we evolved in Africa, Asia or Europe, it’s because that’s were it happened…  Making the reasonable conclusion that we did evolve, it had to happen somewhere, why not there?  Where it started is really not important to the discussion.  If it started in South America, my points would be just as valid.  Again, if you explain why this line of questioning is important to the converstation, I will attempt to answer it in a manner that better addresses your question or concern.


I think I ate Pangaea once and am pretty sure I didn’t like it.  Though my 1st statement could be taken as a joke, it’s very valid - my germs, my DNA, etc. thrown out with the trash, taken to the incinerator never to enjoy life again.  Why did they start in Europe 1st and not the other way around?  Why’d we have to wait for Leif & Chris?


An Enlightened Being:

I’ll take your first comment as the joke I assume it was intended to be.  As for why Asia and Europe were settled first (and it’s been a long time since I looked into this), I would assume that’s were humans evolved first.  Then, from that location they traveled via the ice bridge during the ice age to north america and down through the americas.

Have you ever heard of Pangaea?


I touched or possibly sneezed on the object in the frig, so yes it could be my descendant.  As for how old the earth is, I haven’t the foggiest, heck it could be 10,000 billion years.  If you’re married, it could certainly feel like 10,000 billion years.  As for the antibiotics and germs, don’t you think God had a hand in that & gave us the ability to discover them?  Why has Asia & Europe been settled & developed long before North & South America.  Why did Natural Selection move faster there?  Answer me that oh learned one.


@An Enlighted Being:

No, a great grandchild would be directly disendent from you.  Instead, bacteria is from a historic ancestor from billions of years ago, from which you evolved.  Billions of years ago is a long time. 

I may assume too much here, do you believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old, or do you believe the earth is ~4.5 billion years old?  If you believe it’s ~4.5 billion years old and life has been around for over 2 billion years, then you have to admit that’s a very long time (4,500 million years and >2,000 million years) for things to evolve.  If you believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old, there’s no way I can have a real discussion with you, because as much data as there is supporting evolution, there’s a lot more of it supporting the age of the earth (at least being >10,000 years old).

I’d further like to point out, that if science were to listen to religion, and simply stop looking into natural selection and evolution, we would never have figured out what was going on with antibiotics and germs.  This information has saved thousands of lives already.  Would you prefer that we simply turn a blind eye to this information at this point?  I understand you wish to defend your faith, but you do it at a cost to our society.


Blaspheme is not a crime in America because we are a secular government. The founders set it up that way for a reason, their fathers came here to escape that sort of persecution. You clearly have no grasp on the founders thoughts on religious freedom.

The cowards who tore this down are petty criminals and poor Americans.


Why was this guys application even reviewed?  Why didn’t he try to pull this crap at the Fauquier courthouse?  Maybe that BoS actually uses their heads for more than a place to put their hair pieces.  He doesn’t reside in Leesburg, let alone Loudoun County…that’s OUR courthouse, the residents of Leesburg and Loudoun County.  He doesn’t deserve to have his “display” on our courthouse lawn.  Pay your town and county taxes like the rest of us then come talk to me Mr. Heflin.


So now I’m to understand that every time I clean out the refrigerator, I’m performing an abortion of a potential great grandchild.  How sad.


Anyone who thinks these men, these presidents, would support tar and feathering a man for disagreeing with God or Christians clearly knows nothing about the men who founded this nation

@fedupdude, how can you view this display simply as Mr. Helfin “disagreeing” with God or christians?  He can disagree all he wants until the cows come home, but to sit back in your leather chair and allow this man chastise an entire religion is blasphemous.  So to those who have stepped up and actually done something, we thank you.  I would have no problem whatsoever if he wanted to put up some kind of display portraying “Atheist” views, but it’s not that.  It’s CRUCIFIED SANTA!  He is clearly insulting an entire group of people, and deserves every bit of reprecussion, constitutional or not.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an agnostic?  I take little bits of all religions and follow what I choose.  I was raised Roman Catholic until a priest at my church was indicted on child pornography charges, just 7/8mi away from the courthouse.  I beleive everyone should have the right to practice their religion freely, whatever that may be.  But you need to open your eyes if you can’t see how his display would be offensive.


@Dave:  I respect our founding fathers greatly, but they were not perfect.  It does not matter if they believed in a god or not.  I’m sure they believed in things you would find repulsive yourself, such as slavery.  The fact of the matter is we have a constitution, and it provides rights (even if those rights are against the beliefs of the founder fathers - see slavery if you need another example).  We as Americans take these rights very seriously.  I personnally take these rights more seriously than any possible belief of our founding fathers.  Their beliefs are of no matter to this discussion.


You can actual see evolution happen in real time with bacteria.  If you take an agar plate and populate it with bacteria, you will grow a population of bacteria.  There will be genetic variation within this popultion.  Then you can take some of them and put them on a new agar plate with slightly higher levels of salinity. 
The bacteria that have the genetic variation that make them sensitive to higher salinity will not populate the agar plate.  Then you take some of the ones that did grow, and put them onto another agar plate with even higher levels of salinity, only the bacteria with traits that make them resistent to high salinity will grow, but even among these bacteria there will be genetic variations for sensitivity to salinity.  You can keep increasing the salinity of the agar until you have a population of baceria very resistent to salinity, well at least as resistent as the genetic variation will allow (at some point genetic variation will be taxed, not to say that if you kept this up for years and years you couldn’t get it to go higher again).

This by the way, is exactly what is happening to germs and antibiotics, and why we’re starting to see germs that are resistent to antibiotics.  This is why you are suppose to finish all your pills, cause if you don’t, you may leave some of the bacteria that’s slightly resistent to the antibiotic.  That population will grow, and due to genetic variation, slightly more resistent bacteria will be in that population, and they cycle continues…


Dave; Clearly you know nothing of Tomas Jefferson’s writing on religion or how Washington wrote a letter expressing regret to a synagogue for attacks made on them by Christians.

Anyone who thinks these men, these presidents, would support tar and feathering a man for disagreeing with God or Christians clearly knows nothing about the men who founded this nation.


@An Enlightened Being:  I’m not sure what your comments means exactly, but I assume your intent was not to be taken too seriously.  However, if you’re refering to the fact that you have a common ancestor with a fish or a frog, and you don’t understand why you don’t retain an instict to protect fish or frogs, it’s simply explained that somewhere down the line of natural selection after species diverged, it became more helpful toward survival (and therefor reproduction) for our ancestor species to drop this trait (if it even existed at that point in time).  This would make sense since those that take advantage of eating fish and frogs would have a better chance of survival.  We would only have the need to protect fish and frogs if it benefited the species. 

Life started at least 2 billion years ago, so even at conservative estimates (life is likely to be closer to 2.5 billion years old, and even older by some estimates) there’s a lot of time for the little changes directed by natural selection to allow species to evolve into completely different species.  Just imagine two populations of the same species seperated by a river.  Over time they would evolve differently based on their environment and the mutations that developed on their side of the river.  After millions and millions of years, these populations may look and act entirely different, to the point where they can no longer reproduce with each other.  Now you have two species from one.


@fedupdude, do you really know them?  Did you sit behind TJ in the 2nd grade?  Ben Franklin take your sister’s virginity?  Really?  How well do you know them?  I’m not referring to a high school text book, I’m referring to an ACTUAL history book where the government hasn’t removed all of the juicy bits just because they disagreed.  How aware are you of the fact that all of our founding fathers liked to get down on the wacky weed?  You probably wouldn’t know because “certain” people don’t want you to know.


Dave if you really think that then you have no idea who the founders really were.


It’s funny how the news reports that Dec. 5 as being the first day the “display” was put up and subsquently “vandalized”.  I was leaving Payne’s (Downtown Saloon for all you newcomers) late on Dec. 3 and witnessed the “display” in question being “taken care of”.  This is absolutely ludicrous.  Why don’t they hang the Prophet Mohammed in skeleton form out in front of the courthouse and see where that gets them.  Talk about a religious WAR…why are residents of other counties allowed to even submit applications? 
@feedupdude, with regards to your comment about the “unconstitutionality” of removing this obsurd display, and “what would our forefathers think?” Really dude?  Think long and hard about that…they’d string that Heflin [email protected] up in front of the courthouse for everyone to see until his feet stopped kicking.  Why don’t we take a page straight out of history and take care of the issue once and for all.


So this explains why get such fatherly & nurturing emotions every time I see a fish or a frog - they are actually my cousins.  And to think I actually ate a cousin last Friday.  I better not believe in God, cuz I’ll go to hell for cannibalism.


@Shawn in Leesburg:  I’m not sure about the intent of your comment to me.  But my understanding is that natural selection and evolution were first thought of by Darwin back in the 1830’s, published in the 1850’s, and accepted as fact by the scientific community by the 1870’s (you’ve got to love wikipedia).  This all did occur within the last 200 years, and I do agree that in 200 more years our understanding of the natural world and the implications of natural selection will be significantly better.  I assume the mounting evidence and new information will eventually answer many of the questions, and denying evolution and natural selection will no longer be considered rational on any level (although for those with an understanding now, it already seems rational). 

I had never heard evolution attributed to a greek philosopher smoking something. I assume this is a joke?  If not, I’m curious to learn more about this philosoper.


Guy Fawkes is right.  Europe has moved past this nonsense and focuses on being a better society.  Look at the recent “best places to live” study.  America was 10th.

Frankly, the current declining trend in “religious” Americans can’t come soon enough.  Our country continues to fall behind on math and science education, while people around here spend tens of thousands of dollars to send thier children to Liberty “University”. 

Hear that?  It is Europe and Asia laughing at us as thier educated populations supplant us as a world leader.  Hope your four years learning about Jesus on a dinosaur in “biology” was worth it.


@Rick Astley: You’re not the guy who’s got a Dalek on his front lawn, are you? :-)

@Dan: I don’t know if God used evolution to further His ends. The best evidence available to us indicates that’s the case—but 200 years ago we had no earthly idea what evolution was; I think some random Greek philosopher threw it out as an idea while he was smoking some of that Delphi oracular smoke. We are indeed standing on the shoulders of giants with regard to our scientific knowledge; in 200 years what we know will make us—right now—seem like children.

@Guy Fawkes: For some reason I fear we will suffer the fate of Jamaica in the late 1970s or worse yet, the American experiment will suffer the same fate as the Second Spanish Republic.


I have heard told that this “democracy” is an experiment.  That makes it seem fragile in those terms.  I am thankful for the existing framework for political debate.  However, I hope we don’t devolve into a civil war.  When I read English history of the later centuries, I wonder if parallel battle lines are being formed.  I hope not.  Just in case I am looking at Northern European real estate.  They seem to be the most level headed in terms of economic, social and religious piety.


There is a genuine fear among the right, the evangelical.  Their one world view is increasingly coming into conflict with our pluralist society.  They are wrong if they believe we live in a theocracy.  Fortunately, the founding fathers were a collection of Christians, Deist, Agnostics and Atheists.  Well read men—and dare I say women behind the curtain of history—who had a sense of the evils of religion and knew that a recognition of free opinion was a greater principle.  To have codified our government otherwise, would have been an impossibility at that time.  Thank your notion of God that we are who we are because of an enlightened few.


There is no middle ground in the battle of science and religion.

We’ll see which philosophy wins in the end: a western-europe view of the world or a religious latin-americanesque perspective.

My hope is that religiosity is bound to subside with higher education levels and income.


Argh, this drives my crazy…

@ An Enlightened Being, if you agree with what I wrote earlier (and you said you did), you agree with natural selection.  What I wrote was a discription of natural selection.  I understand that you might not believe it can get you from A (ape)to Z (human), but you apparently do believe in natural selection to some extent.  It’s no more complicated than I laid out.  It’s implications are complex, but it is not.


Natural selection is a joke. God created man. Can’t you read?

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.

Sirs, perhaps there are those among you who believe you are descended from a ape. I suppose there may even be those among you who believe that I am descended from a ape. But I challenge the man to step forward who believes that General
Robert E. Lee is descended from an ape.
-Major General George E. Pickett


“Natural selection the most profound idea in the history on humans.

It’s simple, beautiful, and elegant whole explaining perfectly how species evolved.

Yet, many religious people deny this concept, simply due to the influence of a middle-eastern book written by bronze-age Jewish rabbis, living in one of the most dirty regions of the world.” However, these same religious people have a clear conscience, not to mention a spotlessly clean mind, after multiple centuries of brainwashing.


Natural selection the most profound idea in the history on humans.

It’s simple, beautiful, and elegant whole explaining perfectly how species evolved.

Yet, many religious people deny this concept, simply due to the influence of a middle-eastern book written by bronze-age Jewish rabbis, living in one of the most dirty regions of the world.


Mr Heflin’s display makes a valid point regardless of religious beliefs or not. And a here’s little history lesson; Christmas was created by the catholic church to help sway pagans over to the catholic/christian religions, by creating a figure (idol) to believe in. While I’m christian myself I don’t find this display offensive in anyway. Yes this country found founded with “christian principals”. It was also founded with the idea of religous tolerence. What our forefathers meant by separation of church and state is that no religion shall control our goverment. Unlike the catholic church did and in some ways still does in europe and other places throughout the world. Lastly the word GOD doesn’t refer to just the christian religion but rather a higher being, or a common interest/ belief that brought people together. To often is GOD thought of to be “christian”. It’s just a generic term.


@An Enlighted Being

I appreciate you letting me know upfront. It’s not that you wanted you to believe (I have no problem with you believing in God), but you would know that atheists have sound reasoning behind our lack of belief, and God is not the most likely answer for your questions. 

It drives me crazy how people just don’t even understand the very basics of evolution, but slam it left and right.  The basics are so simple, and impossible to deny.  Most people have a completely inaccurate idea of what evolution is and use that inaccurate idea to denounce it.  Just two months ago I was on a plane and the guy next to me asked what I did.  I told him I was a biologist.  He told me he used to teach evolution.  I thought, “awesome, I might learn something from this guy”.  Turns out he tried to convert me the entire 6 hour flight citing what he thought were flaws in the “theory” (not to mention the watchmakers arguement, and Rev. Matt Slick’s TAG arguement).  He didn’t seem to understand the basics that they teach in biology 101 regarding evolution, yet he claims to have taught it…  I wonder how much misinformation that guy has spread around the world?


Maybe Jesus on the dinosaur took the blasphemous Santa!


At least with all the washing, it’s a squeaky clean brain.


@ Enlightened

That’s what years of brainwashing does to a brain.

So sad.


@Dan - Thanks for the offer, but you’d just be wasting your time.  There is no way you could convince me that the complex living human is just a product of millions of years of gene mutation.  Sorry.


@An Enlighted Being

I understand your hesitation at this point.  It’s complex and can not be explained in a few minutes in this comments section.  I’ll try to write a little more when I have a chance, but it’ll basically take a ton of time and back and forth discussion (which is why you have not received a sufficent answer at this point) and I’ll probably have to brush up on a few things myself to make sure my explaination is correct and sufficent.  It took me five years of science classes to learn what little I do know, and I’m in no way an expert.  Eventually I’ll have to refer you to books that describe these things better than I can, but I can get you started in the explination so you at least know that there is one. 

For right now, if you understand that there is variation in traits, and the natural selection of traits can make them more popular in the population, you’re off to a good start.  This understanding will be the foundation for emotions and other social behavior.  I just hope you can deal with my really bad spelling (how could I forget how to spell traits?)...

If for some reason I let you down and do not have time to get back on here, a good book to read that might answer some of your questions is, “The Selfish Gene”.  It’s not perfect (I think science has advanced since it was written), but it will get you to a basic understanding of what I believe.  I’m not sure I agree with everything in that book (I’m sure there are things in it we know are not true anymore), but it’s not a bad place to start.


Would the Christians object to a silver-painted Christmas Robot on the lawn?

He’ll throw in a gratuitous Tebowing!vvvvvrew vvvrew!


Are the defenders of the faith *REALLY* using the rent-a-mobs who freaked out over the Bomb Head Mohammad cartoons as role models?

Do they really think that if they don’t properly freak out over some sophomoric stunt, that God might disappear in a manner akin to Tinkerbell?

God is great no matter what the Board of Supervisors does. If the first 10 people to sign up next year are devotees of the Noodly Appendage, then you know what? God is still great.

Now, if any of these jokers proposes actually shutting down churches, or somehow abridging the freedom to worship as we see fit, then it’s time to go to the trenches.

But this?

It’s peanuts.


People should be pretty angry if they realized about 85% of the US population (nominally) believes in middle-eastern, bronze-age myth as being “true”.

They actually believe that humans are so special, the creator of the universe practiced human sacrifice on his son (even a more perverted story than god getting Abraham ready to sacrifice his son).

They actually believe that can use telepathy to communicate with deities.

They actually worship a disgusting, genocidal, middle-eastern god.

How can anyone not feel extremely disappointed (if not angry) that 85% of the US population is nominally brainwashed?


@Dan - I agree with everything you say.  The difference is where did it all start, how did we acquire our conscience?  I don’t believe we evolved from apes, let alone an amoeba or a small creature that crawled onto land from the sea after a Big Bang (though I do like the show).


@An Enlighted Being:

Do you not agree that there’s genetic variation in the human population? 

Do you not agree that some genetic variations give some people certain advantages in life that might lead to increased ability or opportunities to have children?  Those same genetic variations will be passed down to the children, and those children’s children.  Thus, over millions of years, those genetics will become more common in the population.  This is happening on the scale of multiple genetic trates at any one time. 

New genetic trates may arise over time due to mutation.  Most of these will not have a positive impact on the individual and will not impact the population.  A very very small percentage of these mutations will provide a benefit to the individual (like make them smarter, or stronger, or more socially capable, or more resistent to germs, or whatever).  Then the cycle starts again for this one genetic trate, and if it has a positive impact on the individuals reproductive success, then it is likely to be come more popular in the population over time.

This cycles goes on and on for millions of years, never stoping.  However, if the environment changes, the trates that benefit individuals may change, thus evolution is never a strait line to a single perfect goal.  This is why you have periods of faster evolution during periods of enviromental changes in this fossil records.

If that makes sense to you, than now you believe in evolution.  That’s a starting point to answering your questions, but there’s a lot more that I’m not about to start typing up, but you need to understand the basics before you can work up to understanding emotions and such.  Maybe I’ll explain the next step this evening.


I have plenty of skeleton heads from my Halloween display, but someone has that covered.


Wouldn’t it be great if we could find the skeleton Santa head and use that!


Dude Jesus riding a dinosaur would be great, I was also thinking of the almighty banjo. Maybe I will sign up for a display next year and do a cut out of Jesus on the dinosaur wearing a Santa hat.


Can we get a display of Jesus riding a dinosaur next year?


Tony - You got it backwards - the non-believers were the winners (me) and the believers were the losers (again Kenneth).  I’m not whining about being called names (doesn’t bother me). And “Mutants” was the only name I’ve used, but did so in reference to your (again, general Atheist) definition of how we evolved (through scientific mutation).  I confess I did call Kenneth the missing Santa Skeleton talking head.  If you take offense, I apologize and won’t mention it again.


Well Enlightened one, the only one I see here that can be compared to Kenneth’s small-minded insults is the one who called non-believers Losers and Mutants…that would be you.  Don’t whine about being called names when you do it yourself.


Kenneth stated: “Only an gullible brainwashed moron would think the creator of the universe gave these emotions as a gift, because humans were created in tgod’s image.”

It’s not that I don’t understand or comprehend what you (limited intelligence that God fearing people have), I just don’t buy it.  Sorry.

As far as “Mutants” - You (the general Atheist) stated that we evolved from a lesser creature (our genes mutated through time).  This was your (again general Atheist) scientific proof of where we came from.


@Enlightened Being:
It is not that atheist have not answered you, it is that you either do not want to read and understand or you are not capable.  I saw several responses to you including my own and none called you a moron or any other name, yet you chose to read into the responses as insults and turn around and call us “mutants”.  Try opening your mind a bit and listening without feeling threatened by those that don’t see things your way, maybe that will help you the hear what is being said. 
It is obviously difficult for you to imagine people not needing religious fear and rewards in order to be decent people but humans really are capable of love, respect and morals without needing a promise of rewards in heaven or a threat of burning in hell.  If that is what you need to be a decent person, I respect that but don’t call me a mutant or any other name just because I do not need those things to be a good person.  I would imagine a God that created us would respect those that live a good life for completely unselfish reasons, why do you feel threatened by us?  Like someone already said, there are plenty of people in prisons who consider themselves part of one of many moral religions. 
Our “foundation” is the simple fact that we are human beings capable of giving and receiving love most of us being born with a conscience, a sense of reasoning and the need to give and receive love.  If you can’t accomplish that without a promise of reward or threat of burning misery then I respect that, you should stick with your religious beliefs and respect others.


Don’t you mean the 10 Suggestions?


Even if you beleive in a God An Enlightened Being points out he gives us free will so he does not set morality for man. Our morality is far more evolved than the 10 commandments.


I should say more enlightened because we still fail on so many levels. The religious rights refusal to allow gays to marry being a prime example.


Actually, God gave man free will & they made the most of it, even let them be Atheist.


Morality does not come from God it comes common decency and culture. Our religious dominated past was filled with what we modern people call immoral behavior. Slavery, legal rape, oppression of women, suppression on minority rights. If God not man set these standards then we would have been enlightened from the start.


Dear Atheist:  You still haven’t stated where your compassion, emotions, nurturing instinct or your beliefs in right or wrong come from.  See you do have beliefs, just no foundation of what they are based on other then “we learned them over time and gene mutation.”  Actually, what you are saying is that all Atheist are Mutants and anyone that believes in God are Morons - tough choice “Moron or Mutant?”.


Jesus was not nailed on a cross like we think of it, the Romans tied people to a pole or an X shaped “cross” not a T shaped one like religious iconography that came hundreds of years after his death indicates.


I’m not sure what you are trying to get at. I’m assuming you believe the Red Cross is somehow a christian organization because it uses a cross(it is not)? Crosses were around way before Jesus was nailed to one. Christianity does not have a trademark on those.

Or are you implying that only christians can help people who are down on their luck?


Hey Hypocrite… Remember to swallow on that day when you have lost everything and any number of churches are there with clothes and food. Oh that’s right, you are heading over to the dead cross and secular army for help.

  Now I get your name…


I liked it better when Barbara Munsey was ranting about the threat of the PEC and how we all needed to learn to love the freedom from elites that the development of rows and rows of houses would bring.  Her boosterism for development got her nominated to the Planning Commission by Steve Snow (aren’t you glad you haven’t heard that name in a while?).  As I sit in traffic on Route 50 each weekday morning, I think about how much we owe those two….

I hope her multiple comments in this thread don’t mean she’s planning the future for religion in Loudoun County.


You people can quote the, so called word of God, all you desire.  The enlightened little secret is that the Bible is simply the word of humanity contemplating its existence—just as the Koran or any other scriptures form the centrum of individual religious contemplation regarding our collective existence.  These books—these words—are all mirrors.  As such, they are written by the angry, the conflicted—the insightful.  Religion in general teaches ideals for humanity as it struggles with life.  Organized religion is divisive and undermines universal truths common among us all.  If you could open your hearts and minds, you would see that.  Unfortunately, so many miss the entire message.  They believe they will be forgiven for their hatred and intolerance.  Forgiveness is a recognition of our humanity yet it also seems to only perpetuate our sins.  Just question all you read and treat people with decency and respect.

Perhaps, a little less hypocrisy and a little more tolerance would go a long way right now.

I increasingly believe that this Country could devolve into unrest based on class, politics and religious ideals.  Hard times tend to create such unrest.  The ignorant turn to superstition and the so called enlightened argue over principle.  The rhythm of human history marches ashamedly on its way.  Thank goodness, so far, we have a Constitution that recognizes and attempts to address, in a secular manner, the imperfections of us all.


Was our country founded on christianity? Lets see what the founding fathers had to say:
http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html


“Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies.” - Thomas Jefferson

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” - Benjamin Franklin


The “one nation under god” was not part of what our country was founded on. Our founding fathers were not all christians and did not want a christian nation or else there would be mention of it in our constitution. “One nation under god” was added to the pledge in 1954 during the red scare. Funny enough, the pledge was written by a socialist.


Maybe we all need to take a trip to Who-ville and visit the who’s the big and the small the short and the tall…..lets follow the Grinch and sound our trumpets from the tallest peaks of Mt. Crumpet…..seriously people look at how commerical Christmas has become I mean they start selling now before Halloween….if everyone was doing their part then there would be no conflict and people would learn to accept others for who they are and what they do…...I think our Forefathers left something out of the Bill of Rights and that would be that we have the right to be offended its funny how we can argue a subject on one side but we can’t argue it the other way because it is “offensive” or is not politcally correct…...so maybe we all need to come to the realization of live and let live….believe dont believe….but who am I kidding this is Loudoun county and everybody here is OWED and is entitled to have it their way and to hell with everyone else…...

with that being said people need to remember that this country is “one nation under God” and it was founded on those princples so if you offended get over it


Atheists do not need the threat of eternal damnation to treat people well. Most of us believe in treating others as how we’d want to be treated. We go by societies standards of right and wrong. If you were to poll all the US prisons, you would find majority of the criminals there are christian and not atheist. Just because you believe in a some higher power doesn’t make you more moral or ethical than us.


@Kenneth,

As a fellow heathen, you are being a dick. You have some great points, but being an ass about it isn’t doing you(or us) any justice. You are only fueling the belief that atheists are angry because we have no god or whatever BS they believe. If you slow down and type a well though out response instead of calling them morons all the time, you might fare better and look less like a troll.


@ An Enlightened Being:  With all due respect to your beliefs, as a civilized human being that was raised by nurturing parents I live a moral life because it is the right thing to do, it is that simple.  I do not do it because I feel threatened or fearful of a vengeful God punishing me and not because I expect some heavenly reward in the end.  Pretty simple and unlselfish, really.


And probably only 2-4% of the global population have advanced degrees.

And even less work in fields even remotely scientific.

The 2-4% of the population that you cite is the intellectual elite.


The 2011 World population is 7 billion and according to Wiki 2-4% are Atheists and all the others believe in some sort of God.  This means there are 150-300 million Atheist and according to Kenneth are winners (like Charlie Sheen) and all the others (6.7 billion) are losers.


actually not, fedupdude.

The suggested “compromise” promoted by some of the activists supporting the in-your-face displays, and opposed to any religious displays, is a “simple tree”.

That excludes some, but it’s supposedly what some of the activist atheists will accept for now, apparently because it would accomplish the primary goal (for some) of excluding specific religious speech.

I think all should be allowed, but I think a bit tighter policy would benefit:  make sure they are limited to county groups/residents; require a rendering of the proposed display, so no surprise death’s heads magically unmentioned in the paperwork; limit on the number of spaces to be granted to any one group, and so on.


Religious person: I’m special and god loves me.

Non-religious person: Actually, you aren’t very special and there is no evidence of this deity. As a matter of fact, you’re a loser for believing that garbage in the first place.


The talking skeleton head speaks and this moron still cannot understand from whence you came & why!  Where does this need to be social and thrive as a colony come from? Where did you get your instinct (how did it evolve, what created your gene map - natural selection)? If you do not believe in anything but yourselves, why would you care about others?  What makes you different than any other animal or bug?


If a true Atheist believes these things, then where do they get their moral compass, compassion, nurturing ability or give them any reason not to take what they want not just need??

——————————————————

These morals evolved over millenia through being a social animal. Example: compassion allowed our species to better thrive as a group and to pass down genes, hence compassion became an emotion.

Only an gullible brainwashed moron would think the creator of the universe gave these emotions as a gift, because humans were created in tgod’s image.


If a true Atheist believes these things, then where do they get their moral compass, compassion, nurturing ability or give them any reason not to take what they want not just need??


Atheists have ideals.  I would say they are more individualized than you would find in a given religious group.  I did use the word in my last post but I waned to get the definition.
1. a conception of something in its perfection.
2. a standard of perfection or excellence.
3.a person or thing conceived as embodying such a conception or conforming to such a standard, and taken as a model for imitation: Thomas Jefferson was his ideal.
4.an ultimate object or aim of endeavor, especially one of high or noble character: He refuses to compromise any of his ideals.
5.something that exists only in the imagination: To achieve the ideal is almost hopeless.

I myself have ideals which meet at least three or four of the definitions.  All based on real life things and people not deities.


Since you bring up Atheist ideals, I’d be curious to know what they are.  I can’t imagine they’d have any or need them.


Frank C and I finally agree on something.  The
“You can take your prayers and shove them up your mom’s gaping ass.” comment was way out of line.  Not at all in line with Atheist ideals.


From Kenneth @ 2:32pm:

“Ps- You can take your prayers and shove them up your mom’s gaping ass.”

==========================================

This quote is PRECISELY why so many Christians find the Santa display objectionable. Notwithstanding the argument of free speech, this display is nothing more than a mean-spirited attempt to mock Christians, despite the atheist call to treat all people with respect and use rationale thought.  You have proven that you are incapable of doing so, but God gives millions the grace and strength to do so.

Checkmate.

BTW, I am still praying for your soul.  Merry Christmas to all!


Scientists have already proven life can be created where there is no life in a lab under the conditions earth formed in. They have also proven evolution in single celled organisms. What they have not proven is that man cam from monkey through evolution. Lets not mix up arguments here.


@Frank Costanza -

You said “I find it impossible to acknowledge points of view from people who believe that we evolved from some primordial organic soup.”

Do you really find magical, invisible people more plausible?

We have always made up gods to explain what we don’t understand.  Thor was the god of thunder, Dionysus was the roman harvest god, Shiva the Hindu destroyer, Theton’s the Scientology gods that make you sad, Jesus gives life ever lasting.  We could go on and on.  The reality is your superstitions are rapidly being replaced with scientifically backed reason.
Finding it impossible to acknowledge rational thinking is really quite pathetic.


Kenneth needs to get back to work at his cashier job at 7 -11!


Could it be that Kenneth is his own proof that scientist made life from scratch?  It would explain a lot.


Eventually, scientists will likely be able to make life from scratch.

Ps- You can take your prayers and shove them up your mom’s gaping ass.

Happy Holidays.


Kenneth @ 02:08 PM:

I find it impossible to acknowledge points of view from people who believe that we evolved from some primordial organic soup.

Look out for that lighting!  It may hit a rock and create a new life form. 

Merry Christmas!  As always, praying for your soul.


I just realized that Kenneth is the talking head of the Santa Skeleton.


I also find it impossible to respect people who:

- Believe in telepathy with dieties (prayer)     
- Practice symbolic cannibalism on Sundays
- Give priests divine power (and money)
- Worship a genocidal god who practiced human sacrifice on his son.


What’s a little “skeleton head” among friends? :)


I don’t see why the views of people who believe things without having any evidence whatsoever (afterlife/heaven, deities, the supernatural) should be respected.


@Kenneth - “And no, there is no reason in the universe to treat the mindless followers of any religion with an atom of respect.”

Your hatred and intolerance toward your fellow man speaks volumes here with every new comment you post.

What a truly sad life you must live.


Joe Whitney wrote:

> Today, some 1,000,000 Christians live in fear under the threat of persecution. 

If people didn’t follow these idiotic Abrahamic religions, they wouldn’t have to fear persecution.

> There’s a moral obligation to treat people with dignity and respect.

This includes jihadists, Taliban-stoning women, evangelicals, catholic child molesting priests, etc? And no, there is no reason in the universe to treat the mindless followers of any religion with an atom of respect.

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