I don’t Like Shit!

I just had a really weird thought while taking my dog out to shit which goes to this whole religious diversity thing. You know how when christians get their shit bumped from government property, they often try to get it back by allowing other religions to have their shit there, too? Can’t have a nativity scene? Oh, well we’ll include a big menorah and some bowl of fruit or something for kwanzaa. See, everyone’s represented so it’s ok now. Well no, it’s not ok now. When is the answer to shit adding more varieties of shit?

I live in a development where people with dogs are expected to pick up after them. The grounds are there for all of us to enjoy. Now imagine if you’re sitting on the grass and someone walks by with their dog, stops, has it shit and then starts to walk away. Well I’d be angry. I think you’d be, too. Now say you complain to the person and they say, “oh hold on, I’ll make this right” and they get some friends who also have dogs, a wide variety of dogs, to come over and promptly have their dogs shit on the grass, too.
“There” the person says, “now it’s fair”.
“No it isn’t!” you exclaim.
“Yeah but now it’s not just my dog’s shit but everyone’s dog’s shit” he explains. “We’re all equally represented now”.
“But there’s not supposed to be ANY shit!” you shreak.
To extend the analogy, I’ve also noticed how whenever there is one religion’s shit somewhere, the other religions take notice and promptly want to deposit their own shit right next to it. This is no different than when dogs identify a steamy pile, they often respond with a pile of their own, or at least piss on the existing shit. Same damn thing.

Now hey, if you have your own yard and you want to have it covered with your dog’s shit, knock yourself out. It wouldn’t be my choice but it’s your yard and I’m not going to try and prevent you from filling your yard with shit, but when it comes to shared property, common property that we all have to pay to maintain and subsequently use and enjoy, I’m not going to put up with your dog’s shit everywhere and having everyone else’s dog shit here as well does not make it any better. I want to walk on the grounds here not smelling shit, not getting shit on me and certainly not accidentally tracking it back into my house. To paraphrase Graham Chapman from the infamous Spam sketch (as well as his voice saturated with the sound of agitation and frustration), “I don’t like shit!”.

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11 Responses to “I don’t Like Shit!”

  1. I’d like to start by congratulating you on finding that picture. It’s both hilarious and relevant to the topic. I have to ask simply to be sure, you found it on the internet right? (I’d be amazed if you made that with the help of your dog.)

    That said, I’m afraid I have to disagree with the applicability of your analogy. I don’t think dogs coming along to shit on your yard quite matches the public forum that are government buildings.

    First, many of the employees who work within those buildings have not only a right, but are required as part of their employment to be in those buildings, hold particular beliefs supportive of the different decorations. It’s unclear in your post whether you have the dogs shitting on your lawn or at a public place, such as a park. If the first, then the neighbors’ dogs do not have any right to be on your lawn in the first place, and this clearly distinguishes it from decorations meant to represent the beliefs of those employees. If the second, it is still dissimilar in that dog shit is considered an annoyance and is not intended in any way to represent the religious or philosophical beliefs of those who would be leaving it, the dog.

    While I disagree with the analogy, I do agree largely with the conclusion. I do not think government funds should be spent on these religious displays, and simply adding more religions to the display does not, in my opinion, help to dilute the obvious government endorsement of religion that these displays represent. Unfortunately, all an agency has to do is throw in a statute of Santa Claus, some reindeer, and a tree as secular representations. I think this is where atheists need to call bullshit.

    Atheist organizations need to conceive of some proper representation of us that we could insert into these “non-religious” displays to represent us and that might simultaneously irk the religious. After all, as citizens we have a right to be represented in these displays if they are merely meant to honor the popular beliefs of the citizenry as opposed to endorsing religion. It’s getting late and I think my brain is telling me I need some sleep, so I’ll end this post here. Take it for what it is, the rambling post of a slightly overtired atheist.

    However, one last comment. An example of what I mentioned above was when the local government had erected a monument to the Ten Commandments in the public park and an atheist organization offered to pay to have a monument erected to represent their beliefs. The monument they wanted quoted the Treaty of Tripoli. The resistance of the city council to erecting the monument of the atheists clearly illustrated the religious intention behind the original monument. This case is still unresolved at the moment if I remember right. I haven’t heard any news on it lately, I’m assuming it’s still working its way through the courts. Well, I’m going to bed.

  2. Damn it Russell, you’ve gone and elevated my shitty post to something intellectual!

    I did not find the image, I just work some shitty magic in Photoshop to make it. I briefly considered doing a proper job of it, modeling the little turds in 3D, arranging them on a nice grassy plane, arranging the light to hit them just right so they glisten and render a fine, realistic image from a 3/4 angle… then I woke up and realized it’s just a bunch of shit.

    To clarify my analogy, I live in a rental development so all the grassy areas are shared but we all pay for them through our rent, much like government property is paid for through our taxes. The property agreement says you can’t leave your dog shit all over the property, establishing a clear separation between shit and grounds, much like the Constitution makes a clear separation between church and state.

    The case you speak of rings a bell, but I’m not sure about it. I find it intriguing, but I don’t like the idea of having to do such a thing. I had argued this earlier with someone else, explaining that the tactic of christians to just include other’s in the display in order to keep their display is flawed because:
    1) one religion could argue to death the comparative sizes of the various displays and claim the slightest variation would be indicative of favoring one over others
    2) you’d need EVERY religion to be represented (this is also one of numerous places the ID argument of all theories to be taught in school fails because that would include everything from Aussie aboriginie creation theory to astrology)
    3) who’s going to fund the committee for determining what’s a religion, what’s not, what’s appropriate for display and is it the same size as the other displays, taxpayers?
    4) ANY religious display, regardless of which religion, is an endorsement of religion, therefore esteeming belief over non-belief

    It’s #4 which makes me feel we shouldn’t have to lobby to have our own display in order to make a point. The point is there shouldn’t be a display, period. It’s becoming frustratingly obvious that the only way to gain legal remedy is to take the position that we are a religion, and as such, we can whine about persecution, unfair treatment, hate speech and all that crap they spew to get their way all the time. The idea sickens me.

  3. Personally, I agree with you that the displays are a clear violation of the Establishment Clause. I also think Congressional chaplains violate the Establishment Clause and James Madison, in his “Detached Memoranda to the Constitution,” even happens to support that idea. The points you make about the problems with the argument for inclusion within the displays are on target. But, despite the original intentions of the actual author of the First Amendment and the valid points you make, neither Congressional chaplains or holiday displays will be coming down anytime soon.

    So if you can’t beat them, join them! This is why I think atheists should donate secular displays. Again, I still have to think of something that could be taken to represent secular beliefs while possibly causing enough of a reaction to illustrate the hypocrisy of those who maintain that these displays are not government endorsement of religion.

    Considering the common reactions of Christians to Wiccans, I suppose donating in their name is one possible option. I’ll continue thinking about possible ideas.

    However, I still think your analogy is somewhat off because some, actually the majority of people think positively of these religious displays as opposed to everyone thinking of dog shit as just that.

    To reiterate, I agree with you but think that the current reality of our political situation and the state of the law forces us into using these displays.

  4. The displays are not the religion, but products of the religion which they love, like the shit is a product of the thing the dog owners love, their dogs.

    Yeah ok, it was a stretch but it’s all shit to me.

    I should look for a print of the Treaty of Tripoli. I should have that framed and hung on the wall, along with my godless money (I have 2 bills printed before they started soiling the money with that motto).

  5. It is awesome that you actually have some dollars that predate the post-Civil War phrase. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you manage to get those? I’d certainly be interested in owning some myself.

    As for a print copy of the Treaty, I’m not really sure where to start looking for one. However, if you do find a place to get one let me know. I imagine you could always special order one from somewhere, but something like that is very cost-prohibitive for me.

    Someday I won’t be a poor student, someday.

  6. Philly, the First Amendment already prohibits any public religious displays, despite what the so-called “strict constructionists” have found. As Hugo Black said: “No law means no law.”

    I do recommend, however, that you begin a campaign to have this new amendment added: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of dog shit, or prohibiting the free excretion thereof …

  7. They didn’t start putting the motto on the paper currency until Ike’s administration, around ’54 or ’56. I forget. Might have been the same year as the Pledge edit. Both were overreactions to Communism. They used the motto on some coins before, but not paper currency. I found my bills on ebay.

  8. I don’t think atheists need to enter a dog in that race, pun intended.
    Christmas comes at a most depressing time of year and it helps to pick people up or distract them from the cold and dark. We all (in the USA) grew up with nativities and santa and such, and I don’t mind seeing it no matter who pays for it.
    Lighten up a little.

  9. It’s not American Idol. It’s not about what you or the majority mind or what picks you up. It’s about the law. Also, just how depressed and in need of a pick me up are you if the x-mas lights and displays on virtually EVERY house and inside EVERY store and the ads for sales on tv around the clock or in the newspaper or the inevitable family movie or two that comes out at the time about x-mas or the countless airings of Christmas Story or Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life on tv or the parades are simply not enough? Oh no, without some shit at the courthouse or the rest of government properties littered with nativities and crosses you’re going to be hopelessly depressed! Please. Lighten up? I think I should be saying this to you and suggest perhaps some professional help may be in order instead of advocating ignoring the law, imposing on others, and oh yes, having us pay for those things with our tax money. If the season is REALLY supposed to be about giving, why do christians feel the need to take so much from everyone else?

    Of course x-mas is only a small piece of the problem. The bigger issues are the 10 commandment monuments and everything else that they try to get in place permanently, all year round. The x-mas shit sets precedent and makes everyone think it’s ok to have that shit there, which makes possible the 10 commandments, the “under god”s, and all the rest of it.

  10. “…just how depressed and in need of a pick me up are you if the x-mas lights and displays on virtually EVERY house and inside EVERY store and the ads for sales on tv around the clock or in the newspaper or the inevitable family movie or two that comes out at the time about x-mas or the countless airings of Christmas Story or Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life on tv or the parades are simply not enough?”

    The capitalistic nature of the season is a bummer, but some of it serves to distract us from the early sunset, and the cold feet we get. It creates a warm family atmosphere and gives us something to do until the harsh reality of January arrives.
    I live where there are 4 seasons, and this time of year, while beautiful, is quite depressing for me. Everything I like is cold and dark and looks to be that way for a long time. The holidays remove about 2 months of that misery for me and others like me. It gives us a lot to do, and a lot to see, granted it’s overdone but if you know that going in, you can minimize it by not watching T.V or not going to malls where Christmas is shoved in your face.
    It’s a quaint time of year, with traditions and good food and friends. It’s a time of year when people bond together against a common enemy, the cold.
    Perhaps it irks some atheists that it is literally everywhere for months before the fact, but really, fighting it wont IMO make anything better, just more depressing.
    If you do not experience seasonal depression, you might not understand.

  11. Being bombarded with x-mas stuff everywhere is not a bother to me for the most part and yes, I like a good light display and a decorated tree as much as anyone. I also love the Christmas Story movie with “the warm glow of electric sex in the window”, the desire for a BB gun (one I had as a child that went unfulfilled), the “double dog dare” and all the rest, including the Bumkiss’s dogs. The clear differences when it comes to say a nativity scene at the courthouse are:
    1) It’s against the law
    2) It sets the precedent for future violations
    3) It’s taxpayer money being used to promote religion

    Also, last time I checked you can get together with friends to enjoy good food and bond against the cold without any need for religious shit. If you’re in the area when it’s cold outside and have the blues, stop on by and I’ll prove it to you. ;)

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