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Rob Curry v. Robert Baty: The John Kieffer Invocation Case!

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  • rlbaty50
    Earlier today I had an interesting exchange with Rob Curry, an atheist activist from Florida, regarding the invocation issue and a cause he was promoting (the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2012
      Earlier today I had an interesting exchange with Rob Curry, an atheist activist from Florida, regarding the invocation issue and a cause he was promoting (the John Kieffer case). This took place on a FaceBook page. I don't find that venue all that conducive to extended conversations, and I thought the exchange worth preserving here. So, I've copied it here for ready reference and possible supplementation should Rob Curry or anyone else wish to participate.

      Rob Curry:

      > FaceBook:
      > http://www.facebook.com/robcurry?sk=info

      > WebSite:
      > http://www.atheistnexus.org/profile/RobCurry?xg_source=activity

      > Organization:
      > http://www.atheistsofflorida.org/

      (1)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      ON TRIAL IN AMERICA FOR NOT PRAYING

      John Kieffer Case Update ... Friday, March 30, Polk County Courthouse: Hearing for "MOTION IN LIMINE" where the county's top prosecutors will ask the judge to rule that certain evidence MAY NOT be introduced in trial (April 23-26), claiming it would be prejudicial for the jury to hear in open court.

      Polk County, Florida, is the scene of extraordinary entanglement between religion and government, which is highly relevant to this abuse of government power to harass and intimidate those objecting to state-sponsored prayer.

      Link: http://free2think.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=1414

      (2)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      John Kieffer is NOT on trial for "not praying". Misrepresenting stunts like John's may not be an effective tool.

      Looks to me like John may be guilty of the ACTUAL charges against him. He might do well to plead guilty or make a plea deal and then deal with that instead of trying to make his silly stunt into a cause.

      (3)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      I trust that you will also plead guilty if arrested for disturbing the peace when you are at a public restaurant, and a group at the next table over demands you silence yourself as they bow their heads to pray.

      What on earth are you thinking?

      This is like the Stockholm Syndrome for atheists--making excuses for discrimination because atheists should just all roll over and shut up.

      (4)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      It is the absolute right of any citizen to attend government meetings, and to express themselves peaceably while waiting for the meeting to be called to order.

      By the way, the same circumstances occurred at the Lakeland City Commission shortly before this intimidation at the Polk County School Board. There were no arrests there--because there should NOT be any arrest for talking before a meeting is called to order.

      No, not even if a preacher RUDELY INTERRUPTS your conversation with his own ritual presentation.

      To argue otherwise is to say that atheists are and ought to be second class citizens in their own country.

      Forcing those who abuse government power to face the reality of the situation is a time-honored tradition for those who care about equal rights for all Americans, regardless of religious participation or non-participation.

      (5)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Rob, I think your little demonstration acts to confirm my opinion in the matter.

      I'll try to keep the matter in mind and wait and see how it plays out.

      (6)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Please clarify. Is it your opinion that anyone who is interrupted in a public space by a person or group demanding silence while they pray ought to plead guilty for disturbing the peace if they are outrageously arrested for continuing with their own peaceful business?

      Seriously?

      (7)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Rob, I don't think your question is particularly relevant to the facts of the Kieffer case but it does further help you to demonstrate the point I was proposing.

      Otherwise, I have only recently been drawn into the "invocation" matter.

      Maybe you would be interested in reviewing that and making your appearance at the Forbes website. It involves the pro-invocation position by Robin Schultz, an activist of sorts from Hoover, AL.

      My exchange with him, and the issue regarding his use of a Ron Bohr quote can be found in the readers' comments section of the column at:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2012/03/22/take-alarm-at-the-first-experiment-on-our-liberties/

      (8)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Robert, while you may not think the question is relevant, I would appreciate some clarification that is a little more direct than referring me to a lengthy exchange elsewhere that does not appear to touch on my request to clarify what your opinion is on the specific matter I raised.

      (9)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Regarding church bulletins (which is all I see from you on that external link--sorry if I missed something more relevant), a Firehouse Subs in Lakeland accepted Atheists of Florida material in lieu of a church bulletin for a comparable promotion. Just a bit of interesting trivia.

      Still curious to better understand your stance on being arrested because you did not shut up when a preacher interrupts you minding your own business in a public space.

      (10)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Rob, I thought I was clear enough in opining that Kieffer pulled a cheap stunt and may have, in the process, violated one or more of the statutes under which he was charged.

      That the issue was falsely framed by you as if he had been arrested and is being prosecuted for not praying, I think, is a tip off.

      If you wish to discuss the "invocation" issue, I am again suggesting you take that up at Forbes as I suggested...or even at my own place (the Maury_and_Baty YAHOO! discussion list).

      We could even talk more about the Kieffer publicity stunt.

      FaceBook, in my opinion, is not a convenient venue for extended chats about such things.

      (11)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Rob, there's six pages of readers' comments related to that Forbes column. It's there if you are interested in reviewing the comments which are posted on the various pages.

      (12)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Robert, if he was not arrested (and is being prosecuted) as a direct result of not praying, then what is it for?

      Talking and taking pictures before a meeting is called to order?

      Where else is treated--wrongly--as a crime, EXCEPT in situations where the government officials involved are attempting to commingle church and state?

      (13)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Calling it a "publicity stunt" is the real false framing here, Robert.

      Being present at these government meetings was not intended for publicity at any of the three times people attended and spoke among themselves prior to the meeting being called to order (once before the Lakeland City Commission, and twice before the Polk County School Board).

      The second time it happened at the school board, there were over 40 people involved, so the board violated its own policy by calling the meeting to order FIRST, then calling forth a preacher to engage is a ritual Christian prayer.

      (14)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Rob, as I said, I'll try to keep an eye out for the further developments in the case.

      I have no problem in proposing that he was NOT arrested as a direct result of not praying.

      Otherwise, I have introduced you to the Forbes readers at the link referenced earlier. That introduction is currently the last comment on the last page of the readers' comments section. It has not yet been "called out", but you can use the "expand" feature to see it.

      (15)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Thanks for the more helpful directions to what you were asking me to look for.

      (16)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      You are welcome.

      See you, et al, there or maybe even over at my Maury_and_Baty YAHOO! list.

      (17)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Out of curiosity, may I ask why you are "liking" your own comments?

      (18)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      If I didn't like them, I wouldn't post them. :o)

      (19)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Just seems somewhat out of the ordinary, to put it lightly, to take that extra step. And the explanation leaves me puzzled about the comments you make which are not subsequently "liked" in that self-referential manner.

      Pardon my noticing, but little things like that just push my "wonder why" button.

      (20)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      I'm a simple, inconsequential sort of person, Rob.

      Sometimes I fail to "like" my own comments.

      I'll try to be more diligent in the future. I like dealing with the "little things" as well. The shallow water suits me well.

      (21)

      From: Rob Curry
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      There are times when little details make a huge difference.

      Euclid's Parallel Postulate is a case in point.

      Getting into the habit of noticing details may reveal truths both fascinating and relevant and well as the merely mundane. If someone else might see certain things as narcissistic, well, I'd rather not leap to any conclusions.

      (22)

      From: Robert Baty
      Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Yeah, I think the thing about the Ron Bohr quote could turn out to be relevant and fascinating; in the context of how Robin Schultz and his HooverInvocation advocates have used it.

      I'm still waiting for Ron's further commentary on that.

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