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Thread: Religious Conservatives Demand Changes at Nation's Parks

  1. #1
    ZaZu's Avatar I know stuff ...
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    WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2004 — In the aftermath of the November presidential election and talk of a Bush administration mandate, some people on the right of the political spectrum believe the government has a greater responsibility to heed their views. In some cases, that means changes in the images that define the nation — including those at some of the nation's most popular parks and monuments.

    For roughly a decade, a film has been shown to visitors at Washington's Lincoln Memorial, depicting historic events that have taken place there — from civil rights marches to antiwar demonstrations.

    The film shows a number of marches with liberal themes like gay rights and abortion rights, intercut with older clips of historical figures like former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Marian Anderson.

    Then, one day the Rev. Lou Sheldon saw it.

    "It showed only those liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marches," said Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition.

    Sheldon's influential Christian conservative group took its complaint to the government's top levels — "so they could reach down and work their system and cleanse in a proper manner and make it fair and balanced," he said.

    Sheldon would like film of some conservative marches intercut as well, though it is unclear whether any major conservative marches have taken place at the Lincoln Memorial itself, which is the film's focus.

    The National Park Service is currently reviewing the contents of the film and debating whether it should remove images that Sheldon finds inappropriate — including, for example, one visual of a protester holding a sign reading: "The Lord is my shepherd and knows I'm gay."

    Some Park Service personnel resent having to edit the film.

    "They felt that there was a political effort to rewrite history, to edit out gays, feminists, war protesters," said Jeffrey Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit group.

    Park service superintendent Vicki Keys says she has no firsthand knowledge of any complaints, but she said, "I take those kinds of things into consideration in my decisions about what modifications if any need to be made to any particular exhibit."

    The fight over who controls the portrayal of history is playing out all over country, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Grand Canyon.

    Park bookstores at the Grand Canyon now sell the book "Grand Canyon: A Different View," which contradicts science, saying the Grand Canyon was formed by the great flood from the Bible story of Noah.

    The book was written by a "born again" river guide who writes that his view of the canyon's being millions of years old changed after he "met the Lord. Now, I have 'a different view' of the Canyon, which, according to a biblical time scale, can't possibly be more than about a few thousand years old."

    Letters to the park service from leaders of the scientific community protest the inclusion of the book alongside those based on science.

    "The book is not about geology but, rather, advances a narrow religious view about the Earth," wrote seven presidents of scientific organizations — including the Paleontological Society, American Geophysical Union and Geological Society of America — in a December 2003 letter. "We urge you to remove the book from shelves where buyers are given the impression that the book is about Earth science and its content endorsed by the National Park Service."

    The chief of the park service's Geologic Resources Division, David B. Shaver, wrote that he "recommends that the book not be sold in park bookstores because the book purports to be science when it is not, and its sale in the park bookstore directly conflicts with the Service's statutory mandate to promote the use of sound science in all its programs, including public education."

    "They feel that their department's approval of this creationist book is a slap at science," said Ruch.

    Though a decision from the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., has been pending since the beginning of 2004, none has been forthcoming and the book remains on the shelves.

    "During the Clinton administration, it's like we felt like we lived in outer Siberia," Sheldon said, "and [during] this past administration, it's like we died and went to heaven and got a preview of what's to come."

    It's often said that history is written by the winners. Some of these conservatives — with the November elections in mind — hope that will be the case.

    Source


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  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    Interesting, was there not once a march by the Ku Klux Klan back in the 40s - could they not include clips from that to balance things up.

    It would be hard to justify removing images and whitewashing history, but there is always room to include more. Then the balance can be presented as to what motivated people to get out on the street and what did not.

    The book thing is not an issue in my opinion - it is simply an alternative view. So most people don't agree, but then those of a fundamentalist nature would be unlikely to buy an earth science book anyway so at least this way they will spend a dollar or two at the shop.
    Last edited by Biggles; 11-23-2004 at 04:07 PM.
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Biggles
    Interesting, was there not once a march by the Ku Klux Klan back in the 40s - could they not include clips from that to balance things up.

    It would be hard to justify removing images and whitewashing history, but there is always room to include more. Then the balance can be presented as to what motivated people to get out on the street and what did not.

    The book thing is not an issue in my opinion - it is simply an alternative view. So most people don't agree, but then those of a fundamentalist nature would be unlikely to buy an earth science book anyway so at least this way they will spend a dollar or two at the shop.

    I agree with Biggles, the documentary is aimed to highlight actual demonstrations that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial, thus reflecting the locations' symbolic signifigance in our country.

    Lincoln, the man, is viewed a symbol for emancipation from an old way of thinking and it is therefore an appropriate location for marches that advocate change.

    The film can be an effective way to document the social evolution of America. And with every step of social change, there is a certain reluctance to it, as symbolized by the KKK and others.




    As to the book, I think scientists feel that it is given undo credit by placing it among the scientific ones. Certainly "Green Eggs and Ham" is a delightful read, but I don't think Shakespeare would want it next to his tomes in the Literature section.
    Aren't we in the trust tree, thingey?

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
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    Ugh. The film should include all kinds of demonstrations that have been held there..no issue with that. Removing clips of demonstrators that "offend" the Christian right is pure bullshit.
    as to the Grand Canyon..gimme a break. maybe if they put it on a bookshelf called religious theology or something, but it's ridiculous, and once again..there is supposed to be seperation of church and state.
    Don't read what isn't there.

    anywhichway

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    Perhaps a little marker on the shelf differentiating it from the scientific might not be a bad idea. Most book shops do this anyway.

    Shakespere didn't write Green Eggs and Ham? damn!
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    vidcc's Avatar there is no god
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    the Lincon memorial i have no problem adding extra marches etc. to the exhibit, as long as it is connected to the site, but a huge problem with removing history.

    the grand canyon book...fine on a different shelf plainly marked religious theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggles
    Shakespere didn't write Green Eggs and Ham? damn!
    no that would be Bacon.


    it’s an election with no Democrats, in one of the whitest states in the union, where rich candidates pay $35 for your votes. Or, as Republicans call it, their vision for the future.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by vidcc
    the Lincon memorial i have no problem adding extra marches etc. to the exhibit, as long as it is connected to the site, but a huge problem with removing history.
    Be prepared then, for this guy Sheldon to organize a march.
    Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me. Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, Bitchhhh!

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  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    vidcc's Avatar there is no god
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    Quote Originally Posted by Busyman
    Be prepared then, for this guy Sheldon to organize a march.
    So there will be footage of a march on the video protesting previous marches shown on the video..... Oh how future generations will look at us

    it’s an election with no Democrats, in one of the whitest states in the union, where rich candidates pay $35 for your votes. Or, as Republicans call it, their vision for the future.

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by vidcc
    So there will be footage of a march on the video protesting previous marches shown on the video..... Oh how future generations will look at us
    I wouldn't put it past him.
    Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me. Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, Bitchhhh!

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  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vidcc
    So there will be footage of a march on the video protesting previous marches shown on the video..... Oh how future generations will look at us


    I am thinking maybe past generations should have cared a little more about how we would look at them.

    Tis the pits to be so human in this thing we call the human race. I suppose that will need to be one more thing I put on my list of things to do: keep a journal of the true history of such places for my grandchildren.

    Seriously, though. They shouldn't try erasing what is already written. Let it be.

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