A rather fluid first amendment controversy is brewing over police conduct at the Yankee stadium. Fan Brad Campeau-Laurion says that when he tried to go to the bathroom during the singing of “God Bless America,” he was roughed up a bit and then thrown out of the stadium. It appears that this has been a long complaint by fans over a sing-or-get-out policy by George Steinbrenner.
Campeau-Laurion recounts an encounter during the seventh inning stretch in the Yankees-Red Sox game. “God Bless America” was playing when nature called. An officer allegedly told him, however, that he could not leave even on such an urgent matter because he had to sing or at least listen to the song. When Campeau-Laurion said that he didn’t care about “God Bless America” right now, the officer allegedly twisted his arm behind him and eventually with the help of another officer tossed him out.
Here is his account:
As I attempted to walk down the aisle and exit my section into the tunnel, I was stopped by a police officer. He informed me that I had to wait until the song was over. I responded that I had to use the restroom and that I did not care about God Bless America.
“As soon as the latter came out of my mouth, my right arm was twisted violently behind my back and I was informed that I was being escorted out of the stadium. A second officer then joined in and twisted my left arm, also in an excessively forceful manner, behind my back. I informed them they were violating my First Amendment rights and that I had done nothing wrong, with no response from them.
“I was sitting in the Tier Level, and of course this is the highest level of the stadium and I was escorted in this painful manner down the entire length of the stadium. About halfway down, I informed them that they were hurting me, repeated that I had done nothing wrong, and that I was not resisting nor talking back to them. One of them said something to the effect that if I continued to speak, he would find a way to hurt me more.
“When we reached the exit of the stadium, they confiscated my ticket and the first officer shoved me through the turnstiles, saying ‘Get the hell out of my country if you don’t like it.'”
This would appear facially ridiculous except for the fact that others have apparently objected to the same policy and treatment. The subject is an atheist who, for obvious reasons, is not a fan of the song. To make matters worse, he was reportedly an atheist Red Sox fan.
The New York Times wrote about the policy which Steinbrenner said was the result of citizens complaining that people were moving about during the singing of “God Bless America, here. The security guards are off-duty police officers.
Of course for an atheist at the limit of his bladder, singing about “To the oceans, white with foam” can be excruciating. It does present in interesting legal issue. While these are police officer, they are off-duty. This is, therefore, a private action and not governmental action under the first amendment. Without state action, the constitutional question is difficult to raise. There remains tort and statutory options, however.
For more on the story, click here.
56 thoughts on “Potty Patriotism: Atheist Thrown Out of Yankee Stadium for Trying to Go to Bathroom During the Singing of God Bless America”
If you got to take a pis. Than take a pis
dundar…I hope you’re not holding your breath.
Let me 2nd that guy “I don’t care about god bless America”. It’s a song and that is all. And the thing that makes this country great is his and my ability to say those words. If you think the cops were correct and their actions than you don’t truly understand what our for fathers were trying to do when they wrote those documents. I think they should get out of MY country!
Sorry by the way Jill for the repeated typos.
I’ve written some pretty poorly crafted comments before, but those two are a testament to typos.
Anyway, here’s a correction for clarity.
“Thus, if you have concluded that the Dictates of our scholastic sources of literacy, then you have confirmed your position as on merely founded in belief.
“Thus, if you have concluded that the dictates of our scholastic sources of literacy take a back seat to metaphysics then you have confirmed your position as being based on merely a belief.”
Also Jill, it’s important to point out once more, that I am not “condemning” Atheism as many atheists wrongly presume.
I am merely correctly identifying it for what it is. A belief system that like Theism, cannot prove its founding tenet.
And it’s important I do not omit the fact as I have pointed out repeatedly now, that the “Dictionary” does not “define” Atheism.
The doctrines of A-THEISM define it, as does reason, logic and fact.
The dictionaries of our written language merely supports those defintions.
1, August 29, 2008 at 11:02 am
Josh and CroMM,
Wittgenstein says language isn’t a metaphysical map. He means you can’t read metaphysical truths out of language. Any attempt to do so is a reading INTO language of metaphysics
Jill, the very suggestion of the statement, “metaphysicial truths”, if that were a position taken by an atheist in this debate, would conclude the matter in my favor.
“Metaphysics” is a “Philosophy”, not a science.
Hence, defining A-THEISM as a Philosophy concludes the question as to whether or not it merely represents the beliefs of its followers, in the affirmative.
To even make a statement that the dictates of language take second place to the dictates of what “metaphysical truths” is to project the same level of doctrinal zealousness as the Theist does in presenting their arguments.
Thus, if you have concluded that the Dictates of our scholastic sources of literacy, then you have confirmed your position as on merely founded in belief.
Metaphysical Truths are the bastion of the “believer” and not the scientist.
Thus is “Metaphysical truths” are your defense for the Dictionaries of our language not concurring with your personal defintions of the word A-THEIST as something more than a belief system, then you’ve already lost the debate.
Because you just defined A-THEISM as a philisophical argument, like THEISM, and NOT I”m afraid, a science.
Right on point. Rapt believers in many religions assume that the texts they use come to them whole, translated properly into their own language and are unedited revelations. Scholarship has shown this not to be true, without necessarily denigrating the faith
An excellent point.
In fact, it is suprising how many Christians, particularly those of the “Evangelical” kind, are painfully not aware of the onset of the canon, the role of Constantine, James, and nature of the books assembled and translated, the Hampton court, etc.
Understanding that the Bible is a compilation of books selected by religious leaders from among a wide compilation of books, is a concept that is often unknown to the evangelicals.
1, August 29, 2008 at 10:35 am
Please stop poking the bear
Simply because you are unable to produce a coherent defense is no reason to insult me, nor speak of me openly in the third person with some perceived haughty superiority.
Being unable to present your position in a coherent manner does not merit such smuggery.
“In fact, Revelations isn’t even about Jesus, or his ministry, but deals mostly with persecutions of the Christian’s by the Romans.
Most evangelical Christians misinterpret most of Revelations to be solely about the last days of the earth, whereas it does discuss the overall plan, most of it was allagorical to events happening at the time.”
Right on point. Rapt believers in many religions assume that the texts they use come to them whole, translated properly into their own language and are unedited revelations. Scholarship has shown this not to be true, without necessarily denigrating the faith.
“Brooks: “Did you ever hear of Billy Martin? Oh, he was just a guy who George Steinbrenner kept firing until he died …”
Didn’t see the movie, but love the quote. Billy Martin was at the head of the list of Steinbrenner’s sadism, although Bob Lemon, Bob Watson and various unknown office help complete the picture.
Josh and CroMM,
There is a philospher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, who may shed some light on this discussion. I don’t want to be involved in this issue past this post and I am not urging the adoption of Wittgenstein’s point of view. I bring him up because I think his views may be of interest.
Wittgenstein says language isn’t a metaphysical map. He means you can’t read metaphysical truths out of language. Any attempt to do so is a reading INTO language of metaphysics.
Yeah, understood. Guess I’ll just be content with agreeing with him when he thinks, and leaving him be when he doesn’t.
Please stop poking the bear. It’s pretty obvious that CroMM isn’t ever going to agree with you on this. All that your bringing it up accomplishes is making the rest of us (who probably agreed with you the first time you made the point) scroll past 4 or 5 posts (one of yours to three of his is about the average) that don’t have anything to do with the subject at hand.
People just have intellectual blind spots, you probably have one or two yourself, I’m sure that I have some. Once you figure out that there’s no way to get someone to listen to an opposing view point, it’s ussually best just to let them sit there with their fingers in their ears. That way they look ridiculous, not you.
If the belief that god didn’t exist wasn’t there, then what were they naming when they coined the term atheism? Atheism is a noun, a thing, of course the thing existed before they named it, otherwise there would have been no use for the word. Just like rocks existed before the word rock, atheism MUST by necessity have existed before they named it. The definition of atheism is not concerned with time. In the same way the definition of rock isn’t concerned about whether the rock came before the term was coined or after. The thing the definition of atheism describes clearly existed before the word.
This is what we’ve become. Nazi’s at Nueremburg rallies.
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