Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Parades and the law.

This article from the World Sikh News is interesting. I frequently google our cities name with "religious controversy", just to see what comes through Google filter. Imagine my surprise when this little gem filtered up to the top.

"Bakersfield: The Sikhs of Bakersfield, perturbed at the confusion over parade rules, have now demanded that the supervisors must find common ground with city fathers on where the nagar kirtan religious parades can be held in the metro area."

The "local confusion" that they're referring to has to do with the way in which rules vary between county and city. A few years ago, if my memory serves, the Sikh gurdwaras (like a parish) each held their own parade. The parades consist of a bunch of flatbeds, pulled by semis, covered in crepe paper and silk flowers. The combination of; a shit load of people; flatbed trucks and trailers; the cars for the shit load of people; and...oh yeah, the knowledge that everyone was carrying a kirpan led to some complaints. For, you see, these parades were being held in typical Bakersfield neighborhoods (narrow streets, with large potholes). So, the County said, basically, "You can have your parade, but why don't you guys bind together and throw one, big parade downtown." The streets were able to handle the traffic (sort of...better than neighborhood streets) and securing the area was easier for local law enforcement (which you need at any large gathering of people carrying ceremonial swords- I think). Hell, even the Renaissance Fair has cops with modern day weapons to pop a cap in ye' olde' ass if you get belligerent on the mead. I digress...anyway, for the last few years, the parade has been downtown and everyone was happy. Or...maybe not.

One gurdwara is NOT happy because they are located in the County and the County laws say they can have their parade there.

"One Sikh gurdwara, located in the county areas of Bakersfield, can hold neighborhood parades under looser county rules. "It is dividing our community that one gurdwara can pull (a county) permit," Kooner said."

Well, you know what they say about men with small, ceremonial swords? Parade envy.

And...wait, wait, wait. A parade is dividing your community? A parade.

Rather than Sikh's being upset with the Sikh's within the rural gurdwara, the Sikh's are angry with the city for enforcing the rules regarding such massive public gatherings. Rather than the Sikh's of the city gurdwaras sitting down the one dissenting gurdwara and saying, "Yo! Can't we all just get along?", we get to see the entire Sikh community rise up in complaint because, "Hey... if they can hold their parade in their neighborhood, then why can't we hold our parade in ours?!?!"

Now...here comes the cream of this Twinkie:

"Supervisors said they will seek a way to make city and county rules more consistent. But supervisors said they were reluctant to infringe on the Sikhs' religious freedoms by telling them where and when they can gather to worship -- or parade. "Let's be frank. We think the city is over-restrictive on civil liberties," said Supervisor Jon McQuiston. "This goes to the very core of a fundamental right. Frankly I don't think our (ordinance) is broke, and it allows the greatest amount of freedom."

Reeeeeeeeeallly? This is the same group of people who were all kinds of pissed off when Bakersfield wanted to hold it's own Gay Pride Parade. Same group of people who were vehemently against issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples. I love the smell of double standards in the morning.

Enter the city attorney, with- what I think- are some words of wisdom:

"Bakersfield City Attorney Ginny Gennaro said the city's rules are not too restrictive. "We feel our parade ordinance will withstand constitutional challenge," she said. The ordinance was crafted, she said, to control parades, not limit freedoms of assembly and religion."

You go girl. Of course, this isn't really what the Sihk community wanted to hear. They were hoping that the county ordinance would provide them with precedent to go back to the smaller, neighborhood parades. Another supervisor, Roy Watson, had this to say:

"We shouldn't be doing anything more than is necessary to restrict the ability of people to assemble," Watson said. "The city is saying one size fits all. Different parades have different needs."
"A one-block parade of neighborhood children who have decorated their bicycles is one thing, he said. Several thousand people with multiple floats on big-rig trucks is another. Supervisors accepted a report on the issue from Barmann and voted to have county staff meet with the city to see if common ground can be found. That, said Khalsa, is all the Sikh community is seeking. "As any community, we would like uniformity in the law," he said."

But... in true religious fanatic form, a few Sihks are claiming that this is a violation of their right to gather for worship. They're claiming that this is unfair persecution and "arbitrary enforcement of laws." (from a Sihk blogger who wishes to go unnamed). And, of course, that this "obvious example of inequality" is because they're not a member of the majority (Christian conservatives, I'm guessing). *rolls eyes* Sorry, Mr. Sihk blogger, but the Bakersfield CHRISTMAS Parade is downtown. The Veterans Day Parade is downtown. Every flipping parade in this city is held on the same street.

Now...where did I put my old pageantry equipment? I'm thinking about having an atheist parade. ;)


Fiery Ewok said...

ooh ooh, will there be floats and clowns and can kiddies decorate their bikes? :-)

The atheists on parade.

Wouldn't the fundies have a shit fit?

Maggie Rosethorn said...

I'd love to come parade with you, if I could get across the country!

Psychodiva said...

no no no not clowns please! anything but that

can i come? (as long as you hide the clowns?) - can we throw little copies of The Age of Reason at the crowd?

seriously tho- what a load of bull these people are putting out I hope that they don't win.

Poodles Rule said...

Bakersfield isn't too far a drive from Salt Lake. I could have my gay interior decorator best friend do up some frilly decorated floats!!!

Oh the humanity!

Saurian200 said...


I frequently google our cities name with "religious controversy", just to see what comes through Google filter.

Good idea. I tried that with my home town, but I didn't get anything recent.

Apparently, the last major religious contraversy to occur in my home town took place in the early 1800's and involved a land dispute and the ordination of farm animals.(?) Only in religion.

I can't find much in the way of details but wow, does that sound like a good story. :)

Saurian200 said...


can i come? (as long as you hide the clowns?) - can we throw little copies of The Age of Reason at the crowd?

Why little copies?

Throwing normal sized hardcover books would be so much more fun. ;)

Fiery Ewok said...

omg how could I forget about the clowns. My apologies Psychodiva and especially P-Momma I should absolutely have known better than to suggest clowns.

No wonder we haven't heard back from P-Momma she's probably hiding under her bed.


Bad Fiery, BAD Fiery for saying the "C" word.

Anonymous said...

Ixnay on the owns-clay.
But, hell yes on Age of Reason copies. It'll be like Mardi Gras...only, instead of showing boobage, we'll chuck the books at anyone wearing a cross.
"SHOW US YOUR SPIRIT!" followed by a very pleasing "thwack" sound.

Sorry I haven't been on the computer much today... we've had a "family home evening", um, without the religious pretense.

Poodles Rule said...

'we've had a "family home evening"'

Did you have green jello with carrot shavings?

D Kitty said...

"SHOW US YOUR SPIRIT!" followed by a very pleasing "thwack" sound.



Anonymous said...

Ditto the clown aversion, and I'll join you in throwing Age of Reason at the relig-right too!

After our credit card recovers from the upcoming vacation, I'll order up a batch of A of R.

Saurian200 said...


It'll be like Mardi Gras...only, instead of showing boobage, we'll chuck the books at anyone wearing a cross.

Why not both. More people will show up that way.

aimee said...

But aren't the ones wearing their crosses already boobs? So it's like getting a 2 for 1!!!!

That sounds like great fun : )

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

What's with the hate of Clowns?

Poodles Rule said...

The hate of clowns for me is a Poltergeist movie thing. Oh and don't forget IT. I must say though, the clown in Scary Movie 2 scary movies and really dumb comedies.

Poodles Rule said...

I must say though, the clown in Scary Movie 2 kinda redeemed them, yea I like scary movies and really dumb comedies.

If only I could type today..

Fiery Ewok said...

For shame Sean. Any true fan of P-Momma knows she is deathly afraid of clowns. It has been echoed by several other of her readers here as well.

amarullis said...

poodles rule- Have you ever seen Killer Clowns from Outerspace? If not, don't even look it up. Stay away! My family and friends have been known to trick me into entering a room while it is on TV, because they are sick, sick people.

Allyson said...

Off-topic: did you see that the pope is backing adult stem cell research? http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/06/28/1964032.htm?section=justin

Pretty exciting.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Saurian200 said...


Of all the questions you will ask yourself in life, probably the most
important is, Am I good enough to go to Heaven?

Actually, a more important question would be, does heaven actually exist?

If it doesn't exist, then it doesn't matter how you're supposed to go about getting in to it.

So until you can provide us with sufficient evidence that heaven exists to warrent belief then the rest of your post is completely meaningless.

I'll give you some advice, (If you aren't reading after your first post then this is for anyone else reading.) atheists know what Christians belief. If you want to convince of of anything you have to find supposrt for your beliefs, not simply repeat them.

Also, did you just lift this from Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. They like to use the same lame, "Well, will you get into heaven?" non-argument.

aimee said...

Anonymous, guess what, we aren't afraid of going to hell or not going to heaven because *news flash up ahead* THEY DON'T EXIST!!!

P.S. on number 7 I believe it was, if God knew everything thing I was thinking, he would be blushing.

Poodles Rule said...

It's good to see the fundies still can't read. As soon as PM returns the anonymous comment is soooo deleted.