Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

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Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby BettySpaghetti on Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:11 pm

Hi, I'm a newbie. I originally posted this in The Cause section, but hope this will get more attention here. I apologize if this is not proper board etiquette.

Hopefully some of you will have suggestions for how to proceed if I leave this a little more open than I originally had.

In our community: Reading, PA; there is a Christian cross on a city-owned fire tower.
http://internetservices.readingeagle.co ... easter.jpg

The cross is lit during Passover and a star is lit on the tower during the Christmas season. Someone in the community alerted the ACLU who in turn wrote two letters to Reading's mayor (Tom McMahon) asking for the cross' removal. He ignored their requests and the ACLU is now threatening legal action. The mayor is determined to keep the cross on this tax-payer funded tower and is currently looking into his options.

We have requested the installation of an illuminated FSM on the tower, but are unsure if it was received.
http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww16 ... ock-up.jpg

We have also written the local paper, The Reading Eagle, but since we would like to remain as anonymous as possible, this is proving difficult because the Eagle, like most papers, does not accept unsigned letters (even though we have signed it Reading Chapter of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster).

In a response to my original post, Edd suggested using an alias and the address of local colleges and writing other newspapers in the area. We plan on doing this, but are concerned about any legal reprecussions.

Any help would be much appreciated :fsm_yarr:


This was my original post:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=12006
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby Ubi Dubius on Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:55 pm

It is best if you find somebody willing to be openly behind the movement. Besides getting past the roadblocks (such as the newspaper policies), you look more determined and sincere. If you publish anonymously, it looks bad. If you publish under a fake name and are discovered, it looks worse.

Standards have changed though. The founders, including Franklin, Hamilton, Jay, Madison, and others published letters and pamphlets anonymously. The entire Federalist Papers were published under a psuedonym (or multiple psuedonyms, I'm not sure). Point this out to the paper.

Generally, lying is not criminal. Lying under oath (perjury) can be punished criminally.

Lying to the newspaper in the process of getting a letter published could be considered a breach of contract, I suppose. There might be a specific rule on it, but I've never heard of it.

I am not a Pennsylvania attorney, so I can't promise any of this specifically applies in PA. I can only answer generally.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby Edd on Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:09 am

Didn't see this thread before I posted in the other one.

Betty, it might not be a bad idea to be frank with the newspaper about your fears of possible mistreatment if you publicly identify yourself. Remind them that you are in the minority in your town but still deserve to be heard.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby BettySpaghetti on Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:37 am

Thank you very much for your responses, Ubi Dubius and Edd. I linked to this in the original post, now :)

I agree that it would be best to find someone to be openly behind it. It does appear cowardly to remain anonymous and I suppose that is true. We are genuinely scared. :mob: It may also appear mean-spirited, but that is certainly not the case.

We would prefer to keep any relations with the newspaper light and non-threatening. I worry about dedicating too much time attempting to convince the editor that he should change the policy when the decision may not ultimately be his.

We’ve discussed hiring a lawyer to represent us so that his/her contact information could be used in place of our own. What do you think about that?

The paper responded to us twice and very quickly. We took this as a good sign we had their attention, although we were unable to determine if they were amused or annoyed. I think if we did provide contact information they would print our letter, but it was difficult to tell from their responses.

We have received confirmation that our letter was received by the city (via an out of office message) and are still awaiting response from the Mayor and/or Human Relations. We’re wondering if it will be a carefully calculated response or more of a “who in the what now?”

We also worry we will be ignored, much like the ACLU was. We’ll see and take the next appropriate step, I suppose, and continue looking for a way to protect our identity while getting our message to the masses.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby black bart on Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:58 am

Doesn't the Neon Spaghetti Monster look gorgeous on that tower though? My only worry would be with all that neon/electrical power, a short circuit could set the whole tower on fire, which would be ironic.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby Roy Hunter on Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:07 am

Well, if you don't want to actually attach something to the tower, there's always the projection option...

Image

It's been done before. This is Gail Porter being projected onto the Houses of Parliament as a stunt for a lads' magazine a few years back. There was nothing the parliament could really do about it: it wasn't trespass; it wasn't vandalism; it's not even that obscene. All you need is someone's house with a good view of the fire tower.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby Edd on Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:04 am

Well, Betty (I think I’ll refrain from using initials when referring to this particular user), et al, seem to fear repercussions from those not so welcoming to Pastafarianism so using someone’s house might be asking for trouble.

How about encouraging those of other faiths to petition for equal space on the tower? Reading seems large enough to have a significant non-Christian community.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby BettySpaghetti on Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:09 am

Thank you all for your replies.

black bart -
Oh, why, thank you :)

Roy -
LMAO
Edd makes a good point, however...

Edd -
Getting other religions involved as well is a large part of our focus. We would like to see the tower become Reading's own beacon of religious tolerance.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby Ubi Dubius on Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:31 pm

Roy Hunter wrote:Well, if you don't want to actually attach something to the tower, there's always the projection option...

Image

It's been done before. This is Gail Porter being projected onto the Houses of Parliament as a stunt for a lads' magazine a few years back. There was nothing the parliament could really do about it: it wasn't trespass; it wasn't vandalism; it's not even that obscene. All you need is someone's house with a good view of the fire tower.


Very clever. I don't know how English courts look at nuisance actions, but that would a possible cause of action in Virginia and other US states. It would take a little bit of time, though.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby black bart on Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:33 am

I remember that Roy, the Houses of Parliament have never looked so good.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby daftbeaker on Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:32 pm

black bart wrote:I remember that Roy, the Houses of Parliament have never looked so good.

Phwoar, say what you like but constitutional monarchy with progressing devolution has my vote :lech:
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby DaveL on Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:37 pm

Dang!

Did you know that lovely lady now has a stress related baldness condition? Putting her up on the house of Parliament in future might be good for hair loss adds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gail_Porter
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby Roy Hunter on Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:44 pm

DaveL wrote:Did you know that lovely lady now has a stress related baldness condition. Putting her up on the house of Parliament in future might be good for hair loss adds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gail_Porter
Yes - she's working as a television presenter in the UK despite the alopecia.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby BettySpaghetti on Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:06 am

Update. Posts from readingeagle.com after we submitted our press release:

Scroll down to the headline: "Another symbol proposed for Mount Penn fire tower"
http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=134610

Al's Blog
http://readingeagle.com/blog.aspx?bid=2 ... k-trying-t

Still no word from the mayor or the Human Relations department. I'm sure his staff is just trying to clear their schedule for a meeting.
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Re: Reading, PA: Cross on City Owned Fire Tower

Postby Ubi Dubium on Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:21 am

Wow. I started to read the comments on that blog post, and I had to stop before my head exploded from the irrelevance and stupidity. And I thought we got off topic around here!

If your community is full of people like that, I quite understand why it's important not to sign your real names to anything! As for the newspaper article, it's great that you got mentioned, even if the writer really doesn't get it. I hope at least some of the readers will see our point, anyway.

Well done, and keep up the good fight!
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