Friday, November 27, 2009

A step in the right direction

I can remember back to about a year ago when I was watching Mr. Bill O'Reilly and a story came up on holiday displays inside the Washington state capitol. If you don't know Mr. O'Reilly, he is a big fan of saying, "We say Merry Christmas". Inevitably every year he has a story on the "godless" americans who are destroying Christmas. Well last year the Washington state government put up a "holiday" tree in celebration of the holiday season. Then a group of Jewish people got upset and demanded a Minorah be put next to the tree. Then like clock work the Christians got involved and their voices were heard and of course a nativity scene was put next to the Minorah. All this was obviously unimportant to Mr. Bill "No Spin" O'Reilly because only when a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) got involved and put up a sign that said, "There is no god and religion enslaves minds and hardens hearts" did Mr. No Spin decide to get involved.

He blustered and clamored on how atheists were destroying America by taking away our religious idols and propoganda. At this point in my life I was not a self-professed atheist. I was basically sitting on the fence. I was struggling with trying to reconcile my belief in the Judeo-Christian god with all the evidence that didn't support his existence. I also, for unknown reasons, held contempt towards atheists. I couldn't understand how to denounce the existence of god. It was beyond me. So subversely this story struck a chord inside me. With contempt towards atheists and me wanting to hold on to my myths for unknown reasons, this story infuriated me. I also clamored on how stupid and idiotic it was for these people, these atheists to put up a sign that obviously was meant to get under the skin of the religious fold. I can also remember thinking to myself how insensitive it was to attack people who did not hold the same beliefs as you.

Then I made a drastic change in my life. I came to realize that upon scrutiny with science and historical data the Bible and the Christian religion holds no water. I could no longer reconcile my belief in god or Jesus as my savior. I came realize how absurd and trivial my belief was. Then, to use a Bible cliche, the flood gates were opened. I came to see the world in a whole new light. One where humans are at the center. One where human needs and hurts came before my own selfish pious understanding. I saw religion as a damper and as a huge problem in this world. But this information is secondary to the story at hand.

As the holidays and Christmas drew nearer I was reminded of last years debacle at our state capitol. I thought to myself how would things go down this year? Well as the saying goes, history does repeat itself. Except this year it had a whole new twist. It unavoidably has happened again except the state voted to ban all religious and holiday displays.

I first read the story at Fox News, of course. After reading all the comments* about this story I have come to a conclusion. I have heard far to many people speak contempt and hatred towards atheists. To my dismay I was once one of these people. The relentless garbage these so-called Christians spew is disheartening and repulsive. This is what Christianity has succumbed to, an attack dog for Christ. These vehement and ardent followers of Christ debase all of Chistianity. If this is what an example of following Christ is I want no part in it. I will gladly and proudly follow my humanistic and secular mind.

Then it became quite clear to me why people like the FFRF got involved. It was because they wanted a goverment that respected all beliefs but didn't pick favorites. As our United States Constitution says in Amendment 1.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free excercise thereof."

The fact is by allowing said religion to display holiday decorations and not another is favoring one over the other and is against our Constitution. Also allowing only one to be displayed is also favoring one over the other and is also against our Constitution.

So if you allow one you must allow all or bar all from being displayed. This is exactly what Gov. Gregoire has done. She has banned all. To me this isn't an atheist win this is a win for the goverment. This is a win for all americans. This is our goverment standing up to special interest. Whether you like to think it or not, religion is a special interest. This is what our founding fathers wanted. People like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, etc...were all secularist deists. Meaning they believed in the "idea" of "god" but not a specific god. Evidence? There is not one mention of God or gods in our constitution. They say nothing of how they modeled the constitution after Judeo-Christian ideals and morals. In fact if you read The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine or any writings from Jefferson you will see in fact they denounced that very idea. So this is not a win for atheists as the Fox News channel so wrongfully opines. It is a win for the american people whether you believe or do not believe in god.

*Among my feelings of disgust and abhorrence about those comments I also come away confused and distraught. They have first hand experience at how religion destroys countries. They watch in disgust Ayatollah Khomeini and his theocracy of Iran. They hold severe antipathy towards Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and how he would love to blow Israel off the map and how he denies the Holocaust. They see relgion at work and yet this is what they want here. They want religion to be taught in schools, prayer in schools, evolution to be discarded and ID or creationism to have its place. The fact that over half our country would never vote for an atheist for president is a startling precursor towards a theocracy. If only these people saw the real danger of Christian fundamentalism like they do Islamic fundamentalism they would realize while strapping a bomb to yourself is asinine so is rejecting science. It holds the same equivalence.

1 comment:

  1. "Congress shall make no law [...]
    prohibiting the free excercise thereof."

    ... which is exactly what the governer has done, contrary to the all-to-famous-and-fundamental First Amendment. [Of course, he or she did this in a non-discriminatory fashion, ... but that still doesn't cut it: all sorts of other kinds of law-breakers break the law in an equally-non-discriminatory way, but that still doesn't make what they do right].

    -- Lucian.


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