July 18, 2011
Comin' In on a Swing and a Prayer
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (or the "Froms!;" I spells 'em as I hears 'em) are atheist kissin'-cousin to the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. (Shortform: the "United Separators" -- imagine the crossover membership!)
The Froms! are bedeviled by Texas Gov. and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry's upcoming come-to-Jesus meeting, which he dubs "the Response." The Froms! insist that any religious worship, prayer, speech, or other external manifestation of (deep breath) faith violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution -- "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." So they're suing in federal court to shut down the Response:
FFRF president Annie Laurie Gaylor says the suit is warranted because Mr. Perry does not see a distinction between his personal beliefs and his duty and obligations as the state’s chief executive. “He has taken an oath of office to uphold a completely secular and godless Constitution where there is no religion in it - much less Jesus, much less days of prayer and fasting,” she told The Washington Times in an interview. “It’s way over the top.”
Godless? Shh... nobody tell Ms. Gaylor about the phrase "in the Year of our Lord," which occurs in the penultimate sentence of the Constitution; a skosh Christian, that. Her head might explode. Oh, and try not to upset her by quoting the free-exercise clause of the same amendment she cites in support of enforced atheism: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
But Ms. Gaylor marches to the tune of a different little drummer boy:
Mr. Perry had issued a proclamation declaring Saturday, Aug. 6 to be “A Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation.” The official document invited Texans to join him at Reliant Stadium to “pray for unity and righteousness - for this great state, this great nation and all mankind....”
Such statements by a public official are prohibited by the Constitution, in Ms. Gaylor’s view. “The First Amendment means that the government does not engage in religious speech,” she explained. Her organization’s goal is to stamp religion out of government, even the daily prayer that has opened Congress since 1789.
I'm puzzled how “The First Amendment means that the government does not engage in religious speech” jibes with the second part of that same amendment, the part commanding that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech;" but I'm sure she has a slick and glib argument she simply didn't have time to enunciate.
I am always amazed by those who wear Godlessness on their sleeves. I myself am an agnostic; but when I say agnostic, I mean just that; it's not code for "atheist." I would very much like to believe in what Dennis Prager calls an "ethical monotheistic" God, but I cannot without some evidence. And try as I might, with the strongest of motivations, I am unpersuaded by everything from C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity to the latest attempts to derive faith from physics.
Well, many religious have claimed for centuries that faith is unprovable; I may be on a fool's errand.
But the very last thing I want for the United States is for it to become "Godless!" The triumphantly Godless societies that spring to mind are North Korea, Mao's China, Stalin's Russia, and Hitler's Nazi Germany. I don't want to live in any of those countries.
(Yes, I know that the Third Reich cynically encouraged the great unwashed to "revive" the Germanic/Norse beliefs; but the Nazi high command were almost uniformly atheist, seeing Wotan-worship as nothing but a way to deflect Germans from the "Jewish conspiracy" of Christianity.)
Similarly, I don't want to live in a world the religion of which sprouts, not from ethical monotheism, but from a God who is either not unitary or who doesn't have justice and mercy between people as his primary commandment.
I don't want to live in a world driven by a polytheistic gaggle of competing gods and godlings, where any act of violence, betrayal, treachery, or thievery can be justified simply by finding the right god (Loki, Hermes, Kali) to worship. Nor do I want to live under the thumb of priests or imams who believe that God's most urgent commandment is to follow every tot and jittle of ritual and tightly scripted prayer, at the expense of the lives, fortunes, and sacred honor of the fallible human beings caught in the maelstrom of rigid religiosity and soulless rulemongering. I will not live in a world of dead ritual and ossified tradition that constricts my every thought.
As an agnostic living in a modern (post enlightenment, post renaissance) Christian country, my fundamental right to be my potty self is protected, by religious and irreligious alike. But an agnostic under Communism; or under the pantheistic nature-worship of central Africa; or the forced faith, blood-reddened, heartless fanaticism of Iran; or even in a world spawned from a modern American flying-saucer cargo cult, in which an awful lot of holistic healing, crystal dangling, chakra hallucinating, hippie "atheists" eventually immerse themselves... an agnostic like me in any of the alternatives to Judeo-Christian culture would live a terrifying, and abbreviated, life indeed!
So if you don't mind, Ms. Gaylor, and even if you do, will U. kindly F.O.? When pushmi comes to pullyu, what I really don't believe in are the Froms!, the United Separators -- and Annie Laurie Gaylor.
None of you exists. So there.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 18, 2011, at the time of 6:23 PM
The following hissed in response by: Gbear
The following hissed in response by: GW
Well said. It has taken about a century for the left in this country to make serious in-roads in deconstructing the funamentaly Protestant Christian roots of our nation. What will we look like in another century should they fully succeed? As I concluded a post on the left's war on Christianity and Judaism some time ago:
When governments and individuals can define by their whim what is moral or immoral, what is desirable and what is punishable, human life is almost inevitably devalued. . . .
The bottom line is, regardless whether one believes in Judaism or Christianity, we will pay a very heavy price indeed for jettisoning them as the bedrock of Western society. Yet that is precisely what the left has sought for over two centuries, promising in their stead a secular heaven on earth. Ironically, should the socialist left fully succeed, history teaches us that their promised earthly heaven will be far more likely to resemble biblical hell.
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