The Political Werewolf
If you know me, then you know I'm a big political nut. So, I've decided to add my own personal flavor to the realm of political discussion. We'll be talking about various issues - some of them having to do with current events, others perhaps more on a philosophical level. But in any case, you're free to respond to whatever you read here, either by E-mail or on the message board.
All righty, here we go.
Thank God for Freedom of Religion
The holiday season is fast approaching. As just about all of us know, Christmas is an event that is rooted in Christian mythology. Although the actual event of Jesus' birth didn't actually take place on December 25th, it's been widely accepted as the foremost day in the religion. However, it's also a good time to point out just precarious a position this religion - and all religions for that matter - are finding themselves in at this point in our society. And it's reaching a point where we have to start taking notice of how our nation's spiritual traditions are being eroded to the point of crumbling.
I think I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: I am not a biblethumper. Seriously, when I attended a funeral last week, it was the first time I'd been to church in about a year and half. However, I do subscribe to much of the philosophies that were taught to me as a child, and I'm more than willing to fight for the survival of my moral foundation. Freedom of religion is under attack by a group of people who are guilty of the same intolerance they accuse us of performing. Atheist special interest groups seem to want to have their cake and eat it too.
Personally, I have nothing against atheists and their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). That's what freedom of religion is all about: everyone is free to practice their religion of choice, and nobody is allowed to force a religion upon anybody else. This certainly makes sense: if you look back on how and why this country came into being, you'll realize that religious freedom was one of the driving forces in the formation of the US. However, you'll also find out that not only did the prominent members of our country's heritage were deeply religious themselves. Many of the state constitutions from the original 13 colonies - not to mention the Declaration of Independence that basically started this whole country in the first place - make reference to a higher power that created human law and human rights.
If you don't think that there's someone in charge of all this, you're free to do so, but in the meantime, these lawsuits and protests are really becoming tiresome. It was moronic for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because it gives a shout-out to God - but they wouldn't have been able to do that if someone hadn't brought the suit to them. Now, it's reached a level where atheists don't even appear to be atheist anymore - they're anti-religious. How else would you explain the constant bellyaching about nativity scenes in front of City Halls and sculptures of the Ten Commandments in courthouses? I know that there's supposed to be a degree of separation between religion and government, but let's be serious - the government isn't the one making those religious tributes, the people working for the government are.
Nowadays, the anti-religion lobby is seeking to drive any and all mention of religion from any place where they might see or hear it. But what everyone needs to understand is that freedom of religion does not mean isolation from religion. We must all be tolerant of each other's religious perspective. But the door swings both ways: if the atheists among us wish to have the ability to deny any spiritual beliefs, they must also allow the rest of us to practice the spiritual beliefs that we have. They don't seem to want to do that.
What especially troubles me about the atheist movement is their indignance. I've spoken with several atheists about this issue. And it seems like many of them wear their atheism like some sort of crown. I almost think that to some of these people, atheism is a status symbol. You certainly get that sense when their actions make it look like they feel that religion is below them, and as such should be kept away from them like you quarantine preschoolers from the chickenpox. One of them even said to me - point blank - that they don't even "want to know religion exists".
Like I said, I'm by no means a religious zealot, but that scares me. Religion indeed does exist. Dozens of them, in fact. And we should be allowed to practice them as we choose, so long as it doesn't directly lock horns with the religious practices of another person. See, that's the most curious thing about the atheist movement - theoretically, all the religious imagery, traditions and philosophies prevalent in our culture shouldn't bother them at all. The First Amendment guarantees that no law can be passed that infringes on one's freedom of religion. They have no religion, so how can we infringe on it? Of course, many of them denounce the few instances where the government does acknowledge its Christian roots - such as the words "under God" in the Pledge or the phrase "In God we Trust" on our money - but one of the things you have to do in order to live peacefully in a free society is learn to swallow a little bilge. I personally don't think the government has any constitutional right to mandate that abortion be legal, but obviously the courts see otherwise, and honestly there are bigger fish to fry in this country than that.
This country's heritage is under fire by a small minority of people who think that the First Amendment was designed to sterilized the public square from any traces of religion, when it's obvious that religion is one of the forces behind the creation of this country. It comes to me as no surprise that the continuous fraying of our moral fabric is running parallel with the subversion of religion in our society. It's one thing to want amnesty from persecution because your beliefs don't concur with the majority, but it's another matter entirely when you're actively seeking to wipe out religion entirely. It's only a matter of time before even fair-weather religious types like myself start to lash out against the atheist movement - that is, if it hasn't already.
Previous columns:10/8/03: We're Not Gonna Take It
8/27/03: Getting Rid of Splinters
7/14/03: Where's the Utopia?
6/30/03: Minority Reports
6/9/03: With a Capital D and that Rhymes With D and that Stands for Democrats
5/26/03: Where's the Harm?
5/12/03: The Ten Questions a Liberal Will Never Answer
5/5/03: Let The Fun Begin
4/21/03: It's My Money, Not TheIRS
4/14/03: Bush Won - Get Over It
4/7/03: Conservative Business 101
3/31/03: I'm a Celebrity - No War in Iraq!
3/24/03: Patriotism vs. Nationalism