Thursday, December 4, 2008

Upset Over Atheist Sign at State Capitol

A couple years back someone sued for the right to place a religious display at the Washington State capitol building, claiming freedom of speech. And since most politicians and law makers are religious minded themselves, the fools let it pass. Now ever winter holiday season we have this bickering over what should be allowed and what shouldn't. This year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation decided to place a sign next to these religious displays; it reads as follows:

"At this season of the winter solstice, may reason prevail. There
are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our
natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens
hearts and enslaves minds."

Yesterday Bill-O decide to chime in in his usual way and during his rant tried to claim with impunity, that the reason Christmas is a Federal law is because President Grant (and presumably many Americans) believed Jesus was a great philosopher and needed to be recognized in the same way we recognize Martin Luther King. He also threw in there that the Supreme Court ruled that a Christmas tree is secular and not a religious display. There are, as usual, so many things wrong with what Bill-O says here that I almost don't know where to start.

EDIT: FOX had the full report taken down from YouTube...all that is left up is the talking points memo from Bill-O's show. The rest can be seen at Crooks & Liars website.

First of all, lets address Bill-O's comments, then I'll get to the main topic at hand. Jesus is not celebrated in this country because he was a philosopher and our constitution was not based on Christianity. For all those folks who think "In God We Trust" has been around for our as long as out country has:

"In 1861, the Reverend M.R. Watkinson persuaded the secretary of the Treasury to try to introduce 'In God We Trust' as a motto on the coins of the land, arguing on the theological premise that in a Judeo-Christian nation, 'There is but one God.' Congress, then beginning to be responsive to the religious community and the votes that it was presumed to control, passed the Coinage Act of April 22, 1864, which designated that 'In God We Trust' be put on coins 'when and where sufficient space in the balance of the design' would permit it." - Madalyn O'Hair; "Freedom Under Siege"

And to those who seek to further the myth that our Founding Fathers based this nation on Judeo-Christian here for a reality check and try to remember this line: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

Christmas is and will continue to be recognized as a Federal holiday for one reason; it's good for the economy. Back as early as the 1930's people were becoming concerned with the commercialization of Christmas when President Roosevelt tried to move Thanksgiving earlier to make the holiday shopping season longer, in hopes of boosting the economy. Are there a lot of Christians in this nation? Unfortunately yes. But face it; that is not the reason why this seeming Federal endorsement of a religious holiday stays on the books. And it's definitely preposterous to suggest for even a moment that there is any kind of parallel to be found between why we Federally recognize MLK Day and Christmas Day. As a matter of fact, I think Bill-O just insulted millions of Black Americans by making that association.

Let's get down to the point. There is a difference between endorsing religions and respecting the peoples right to celebrate their religions appropriately. The Supreme Court has ruled that a holiday tree is not necessarily a religious display. Some reindeer and candy canes can be placed and still considered secular celebration of the "holiday season". However, it's when you get into crosses, songs about Christ, nativity scenes and such that it becomes an endorsement. Put up a tree, decorate it with lights, ornaments, tinsel, candy and presents and you can place it on public property. On that same tree add some angels, some Santa's, a nativity scene, a cross on top and a banner that says "Christ is our saviour" and you are now breaking the Establishment Clause (Amendment 1 of the United States Constitution).

So here is what should be done. The nativity scene should be removed. The menorah should be removed. The Atheist sign should be removed. Then a plaque should be permanently placed in every federal, state and local office in this country that reads something to the tune of:

"During all seasons and in all locales of this, our natural world, may reason prevail. Let never the religious myths and superstitions that harden hearts and enslave minds, encroach on the decision making within these revered halls."

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