Friday, December 26, 2008

How Many Americans Acutually Have Brains?

Why is it so hard for so many Americans to understand something as simple as the concept of the separation of church and state? Do they not have a brain, or do they simply not use it?

From No win in war on Christmas, not even for atheists by Bruce Ramsey:

In Olympia, the atheists won. After Christmas 2008, there will be no Nativity scenes until further notice.

Here is one infidel not celebrating. My fellow rationalists, I think, are being unreasonable. Their anti-Christian sign is in poor taste. To denounce the festivities of other people's religions is ill-mannered.

Christmas a holiday from work and strife, a day for tolerance and pardons. It is a day of family gathering and good food, of handing out presents and watching kids unwrap them, of carols and colored lights and decorated trees. At my house, a day for delicious N├╝rnberger Lebkuchen.

Much of my family is Christian, which gives them an extra reason to celebrate. That's all right. If they want to say grace at my table, they can. It's Christmas.

It was in a generous spirit that Gov. Christine Gregoire allowed a Nativity scene to be placed in the Capitol. Then came the atheists demanding equal time to put up a sign attacking belief in God.

The atheists wanted to pick a fight. But Christmas isn't the time for a fight, and a Nativity scene is not a challenge.

So there was a fight. Fox Network's Bill O'Reilly goaded some 15,000 listeners nationwide to phone our governor and pester her about it. Three groups of believers got the state's permission to put up counterattacks. Jews asked for a menorah. Two nutball groups in Kansas asked to put up signs, one to warn Washingtonians that "Santa Claus will take you to hell" — thank you for that — and another to promote something called the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The state wisely let in the menorah and shut the door on the zanies from Kansas. A public-relations guy for the Department of General Administration explained the state could have no more displays because it had run out of room. More likely, someone had run out of patience.
Bruce Ramsey describes himself as a rationalist. I do not believe that he is one. “To denounce the festivities of other people's religions” is not “ill-mannered.” (Never mind that no denouncing of festivities took place. See what the sign actually said later on.) If the religious are free to talk about and demonstrate their belief, then the irreligious and unreligous have a right to talk about and demonstrate their belief. Does not Mr. Ramsey believe in freedom of speech, and freedom of religion?

From Fighting Words For A Secular America by Robin Morgan:
Jefferson professed disbelief in the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus Christ, while respecting moral teachings by whomever might have been a historical Jesus. He cut up a Bible, assembling his own version: “The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful,” he wrote Adams (January 24, 1814), “evidence that parts have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds.”

Scorning miracles, saints, salvation, damnation, and angelic presences, Jefferson embraced reason, materialism, and science. He challenged Patrick Henry, who wanted a Christian theocracy: “[A]n amendment was proposed by inserting ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that [the preamble] should read ‘A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion’; the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination” (from Jefferson’s Autobiography, referring to the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom).

The theme is consistent throughout Jefferson’s prolific correspondence: “Question with boldness even the existence of a God” (letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787).
Somebody better teach Thomas Jefferson some manners, because in the world of Bruce Ramsay good manners are more important than the truth. Does Ramsay wish that the colonists had shown better manners to the British way back when the king of England decided how people should practice their faith? Mr. Ramsay, are you sure it is not you who is being unresonable?

“It’s Christmas” as a reason for anything is like a parent telling a child “because I said so.” Ramsay has a right to speak for himself, but not for other “rationalists.” It may not bother Ramsay when some graceless clod says grace at his table, but I find this practice to be insulting, insensitive, and rude. How dare Ramsay say that the atheists are the “ill-mannered” ones.

A true rationalist realizes that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is actually much less a “nutball group” than the Catholic (or any other) church is. At the very least, they have a much better sense of humor than the Catholics.
Then came the atheists demanding equal time to put up a sign attacking belief in God.
Their anti-Christian sign is in poor taste. To denounce the festivities of other people's religions is ill-mannered.
This is what the sign said:
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.
This statement does not attack belief in God. It is a statement of beliefs. It just happens to be a set of different beliefs than the ones held by the religious. Anyone who sees this as an attack is paranoid, and/or unable to read with the comprehension level of a seventh grader (a literate seventh grader, that is). The sign does not mention festivities at all, so how is it possible that it denounces them? If this sign is an attack on Christianity, then the Nativity (which symbolically says exactly the opposite of the sign) is an attack on atheism. How biased are you Mr. Ramsay? How is the sign anti-Christian? The sign is an equal opportunity employer. All religions are included, not just Christianity. Again, how biased are you Mr. Ramsay?

I disagree with your statement that “the atheists wanted to pick a fight.” That is your interpretation, not mine. Why isn’t Christmas a time for a fight? To an atheist it’s as good as any other time. Christmas holds no meaning for me. Once again, Mr. Ramsay, you are showing your bias. Not something a truly rational man would do. How is a Nativity scene, in the context of a public space, not a challenge to an atheist? Does not Mr. Ramsay understand the symbolism of the Nativity? Does Mr. Ramsay not understand the concept of separation of church and state?

As hard as it may be to do so, Mr. Ramsay, put yourself in the place of an atheist who looks at the nativity scene in a public place and sees the same ill-mannered attack on their beliefs that you see in The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s sign.

All the atheists are asking for is equality. How Un-American of them.

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