What Lauren Learned

Lauren Smith is the outgoing Communications Assistant for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

She’s on her way to law school (congratulations to her!) after three years at AU, but before leaves, she shares a few valuable lessons she has learned in her position:

Here’s just one example:

4) The Religious Right will never truly die.

The Religious Right isn’t just a political movement, it’s a mentality. Books abound about the movement’s demise, but I’m not buying it. The movement’s political power has waxed and waned over the past three decades and it will continue to do so. In the meantime, I’m more concerned about the mentality.

Here’s an e-mail I received a few weeks ago:

“Go away. Real Americans don’t want or need you.”

And one from 2005:

“Congratulations on being the most satanic organization on earth. I’m sorry there is no reward for that….Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is the most unpatriotic group I have ever seen….Your picture is also beside ‘terrorism’ and ‘unpatriotic.’”

As long as that mentality survives, the Religious Right will never truly die. Enough said.

The sample emails she shares are incredible. It’s amazing how many people are ignorant of our nation’s history and are willing to send hate mail at any perceived threat at their faith’s dominance in our society.

“I hate your souls with a white-hot, fire-breathing passion…..May all of you burn in a Living, Eternal Hellfire….Eat the flames of Hell, you rotten [bleep].”

That came to Lauren during her first week on the job.

Check out the rest of her list. You learn a lot about what groups like AU have to deal with on an ongoing basis.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    “I hate your souls with a white-hot, fire-breathing passion…..May all of you burn in a Living, Eternal Hellfire….Eat the flames of Hell, you rotten [bleep].”

    I’m sure that’s exactly the email Jesus would send.

  • mikespeir

    I agree that the religious right will never go away. But I think it could become much more marginal in our society. In fact, it probably will, barring some kind of catastrophic social downturn. Crises like that tend to drive people back into the fold.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    I don’t know. There will always be all kinds of people with different viewpoints and there will always be reactionaries, but I think the religious right — that is the marriage of evangelical Christianity with extremist right-wing politics — is a temporary phenomena. Sure, there will always be some conservative Christians, as there were before the 1970s, but as a movement or an institution, I think the religious right is already past its heyday and will continue to wane in power. The religious right is much smaller than what is publicly acknowledged already. They just have a collective big mouth. The media needs to stop listening to them and giving them a voice. And other groups, such as atheists, need to start being more vocal and forcing the media to give us a voice as well.

  • http://www.SecularDignity.net Secular Dignity

    Why do religious and/or small town people always refer to themselves as “Real Americans”?

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Writerdd said,

    Sure, there will always be some conservative Christians, as there were before the 1970s, but as a movement or an institution, I think the religious right is already past its heyday and will continue to wane in power. The religious right is much smaller than what is publicly acknowledged already. They just have a collective big mouth.

    I agree. And I would guess the Christians that do not have that same agenda far out-number the ones that do.

    Secular Dignity said,

    Why do religious and/or small town people always refer to themselves as “Real Americans”?

    “Always?” :-?

  • http://www.SecularDignity.net Secular Dignity

    Maybe they don’t always say they are “real Americans”, but it seems to be a common refrain.

    I am sure you are aware of George Allen‘s “macaca” moment: Let’s give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.

  • Lauren Smith

    Thanks for sharing my story with your readers, Friendly Atheist!

    - Lauren

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Welcome to the Intersection of Church and State