Chuck Norris Takes on FFRF

The House approved engraving “In God We Trust” in the Capitol Visitors Center. The bill has not yet been voted on in the Senate. The bill passed in the Senate with “Unanimous Consent.”

The House voted 410-8 in favor of it. (12 people abstained and 2 voted “present.”)

Who was brave enough to vote against it?

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA)
Rep. James McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. Ronald Paul (R-TX)
Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA)
Rep. Fortney Stark (D-CA)

But, alas, they were defeated by a large margin.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing to prevent the engraving — which I’m not optimistic about, but I wish them well.

Chuck Norris, however, is pissed off.

I’m a fighter for the freedoms of speech and religion. They are our constitutional rights — what the First Amendment is all about. But those freedoms don’t give atheists the entitlement to eliminate or revise America’s religious heritage in the new $621 million taxpayer-provided Capitol Visitors Center, or CVC, in Washington, D.C.

He’s a fighter for freedom of speech as long as it’s Christians doing the talking. No one is asking the CVC to engrave a sign saying “There’s probably no god.” Atheists are saying we should keep gods out of our government.

It doesn’t matter if it’s our national motto. That doesn’t make it right. We shouldn’t be endorsing Christianity over other faiths, and we shouldn’t be endorsing theism over atheism.

Norris doesn’t understand that:

How could anyone have anything against the engraving of our nation’s motto, which is above the very speaker’s rostrum in the House of Representatives? How could anyone have anything against the same for the Pledge of Allegiance, which has been recited each day since its inception in both houses of Congress?

You all know the right response. The Pledge that was “recited each day since its inception” didn’t have the phrase “Under God” in it until 1954.

So, could the lawsuit by the Freedom of Religion Foundation prevail and prevent the engravings in the CVC? Are you kidding? Mark my words: If a few liberal judges get the case, and we the people do nothing, it will. And then that precedent will be used to extend their next argument that our national motto “In God We Trust” is unconstitutional.

Man, that would be awesome!

Because it is unconstitutional. And it shouldn’t be our motto.

As if Norris hasn’t shown enough ignorance, he digs the hole even deeper with this little nugget:

Atheists might not be found in every foxhole, but the bunker called the Capitol Visitors Center has a couple in there right now. I think it’s time that Americans let them know that the motto and pledge are not only at the heart of our country, but that whitewashing God from the walls of history is actually an unfair promotion of atheism and an injustice to all that is America.

Really…? The foxhole argument? Weak…

Norris makes a classic mistake: he thinks not mentioning God is automatically a promotion of atheism.

Which means he ought to also be pissed off at the post office, Taco Bell, and SportsCenter, because they don’t promote god either.

Atheists in general want religion to stay private. Don’t force us to accept your beliefs. In return, we won’t ask our legislators to put “There’s probably no God” on every damn thing that comes their way.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    You’ve hit on the touch-stone of truth there – if Norris disagrees with you, then you must be right!

  • Ron in Houston

    Well, that’s what happens when you get kicked in the head a few too many times.

  • http://theinfinityprogram.com Kevin Malone

    Has Mr. Norris ever actually confronted an atheist face-to-face, or am I correct in assuming he is going by what his Christian friends told him?

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    Does anyone give a fuck what Chuck Norris thinks? (Sorry too much tequila at lunch! But really….)

  • http://newref.blogspot.com James

    The good thing is an atheist already defeated Chuck Norris – it was Bruce Lee!

    Yup, Lee beat Norris in “Way of the Dragon,” now more widely known thanks to a TV commercial.

    From Wikipedia: When asked in 1972 what his religious affiliation was, he replied “none whatsoever.” Also in 1972, when asked if he believed in God, he responded, “To be perfectly frank, I really do not.”

  • http://thehappyhuman.wordpress.com John

    “In God We Trust”. Well, I don’t trust in God. So I guess I’m not welcome as a citizen of the United States.

  • Luther

    No one is asking the CVC to engrave a sign saying “There’s probably no god.”

    Perhaps we should be honest and try for “In Goldman We Trust”. UnFORTUNATE but true.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    I think you’re going about this the wrong way. Instead of fighting for church\state separation you should be telling churches how the state can “help” them with “correct” worship.

    Some suggestions:
    - Everyone should be ordered to pray for Barack Obama’s health on Sunday by law.
    - There should be a national “faith tax” where members of churches that are not the same denomination as Obama have to pay an additional 10% income tax.
    - A “faith police” should be set up with powers of arrest for those who don’t recite the Lord’s Prayer at bed time.
    Courts should be given the power to stone to death adulterers in accordance with biblical law.
    - CSI should stop with all that science nonsense and determine the guilt of people using the entrails of cows.
    - Rapists should be ordered by law to marry their victims.
    - Women should lose all rights and return to the proper status of chattel for fathers and husbands.
    - You Americans should be ruled by a Royal house. The divine right of kings is ordained by Almighty God after all.
    - Men should be punished if they trim their beards (take note Mr Norris) as per Leviticus 19:27

    There are plenty more suggestions that will help the Christian American to be closer to God if only you didn’t resist quite so much.

    The question that I wonder though is who should be head of your state church? Barack Obama, HM Queen Elizabeth II or Benny the Poop?

    ….or Chuck Norris.

  • Matto the Hun

    Sadly I think the majority of people in this country are ignorant enough to buy the pile of crap pedaled by Norris and the God-Brigade.

    Even though we are factually correct on every point, we are always the “bad guys”

    Even X-ians that are middle of the road and not part of the X-ian Reich will buy the “I’m a fighter for the freedoms of speech and religion. They are our constitutional rights — what the First Amendment is all about.” They buy it hook, line and sinker.

    Like Hemant said, so long as it’s their religion that gets shoved down everyone’s throat at tax payer expense it’s freedom of speech. If it was any other religion or belief, it would be persecution of Christians.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    It would be ironic if the FFRF submitted Norris’ column as evidence that the motto, and its inscription in the visitor’s center, do indeed constitute an unconstitutional endorsement of certain religious views over others.

  • Matto the Hun

    James:
    The good thing is an atheist already defeated Chuck Norris – it was Bruce Lee!

    Yup, Lee beat Norris in “Way of the Dragon,” now more widely known thanks to a TV commercial.

    From Wikipedia: When asked in 1972 what his religious affiliation was, he replied “none whatsoever.” Also in 1972, when asked if he believed in God, he responded, “To be perfectly frank, I really do not.”

    So I guess god wanted to beam up a reasonable person to hang out with him rather than a cook like Chuckles.

    Wait, there’s something wrong with that statement… hmmm

  • mikespeir

    He appeals to history, and I’ll admit that traditionally almost all Americans have been theists and, specifically, one brand of Christian or another. We’re not trying to erase that history. Personally, I wouldn’t lobby to take religious mottos off of existing monuments and buildings. But we should have wised up enough by now not to add them to new structures.

  • Spurs Fan

    Way to go Ron Paul. I may not always agree with your politics, but I agree with your consistency!

  • TXatheist

    I’m baffled that a Texan wouldn’t sell out to the religious wrong. Ron Paul gets this one right but is wrong about evolution so I never get the way this guy thinks.

  • http://cycleninja.blogspot.com Paul Lundgren

    @Writerdd:

    Can I join you for lunch sometime? Tequila sounds like a great idea where I work.

  • ATL-Apostate

    so can we start making Chuck Norris jokes on this thread now?

  • Claudia

    I want to know where my former (but still worthless) rep Pelosi is. I can’t find her on the list. Then again we are talking about the rep with the highest percentages of Gays and Lesbians in her district in the nation and yet she manages to be slippery on GLBT issues, so not seeing her stand up for non-believers (also a fair proportion of her district) is no surprise.

  • http://www.kaeldra.com Tracy

    Wow, I wrote a letter to my representative about this…and maybe it made a difference! Thanks James McDermott!

  • bill

    did you know that underneath his cowboy hat chuck norris doesn’t have a brain but yet another fist?

    if you didn’t know that before, this article is proof….

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA)

    I’m from Virginia and Rep. Robert Scott is a liberal benefactor of Republican Gerrymandering in Virginia. His district is a long “ink-splotch” on the political map that the Republicans drew up to include all the African Americans they could to concede one House seat while keeping all the surrounding districts as “white” as possible so the Republicans could get all of those seats. Rep Scott is therefore free to vote on principle and has a voting record that he can be very proud of. He is often the only one or only one of a few dissenting votes on many issues.

    It is anybody’s guess, though, if he would sell out if his district was more competitive.

  • benjdm

    The bill has not yet been voted on in the Senate.

    I thought it had?

    The Library of Congress site says:

    “7/9/2009 Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution Agreed to by recorded vote (2/3 required): 410 – 8, 2 Present (Roll no. 515).

    7/10/2009 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Received in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment by Unanimous Consent.”

  • mike c.

    Rep. Fortney Stark (D-CA)

    My congressman and (as far as I know) the only national politician to admit to being an atheist. Happy for that but disappointed with the final result.

  • Alz

    My first thought was that Ron Paul voted “no” just to save the $100,000.. but that is a such a small amount compared to the rest of the project. It would be interesting to know his thoughts on this.

  • benjdm

    Also keep in mind Chuck Norris says:

    That is why I am encouraging Americans to write or call the Architect of the Capitol’s communications officer at (202) 228-1793

    Please do the same. If we keep it articulate and short I’m sure we can sound better. I already wrote my Representative and the architect, and will be writing my Senators soon.

  • Tommaso

    Does the senate even need to vote on this? The House alone has purview over the maintenance of legislative buildings.

  • Anthus Williams

    That’s one thing you have to like about Ron Paul. I may not always agree with his politics, or his Christianity, but he takes the Constitution seriously.

  • http://angelofharlots.blogspot.com Nena

    I know I’m going to catch some shit for this. But I can’t help but draw this parallel.

    Consider the following statement:

    I do not care that you are religious; I just don’t want to be forced to accept it, I don’t want to look at it, and I don’t have to respect it. I will not accept it, and I won’t like it, and I don’t want any part of my government supporting it, even if it does not infringe upon my right to not be religious.

    Can we concur that this is how we, as atheists, pretty much feel?

    Now. Replace “religious” with “gay.”

    All of a sudden, it’s a bigoted, asshole statement, huh?

    Putting “In God We Trust” on a building is not a step toward a theocracy any more than gay marriage is a step toward the destruction of the traditional family.

    Just pointing out how we come off sometimes. It’s my personal opinion that the words “In God We Trust” are not magical, and don’t affect me one way or the other. I don’t give a shit where they are. They don’t affect me.

    meh.

  • TJ

    so can we start making Chuck Norris jokes on this thread now?

    Chuck Norris *is* the biggest joke of all.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Everytime I hear about Chuck Norris, I think of that Conan O’Brien gag where he pulled the level to show some cheesy gag from Walker Texas Ranger.

    Now would be a good time to pull that lever for a real life Chuck Norris gag reel on his mindless rant with FFRF.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Perhaps the motto should be changed to
    “In God many trust”

    Factual, but without the baggage of implying a “we” that not all Americans are a part of and with no implications that if you are not part of the “we”, then you are not a “real” American.

    But then, why put just a factual statement as a motto. The motto should be something that is truly foundational to the concept of being an American. Religious belief obviously isn’t foundational. We need either a different motto or no motto at all. I vote for some Latin text about freedom or equality or something.

  • Claudia

    Putting “In God We Trust” on a building is not a step toward a theocracy any more than gay marriage is a step toward the destruction of the traditional family.

    There is a difference. A better parallel would be a town City Hall placing a plaque next to the door where marriage licenses are given saying “The traditional marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of any society”.

    Now, anyone reading that plaque would know that this city hall implicitly excludes as a part of the “bedrock of society” any gay couple that walks through those doors, even assuming their marriage could be legally done there.

    Of course things are not neatly reversible. Someone with a sign in their yard expressing support for gay marriage is not assumed to oppose straight marriage wheras someone with a sign supporting “Marriage between a man and a woman” is assumed to oppose equal rights for gays. A double standard? Maybe, but it better reflects reality than if you pretend that both statements are the same.

    The sign “In God We Trust” is an implicit statement that the government of the United States considers religion to be essential to citizenship (and lets face it, when they say God they mean the Christian God) and many non-religious people who walk in those doors will notice and know that in yet another symbolic way, they are considered lesser forms of citizens.

    I do get where you’re coming from and I think there’s an argument to be made that our efforts and limited person-power should be concentrated elsewhere, but I respectfully disagree with your comparison.

  • Tom

    Way to go Ronald McFreedomFanatic, you are still alright in my book. He is a man of principle, even if they must be incredibly hard to reconcile against each other at times. Please become cooler so that more people will care about what you say

  • http://angelofharlots.blogspot.com Nena

    Oh, that’s right. I forgot for a moment that I’m debating reasonable people and not those blinded by passion for sky daddy. I usually have to be prepared for the firestorm. :-)

    I can see your point, Claudia. Semantics can be some tricky stuff.

    I guess in my mind, when I hear “in god we trust,” I don’t think of “we” as meaning everybody; I think of it as the group of people who would say that, and I just think, “Okay. Y’all trust him. Let me know how that works out for you.”

    It would be a small victory for us, and small victories do add up. I’m not opposed to those who want to rally against it; but as Claudia said, our efforts might be better used elsewhere. Like keeping the teaching of creationism out of schools (still a big problem here in the South).

  • http://thehappyhuman.wordpress.com John

    Now. Replace “religious” with “gay.”
    All of a sudden, it’s a bigoted, asshole statement, huh?

    Totally, and if we replace “religious” with “pro-life” or “pro-choice”, we see that it can be used for two opposing viewpoints. And if we replace “religious” with “a monkey” or “Tom Jones’s uncle”, all of a sudden, it’s surrealist humor.

    What’s your point, aside from pointing out a linguistic curiosity? That people can’t hold differing beliefs on completely unrelated subjects? That one can’t dislike one sort of human behavior without disliking all of them?

  • http://www.sixtyftsixin.com Nate

    I’m baffled that a Texan wouldn’t sell out to the religious wrong. Ron Paul gets this one right but is wrong about evolution so I never get the way this guy thinks.

    My first thought was that Ron Paul voted “no” just to save the $100,000.. but that is a such a small amount compared to the rest of the project. It would be interesting to know his thoughts on this.

    I’m not a Paul supporter, but I do know his politics. Basically, he’s a very strict Constitutionalist. That’s why he would vote against this even though it’s not his personal belief – it’s a step towards violating the establishment clause.

    He believes in keeping his personal life separate from his political one and, while I generally disagree with him on a lot of issues, I really respect that about him. He governs like a conservative should if you go purely by the definition of the word – don’t do anything outside of the Constitution on the national level. Let the States do that if they want.

    Consider the following statement:

    I do not care that you are religious; I just don’t want to be forced to accept it, I don’t want to look at it, and I don’t have to respect it. I will not accept it, and I won’t like it, and I don’t want any part of my government supporting it, even if it does not infringe upon my right to not be religious.

    Can we concur that this is how we, as atheists, pretty much feel?

    Now. Replace “religious” with “gay.”

    All of a sudden, it’s a bigoted, asshole statement, huh?

    It’s a nice trick, but the application is completely different.

    In fighting things like this, atheists are fighting to preserve the mindset of the Constitution – the belief that church and state should be separate and that the government should not endorse any religion.

    In fighting for gay marriage, gays are ALSO fighting to preserve the mindset of the Constitution – that we are all equal in the eyes of the law and deserve to be treated as such.

    Equality does not mean “separate but equal” and it does not mean “we won’t promote any religion, except Christianity.”

  • Gary

    The motto should be something that is truly foundational to the concept of being an American. Religious belief obviously isn’t foundational. We need either a different motto or no motto at all. I vote for some Latin text about freedom or equality or something.

    The de facto national motto was originally “E pluribus unum.” It’s not about freedom or equality — but it is Latin. Can we go back to it, for, you know, “historical” reasons?

    “In God We Trust” wasn’t officially adopted as the national motto until 1956. Prior to that time, the U.S. had no offical national motto.

  • http://thehappyhuman.wordpress.com John

    Nena – bah, didn’t refresh before I posted, and there you go being reasonable on me :)

    Sorry if that was a bit harsh.

  • http://angelofharlots.blogspot.com Nena

    No problem, John. I knew I would ruffle feathers. I’m tough.

    My point with that statement was supposed to be that sometimes we sound like jerks, even when we’re making a valid point.

    My point with the rest of it was sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me, I suppose. :-P

    And I am totally reading that with the words “a monkey.” Awesome.

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  • Siamang

    Now. Replace “religious” with “gay.”

    All of a sudden, it’s a bigoted, asshole statement, huh?

    Nena, I’m not against “in God we trust” because it’s bigoted or assholish or exclusionary.

    I’m against it because we’ve (supposedly) got a separation of church and state in this country.

    We don’t a separation of gay and state, or a separation of marriage rights and state, or any such thing.

    I am not asking religious people not to be religious. I’m asking them not to carve their religious doctrines on public property with public funds in conflict with the Constitution.

    If the government wanted to put up an inscription that said “okay to be gay” or “gay? No WAY!”, I might still think it’s uncalled for. But it wouldn’t violate the establishment clause of the first amendment.

  • Siamang

    It would be a small victory for us, and small victories do add up. I’m not opposed to those who want to rally against it; but as Claudia said, our efforts might be better used elsewhere.

    Nena said that.

    I don’t agree. I think that the reason we’ve got God in the pledge, and the national motto in the first place, is because previous generations of atheists and wall of separation advocates decided that THEIR efforts were better used somewhere else.

    50 years from now, if these words are on the rotunda, some future washed-up action-movie cowboy will point at it and use it to argue for traditionalism for engraving the phrase on the surface of the moon with lasers.

  • Freak

    Nena: The difference is, with the atheist argument, “I don’t want any part of my government supporting it” means “the government should treat religious and non the same”; with the gay argument, it means “the government should strictly favor straights over gays”

  • http://angelofharlots.blogspot.com Nena

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

    I just don’t equate carving some words on a building to making a law respecting the establishment of religion.

    I do understand wanting to fiercely protect the separation of church and state. I may be like the man who let the camel stick his nose in the tent (if you don’t know the fable, the camel ends up in the tent little by little and the man ends up on the outside in a sandstorm). But I don’t see words on a building (or money, or whatever) as being a step toward the mingling of church and state.

    It just doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

  • http://angelofharlots.blogspot.com Nena

    That is an excellent point, Freak.

  • Gary

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

    I just don’t equate carving some words on a building to making a law respecting the establishment of religion.

    The words are going to be carved on a public building by act of Congress, as a matter of law.

  • http://angelofharlots.blogspot.com Nena

    You know, I really didn’t think of it that way; but this would be an act of Congress.

    huh.

  • teammarty

    I never get the “we shouldn’t fight this battle” thing. Not fighting is conceding and eventually we will have to fight the battle of whether or not we can be considered citizens in the eyes of the law, not just some Bush (the one who was President) campaign quote.

  • bill

    We can’t just let this be. It can seem like only a small battle, but it really makes a difference in how people perceive the founding of our nation when we plaster IGWT everywhere. While IGWT has only been around for about 55 years, an extremely large number of Americans think it has been our motto since the countries founding; many think our nation was founded a Christian one, even though it was (and remains) explicitly non-religious. Once we start conceding points such as these (especially ones going against our constitional freedom), more and more build up and create greater injustice and discrimination. We HAVE to reverse the trend of labeling everything from license plates to money to monuments with IGWT not only as a matter of prinicple but also as securing our freedom from religion.

  • Gary

    Once we start conceding points such as these (especially ones going against our constitional freedom), more and more build up and create greater injustice and discrimination. We HAVE to reverse the trend of labeling everything from license plates to money to monuments with IGWT not only as a matter of prinicple but also as securing our freedom from religion.

    The example of “license plates” is an interesting one. Because of our federal system of government, it’s important to distinguish between freedom of and freedom from religion as a constitutional right and freedom of and freedom from religion as a general principle. There is a valid First Amendment argument to be made against IGWT as a national motto, established as such by act of Congress. However, the same First Amendment argument cannot plausibly be made against IGWT on a license plate issued under the auspices of a state government.

  • TXatheist

    Nate, thanks for the insight on Ron Paul. I really don’t get him but any insight is appreciated.

  • benjdm

    @Nena:

    Can we concur that this is how we, as atheists, pretty much feel?

    No.

  • benjdm

    A motto (from the Italian for pledge, sentence; plural mottos or mottoes) is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization.

    How does a law making “In God We Trust” the National Motto not count as a law respecting an establishment of religion? It’s saying that the we of the organization trusts in God. There’s nothing else for that 1956 law to be respecting EXCEPT religion.

    My beef is much more with the original law making it the National Motto.

    http://www.ingodwetrust.org/ – yeah, that’s all about patriotism. Nothing about religion there.

    http://www.afa.net/igwt/ – check out the poster from the American Family Association.

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  • bill

    However, the same First Amendment argument cannot plausibly be made against IGWT on a license plate issued under the auspices of a state government.

    yeah I definitely should have thought that through more considering license plates, although a god license plate should be treated the same as any other vanity license plate rather than costing the same as a normal plate. the whole thing goes back to having IGWT as our national motto. as long as IGWT’s our motto the state government can get away with putting it on a license plate without any fee. if it were not our motto, then a religious group would have to request plates recognizing them that would cost extra to purchase in order to have a phrase such as IGWT on the plates, the same process any university or cause has to go through to have special plates.

  • Claudia

    Oddly enough, considering my position on the issue, I’m going to have to defend Nena on this a little bit.

    Let’s leave aside for now the Constitutionality of the thing. It’s obviously unconstitutional, as it is on our money. Let’s also leave aside how annoying it is. For most of us I’d wager that it’s mildly annoying most of the time and extremely irritating when a point is made about it, like in this case with Congress or those really annoying people who insist on SHOUTING UNDER GOD!! in that portion of the pledge.
    However I think there is a valid case to be made on a purely pragmatic level. Our community does not have unlimited resources and hence it is perfectly valid to argue that a given cause costs us too much money, time and public good will for the corresponding benefit. It is not a crime to care about public relations you know. I’m well aware of the “screw’em” mentality that overtakes so many of us on almost any given issue, since we know that whenever we ask for anything, no matter how innocuous, we are certain to cause comical amounts of outrage, so why bother being careful? I think that we should, to a certain extent, fight that mentality.
    This isn’t just about the law or our rights, or it doesn’t have to be. It’s also about increasing our visibility and our acceptability, to send a message to those in the closet that they can come out, that it’s safe out in the sun. So we have to make choices about where we put our efforts. These symbolic things tend to be the most controversial and while I don’t pretend to know the answer, I think that an admission that pragmatism, as well as principle, should be taken into account is in order.

  • Siamang

    I think the opposite. I think we should start demanding they change the national motto to “All Gods are Imaginary.”

    That way we move overton’s window back to a reasonable center.

    Seriously, we’ve been reasonable and pragmatic far too long. Time for “government neutral toward religion” to stop being an extreme radical view on the far left of the spectrum.

  • benjdm

    Siamang, I think you’re right.

  • Gary

    yeah I definitely should have thought that through more considering license plates, although a god license plate should be treated the same as any other vanity license plate rather than costing the same as a normal plate. the whole thing goes back to having IGWT as our national motto. as long as IGWT’s our motto the state government can get away with putting it on a license plate without any fee.

    As long as IGWT is the national motto, it is perhaps a bit harder to make the case that it’s inappropriate to put it on a state license plate without any fee. However, it would not be a violation of the First Amendment to do so, whether IGWT is the national motto or not.

  • Charon

    Nena, I do think it’s useful to consider how this looks from different perspectives, try to detect hypocrisy, etc. I’m not terribly good at that myself, so I appreciate others who help out.

    However, in this case, I think you’re wrong. Some of the reasons have been set out above. But for a closer analogy, the gay/straight marriage issue would, if transformed into religion, become an issue over whether or not the State allowed religious and secular weddings, or only secular (or only religious) weddings. I think we here would all agree that the latter case is not acceptable.

    I agree the motto thing doesn’t have nearly the impact of wedding laws, but ignoring this is a mistake. Atheists are regularly trampled and vilified, and we should stand up. In cases like this, where we’ve got the Bill of Rights on our side, it should be a no-brainer! Letting people ignore the Constitution when they happen to agree with the exception (as many Christian legislators do, I suppose) is not a good precedent to set.

  • Kevin

    Nena,

    IMO, your attempt to make the atheist’s sentiment sound bigotted highlights the vast gulf between the atheist’s and homophobic asshole’s respective stances.

    You began, “I do not care that you are religious; I just don’t want to be forced to accept it…”

    I only had to read this far to know you were up to something; something about it gave me a hinky feeling that you were using a sly word play to trick me into a silly conclusion (e.g. “Reading gives knowledge, knowledge is power, power corrupts, and corruption is crime; ergo, reading will lead to crime”).

    A quick reread of your opening reveals the problem: what is “it” in your sentence? In context, it can only refer to “that you are religious”, making the entire statement “I do not care that you are religious; I just don’t want to be forced to accept that you are religious…”

    So closer examination reveals a absurd, nonsenical, or clearly false premise; there’s no need to read further (unless we actually want to see what conclusion you are able to derive from a false premise).

    Anyway, when you eliminate the wordplay, you get a much more illuminating comparison:

    ATHEIST: “I don’t care that you are religious, but I want you to have the same rights, privileges, and restrictions for expressing your belief as I have for expressing my disbelief.”

    HOMOPHOBIC ASSHOLE: “I don’t care that you are gay, but I don’t want you to have the same rights, privileges, and restrictions for expressing your homosexuality as I have for expressing my heterosexuality.”

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Kevin,

    Yes, the use of pronouns can be quite mischievous when they are not clearly defined.

    Well said.

  • Larry Linn

    Quotes from our Founding Fathers:
    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.”
    —James Madison, letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774

    “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”
    —Ben Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1758

    “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.”
    —Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794


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