Virginia State Senator’s Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would Allow Students to Opt Out of Learning About Evolution

Virginia State Senator Bill Stanley (R-Glade Hill) is one of those people who wrongly believes Christians are under attack because everyone isn’t forced to pray to his God in public schools and during government functions.

State Senator Bill Stanley

So he’s come up with a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist: Create a constitutional amendment that would allow Christians to pray in public spaces:

“We have to return prayer to the public forum,” Stanley said. “It’s long overdue.”

“It’s time we (Virginia) take a stand and qualify in our Constitution that religious liberty is one of the most sacred of all our rights,” he added. “We have to protect the religious liberty intended by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

“I have been watching the assault on people’s right to pray where they see fit,” Stanley said, “and the assault on religion by the government in order to remove any higher authority than itself from the public view.”

Stanley said the separation of church and state has been misconstrued by the courts and government to remove God from the public forum.

“That is part of the moral decay in this country,” he said.

Of course, religious liberty is already protected… in fact, those of us who aren’t Christian have to keep fighting to remind people (like Stanley) of that fact. Government officials also have a right to pray — what they can’t do is promote Christianity while on duty. They can pray in their offices, at home, before a meeting begins, and during a whole host of other times.

Senate Joint Resolution No. 287 reads in part:

… The Commonwealth shall not coerce any person to participate in any prayer or other religious activity, but shall ensure that any person shall have the right to pray individually or corporately in a private or public setting so long as such prayer does not result in disturbance of the peace or disruption of a public meeting or assembly; that citizens as well as elected officials and employees of the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall have the right to pray on government premises and public property so long as such prayers abide within the same parameters placed upon any other free speech under similar circumstances; that the General Assembly and the governing bodies of political subdivisions may extend to ministers, clergypersons, and other individuals the privilege to offer invocations or other prayers at meetings or sessions of the General Assembly or governing bodies; that students may express their beliefs about religion in written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their work; that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his religious beliefs; that the Commonwealth shall ensure public school students their right to free exercise of religious expression without interference, as long as such prayer or other expression is private and voluntary, whether individually or corporately, and in a manner that is not disruptive and as long as such prayers or expressions abide within the same parameters placed upon any other free speech under similar circumstances; and, to emphasize the right to free exercise of religious expression, that all free public schools receiving state appropriations shall display, in a conspicuous and legible manner, the text of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States; but this section shall not be construed to expand the rights of prisoners in state or local custody beyond those afforded by the laws of the United States, excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the good order, peace or safety of the Commonwealth or with the rights of others.

So what’s the *real* intent of this bill?

It turns out the amendment would allow Christian invocations during government meetings.

It could also theoretically allow students to opt out of learning about evolution if it contradicted their religious beliefs.

Don’t believe me? A similar amendment was proposed by a state senator in Missouri back in August. Here’s what the New York Times said about it back then:

The ballot summary about the amendment says it would ensure right of citizens to express their religious beliefs without infringement and students the right to pray in schools. The actual words the State Legislature approved in the amendment, however, would do more.

They would allow students who believe in creationism, for example, to opt out of assignments on evolution: “no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs.” This language would almost certainly lead to litigation about who controls the curriculum in public schools.

That’s what Stanley is really up to. This isn’t about protecting religious freedom because he knows damn well that freedom is already protected. He’s just trying a backdoor approach to “protect” students from the scourge of evolution.

Don’t let him get away with it.

If you live in Virginia, contact your local officials and tell them to stop this bill before it proceeds any further.

(Thanks to Scott for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Jasper

    Well, kids in Virginia may have a hard time finding Universities that will accept their lack of education.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      i work in admissions counseling and i have worked for a “Top 20″ admissions office. i want to warn atheists and believers reading this blog: if your child attends schools where these laws are in place, it will severely harm their chances of admission to a selective school.

      Most selective universities and colleges use a rating system by which they understand the caliber of a high school and the education children are receiving in it. And you know what? kids who “graduate” from schools without an education in science and with too much emphasis on useless religious “knowledge” don’t get in very often.

      parents need to understand that their children are competing with students who graduate from schools with rigorous, challenging, serious curriculums. because those schools exist. all over the place. and forget about getting a scholarship, kids, if you opted out of evolution.

      what’s really telling is taking a look at what the children of the wealthy study in high school. compare it to what children in benighted publics schools in states with nutbag laws like this one. it’s heartbreaking, and is a big reason why Top 20 schools have so very many rich students, and not so many poor ones.

      • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

        And that’s one of the reasons fundies have set up their own universities.

        • Theseus

          Yeah, and what really sucks is that these universities are big training grounds that encourage their students to spread their ideas when they graduate (i.e. a public or political career).

      • rlrose328

        So they’ll go after colleges next… when as many of them are in places of authority, they can do whatever the hell they want regardless what we know is factual and necessary to learn.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

        Somebody has to work at McDonald’s.

        • baal

          I don’t agree that someone’s life trajectory maxes at the working at McDonald’s level due being born of the wrong parents is a good system. Ideally, everyone would have a decent shot at a decent education and social mobility based on personal ability and drive.

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

            Ideally someone with a decent education should be able to compose a coherent reply in response to a grossly generalized witticism. Never-the-less thank you for making my case in point.

    • Stev84

      There are plenty of Christian “universities” unfortunately

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        i am fully, sadly aware of places like Patrick Henry and Liberty “university.” and how they cloak themselves in the language of education, freedom, patriotism. Sinclair said it best, “…wrapped in a flag, carrying a cross.”

        i don’t deny that these same places have a stellar track record getting “graduates” jobs in republican politics.

        i guess i’m just assuming that some readers of this blog actually care about educating their children. helping them learn about science, math, history… so they can be productive, contributing members of society and possibly even opposition to the neofascist sector that is trying to destroy our country.

        if that’s you: fight bills like these, tooth and claw. if you can’t afford private schools, bills like these are hurting your childrens’ future, very seriously.

        • PoodleSheep

          I have told co-workers and friends that if I am in a position to hire someone, I will immediately discard any applicant that lists Liberty as their source of “higher” education. I thing graduates of a clown college would have a greater knowledge set than graduates of that particular “school.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/wcwalker1 William C. Walker

        AKA bible colleges.

  • Jasper

    Not to mention to hilarious entanglement that’ll ensue when the government has to dictate to the students what their religious beliefs are so the students don’t abuse the law.

  • Octoberfurst

    Oh great, more stupidity from the Taliban Right in this country. Yes children in America are just sooo oppressed because they can’t be forced to listen to prayers in government run schools. Oh the humanity! And having to learn scientific facts that might conflict with their precious religious beliefs? Perish the thought! I guess they believe that children have the “right” to be indoctrinated with religion as well as the “right” to remain ignorant and clueless about how the real world works. No thank you Mr Stanley.

  • ortcutt

    What is the secular purpose of this proposed law? Umm, none. That’s going to be a big problem from an Establishment Clause standpoint.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Personally, I hate the word “public” in the context of church-state separation. It is way too ambiguous.

    I much prefer to focus on the word “GOVERNMENT”.

    It’s not that people can’t pray in public. They can (and they do). What is forbidden (when the law is followed) is the GOVERNMENT using ITS authority to impose or given preferential treatment to prayers to some gods/religions over others (or preference to the idea of gods over no gods).

    I like to focus on asking the religious WHY would they ever want the GOVERNMENT to be in charge of telling them how to pray or what to pray?

    Christians will try to distort the issue by calling it PUBLIC prayer. But that just conjures up the distorted idea that someone will try to prevent them from praying in public (“in public” might be thought to mean “in church”, whenever they are not alone, etc.). The word “government” focuses it back on the issue of the government (including Gov’t officials actining in their official Gov’t capacity). The Gov’t should stay out of the religion business.

  • MichaelBrice

    Matthew:
    6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    Bill Stanley = Hypocrite

  • fsm

    My Grandfather, a bible thumping preacher born in the 1800s in Alabama, would have a few choice words for these so-called ‘Christians’. He believed that prayer was a private thing between him and his God. He looked at people that prayed in public as sinners that were trying to convince others of their piety.

    • Houndentenor

      He’s not the only one who thinks that.

    • Phil

      My grandma used to call it “horizontal prayer” and told us (truthfully to her) that god laughed at it because it was so meaningless. As your grandfather rightly noted, it was people making a big production out of showing everyone how pious they were.

  • kona morris

    Atheist Chick Tracts! Support GODLESS COMICS!
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/konamorris/godless-comics

    • Octoberfurst

      What a wonderful idea! I get tired of seeing Jack Chick tracts put under the wipers on cars in parking lots, in public restrooms. on tables in libraries, etc. They poison people’s minds with right-wing Christian propaganda. (As a kid Chick tracts helped warp my brain into believing nonsense.) It is time we fought back with our own tracts.

      • allein

        They’re not comics but there’s always FFRF’s nontracts. A pack of 100 is about 12 bucks. Lucky for me I never heard of Chick tracts until long after I would have been young and impressionable enough to be influenced by them.

    • ortcutt

      Not really relevant to the article, but awesome nonetheless.

  • Beauzeaux

    How long before this guy is found in bed with a dead girl or live boy? The countdown has begun.

  • Theseus

    OK so by extension they can’t learn geology because it may conflict with their religious beliefs ( those silly ‘ol rocks that have fossils in them and tell us the age of the earth), and they can’t learn about basic biology because it may conflict with their religious beliefs, as well.

    When will these ignoramuses learn that evolution doesn’t exist in a vacuum or a bubble? It is interconnected to and related to other scientific disciplines. As Michael Shermer once said: “What these people don’t understand is that evolution is not one thing , but MANY things”.

    Hey, let’s really be inclusive and not teach geography or astronomy either; we don’t want to offend those flat earth creationists!

  • http://www.odonnellweb.com/blog/ Chris O’Donnell

    I could have used this law in high school. Trigonometry was totally offensive to my religion.

  • ttch

    How does learning about evolution “violate” anyone’s religious beliefs? They don’t have to believe it, they only have to know it.

    Would learning about creationism violate an atheist’s beliefs?

    They act like knowledge is some sort of contamination.

    • allein

      It is…it leads to thinking.

      • JoeBuddha

        And thinking leads to…DANCING!

        • Stev84

          And dancing leads to sex…which is the worst thing ever

          • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

            And sex leads to more babies that Atheists can eat. And if your friends don’t dance…

            • allein

              …then they’re no friends of mine.
              Now I’m hungry.

              • EvonM

                OK… You guys just seriously made me laugh! :D

    • JC

      The Bible actually condemns seeking out ‘pagan’ knowledge, so learning about anything about that contradicts the Bible really is against their beliefs…

      • EvonM

        Great propaganda!

  • http://twitter.com/thebadengineer David Tellet

    Jefferson must be rolling in his grave. Virginia was a pioneer of religious freedom and this bill is clearly unnecessary. Thanks for writing this – I have written to my state representatives and I will keep an eye on this resolution.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.crook.3 Jeffrey Crook

      As a resident of VA, I will be writing my representatives accordingly.

      • LifeinTraffic

        Ditto.

      • PoodleSheep

        I did as well. I’m proud of myself for not cursing or insulting this moron in my message to my rep.

    • http://twitter.com/nicoleintrovert Nicole Introvert

      I’m going to have to calm down before I write anything. At this moment it would be expletive filled. I’ve got Stephen Martin as my senator.

  • C Peterson

    Kids can already opt out of the public education system if what they are learning is at odds with what their parents want them to know. Indeed, I had two kids (same family) leave the school I teach at, in part due to my references to evolution in science class. Sad, but so be it.

    But to directly interfere with public school curriculum, or to create exceptions so that different students get different handling, is a very dangerous precedent, and something that can only make the logistics of managing a public school all that more difficult.

    • allein

      More accurate to say parents can opt their kids out of the system. Kids usually don’t have much say in where they go to school (at least until college, and if they are from the kinds of family that would opt them out of a proper science education, possibly not even then).

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      And it’s particularly easy in VA.

  • labman57

    While we’re at it, why not allow students to opt out of learning about algebra, world geography, and rules of English grammar?

    There will come a day — probably sooner than later — when Western civilization will look back and regard the Religious Right’s opposition to “evolution by natural selection” as absurd as the Church’s denial of the existence of atoms, or the vacuum, or the sun as the center of the solar system in past centuries.

  • A3Kr0n

    I don’t know why God would hate Bill Stanley. How could a person who looks like a responsible member of his community come out with such an embarrassing bill unless some supernatural power forced him to do it? It’s almost like God is mocking him by making him do this, or maybe it’s another bet with Satan?

  • kullervo

    Let’s see, make a subject seem taboo to kids and what happens? Careful what you wish for, Bill.

  • Tom

    Here’s the real question: if schools were to allow students to opt out of studying one of the very foundations of the entire body of scientific knowledge, would they demand a pass in science classes anyway?

    Students have always been able to opt out of learning evolution. The procedure is generally known as “not paying attention to the course and failing your exams.” I think the intent of this rubbish is not so much to be free from being compelled to learn evolution, as it is to be able to pass science classes and officially claim to be generally scientifically educated without having learned anything about evolution. And that’s not acceptable.

    If you want to reject evolution, fine, you have the right to that belief. But that same right entitles the entire remainder of the scientific establishment, academics and employers alike, to their consensus opinion that you’re scientifically illiterate and unsuited to further education or employment in the field if you can’t pass an exam on it.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      i’m old. back in my school days, i took a “moral stand” (not based on any religion) and refused to dissect a frog, with the rest of the biology class, because our samples were alive. i thought that was cruel, and wouldn’t do it.

      my teacher gave me a C, despite the fact that i scored 99% on the written test. so yeah, it should cost them.

      • http://profiles.google.com/conticreative Marco Conti

        I would have refused too. What was the point of having the poor animals live? Killing them is bad enough. Do we have to make the suffer too?
        Good for you. No “A” is worth trampling on your convictions.

      • allein

        We did dissection in 7th grade; I did it on a computer simulation. I think only 3 of us opted for that but it didn’t affect our grade. At least the real frogs were already dead… I think making kids actually kill the animal is going a bit too far. I did do the real thing (also already dead) in college but I made my lab partner do the first cut.

        • Theseus

          Yeah that could be quite traumatic and horrifying for a kid, as well as being unnecessarily cruel to the animal.

      • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

        That sounds awful! We did dissection when I was in middle school, but thank goodness our samples were already dead. I opted out, too. The teacher let me do a report on animal rights instead.

        • Theseus

          If they were already dead (see my response below) what was your main issues with it?

          • allein

            My issue, as a 12-year-old girl (and hell, as an 19-year-old college student, but I did it anyway), was that it was gross.

          • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

            Like Allein, I thought it was gross. I also didn’t agree with killing animals for dissection. If I’d been forced into the situation, I don’t know what I would have done. Faked sickness? Taken a failing grade? I really don’t think I could have brought myself to cut into it.

      • RobertoTheChi

        Good for you. I refused to dissect as well.

        • Theseus

          Her point was that the animal was still alive and thus would have been cruel; I agree with this wholeheartedly.

          What was your issue with it though? The ewww gross factor I can understand, but if it was already dead what would have been your problem with it? It’s a great hands on way to learn and identify basic anatomy.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I recognize the need to practice on dead animals and people before operating on the real thing. However I think the learning experience is dubious at the high school level, and some people have an ethical problem with killing animals even to eat them, let alone to get practical experience with the placement of all the organs.

            In my case we dissected a (dead obviously) fetal pig. Each group named our pig, since the dissection took several classes. I wish I could say I was in the group that named ours after the teacher. Trust me, he deserved it, although it was kind of an insult to pigs.

            • Aeva

              I don’t think loving animals or being for animal rights means that you need to opt out of dissections at all. We in the veterinary profession are among the most hard-core animal lovers out there, and we do an astounding number during our training. My first anatomy and physiology class, I walked into the lab to find 20 assorted cadavers- dogs, cats and foxes (all of whom died of natural causes or were euthanized by students because of health issues). For our final, we performed surgery on a rat and then euthanized it. Although the smell of cadavers may take a little getting used to for some, none of us had any ethical issues with the practice, because we knew it is necessary to learn the subject material (and note that this was a Vet Tech program, meaning we will never be operating on a patient ourselves after schooling is completed). I feel the same way about high school dissections. I did a frog in biology, and then a fetal pig in AP Bio. I found it immensely interesting, and absolutely vital in my understanding of the topic. Students that were too ‘grossed out’ were able to do the computerized version, and I think that is a more than acceptable alternative (although only in regular biology. If you are taking it as an AP course or in college, it is obviously required for your major, and the dissections are a must).

              I understand how some may have an issue if it is a live animal. I’m not sure what the procedure was, but I think I would actually prefer being responsible for its death, because I would be able to ensure it was done humanely, as opposed to however they are killed by the distributing companies.

  • Alex

    Email sent. Though I doubt its efficacy, because the state senator from my district introduced an amendment to permit prayer on “public property, including public schools” relatively recently. Ah well, it’s worth a shot.

  • LIONESS

    SO i gather prayer is suppose to fix all the WORLDS problems……HOW’S that working out?..lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/wcwalker1 William C. Walker

    Why not have them taught that the earth is FLAT ?

  • Unindoctrin8ed

    No worse than the fact that the official Republican Party policy in Texas is to ban the teaching of critical thinking.

  • Lynn David

    Time to call these foolish idea what they are. Freedom to remain ignorant amendments or freedom to force your children into ignorance.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    The Commonwealth shall not coerce any person to participate in any prayer or other religious activity

    I don’t think he understands the difference between ‘coerce’ and ‘force’. It’s an easy distinction to miss if one has never faced either one.

  • Dan

    “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”
    Theodosius Dobzhansky. This means they can opt out of biology, geology and physics…in short, reality.

  • Adam L

    I live in Northern VA and I’ve written my Senator (Sane Democrat thankfully). Unfortunately the way the senate currently is made up there’s a pretty decent chance this will pass..

  • Glen

    As long as colleges and employers can require evidence of critical thinking skills and knowledge of scientific methods, I am OK with ignorance. It provides reality TV entertainment and laughable politics – - jobs for such sad cases.

    • TheBlackCat13

      Except that these people are going to help decide how much funding goes to scientific research.

  • ReadsInTrees

    If you don’t you child to learn about real science, home school them.

  • WordPainter

    Just like an anti-Christian to twist words and ideas. Your first paragraph is twisted. This has nothing to do with EVERYONE, it has to do with the individuals right to start the day on a positive note (prayer).

    Atheists may choose NOT to pray, yet they fought to strip us of our right TO pray at the beginning of a school day. There is no particular religion in the pledge of allegiance – merely the word God – which for Islam means Allah, for Buddism refers to Buddha,
    and so forth. Again, Atheists can sit silent for that 15 seconds if they choose.

    Atheists feel threatened by something they claim to not believe in so they try to kill everyone’s right. Who is trying to force who to do what?

    • TheBlackCat13

      First, individuals have the right to pray. No one is trying to strip that from anyone. What you don’t have the right to do have the government endorse your prayer, or to use your position as a government official to promote your prayer. There is a big difference.

      Yes, occasionally over-cautious school administrators go too far, but those are rare and quickly slapped down by the very people you are claiming support them. There is no significant effort to prevent people from praying individually on their own time, including before and after school.

      Second, you completely ignored the part about allowing students to opt out of learning evolution.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

      Buddha is not a god. Allah is the god of Abraham who is also the god of the Jews and subsequently the christian god. So my dear friend when you think you are praying to your “god” in fact you are praying to Allah. SCOTUS has passed down exceptionally clear guidelines about prayer in school. No-one has lost their right to pray and as a matter of fact, all forms of prayer are protected including meditation. To be succinct, children’s rights to pray in public were never lost.
      But hey, if you think that teaching 6 day creationism will give American children an edge against the many technologically advancing societies that we compete with, well then more power to you. Atheists are not fighting against religion we are fighting for equality for all people. I suspect though your are a “one ring rules them all” kind of person who believes that “equality” is an abomination against god. Your hatred for us is substantiated solely by your ingnorance of our core tenets. You think we are fighting against you but in reality we are fighting for the protection of your rights and all others.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

        Anybody catch this misspelling of Buddhism: “for Buddism refers to Buddha,”

      • WordPainter

        I do not hate anyone, and mine was a general comment, as all comments must be since we don’t personally know the article writer or commenter. Even if SCOTUS has clear cut rules, SOMEONE (in many states) keeps raising the threat of lawsuits in the name of their child (who is not mature enough to decide for themselves at the grade school level) what they believe in yet. It is THOSE atheists that I have in mind when I generalize.
        As for Christians praying to Allah, where in the scripture of the old testament history does it state this? I see this in Exodus 3:14 – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

        Note the last sentence. If anything, we all should be praying to I AM. But, your argument will be that is the Hebrew translation. My argument will be: Unless the name Allah, is mentioned specifically then the translators did well in just referring to maker of the universe and all in it God with a capital G to differentiate Him from the false gods of pagan religions.

        I believe whatever religion, we all worship the God of the universe, the maker of all things, no matter what we call Him. There are just people out there that insist on muddying the water so weak people fall for the trap of non-belief.
        I do not mind evolution be taught in schools if they would teach it correctly. Darwin said, “Man, like ape, must evolve to adapt to a changing environment”. Somewhere along the line some idiot equated man with ape, and twisted what Darwin actually said in “The Descent of Man”. This eventually “evolved” to ‘man derived from ape’ rather than man and ape derive from a similar species.

        Also, on the subject of reading online comments we must remember to not put our own (readers) emotions into the printed word and just to assumptions of the other persons feelings of a group. I comment using my observations in a calm manner to point out one thing in the article that I disagree with, and I seem to be accused of being a hater along with ridiculous assumptions on my views of evolution although I did not mention that part of he article once in my previous post. This makes no sense to me at all.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

          Some questions.
          Could you state your sources concerning those lawsuits?
          Could you elaborate on how you came to the authoritative knowledge of how “we all worship?”
          Could you state instances in the news or otherwise showing how Darwinism is being taught in the manner you are referring to?
          How is non-belief a trap? (edited at trap to a trap)
          You used the term “anti-christian” and you don’t think that is hateful? Seems to me something a bully would say.
          The resolution is crafted to give special privileges to individuals based upon their religious belief or the beliefs of their guardians. More specifically “that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his religious beliefs;”
          In it’s literal reading there are no words that state a child may if he chooses to opt out of evolutionary teaching but the law implies that and equally so the law also implies a child may opt out of the teaching of 6 day creationism.
          So how are you not “getting” the implications of the quoted section in the resolution?
          Many thousands of laws exist that don’t specifically state their intent and are open to loose interpretations. Most of those are designed and written to benefit a specific group of individuals as is the case for this amendment. It’s just another form of discrimination that is making a distinction in favor of religion.

          • WordPainter

            1. Assoc. Press, Fox news, online news sites such as CNN over the past couple decades have had news reports of parents sewing schools over “Christian” or God believing activities. Google Christmas programs schools lawsuits and look through the links and you will pull some up. I don’t just read one site, or watch one channel.

            2. Not sure what comment you are referring to. Be more specific (copy and paste the section you refer to) and I will elaborate.

            3. I have seen the books that educators use in public schools, as well as heard what ignorant repeat from them.

            4. When did I say non-belief is a trap?

            5. Anti-christian refers to anyone that opposes the Christian religion. It is not hateful, it is descriptive.

            6. The resolution – hello, did I not say anyone who chooses to recite the pledge (as my example) can remain silent? If someone in an American public school does not wish to say the pledge, fine. If the Pledge of Allegiance is so repugnant to them as to not sit for 15 seconds while other recite it – then maybe they are in the wrong country.

            7. I never said there wasn’t.

            8. I only commented on the first paragraph of this article and I explained that. Where did you get the idea (from my original post) that I commented against the resolution? If I answered in regards to the resolution it was based on what someone else said to me indirectly about it regarding my comment.

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

              1. Nice blanket statement and cunning attempt to throw the burden of proof back onto me. You didn’t answer my question you just moved the goal post further back..
              2. “we all worship the God of the universe, the maker of all things, no matter what we call Him. Here you seem to be stating from a position of authority that you know what all people worship. When in fact Atheists do not worship any gods by any name.
              3. Your claiming that as a rebuttal? Relating anecdotal experience proves nothing.
              4.“There are just people out there that insist on muddying the water so weak people fall for the trap of non-belief.”
              5.Just like an anti-ChristianHmm still feels like name calling to me. What you are saying is this, because the blogger is “just like an anti-christian” then his statements are false or not true. Your first few words are an attack upon the writer’s character.
              6. Did you even read the resolution? I you have and you are still missing the implications well then I’m at a loss.
              7. refer to 6.
              8. Well it’s my error to have made the assumption that when someone writes the conjunct“first paragraph” they were not implying that there was a second, third or fourth.

              So let me get this straight you only read the first few lines and then you attack Hemant “Just like an anti-christian” but you don’t read the rest of the article so you have no context to his meaning and from this position of ignorance you have guile to say Atheists…are trying to kill everyone’s rights.

              • WordPainter

                1. For something that has been in the news for decades, yes you get a blanket statement.
                2. We all, as in those of faith. The reference was prayer. Taking words out of context is a a very old atheistic and pagan trick. Satan used it.

                3. To visually SEE the books used to teach Evolution is hardly anecdotal, its first hand experience from an educator. Look up the definition of anecdotal you will see the difference.
                4. Ahhh…. that meant to read There are just people out there that insist on muddying the water so weak people fall INTO the trap of non-belief. [Or at best confusion.]

                5. My first few words do not attack, but point out one of the common characteristics of an anti-Christian. No different than saying This is exactly what I expected an atheist to do, then point out what it was – to twist facts.

                6. Again, you attack me for not understanding the resolution, yet I did not address it at all. The resolution is not in question in my initial response.

                7. Refer to number 6, as so eloquently stated.

                8. I addressed the first paragraph. An intelligent person would keep focus on that and not try to pick an argument.
                I know the atheist games all too well from decades on the internet. It takes two to argue and this argument is over. You will come back and accuse me of not being “able” to provide answers, or whatever, but the truth of the matter is that I haven’t the time or desired to help you add to the confusion in the world today; and I am confident that readers who stumble upon this piece have enough brains to do their own research – not only in atheist blogs, but in a variety of places: various religious sites, college sites, and so forth. It is not up to them to figure out what is true and what is not because I am not forwarding any more responses to myself from this article.

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

                  Yes I agree this discussion is over. I commend you on your diligence to defend your position. I find it odd that you would say I am adding to the confusion of the world when the point of any discussion, such as ours, is to seek clarity. I believe anyone finding this piece will have the brains to figure out the truth on their own and that “truth is a matter of perspective.” I would also hope that they come to the same conclusion you made that attempting to prove a point about meaning is a waste of time.

                  I have made it my personal goal to troll anyone in this forum who makes blanket, unsubstantiated, hateful comments towards the Atheists who frequent here. I am sincerely thankful to you for allowing me to waste your precious time. You’ve been trolled!

        • godlessveteran

          Isn’t IAM a brand of dog food? Why would I worship dog food?

  • http://www.facebook.com/AmyMarie67 Amy Marie

    Apparently this idiot doesn’t realize that it isn’t oppression to not be able to force others to adhere to your god beliefs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daryl-Revok/100001326652468 Daryl Revok

    Hey, believing we all deserve to go to Hell for being born is about as ignorant as it gets so why stop them from anymore self-imposed ignorance…if a man chooses to be stupid well “God bless him”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stuart-Marsden/100000438113737 Stuart Marsden

    Matthew 6:5-8
    Let’s do the christian thing and pray standing in the churches and on the street corners to be seen by others.

  • pmt

    Stanley says “That is part of the moral decay in this country”. The problem is not moral decay but mental decay. Astonishing that idiots like this continue to get elected. Doesn’t say much for the intelligence of the electorate.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

    This is pathetic, and disappointing. Virginia was the home of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washinton. It was the birthplace of religious freedom, and freedom from religion.


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