This is a guest post by Andrew Spitznas, M.D.. Andrew is a board-certified psychiatrist and member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association. He has contributed to the Tinsel blog in the past and is currently a regular contributor to 1 More Film Blog, both on Patheos. During the past decade or so, he’s progressively [Read More…]
Earlier this week, we saw New York’s Utica Fire Department Station 4 promoting Christianity with a sign outside the firehouse reading “Happy Birthday Jesus.”
Besides the sign just looking and sounding childish, you could make the argument that it’s an illegal promotion of a single faith. That’s what the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a letter.
The sign at Fire Station 4 explicitly invokes the name Jesus, an exclusively Christian god, and makes a direct statement in support of that deity… This is precisely the sort of religious endorsement prohibited by the Establishment Clause.
The department could, in theory, put up displays of other groups to remain neutral, but they were better off just removing the sign or handing it off to a church.
So what did the department choose to do?
A Day After the Nebraska State Capitol Gets a Nativity Scene, an Atheist Sign Becomes Its Neighbor… Temporarily
Late last night, I heard that the Nebraska State Capitol building was home to a Nativity scene:
The small display, a cedar manger about 6 feet across and 4 feet high, was made possible by a Catholic-associated attorneys association that is seeking to place Nativity scenes in state capitols and other public places across the country.
“We want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas,” said Omaha attorney Christine Delgado, who heads the Omaha branch of the Thomas More Society.
Nebraska State Capitol Administrator Bob Ripley said Thursday that he has not fielded any requests for competing displays, but he added that some people have asked if other religions could erect displays.
“Believe me, if we allow a Christian religion to come in, we’d allow any other religion to come in,” Ripley said. “Short of something in poor taste or illegal.”
Great! Because atheists know how to play this game by now. And wouldn’t you know it, just hours later, Scott Braley, a member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, had put up an atheist sign:
Louisiana Governor’s Prayer Rally Will Bring Together Despicable Christian Leaders to Accomplish Nothing
The first problem with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal‘s upcoming prayer rally a month from now is that he’s hosting a prayer rally.
In his invitation, he made it very clear that he wanted to use his position to advance Christianity:
Our nation is faced with fatherless homes, an epidemic of drugs and crime in our inner cities, a saturation of pornography, abortion, racism — Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Lord of Life, is America’s only hope. We need Spiritual Transformation.
Last month, Catholic blogger Rebecca Hamilton made a really nasty accusation against people who didn’t believe in her God, suggesting they could never seriously help other people in times of need:
Christians, unlike their critics, build hospitals and schools, go on missions to help those in need where help is needed. Christians donate massive amounts of money to aid those in need. They run toward disasters, rather than away from them, to give aid and comfort.
These people were not paid for their efforts. No one asked them to do it. They simply responded to need because that is what Our Lord told them to do.
In all these things, the difference is Jesus.
She won’t admit it because it would ruin her narrative, but this is obviously, objectively, and harmfully wrong.
If anyone made similar accusations about any other group of people, maybe there would be a bigger outcry, but we’re used to this kind of anti-atheist prejudice. No doubt there are good religious charities out there, but there’s no lack of openly non-religious ones either.
Instead of pointing you to the myriad organizations that do good work explicitly without God, I asked Hemley Gonzalez to respond to her.
Hemley is the founder of the Humanist group Responsible Charity and literally works in the slums of India to improve lives.
This is what he told me (via email, with slight edits):