Robert M. Price on Westboro Atheists

For the April issue of Zarathustra Speaks, Robert M. Price has published a well-written essay describing what he calls “Westboro Atheists.” I agree with pretty much everything he writes, especially this:

This is why I cringe every time I hear about the latest attempts of the Freedom from Religion Foundation to scour every expression of faith from the public square.

He then goes on to write this:

Just today I dropped by Town Hall to pay my utility bill, under the wire, I might add, and I was disappointed to find the place closed in observance of Good Friday. But my instinct was not to get on the phone with the ACLU and to start legal proceedings. I believe that the FFRF and like-minded zealots are operating from a basic confusion. They see as a church-state issue what I believe is better understood as a culture-state issue. For local government to allow a manger scene on public property or to allow crosses to adorn veterans’ graves is in no way tantamount to a legal establishment of religion, though making churches tax-exempt probably is. Posting “Thou shalt have no other gods besides me” in public schools is.

That’s an interesting way of looking at things, which I hadn’t considered before. Of course, it’s possible that something can be both a church-state issue and a culture-state issue. In fact, it seems to me that that is the case. But there are church-state issues and then there are church-state issues. Do I think having God on U.S. coins is a church-state issues? Yes. Do I think it would be better if the coins dropped the reference to God? Yes. Do I think it’s a battle worth fighting? Not really; litigating God on coins strikes me as the church-state equivalent of a police officer giving out a speeding ticket to a driver for going 0.5 mph–half of one mph–over the posted speed limit. To put it bluntly, that strikes me as a bit anal retentive.

The Slaughter of the Canaanites - Part 9
The Slaughter of the Canaanites - Summary of Objections
Stop Telling Me to be Respectful of Others’ Beliefs
It Takes More Faith to Be an Atheist Than to Believe in God?
About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.


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