//////// Taken from discussion forum: religion ////////
Author: Webmaster (---.dsl.spfdil.ameritech.net) Date: 06-12-04 19:11
You gave a good posting and I appreciate it.
There should be no attempt to force an atheist to submit to the idea of God. Religious people I've known would not want this. Atheists I've known do not want religion wiped out, either. But the issue is not equal. People in mainstream religion have not been discriminated against. Atheists, and people in non standard religions have been. Just as Blacks and women sought equality, atheists must seek equality, if atheists want that. It is up to atheists to demand their rights under the Constitution. There is no overseer in this regard who says, "Hey, so and so is being treated unfairly. Stop doing that, now!" We live in an adversarial society where each person is responsible for representing and pursuing his or her own interests.
Just because the Constitution was written does not preclude change. For instance slavery was done away with well after the Constitution was written. Women received the right to vote later still. It is very fortunate no previously existent parts of the Constitution had to be undone or overridden to facilitate the 13th and 19th amendments. These were additions to an already good document.
How different would it be if atheists wanted the pledge to say "One nation without God"? What if the pledge was already worded that way and religious people, justifiably, wanted the clause taken out because they felt discriminated against? The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". When the Pledge of Allegiance says "under God", how can that be construed any other way except government endorsement of religion? When Joseph McCarthy got this added to the pledge, he was quite emphatic that it did not mean some vague generic reference to God, but expressly the "Christian God".
The Soviet Union was not evil because it was atheistic. Such would make all supposedly Christian countries good, necessarily, simply on the basis they were Christian. The Soviet Union was evil because it did evil things. McCarthy strove to present an identity of America in contrast to the identity of communism, hoping to fight communism better by making it a black and white issue in every regard. He failed in that effort. He failed because he lost public standing. He failed because social values ultimately changed, anyway. Was McCarthy doing his best to fight communism, or was he a moral crusader, attributing all things he did not like to communist influence?
I will not say the Pledge of Allegiance if it contains "under God", because I do not believe in God. I will not say it and simply leave that part out, because going through the motions of saying it, at all, endorses it. When at a football game must I hold up a sign saying "I am saying the pledge but object to the under God part"? What must I do as an American to have equal enjoyment and participation in the American ideal? Must I be a Christian to do that? Must I believe in the God of Joseph McCarthy?
I will not equate religious fundamentalism in this country to the Taliban or other Islamic extremism. However, it is good to understand why God was left out of the Constitution, and what happens when government and religion are allowed to be one in the same. Our founding fathers were very wise men. Were they wrong to leave God out? The Declaration of Independence may mention God, but the Declaration of Independence is not the law of the land.
I shall continue to support conservativism, seeing such in my best interest and the best interest of the country. At the same time I shall support having all religious endorsement by government removed, for that too is in my best interest and the best interest of the country.
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