Monday, January 10, 2005

Off The Deep End

Michael Newdow, the now famous atheist that is trying to have “under God” removed from the pledge of allegiance for the United States of America, is now going after the President of the United States by attempting to prevent a minister from delivering a Christian invocation during his inauguration.

In a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Newdow says the use of a prayer is unconstitutional.

OK, those of you who read my site often know that I am no religious fanatic, but what you may not realize is that I am not an anti-religious fanatic either. While I do agree that “under God” should be removed from our national pledge, I disagree entirely with this latest volley fired by Mr. Newdow.

If there is to be any ceremony in your honor, I feel you have the right to invite any religious part of it you desire. After all, the ceremony is about you, and honoring you in some way. If a Christian is having the ceremony, then by God they should be allowed to have prayer there if they so choose. By the same token if a Buddhist becomes president then they too should be allowed to have a Shaolin monk perform some sort of ceremony in their honor. If an atheist ever makes it to the White House, then they should also have the right to have a ceremony void of any religious trappings if they so desire.

This is what this country is founded on, the freedom to do things such as this in front of everyone if you so choose.

Now if the inauguration becomes something that has the president swearing to uphold the Bible and the teachings of Christ, while combating all who appose Christianity, then there would be a problem with the separation of church and state. To deny someone to practice their own belief in a ceremony specifically for them does not flow well with allowing freedom of religion.

An atheist is no better then any other religion if they go overboard and attempt to deny anyone their basic right to practice whatever religion they choose. People can say a prayer in a government setting, but the government cannot make everyone present at an event pray. Can you see this simple difference?

This would also be the same for gaining government employment as well. As soon as someone does not get a position based solely on their belief system, then I would be the first to stand up and complain. The same holds true for the religious fanatics.

I have heard things that bother me such as one religious group actively working to seat nothing but their followers on a school board so that thy could control what was taught in the school system, and to prevent the religious cleansing of the school curriculum. This scares me, and should scare the hell out of you.

It makes no difference if this group is of the same faith as you, the fact that they are actively trying to squash the freedom of other people should make you stand up against this sort of action.

Recently I had some correspondence with someone who said, “I will pray for you and your daughters who I am sure have not gotten an unbiased religious education to equip them to make an informed decision for themselves. I find that so tragic.”

To this I replied, “...let me address the fact that you think my daughters have not received an unbiased religious education. I guess by this you feel bad that they have not been indoctrinated into only one religion, that of yours. The dictionary says that unbiased means, 'Without bias or prejudice; impartial' and I submit to you that my children have probably received a more 'unbiased religious education' then families that have only one view of religion. Would you disagree?

“My degree is from Wayland Baptist University, and I venture to say that I have probably studied your own Bible deeper then you have. I was raised as a Christian until I was old enough to start asking the right questions. The answers never satisfied me, and so I proceeded on my own journey to discover more about various religions. The journey is still going on.”

So you see, there are those who feel so strongly about their own belief, that everyone else is a poor unenlightened and misguided sheep. In fact, I recently heard a talk radio host that was discussing this whole Michael Newdow thing say something like, “the atheists just don't get it”. Get what? Religion? That is sort of the point of atheism I think, the fact that they don't get religion at all.

No matter your belief, this country was founded on the right to allow you to follow whatever path you choose. Michael Newdow, in his own lust for the media attention that he is getting, has lost the true meaning of what he was trying to initially accomplish.

Fighting for the freedom of all the people is a noble goal, but when that fight becomes so misguided that you start trying to prevent others from expressing their belief during a ceremony that is being given in their honor, it's time to reevaluate your motives.

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