While She's Weak:
A Repeat Performance
When I was a kid, my Mother asked me if I knew the Pledge of Allegiance. I said "sure I do" and I recited it to her. She then told me that when she was a kid, the line "under god" was not used. I asked her why and she said it was because of a "bad government at that time". So, from that moment on (I think I was around 8 or 9), I skipped the phrase "under god" when reciting the Pledge. Was that changed during the infamous McCarthy Era too? I fear that Bush, the opportunist that he is, will attempt to duplicate what McCarthy did -- catch the nation while it is "weak" and push his faith-based crap on us.
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
To: "Hector Lopez"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: October 18, 2001 9:26 PM
The "under God" part was slipped into the pledge because the hysteria coming from McCarthy's movement made everybody afraid to openly oppose the idea. Nothing like this hysteria is in place today: nobody is trying to bust people for disloyalty or anything like that.
All that's happening is that our rights are being taken away at breakneck speed since September 11th. And this is precisely what America's enemies, the religious fundamentalist both abroad and at home, want to happen. The Christian enemies in America want our rights removed so they can install their own regime; the Muslim enemies overseas want our rights removed pretty much on general principle, as an act of vengeance as well as because they, like the Christians, don't believe humankind ought to enjoy these rights.
But what McCarthy did that was most destructive was bust people for being anti-American (in his eyes). I don't see Bush doing that.
It was only in the wake of the McCarthy Era -- the aftermath, incidental to what McCarthy did -- that they passed beaucoup legislation giving clear advantage to members of the Christian sects. This legislation under which we atheists reel today was not McCarthy's main point. Also in this wake was a Cold War that lasted, physically, until the late 1980s though the "Cold War" mentality, be it "American versus Communist" or "Christian versus Atheist," still occupies the minds of many Americans.
All that Bush seems to be duplicating is the legislation, not the primary divisiveness which marked the McCarthy Era. The same would have happened under Gore, so our mistake was in how the Primaries of 2000 came out, not in how the election itself went down.
The "Christian Nation" revisionists of the McCarthy Era exploited McCarthy's paranoid, frantic obsession about the Communists. The revisionists of today are exploiting the fact that a "Christian Nation" revisionist now lives in the White House. Both groups (probably the same group separated only by time) seek to do two things. First, they seek to dismantle the Religious Liberties established in 1789 with the ratification of the United States Constitution. Jefferson even described those at work during his lifetime: it is against these very people, the clergy seeking to establish their own sect as supreme, that Jefferson vowed "eternal hostility." Secondly, as discussed by Jefferson in his "eternal hostilities quip, they seek to establish their sect as being supreme in all the land, starting with any form of government endorsement they can get away with, scooping up more and more endorsements and favors and laws enforcing their unique view of morality, and never being satisfied until the "wall of separation" is down and theirs is ratified as the sect under which we all must live.
Even if this happens, they will never be satisfied. They will never be able to inflict a "Taliban" type of absolute control in America. In fact, I don't foresee them even being successful in establishing a state religion -- officially, anyway. Instead, what I expect to happen is that all the protections that have kept the First Amendment effective and useful will erode. Fifty years ago, the slogan was "In God We Trust." Today, we are a bit more arrogant, pretending to tell God what to do with the slogan "God Bless America" as the war-cry of choice.
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