Your President Should
Express His Religion
Benjamin A. Frost
Your President is a Christian, there is no reason why he should not express that. If you don't want to pray, then don't. Atheists have no need to pray, we realise there is no god and that praying is a waste of time for us, but it makes many people feel better to do it, so let them. By moaning every time our politicians express a r eligious sentiment we become as bad as all the other minority religions complaining about evolutionary theory being taught in biology class, if you don't want to hear it then don't listen.
University of Greenwich
P.S. I've never thought of Atheism as a missionary religion, why bother? The Courts and the Government are already secular (at least in the UK), what more could we want?
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "FROST BENJAMIN A"
Subject: Re: PAM urges response to call for prayer
Date: November 01, 2001 10:53 PM
P.S. I've never thought of Atheism as a missionary religion, why bother?
Neither have I, and I agree wholeheartedly. Why bother!? You don't want to endure what atheists in America endure unless your emotional and psychological disposition prevents you from being anything other than openly atheistic at all costs. I would not wish this life on even a theist, so I don't go around telling theists to become atheists. As far as I go is to respond to the claims that they send to me. I have initiated contact with perhaps four theists since I started doing this, and at no time did I do that for the purpose of propagating atheism; rather, my only goal, here, is to protect the rights and dignity of people who already are atheists, and to work with them toward bringing us all a greater understanding of our heritage as atheists.
As you have read in our FAQ Section and elsewhere, I started doing this after having been held in jail for 24 days simply for refusing a court order to undergo religious instruction in the form of drug and alcohol rehabilitation -- and I didn't even have any drug- or alcohol-related charges, much less convictions! That experience will make a passionate social activist out of even the most private of citizens.
In fact, part of the mission of this magazine and web site (as you read in our FAQ Section and elsewhere) is to denounce the "missionary" zeal of certain elements within organized atheism. Rather, we recommend simply standing up for the Religious Liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution (our target audience is primarily American) and limiting our criticism of religion to those expressions that we deem intrusive, exploitative, or dangerous. At no time have we ever encouraged the practice of trying to convince theists to become atheists.
But of course you already read that in our FAQ Section.
Your President is a Christian, there is no reason why he should not express that.
He already expressed that to us. He has told us he is a Christian many, many times, now -- we find this out practically every time he opens his mouth. He keeps reminding us so often and so forcefully (and going much, much further than simply informing us of this fact) that it's almost as if he doesn't think we trust his sincerity (and I think a large fraction of us don't). But this is beside the point: the only point that Positive Atheism made in the dispatch "Pam Urges Response Go Call For Prayer" is that what our Christian President is doing is against the law. We also seek to point out that because this is an emergency situation, our Christian President can expect to be able to break the law without many (if any) calling him to the mat for so doing.
It's beginning to look as if our Christian President ran for the high-profile job of Presidency solely for the purpose of exploiting that profile so he could hustle and hawk his personal religious views with greater force and efficiency. All the U.S. Presidents have explained their religious views to the people who elected them, with the exception of Washington, Tyler, Taylor, and Arthur, and for the most part Madison, Monroe, and Van Buren. Jimmy Carter, easily the most devout Christian President this century, told us once that he is a Christian (in the Playboy Interview during the first campaign) and then went about his business without further mention of this fact (to any significant degree). Bush's actions in this respect are wholly unprecedented: nobody else has even come close to doing what our Christian President has done. It was difficult to enforce our Constitution before, to protect the Religious Liberties of the citizens (particularly the non-Christians), it will be almost impossible to enforce (or even retain) our Constitutional protections now.
He has even gone so far as to pronounce that certain religions are not really religions (Wicca; Nation of Islam) and that certain religious views are not protected by the Constitution (Wicca; Atheism). It is clear from the start that this was one of his primary motives, but I now suggest that it's beginning to look as if our Christian President sought the office of the President solely with this end in mind: to exploit the power inherent in this high-profile position for the purpose of inflicting his religious views upon the citizens of this nation, in clear violation of the protections (allegedly) provided by the Constitution of this nation.
If George Bush wanted to be President, he needed to realize that in order to hold this position, he agrees to forfeit the right to wear his religious views on his sleeve. It's one thing to be a Christian and to let that be known, but our Christian President is abusing his office for the purpose of promoting his personal religious views. In several instances, he has gone further: he has actually directed the religious exercises of his constituents and has officiated religious ritual during the course of his official duties.
If he wanted to do this, if he had wanted to direct the religious exercises of people and officiate religious ritual as part of his job description, he ought to have become a minister or a small-business owner or a writer or something along those lines. This is not only not the role of the President, our Constitution goes so far as to place limits on the public religiosity of the man who holds that office for the purpose of protecting the Religious Liberties of the citizens of the nation.
Unlike in some other countries, the U.S. President has absolutely no right to direct (or even suggest) the religious exercises of his constituents. By doing this, our Christian President has not only violated the law, but he has trampled the Religious Liberties of his constituents, whose Liberties he has sworn to uphold. Our Christian President has become a liar in that while taking that oath he promised to do what he is now refusing to do and he promised not to do what he is now doing. (Besides, the "oath" he took was itself not even the official oath mandated by our Constitution, but had our Christian President's own very religious flourishes added to it.) During his campaign he promised to violate our Constitution, and somehow he ended up in office nonetheless. (The vast majority of United States citizens did not vote for him.)
This most recent election was unprecedented in terms of voter apathy, probably because both major candidates made stern and sweeping promises to ride roughshod over our Constitutional guarantees of Religious Liberty. However, this is no excuse for the man who eventually occupies that office to violate his oath of office.
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
people with no reason to believe
Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.