You Are Hostile To
The Concept Of Tolerance
David Frier

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Hey, everybody! There's a big difference between disagreeing with somebody and lying both to and about somebody in order to gain acceptance of your views. Observe:

 

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "David Frier" "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: They Even Got America's Favorite Pastime!!
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 15:29:56 +0100

Please give examples to back up this charge.
 

Nobody ever said the song itself, in its pre-Day of Atrocity form, was Christian. That's not the point. The song "God Bless America," as beautiful, stirring, and innocuous as it once was, has, over the past two months, become the anthem and symbol of a blatant and very arrogant move to eradicate the First Amendment protections of the separation of religion from government.

I am very surprised that you haven't noticed this. I don't watch the news and don't even own a television, but a TV set might be recommended to find out what's been happening in America over the past six weeks. While I'm at it, e-mail might be recommended as well, considering that I've been saying the same things ever since the 13th, when I realized that they were actually going to exploit this thing to further their agenda of squashing the First Amendment! I couldn't believe it; thus, I couldn't remain silent. They're not even being subtle about it, but are celebrating it in bold and colorful terms, baiting "the atheist" as they do this. In my dispatch of the 13th, I said,

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Most shocking is the immediate and almost exploitative call to prayer and worship from the President on down. We atheists are baffled that we are being asked to beseech a deity who allegedly knew not only that this would happen but also how to prevent it from happening. No, this tragedy only reinforces our disbelief, and the response of the religionists only reinforces our disdain for faith.

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So, since it is almost entirely the Christians who want to do away with the First Amendment, and since "God Bless America," through no fault of its own, has been made the anthem and symbol of this move to take away my Religious Liberty, I oppose its use for these divisive political purposes (which purposes are precisely why they are advocating its use). I also oppose its use as a sectarian message, a very Christian sectarian message that has absolutely nothing to do with the original meaning of the song, but has everything to do with why it has become so popular that Major League Baseball, among others, are even commercializing on it.
 

Again, please give examples of this very serious charge that you have leveled against me.
 

I wonder if this has anything to do with why almost all of the editorials celebrating the use of "God Bless America" as the anthem of the movement to eradicate the First Amendment protection of separation of religion from government almost always mention the "deafening silence on the part of the atheists and the civil libertarians"?

Now "God Bless America" is being celebrated by these characters as an anti-Atheist and anti-Civil Liberties anthem as well! I am not making this up, I am just reporting what I have read in these editorial columns! "God Bless America" has become their weapon, and it is the atheists that they're using this weapon against!

Are these un-Americans considering the silence of those who think we even have the luxury of "picking our battles" as a victory? Well, they sure are celebrating their own victory and have been swift to point out our silence.

If you wish to remain silent, then why did we hear from you?
 

What does the private behavior of an individual have to do with a discussion on the public use of a divisive anthem in public schools, in the halls of government, and now in a damn baseball game? Individuals, acting as indivudals, have every right to do whatever they want to with their religious views -- no matter who it may offend.

However, business, particularly big business that uses tax moneys as a subsidy to survive (such as Baseball), is patently irresponsible for using a divisive sectarian anthem in order to commercialize off a tragedy.

And government, be it the President or be it a school principal, is breaking the law when they advocate religion over no religion.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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Added: October 24, 2001

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "David Frier"
Subject: Re: They Even Got America's Favorite Pastime!!
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 23:55:46 +0100

Say what you think you must in order to either make your viewpoint appear to be truthful or to make my viewpoint appear to be falsehood. I know what my views are and I know what I have written. And anybody else who has read even a small portion of what I have written knows that whoever wrote the above either has not read very much of my writings at all or is deliberately slandering me.
 

Again, either you haven't read much (if any) of my writings or you are deliberately slandering me. I go up against only those expressions that are "public enough" to possibly involve Entanglement (such as the House's endorsement of the public schools singing "God Bless America" or government assisted baseball games bringing it into their itinerary.

I also go up against lying expressions that I consider dangerous to the safety or Liberty of myself and my fellow citizens. In short (as you have read dozens of times on our web site and in our dispatches), I take on only those expressions of religion that I consider to be intrusive, exploitative, or dangerous and have, for a long time, now, encouraged others to place the same limitations on themselves. If anybody has spoken out against gratuitous and indiscriminate attacks upon religion it is I.

As you have read numerous times in our Letters section, many of our readers have thanked us for this stand or even for turning them on to this way of thinking. I started this venture precisely to oppose the very thinking you accuse me of doing and promoting. It is clear that you either have not paid attention to my work (and speak way too soon) or have some other motive in knowingly or deliberately slandering me, as your portrayal of me couldn't be much further from the truth -- there just isn't that much room left!

Have a nice life. As far as I can tell, it's the only one we get.

I choose to live mine trying to treat my fellow humans with dignity, only going up against them when I not only am sure I have sufficient information to avoid making the mistakes you have made here in slandering me but also only going up against those humans whom I think are either violating the Religious Liberties of other Americans by violating the United States Constitution (such as the current "God Bless America" movement) or who are openly promoting such activities in a powerful way (like using the influence of MLB for the purpose of endorsing the currently popular "God Bless America" movement).
 

One is attached. We did a huge feature on another, by Kathleen Parker, bringing in over 50 replies, that was along these lines. Parker says, "One can't help notice the silence of atheists these days," gushing that "we've repeatedly witnessed America's leaders praying, singing, pledging and asking the nation's citizens to join them." A sampling of the popular right-wing commentators who endorse Christianizing the United States will reveal several others along the same lines. This song is their anthem; this song is their victory. A newspaper subscription might be recommended, as it is not my burden to keep you up on current affairs. My integrity speaks for itself in that I still haven't had to issue any big-time retractions -- nothing more serious than stuff like when I fell for the Mark Twain / Heaven's Gate hoax.

As I said, have a nice life. I will go ahead and remove you from our database in hopes that we won't bother each other any more. Perhaps somebody else is willing to cower before you, but I am not.

Were you not so hot to trot about something (who knows what?) you would notice that the views you expressed in the final section are the very views I have been urging upon my fellow atheists for eleven years, now, seven of those being work as an activist at the level of public figure. My only reservation is my suspicion that this might be lip-service on your part, because these sentiments do not jive with your behavior toward me, lying both to me and about me for reasons I have yet to discover.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
    people with no reason to believe

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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.