Dershowitz Piece Misleading:
All Presidents Flaunt Constitution
Larry Judkins,
Religion Page Editor,
Sacramento Valley Mirror

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Larry"
Subject: Re: Dershowitz
Date: Thursday, January 25, 2001 10:57 PM

I openly opposed the candidacy of Al Gore, and expect I would be attacking Gore's Inauguration and Presidency just as viciously as I have done to Bush. This election was not easy on me.

To me, the last President we had who was truly a Separationist was the (very religious) Jimmy Carter. The one before him was the (equally religious) John F. Kennedy. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Kennedy was the only thorough-going Separationist we've had since Theodore Roosevelt, and, to a lesser extent, Calvin Coolidge. The rest of the Presidents of the past century either took state-church separation for granted, didn't think much on the matter, or worked to thwart it (Eisenhower; Reagan; Bush I; Bush II).

Meanwhile, I didn't hear about Clinton's Inauguration perhaps because the only ones who would complain about such things are from the left: I wouldn't expect to hear many Republicans criticizing Clinton for compromising his commitment to the Establishment Clause. I did roundly criticize Clinton on two occasions: First, over his patently exclusivistic Christmas Address of 1996, and in another address in May, 1997 (National Day of Prayer Proclamation ?), wherein he said,

Our people have always believed in the power of prayer and have called upon the name of the Lord through times of peace and war, hope and despair, prosperity and decline.

I also called him for falsely portraying Washington as a pious man, when he said:

Today within our Nation's Capitol Building, a stained glass window depicts General Washington humbly kneeling and repeating the words of the 16th Psalm, "Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust."

That stained-glass window is no more truthful depiction of Washington than the ones depicting Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

I also carried criticism of Clinton's 1996 Thanksgiving Address.

But Bush's tone was overtly anti-non-Christian, and I expect to see many latent Separationists coming out of the woodwork and keeping close tabs on Bush's quest to demolish the Establishment Clause. The exclusivism of Bush's approach to religion, and Bush's readiness to bring that exclusivism to work with him, is very potently described in Dershowitz's column.

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

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