Immoral Because
We Don't Follow
A Religion
Drew Lyons

Short Grapic Rule

Short Grapic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Drew Lyons"
Subject: Re: from a fellow atheist
Date: Sunday, September 03, 2000 12:50 PM

It's incredible, all right, in the literal sense of the word!

I've seen this one before: we've received it several times as junk mail. Judging from all the angle brackets, this copy has made made the rounds. I'll look for it in our unposted e-mail archives, because it seems to me that I remember this being a column in the newspaper, not the English class composition of an unnamed teen from Bumpork, Afrodesia.

What it does, is it paints a false picture of the problem and then it takes that false picture to its logical conclusion in order to generate what the author thinks is satire. Unfortunately for this writer, satire comes off best when it is based upon a real situation. This "satire" paints a Slippery Slope worst-case scenario based upon a Straw Man misreprenation of the opponent's position. If a child actually wrote this (which I seriously doubt), the Christians have taught their children well -- if what they want their children to learn is how to use dishonesty in order to convince others of the truthfulness of one's case. Allow me to try to unravel the falsehood this alleged youngster wove into this work.

First, kids are allowed to pray in school. Nobody could stop them even if they wanted to, and nobody that I currently know would want to. What is forbidden is for the government to sponsor prayer or to allow it to be presented to a captive audience. Lately (since the Reagan era), people have been saying that the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion but not freedom from religion. This has never been true, as you will see in the pullout section included in the August, 2000, issue of our print edition, which comes out in a few days.

The government can no more force you to practice religion than I can force you to not practice religion. The only thing the government (including schools) cannot do is sponsor religious teaching or ritual. Thus, on-duty government workers are forbidden from using their positions as a vehicle for religious expression; this is not valid religious expression according to the First Amendment, and is thus not covered by its Religious Liberty guarantee. Strict government neutrality regarding all religious expression is the only method yet developed that even comes close to ensuring everyone's Religious Liberty. Remember, proselytization, etc., by an on-duty government worker is not considered valid religious expression, and this is how we accomplish this neutrality.

But Religious Liberty for themselves and others is not good enough for the anarchistic, anti-American Christian movements which are becoming so popular today. Since these Christians cannot make the case for their religion through reason, they feel they must resort to bullying: puffing up; pounding their collective chest; lying to the public about the way things are; spreading this stuff around like a chain letter (if this chain letter is not illegal, it certainly is tacky).

Secondly, and this is most important to seeing through their lies: school violence is down -- way down -- since the Reagan administration. Although the media's reporting of any instance of school violence is now sensationalized way out of proportion, the actual statistics show a marked decrease in school violence across the land.

No. These Christian anarchists cannot force their religion upon us -- unless we let them. This is why I work tirelessly toward countering bullshit like this chain letter, and hope that a few will wake up and realize what is happening before it is too late.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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