Why All The
Anti-Religion Rhetoric?
David Plunkett

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "David Plunkett"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Monday, May 15, 2000 6:03 AM

As we have stated time and time again -- both in our Letters section and in our editorials -- we have no problem with what people believe in or don't believe.

However, many (if not most) believers have a serious problem with the fact that we do not share their delusions, and some of them go to great lengths to make life a living hell for us. (The Argument From Nonbelief states that the existence of unbelievers shows that the argument for the existence of "God" is not air-tight.) These meddlers use high-pressure sales tactics to try to convince us to go along with their viewpoints. They even lobby to pass legislation that provides special rights for believers, and leaves the rest of us holding the bag. Part of our task, here, is to oppose this, and part of that task is to justify our opposition to their intrusiveness. Thus, we have the presence of what you call "anti-religion rhetoric" (although we think your use of the term "rhetoric" displays your bias, which bias you share with the majority of Americans).

Finally, our target audience is not theists, but atheists. We cannot test people who visit our site, and then ban those who believe in gods (nor would we want to ban anybody). However, many atheists still struggle with the issues and questions that are covered on our website. Others simply need to see that they are not alone in their rejection of theism. Thus, we attack not only specific religious dogmas but also the behavior of certain individuals who openly promote religion as a valid method for teaching morality.

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "David Plunkett"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Monday, May 15, 2000 2:59 PM

I could name many, but one is Pat Robertson's move to get the public to subisdize religious instruction in the form of school vouchers. My favorite is tax exemption and tax breaks for any business that is run by a religion. An astonishing case was that of Herb Silverman who was denied a license to become a notary public because he refused to sign a confession of faith in "God" on the application form.

A most astonishing case in recent times is that of Professor Fred Whitehead:

[from American Atheists]

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "David Plunkett"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2000 7:21 AM

There is nothing wrong (or illegal) with praying at school. It is when that prayer is organized and foisted upon individuals who do not wish to participate (such as at a graduation ceremony) that it becomes wrong (and also unconstitutional).
 

What if your "god" is no god at all, and you still want a job as a notary public? Are we, then, out of luck in your Christian-dominated world?

Should our country allow a religious test of any kind to qualify for a civil position?

Does not the United States Constitution forbid religious tests for civil positions?
 

Please do study the "Remonstrance" of James Madison, and the "Bloudy Tenent" of Roger Williams. Only through absolute neutrality and the lack of favoritism toward a particular sect (or religion itself) can even religion prosper. Because we have practiced an admittedly imperfect separation of religion from government does religion prosper in America more than it does anywhere else. We also benefit because no American religionists think that their religion is degraded; this is because the state never defines religious anything in America (except during National Bible Week and National Day Of Prayer and on our currency [since the 1950s] and in our Pledge of Allegiance [since the 1950s] and in our National Motto [since the 1950s] and in court swearing-in ceremonies and [unofficially] during the inaugural, etc., which we are actively opposing, as well as through the voucher system which favors those religions which erect parochial schools, which we are opposing).

Tell me this: would you feel uncomfortable if our money said,
          "IN THE GODS WE TRUST"
               or
          "THERE IS ONE GOD ALLAH,
           AND MOHAMMED IS HIS PROPHET"?
               or even
           "GODS ARE ALL MAKE-BELIEVE"
Would you feel okay if "IN GOD WE TRUST" had never been placed on our money during the McCarthy era of the 1950s?

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "David Plunkett"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2000 9:38 AM

"Separation of state and church" is what the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment means. Check out Jefferson's reply to the Danbury Baptists, who were themselves staunch separationists.

I oppose all groups who seek to impose their views upon the rest of us. In America, this is the Catholics and the Evangelicals.

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "David Plunkett"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2000 9:35 AM

It is against the law for the ceremony itself to contain an organized prayer or similar religious ritual. This does not mean that individuals are forbidden from praying.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "David Plunkett"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2000 1:22 AM

I would be offended because (1) I am being forced to endure religious proselytization while in an organized public function and (2) I am financially supporting the proselytizing of a religion.

And I do not have the option of simply "not listening" to them when they are taking religious dogma and making it a law that I am expected to obey, or that gives organized religion advantages that the rest of us do not enjoy (or makes it legal for them to do what it would be a crime for me to do).

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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.