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Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance
June 30th, 2011
06:41 PM ET

Atheists flying ad campaign meets strong resistance

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

(CNN)–It's a battle of belief - and the right not to believe - in a country founded on freedom.

"I'm a patriotic American. I served my country. I get out there and celebrate the Fourth, too," Blair Scott, who calls himself a proud atheist, proclaimed.

"This America belongs to everyone."

Blair, the communications director for the New Jersey-based American Atheists, said atheists in the United States often feel alienated and face accusations of being anti-American because of their lack of belief in God.

To combat those notions, his group is using Independence Day to say atheists love their country, too.

But the way they're spreading their message might have Americans looking to the sky this Fourth of July and finding something besides fireworks to stir emotion.

Planes with banners that read "God-LESS America" or "Atheism is Patriotic" will be flying over 27 states on Monday. While people might be leery to see the messages overhead, the $23,000 campaign has had a struggle with those who are supposed to bring it to life.

Justin Jaye of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising, who is orchestrating the flights for American Atheists, said out of the 85 people in the country who fly these sign-pulling planes only about 17 have agreed to fly the messages.

"I've been in this business for 20 years and I've never run into so much resistance on people flying," Jaye said. "I've had pilots who are actual atheists who said, 'Justin, I am an atheist and I won't fly it because I can't wear a bulletproof vest.'"

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, says the reaction to the organization's campaign before it takes off shows how much work the group still needs to do. "This is a clear reminder of why we need to keep fighting because the bigotry against us is so thick that a lot of the pilots are afraid to fly our banners," he said.

Jaye said while some feared for their lives, others feared for their marriages. He had one pilot say his wife would divorce him if he made the flight.

Red Calvert, a pilot and president of Pro-Air Enterprises in Indianapolis, said his reasons to decline the flight were based on his personal beliefs.

"I respect our country and I respect our churches and we've got enough problems in our country without stirring up some more," he said. "If those people want to do something they believe in, fine, just don't include me."

The American Atheists hope to draw attention and spur public discussion through their campaign on Monday.

"It's going to remind people that atheism is at that ballgame and at that beach and at that parade. We are patriotic people," Silverman said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • New Jersey • Religious liberty • United States

soundoff (2,835 Responses)
  1. Russell

    Individual atheists can be just as patriotic as anyone else, but atheism is logically incompatible with the underlying ideas of America. In particular, the idea that our rights are given by God rather than government, and the idea that government is under God and therefore limited, are essential components of the idea of America.

    July 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • steve88

      that's assuming those ideas are purely based on a god. I think you are thinking of the Declaration of Independence, (which does explicitly speak of the creator, many of the founders (all?) believed in, yet I would think that is just that, a declaration of independence. However, officially the ideas and rules the nation would be founded on, I would look towards the Consti-tution. Another reason is the Treaty of Tripoli. (I would support that there was a theme they were trying to build on, and to get a way from the Monarchy)

      July 3, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Use common sense please

      Not at all. The US is not about religion. It also expressed a god, that will soon vanish. Old primitive stuff is all. Our country is still evolving. Compared to other countries, we are new. Much to learn and ' in god' stuff will no doubt be removed.

      July 4, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  2. bob

    Steve:

    Regarding Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny (or the Resurrection rabbit, if you prefer), the difference is that before long we all know what's going on with those wonderful figments of folklore, and then we smile and wink at the proceedings while using them to spread happiness. I know of no war fought over Peeps and dyed eggs (though there were some Christmas mornings I was pretty peeved with my parents) nor of anyone who blew themselves up to get to the North Pole ahead of schedule. If only everyone involved could admit that their gods are just man-made, and use them to teach parables and ethics, what a wonderful world it would be. But hoping for that is more of a fairy tale than Santa is.

    July 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  3. bob

    What could be more patriotic than wanting to raise a nation of children who seek real answers to real problems, instead of burdening them with supernatural fears and foibles?

    July 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • The good people, atheist and religious

      I would have to agree. As I have said in the past;it would be an insult to their god to not use the brains they have. No parent would ever want the children kneeling down in front of them, praising them and creating wars with their brothers and sisters in their fathers name. Why would their god, they call their father, want any different.

      Only proves they are hypocrites.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • steve88

      i would tend to agree, however there I would think there may be some use in moral parables, and imaginary friends ie santa claus, just for the experience. Such things may add an extra degree of richness to which would otherwise be missed. I understand the idea of santa claus purposely deceives the subject, however the idea itself is playful, imaginative, benign, and creative way to spread charity, harmony, kinship, ect.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  4. Mithra

    From Thomas Jefferson to John Adams dated 10/13/1813. "In extracting the pure principles which he taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to themselves. We must dismiss the Platonists and Plotinists, the Stagyrites and Gamalielites, the Eclectics, the Gnostics and Scholastics, their essences and emanations, their logos and demiurges, aeons and daemons, male and female, with a long train of … or, shall I say at once, of nonsense. We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms into which they have been led, by forgetting often, or not understanding, what had fallen from him, by giving their own misconceptions as his dicta, and expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves. There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man. I have performed this operation for my own use, by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently his, and which is as easily distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill. The result is an octavo of forty-six pages, of pure and unsophisticated doctrines."

    July 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • LEB

      Thomas Jefferson also fathered illegitimate children by black slaves he owned. You SURE you want to treat everything he said and did like it came from the mouth of Jesus himself?

      The Founders were not demi-gods. They weren't perfect. They were human beings with flaws who were products of their time, and their time included slavery, religious intolerance, and oppression of women. Jefferson's intolerant beliefs of non-evangelicals was irrational, just as his beliefs that slavery was wrong yet he never freed his own slaves was also irrational. As an educated man, his philosophies regarding the value of a democratic society were solid and well-reasoned, and we can admire him for this. But his personal morals and actions based on his morals were not as pristine, and because of this we must remind ourselves that he was a man of his era, just like every other educated, land-owning white male of the time.

      Oh, and John Adams actually spoke against a bill to emancipate slaves, even though both he and his wife strongly opposed slavery and he was only one of two of the first 10 presidents to not own slaves. He also argued against using black soldiers in the Revolutionary War, because it would have made him unpopular with the southern states. In other words, he was a hypocrite just like his buddy Thomas Jefferson, because he valued politics over the rights and freedom of his fellow human beings... or at least the dark-skinned ones. Like I said, they were men, not demi-gods out of whose mouths dripped jewels and gold with every word they uttered. Keep some perspective here.

      July 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  5. Truth

    I don't mind the religious helping others, however;

    1. Do it with their own money, stay off my tax dollars

    2. Do not promote your religion to them in any way, that's terrorism

    Putting the two together, as they are today, means you are promoting your religions growth with my tax dollar.

    July 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  6. JD

    Real patriots don't attempt to trample the rights of everyone who disagrees with them, which seems to be the agenda of mainstream atheism today. I've yet to meet an atheist who understands the Establishment Clause – they all think it establishes atheism as the official religion of America. At least, that's what their positions mean in practice.

    July 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Please list the rights atheists have trampled upon.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Terre08

      Thanks for proving you're an idiot!

      July 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • @HotAirAce

      Atheists want God out of the country period, and they seem to not stop on their crusade to do so. Not all atheists apply to this, but some do. Its sick. They have NO respect for believers' rights.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      The requirement for the "absence" of religion is not the "establishment" of atheism. Just because some versions of agnosticism/atheism might resemble the absence of religion does not mean "they" are attempting to establish anything. You assume far too much. And where it is "established" what a "real" patriot is ? Many, maybe even most religious Americans understand how dangerous "establishing" a state religion would be.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      While *I* hope for the end of all religion, I don't think there is an organized effort to achieve that. But how does your perception of what atheists want differ from believers actively recruiting converts and influencing politicians?

      I've *never* had an atheist knock on my front door to recruit me – I wish I could say them same for the several believers I take great delight in throwing off my property!

      Believers have had it their way for centuries and now that their "house of cards" is crumbling, they're understandably getting cranky. Boo Hoo!!

      July 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • steve88

      "Real patriots don't attempt to trample the rights of everyone who disagrees with them," I was with ya up to that point; further more I would say that America is not an atheistic nation, but is indeed a secular nation. (... or that America was intended to be for everyone).

      July 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Paul in VA

      I am an atheist. I don't care if it says "In God We Trust." on my money. I don't care if there is prayer in schools (as long as those not interested can just sit quietly without repercussions). I don't care if the ten commandments are on display in a courthouse. I DO care when the religious folks in this country tell me I am less patriotic simply because I don't believe in their god.
      Tolerance. Believe what you want to believe. Allow me to do the same. I won't push my belief system on you. Please show me the same respect.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Scott

      That's right. We are trampling on your right to have a sky filled with noting but pro god advertising. We are trampling on your right to have your god mensiond in our pledge of allegiance. We are trampling on your right to have your god's trust printed on our money. And we are trampling on your right to shut us up. Too bad you can't burn heretics any more but we trampled on that right too

      July 4, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  7. krisfromVA

    As an atheist, one of the things I really appreciated and respected about atheism in general is that we DO NOT TRY TO RECRUIT others into our beliefs, unlike traditional religions. My beliefs are private and I would never impose them on anyone else. I respect others' beliefs in a god, etc., and only ask that they respect that I'm not interested in converting. I hope this is not where atheism is evolving.

    July 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Terry Dempsey

      That was a very simple and honest sounding post you made. Mutual respect between people with opposite beliefs is indeed rare these days and I liked hearing a reasonable voice. I personally don't think it's tolerance that some want, but total acceptance. And to gain that, it's necessary to change the way the majority thinks, to make them think something else. That's a though task for any small group, and maybe even a little unfair. Your beliefs are your own...go in peace and go quietly and leave me to mine. If you dream of remaking the world, more power to you...unless your dreams take away the hopes of others.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Paul in VA

      Couldn't agree more. Well said.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • prgmr6

      well said, I am atheist but won't fly an airplane overhead "promoting" my atheism.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • LEB

      Exactly. I DO hope to influence others toward self-governance and self-determination through rational thought, but I don't "preach" my view of the world. If the topic is opened for discussion, then sure, I'll tell people what I think about whatever topic, but only if they have invited my opinion. In every other way I simply seek to influence by being a good example of what a normal person who happens to be atheist is like. I'm a happily married, self-employed, tax-paying, law-abiding citizen, thoughtful and polite person. My goal is to hopefully get a believer who is threatened by atheism due to indoctrinated beliefs that I am nothing to be afraid of, just because I don't share their beliefs.

      And amusingly enough, some of my long-time friends who were once believers have slowly made their way to atheism. Would it have happened if they had never known me? Possibly. But it is gratifying to be that one person they can vent their frustrations to, and who won't lash out at believers the way believers are all too eager to lash out at atheists.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  8. gozer

    Indeed, Child, religions should all be kept in a tiny box. That box should be heavily sealed and locked away, and with the appropriate label:

    "Contents extremely toxic to humanity, and in conflict with reason and evidence."

    We'd all be better off if the box were never opened again.

    Glad you brought that up. Thanks.

    July 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Bad logic

      That would make a great futuristic movie.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Religion is for idiots

      The very reason christians get upset when you question their beliefs is they don't really believe what they say they believe. If they were so sure of their religion, they'd laugh off anything anyone else said to them. Religion is the worst scourage this planet has ever seen. Religion will eventually lead to the end of human civilization.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  9. spottedsharks

    Some Christians think themselves under "attack" because they are not used to having their religious beliefs questioned in public. That sort of thing used to be taboo. What some Christians call persecution atheists call a decision not to be quiet any longer. Well, boo-hoo for the poor little Christians. You're so oppressed. There are 4 or 5 God channels on my cable box, 2 or 3 religious radio stations in my area, about 200 churches in my phone book, and Christians have the GOP by the scrotum. Yeah, you look persecuted from where I'm sitting.

    July 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Bad logic

      I would imagine as we become more evolved, laws will be in place to keep religion from kids. That is until they reach the age of adulthood.

      It's so unfair they brainwash their children, abuse. Then again they realize the brainwashing won't stick as easily if they don't begin it at childhood.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      Christians are under attack. It's one thing to put competing ideas out, but it's quite another thing to be hateful and confrontational which is what most of the atheists on this site and those who will be flying the banner are.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Bad logic

      Too funny "Christians are under attack."

      see what happens when you engage in delusion? You become paranoid.

      If anyone was harmed in modern times, it is the victims of clergy abuse. They were denied justice because the church has the power to buy and persuade lawmakers. Many victims committed suicide and others mentally ill today, mothers cried to their death. All the victims want is the truth exposed. The truth is the greatest healer. What have you done about that?

      How selfish of you.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • John Richardson

      People like Joe Blow are far worse than just delusional. They lash out in an attempt to control the world (cf his proposed amendments) because of their own personal psychodrama. We've seen his ilk time and again. They don't all use religion, but they all like to use governmental power to control in others what they find hard to control in themselves.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:21 am |
  10. steve88

    "Why are such people such and atheists such a threat? It's the children. They all want to destroy our children's souls to create more like them."
    ahh here was what I was getting at. Lets forgot about the concept of a supernatural soul is also a supernatural unproven, unprovable, claim,, However what is important is that you believe this claim because of your faith in your specific religion, all of which is more likely man made, as every supernatural claim, (therefor religions and magic are also improbable, unknowable, and untestable) is likely a man made claim. Though I agree that in our world, people could use a culture with more emphasis on self control, and on the risks of certain life-s-tyle choices (ie se-x and d-rugs), sigh.

    July 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • steve88

      yea this post was supposed to be in reply to another comment,,, ... yeppp

      July 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  11. Greg

    Agnostic is patriotic because we do not force our belief or non-belief on others. Your belief is your belief; do not project it on others. Atheism end with, "ism," for a reason and Agnostic doesn't. The Pilgrims didn't believe in icons like the cross because it projects something much like gang colors. Catholics used the cross as a symbol on the Inquisition just like the KKK with burning crosses. The Pilgrims were once respected because they did try to live peacefully with the natives; they weren't always successful in controlling Standish. Protestants should stop being Catholic and Catholics should look at what the Pilgrims were about and that was about ceasefire. Stop waving crosses or wearing other icons of religion. Go to the Church of your choosing but try to keep your religion more personal rather than tribal.

    July 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • steve88

      yeah greg I tend to agree, however it is also possible to say "though I can not make a positive claim about the existence or non-existence of the improvable, supernatural, magical, or untestable subject in question, I can claim that there is some likelihood that the claim may be man-made or that the burden of proof has at least not been satisfied." May I not?

      July 3, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Jason

      "Agnostic is patriotic because we do not force our belief or non-belief on others. Your belief is your belief; do not project it on others. Atheism end with, "ism," for a reason and Agnostic doesn't. "

      I don't exactly disagree with the intention of your argument but your point is poorly made. Agnostic is an adjective. Atheism is a noun. Agnosticism is linguistically equivalent to atheism, unless you are saying "I am an agnostic" in which case you would comparatively say "I am an atheist." In both those instances they act as nouns. But neither ends in 'ism'.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
  12. jim

    how can CNN not be against Christianity....just take a look at the articles on the top of this website....just laced with anti-christianity garbage. Not surprised by the way haha

    July 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Dennis

      I didn't see any garbage in the article you're commenting on. Could you point it out?

      July 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • jim

      you would deny it anyway....just open your eyes. You'll see the light 🙂

      July 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Bad logic

      Jim is the one who is selective here, not CNN. In fact CNN does not publish enough about the truth in religion. If they did, which would be fair, there would be many psychologist based articles about the need for human delusions.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • jim

      haha, just stop the madness and start watching FOX news for the truth...its okay, i won't tell anyone 🙂

      July 3, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Bad logic

      You're simple minded religious belief makes sense now, jim. 'Watch fox news if you want the truth', how silly. Ever notice how fox news rarely offers posters a chance to argue in a fair manner?

      Sorry, most of us prefer gathering as much data as we can. Yes, we will sometimes watch fox. It becomes ridiculous though, when these lunatics claim religious though. You know who I mean. In fact it is sickening to listen to his sickness. I hope you don't identify with him.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Bad logic

      You're simple minded, <– coma missed.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Trying to help

      Bad logic,

      "You're simple minded religious belief makes sense now, jim."

      – then –

      "You're simple minded, <– coma missed."

      No, it's not a 'coma' (comma) that's missing... it should read: "Your simple-minded religious belief..."

      July 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • asrael

      Excellent non-reply, Jim. "Just open your eyes" always works for me, too, and spares me the need to make a cogent presentation...

      July 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  13. Minutiae

    My experience with people like this who preach tolerance is that they want to be *tolerated." If you disagree with them, they are just as judgmental and dogmatic as anyone they work so hard to denounce.

    July 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Dennis

      Why don't you give us an example of this intolerance you've experienced?

      July 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • jim

      exactly...i love liberals and atheists who preach toooolerance. They only preach tolerance until it becomes a disadvantage for them...then its out the window, until their next victim comes along haha...so true 🙂

      July 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Bad logic

      If folks plan to use references, they ought to at least provide examples.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • jim

      um...ok, then just tolerate it then

      July 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • LEB

      Yup, you've figured us out. We're intolerant of people who are intolerant. Guess the cat's out of the bag now!

      July 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  14. tallulah13

    Either you are a troll, joeblow, or you are a traitor to America. Your desire to destroy the very freedoms this country was built on brings to mind all the anti-American militias that seem to thrive in Idaho. If you wish to form a religious dictatorship, I suggest you move to the middle east.

    July 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      I am no troll, and you have insulted me which is what a Christian can expect from your side. I am NOT suggesting destroying our freedoms in this great nation. The ability to amend the const.itution IS a freedom that we enjoy. In fact it is the ultimate freedom. Just looking at the responses, it is clear that Christians are under attack more today than ever.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Bad logic

      Not quite joe, you are being silly. However the world can start moving forward once you stop brainwashing children.

      It's not xtianity who is being attacked, then again you guys sure love to hit and run, then claim martyr.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @Bad Logic

      Exactly how do Christians "hit and run" and claim martyr? As for me, I stand behind everything I said, and I don't hit and run. And sometimes the claim of martyr is justified, especially here.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Bad logic

      You have no idea.. The martyrs are those children sssooodddommizzed and the catholic church threatening and denying them. Today the catholic church lobbies to stop laws that would expose the truth, promising catholic votes. Many children committed suicide and others mentally ill due to the abuses.

      Where are the religious now??

      YOU are not a martyr.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Christianity and all other cults have all the protection they under the USA consit!tution already – it's called the 1st Amendment. The actions of atheists have simply been to have various levels of government comply with the consit!tution. No one has lost any rights as a practice that has been deemed unconst!tutional (illegal!) could not have been a true right in the first instance. Christians/believers are just angry and unhappy because they are losing their centuries old, illegal and unwarranted, perks and positions of authority. Too bad, so sad...

      July 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  15. Mark from Middle River

    Wow Joe and Ace. One day both of you will tire of this and find some place in the middle to live side by side. 🙂

    July 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Yes, it is tiring dealing with the same old believer bullsh!t!!

      And I believe I've been quite restrained with the latest HeavenScent, Adelina, Fredica, extemist christian...

      July 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  16. daoud

    Atheists are just as whacked as any other religion, in fact, worse. Just a bunch of pompous individuals who claim to be well-read and learned who believe in absolutes w/no evidence. Be honest, remain humble, and state the fact, is God real? I just don't know.

    July 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • steve88

      It is also true that gods / deities, or other super natural things,and magical beings are more likely man made claims. That we can know for sure.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Dennis

      Atheism ain't a religion. But you really knew that. You just want us to be on your level, which you can't defend by any other means.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Bad logic

      Hey Dennis, they want to call it a religion so they can declare war.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • ssims

      Speaking of absolutes. You shouldn't judge an entire group of people based on the few you met. I know that I am not pompous or arrogant. I am just happy with non believing. No...nobody knows what the real truth is. So we're all doing our best to find a path that makes us happy. Everyone should be free to believe (or not believe) whatever they want without being pigeon holed into a type.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Scott

      OK, here's some honest truth from an atheist. I can not prove god does not exist; but, every test I have performed attempting to detect god has been negative or ambiguous. If god is the bigest, truest, most powerful and most loving force in the universe, I believe some of these tests should have been positive. I continue to preform tests and look for evidence. It wouldn't take much to push me into the agnostic camp, just one shred of real evidence. Here's a question for you. With all the miraculs they say god has performed and all the prayrs they say he has answered why has he never regrown an arm or a leg. Why does he hate amputees; but, loves cancer patients?

      July 4, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  17. Joe Blow from Idaho

    Christians should be working on two important amendments: A marriage amendment that establishes marriage as only between 1 man and 1 woman. A second amendment would be one that establishes America as a Christian nation first and foremost. Wake up Christians before it is too late!

    July 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Tim

      Feel free to practice your religion, of course. But once you have gotten your religion in my face, then you are going to have to deal with me directly, pal.

      July 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Will

      United states is a secular country with a religious government. Its about time that someone is speaking out against religion. Its time to Keep your ignorant 200 year old beliefs in church and not in government.

      July 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @Tim: The fact that atheists find protection in the 1st Amendment is the reason we need to get a Christian amendment passed. We do still live in a democratic republic where majority opinion carries the day. This is why Christians must act NOW before anymore are beguiled by atheists and degenerates.

      @Will: ??????

      July 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow From Idaho

      In another post you claimed that no one should force their beliefs on others. Your two priorities above prove that you are a hypocrite!!

      July 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      Oh, and Tim: it's just like people of your ilk to imply a threat whenever Christians stand up for their own rights. If the shoe were on the other foot, there would be no end to the moaning and groaning on here. But I guess it's ok to threaten Christians.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Spiffy

      You sir are an idiot.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @HotAirAce: No one is forcing beliefs on anyone. In case you didn't know, you will have plenty due process before any amendment is passed. In any case, what does this have to do with atheists forcing their beliefs on the majority?

      July 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Tim

      So atheists are now degenerates! How nice of you. I merely stated that when your religious beliefs start affecting me directly, I am going to act. I didn't threaten violence. I'm just not going to stand there and take it. Nope, gonna take it to the streets.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • bob

      Joe Blow from Idaho sounds more like Hitler from 1942

      July 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      You need to check your fifth grade civics book. This democratic republic was founded with the knowledge that the rights of minorities need to be protected from "the tyranny of the majority". Ever read the Declaration of Independence ? ALL men are created equal, (not just Christians), and ALL men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, not just YOUR friends. You sir are UN-AMERICAN.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • steve88

      "This is why Christians must act NOW before anymore are beguiled by atheists and degenerates."

      I see ya didn't really call us degenerates per se, however there is a strong insinuation, and atleast a very negative connotation implied by grouping us in that phrase. Sir you at least realize that's no very nice you know. Why, may I ask, are atheists, and our lack of beliefs in deities (among other supernatural claims as well) so bad? Seems kind of strange...

      July 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      Actually, Buckey Ball, it's you who needs to read a civics book. We are a democratic republic because the founding fathers didn't trust the uneducated masses to make decisions for themselves.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • blondegeisha

      Hello Joe,we are living in the USA and we can believe or not believe as we please,its called freedom,thats why this country was started. Believe as you wish,or don't its your choice,don't force your opinions on others.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @Steve88

      By degenerates I meant so.domites, for.nic.ators, adul.terers, liberals, and other immoral people. Why are such people such and atheists such a threat? It's the children. They all want to destroy our children's souls to create more like them.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • steve88

      "Why are such people such and atheists such a threat? It's the children. They all want to destroy our children's souls to create more like them."
      ahh here was what I was getting at. Lets forgot about the concept of a supernatural soul is also a supernatural unproven, unprovable, claim,, However what is important is that you believe this claim because of your faith in your specific religion, all of which is more likely man made, as every supernatural claim, (therefor religions and magic are also improbable, unknowable, and untestable) is likely a man made claim. Though I agree that in our world, people could do more if the culture had more emphasis on self control, and on the risks of certain life-s-tyle choices (ie se-x and d-rugs), sigh.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      So are you suggesting that you now also want a const'tutional amendment to repeal the "republic" part because
      people that don't agree with you are too stupid ? Good luck with that.
      Speaking of so.domites, you're the one who chose the name with "blow" in it.
      Suggest you go do what your name implies.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow From Idaho

      I really would love to see someone propose the consti!tutional amendments you seek, but I don't think any cult has the guts or is stupid enough to go for it, but then they do believe some pretty wacky things, so maybe I'll be surprised. Why would I love it you ask? Because 1) it would cause religion be critically examined and exposed for the unsupported collection of tribal myths that it is and 2) I doubt that Congress would pass such amendments nor would they get enough states to approve, and if approved, the Supreme Court would strike them down. But the entertainment value of "This should be the law of the land because my cult's rule book says so!" is huge, so please, go for it!!

      July 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @ HotAirAce: Have you not heard of the FRC, Focus on the Family, and the Center for Law and Justics? These are groups, among others, fighting tirelessly for Christians. They truly are pillars of America.

      @BuckyBall: I am in no way suggesting that we dismantle our democratic republic. Are you so full of hate that you can't even understand what I wrote? I am just advocating amending the const.itution to clarify once and for all that America is a Christian nation. I also believe that we need a marriage amendment to protect our families and children from the destruction that the sod.omites are bringing to our once-great nation.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Magic

      Joe Blow,

      "I am just advocating amending the const.itution to clarify once and for all that America is a Christian nation."

      It never was a Christian nation... and never will be. It is a nation with many Christians living in it... not a Christian nation.

      " I also believe that we need a marriage amendment..."

      The only change that would be productive is to remove the aus.pices of churches (and clergy) in performing civil marriages. If folks want religious ceremonies in addition to the civil marriage ceremony, they are welcome to do that... just as they do in many other nations around the world.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      I don't actually hate anyone. I get a'nnoyed at right wing wackos who ignore the fact that the founding fathers authored the Bill of Rights to protect us from people like you, and ignore the fact that the Declaration of Independence said that ALL men are created EQUAL, and for that reason DIDN'T "clarify" that christianity was the state religion. Yup, even the non-believers and gay people.

      I DO hope you spend all your time and energy and money working on your 2 amendments, because you are going to loose, (as the majority of Americans now favor same s'ex marriage, and a far greater majority can see how dangerous it would be to establish a state religion). "Clarifying once and for all that this is a Christian nation" ? What does that even mean, and what consequences would flow from that "clarification" ?

      "we need a marriage amendment to protect our families and children from the destruction that the sod.omites are bringing to our once-great nation."
      – So sod.omites are a threat to you ? Really ? How ?
      It would behoove you to read the California Appeals Court decision on Prop 8, as well as many other studies on the subject, becausel genius, at the end of months of testimony in the open court proceeding, the judge asked the plaintiff's attorney :"Exactly how does same s'ex marriage threaten traditional marriage?"
      Plaintiff attorney reply : "I don't know".

      July 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow From Idaho

      Yes, I've heard of them and other right-wing religion-based wackos. I'm confident that mainstream America will not support them, or if by chance they do, that the Supreme Court will put them in their place (which should be right beside astrologists, their predecessors on the tribal superst!tion evolutionary tree).

      Please explain how two consenting adults doing whatever they like, with their clothes on or off, in the privacy of their own home, has contributed, or could possibly contribute, to the decline of the USA.

      July 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • asrael

      It's the Illiuminati, Joe; ferret them out, and all your paranoia will be but a memory...

      July 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      I also fail to see what is so difficult to see that if you win your "clarification", you will indeed celebrate on day 1.
      On day 2, some other groups, MORE "faithful", MORE "true", MORE "christian" than you are going to come along,
      and request a "further clarification". Opening that door is a threat to YOU.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Joe Blow! Spoken like a true latent ho-mo-se-xual with severe anxieties about the baselessness of the religion he was force fed as a child and which he therefore looks to for comfort that, alas, never seems to come! Keep posting!

      July 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Bring it on

      Oh yes! Please do push for those amendments! That is exactly the kind of thing that will increase the numbers of atheists and non-religous people as it humiliates Christians with their own narrow-mindedness and intolerance.

      Go for it! Do it!

      July 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • gbird

      Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, which was written in 1796 and the text approved by George Washington, and signed into law in 1797 by President John Adams states, "As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." How do you get the founding fathers meant us to be a Christian nation from that?

      July 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • steve88

      @ gbird

      its as if there was a theme they were trying to depict, while getting a way from the whole monarchy bit. What could it have been? and could it be, that America is for everybody? (secular) no wayyy ... Preposterous. lol.

      July 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  18. Adam

    While I, as a Christian, believe that their message should be heard, as we are a country of freedom, the way that they are trying to say it is really all wrong.

    They should be focusing more on acceptance than being down right confrontational.

    Blair, the communications director for the New Jersey-based American Atheists, said atheists in the United States often feel alienated and face accusations of being anti-American because of their lack of belief in God.

    If that was the case the sign would say "Athiesim is Patriotic TOO" instead of just saying Atheists are Patriotic. And the "God-LESS America" itself is just to incite people against them so they can continue to say "Poor Atheists"

    I have atheist friends, I dont shove my beliefs at them, they dont shove theirs at mine, we talk about it, but in the end we accept each other. There needs to be acceptance on both sides.

    July 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Tim

      Baloney. If you really had atheist friends, then you would know what atheism is about, which you do not! Atheism is simply a non-belief in gods. I don't say, "I believe in the non-belief of fairies." I simply say, "I don't believe in fairies." Get it? More people should at least TRY to understand atheism before they start spouting off.

      July 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  19. fiverrules

    Ok you say this is about a campaign for education – All those people wanting acceptance why are you unaccepted? Serious question. Don't want to mention God – don't. If you make a scene and publicly refuse to participate at all, how can you expect to not have social consequence? As a group of people who generally promote intellegence and science over faith surely you understand there is a difference between saying I disagree with you and saying you are wrong. The former most of society can appreciate; the latter is a provocation. Provocation as you may have dealt with often leads to negative consequences. The banners, what you have done, provokes believers and promotes a belief system over the fundalmental belief system of much of the United States. It doesn't seem like an intellegent act if you want to promote acceptance and I can't believe you don't truely understand why people find it hard to accept.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Joseph Richardson, MD

      Well said!

      July 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Tim

      Wish I had more time to respond, so I'll just offer this. Religious provocation has been going on for as long as I can remember. For example, here is a statement from one of the respondents on this thread: "A marriage amendment that establishes marriage as only between 1 man and 1 woman. A second amendment would be one that establishes America as a Christian nation first and foremost. Now there is a provocation! And when you talk about the "fundamental belief system of much of the United States" it doesn't mean that 83% of the country is right (17% are not-affiliated). Remember that everyone on the planet at one time thought the earth was flat. In fact, some still do.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"....you understand there is a difference between saying I disagree with you and saying you are wrong. "

      Ok, that is an excellent point.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • fiverrules

      Tim why resort to strawman arguements. What logic are you using to infer that I believe christians don't provoke. As a Christian I believe the practice of relegion has done great harm and can do great harm. Christian need to be very aware that. That doesn't keep me from practicing. For the record I also believe religion is faith and government is law. Now back to your response really – he did it, they did it, so it must be ok and of course you must add the indirect you are wrong reference, just for " provocation". Thankyou for providing just one more reason I disagree with you

      July 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Tamerlane

      fiverrules, do you have five rules we should be living by or something?

      July 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • fiverrules

      Tamerlane LOL – fiverrules is based on my favorite book Watership Down – Fiver was my favorite character and unfortunately when I started on the internet " rules " suffix was being added to everything. I just stuck with it.

      July 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Fiverrules You say it's not right to tell someone they are wrong and then tell the people running this campaign that they are wrong to run it. And a couple people applauded this self-refuting verbiage? There have been several people who actually made useful suggestions for improving the campaign in earlier discussion. You've added nothing to the debate.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • fiverrules

      Richard Johnson – What's with all the atheist straw man arguments. I love the clever euphemism and dismissal at the end. Did you brush off your key board when you were done. I said there is a difference between saying I disagree and you are wrong. I also said the latter is a provocation. I never said it is wrong to tell someone they are wrong only that it is a provocation. I know its all in the verbiage. Now for improving the campaign, I didn't realize the debate was to improve the campaign. The clever organizers of this campaign don't need or want my suggestions for improvement. They achieved exactly what they wanted – publicity and a public platform. I am really sorry they didn't let you in on their true intent. Kudos to you, your stawman arguement that got me off topic

      July 4, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Fiverrules Just because you've heard the term 'strawman', that doesn't mean you can invoke whenever you are miffed over being criticized. You did not say in so many words that it is wrong to tell someone they are wrong, but you criticized the group for telling people that they are wrong (though again, not is so many words). In any event, while it is true that the organizers didn't request any suggestions for improvement, they also did ask for anyone's approval, least of all from Christians. My point was simply that others, including several atheists and other non-believers, had already criticized the tone of the slogans and a few did indeed suggest better slogans and better campaigns and the general drift was that, yes, these slogans seemed too confrontational. THAT is productive.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • fiverrules

      John Richardson – What do you call drawing conclusions from things not said and information not in evidence. If the shoe fits ... well you know the rest. One banner in particular makes an implied claim that the basis of all religions in the US does not exist. Atheist telling all religions via banner there is no foundation for their beliefs or just for you ( they are wrong ) can expect a little push back. Really its absurd. I did something I knew many would find offensive and now people won't accept me, They are so intolerant. Give me a break. This was an organized and calculated attempt to inflame emotions, provide a platform, and to address an apparent perceived lack of recognition for a value system . The promoters got exactly what they were trying to achieve. Question for you: Why would I be productive in the promotion of a set of beliefs I disagree with ?

      July 4, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Scott

      I'm about as atheist as a person can be and I totally agree with you. With a bit of mutual respect and a bit more live and let live we wouldn't need a heaven in a next life. And I'm definitely not saying atheists are innocent; but, when you compare the number the number of Christians calling for atheist blood vs the number of atheists calling for Christians to think. One camp does seem to need a bit more remediation than the other

      July 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • fiverrules

      Scott as a christian I agree with you. One of the things christians need to be especially aware of is saying you believe one thing then acting otherwise. Funny really, the more I think the more I believe.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  20. TRH

    I think we need to separate "patriotism" from "nationalism" or "ultra-nationalism".

    I LIKE my country but I sure as hell don't LOVE it. It needs lots of fixing. Maybe when it's fixed properly I'll love it. I'm not very hopeful though.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      So, you are a committed atheist who doesn't love his country. Why am I not surprised?

      July 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • FG

      It must be sad to have been born into a country so unworthy of your love. Perhaps if you just practice being even more judgemental we will all change to meet your specifications.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Joe Blow From Idaho

      How about dazzling us with your intellectual powers and educate us as to why being an atheist means someone doesn't love their country, or isn't patriotic, or is the cause of the decline of the USA? And while you are at it, perhaps you can explain why 70% of abortions in the USA are had by god-fearing, better-than-any-atheist (yes, I know, you didn't actually use this phrase..) believers, and why believers feel it is necessary to change abortion laws when they can have a dramatic effect if *they* simply follow their own cult's value system. How about you believers focus on your own problems before annoying others? Wouldn't that be the christian thing to do? And whilst we're chatting, I hate religion but not believers – I subscribe to the "hate the sin, love the sinners" bit of your tribal mythology.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Joe Blow from Idaho

      @HotAirAce

      Wow, you read a lot into a single line reply of mine. I never said that atheists are not patriotic. I was responding to the OP. But I do believe that a lot of atheists are unpatriotic liberals.

      You need to get right with the Lord. The ONLY thing that Christians are interested in is the welfare of your soul. You make it sound like we are somehow scheming behind your back to do you harm. The exact opposite is true – we love you and don't want to lose you to the evil one.

      July 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I love my country enough to want to correct it when it goes astray. I love my country enough to want it to behave in a way that will earn at least the respect and hopefully the friendship of others the world over.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • John Richardson

      More to the point, I love my country and all that it is and can be enough to defend it from those who want to "amend" away our freedoms with amendments like those that Joe Blow proposed. Yep, that'd be worth going to the barricades over, if need be. But I trust the civility of the majority of Americans enough to believe that going to the barricades won't be necessary.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:44 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.