June 29th, 2010
04:34 PM ET
Denounce the secular billboard–or its defacing?
Two comments about the defacing of a billboard that excludes the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, coming from seemingly opposite ideological ends. Denouncing the defacer:
Denouncing the billboard itself:
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I was raised without a religion, fully considered myself an Atheist and believed in evolution as I was taught in school. I was quite happy being and believing so. However, I was later given a chance to study the bible and am so thankful that I did. Religion is not the problem, it's the misuse and abuse of it. I, for one, am so much happier having a belief in God than when I did not.
In regards to the second quote, let's remember, that's how the pledge was until the 50s, so it's not really change so much as reverting back to the old way, you'd think the conservative republican fundamentalist christians would jump in joy for that to happen. Atheism is NOT a religion, it is simply that us atheists haven't seen sufficient evidence to believe a god exists, we still think it's POSSIBLE.
It might not be a religion, but it's still a belief system just as a religion is.
The US was founded as a secular nation, perhaps the first secular nation ever founded. That it took time for the people and lower governments in the US to adapt to this should not be surprising, though it frustrated the founding fathers. Reading their speeches and correspondence takes time and effort, but it really does definitively close the argument. Overwhelmingly, the basis of the US is law. Not Christianity, not the bible, but law – to be specific, English Common Law.
Where English Common Law needed to be fixed, it was fixed. But the wall of separation between church and state that was implemented in the first amendment is one of the best indicators of the real foundations of our nation. Again, it takes time and effort, but researching the process by which this amendment was drafted will show you that the authors rejected language that would merely have stopped the US from having an official state church. That was not the purpose of the amendment. The language is a little archaic to us, but imagery of the wall of separation makes the concept clear. Walls prevent traffic in both directions. Walls keep things separate.
We should remove "under God" from the pledge immediately. This is a pledge of allegiance. And the phrasing of the pledge means that those who recite it are pledging themselves to the US as a citizen, but subordinate to God. That's right, those who recite are pledging their allegiance to God first. What did you think "under God" meant? This is clearly a violation of the law.
We should change our motto from "In God We Trust" to "E Pluribus Unum". The latter has always given me a swell of pride for our nation. It speaks to what made us unique in the world.
Why should we be passionate in our pursuit of these ideals? Because these restrictions are also our rights. I am a Christian, but I understand the miraculous blessing of living in a nation built on the foundations listed above. It provides me the freedom to worship as my conscience dictates, and by respecting the laws, it provides that same freedom to everyone else. I provides the freedom for atheists to not worship at all, and to not have to live in a society of constant coercion to worship.
People, this isn't a difficult concept to understand, although it can take time and effort to research it for yourself, take the time and make the effort. Respect the vision of our founders, the ideals that made America great. Be proud that we were the first secular nation ever founded – a nation where freedom, equality, and liberty belong to everyone regardless of faith.
Ok I have one question and this is the reason I don't attend church. In the christian religion, why are there so many denominations? What makes one church better than another church? I went to church every Sunday for 19 years and when I got to thinking about this I quit going. If you really think about it, it seems like one huge cult. Sorry but it does. And don't say that religious people don't descriminate between churches because I've seen it first hand. "Oh your (that denomination), you should come to my church, you'll like it better."
Forgot to add, I'm not athiest but my friend is, I don't ever hear him say "oh your atheist too, you should be........" there is nothing to say because they are united as one, not divided like the christian faith. Maybe if there were more athiests then we would be more united.
Tyler F.......You are trying to solve the problem of when a bunch of religions get together and all claim that their religion is the TRUTH. But.....they are all...and I mean all based on nothing but 'belief'....which does not equate to absolute knowing. So, therein lies the dilemma of all, mostly all mono or poly theistic religions(beliefts in god or gods/goddesses).
They argue and try and get you into their Church because......they believe that their way is the ONLY REAL TRUTH. Yet again, NONE OF THEM HAVE A SHRED OF PROOF TO GO ON....
I'll say this-secularism is not going away, yet is showing remarkable signs of robust growth. Signs advocating reason, critical thinking, and rational thought can be vandalized and burned, it will not slow the death of organized religion or provide validation for the claims of the faithful.
As a Jewish-American when I say "under G-d" I am agreeing that G-d has an important and guiding role in my life and my nation's life. However the phrase "under G-d" does not say that America is a Christian country any more than one can say it is a Catholic or Protestant or Jewish one. In America we have the need to understand the conflict of the rule of the majority but also the need to support the rights of the minority. When we try to honor both we soar, but when they are out of balance we become a nation of demagogues.
@Reuvain.........I understand what you are saying, but, as has been already stated....the original Pledge of Allegiance was originally written 'without' the words 'under god.'
1)So, there really are separation of church/state issues here that got written into the pledge, and now many fundamentalist christians are fighting for even more blurring of the lines of church/state issues.
2)You stated that "the phrase uner G-d does not say that America is a Christian country any more than one can say it is a catholic or protestant or Jewish one." Not true.....You used 2 out of 3 of your examples were christian faiths, i.e...catholic and protestant....and to use Jewish in their is still pretty close given the shared religious origins and texts, etc.... Not to mention that most Buddhist sects, as a general rule do not believe in nor mention the word God....Taoist's the same, as are followers of Confucianism, Islam--Allah,(well we know where that will go),and then if we even begin discussing Hinduism.....you have multiple deities.....
So, 'under-god' DOES presuppose a christian umbrella of beliefs that many do not want, nor should they 'have' to live with it.
To disprove something is all of a certain quality, all you need is just 1 example proving it wrong. Also through much of the history of America though it has called itself Christian it has been a Protestant nation with the Catholics marginalized and discriminated against. Only in 1960 was a Catholic elected president and only when he denied that he would listen to the pope in issues related to the nation. Even now there are questions whether a Mormon can be president. All through American history other voices have had a significant impact on our history. To say otherwise shows a lack of knowledge. It is easy to sit in the middle of the American culture and not see the diversity that is sitting in corners. If you don't look for it you will not find it. Even if you "see" it many overlook it. Finally Judaism is not just like Christianity any more than Islam is just like Christianity since they share the same books. As Hillel said go and study.
Reuvain.....I must admit, your response seems to not go anywhere near my response to your initial posting. All I can say is WOW....you want to try that one again...?
Also, for the record.....I did not say that the jewish faith is 'just' like christianity, etc.... I said that the jewish faith, christianity and Islam have a 'shared religious origins' which as you know...they do...that is a fact. So, I can only assume that was a weak attempt to make some kind of relevant response....which did not happen.
Again, the initial wording of the pledge did not contain the words 'under god.' So my statement still stands.....
So no one thinks that it could have been an atheist who spray painted the sign? It would give them a reason to say "Look at us! We're the oppressed ones!" Since they are the minority and no one listens the minority. i.e. Illegal immigrants receiving amnesty.
No. No one thinks this but you.
The lack of thought behind some of these comments is astounding. Some may say that it is petty for me to argue semantics, but I'm going to anyway. The words "faith" and "belief" often are used interchangeablly but they represent two very different ideas. "Faith" refers to an idea without sufficient evidence to support it. "Belief" refers to the opposite- an idea based on supporting evidence. Firstly, to say that Atheists have "faith" that there are no gods is absurd. Atheists don't BELIEVE that there are gods- mostly because there is no evidence that supports such a claim. Secondly, to call Atheism a religion makes even less sense. By definition, it means a lack of religious faith. It simply does not follow to say that there is a religion that denounces religion. Thirdly, I find it hard to believe that almost all religious billboards are defaced. HOWEVER, I am willing to bet that the ones that ARE defaced are brash, offensive billboards. The hypocrisy of religious followers is astounding. Why is it ok for a Christian to stand on the corner of my school with a megaphone telling non believers that they're going to hell, but when I confront him about it I am bombarded by comments like, "Don't criticize someone because of their faith!" Give me a break. Religion is not exempt from criticism, and it's time religious people begin to understand this.
I think it's funny that the writer of this article says "This board is anti-God and anti-American. Why does everything have to be changed?" when, in all acutality, the origional did not include the words "Under God". These words were added to the pledge in 1954, only 56 years ago!
The change was to include "Under God"
Yes Brittney, this was established long ago. However, it is rather important to point out how stupid the flocks are for not knowing or bothering to reserach.