September 9th, 2013
03:29 PM ET
Fox News host: Atheists 'don't have to live here'
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - Fox News pundit Dana Perino said she's "tired" of atheists attempting to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, adding, "if these people really don't like it, they don't have to live here."
The co-host of Fox's "The Five" was referring to a suit brought by the American Humanist Association in Massachusetts, where the state's Supreme Judicial Court heard a challenge to the pledge on Wednesday.
The group's executive director, Roy Speckhardt, called the suit "the first challenge of its kind," but Perino begged to differ.
Perino, who was White House press secretary for George W. Bush from 2007-2009, said she recalled working at the Justice Department in 2001 "and a lawsuit like this came through."
The former Bush spokeswoman added that "before the day had finished the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge."
"If these people don't like it, they don't have to live here," Perino added.
David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, called Perino's comments "bigotry."
"I, for one, am tired of those Christians, like Ms. Perino, who think that equality is somehow un-American," Silverman said. "If Ms. Perino doesn't like being only equal, it is she who will have to leave America to some other country that doesn't value religious liberty."
READ MORE: Famous Atheists and Their Beliefs
In 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with atheist Michael Newdow who argued that the words "under God" in the pledge amounted to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling.
Congress added the words "under God" in 1954 amid the red scare over the Soviet Union. In November 2002, after the Newdow ruling, Congress passed a law reaffirming "under God" in the pledge.
Greg Gutfeld, another co-host on "The Five," continued the discussion after Perino, saying the Pledge of Allegiance "is not a prayer, it's a patriotic exercise. In a sense, it's basically saying: Thanks for giving us the freedom to be an atheist."
The Massachusetts case, which was brought by an unidentified family of a student at a school in suburban Boston, will be argued on the premise that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.
READ MORE: Behold, the Six Types of Atheists
It is the first such case to be tried on the state level: All previous attempts have been argued in federal court on the grounds that "under God" was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.
CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.
About this blog
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.
Righteous deity worshiping people trying to kick people out of "their" land?
Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
• A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.
Added details available upon written request.
Only in the 9th Circuit could such malicious jurisprudence be heard. The Supreme Court turned them down yet they try, and try again. If only persistence was a virtue.
It s also Strange that you should change a name like 'Reality' since you believe in none. If nothing existed before you were born, then what Scientific principles to you accept?
What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, biology, biochemistry, archeology, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)
1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.
2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.
3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.
4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.
5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.
6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.
7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode cataclysmically at any time ending life on Earth.
8. Many of us are part Neanderthal and/or Denisovan.
Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?
Search for Paul, book by Professor JD Crossan
Rabbi Paul, book by Professor Bruce Chilton
No need for an argument, like we have always done, let the courts decide.
Consider Thomas Jefferson's brilliance if you will. While I have been unable to fully pin down where on the spectrum of belief Jefferson fell between Deism and Atheism, it is very clear in the Declaration of Independence he saw the importance of our unalienable rights coming from an authority greater than that of other men. He settled on the concept of Nature's God and refers back to this construct as our Creator. It is very important that our unalienable rights come from Nature’s God and not men, or a state run by men for that matter. This was not some willy nilly decision made to placate the irrational followers of various churches at the time. It is and remains the strongest foundation upon which true freedom and liberty can be built.
While our unalienable rights come from Nature's God, the citizenry of this country is free to choose from the free buffet before them of which if any they want. Further concepts of the separation of church and state at the time were very reasonable. The government should really have no interest in the business of the church. While the church should have no real interest in the government for we are a Democratic Republic and not a theocracy.
Enter the modern militant atheist who yearns to see our unalienable rights stripped from Nature's God and placed back into the hands of man. The modern militant atheist holds up a golden ticket inscribed with the epitaph "If enough people believe in nothing together, we may one day reason beyond our collective hubris and be Nature’s God's ourselves". This golden ticket, based on the faith that one day mankind will overcome his seemingly infinite stupidity, somehow grants a special immunity to this collection of followers or church if you will. It is an immunity that the Church of atheism has not earned and does not deserve.
The militant atheist flies a banner proclaiming "The objective search for truth through reason may be found here". What one finds upon closer inspection in the church of atheism is a collection of people trying to keep their individual dying tree of human knowledge alive.
While new branches representing different sub categories of science all reach out for new knowledge, the roots of the tree like philosophy are cut off or left to die. Militant atheism essentially argues that philosophy has attained atheism so all other philosophy is unnecessary.
Rather than objectively teach philosophy in US public schools allowing students to think and decide on their own what to think. The militant atheist steps in to nobly make a final decision for all. The militant atheist kindly promotes Greek mythology and the like in place of objective philosophy. Instilling the very concept of Nature’s God as inherently irrational is of utmost importance to the militant atheist’s cause. In that sense, the Church of atheism is fine with students learning about God's, so long as they are ones they approve of.
In the US public education system militant atheists and others have taken the separation of church and state far beyond any scope it was ever intended.
While I agree religious factions, denomination, and beliefs have no places in public education, what is occurring goes far beyond that with great cost. The very concept of even Nature's God is rejected to the point that it rams through into the anti philosophical just to be sure. The education system then uses literary classes and history to attack the defenseless religions while silently omitting philosophy. Teach them Greek Gods, the Malleous Maleficarum, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, the Scarlet letter, the fate of Hypatia of Alexandria, and so on. By the US education system trying to scuttle the concept of God or Nature's God in this way they take down philosophy and critical thought along with it. Some of the greatest human thoughts and arguments in history originate from the debate regarding an authority greater than man or Nature's God. The Marxists only reveal their true colors when they won't let Rand in the fray. Can you see where I coming from here?
I'll keep an eye out for those Marxist and Militant Atheist Jimmy.
Actually, they should look out for me. Einstein was correct, the universe is governed by a deterministic process and I figured out what it is. All I need are for some gravitational interferometers to detect some gravitational waves so I can proceed. Preferably, LISA data.
Really? Please enlighten us. I would love to know what the deterministic process is and wether it can work with quantum mechanics in a way that the rest of Einstein's work doesn't. If you can put forth a unified theory and then experimentaly demonstrate its validity that would be huge.
You're lucky if two people on the planet spend the time to read the novel you posted.
You're better off not posting at all.
While your argument was long winded and it does have valid points, you also need to remember atheism is neither a church or a religion.
They would like to think they aren't, Atheism is the disbelief in the existence of deities. A church is formed based on a consensus of collective belief. Atheists share a consensus in a collective belief in disbelief in the existence of deities. Sounds like a church to me....
No... a religion is a SET of beliefs/traditions shared by a group (usually involving the worship of a supernatural being). There is no "set" of atheist beliefs. It only holds that the person doesn't have a belief in god(s). Anything else they may believe has not direct bearing on their atheism (though certainly it may be informed by it).
Very well written! Agree 100%!
Fantastic and well written article! Thank you.
Unless you don't believe any of it. Then it's just a waste of breath and means nothing.
If your tree was stronger it wouldn't be falling.
No. I have no idea where you are coming from or going to with all that. You talk about a Church of atheism and Natures God and that atheists want to teach about the greek gods but not the christian god. I am not sure what natures god is, but as far as I remember from my time in school we only learned about the greco/roman gods when studying ancient greece and rome in history. I also remember learning alot about the beliefs of the abrahamic faiths as well. We really didn't touch on hinduism at all that I recall, nor any of the eastern religions except for Zoroastrianism and even that was more of a brief mention of their influence in the ancient world.
This was about the pledge of alligance not education anyway. The pledge isn't part of instruction, it is part of nationalist conditioning. And considering that the phrase 'under god' was added during the 50s and the red scare (to weed out the communist traitors because obviously any athiest would refuse to say the words and therefor out themselves and their parents as a communist 😛 ) so I see no reason that it can't be questioned in a court of law regarding const itutionality. Many things done durring that time period were or were borderline unconst itutional.
I just can't understand how any intelligent people can watch FOX network for anything but amusement! Those people are nothing more than stuck-up, elitists. I had to laugh when the beautiful brunette lady said that she is tired of the atheists acting like they should be catered to! I bet she's very used to being catered to and the thought of any other group taking some of her attention is probably terrifying to her. What a bunch of idiots!
LOL that is a fair amount of Irony.
You Atheist think you're so smart. Just explain one thing. How could Tammy Faye Baker have been wrong.
The whole idea that if you are an atheist you are somehow a lesser citizen or not as patriotic is nothing new. I've heard it my whole life.
There are massive land areas in Canada that are currently inhabited.
One more moron thinking the US is a christard nation and failing to comprehend that the Constitution allows for anyone regardless of belief/ disblief to reside within without fear of retaliation. How about the christards considerr doing exatly what they want the non-believers to do? After all, the land belonged to the Natives before it ever belonged to christards.
"After all, the land belonged to the Natives before it ever belonged to christards."
But it never belonged to the aUtheistics.
"I contend we are both Atheists, when you understand why you dismiss all other gods, you'll understand why I dismiss yours."
SURELY, they'll NOT be missed!
You might want to look up a list of all the prominent athiests in the US. You might be surprised at how many might be missed.
Funny thing about the pledge was it was written by a christian socialist Frances Bellamy in 1892. It had no mention of under god and it still should not. I don't hold this opinion because I hate religion or am trying to kill the customs of this nation; quit frankly as you can't tell god was never a part of this pledge until some folks decided to add in in the 50's to prove people were not communist (which is stupid). Our country was founded on equality and is not supposed to endorse one belief over another regardless of how you feel about it that is a truth. To mention we are a nation under god endorses a framework of religious belief over others and over those who don't believe. This is not what our nation was found upon whether you like it or not.
You people are sooooo stupid. "Under god" was NEVER a part of the pledge, it was added by politicians decades later.
If "believers" in the US treat nonbelievers like "infidels" are they any better than the Islamic extremists in the world?
"The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs." -Thomas Jefferson
The pledge is like prayer. It reflects the beliefs and hopes of the pray-er or say-er.
Personally I stopped saying it in grade school when I realized how shallow the sentiment of "my country uber alles" is and how vulgar the invocation of a god in the service of nationalism is.
What's wrong with "my country above everything"?
As Gandhi said to the Archbishop of Canterbury: "I like your Christ. I don't like your Christians; so unlike your Christ."
That resonates. When I read the Sermon on the Mount, I am inspired by the words of love, forgiveness, radical acceptance. When I hear a Fox/GOP type "Christian" ranting against gay folks or embracing war, torture, empire and worldly wealth and power, I want to vomit.
That Gandi guy,he had some good ideas . Well written Evangelos . I think I have met possibly 3 people in my life that are true followers of Christian beliefs in that they live according to the spirit of Christ's teachings . What wonderful people ! They were not about excluding people .They were concerned with improving their communities and the quality of people's lives. I recently sat beside a very interesting women on a plane who was a devout Christian . I asked her if she believed a person who was essentially good and kind and spent their life helping others would burn in hell if they didn't believe that Christ was the son of god and she said of course they would burn in hell . What can you do ? Is this brain washing or are Christians just stupid ? I am sure I have met Christians that are capable of rational thought. It must be a problem of interpretation .
He's right.......they can take their hollow selves to the moon!
Afraid that your poor religion is going the ay of many before it?
It's 'she' not 'he' and Atheists are far less hollow than you poor persecuted christards. Hollow is the need to invoke imaginary friends based on faith alone (belief without evidence) to appease your lack of comprehension of the facts that are based on evidence.
You realize that Dana Perino is female right?
Well, this Syria crisis is the last straw for me... If our government continues to ponder supporting the rebels who openly slaughter Christians in their own country with no condemnation, then I no longer consider myself a patriot of this nation. They can do whatever they want to with the pledge. I pay my taxes, but I'm through with them... I just live here.
You have obviously fallen for the spin.
Striking Syria is not an effort to help the rebels, it is in response to the inhuman use of chemical weapons.
Do some research and stop regurgitating the garbage you read in anonymous emails, it makes you look stupid.
I know the reasoning. I know the desire of our government is to retaliate against the government of Syria for the use of chemical weapons. But you got people like John McCain who say that they want to "tip the balance of the war in the favor of the rebels." And anything that our government does to retaliate against the Syrian govt. is going to aid those who are slaughtering Christians. Interesting how THAT doesn't seem to weigh on our government's mind. Why don't we just aid the refugees, and leave BOTH factions to deal with one another as they please...
I don't know, I'm done with them. It's not as if it was ever in my hands to begin with, but this situation is just one of a LONG LINE of incidents perpetrated by this country that support either directly or indirectly the persecution of Christians.
Did you have the same compassion when President Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld and Oliver North were feeding weapons during the Iran Contra episode? Highly doubt it.
As I said, this is the LAST straw... Not the first. And yes, my passion goes WAY back...
I stopped reciting the pledge either my sophmore or junior year in high school. It occured to me there was no meaning behind it, everyone stood there speaking in the most droll voices. To me it felt like the beginnings of being brainwashed.
I love the US but the religious fundamentalism movement needs to stop. Let's fight to let blind people own guns but we're going to ignore the part about separation between church and state.
The pledge is a form of nationalistic indoctrination designed to promote loyalty to the nation and the principals of the nation as opposed to loyalty to the state you reside in. At the time the pledge was introduced people were as loyal to their state as to the nation as a whole with many people identifying as a resident of their state rather than as an american.
Why not just have a seperate room for those that do not wish to participate. When the pledge comes around, those kids can be excused. Then the pledge is recited and afterwards the kids can be bout back into the class. What is the problem with that?
Again, it would be exercising a ritual at the exclusion of others.
Why not put the ones who want to say "under god" in a seperate room and THEY can come back after the others have recited the version without "god" in it?
JoePub, if you don't see the problem with that, then it is unlikely that you would see any problem with "separate but equal." Again, this is not a phrase that was added by our Founders. It was a phrase added during one of those times in our history when our country sunk well below its founding ideals, and embarked on a politically driven witch hunt against anyone whose political and religious beliefs did not fit into a narrow slot. Ignore this type of thing, and soon another addition or litmus test will come along that marginalizes you or your kids.
Well technicaly the pledge wasn't created by the founders either: it was created an the late 1800's to promote loyalty to the nation rather than the state.
Why not just allow them to use the word they use for god, since this country is supposedly about equality. One nation under Yahweh. One nation under Allah.
These Christians are so into keeping to old things, the old definition of marriage (which is actually polygamy), but the Pledge originally, written by a Baptist minister, was "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
And when Congress first recognized it in 1942, it was "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." No god anywhere.
Under God was added cause we were scared of the Communists. So we let the Communist force us into doing things?
Lets go back to the original Pledge, the way a many of God wrote it.
Yeah, what a great idea, JoePub. We'll call it "separate but equal". We'll keep them apart, hide them, if you will, from the good Christians who know that God loves their country, their city, their football team the most.
As Jesus might (not) have said, "I'm Jesus, and I approve this message."
Because to me (and a lot of other people) it is a clear violation of the separation of church and state (something that has been eroded since the mid to late 40s)
Under God should be removed from Currency (which it was prior to 1849) and the Pledge.
And before anyone flames me, I used to go to Church and was very involved and still felt the way I do now.
And then there's the thought that it leads to: Let's just put the non-believers into a train for a "vacation".
Right on, JW. The time of religion IS (albeit, unfortunately, slowly) passing. Rational thought, science and technology, the growing awareness that evolution and our need to survive have formed our sense of ethical behavior are all contributing to its demise. The argument can easily be made that we are more moral without it. We simply do not need it. And to the specific point of the thread, the phrase "under God" is abjectly exclusive and I do not believe Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson would've approved.
Big deal. Both political parties make stupid statements all the time. If they didn't, Jon Stewart would be out of a job. This is just annoying media journalism to incite emotions. Don't be a person who pays any attention to this. The sooner we can get the media outlets to stop reporting on this type of trash, the sooner we can actually get real news.
This IS real news. Now go back to TMZ and watch Miley twerk.
By definition, you can't be an athiest since you would have to have proof God does not exist. I believe in God, but also believe that everyone is free to believe what they want. I also believe folks like Perino are poopheads.
and you have to prove god does exist, what stupid comment
How do you prove a negative? What you just claimed is not different than me claiming I have a leprechaun living in my basement...given that I have made the claim, the burden of proving my claim falls completely on me not the person requesting the evidence of this.
This is a concept that Christians cannot grasp. It's the only thing they have to hold on to.
Funny that what atheists believe to be negative has been making their panties twisted that they have to spend their hard-earned money to bring it to court. Instead of spending it to their families or do charity works.
First off, anyone who uses a name containing "Facts" or "Truth" are usually the ones far from either. Since the vacuum between your ears will never grasp anything but what you choose to think, I will only say that you are absolutely 100% wrong about how we deal with our families and giving to charity. Then again, those who believe in a God of any form are in many cases, the most hypocritical slabs of body matter on this earth. Love thy neighbor when it fits, Go )(&%@ Yourself when someone isn't in agreement.
Can you provide the evidence that your god exists without using the bible? Atheists are not just standing for themselves, they're standing for all who do not believe in the same god that you do. As for not donating to charity...Red Cross, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders are all secular. Isn't a sin punishable by eternal torture to judge (at least according to your imaginary friend)?
One becomes an atheist when from life's experience that individual determines that there is an absence of proof that god exists.
This is one of the most idiotic remarks I've ever read.
There is no proof of God: It is not up to the Atheist to prove there isn't proof. There simply isn't proof.
The mental gymnastics you've been tricked into would be laughable, were they not so frightening.
By definition an atheist does not believe in the existence of a God or god. Everyone was that way, once. We are all born atheist. The idea of a God or gods has to be introduced. Since no one can produce evidence of a God or gods, unbelief is justified.
We're all born believing water is a solid, too. Every watched a baby figure out they can't grab water being poured from a cup? Your argument makes no sense. The fact is that there is no proof that God exists. Belief is entirely based on faith without proof. If you believe, you are a theist, if you don't, you are an athiest. I fall somewhere in between and am agnostic. I'm not sure, but I am sure that if a God does exist it's a jerk. What kind of all powerful being forces people to spend all their time praising it and worshipping it despite the fact that terrible, horrible things can still happen to them and then tells them, well, despite all the awful things if you get mad at me and stop believing I"m throwing you in a lake of fire for eternity? This is the same mind that created the intricate and amazing workings of the universe?
Thanks for trying to be open-minded. You, however, have a very weak grasp of logic.
No such thing as an Atheist? Well, maybe you are right. I consider my self a McElligot athiest... I do believe that the existence of a god IS a possibility. Besides the traditional god, i also believe there COULD BE a cosmic water buffalo that farts galaxies, not likely, but there could be. I suppose there could be a place to go after we die, but just as likely our soles are nothing more than galactic cream cheese to be spread on some uber alien's bagel and consumed. Again, maybe not likely but anything is possible. There could be, there might be...
By the same logic. There is no such thing as a A-toothfairyist as you would have to prove that Tooth fairies don't exist. Also applies to Unicorns, leprechauns, Aliens from another planet and the list goes on.
"By definition, you can't be an athiest since you would have to have proof God does not exist."
WRONG! The definition of atheist is; a person who does not believe in God or gods
See that word "BELIEVE" in the definition? I personally do not BELIEVE in God or gods, therefore I am an atheist. You do not have to "have proof" of something to believe in it (um, ya know like all religious people).
Therefore your statement that you can not be an atheist is 100% incorrect.