Posted by: the warrioress | December 8, 2011

Dear Atheists

Dear Atheists,
 
Just as a brief, fyi, I thought I might make you aware that Freedom of Religion, that pesky right that we all have under the constitution, does not mean freedom FROM religion. It doesn’t mean that during the CHRISTMAS season, that you get to be free of all public displays of any particular belief system. It doesn’t mean that tender eyes and ears won’t hear Christmas caroling, or see prominent exhibits that have been put up in the public view for the last fifty years or more before you started whining. Freedom from religion is something you apparently dreamed up but there is no mention of it anywhere in that well known document, the constitution. What you’ve created is another religion known as “secularism,” and frankly, we would appreciate freedom from it.
 If you plan to wince as if you’ve got a toothache every time you see a religious expression displayed publicly, you’re going to be in a lot of pain. Most especially, in Texas, ye old bible belt, we aren’t interested in the petty tomfoolery that comes across as politically correct society, here. We don’t plan to take down our nativity scenes, or dump baby Jesus out of his straw bed in order to appease you, either. That your tender palates could get into such a state over real freedom of religion, is silly and ridiculous. You don’t get to rewrite the constitution as a new, more politically correct version that pleases you. So, please; just get over yourselves, hmm?
 
Christian pastors in Henderson County, Texas, are fighting back against atheists who are demanding that a nativity scene located on a courthouse lawn be taken down.

The group behind the complains, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, frequently targets faith and religion projects that are placed on public lands. The group sent a letter to the county that explains how a local resident, who wishes to remain nameless, is offended by the scene.

Here is some of the text from the letter (via Malakoff News):

It is our information and understanding that a large nativity scene is on display at the Henderson County Courthouse and that it is the only seasonal display on the grounds (see photo enclosed). It is unlawful for the County to maintain, erect, or host this nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for, and endorsing one religion. The Supreme Court has ruled it is impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property. [...]

We request that, as Henderson County Commissioners, you take immediate action to ensure that no religious displays are on city or county property. Please inform us in writing of the steps you are taking to remedy this First Amendment violation so that we may notify our complainant.

“That Christianity was being promoted, endorsed by local government and this made them feel unwelcomed,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-founder of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. “It sends a message of intimidation and exclusion to non-Christians and non believers this time of year.”

“Anybody walking by that is going to say, ‘Hmmm. This is a Christian government building. I’m not welcome here if I’m not Christian,’” she continued.

But rather than bow down to the atheists’ demands, the pastors are planning to defend their display. “It’s time that Americans stand up and take America back for the faith that we were founded upon,” said Nathan Lorick, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Malakoff, Texas. “We’re going to stand up and fight for this.”

To combat the group’s demands, the pastors are assembling a rally in support of the nativity scene. And it’s not just pastors getting who are on the defense. Henderson County Commissioner Joe Hall calls Gaylor‘s and the FFRF’s attacks “stupid” and he pledges to fight them “until hell freezes over.” According to hall, the nativity has been up for 35 years, without incident.

Tracie Lynda, a local resident, doesn’t see what the big deal is. “What is so offensive about a baby in a manger?,” she asked. “If it does not mean anything to you, why does it offend you?”

The rally to defend the nativity will occur next weekend.

Source

(H/T: Fox News Radio)

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Responses

  1. Love your spirit.

  2. You have inspired me. This post is so true and your interpretation of the constitution is excellent. I have been wanting to blog myself to the Athiests as I read their rants about how much they hate us Christians. The question I have for them is if they don’t believe in God, why do they constantly fight against something they think isn’t there? Great work here.

  3. Maybe they should put a Jewish star and some imagery of Mohammad circling mecca as well. The problem isn’t freedom of religion – you most certainly have and deserve that, but rather separation of church and state.

    The government shouldn’t support one religion over another – that is unless they plan to provide equal support to all religions. Somehow I doubt there are images of Mohammad at the courthouse…

    Why is this important? Well, this might seem more important to you if Islam or Secularism becomes the norm.

  4. what? ban a nativity scene! How un-christmas like…
    booo! I have faith that Texans will not stand for this (~_~)

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  6. The painful part isn’t the displays and all the pagan traditions you’ve co-opted.

    It’s the christian unwillingness to remember that they are one group of many that make up a secular society and be willing to work and play and share with others.

    Share the public space doesn’t mean hogging it and making everyone act as if your religion has a possibility of being true.

    Your entitled to beleive whatever you want – but freedom from religion is indeed part of freedom of – because we get the choice to not pick a religion.

  7. Love yours too…. thanks for the comment! ;)

  8. Thank you, Naphtali :)

    We can rant back as much as we like. Just because we won’t sit down and keep our mouths shut doesn’t mean we don’t love them,(the atheists), as we love ourselves. It does, however, mean that we’re not going to be walked upon and lose our cherished rights under this American constitution. We’ll meet them on the political battleground and stand tall, in the name of Jesus Christ. Christians are sincerely going to have to speak out firmly and stand up for their rights or we’ll lose them.

  9. I believe that this was already suggested by the Christian pastors where this debacle is occurring. There have been no requests to put up an atheist sign or some other religious display because the administrators were in favor of this very thing. Separation of church and state does not mean shutting down every public display of religious freedom. Why is this important? Because we lose rights that people attempt to take from us unless we stand up for those rights and fight for them, the way our founding fathers fought for this nation so long ago. Thanks for your comment, even if we disagree ;)

  10. Texas won’t stand for it. They attempted to stop prayer before the public football game and graduating classes too. That didn’t fly here. Texas children also get a nice dose of Creationism with their Evolution as well ;) God bless you Zen.. thanks for the comment.

  11. We can all play and share in the big sandbox with one another. It doesn’t mean, though, that you get to do away with every semblance of religion. Nowhere did the constitution say you are entitled to this right. You don’t have to choose a religion or be religious, because this is your right, but you don’t get to remove every mention or display of it from the public square, either.

    You’re right, we are entitled to believe what we want and express it, and so are you. No one’s attempting to take that right away from you, but you don’t get to have a tantrum, just because we share our beliefs with others in public. You got to put your atheist sign up next to our nativity scene in other locales, so what’s the problem? Can’t duke it out with the big boys? (wink)

    Thanks for your comment, Random, even though we firmly disagree ;)

  12. Not the whole public square to be true and fair – only the part of it that is associated with government.

    Private businesses can celebrate whatever holidays they wish to celebrate according to their worker demographics – and for whatever customers they want to attract.

    But, when government offices from federal to local are involved – yes, that is not the place for anyone’s religion – that is the secular sandbox that has to accommodate everyone as equals, with no preferential treatment.

  13. Secular = anti-theism.

    Secular no longer works for me. It’s truly become a religion all on its own these days. Every atheist/humanist/anti-theist/anti-religionist is into secularism these days.

    There are traditions that harm no one that have been a part of America for a very long, long time. Attempting to do away with all mention of religion is not a tradition I want to encourage in America. There is room for all religious expression and your right to speak out with an atheist sign or billboard in protest of it, too. May we all get our way! ;)

  14. Christmas is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as “a Christian feast on December 25 or among some Eastern Orthodox Christians on January 7 that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday”. It is what the holiday commemorates, so it seems quite fair to display imagery that supports/represents it. Our nation was founded by Christians. This is the heritage of all Americans. It is a legal holiday that is Christian…I am so thankful that we live in a country with a Christian heritage. And, even if you are not Christian, you enjoy the benefits of what our country is founded on, too. The freedom to worship (or not worship) according to one’s beliefs is one of the basic rights we are given. One must allow even government officials the freedom to worship as they wish. Right? The right is for all citizens.
    I pray for the love of God to flood the earth this Christmas season! I pray for Jesus to come into every heart.

  15. Wow, inspiring and full of courage! :) Just yesterday, I saw a saying, ”Stand up for the Lord, even if it means standing alone”. and that’s what this post all about.. God bless :)

  16. Warrioress

    Perhaps I can clarify some of the misunderstandings I see in your post (and you’re welcome to do the same with mine!).

    No atheists are calling for you to stop celebrating Christmas in any way you please: in your home, in your church, on the street, in your neighborhood or in the public square.

    What atheists object to is the government – and *only* the government – promoting one religion above the other by showing symbols of only one religion on government property. This is because it is unconstitutional for the government to do so (the Establishment clause).

    So yes, some atheists lobby for displays on *government property* to be taken down. Other atheists lobby instead for their own displays to be put up alongside Christian displays (and, preferably, displays from other religious traditions, too).

    What I can’t emphasize enough is that this not about Americans celebrating Christmas: it’s about the government favoring one religious tradition over another.

  17. Well said, WP! Well said. I couldn’t have said this better if I tried. Excellent debating skills, my dear. (applause)

  18. (turns red) thanks, Joyce. you’re pretty courageous yourself.

  19. Hi Keith,

    I don’t think atheists are only concerned about governmental property. I believe it’s the old “give us an inch, we’ll take a mile” proposition, and this is one mile we can’t allow them to take. Once that first mile is gleaned, they’ll foreclose and own all the property, essentially. Nope.. this has to be legally fought and fought hard.

    Government isn’t “favoring one religious tradition over another” when a nativity is allowed to stand on a courthouse lawn. This is about the expression of history and heritage of America and the right of its citizens to express their religious beliefs freely. Atheism has been allowed its place to do the same. No one is attempting to stop atheists from having their say, but they don’t have the right to freedom from religion because that interferes with another American’s freedom OF.

    Atheism’s attempt to shut down all governmental Christmas traditions is the attempt to squelch religious freedom that our forefathers fought and were willing to die for. It appears that you and I will simply have to agree to disagree on this matter, but I do appreciate you sharing your pov here on this blog. Thank you so much :)

  20. I really don’t know that much about government, so I could be off here, but one thing I kept thinking about after reading your post (and the comments) was that I think the original purpose in separation of church and state was so that the government would not control the church in any way (like had happened in England). I don’t think the original intent was that all signs of the church must be taken out of the state. Now, I believe we have veared off from that original purpose, but nonetheless, I believe that was why separation of church and state was originally instituted. Please correct me if I am wrong…really, this is not my area of expertise :)
    Thank you for this respectful atmosphere and calm debating.
    I pray God establishes the work of your hands, warrioress!

  21. “I believe it’s the old “give us an inch, we’ll take a mile” proposition”

    You may believe that, but the majority of atheists are telling you different.

    You are free to not believe us, of course, but that doesn’t change the truth of it.

    “and the right of its citizens to express their religious beliefs freely. ”

    The CITIZENS can express whatever they want. Why do they insist that their specific religion is celebrated on the COURTHOUSE lawn?

    “but they don’t have the right to freedom from religion”

    Yes, indeed, we do. Which is why I can work on the Sabbath, drink alcohol and blaspheme all I want.

  22. Certainly you have the right not to be a religious person or believe in anything you don’t want to; no one is disagreeing with that, Not a Scientist, but you don’t have the right to live without the free expression of other people’s religious beliefs as you may come across them in a public place, including a governmental office. No one, nowhere promised you or anyone else, that. It doesn’t say anything of the kind in the constitution.

    Our government included the concept of God in various founding documents. Many of the founders were believers in God. You cannot deny the founder’s belief in God, much as so many atheists attempt to.

    Your rights as atheists end where they attempt to remove the rights of someone else. The free expression of other people’s religious beliefs don’t hurt or harm anyone; a public demonstration of religious beliefs like a nativity scene doesn’t force you to believe. Thanks for the comment, Not a Scientist ;)

  23. You seem to be confusing the two different uses of the word ‘public’.

    One means ‘out where anyone can see it.’

    The other means ‘paid for by the government, and thus by tax dollars.’

    We are objecting to the second, not the first.

  24. I’m addressing government offices at the moment, but also refer to public square as well, because I believe that this will be the next target to remove all religious trappings or free expressions thereof.

    Prayer has been removed from our children’s schools. Atheists want every cross removed from every public, governmental locale, including military installations, even cemetaries next, perhaps? You (general you) *are* taking a mile, and more. It’s become a ridiculous assault on our freedom of religious expression.

  25. “Prayer has been removed from our children’s schools. ”

    No it hasn’t. Whoever told that to you was ignorant or lying.

    Mandatory, school-led prayer has been removed.

    Students are still free to pray.

  26. NotAScientist pretty much said it.

    It’s extremely important to distinguish between what the government is permitted by the constitution to do, and what private citizens are permitted to do. Private citizens can show all the religious favoritism and zealotry they wish (provided no one is harmed of course), but government institutions must remain neutral.

    It is extremely difficult to argue that a nativity scene outside a courthouse, with no other religious or non-religious displays beside it, is a neutral stance.

    As I said before, one way to solve this problem is to represent a range of religious traditions’ symbols outside the courthouse, rather than shutting nativity scenes down.

    I personally prefer this approach because it celebrates the religious diversity that makes America so unique.

  27. Another quick point: even if the government is displaying a nativity scene as a means of celebrating history and heritage, it is still favoritism, because America’s history and heritage includes many other religious traditions too. Selecting only one tradition to celebrate is a show of favoritism.

    “I’m addressing government offices at the moment, but also refer to public square as well, because I believe that this will be the next target to remove all religious trappings or free expressions thereof.”

    With all due respect, this is pure speculation. Have a little more faith in your country’s legal system, because it would never allow such a thing!

    “Prayer has been removed from our children’s schools.”

    It has not. Once again, you’re not considering the important subtleties of the issue. It is, in fact, perfectly permissible for students and teachers to pray in public schools.

    There are only two restrictions:

    1. Students may not pray to a captive audience who has no choice but to listen (how would you feel if a Muslim broadcast his prayers over the school intercom system, and you had to sit there and listen to them?)

    2. Teachers, because they are governmental employees are, as per the Establishment clause, not permitted to advocate one particular religion to their students, including praying in front of the class (again, how would you like it if one of your teachers led the class in a Hindu prayer every day?) .

    Here’s what students and teachers *can* do in public schools:

    Teachers can teach as much as they like *about* religion, as long as they don’t advocate one over the others – that’s the job of religious private schools, whose specific remit is to promote one religion.

    Both teachers and students are perfectly free to say prayers privately or with groups of freely participating fellow believers, on school grounds.

  28. Indeed, students are free to pray either by themselves or with groups, provided everyone in the group actually has a choice to take part. Same goes for teachers.

  29. Keith, I think that’s a fine compromise. So bring on some other religious displays. Works for me! I thought the atheist sign next to the nativity on another one of these kind of occasions was a little tacky, but I think most people tolerated it.

    See, I think governmental institutions *are* remaining neutral. I don’t think it means much more than a seasonal tradition that’s been historically-based when these Christmas items are exhibited. I think it’s petty and silly to make so much of them, but I understand why it’s occurring and the point behind it; I just don’t agree with the point.

  30. “Another quick point: even if the government is displaying a nativity scene as a means of celebrating history and heritage, it is still favoritism, because America’s history and heritage includes many other religious traditions too. Selecting only one tradition to celebrate is a show of favoritism.”

    I see what you’re saying, Keith, but in the article in my post, staff said that no one else had submitted any religious displays for the courthouse lawn. The nativity was the only submitted exhibit.

    Now I said the following: “I’m addressing government offices at the moment, but also refer to public square as well, because I believe that this will be the next target to remove all religious trappings or free expressions thereof.”

    And you, Keith, said this in response:

    “With all due respect, this is pure speculation. Have a little more faith in your country’s legal system, because it would never allow such a thing!”

    I’m afraid I don’t have any faith in my country’s legal system and I believe that it will allow such a thing and in the not too distant future, too. The bible tells us that this is going to be the case, and I believe it. It tells us that there will be a genocide enacted upon Christians too and I believe that as well. This attempt to remove religion from governmental offices and the public square is just the beginning. Anti-theists wants God off of the money, and every religious Christian trapping removed out of whatever they can remove it from. We both know the Richard Dawkins & Sam Harris types are stewing to ban religion and regularly persecute the religious and religion every chance they get!

    I said: “Prayer has been removed from our children’s schools.”

    Keith, you said the following: “It has not. Once again, you’re not considering the important subtleties of the issue. It is, in fact, perfectly permissible for students and teachers to pray in public schools.

    There are only two restrictions:”(snip)

    Keith, I’m not entirely familiar with what you stated here and since I don’t see any sources, I’ll have to concede that I am not aware of these restrictions you mention, but don’t see them as particularly unreasonable, at the moment. I’ll have to look into this and get back with you on it, perhaps on another blog in the near future.

    Thanks so much for all of your input here, Keith. Yours is a very interesting perspective you’re sharing with us on this issue.

  31. I’ve heard to the contrary, Kpharri, but I’ll have to get a source on it to back myself up, or maybe you or Keith have one. I’ve also heard that reading a bible on school property is now a problem, but again, I’ll need to do my research to argue further on this matter.

  32. Do you think the same freedom of expression extends to atheists, even at Christmastime? Then we don’t have a disagreement. :)

  33. I think freedom of religious and non-religious expression extends to every citizen of the United States of America. Believe or don’t, express yourself about it or don’t, but silencing the opposition seems.. weak and I don’t respect the attempt to do so; thanks for the comment, Mikel!

  34. Excellent post warrioress! Excellent responses to comments as well!

  35. Warrioress

    Here is some of the official information you’re looking for. It is part of No Child Left Behind. See http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/religionandschools/prayer_guidance.html

    Here are some key excerpts, for your convenience:

    “The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment requires public school officials to be neutral in their treatment of religion, showing neither favoritism toward nor hostility against religious expression such as prayer. [ 2 ] Accordingly, the First Amendment forbids religious activity that is sponsored by the government but protects religious activity that is initiated by private individuals, and the line between government-sponsored and privately initiated religious expression is vital to a proper understanding of the First Amendment’s scope. As the Court has explained in several cases, “there is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect.”

    And:

    “Although the Constitution forbids public school officials from directing or favoring prayer, students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” [ 9 ] and the Supreme Court has made clear that “private religious speech, far from being a First Amendment orphan, is as fully protected under the Free Speech Clause as secular private expression.” [ 10 ] Moreover, not all religious speech that takes place in the public schools or at school-sponsored events is governmental speech. [ 11 ] For example, “nothing in the Constitution … prohibits any public school student from voluntarily praying at any time before, during, or after the school day,” [ 12 ] and students may pray with fellow students during the school day on the same terms and conditions that they may engage in other conversation or speech. Likewise, local school authorities possess substantial discretion to impose rules of order and pedagogical restrictions on student activities, [ 13 ] but they may not structure or administer such rules to discriminate against student prayer or religious speech.”

  36. Thanks so much, Kpharri. I really appreciate that. I’ve been extremely busy with holiday “stuff” and demands of family so haven’t been able to reply to my various comments at length or look up anything whatsoever. Doing good just to get my “blog a day” up. lol.. Thank you for providing the links.

  37. [...] Dear Atheists (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com) Posted in Archives, Life Tagged God, Nativity scene, Rick Perry, Texas, Wisconsin permalink [...]


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