James: Regardless of what we might believe or not believe when it comes to religion/spirituality can we all agree that children shouldn't be dragged into protesting? Besides, what do children know about belief or non-belief? They usually believe what their parents believe because they were told to do that by their parents. It's not like they have much choice in the matter in a lot of family environments. It's one thing to take your kids to church with you but to drag them out to a street corner to protest Atheists and encourage intolerance? That goes too far. It's like the kids that are dragged to these anti-choice protests and have tape slapped across their mouths to symbolize a silent protest for the blastocyst that can't speak for itself. Kids shouldn't be involved in such an adult discussion and forced to see giant posters of aborted fetuses being paraded around by fellow protesters.
It's sadly ironic that our country was founded in large part by people seeking religious freedom to decide for themselves. However now you find all too many religious types who would impose their beliefs on everyone else. They claim this is a just and right thing to do because most of the early Americans were Christian. Well, that might be but those Christians had the foresight to include in the Constitution of our country a clause (Article 6) that provided for the freedom OF religion but also the freedom FROM religion. All too often the "believers" only quote the first part of that sentence--the freedom OF religion. That article is in the Constitution to protect both religion, non-religion and government. It's there so that all parties can operate within their specific spheres without too much influence and intrusion by any of the others. Furthermore, in Article 6 the Constitution demands:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.James: Sadly there are many who do require this religious test for those running for public office. The chances of an Atheist, agnostic or non-theist from holding public office are basically zero. The same goes for Buddhists and Hindus. That's because people are holding them to a religious test and because people like that lady above think you can't be a good person without believing in a god. It's freedom of speech and the same goes for that lady. I think she's wrong, misguided and discriminatory but she does have the right to speak her mind. That said, this Atheist group has the right to have their advertisements put up by a private company if they want to do so. There are many though who wouldn't vote for an Atheist because of the values he/she would stand for but we all know that a lot of "believers" would oppose them simply for not being one of them. Imagine the fury, outrage and mass protests that would occur if a Christian candidate was treated the way many non-Judeo-Christians and non-believers are treated. It would be a bigger deal than the health care protests and rightly so. Christians shouldn't be discriminated against either.
Being a historian by education I find it frustrating when people say that our country was meant to be a Christian country. Well, then why doesn't is say that in the Constitution? Why didn't the framers establish a theocracy? Because it doesn't work and because they believed in freedom for ALL people, not just some. They had the vision to see that America would have growing pains and thus provided for the protection of all beliefs and non-beliefs. The freedom of religion and the freedom from religion was so important to the framers that it was included in the very first amendment. Yes, the Declaration of Independence says that we are endowed with certain rights by a creator but is doesn't specify who or what this creator is. It's says "their" creator so that is up to personal interpretation. Not everyone sees "their" creator as a god but many see their creator as science or a more universal, non-physical "higher force." However, the bigger over-arching point is that the Declaration of Independence is not a legal document but rather a political document and thus holds no legal authority over the Constitution.
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