posted on Jun, 1 2012 @ 07:35 AM
First of all, let me say that I am in basic agreement with the OP on this issue, although I sometimes feel that it is not necessarily a battle that
should be engaged in the current ideological climate. I am sympathetic with the goals of people like Anne Nicol Gaylor, Annie Laurie Gaylor and her
husband Dan Barker at the Freedom From Religion Foundation but suspect that their methods only harden the opposition into an even more unthinking
position and invite an unproductive backlash. You can see that sort of backlash here in this thread.
Maybe I should proceed with more caution here because I am fairly new to ATS and just feeling my way around, but here goes. I am new enough that they
will not won't allow me to start a new thread yet, but if I could, I think I would try to explore the question of "Why do people so, so, miss the
original meaning of a post when they respond?" Are they not reading? Not understanding? Or is it just a willful alteration of the intent of a post
in order generate a straw-man or to vent a rant? SaturnFX, you don't have to apologize to me for your use of the word public, it was clear to me
from the context of your posts that you were not trying to shut down all possible displays of religion, just questioning those sponsored by various
institutions of government. And PurpleChiten, what can I say? The misreads of your posts make me wonder if some of these people are new to the
country and haven't mastered the language yet. There are many more examples of misreads here in this thread, on both sides of the debate.
PurpleChiten, even though I do not believe in the existence of God, I am with you on this issue. I would be just as offended if the money said
"There is no God" as I am by the current slogan. It is just not the role of the government to be passing judgement on this topic. For those of you
who think this supports the position that atheism is just another religion, think again. Atheism is just another religion in the same sense that OFF
is just another TV channel.
I'm old enough to remember when they put "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. I had already learned how to mindlessly recite it one way and
then had to remember to say it with the change. I remember thinking at the time, (3rd grade for me) that this was probably a good thing, but even
then I wondered if it wasn't a conflict of interest on the part of the government. My beliefs had been handed to me by my parent's fundamentalist,
bible inerrant church and I thought that it was good to recognize the United States was a Christian nation, but I was still conflicted, even at that
age, about the appropriateness of dropping the official neutrality. How could a public figure like President Eisenhower fully represent everyone in
the nation while using his office to promote his personal religious beliefs? Since then I have come to the opinion that God is just the adult version
of Santa Clause and Satan the adult version of the monster under my bed. I have become a member of the unrepresented minority that I worried about as
For those of you who would claim that I am just being too sensitive, that they are only words and I am free to ignore them like anybody else, I would
argue that for myself and for anybody that has a well defined belief about God, you are right. I can ignore it, I have desensitized myself to the
words. I can spend the money anyway or omit the passage in the pledge. But there is a large body of the public, especially the youth, who are letting
their beliefs be influenced, even dictated by the public culture in which they are imbedded. They are influenced by these words. The words do have
power over people when they are just going along with what they think is common knowledge, especially when endorsed by the government. If you don't
think the words have power, just imagine the outcry if the money really did say "There is no God."
Another example of the power of such words is that they serve to open the door for further incursions of religion into government such as regularly
scheduled White House prayer meetings where attendance is not mandatory but job evaluation is still influenced by involvement. And then there are all
of the faith-based initiatives where tax money is handed out to religious organizations with little supervision or accountability. Of course these
funds are not just limited to the prevailing faith only, but who is to say there isn't a bias or that there are adequate safeguards in place to
protect against future abuses.