Friday, August 1, 2008

Anti-Atheist Bigotry

vjack, over at Atheist Revolution, is talking more seriously in recent weeks about ending anti-atheist bigotry (or, at least, fighting it).

I recommend his most recent posting on the subject: Ending Anti-Atheist Bigotry.

As it turns out, of course, I hold that one of the biggest sources of anti-atheist bigotry is the government's own statement that those who are not "under God" are to be thought of as belonging in the sme family as those who do not support 'one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all'.

It is expressed by the government's own motto, "If you do not trust in God, then we do not think of you as being one of us."

Teach these messages to young children, and a great many of them will be anti-atheist bigots for life, more than eager to assert that atheists do not "share our values" and that, as "one nation under god" we certainly cannot allow atheists to be elected to public office or hold positions of public trust.

You certainly would not want your child to marry one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Florida Appeals Court on the Pledge of Allegiance

A Florida appeals court declared today that a state law requiring parental permission to refuse to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance at school was constitutional, but the part of the law that required even those students who refused to say the Pledge (with parental permission) to stand was unconstitutional.

See: Jurist: Federal court rules part of Florida Pledge of Allegiance law unconstitutional.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Atheist Priorities

Vjack, over at Atheist Revolution, has a post that is concerned with picking one's battles.

Of course, I have picked mine already (and Vjack has acknowledged that and supported it). But there are a point that I wish to make on this topic.

It is utterly stupid for us to be spending so much time fighting each other over what battles to fight that we do not have any time or effort left to fight any battles.

I know that there are people who think that opposing 'under God' and 'In God We Trust' is a mistake because of the strength of the backlash that such a camapaign will generate. I believe that they are mistaken - that there can be no victory anywhere unless these tools for propagandizing children are removed. But I am not going to spend only a fraction of my time fighting such critics. I will spend the bulk of my time fighting the Pledge and the Motto themselves.

I recommend that others do the same. Whatever priority you think is most worth pursuing . . . pursue it. Don't spend your time telling everybody how good a plan it is. Show them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Message on Patriotism

Here is a message on patriotism that deserves some recognition.

The Meaning of Patriotism.

Patriotism is ACTION inspired by a profound sense of RESPONSIBILITY to one's country. American patriotism is a duty to act toward the creation of a more perfect union. Sometimes that duty means voting. Sometimes it means becoming a warrior or politician. Sometimes it means protesting and civil disobedience. Sometimes it means raising your voice and speaking strongly in advocacy for your position on an issue.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Atheist United Indivisible Day Speech

Stuart Bechman has posted his speech for the Indivisible Day rally in Ventura, California.

Promoting "One Nation Under God"

Just a couple of news articles that I wanted to bring your attention.

From the New York Sun, Daniel Johnson, Healthier than Europe Is."

America is the best proof that Tocqueville was right: religion is beneficial — indeed essential — for democracy to flourish.

Danville News, A Blessed Nation

The Fourth may have had its fireworks but Mount Calvary Church held its God & Country Day celebration Sunday.

The event honored veterans of wars with musical performances, recognition of the church’s military veterans, a patriotic video and a sermon emphasizing the United States’ Judeo-Christian roots. The gala also featured the posting of the colors by the Martinsville/Henry County Veterans Honor Guard.

“Our nation has survived because of these four words and the truths they represent – ‘One nation under God,’” said Gary Robertson, senior pastor at Mount Calvary Church, during his sermon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pledge as a Sign of Patriotism

Another set of data showing how the Pledge of Allegiance is used to denigrate atheists and to provide a barrier between atheists and public office.

USA Today had a poll in which they asked people what certain actions said about an individual's patriotism. (See: USA Today Flag Pins, Protests Both Patriotic)

According to the poll, 77 percent of Americans believe that saying the Pledge of Allegiance indicates that a person is patriotic by "a great deal" or "a moderate amount".

The poll did not ask what I think is the more interesting question. Does not saying the Pledge indicate that one is not patriotic?

Since the United States Government has decided to create a Pledge that a large group of Americans cannot say, then it is entirely unfair to hold that not saying the Pledge of Allegiance is a sign of poor patriotism (or that saying the Pledge of Allegiance is a sign of patriotism). Where patriotism is held in high esteem, this gives an unfair advantage to those who are capable of saying the Pledge and puts those who cannot say the Pledge at a disadvantage.

So, where the Pledge itself is discriminatory, the people are wrong to hold that it is a sign of patriotism or virtue. Where the Pledge is taken as a sign of patriotism or virture, it is wrong to have a pledge that is discriminatory. We can have a discriminatory pledge without patriotism, or a patriotic pledge with out discrimination, but no sense of justice can condone having a pledge that is both patriotic and discrimiatory.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Obama on Patriotism

Yesterday, in a speech on patriotism, Obama said, "I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign."

The fact is, this is a lie. Obama questions the patriotism of others every time he says the Pledge of Allegiance, which he has repeatedly done since opponents began spreading the lie that does not say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The pledge itself calls those who do not support "one nation under God" unpatriotic. Just as it calls those who do not support union, liberty, and justice for all unpatriotic.

That the Pledge calls the patrotism of such people into question is the easiest thing on the planet to prove in the context of the Obama campaign. What did it mean to say that Obama did not say the Pledge of Allegiance? It meant that he was unpatriotic. If he had refused to say the Pledge because he did not believe in God, he would have still been branded unpatriotic. The Pledge questions the patriotism of any who do not believe in God. Q.E.D.

Technically, we might want to give him a friendly intepretation that he will not question the patriotism of other candidates in this campaign - whereas it remains open season on the patriotism of private Americans, such as those who do not support 'one nation under God'.

Certainly, it would be foolish for Obama to question the existence of spies and others who would sell out their country for cash by selling secrets to other governments. Clearly, it would be foolish to deny that there are people whose patriotism is questionable.

Certainly, Obama will continue to engage in the practice of putting those who do not support 'one nation under God' on that list.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Indivisibility Day

I have heard that Atheists United in Los Angeles will be promoting 'indivisibility day" on July 3rd and 4th.

They will be holding a rally at the government center in Ventura on July 3rd, and will be handing out pies on Santa Monica Pier on July 4th.

I am wondering if other organizations have events planned.

Friday, June 27, 2008

School Official Seeks to Punish "Lack of Respect" During Pledge

Another school official, this one in Norwich, Connecticut, wants to discipline children who do not show respect while the Pledge is being said.

(See School official: Disrupt pledge, face discipline)

Part of the article discusses children who actually engage in disruptive behavior during the Pledge of Allegiance. As far as disciplining children who disrupt school activities - there would be little objection to that. Yet, there is no reason to single out the Pledge as the only time when disruption is to be prohibited. Children should be disciplined any time they disrupt school activities - Pledge included.

However, Charles Jaskiewicz, wants to define 'diruption' when the Pledge is recited a bit more broadly.

“If they don’t want to say (the pledge), I don’t have a problem with that,” Jaskiewicz said. “My belief is they should at least be required to at minimal stand up and respect.”

The article quotes a parent on the issue - one who thinks that the value of showing respect for the country trumps the value of showing respect for different religions.

“I remember back in my day, we all had to say the Pledge of Allegiance,” Dixon said. “Now, we have to be more tolerant of other religions. But that doesn’t mean they can disrespect our country. In fact, students who are found to be disrespectful should write an essay for their atonement.”

Of course, I would love to write an essay on the issue. Of course, I also think thta Dixon should be required to read it. It would have to do with the moral inappropriateness of a government policy that links 'having the right religious belief' with 'being a patriotic American' by having a pledge that only those with the right religious beliefs can say.

And it would have to do with the moral inappropriateness of a national Pledge that lumps not having the right religious beliefs in with rebellion, tyranny, and injustice, as the four great evils that no good American will participate in.

And it will have to do with the moral wrong in having the government, each day, tell its students, "Now all stand and join me in insulting many of those who are currently fighting to protect your freedom by saying that, if they do not support 'one nation under God', we promise to think of them the same way we think of those who will not support liberty and justice for all.'