George WashingtonA friend of mine, DeletedSoul, emailed me today, asking for my two cents on a facebook debate regarding the separation of church and state. She just joined the Americans United for Separation of church and State cause there and someone she knows went for her jugular over it. That made me think. I don't remember ever blogging about the issue. I guess it seems so black and white and simple I've never really felt the need. I mean, what more can I do than state the obvious? Yet the comments from the person were so full of propaganda, I thought it can't hurt to weigh in and say a few things.

DeletedSoul also wrote an article about this issue called There is No War Against christianity. I have to agree with most of what she says there. For instance, I live in the upper buckle of the bible belt. There are more churches than people in my sleepy little town (slight hyperbole, but you get the point) and I am surrounded by religious people everywhere I go. I am very much a minority as an atheist, so much so that I feel like I would suffer unpleasant consequences to stand up more than I already do and declare myself an atheist and a Freethinker.

If you look at the government and all the polls regarding religion over the years, you'll find that 99.999% of politicians bow down to the christian god, whether just to garner votes or because they believe in the baby jesus, no one will ever know but them. The point is, the American public does not care for atheists, while wearing the label of christian carries with it some cache. It's not earned or accurate, but still, most people consider christians more moral than atheists, and would vote for a muslim before voting for an atheist, according to the polls. So why christians cry wolf about there being a "war" on christianity is beyond hypocrisy and completely devoid of facts.

A few years ago at christmas eve dinner with my in-laws, one of the extended family attacked Butch when he agreed with his cousin on how America was founded on the rights and principles of the separation of church and state. He calmly told the christian that she was wrong and gave her a few quotes to back his position, but she was nasty and stormed off after some very heated lies spewed forth. What is so disturbing is she was a school teacher and she was happy to lie to her grandchildren that day, and any students she ever had, telling them we are a christian nation, founded by christians and based on christian principles. The good news is, we saw her true colors and her vicious nature then, and she has avoided talking to us ever since, even though we see them for nearly every major holiday.

What vocal and fundamentalist christians can't seem to get through their heads is that the Separation of church and State benefits them just as much as us heathens. But that's not good enough for them. They have to resort to distorting facts and claiming they know what Thomas Jefferson meant when he wrote his letters.

commandmentsHere, let me explain it this way. Let's say you're a baptist. Let's say the First Amendment is thrown away and now we are officially a christian nation. But the president is a catholic and now we all have to go to mass and confess our sins once a week at a state sanctioned church. We have to raise our kids catholic, and all the little things that are different between your baptist beliefs and government sanctioned catholicism get thrown out the window. You will go to jail for secretly practicing baptist heresy, so don't even consider it.

Or what if the president gets elected then tells everyone he is a muslim, or decides it's best if the country is muslim for political reasons! We all must convert to islam within 15 days and start praying 5 times a day and all the other nonsense. Women can no longer drive or hold high level jobs. They get married to men at the age of 9, ready to give up their virginity. At age 9, just like mohammed, who is now your prophet. And if you fail to pray 5 times a day or if you show any signs of going against islam or practicing any type of christianity, you get stoned to death. That's theocracy.

The Separation of church and State means that religious people get to practice any religion they want. Or if someone doesn't believe in gods, they don't have to follow any religion. It's for everyone's benefit. It's that simple. So please, if you're a christian, stop moaning and whining about something you don't seem to understand. This is for the benefit of all of us.

Here are some links for you:

Thomas Jefferson first wrote about the term Separation of church and State in 1802, where he clarified what the First Amendment was all about regarding religion and politics.

Here is the conversation between DeletedSoul and the christian, and my comment. She had to pull the thread from her facebook account because apparently it got kind of ugly. Unfortunately I didn't get to read any more than this...

Deleted Soul joined the cause: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
The christian:
...AU's primary task is educating the American public about the importance of religious liberty through the separation of church and state and defending that crucial constitutional principle against attacks by extremist Religious Right groups such as the Christian Coalition....NO AGENDA HERE! :)

The christian:
"Jefferson believed that God, not government, was the Author and Source of our rights and that the government, therefore, was to be prevented from interference with those rights. Very simply, the "fence" of the Webster letter and the "wall" of the Danbury letter were not to limit religious activities in public; rather they were to limit the power of the government to prohibit or interfere with those expressions."
..while wanting to see the government prohibited from interfering with or limiting religious activities, they also had declared it a legitimate function of government "to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor." ...offenses for which government could intrude included human sacrifice, polygamy, bigamy, concubinage, incest, infanticide, parricide, advocation and promotion of immorality, etc.
http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=123      :)

Nice smiley faces. How passive aggressive is that?
DeletedSoul:
"WallBuilders' goal is to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena. " No Agenda Here! Of course, Wallbuilders is a corporation, so I think their ultimate goal is to make money, most likely. :)

Of course every organization such as these have an agenda - there would be truly no point. :)

I do support a strict separation of church and state for various reasons. I had written a couple lengthy comments here, but after 2 1/2 I decided to stop because I would end up sitting here all morning.

I have more about this subject on my blog. - feel free to read and comment there! It doesn't truncate comments, so it's a lot easier to have a discussion. :)

The christian:
Wallbuilders is a corporation, so I think their ultimate goal is to make money, most likely. :)...
Making money is a great thing though, don't you think? I think everyone should make as much as they can possibly can. Except the government, of course, which doesn't produce anything yet steals money from its MOST industrious citizens who do work hard to earn every dime. But, I digress... I have the option of ignoring stuff that comes across my feed or address issues that yank my chain. I've decided, in this day when history is being spun for political expediency and shameless power grabbing, to express my opinion or offer counter-information. I guess you believe that the government should protect you from the very spooky extremist Religious Right like the Christian Coalition (www.cc.org) (and,me, I guess). I'm harmless, really. Not as spooky as you think. :) Now, I have two young boys to train up to be mighty, Godly warriors for Truth in this ever-darkening world they are growing up in.

The end of this paragraph set my teeth on edge. And count the logical fallacies, people!
DeletedSoul:
Christian Coalition is pretty far up there on my list of "Who Not to Support"; most of their agendas are directly opposite of my own views. I see more negative aspects than positive ones in the organization, with a few exceptions, especially their support of Net Neutrality, which is certainly an important issue. However, I would not expect the government to "protect" me from any "scary" organizations, but I would not want my tax dollars supporting such an organization in any way.

When I left my comment below, DS was leaving this comment, so I didn't see it yet.
Me:
You can pretend to know what someone was thinking hundreds of years ago if you like. But Jefferson and the Founding Fathers were pretty clear that this country was founded on freedom of religion and FROM religion.
Quoting propaganda and half truths from obviously biased organizations proves nothing, except that you wish to propagate bigotry and lies in the name of your god.
Indoctrination of children into a belief system is not the same as raising healthy kids to think for themselves. Might as well get a puppy to follow you like a shadow and do exactly what you want. Or a puppet to parrot your views word for word.

As you can see, I was rather "direct". DS messaged me and said thanks, then the next morning she deleted the whole thread. Sorry for getting a bit heated there. I'm just a human being after all. :P (that's from an X-Files episode)

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