Friday, March 25, 2005

Some Good Points

Interesting couple of paragraphs from this article:
In challenging activist-atheists who wish to raze all religious symbols from public life (erroneously citing the First Amendment and Thomas Jefferson's "Wall of Separation"), we have often asked, "If you truly believe in atheism, why does any religious symbol, which you take as meaningless, matter at all?" [I reckon he's saying that suing over meaningless symbols in a public place makes as much sense as suing because you don't like the architecture or paint scheme] As for the courts that take these cases seriously, we ask the following: On what constitutional basis do atheists have standing to sue? Are atheists granted standing under the view that atheism is a religious faith constitutionally guaranteed free-exercise rights? If so, then what "free exercise" of atheism is hampered by permitting those holding other faiths to practice their beliefs freely in public observances? What acts are required of atheists to remain atheists in good standing, which are restrained by the presence of others engaging in acts consonant with their own religions? Are atheists so weak-minded that the mere propinquity of those of other beliefs causes them to lose their faith?

However, if atheists have standing because atheism is properly understood as a religion, then why is their demand that it be the only officially permissible public practice [that is, the failure to show any sort of religious symbols is itself a positive practice and statement, tantamount to asserting: "God has nothing to do with the moral foundations of this particular public institution or building, therefore not acknowledging him via physical symbols in the physical embodiment of the institution is not corrosive to public morality and does not insult the Author of Providence. Besides, He doesn't exist!"] not itself a constitutionally banned establishment of atheism as the government's official religion? Either godlessness is or isn't a religious faith. To our way of thinking, either atheists cannot legitimately sue on religious liberty grounds, or atheism itself must be as constrained as other faiths.

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