Freedom From Intolerant Atheists
This remake of “Amazing Grace” by Jaclyn Glenn prompted me to think about Atheism and what it means. In particular, I thought about the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and their efforts to make the world a religious free zone.
First, some background.
Each person defines their life by how they consider themselves. I consider my core characteristic as Catholic, but some choose Banker or Mother or Birdwatcher. Indeed, some might even consider their defining characteristic as Atheist. There is a positive ascription of identity that both drives and describes each individual.
Most of the Atheist and Religious people I know don’t use their religion or lack there of as a main characteristic. However, the Atheists I know who do use their lack of religion as a distinguishing feature of their lives usually also employ Science as an antithesis to religion. I personally think science and religion are complementary, but it’s fairly clear that the above songwriter thinks they are mutually exclusive.
In the video it came up as enlightened science verses murderous religion. Well, let me misquote Master Yoda on that, “When two thousand years old you reach, look as good you will not, hmm?”
But back to the point, if the Freedom From Religion Foundation receives their wish, it would create mandatory discrimination against those who classify themselves as “Religious”. In a society with no expression of religion, those who identify as Atheist, or Butcher, or Baker, or even Candlestick Maker could all express their individual identity and be recognized publicly for their values. However, those whose core identity is Catholic, or Buddhist, or Shinto would not be permitted to display who they are or have public recognition of their core values.
It is amazing how well our society tolerates others. For one example: Catholics, however poorly we live up to the ideal, at least pay lip service to the idea that homosexuals, “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” I think it would be fair to ask for a similar détente from Atheists. If we let the rainbow flag billow in the wind on federal buildings, so too should Atheists let the papal flag billow.
To do otherwise is intolerant of those with a proclivity for faith. We should recognize all in our society, and that includes having 10 commandment monuments to recognize those with the Judeo-Christian faith tradition. Our beliefs deserve expression just as much as the next guys.