I wrote a post about a misleading headline last week but now I’d like to talk about the article to which the satiric story was really about.
There was a Supreme Court decision last week which allowed a municipality to open their meeting with a prayer as long as that prayer is not intended to convert listeners or denigrate other religions. The community, Greece, NY, has opened their town meetings since 1999 with a prayer. In all that time it has always been a Christian denomination giving the prayer except a brief period when the lawsuit was filed after which four of the twelve prayers were non-Christian. Since then all prayers have been Christian in nature.
So the Supreme Court says that municipalities can open their meetings with a prayer. Christian groups think they’ve won. They haven’t and I’ll tell you why.
Now that government agencies are allowed to open meetings with a prayer to a specific religious deity, everyone wants to open the meeting with a prayer to their non-existent god. Yes, Satan. And that’s only the beginning. When religious groups “win” the right to display religious monuments on city property guess who immediately starts to submit requests to start having their own monuments?
Satanist, Pastafarians, Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, Buddhists, and all sorts of non-Christian organizations. If those organizations are banned from presenting their prayers or their monuments then the state is clearly violating the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
Basically this has come to mean that no political organization should be in the business of endorsing any one religion over another. Belief is a private matter for the free citizens of the United States. When the state says only Christians or only Muslims or only Jews or only Atheists are allowed to present then they are establishing that this is the religion of choice. This is bad for anyone of any faith.
When Communist Russia banned most religions and enforced Atheism this imposed belief from the state. When Religious Oligarchies like Saudi Arabia impose Sharia Law upon their population this is religion sponsored by the state.
What I think most Christians struggle with is the idea that there are people of other faiths out there and that when Christians politicians are allowed to sponsor their religion the door is opened to anyone, Satanists or not, to sponsor their own religion from the state house.
Christians think they’ve won when they get the right to sponsor their religion in a local municipality but in reality they have opened the door to their, and my, ultimate destruction.
I don’t want Christians preaching to me at state sponsored events but I don’t want Muslims or Atheists or Wiccans doing it either. I want to have my private beliefs separate from what the state sponsors. I’m in the Atheist minority while Christians are in the majority. It seems as though having the state sponsor your religion is a good idea when you are in the majority but time moves on and suddenly there is a town where the majority of people are from a different religion or no religion at all. Then this state sponsored religion that they fought to promote doesn’t seem like such a good idea.
The solution seems so simple to me. People of a particular religion persuasion should simply meet in a private chamber somewhere and have their prayer or invocation or whatever. At Rams football games the players who are Christian meet at the center of the field and have a prayer after the game. Not during the game. Not before the game when the audience is waiting for them to start playing.
This insistence on the right to say a religious prayer before an event doesn’t seem to me to be a position of faith but actually a lack thereof. Those with true faith shouldn’t need, or even desire, the state to say a prayer in any form.
The Founding Fathers didn’t feel the need to put religious slogans on our coinage. They didn’t feel the need to put the words “Under God” in their oaths. They didn’t feel the need to Pledge Allegiance to anything. They were confident men who believed in themselves and the ideas they promulgated, the ideas of freedom. Were that they were around today.
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
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