Posts tagged ‘freedom from religion’

Creationism could be coming to a high school near you

I wrote to Congressman Jim Buchy of the Ohio House about an alert I received that repealing Common Core Curriculum in the high schools could be used as a way re-open the path for Creationism to be injected in high school curriculums.  I’ll repeat the text of Rep. Buchy’s letter below the document to make it readable.  The original document seemed difficult to copy here.

 

 

buchy

 

Rep. Buchy’s email:

“Dear Douglas,

Thank you for contacting my office with concerns regarding House Bill 597.  I support this bill and recently voted it out of the Rules and Reference Committee, to be considered on the floor.

House bill 597 is not about getting creationism to be taught in public schools.  Instead, the bill aims to repeal Common Core in the state of Ohio in order to put control of schools back in the hands of local government and parents.

I support House Bill 597 because I do not agree with the Common Core standards, and neither do the majority of constituents I have heard from.  I haven’t, however, received one email or phone call from a constituent that shares your concerns.  The fact is that the 84th House District, myself included, is made up of many fine Christian people who [sic] people that God does have a place in everyday life.  If I find that a lot of my constituents would support a bill that requires creationism to be taught in schools, I would consider that very idea.

Thank you for contacting me regarding this important matter.  Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding further state issues.

Please help me determine key issues for this General Assembly: Complete my Legislative Survey.  Please follow the link.

Sincerely,

[signed] Jim Buchy

Jim Buchy

State Representative

84th House District

JB/bps”

I initially responded with the next two paragraphs when I was under the weather with a cold, then recently expanded my reply to the following:

From Douglas Falknor to Rep84

Dear Representative Buchy,

I’m saddened to hear that. Education was once the liberator of thought and did its part to free western civilization from religious dogma. It bears noting that the repeating of scientific and historical facts was punishable by death then. Now the lessons being taught by creationists reject objective knowledge in favor of religious belief posing as fact.

Even though there’s been a tradition of government held hostage by religion in this country, education has been free up ’til recently. If you take these steps backwards you may spawn home taught fundamentalists who over time may achieve a level of literal fundamentalism worthy of eastern madrassas and beyond what most Christians today would consider reasonable.

To test the rightness or wrongness of teaching creationism to America’s youth, you need only substitute the teaching of any other religion’s origin myth in place of it. Only that would be fair to the other religions. Or are our high schools only Christian schools?

The near total domination of the culture by Christianity for two hundred years has not served Christians well with respect to learning to treat other religions with equanimity. The greater diversity of race, for instance, has kept the unequal treatment of minorities on the American Christian radar (TV) screens until the culture has made a modicum of concessions in the treatment of those who are of different races and ethnicities.

Christians, however, have not had enough experience with believers of other faiths to know appropriate etiquette in their interactions with them… so sensitivity in the treatment of others—treating others the way you want to be treated—has lagged behind in the arena of religion. (…and nonbelievers? Christians send death threats and hate mail…and don’t see the reflection of themselves in their actions.)

There’s always been this confusion over whether America is a Christian nation or everybody’s nation. Even George H. W. Bush got it wrong. Why? It was the religion talking. The more religion focuses the full spectrum of the public’s attention on its misbehavior the more apparent it becomes that those affected by religion should recuse themselves from actions that would impose their religion on others. Shouldn’t this include those who would rule us? Or are our rulers agents of religion first before our democracy?

We recognize this bondage to religion in the fundamentalists of other religions. It’s not so obvious to us in ourselves. We inherit this devotion to religion naturally. See the evidence for this in Religion is God’s Way of Showing Us it’s a Lot Earlier in Human Evolution than We Thought on Audible and Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Showing-Earlier-Evolution-thought/dp/B00I8U6YWC/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8.)

Douglas Falknor

January 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm 1 comment

Is Humanism a Religion?

Recently a judge ruled in a federal court case (http://www.scribd.com/doc/245271872/American-Humansits-v-US {sic}) in favor of a prisoner that Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes. The inmate had been denied approval to form a humanist study group. The prisoner, Holden, was at FCI Sheridan since 2010. (Note that atheism was already recognized for the purpose of designating prisoners’ religious preferences as were many religions and sects.)

The Center for Inquiry, in its newsletter, said “While we were glad that humanism was declared to be on equal footing with religious beliefs in this case, we are also concerned that this decision will now have unforeseen negative consequences for secular humanism more generally.”
Humanists especially the self-espoused secular variety have wanted the First Amendment protection that is afforded to religion(s), but as a body, secular humanists might aspire to being separate from and even rising above religion, often critical of religion’s many faults. Some might say humanists can’t have it both ways.

I think Humanism is a religion-alternative and necessarily must have the same protections or it will be at the unfair mercy of some religions and some religious people. That’s not to say it is a religion. And that’s not to say it functions like one (though it might for some).

There is a rebuttal by the humanists most opposed to the general implications of accepting Humanism as a religion. read it right now at Tom Flynn’s blog at Free Thinking.

The overlooked obvious in every instance of these debates is the question of terms—the definition and meaning of the words we use. Meanings vary. Consider all the definitions the dictionary gives for the terms we use: religion, spirituality, etc. We all act as if there is only one meaning for a word when there are a number.

The definition of religion itself is elusive. Some have many gods, others have none. Spirituality is essential to the practitioners of some religions but reduced to ritual-by-rote for others. The line between some religions and the so-called graceful life philosophies is blurred.
If we don’t mean the same thing with our words, we are not communicating, we are miscommunicating. Talk under those circumstances is talk at cross purposes.

In the various meanings of religion, Humanism might meet the spiritual needs of some of its followers. Does that make it a religion? And if a believer religion fails to be spiritually fulfilling, does it stop being a religion? No that’s just modern religion.

November 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm Leave a comment

Boycott Pepsi?

I just read a call to boycott Pepsi, as the blogger relates the offense, for omitting “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance so as not to be divisive.  Pepsi supposedly did that when printing the phrase “one nation…indivisible…” on cans.  The call came from a Christian I know.  To put words in her mouth, she is probably saying that the Pledge should be recited as Congress has dictated it.

It took about ten seconds of my time to search on the words “Pepsi Pledge of Allegiance” to find that this is a rumor started about a decade ago over something Dr. Pepper may have done.    The “one nation…indivisible” phrase, it would seem obvious, is what one might say in saluting the nation.  “One nation, under God” is a religious observation.

Once again, though, we nonbelievers would have received the default discrimination, one that some beverage company would have tried to save the world from–sticking religion into everything–when religion was the intrusion in the first place.  (I’m sure you know, but around 1954 in the communist-obsessed environment overheated by Senator Joe McCarthy and others,  Congress thought they’d trip up the Commies but injecting God into the Pledge–the same environment that brought us Vietnam–because Commies wouldn’t say “under God” if it was in the Pledge.  Will someone one please answer my question:  Why would the Commies say the Pledge as it was?  And if they were going to falsely recite the Pledge, why wouldn’t they falsely Pledge to God as well?).

That’s what it is, you know.  A Pledge or acknowledgement that we recognize that the U.S. nation is under God’s charge and loyal to Him.  I would venture to say that the communist threat from within has passed… so is Congress likely to remove the phrase?   Congress has not only shifted Right, it has shifted even more to the Christian Right.  Individually, those congressmen and senators will tell you that their first loyalty is to God… just like their radicalized Muslim brothers would.

You may be familiar with my theory of why or how the religiously affected get that way (Religion is God’s Way of Showing Us it’s a lot Earlier in Human Evolution than We Thought).  If they are deceived, even if willingly, that makes ours a rough row to hoe.  Everywhere that religion encroaches, once it’s there, it’s locked on.  Marked territory not only to never be freed again–the religious are blind to it.  It no longer is open to question.  Religion gets a free ride, a pass.   It is outside the questions, outside the equation of things that can be examined for fairness or equality.

That’s why it is so hard for us to gain any ground even though religion has encroached so much into are world.  Blind justice may treat us fairly, but not if justice is blinded by religion.  Why do they think they should be able to treat us unfairly?  Well, they pay lip service to tradition, but it’s the underestimated effect religion has on the religious that  they are most blind to.

If you consider civil rights laws, and rest assured that is the field where the discrimination against us lies, we are being discriminated against due to religion.  The bigots among the religious say we can’t be because we have no religion.

IT’S NOT DUE TO OUR RELIGION THAT WE ARE BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.  IT IS, RATHER, BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGION THAT THE BIGOT DISCRIMINATES AGAINST US.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm Leave a comment

The Military Religious Freedom Protection Act has passed

(This is similar to the previous post, but the House Armed Services Committee did pass this de-Enlightenment legislation. There’s a URL at the bottom of the previous post if you think you want to hear Buck McKeon. I think he’ll prove you wrong.)

Chairman McKeon said if there were atheist chaplains, they would tell dying soldiers they would be “worm food.” Alternatively, when Rep. Fleming was asked what a Christian chaplain would tell a dying atheist soldier whom he believed would go to hell. Fleming said the Christian chaplain should offer the dying atheist soldier salvation through the Bible.

The last statement underlines the intent of the Military Religious Freedom (a malapropish misnomer in the long tradition of military and governmental oxymorons) Protection Act which became an amendment to a defense authorization bill which states that it is all right for believers of “a religion” to proselytize that faith to others.

The typical nonbeliever wouldn’t consider telling any dying soldier they might be “worm food” let alone a humanist chaplain. It’s a ludicrous proposition that he or she would do anything less than hold high esteem for an individual of any or no belief. This is because the average humanist believes that we all have an intrinsic human worth and that the human spirit is noble and a Humanist celebrant or chaplain is going to embody those qualities at a minimum. These congressmen are demonstrating that they do not value our service men and women in the same way.

Shouldn’t a chaplain to our men and women in uniform respect the faith tradition or beliefs of that person? That’s what a Humanist chaplain would do. But you have the congressmen’s words on it, that’s not what a Christian chaplain should do: They should offer the dying atheist soldier salvation through the Bible. This amendment supports that, but it is a one way street. Nonbelievers will have no “religious freedom” of their own protecting them from such inconsiderate behavior.
Gentlemen, you have our service members at too much of a disadvantage. They deserve better from you than this punishment for not being Christians. You can impose your will by a majority vote, but you can’t make it right or just. Are you treating the nonbelieving service members the way you want to be treated?
I take it these congressmen don’t feel the same nor do they feel that the men and women in uniform deserve equal treatment either. If they did, they’d ask each service member what kind of (faith) service they’d like, and it would be given.

It is possible for a bigoted person to go through a process of conversion. Our fellow Americans, bigoted though they may be, are our bigots and our brothers. As the humanism they denigrate would tell them, if they’d listen, all men are brothers. We must these help make these men better Christians. We must do this because as humanists we are our brothers’ keepers ..and we have no god that we would put before them.

Since only Christianity proselytizes, perhaps all Christians in the nation should weigh in. Tell these congressmen if you’re with them or against them. If we are not to judge you by your silence, speak up this one time. These men and women in uniform can’t speak up. They are at the mercy of the chain of command and it is to, and about, that chain of command they would have to complain—a career-ending move at best.

August 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

Affirming motto In God We Trust is the religious equivalent of marking territory

Affirming the motto In God We Trust is the Religious Equivalent of Marking Territory 

The next time someone asks why are atheists so strident–so militant?  Just hold up the headline–Congress passes the nonbinding (unnecessary) resolution reaffirming “In God we Trust” as the national motto.   

But why are atheists so angry? Because it’s RUDE. It’s Believers Behaving Badly.  

In every other sphere we suppress our antisocial and baser instincts for the good of society, harmony. But religion gets a pass.  NO, not really religion, just Christianity.   The one that claims the Golden Rule even though similar sentiments were expressed before it came along.

How shall we observe the Golden Rule in your seeming violation of it? Do you want the same treatment in return? Is this the treatment you want from nonbelievers or the other religions?

On the face of it, they say the resolution before congress wasn’t divisible, but those who should know say it was.  Boehner probably didn’t get my email.   He governs me, but evidently doesn’t represent me.  Why should I pay taxes to a religious organization–the U.S. government?

This action is an outstanding example of what’s wrong with modern day Christianity especially in politics.   This is an act of religion.  Worse, religion is so confusing to the victim’s mind, and yet it dopes them with neurochemicals to the effect that they feel confident in their action.   Perhaps, they feel a tiny nano-rapture. 

This is the kind of thing that goads us to make our rhetoric sound almost as programmed as theirs. This is what makes us crazy.

Are they crazy?  A lot of us think so. Or maybe they’re just deluded? That’s closer. They are undeniably under the effect of religion and guilty of VUI–voting under the influence. Obviously, they need an intervention. A 396 member intervention.  Let’s plan one for March.  Peaceful though, only First Amendment solutions.  None of that stuff that their sacred text recommends they do to us.

It’s sad that they can’t differentiate God from Country. Nor do they seem capable of admitting they have a problem.  (See elsewhere my thesis of how radical God & Country really is in this brand of believer.  And believe them when they invoke it, because the people come in a distant third.    

If you go deep enough, though, in the soul of the believer, you’ll find at the final depth, that they’ll throw over Country in favor of God.  It’s only at the last, though, when they must stand as Christian soldiers and reveal themselves as being for God over country or people.   You may have heard Newt Gingrich describing how his leader of the freeworld couldn’t be trusted if he didn’t pray.  That might take you nostalgic folk back to George H.W. Bush’s comment that he made while he was president that he didn’t think atheist were citizens of the U.S.  

Because religion is so intertwined in our genes and there fore in our minds, a majority of people are unable to see these actions as the unAmerican activities that they are.  

It is the invasion of the body snatchers and they are screaming God. If this was an alien presence invading our citizens we wouldn’t let them suffer.  But the snatchees have control.  How do they rationalize it–with the cry, Christian Nation! Yes, sadly Christianity has had its fist around the heart of the nation since the beginning. True patriots–those who didn’t think someone’s religion should come before our country–struggled to birth the nation in religious freedom.

If you’re not sure that they are talking only about the Christian God, ask them if you can display the name of every god below “our” motto as they will display it in public schools and public buildings.  No, they’ll say, that would be tantamount to prayer in the schools.  Oh right. But wait! What’s the difference between a religious affirmation on the school building and a prayer inside?  Nothing if we do it right, they’ll whisper. 

It promotes our one religion at the expense of everybody’s beliefs and for that matter, at everybody’s expense–and they buy it because they’ve never been able to break our grip on our government, it’s a tradition, you know, like slavery and has to continue.

November 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm 3 comments


Hello

I write for agnostics, freethinkers, atheists and humanists. In my nonfiction, the purpose is the celebration of our noble human spirit. The general pursuit may be Evolutionary Theology, though believers seem to populate that field (so maybe it's evolutionary Humanism). By looking at who we are and where we came from, we can derive much meaning, and perhaps more importantly, understanding, as well as some sense of where we could go.

Religion is God’s Way of Showing Us it’s Earlier in Human Evolution than We Thought

This title is an upcoming book at the publisher's now. I'd like feedback on this title. It's meant to make people think and feel something. And to hint at things for both believers and non- on multiple levels. The book is of a wider scope, though, one which is ultimately a way to grasp more meaning for ourselves. Believers are always telling us our lives don't have meaning without a god. We often counter that it's more meaningful to be looking for our own meaning than to be arbitrarily ascribed it by an imaginary supernatural being. Ultimately, and this is what I think is unique about this book, you'll see how we can be just as spiritual in our own way. Since we've inhertited a capacity for religion (some more than others) as an evolutionary adaptation, believers and non- are both potentially spritual in the same way--but it is an earthly, secular spirituality in which we all can share.