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PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

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Promotional Backlash

Whether you are atheist, agnostic, pagan, or any of the many "other" form of religion/non religion masses.... here is something to think about.

Our government should not promote religion.

I don't just mean it shouldn't promote one religion over another... but that it shouldn't promote religion at all. Period.

Churches and faith groups can do a fine job promoting themselves. They don't need government interference and aid in the matter.

Why am I concerned about this? Keep reading....

On Thursday, May 7, 2009, members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus will hold a press conference in Washington, DC to launch a new effort at passing the "America's Spiritual Heritage" resolution, formerly known as HR 888.

Introduced by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA.), the measure would put Congress on record to "Recognize that the religious foundations of faith on which America was built are critical underpinnings of our Nation's most valuable institutions..." It would also decree establishment of a "Religious Heritage Week" "for the appreciation of and education of America's history of religious faith."

First off, despite popular opinion and an amazing marketing campaign, this country wasn't founded on faith.

Secondly, I have no problem with people being taught about different religions and non religions and yes they should be given equal weight in my opinion) but this "Religious Heritage Week" doesn't sound fair or balanced. Will they educate about Native American religious practices? Will they discuss with equal vigor the Quakers, the Amish, the Pagans, the Atheists? Or will it be an orgy of fundamental Christian hyperbole that will focus on the "us vs them" mentality that in my opinion is so dangerous?

We obviously don't know for sure (yet) but by looking at the people involved with setting the whole thing up, I rather doubt an open and inclusive history is forthcoming.

For example...

Among those slated to appear at Thursday's conference are Gary Bauer ("American Values"); Maureen Wiebe (American Association of Christian Schools); Wendy Wright (Concerned Women for America); and William Murray (Religious Freedom Coalition); and James and Shirley Dobson (Focus on the Family). The event is schedule to coincide with ceremonies marking the National Day of Prayer, a Dobson-run event.


Day of Prayer: A rant for another day.

Anyway, if you are like me and concered about this, below are some things you can do about it.

Legislators, particularly Congressional representatives in the House, need to hear from America's Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists other secularists, people of faith and anyone who thinks that our governement should NOT be involved with the promotion of religion especially in the form of a one-sided "history" that ignores the important role of the First Amendment and Separation of Church and State. This bill is also being seen as a reaction to President Obama's recent statement in Turkey to the effect that America is not a "Christian nation."


LEARN MORE:

Visit the American Atheist web site and Dave Silverman's NO GOD BLOG for more background on this story. The full Resolution text can be found at the Congressional Prayer Caucus web site.

CONTACT CONGRESS:

Send letters, faxes and E-mails to your Congressional Representative. Better yet, call. Visit this site for a complete listing, or the office of the House of Representatives site over here. Be concise and polite. Tell your representative that this bill is a ploy to promote a "revisionist" view of American history, and that it does not mention the many negative effects religious orthodoxy and strife have had in our nation! Point out that government has no proper role in promoting religion, or a biased and un-balanced view of American history. Ask for a written response from your representative!

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS:

Join the conversation at the NoGodBlog, do a write up in your own blog, make a passing comment on Twitter, update your Facebook status with something relevant....

Thanks for reading,

12 comments:

WoodEngineer said...

I agree completely. I have to point one thing out though... I don't think your RSS feed is working :-(

Jay said...

This bill isn't going anywhere. When the republicans controlled Congress they couldn't move this bill through, so there's no way it's going to get passed with all those Godless democrats in there now. ;-)

Anthroslug said...

I quite agree, and think that you make a good point in discussing the fact that this is something that is really backed and supported primarily by one particular religious group, backs up a fiction in place of history, and is not the inclusive type of thing that some folks seem to take it for.

rystefn said...

Crap like this makes me want to choke people. Like seriously wrap my fingers around their necks and maybe beat them against the nearest wall until they either understand or pass out.

Kay said...

WE: I know... I keep trying to fix the RSS feed and it keeps not working... any advice WE?

Jay: I hope you are right.

Anthroslug: Not inclusive at all, which is why it bugs so bad.

Rystefn: I understand your anger, will you be calling your reps?

WoodEngineer said...

Ah ok I figured it out, you have to use the feedburner link at the top right..you can't use the blogger feeds for some reason. It's probably something to do with the css template. I have no idea how to fix the blogger links but I guess I would just stick with the feed burner for the time being. I'll update my google reader :-D

Jayson said...

You're right, the country was founded in revolt against tyrannical oppression and taxation. However, that does not exclude the fact that those commonly regarded as the original settlers that lead to the formation of the colonies and later the US were fleeing religious persecution. The vast majority of people at the time were a christian based faith, including the Founding Fathers. So, it can be extrapolated that even though The Constitution forbids the establishing of a State Religion, ala The Church of England, it's ideals and much of the law of the land are somewhat based on Christian morality.

I myself am an agnostic, and truly, overly religious people give me the willies. However, I still get a good chuckle watching people who supposedly promote diversity and acceptance beat up on christians for promoting their religion.

I guess the diversity and acceptance only extends as far as the "free thinker" feels is correct.

Kay said...

Hi Jayson, thanks for reading :)

But I have to quibble with you...

Point 1: “that does not exclude the fact that those commonly regarded as the original settlers that lead to the formation of the colonies and later the US were fleeing religious persecution
“Rebuttal: This was true for some of the people who came to America, but not all. The Spanish came to broaden their religious scope for instance, and a lot of people came due to financial reasons. But yes, many of the original settlers were some brand of Christian or another. And that’s fine. That’s history. If they are going to do a history of all the religions and non religions practiced in the US, this should be included. But like I said, that is not the goal of this bill.
Point 2: T”he vast majority of people at the time were a christian based faith, including the Founding Fathers.”
Rebuttal: Nope. Most of the Founding Fathers were Deists, they believed in a God but more of a Natural God and not the biblical God.
Point 3: “So, it can be extrapolated that even though The Constitution forbids the establishing of a State Religion, ala The Church of England, it's ideals and much of the law of the land are somewhat based on Christian morality.”
Rebuttal: Nope. See above. Morality was part of the framework to be sure, but not a specific Christian morality.

I wasn’t trying to beat up on the Christians… I will be one of the first in line to rally against any religious or nonreligious group that tries to muscle its way into government sanctioned attention or promotion. Currently, the Christians (due in large part to the Religious Right) are the loudest group doing so.

It is one thing to promote your religion. It is another thing to use a government to do so.

Anthroslug said...

I was going to respond as well, Kay, but you did so much more eloquently than I could.

Two things, though. Deism was common among the founders, but so were various forms of Christianity. HOWEVER all of this is irrelevant as they agreed to a constitution that specifically, and in their own later words, erected a wall of seperation between church and state - so, no state promotion of religion according to these men themselves. The "well they were Chrisitians" line always annoys me because even if it were accurate, it would still be irrelevant and they designed the system to make it irrelevant.

Also, Christians catch flack in the US because they are the dominant group. If members of another religion had a similarly large number of high-placed politicians and advocates trying to push their agenda, then they would be getting the criticism to. In other words, Jayson, Christians aren't being "beat up," rather, those Christians who are tyring to use the government as a tool for promotion are being responded to.

WoodEngineer said...

Kay and Anthroslug both knocked the nail on the head..I go out to eat and find you've both beaten me to it ARG!

Jimmy P said...

I was a little anxious at the first few comment because I thought it was going to be "beat up on a Christian day", but I would have to agree with most of the statements here and I even learned a little in the process. Don't tell my wife I learned something, she'll expect me to do it more often. I was raised in a Christian setting, but as I grew older (I won't say wiser because that is debatable), I didn't go to church as often because of the whole "look at us" attitude that I witnessed. Going into a neighborhood and knocking on doors was not my way of showing God to everyone. I believe that if you want people to come to your religion, be an exemplary person. The idea behind being a Christian was to be more Christ-like. Well, instead of telling people about it or having your government do it for you, show it. Treat people with respect, do good deeds, treat your body like a temple. Above all, do. Don't just talk. And that's goes for any religion. Getting big brother to fight your battles for you isn't the way. All in all, even I don't agree with the bill. Thanks for posting this.

Kay said...

Jimmy: Thanks for reading, thanks for responding. Your idea ofhow to promote the faith is perfect... I think if religions (any religions) relied more on attraction than promotion, the world would be a better place.

And no, I don't plan to ever beat up on the Christians... my family is Christian, my best friend is a Quaker for goodness sake :)