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.
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."
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.
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!
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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,