Separation of church and state: Keep atheists out of religion

I was intrigued to see the following sign near the state capitol building in Denver:
I like the idea of separation of church and state. Our current President has injected way too much of his personal religion into the government, not to mention funding them with public monies. And the newest batch of presidential candidates are falling all over themselves trying to pander to various religious, and especially evangelical groups. I say let’s put religion back where it belongs–in churches.

So when I looked up this organization I was expecting to find something high minded that I could agree with. Instead I found an organization that apparently exists to try to discredit religion, especially Christianity. Case in point: a few months before the convention, this sign in Denver had read “Imagine no religion”.

Going a little bit further, if you look at their little quiz called “What Do You Really Know about the Bible”, you will find an interpretation of Christianity that is a caricature of real churches and real Christians. For instance, here is question number 2, along with the supposed answer:

2. What is the penalty for working on the Sabbath?
Answer: A

1. You will be stoned to death. –Isn’t this an excessively violent punishment from a supposedly “Good Book?” What is the harm in working on the Sabbath? It seems the only harm is to the ego of the Sovereign, who demands respect with no respect to human needs.

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whoseoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.” (Exodus 35:2) For the chilling application of this law, see Numbers 15:32-36, where a man who picked up sticks on the sabbath was stoned, “and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.”

Anyone who can nap in the back of a church for six weeks or so should be able to see the problem with that answer. First of all, like most of the website’s other answers this one is conveniently from the Old Testament. The last time I checked, people who followed the Old Testament were called Jews, not Christians.

Second, it completely ignores the quarrels Jesus and his disciples had with the Jewish authorities over this very question of doing work on the sabbath. After all, they were known to gather grain to eat on the sabbath and Jesus was once accused of healing on the sabbath.  Jesus wasted no time in telling off these religious leaders and calling them hypocrites. But maybe that wouldn’t fit in with the narrative the “Freedom from religion” website has decided to put out with whatever ax they are trying to grind.

What a disappointment. The type of tolerance they ask for themselves is not something they are willing to extend to anyone else. Do yourself a favor. If you want to know about science, go to a college campus. If you want to know about religion, stay away from this bunch. Their idea of “separation” of church and state starts with the destruction of church.

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14 Responses to “Separation of church and state: Keep atheists out of religion”

  1. scaryreasoner Says:

    The entire premise of Christianity is, plain and simple, blatantly, in-your-face retarded and proud of it. Christianity revels in idiocy, rolls in it like a dog in s***. Christianity is positively in love with being stupid. How else to explain the promotion of “faith” — the idea that believing things to a degree of certainty which exceeds what it warranted by the evidence — is a virtue?

    This however, has nothing to do with whether it’s a good idea or not to separate religion from politics. The problem with combining religion with politics — in particular with integrating one particular religion into the goverment — is that the chances that this particular religion that gets integrated into the goverment will line up exactly with any individuals interpretation of what is “right” are vanishingly small. So any government which puts the force of law behind some religious doctrine invariably tramples the convictions of nearly everyone.

    Basically 90% of people are idiots though, just as 90% of everything is crap, so I expect 90% of people to fail to get what I’m talking about. Preemptively, you people s***.

    ****profanity edited–Nijma

  2. scaryreasoner Says:

    “government,” even.

  3. atlanticslamon Says:

    Last time I checked, Christianity DID use the old testament. What about Moses, Noah, Adam and Eve? I’m pretty damn sure you use the Old Testament.

    I completely agree with keeping religion out of politics. Religious politicians are the bane of all reason because a) they are stupid and b) they have power. All ready Atheists are fighting a battle against the waves of religious conservatives to keep proper science taught in schools. This is dangerous for our future. I thought we had gotten past the Anti-scientific and Homophobic mindset of the last millenium. Unfortunately, it is not so.

  4. Nijma Says:

    @scaryreasoner
    But how do you really feel?

    @atlanticslamon
    The Old Testament is of course the old Jewish law and history. It has over 600 laws that call out the proper customs for everything from handwashing to sex to working on the sabbath.
    It’s pretty hard to make generalizations about Christianity, since there are so many groups, some which read the Bible literally, and some that don’t, but I have never heard of any Christian group that followed the Biblical injunction against eating pork, for example. In general though, the New Testament is considered to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promise of a messiah. The Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew is often quoted by Mainstream Protestant churches as encompassing the unique teachings of Jesus (as opposed to philosophies found in many religions, like the golden rule). Many consider the following biblical passage to be central:

    36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

    37 Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
    –Matthew 22:36-40 (TNIV translation)

    To link stupidity, homophobia, and anti-scientific thought with religion is not accurate, though. All of those things can exist without religion, and there are many churches that do consciously fight those evils, as well as following the biblical injunctions (of Jesus, not Moses) to feed the hungry and visit the sick and imprisoned.

  5. Johnny Garza Says:

    You folks are all off track here. Your missing the point altogether. The point and truth of Christianity is just the opposite of what this person above said that Christians are, dumb and stupid. Instead it’s the non-believers who are dumb and stupid. Simply put: If you say there is no God and the bible isn’t true. On what epistimological grounds can you say such a thing ? ” There is no absolute truth ” The atheist says ! The Christian responds, are you absolutely sure there is no absolute truth ? How stupid is that ? The next obvious objection than is skepticism. But that also falls on the same category. There are only 2 types of people in this world Christians and non Christians those who see the world as it really is and those who do not. It’s all or nothing, for there is no other grounds and source for truth than scripture the holy bible and the understanding of it comes from above something unseen somthing you cant’ touch somthing of the spirit.

    • tinman Says:

      You are saying that I am stupid because someone tells me a bunch of fairy tales similar to the Santa Claus story and I side with reason and don’t believe it is true. Am I then an idiot also for not believing in Santa. I’m not saying that I have any answers or evidence, I’m just saying that I refuse to call myths (and far fetched ones at that) evidence or fact. If it were dealing with any other topic than religion or god then your own power of reasoning would be turned on and you would find it hard to believe to. I don’t fear god, so I don’t care about saying he doesn’t exist. And until someone can tell me something that actually is logical and reasonable to explain his existence other than bed time stories I wouldn’t believe even at 10 years old. I will continue to believe that.

      • Nijma Says:

        It’s a free country (sort of)–believe what you want. There is neither any proof nor any disproof of the existence of God.

        I will respect anyone’s beliefs, no matter how strange they seem to me.

  6. dromedaryhump Says:

    I just stumbled across this site by chance. Probably won’t be back. But just wanted to leave my thoughts on the random chance someone who reads this blog will get it.

    First, I’m glad to see the author supports sep. of church and state. It does my heart good to see “superstionalists” at least understand and embrace what this country is founded upon. Thats why I joined Americans United for Sep. of Church and State, which is headed by a theist minister. I encourgae every freedom loving American to do the same.

    True, homophobia and anti science aren’t the sole provenence of the religious. But they are in this country.
    I can name some 30 US “Christian” organizations that suborn murder of abortion doctors and bombing of women’s clinics; foster exlusionary intolerance and violence against homosexiuals; insist 911 and hurricanes are the work of an angry deity for Ameria’s Sodom and Gom. ways; invoke Creationism as science and stem cell research as the devil’s work; practice and spread rabid anti-Semetism and racism; demand the right to intrude into life and death decisions that should be the sole business of family members (i.e. Terry shivo, womens reproductive rights). I bet some here will call some of those organizations and its members “nit true Christians”. I know that silly ploy… Google the “no true scotsman” fallacy.

    NOW… Please name one atheist hate group that supports those things. Try Google. Good luck.

    I am a member of Freedom from religion Foundation, among other Free Thinker and secular organizations. We don’t give a fddlers damn that you people believe in dead jews rising, virginal implants by sky daddy, or that the Earth is only 6,000 yars old. Your stupidity and rejection of reality is your business. It will eventually die off as education, science, and reality take root, as it has in Europe and japan, and every Industrialized nation on the planet except the US. Its a matter of time.
    Until then, we only ask that you keep your religious icons off the property that “We The People”pay for; stop forcing your religion on military service men and women through evangelical intimidation, stop trying to pretend that ID / Creationism should be used to stunt the scientific growth of our youth in public school curriculum, and quit invoking God’s will to wage unjust wars, and stop abusing Jews, gays, atheists, and anyone else your scripture encourages discrimination and hatred toward

    If that’s too much to ask… then you don’t get it. But then, I wouldn’t expect followers of ancient prescientific cults to get very much. Afterall, Martin Luther said it best: “To be a Christian one must pluck out the eye of Reason.”

  7. dromedaryhump Says:

    PS: Sorry…an after thought:

    One doesn’t have to be Christian to be a hate group. The Muslims have plenty, and they cause thousands of deaths. But these Christian hate groups are our own home grown, flag waving, God fearing Americans. Oh, I’d love to say they “aren’t True Americans”, but by birth and by our constitution they are.

    I did a search for “atheist hate groups”. Guess what… there aren’t any. Free Thinkers, those Godless scum, don’t band together and picket gay funerals or bomb abortion clinics. They don’t create/join groups that burn down African American churches, paint swastikas on synagogues, or threaten to kill minorities and presidential candidates and claim it to be the will of some unseen entity. To do those things one seems to need a belief in God.

    Why is that? Think about it.

  8. Nijma Says:

    If you want an example of atheist hate, Hump, all you have to do is look in the mirror.

    You don’t know me and have never been inside my church, yet you feel free to vomit out a list of disgusting accusations. Can you say “stereotype”? Do you know the definition of “prejudice”?
    But to give some sort of answer to this vile hate speech, as far as I know I have never:

    burned down churches
    painted swastikas on synagogues
    threatened to kill presidential candidates (or hung them in effigy)
    put icons on property Hump paid for with his very own money
    invoked creationism as the Devil’s work

    …oh, this is just too silly to continue.

    The denomination I belong to is not a crackpot fringe group, it is one of the mainstream Protestant denominations. If you don’t know what “mainstream” is, google it. We are multiethnic (about a third Asian, a third African American, and a third white), we openly welcome GLBT members, and we have offered free space for scientific programs that include evolution. We do our best to open our doors to the hungry, the naked, the sick and imprisoned. When there was an immigration march, we opened our doors to the demonstrators. When the Iraqi war started, we held prayer vigils after church every Sunday. As members of this church we can do far more as a group than any one of us could do as individuals.

    If you want to stop “encouraging discrimination and hatred” I would suggest you start with yourself. What are you doing with your life beside running around the blogosphere trying to find groups to look down on and feel superior to?

    What is it with these smug, holier-than-thou atheists that are not content with their own lives but have to look for someone to vilify and demonize? And if they are able to convince anyone that Christians (and now Moslems who “cause thousand of deaths” too) are less than human, what is the next step?

  9. dromedaryhump Says:

    Nijma said: “If you want an example of atheist hate, Hump, all you have to do is look in the mirror. ”

    What a strange statement. I profess hatred for no one. Not you nor any of the nonviolent unthinking superstitious. So, I’ll your comment as just another meaningless, unthinking, christian platitude blurted out in anger and frustration. You folks do that alot.

    While I do hate the murder, terrorism, intolerance and pain these groups cause, Ididnt say every christian church or denomination preaches hate. If you could read and absorb the written word , and werent so defensive, you’d have seen that. Your defensiveness betrays your lack of retrospection and intellectual capacity.

    What I said was: There are voluminous numbers of hate groups who draw their susstinence from holy scripture. The Muslims do it with the Koran, Christians from the Bible. It seems belief in God suborns those things especially here in the US.

    Do you wish to deny that? Please…prove me wrong. If you can use Google try “Christian Hate groups” . See what you get.
    If you arent capable, or are unfamiliar with search engines I can list some of those Godfearing organizations for you. But, you never did address that issue. You just got hyper as a defense mechanism because you perceived your own sect as being under attack.

    I dont know what your reference to “less than human” means. Muslims and Christians are as human as anyone. I think you’re a tad overwrought, you’re rhetoric is inane, and you are proposing extreme positions that no one has proffered. I sense you were foaming at the mouth as you typed that bizarre comment.

    Part of coming to terms with “truth” and reality is using your intellect to understand and absorb the written word without projecting your own prejudices into it; and to investigate things that perhaps you’d prefer never to have to hear about. The reality is thats something fundamentalists / extremists / and those who lack intellectual curiosity or honesty tend to fail at.

    Try and do some research. find out why so many hate groups are founded in religion. Whats the worst that can happen? You learn something? you weaken your fragile faith? You agree with me that there is a connection between religious fervor and extremism and hate toward “the other”?

    Again, you prove Luthers point: “Reason is the enemy of faith”. Don’t be so scared of reason.

  10. dromedaryhump Says:

    Oh hell, let me help you: Here..start with these. THEN please give me the ATHEIST or SECULAR HUMANIST counterparts to these US based relgious hate groups:

    Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church (homophobic hate group); the Christian Identity Movement (anti-Semitic / anti-Black); KKK (anti-Semitic / anti-Black); Phineas Priesthood (anti- race mixing/ anti-Semitic); Army of God (abortion dr. murderers / clinic bombers).

    There are lots more…but I think this should make the point.
    But then, maybe you don’t see these as radical hate groups. In which case I guess there is nothing more to discus.

  11. dromedaryhump Says:

    Oh… Here are some really fun Christian hate groups they specialize on hating blacks, Jews, gays, inter-racial marriage, etc. They instigate, murder, arson, domestic terrorism, etc.

    America First Committee
    Euro American Alliance
    Christian Posse Comitatus
    Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations
    Christian-Patriots Defense League
    Operation Rescue
    Old Paths Baptist Church
    11th Hour Remnant Messenger

    Found any comparable atheist, agnostic or secular humanist organizations that are like this?
    No hurry..take your time.

  12. Nijma Says:

    I’ve had some interesting and even some provocative comments here, but most of them have been thoughtful, not hateful. This is the first time someone has come here and tried to make a hate argument against a whole group of people. Ironic that it is an avowed atheist on a thread about religious tolerance.

    I’m not impressed with the above list of “religious hate organizations”–some of them merely historical peace groups without any religious orientation at all–pressed into the service of this hate narrative. Of course it”s always possible to cherrypick some imperfect individual who belongs to some religious group and argue backwards against a wider and wider circle of people. Why, I once knew a redhead….

    It’s too bad that both the organization in the above post and one rude, hectoring, bullying person who has chosen to come here and attack me personally identify so strongly as atheist. I have tried to avoid generalizing about atheists based on this particular organization or this individual, but I really don’t know of any atheist groups–or individuals–that are sincere about recognizing the civil rights of religious groups.

    The hate you can see spewed in the above comments is unfortunately all too typical of what passes for atheist discourse these days.


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