Re: Choosing one's fights, was Re: George W. Bush's Speech on September 20, 2001

From: Pat Inniss (
Date: Sun Sep 23 2001 - 07:28:02 MDT

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> "Olga Bourlin" <> writes:
> >
> > Believers often render unbelievers (real people) to the status of
> > "invisible," all the while lending reality to the "invisible." Don't ask.
> > Nontheists do not HAVE to make "enemies" of believers - this is, after all,
> > a pluralistic society. And believers need to "understand" that just as
> > there are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc., there are nontheists in their
> > midst, too. Believers also need to understand that we do not just have
> > freedom of religion, but freedom from religion, as well. Was it Clinton(?)
> > who not too long ago came up with the brilliant quote along the lines of,
> > "Just because we have freedom of religion doesn't mean we have freedom from
> > religion?" Sheeesh.
> >
> At a time like this to be focusing on such side issues and squabbles is
> simply bizarre to me. Freedom of religion includes the freedom for
> a US president to mention God if God is meaningful to him/her and to
> the audience in the situation. Anything less would not be freedom but
> coercion to keep political speechs free from reference to religious symbols,
> words, ethical systems(?) and so on. That would not be an improvement.
> - samantha

The President is certainly free to cite God, just as the murderers of
9/11 almost certainly did. I think the discussion here is whether such
citations are proper for a leader in his position as the President of us
all, and more generally whether the nonreligious should in any way
dissemble their lack of faith. Had the President spoken specifically
from the perspective of a Methodist or whatever brand of Xian he is, or
even just as a Xian, with the assumption that everyone else saw things
that same way, he would have been criticized as intolerant and
exclusionary. However when atheists are not taken into account nobody
seems to give a damn. This snubbing certainly indicates that atheists
are less worthy, which is exactly how many persons feel. The President
could lapse into any sort of bigoted speech, it's his right, but I don't
cotton to him or anybody else promoting prejudice, no matter what the

I hardly view anything to do with religion and our society's virtually
universal approval of this form of voluntary dementia as a side issue
after 9/11. We now find ourselves embroiled in what is, at its essence,
a religious war, whether or not we choose to acknowledge it as such.
Henceforth when one catalogs the horrors of religion down through the
ages, that date can be added to the list as a stark reminder that we're
far from out of this age of darkness yet. In addition to inspiring those
grim events, religious thinking deeply influences much of our nation's
policies, for the worse, from what I can tell. In the last couple of
weeks I have found myself becoming a lot less tolerant of other people's
stupidity, lack of intellectual integrity, or whatever you want to call
the particular set of superstitions we term "religion." It cannot be
defended as just a benign psychological aberration. It kills.


Pat Inniss

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