Bitter Resentment

After a local veterans group pulled its donations to the Morton Grove Park District in response to a park board member’s refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, a Naperville teacher and atheist blogger asked his readers for donations to replace the roughly $2,600 in lost funding.

Now is there such a blogger that we know about? Why it’s Hemant from A Friendly Atheist and why did he send them money? Well because he is friendly and because he recognises that the pledge of allegiance is a modern creation during the 1950s to differentiate the USA from “Godless Commies”. To ask an atheist to pay it respect is pointless.

Waving flags and saluting them doesn’t make you a patriot. 

So why the bruhaha?

Well the Members of American Legion Post 134 pulled funding for and volunteer support for park programs in the region until Park District Commissioner Dan Ashta stands when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited at the start of Park District board meetings.

Now I have two simple responses to this.

Firstly? Blind recital of a pledge does not make you a patriot. I am sure French Saboteurs during WW2 from La Resistance happily swore allegiance to their Vichy government. And in the same way there were men and women who didn’t salute flags but who did things for their country and their fellow men. Waving a flag just means you wave a flag. Reciting a pledge means nothing unless you live by it’s code. And how many Americans have recited that pledge and discriminated against their fellow man or denied others equality by their actions? The pledge is hollow tat. It is like the Confession of Kings apologising for the innocent they murdered in warfare. Is Dan Ashta a good Park District Comissioner? Yes? No? That’s more important a reason for donating money than his stance when he recites pledges.

Secondly? If you think some random dude not standing is a good reason to stop working on something then that something you are working on is not that important to you.

Joseph Lampert’s demand from Ashta is nothing but the action of a man who is intent in strong arming people into behaving the way he thinks they should. This isn’t the actions of someone who values freedom and democracy and the right to do what you want. I mean I may be a limey bastard who cannot slag off old Lizzie without Beefeaters spiriting me away to the Tower and doing horrible things involving red hot pokers…. but even I know that the American Ideal of Liberty and Freedom means nothing to someone who is willing to force the compliance of another.

That’s not freedom, that’s being free to do anything as long as it’s the things Joseph Lampert approves of.

But the money was returned.

And I leave you with the words from Hemant himself…

“I know everyone who gave money wanted to help the Park District make up for that injustice that happened,” he said. “Unfortunately, the Park District would rather lose money than take the charity of atheists and their supporters.”

That’s the second own goal here. The money of atheists is tarnished. Let’s not stand up for the principles that allegedly made the USA different and great but for petty power and fear that association with atheists will turn you into pariahs.

The world’s learnt a lot from the USA. But the USA has not learnt anything from itself.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    The money of atheists is tarnished.

    Did Hemant Mehta offer his donation in cash, with the “In God Wet Rust” scratched out (like, ahem, certain not-quite-as-friendly atheists sometimes do)?

  2. noxiousnan says

    If I lived nearby, I’d don my atheist t-shirt and go clean up the park. In fact, I think I’ll just do that anyway in my own neck of the woods.

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