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Aug 01 2013

The Christian Post Just Doesn’t Understand

I have to keep praying
Keep constantly praying
My soul is at stake if I pause
Each moment of silence
Or prayer I’m not saying
Is grist for the devil, because
Each time when we eat
And we don’t pray at dinner
Thank god, we’re about to be fed
It’s promoting the views
Of the wrong sort of sinner
An atheist message, instead!
Each moment god’s glory
Is not being touted
Is one where it’s being opposed!
So if prayer can’t be spoken
Or whispered, or shouted,
Then neither can silence! Case Closed!

In an editorial at the Christian Post, Wallace Henley illustrates the myopia of privilege.

The House of Representatives voted July 23 against proposals for atheist chaplains in the U.S. military. The vote was an overwhelming defeat for the idea. Only two Republicans and 171 Democrats voted for atheist chaplains.
Contrary to what you may be reading, Christians should be disappointed and atheists should be glad.
Why? Because allowing atheist chaplains recognizes atheism as a religion and would make atheists subject to the same legal restrictions they have gleefully placed on every other religion.

Which, of course, is already the case. As the ACLU and others make clear in every first amendment case they take on. Which Dave Silverman makes clear in every interview.

In the contemporary environment it is easier to speak against God than for God in the public square. An officially sanctioned military chaplaincy for atheists could actually weaken the atheists’ grip on public religious expression.

Feel free to insert your own video montage of lawmakers in DC and across the country concluding their speeches with “and may God bless the United States of America”, and of Congress on the capitol steps singing “God Bless America”, of the same lawmakers reciting the pledge of allegiance and practically shouting “under God!”. Compare the amount of religious broadcasting to the handful of local atheist radio shows. Henley is clearly delusional here.

Think about the inferences.

He means “implications”.

Now, every time a non-theist squeaks opposition to prayer at a school ballgame, or before a city council meeting, or most any other public event, powerful movements mobilize. The mere lifting of a potentially litigating eyebrow shuts down what many consider freedom of speech and expression.

Mind you, this is what happens now. See Cranston, or Jackson, or dozens of others. The reeling back of privileged position is not the same as an attack. Henley’s position is analogous to the commenter who spoke of “invisible statues of atheism“.

Atheism’s well-financed institutions often base their arguments on the allegation that taxpayer money is being used to advocate a particular religion. But if atheism is seen for what it is, a religion, then theists might be able to claim their tax money is now used to advocate the atheist position of no prayer.

Wait, can atheists claim a tax-exempt status under this view? Maybe I spoke too soon… And for the record, “no prayer” is not “the atheist position”–it has long been the case (it may still) that establishment clause cases are brought by religious believers (but not members of the majority), rather than by atheists. “No prayer” is a level playing field. If you want an atheist, anti-theist prayer, I would be happy to provide you with one.

So if atheism is recognized as a religion, might it be possible that theists could have new standing? They might even be able to argue that authorities are unconstitutionally favoring the religion of atheism by restricting prayer to a deity?
The Founders, we are reminded, opposed a state religion. But today secular humanism is most definitely the American state religion in the eyes of some courts. Atheists use their religion to regularly win orders for the removal of crosses and other religious symbols, the abolition of prayer in certain public institutions, and the prohibition of teaching that might imply advocacy of any religion in public schools except atheism.
This atheist chaplain thing could get messy for the atheists. If they are recognized as religionists they may be under the same Big Brother search lamp, legal threats and harassment theistic religions face every day throughout the nation.

Ok, fine. You want an anti-god invocation?

If you could please join me, before we eat…

God is fiction
God is fake
Thank the farmers for this steak (or cake, or shake… depending on the situation)
There is no heaven
There is no hell
It’s time to ring the dinner bell
Let’s Eat!

There–that’s an anti-god, pro-atheist invocation.

Do you see the difference between that and silence?

4 comments

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  1. 1
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Idjits. The government is already prohibited from advocating no religion, just as you say.

  2. 2
    ImaginesABeach

    I was around in June when the local Girl Scout Council was training counselors for camp. They were teaching various versions of “singing grace” to be used before meals. I was pleased, and a bit surprised, to hear:
    “A, B, C, D, E, F, G, thank you cooks for feeding me.”

    and (to the theme from Superman)
    “Thank you cooks, for giving us food.
    Thank you cooks, for giving us food.
    For the food that we eat, and the friends that we meet.
    Thank you cooks, for giving us food.”

    I would consider those to be atheist invocations, but not anti-god invocations (also not anti-tooth fairy)

  3. 3
    Cuttlefish

    Nice, ImaginesABeach–

    Of course, those deny God’s role in providing *everything*, so they are clearly an attack on Christianity. Because reasons.

  4. 4
    Paul and Sandi

    As a military veteran (retired Air Force) who worked in both Mental Health and as the installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, I have had many interactions with chaplains in the Air Force and have seen and heard what is done behind closed doors. These people do not service non-believers and mental health professionals are not always the answer.

    There IS a need out there for this and I spoke with Jason Torpy, President of Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers about the topic and why these positions are needed.

    Give us a listen: http://www.survivingreligion.com/2013/08/02/military-humanist-chaplains-the-need-for-them-the-controversy-about-them/

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