On the Mythology of Abortion by Edwin Kagin

There has been another murder by the lovers of life known as the Fetus People.
Here reproduced is a writing published a few years ago after a similar act of Christian love. It is from the book “Baubles of Blasphemy,” by Edwin F. Kagin, American Atheists Press.

ON THE MYTHOLOGY OF ABORTION

Beware the man whose god is in the skies.
-George Bernard Shaw

There is a movement afoot in America to prevent pregnant women from deciding whether or not to have a baby. The control freaks who advocate this view characterize their beliefs as “pro-life” or “right to life.” Those who hold that they, and not the woman, should decide whether to let a fertilized egg develop into a living child share a common mythology. It goes roughly thus: all life comes from the deity. The deity gives life, and every zygote is imbued by the creator deity with an “immortal soul” (a concept found nowhere in the Bible). Microscopic products of conception are perceived to be persons vested by the deity with the right to be born. The exercise of rational reproductive choice in obtaining an abortion is viewed as the murder of a person.
The mythology is powerful enough that its advocates think they can ignore the laws of nations and impose their will on those who disagree. Basically, they have initiated a holy war–us against them, good verses evil, we are right and you are wrong–the same primitive absolutism and lust for power over others that produced the Crusades. Moralists have declared war on reason. With aborted fetuses emblazoned on their shields and chastity belts secured, the armies of God, like ancient pestilence, are marching to stop forbidden sex and to ensure all products of ill advised copulation be born. The births proclaim the truth that the only reason sex is lawful at all is to make God’s babies.
According to the theocratic understanding of biology of the anti-choice movement, at the moment the sperm penetrates the egg, the mythical “soul” is placed in the zygote, presumably whether it is in a uterus or a petri dish. That which God has infused with soul may not be removed by the mere mortal choice of not wanting a baby. This notion of a soul inhabiting a collection of cells that may, barring accident, abortion, or whatever, become a child is rather new in mythological thought and bears analysis.
There must be a soul bank somewhere for the almighty to draw from to implant the soul moments after male orgasm (female orgasm is unnecessary for this or any other reproductive function, and is therefore discouraged), or the heavenly power must create new souls in a soul shop for all of the fertilizations. This would cause the creator to work after midnight most Friday and Saturday nights and thus violate the day of rest established by God for the Sabbath. Even a large soul bank would need replenishing, because surely no rational God would have planned for sufficient souls to overrun the resources of his creation like maggots on a dead possum. And people do die, and new souls are needed. The anti-choice forces reject the idea of recycling the souls through reincarnation. It is really quite confusing, until, upon reflection, the answer becomes clear: the anti-abortion movement is a tool of Satan.

Consider that Satan wants to create as much chaos on Earth among humans as possible, to make people unhappy and to grab souls for himself. The Satanic solution is to prohibit abortion. Force the heavenly powers to work sabbaths and all to crank out souls for crack babies and AIDS babies, incest and rape conceptions, souls for babies who aren’t wanted, aren’t cared for, aren’t educated, babies who can create crime, war, disease, poverty, famine and all of the evil and sin Satan needs to destroy the beauty of the Earth and shatter human aspirations for peace, love, and contentment. As further proof, remember that an innocent soul not tempted to sin goes directly to his creator God (perhaps after a period of dry cleaning), a better place than prison, hospital, or hell. A soul aborted is a soul lost to Satan, but one unwanted and forced to be born can produce unspeakable evil, to do glory to Satan and mock a caring, benevolent God.
This mythical interpretation is obviously correct. Consider that all of the Satanic anti-choice fetus people prayed that an American president not be elected who believed a woman has a right to reproductive freedom. They abraded their knees and polished their prayer beads to beseech God to elect a bigot president. The very heavens rang with the noise of their prayers and rantings. God either did not listen, or disagreed with their position. Their candidates were defeated, and pro-choice was affirmed as the law of the land. Never has the will of God been so clearly seen. God saw through Satan’s motives and rejected the prayers of those who would let Satan get his paws on God’s little souls.
Totally undaunted by this most obvious expression of the divine will, the unwitting forces of darkness have increased their efforts to control those who disagree with them. Indifferent to the laws of God and man, and the rules of basic humanity and courtesy, they have engaged in a reign of terror against doctors, facilities, and personnel dedicated to following the law and assisting women who don’t want a conception to become a child. The tactics have included bombings, threats, harassment, intimidation, assaults, and now, finally and predictable, cold blooded murder. A gently healer was shot in the back by one of Satan’s converts who wanted to stop the doctor from helping women. The murderer’s fellow travelers have raised funds for him and have implied, and sometimes stated, that the murder was morally correct. There was despair in heaven and rejoicing in hell. Satan had succeeded in making evil appear to be good.
But God is not mocked. He who sits in the heavens will laugh them to scorn. Satan’s siege against dignity and humanity will be long, but reason will prevail. If it does not, these demonically possessed people will kill everyone who disagrees with them on abortion, and then turn their efforts to those who believe in evolution, who read forbidden books, to all of those who do not want to be ruled by evil people purporting to speak for God.
Defend our constitution. Speak out against wrong misguided mythology. You must. For your own safety’s sake.
Don’t tell them about the I.U.D. It has been sloughing fertilized eggs for years, and has thus far escaped their notice.

Edwin F. Kagin

Edwin Kagin on Atheist News in Kentucky

AMERICAN ATHEISTS ACTION ALERT
http://www.atheists.org

ALL OUT! MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2009– 10:00 AM

SUPPORT AMERICAN ATHEIST

LAWSUIT AGAINST HOMELAND SECURITY CALL UPON “GOD” IN TERRORISM FIGHT!

Franklin County Courthouse, 218 St. Clair St., Frankfort, Kentucky

On behalf of several plaintiffs, AMERICAN ATHEISTS has filed suit against the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the state Office of Homeland Security over a statute which calls upon “God” to protect the citizenry from terrorism. The lawsuit also contests a requirement that a statement to that effect must be posted in the entrance to the Homeland Security office.

Background is included below, and is posted in the ATHEIST NEWS section of our web site at http://wsww.atheists.org. The full text of the suit can be found at http://www.atheists.org/upload/aavky.pdf .

Rather than admit wrongdoing in this unconstitutional promotion of sectarian religion, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is squandering taxpayer funds and defending its position in court. On Monday, government attorneys will be at the Franklin County Courthouse, 218 St. Clair St. in Frankford, KY to ask the court to dismiss the Atheist lawsuit. American Atheist Legal Director Edwin Kagin will be present to rebut their arguments; and outside, Atheists, Freethinkers, state-church separationists and civil libertarians will hold a peaceful demonstration in support of the suit. Bring appropriate signs and banners; the demo begins at 10:00 AM Different organizations are cooperating in this project. For further information, contact Ed Hensley (plaintiff) through [email protected] or Kate Miller of the Kentucky ACLU (kat[email protected] .

WHAT: Demo to support the American Atheist lawsuit!

WHEN: This Monday, June 1, 2009 at 10:00 AM

WHERE: Franklin County Courthouse, 218 St. Clair St. in Frankford, KY

MORE INFO: Ed Hensley (plaintiff) through [email protected] or Kate Miller of the Kentucky ACLU ([email protected] .

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

**

GOVERNMENT MOVES TO DISMISS ATHEIST LAWSUIT OVER
GOD PROMOTION AT HOMELAND SECURITY
Does “God” Protect Kentucky From Terrorists?
Hearing to Dismiss, demo Set For Monday!

Does the Bluegrass State of Kentucky enjoy God’s special protection
against terrorism?

Some people, including the legislature and the State Office of
Homeland Security think that it does; and they proclaimed their
belief in a post-911 statute to that effect. Indeed, the 2002
law has the deity fighting alongside policy, fire departments, the
National Guard of Kentucky and other first responders. It declares,
in part:

1) The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security shall be attached to
the Office of the Governor and shall be headed by an executive
director appointed by the Governor.

2) The executive director shall:

a) Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the
dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of
the Commonwealth by including the provisions of KRS 39A.285(3)
in its agency training and educational materials. The executive
director shall also be responsible for prominently displaying a
permanent plaque at the entrance to the state’s Emergency Operations
Center stating the text of KRS 39A.285(3)

That text pompously declares that the General Assembly “finds that:
The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved
apart from the reliance upon Almighty God as set forth in the public
speeches and proclamations of American Presidents, including Abraham
Lincoln’s historic March 30, 1863 Presidential Proclamation urging
Americans to pray and fast during one of the most dangerous hours
in American history, and the text of President John F.. Kennedy’s
November 22, 1963, national security speech which concluded:
‘For as was written long ago, ‘Except the Lord keep the city,
the watchman waketh but in vain.’ “

Edwin Kagin, National Legal Director for American Atheists took
action along with several plaintiffs, and in December of 2008 filed
suit to have the Kentucky statute declared unconstitutional.

“It is one of the most egregiously and breathtakingly
unconstitutional actions by a state legislature that I’ve ever
seen,” Kagin told reporters. Democratic State Rep. Tom Riner,
however, who happened to also be an ordained Baptist minister from
Louisville and the architect of the controversial law, disagreed.

Echoing the rationale in the Kentucky statute, he declared, “No
government by itself can guarantee perfect security,” he said.
“There will always be this opposition to the acknowledgement of
divine providence, but this is a foundational understanding of
what American is.” Riner also described the Atheist lawsuit as
“frivolous” and “an attempt to censor and suppress the publication
of a key law that acknowledges divine providence.”

Fox also quoted Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, who
said that despite the heightened religious climate in post-911
America, Kentucky was the only state trying to enlist the deity
in the formidable task of homeland security. “I’m not aware of
any other state or Commonwealth that is trying to dump their clear
responsibility for protecting their citizens onto God or any other
mythological creature,” Buckner said.

Kentucky has a long record of problems involving unconstitutional
efforts to promote sectarian religion. Many involve the display of
the Ten Commandments on public property, and in one decision the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the state in two cases involving
nativity creches on courthouse property. Rev. Riner’s wife Claudia,
served in the state legislature and in 1979 sponsored a bill
mandating display of the Commandments in all public school classroom.
That led to another lawsuit, and in STONE v. GRAHAM, the Supreme
Court found the practice blatantly unconstitutional. Ironically,
that case is now part of the legal record and is cited in the
American Atheist lawsuit.

Mr. Kagin says that the Kentucky statute “is facially volatile”
of the Constitution, adding that “The challenged laws unlawfully
attempt … ot establish religion, endorse belief over non-belief,
set up a religious test, indoctrinate Kentucky citizens and state
employees in this theistic religious belief, and diminish the civil
rights, privileges, or capacities of Atheists and others who do not
believe in a god, or who believe in a different god or gods than
the presumed supernatural entity unconstitutionally endorsed by the
legislature … The challenged laws are grossly, and outrageously
, at variance with the Constitutions of the United States and of
Kentucky, and are retrograde to the very purposes of protecting
American freedoms for which the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security
was established.”

On Monday, June 1, the State of Kentucky will be in court presenting
a Motion to have the American Atheists complaint dismissed.
The hearing begins at 10:00 AM, at the Franklin County Courthouse
in Frankfort, KY. Outside, supporters of American Atheists,
state-church separation and civil liberties will hold a peaceful
rally supporting the lawsuit.

The full text of the AA complaint can be found at:

http://www.atheists.org/upload/aavky.pdf

Atheist News by Edwin Kagin

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: May 24, 2009

Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]

Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/

Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

What Is An ATHEIST?

“ANOTHER THINKING HUMAN ENGAGED IN SEEKING TRUTH”
(Edwin Kagin, 2008)

To Unidentified Recipients:

“Answers in Atheism,” the international Internet radio talk show sensation, is now on live weekly (usually / often / when we can do it) on Sundays at 8:00 pm. Eastern Time.

For finding out if it will (should) be on, and for listening to it and for call in information, see: www.answersinatheism.net

This week’s offering is (should be): Brad Cupples, Playwright, Blasphemer, Fighter of Beasts.

Edwin.

Introducing Mr. Eric 0. Husby, Esq.

The owner of this improbable name is a young Florida lawyer who seems willing to risk ruining his life and reputation by helping out in causes touching on keeping the paws of religion out of the bowels of our government that is supposed to serve all of We the People. We welcome him to the American Religious Civil War (ARCW). There follows what we hope will be only the first in a great series of clever and informative articles.

NB. He is reported to be single. Email available upon appropriate application.

Edwin.

————————————–

Legal News Brief
California Court Finds Teacher Liable for Calling Christian Creationism “Superstitious Nonsense.”
By: Eric O. Husby, Esq. May 6, 2009
On May 1, 2009, the United States District Court for the Central District of California decided the case of C.F. v. Capistrano Unified School District. In Capistrano, the court held that a California public high school teacher, Corbett, violated the First Amendment rights of a student, Farnan, by making a comment that disfavored religion (and particularly Christianity).
In finding an Establishment Clause violation, the court applied the classic “Lemon Test.”1 Under the Lemon Test, to be proper, governmental action (including action by a public school teacher) must satisfy each of the following requirements: (1) have a secular purpose; (2) have a principal or primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and (3) not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.
During the course of the school year, Corbett made numerous statements which Farnan alleged violate the Establishment Clause. The only comment that the court found constituted a violation involved a classroom discussion in an Advanced Placement (AP) European History class. During that class, Corbett stated an unequivocal belief that Christian Creationism was “superstitious nonsense.” Applying the Lemon Test, the court found that there was no legitimate secular purpose for the statement, even when considered in context, and the statement had the primary effect of inhibiting religion.2
The court went on to address a variety of other comments made by Corbett. Farnan complained about certain of Corbett’s comments regarding the availability of birth control pills at middle school health centers, indicating that abstinence only policies did not work. The court did not analyze explicitly each and every statement, but noted that many of Corbett’s statements indicated a “liberal” versus a “conservative” viewpoint. However, even though the statements might have been antithetical to or offensive to a religious person, statements that did not criticize or mention religion could not support an interpretation that they demonstrated hostility toward or disapproval of religion.
The court explained that a statement does not violate the Establishment Clause merely because a religious person finds them incorrect or offensive. Were that the case, according to the court, teachers and schools would have to navigate a variety religious objections. To eliminate everything offensive to the hundreds of “warring sects” in the United States would be to leave the educational system “in shreds.” This would result in teachers effectively having to teach in accordance with religious principles, which itself would violate the Establishment Clause.

The court examined other statements that “touched on” religion, but nevertheless found that they did not violate the Establishment Clause. The court did not address all of Corbett’s statements explicitly, but provided examples. In one example, Corbett asked in class what a particular student thought about a person who had to lie to make a religious point, and made disparaging comments concerning a college called the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (“BIOLA”). The court found that in context the statements were respectful of the student to whom the question was posed, and Corbett’s criticisms of BIOLA were based on its academics and not primarily religion.
In another example, the court addressed statements that were critical of the Boy Scouts. Corbett called them racist, homophobic and religious, and that meetings of the Boy Scouts at schools violated principles of separation of church and state. The court found that these comments critical of the Boy Scouts and regarding the separation of church and state did not indicate hostility towards religion. The court noted that respect for religion and a strong belief in separation of church and state are not mutually exclusive. Quoting prior United States Supreme Court precedent, the court noted that separation of church and state mandated by the First Amendment “rests upon the premise that both religion and government can best work to achieve their lofty aims if each is left free from the other within its respective sphere. . . . [T]he First Amendment ha[s] erected a wall between Church and State which must be kept high and impregnable.” McCollum v. Board of Ed., 333 U.S. 203, 235 (1948).
The court next addressed the following statement: “What was it that Mark Twain said? ‘Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.'” The remark was part of a historical discussion of the tension between religion and science. Corbett contrasted the continuing search for “rational” explanations when one explanation proves insufficient as opposed to stopping the inquiry in favor of “magic.” Notwithstanding the biting nature of Twain’ s observation, the court found that it illustrated a turn to the non-rational when man cannot, or is unable, to develop a rational solution. The court also found that it was not clear whether Corbett was “espousing” Twain’s view rather than “merely quoting” it.3 Nevertheless, in context, the Court could not find that the primary purpose of the quote was to disparage religion.
The court also addressed one of Corbett’s lectures in which he stated, “when you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.” The court analyzed this statement in the context of the general class discussion. The statement was made in the context of a discussion about how certain peasants did not support Joseph II’s reforms for religious reasons, even though the reforms were in the peasants’ best political and economic interests. Also, the statement may have been intended to show the larger point that people sometimes make choices that are against their best interests for religious reasons and that religion has and can be used as a manipulative tool. The court relied on the principle that courts should be cautious in attributing unconstitutional motives to government officials, and found that in the context of an AP European History course that the comment was not hostile to religion.

The court then addressed Corbett’s discussion of religion and morality. For example, Corbett stated that the people least likely to go to church, the Swedes, had the lowest crime rate in the industrialized world. He called upon students to ask for an explanation about that the next time someone connected religion with morality. The court found this statement could not reasonably be found to be disapproving or hostile to religion because Corbett disclaimed a “causal link” and because the statement was an interesting sociological fact appropriate for discussion.
In conclusion, the court granted summary judgment for Farnan on only one out of the many allegations. The court granted summary judgment for the defendants on all other allegations. The court specifically declined to hold the school district itself liable under the circumstances.
As a guide, the case presents a fairly detailed map for teachers as to what they can and can not say about religion in the classroom (at least in this one district judge’s view). The court appears to have established a bright-line view that is helpful to teachers. While placing a limitation on what a teacher can say about religion, wide latitude is given for teachers to make statements that are critical of, contrary to and even offensive to a particular religion. To be a violation, a statement about religion must be clearly and explicitly disapproving or hostile toward religion, without any other reasonable secular discernable purpose. Merely offensive statements or statements on which a religious person may disagree are insufficient. Statements that merely imply hostility are likewise insufficient. However, where a teacher says that a religion is “superstitious nonsense” for the primary purpose of inhibiting religion, then the court will find a violation. That rule, while perhaps not welcomed with open arms by educators, it appears that the court has at least attempted to craft a rule that most teachers can follow: avoid direct, explicit and hostile attacks on religion that do not have a bearing on the task of educating students.
Since the court ruled for and against each of the parties to the case, any party may be likely to appeal it to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.4
Eric 0. Husby is a Florida attorney and solo practitioner serving primarily Hillsborough and surrounding counties. In addition to private for profit and nonprofit organization clients, Mr. Husby serves as counsel to atheist and freethinker organizations nationwide.
1 The “Lemon Test” is so named because it originated in the United States Supreme Court Case of Lemon v Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).
2 While the court did not find any excessive entanglement with religion, it nevertheless found a violation of the Establishment Clause because a failure to satisfy either of the first two prongs of test constitutes a violation.
3 The court did not make it clear whether a teacher “espousing” Twain’s views would necessarily be found to have violated the Establishment Clause.

=====================================================================================

Intelligent Email Department:

The following was received from a person who is, presumably, permitted to vote and to sit on juries:

Name: Anthony Cook

Email: [email protected]

Here is a thought: WHY don’t we have all the athiests move to 4 NW states (because that’s all you can take up in America) and all the christians stay where they are and then just wage war on eachother? See who wins…like in the Civil War. Then the winner can make rules about where people can practice thier religion and where they can’t. You are lost sheep who are big whiney babies because you feel like outsiders when others speak about thier religions. I think anyone can say anything about any religion in public places on the largest megaphone without offending me, so grow up and do the same. If Jewish people were the majority of this coutry and it was founded by jewish forefathers, I would expect that our money and national traditions would have jewish symbolisim, people would make SMALL references to this religion at public events, such as national historic gatherings, graduation cerimonies, and political events. As a minority in this circumstance, I wouldn’t be complaining to the government every 10 minutes like you. If I didn’t like it, I would simply move to a country that wasn’t religious or freaking start my own country instead of trying to ruin this one. Your group acts like a baby brother tattling on an older sister for calling you a meanie poopoo head. When in rome, do as romans. Majority Rules. Get over it and worship yourselves in YOUR own basement while having your seperate schools. Segregate YOURselves, We shouldn’t have to segregate ourselves because of a crybaby group like yours just to Pledge Allegence to the United States of America under God as has been done for 200 years. I don’t care what you believe, you can believe that there isn’t sand on a beach because you have never been to one, but every time your group cries to the government about this and that, just makes you look like little wimpy complainers. Seriously, you need your mommy and daddy to spank your butt for being so retarded and stupid.

P.S. I really like your note about REAL technology, REAL attorneys, and REAL prosecution, now why don’t you get a REAL life. I can say anything I like, where I like, as long as I don’t threaten to kill or Beat the CRAP out someone. OOPS call the cops! I said “Meanie PooPoo Head”! You should be posted in your own HATE MAIL for hating my country’s history and tradition.
-Signed a GREAT LOVER OF AMERICAN TRADITIONS,
Anthony Cook
Come to my house if you want, we can say the rosary in my basement and leave out all the references of Mary, Jesus, and God. If you do, I’ll donate a dollar to your cause.

And the following reply was sent to this rustic genius by American Atheists President, Ed Buckner:

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 8:48 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: You guys are HILARIOUS! My advice…

Mr. Cook,

You misunderstand a core American ideal: individual rights cannot be taken away by a majority, even a large one. If the 70+ per cent majority of white Americans want to deny rights to blacks or Hispanics, they lack that power; if the 51% of Americans who are female want to deny men rights, they cannot, so long as our constitutional principles are in force; etc.

And you don’t know your history, either, or you’d know our nation was founded by people who didn’t want the majority to use the power of government to impose religious ideas on others. And the Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t thought up at all 200 years ago–it was written about 120 years ago and had no reference to God in it at all until 60 or so years later, when Congress unconstitutionally divided “one nation indivisible” with religious claptrap.

I’d suggest you retire to your basement and do some serious reading–you are quite literally unAmerican, profoundly ignorant of American traditions and principles, and apparently don’t even know it.

Ed Buckner
President, American Atheists

Edwin Kagin on Thoughts for Atheists at Graduation.

It is graduation time again. Therefore, here reproduced is a Graduation address I constructed for an Atheist student a couple of years ago. It was actually delivered! So, if you want to use this, feel free, so long as credit is given. If you make money on my creation, I want some of it.

Edwin.

Thoughts for Atheists at Graduation.

Good evening sinners.

At High School graduations throughout our country, it is customary for older people to tell younger people what the older people were told by older people, who are now probably dead people, at their own High School baccalaureates and graduations. This is usually some sad, emotional, and boring commentary on how the world and the future is yours, how you are the future, that we are leaving it to you, and that the speaker’s generation messed up the world, but the future if still full of limitless possibilities, and that it is up to you to straighten it all out for the generations to come, and that with hard work, faith, and god’s help it can all be done. There, I have just summarized every known High School graduation speech. When you are old you can tell the same rubbish to a new generation of bright eyed graduates ready to go forth into the world to breed, grow old, and die.

The problem with all of these far too long and whining baccalaureate and graduation speeches, or sermons, is that they usually call for more of what has caused the problems complained of. The baccalaureate talks are the worst. That is where educated adults, who should know better, pray to invisible imaginary friends for wished-for things that never happen.

What is wonderful and different tonight is that this is an Atheist Baccalaureate. And it may be the first such in the history of the United States. So you will go down in history. Some will say you will go to in Hell.

As Atheists, you know that the world is not run by magic and magical thinking. Atheists do not bring up their children in a land of make believe.

We have tried to teach you the principals of reason, critical thinking, logical fallacy, ethical behavior, and the methods of science and evidence. We want you to know that there is a big difference between Righteousness and Self-Righteousness.

We want you to know and understand the difference between belief and proof; between faith and fact. We want you to know that you are part of a great historic tradition of bringing light unto darkness; that there is a difference between that which is ethical and that which is expedient; a difference between being truly moral and being a follower of religious rules. We want you to know that science is based on facts, not on fairy tales. That evolution is a fact and that “Creationism” is a fairy tale. That there is a difference between coincidence and causation. A difference between potential and actual. That an egg is not a chicken and that an acorn is not an oak tree.

At this rite of passage, we want you, our children who are our future, to understand that what happens to each of us and to our world is based on cause and effect—not on faith and miracles. We want you to know that behavior has consequences. If you run on a wet trail you can slip and be hurt. If you let fools be your rulers, you will be ruled by fools.

We want you to live—not for life after death, but for life before death. We all share the mystery of having been born human. As humans, we are many races, many nations, and many religions. We can learn to live together or we can destroy ourselves. No god is going to save us. We must save ourselves.

For your own safety’s sake, we have tried to help you learn to distinguish between logic and fallacy; between science and superstition; between real and pretend; between the wonder of discovery and magical thinking. We want you to know the difference between doing and dogma; between imagination and mythology. And we want you to understand that learning never ends. We want you to know, as many do not, that life does not stop with High School graduation. None of us know the limits of what you may yet learn and what you may yet become. There will also be some pain and some disappointments. It is all part of the deal. We did not make the rules.

Most importantly, we want to help you, our children who are now young adults, to be competent. You will be competent when you can survive, thrive, create, empathize, and interact justly with others, free of pain, fear, and guilt—without gods, without religion, and without us. If you can achieve, as we know you can, self-reliant adulthood, you will not need the gods or the religion, and you will not miss them. If we have done it right, you will not need us either. But perhaps you will miss us.

There is one thing we want. We want you, and your children, and your children’s children, to be able to live in a world where it is okay not to believe in god. To do otherwise is to defile the graves of our martyrs.

May your future be better than your past, and may that measure of peace, justice, harmony and understanding denied religion and its deities be attained by you as mortals through the use of your minds, and may reason, science, curiosity, and discovery replace the fear, the guilt, the pain, and the ignorance of trembling in terror before capricious gods.

by Edwin Kagin
Graduation, 2006

Edwin Kagin, On Public Prayer

In honor of the unconstitutional “National Day of Prayer,” here reprinted is the commentary contained in the collection “Baubles of Blasphemy,” available from American Atheists Press.

Permission is given for non-profit reproduction. If you make money on this, I want some of it.

Edwin.

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KAGIN’S COLUMN

ON PUBLIC PRAYER

The family that prays together stays together. Religious putdown of the families of non-believers.

Prayer is the means whereby humans communicate with the supernatural deity or deities in whom they believe. Most religions accept uncritically the reality of beings who exist outside the laws of nature and who can, upon appropriate application, alter those laws for the benefit of the believer. One makes supplication to the god of choice by silent or vocal praise and the lodging of requests for divine intervention. This practice is known as “prayer.”

Christianity is the dominant religion of the United States. It is mythically based on the life and teaching of Jesus, the deity made man. Fundamentalists believe every word of the Bible (the sacred texts) to be the word of God. Here’s what God, through Jesus (also God), said about prayer: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:5-6 King James Version in a stolen Gideon Bible. We need not bother with the more recent translations. If the King James Version was good enough for the Apostle Paul, it’s good enough for us.
What we have here is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the World, God Incarnate, the Light of the World giving definitive, authoritative, and unimpeachable information on how to pray if the person praying wants God to pay attention. Preempting all contrary mandates, the one God has given his orders on prayer to all people for all times until the end of the world. The instructions are strict and inflexible. There are no exceptions. When one prays he should go into his closet and shut the door.

This command of the deity on earth in human form was given publicly in the “Sermon on the Mount,” wherein the Christ conveyed the will of the Father. The Lamb of God went on to dictate into the record an example of how to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven,” etc. (How Jesus was God and discussed the will of his father, who was also God in heaven must wait for a future consideration of the mythology of the “Holy Trinity.”) This is known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” When one prays it, or any other prayer, one has to do so behind closed doors in one’s closet, not publicly. The “Lord’s Prayer” was not openly prayed by Jesus, but was taught to be repeated only in private. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, before being crucified, he prayed privately. He probably didn’t have a closet. While hanging on the cross, he prayed with others about, but he really couldn’t, under the circumstances, be expected to deliver these final prayers elsewhere. Thus, prayers are to be given from behind closed doors unless you are alone in the mountains or trussed up for execution. In fairness, the orders probably leave room for any silent or quiet prayer that is not rendered in public. All public prayers are forbidden and are a deliberate disobedience to the will of god.

The Son of Man not only set out the rules for prayer and other matters in the sermon on the mountain but concluded with a warning of the dire consequences of disobedience: “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
Matthew 7:26-27.

So there it is. Our world is coming unglued and we suffer crime, violence, and war because of public prayer. The more out of the closet prayer, the more awful things get. Those who yell loudest that the Bible is the inerrant word of God are the worst offenders. The more they argue that we must return to the Bible, the more they blasphemously engage in uncloseted prayer. They doom us by their forbidden entreaties to the Almighty whose commands they flaunt. Nowhere is the influence of Satan clearer seen. Satan has deceived the faithful to engage in prayer meetings, prayer breakfasts, and all manner of condemned celestial communications reaching into the very foundations of government. Heaven help us, there are even those who advocate publicly praying in our schools as a solution to the problems directly created by that very disobedience to ultimate authority. There are prayers on radio and on television, in churches, in homes and in auditoriums. The more we publicly pray, the more we become the most violent and crime-invested nation on earth. Is this our American heritage, our family values? Why do we deliberately disobey God? The American civil war was conducted by armies who publicly prayed and believed god supported their cause and was on their side. Lincoln observed that “both sides may be, and one must be, wrong.”

Humanists who wrote our Constitution tried to prevent the problem. God is not mentioned in the Constitution, and church and state are separated in the Bill of Rights. This is probably all that has kept Satan from totally leading us to destruction. Our greatness comes from humanists, our problems from the folly of those who advocate and practice public prayer.

It is all so simple. A believer is not permitted to disregard a direct order from the deity without consequences. Better to be a non-believer than one condemned under one’s own rules. Examples that impious prayer doesn’t work are legion. Every fundamentalist bigot in the country publicly prayed that Mr. Clinton not be elected president of the United States. The prayers failed. God is not mocked.

So if you must be a believer, get it right. Read your Bible. Do you think Jesus was wrong? Obey your God. Stop all forms of public prayer. It’s hard to stand on your feet when you’re on your knees.

And don’t naively assume your daughter has religion when she comes home with a Gideon Bible in her suitcase.

Ed Kagin

March, 1994

Atheist News from Edwin Kagin

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: May 05, 2009

Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]

Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/

Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

What Is An ATHEIST?

“ANOTHER THINKING HUMAN ENGAGED IN SEEKING TRUTH”
(Edwin Kagin, 2008)

To Unidentified Recipients:

Now “they” want the government to support teaching the history of religion.

Well, maybe we should do just that—teach the history of religion: the Crusades; the Inquisition; the Salem Witch Trials. That sort of thing.

And, there are more of us than “they” know. Maybe a lot more.

Your narrator was honored to be a guest on a Channel 12, Cincinnati, two part news story on Heaven and Hell. The actual electrons can be found (for now at least) here:

http://www.local12.com/content/special_coverage/story/What-Happens-After-You-Die/7ohx0EU6F0OXXXVsnAAVOg.cspx

http://www.local12.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoid=[email protected]

Don’t miss the commentaries on the stories. You might want to join it.

Edwin.

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AMERICAN ATHEISTS
http://www.atheists.org
May 5, 2009

AMERICAN ATHEISTS
ACTION ALERT
House Resolution on “America’s Spiritual Heritage”
Would Promote Religious Heritage Week

Action Needed Now to Stop Government Promotion of Religion!

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.”

Among the religious right luminaries 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.

***

Legislators, particularly Congressional representatives in the House, need to hear from America’s Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists and other secularists who are marginalized by this exclusionary and unconstitutional measure. Government has no business promoting 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 as “Christian nation.”

LEARN MORE:

Visit the American Atheist web site at http://www.atheists.org and Dave Silverman’s NO GOD BLOG (http://www.nogodblog.com) for more background on this story. The full Resolution text can be found at the Congressional Prayer Caucus web site, http://www.house.gov/forbes/prayercaucus.htm/

CONTACT CONGRESS:

Send letters, faxes and E-mails to your Congressional Representative. Better yet, call. Visit http://www.visi.com/juan/congress for a complete listing, or the office House of Representatives site at http://www.house.gov . 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!

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS:

Join the conversation at the NoGodBlog.

SPREAD THIS ACTION ALERT!

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

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AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC.
http://www.atheists.org
http://www.americanatheist.org

For more information, please contact:
Ed Buckner, President (770) 803-5353
Dave Silverman, Communications Director (732) 648-9333

ATHEISTS SEEK ROLE IN PROPOSED FEDERAL “RELIGIOUS HISTORY WEEK”

An Atheist public policy group says that it supports the call by conservative Christians to establish a Federal “Religious History Week,”
and already has suggestions for a proposed curriculum.

A federal bill, the Spiritual Heritage Resolution introduced by Rep. J.
Randy Forbes (R-Va.) details how religion and politics have played vital roles in American history. The measure has won enthusiastic support from members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, as well as Gary Bauer and James and Shirley Dobson of the Colorado-based National Day of Prayer.
The bill will be re-introduced after NDOP events this Thursday.

“We think that ‘Religious History Week’ can be a tool for informing the public about the positive and negative roles that religion has played,”
said Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists. “Our organization would like to participate and make sure that this federal event presents an objective, scholarly view.”

Among the topics Buckner suggested were discussion segments on religious authoritarianism in colonial-era America; the notorious “Blue Laws” that punished those not observing the Sabbath; the use of public taxes to support “Established” religions prior to the American Revolution; the effects of religious orthodoxy on free speech and other civil liberties; the resistance of religious groups to the Revolution and “disestablishment” of churches; support by religious groups for segregation, racism and stopping women from having voting rights; and the more contemporary role religious groups play in opposing equal treatment for gays, lesbians, youth and women seeking abortion and birth control.

“We have other topics we’d like to bring up, too, as part of this wonderful event,” said Dr. Buckner.

Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists cautioned that those introducing the Spiritual Heritage Resolution “should refrain from cherry picking only the positive things some religious groups have done throughout our country’s history.”

“We have to acknowledge that, yes, many progressive religious leaders had good ideas. These must be weighed against the role religion, particularly fundamentalist Christianity, has played in retarding political, social and even technological progress.”

Mr. Silverman added that he and Dr. Buckner look forward to working with any federal or private agencies planning the “Religious History Week” if the bill is passed by Congress.

“We just have so many wonderful topics to bring up,” said Dr. Buckner.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

American Atheists, Inc.
PO BOX 158
Cranford, NJ 07016
Tel.: (908) 276-7300
Fax: (908) 276-7402

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From reader Jan:

(hyperlinks to other stories at main link below)

http://www.alternet.org/rights/139788?page=entire

40 Million Nonbelievers in America? The Secret Is Almost Out
By Ronald Aronson, Religion Dispatches. Posted May 5, 2009.

Secularists have very quietly become one of America’s largest minorities — how long before they use their power?

As reported recently in the New York Times, a South Carolina chapter of Habitat for Humanity prohibited a group of Secular Humanist volunteers from wearing their “Non-Prophet Organization” T-shirts; a Charleston-area teacher “came out” as a nonbeliever after years of church dinners and demurrals; and Humanist Loretta Haskell struggled over her role as a church musician. While such stories remain commonplace, a related story with a substantial bearing on these anecdotes is one of America’s best-kept secrets.
A recent Newsweek cover—in a bid to (finally) match the celebrated 1966 “Is God Dead?” cover of Time—read, in the shape of a cross: “The Decline and Fall of Christian America.” Editor Jon Meacham’s story highlights Newsweek’s latest poll results showing that 10% fewer Americans identify as Christian today than twenty years ago. But more importantly, and mentioned only in passing, is the growth among atheists and secularists of all stripes.
According to the latest American Religious Identification Survey(ARIS) of more than 54,000 adults, between 2001 and 2008 the number willing to identify themselves as atheist and agnostic has gone from under 2 million to 3.6 million. Small numbers compared to the whole, of course, but most notably it’s a rise of 85% of those willing to describe themselves as living without God during the years of our most overtly religious presidency!
Even more newsworthy, when the widely-scorned labels “atheist” and “agnostic” are replaced with specifics about beliefs (“There is no such thing” as God, “There is no way to know,” or “I’m not sure,” and added to those who refused to answer) it turns out that over eighteen percent of Americans do not profess belief in a God or a higher power.
According to ARIS, then, there could be as many as 40 million adult nonbelievers in the United States!
Personal God Going the Way of the Dodo?
Consider: If these numbers are correct, nonbelievers amount to more than the highest estimates of African Americans or gays. Secularists are one of America’s largest minorities. It is no longer possible to proclaim, as the Gallup Poll announced fifty years ago: “Nearly all Americans believe in God.” That is today’s most significant change.
So what explains the impressive increase among those willing to identify as atheist or agnostic? For those who think that books and ideas simply don’t matter, it is dramatic tribute to the success of the “new atheist” writers—including Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens. To paraphrase the title of Dennett’s book, their goal has been to “break the spell” of religion—and they have evidently helped more Americans “achieve” that goal.
If a new confidence is in the offing it is also visible in the American Humanist Association’s scandalous Christmastime bus ads in Washington DC (“Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”). No less striking is the “Out” campaign (“Come Out,” “Reach Out,” “Speak Out,” “Keep Out,” “Stand Out,”) especially among students and young people.
One of the few writers who has paid attention to these phenomena, Konstantin Petrenko, writing for Religion Dispatches, does so in order to dismiss them [see “Godless America? Say Hello to the ‘Apatheists’,” March 19, 2009]. He stresses the discrepancy between those embracing the “atheist” or “agnostic” label and those who describe themselves as not believing in God. “It appears that most of the unaffiliated individuals are not atheistic or anti-religious in any activist sense, but are rather apathetic toward organized religion and reluctant to join any particular denomination or sect.”
True enough, but the same can be said of most religious believers. This is no reason to downplay the fact that so many have clearly fallen away from religion—that is, they live their lives without any sort of God. Nor can we ignore ARIS’s statement that the six percent of Americans who refuse to answer the question about their beliefs “tend to somewhat resemble ‘Nones’ in their social profile and beliefs.” Which means, according to ARIS’s most striking conclusion: “The U.S. population continues to show signs of becoming less religious, with one in five Americans failing to indicate a religious identity in 2008.”
Furthermore, among those who do, over 12% of the total sample describe their belief in ways that ARIS concludes are “deistic (a higher power but no personal God).” One in eight American believers are as religious as… Thomas Paine. Those who continue to believe in a traditional Jewish, Christian, or Muslim personal god have dropped to under seventy percent of the American population. Despite all efforts to ignore or minimize this, it is big news.
Moments of Prayer into Moments of Silence
And the discrepancy between those willing to be public and open about their religious disbelief and those who are not is also big news. Among nonbelievers, judging from my discussions with hundreds of them over the past several months, many are not “new atheists” (militantly doing battle with religion) but are, inPeter Steinfels’ terminology, “new new atheists.” These people are not primarily concerned with arguing against the belief in God, but are trying to find ways of coexisting in a society in which both nonbelievers and believers can expect to be around for a long time to come. They shy away from labels as they seek their own bearings and their own comfort zone in today’s America.
Secularists welcomed President Obama’s shout-out to nonbelievers during his inaugural address, but are painfully aware that when launching his campaign he criticized them for trying to keep religion out of the public square, but not the religious right for its attempts to erase the line between church and state.
They worry, along with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, that Obama’s renewal of the Bush Faith-Based Initiative in the new Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships has not ruled out proselytizing and discriminatory hiring for religious social service programs that are granted Federal dollars. And they wince when recalling that he subjected himself to the informal religious test of being drilled like a catechism pupil by Rick Warren on his own particular way of believing in Jesus Christ (the same Rick Warren who announced that he would never vote for an atheist for president).
Above all, rather than combating religious belief at every turn, many nonbelievers would cheer if the President initiated a genuinely multicultural approach to both believers and secularists in today’s America. This might entail, as was not done at the Democratic National Convention last August, inviting secularists as well as believers to platforms that normally exclude the irreligious (i.e. the “values and unity” event preceding the Convention that was exclusively for religious believers). It might entail as much political attention being paid to nonbelievers as believers at public events—transforming moments of prayer into moments of silence. In other words, it would mean abandoning the implicit assumption of so much of American public and private life that religious values, norms and practices apply to everyone—and show respect to American’s enormous nonreligious minority.

Ronald Aronson is author of Living without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists and the Undecided (Counterpoint, 2008). He teaches history at Wayne State University.