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What War on Christmas?

I found an editorial on iReport.com and thought it was a well-written statement about the alleged “War on Christmas” that is much touted by Fox News and many of the religious right.

The writer, Indy609, makes a clear distinction between the “separation of church and state” and a “war on Christmas,” something which seems to confuse a lot of people at Fox News. After giving examples of lawsuits and/or efforts to maintain the First Ammendment Separation, he notes…

None of these is the same as removing all religion from public life, not by the longest stretch of logical maneuvering.

Where are the lawsuits seeking to end Christian broadcasting? Where are the protests seeking to remove Christian-themed holiday music from the mall? Where are the referendums seeking to cover up the road signs in every town showing you the way to the nearest church? Who has sought to stifle candidates expressing their religious preference? When has anyone has advocated shutting down Christian bookstores? Where are the attempts to block the entryways to churches? Where are the ravenous letters opposing faith-based network programming such as “Touched By an Angel” or “Joan of Arcadia”? When one goes walking on any Main Street, America, this month, is Christmas not apparent in every direction?

Wanting to have a nativity display removed from a government building is not a “War on Christmas.” It’s an attempt to maintain freedom of religion. Put the display in any one of the beautiful churches in towns and cities across the entire country… where it belongs.

What’s the point of putting a nativity display (or other religious displays) in a government building when there are obviously more appropriate places for it? The answer? There isn’t a valid point.

Here’s a link to the editorial. http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-164454

Mencken’s Creed

Too good to pass up…

I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind — that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.

I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious…

I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.

I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech…

I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.

I believe in the reality of progress.

But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

– H. L. Mencken’s Creed, cited by George Seldes in Great Thoughts

With appreciation to the Freedom From Religion Foundation for bringing this quote to my attention.

Seriously? He is?

I’ve read quite a bit recently about Barack Obama being the Anti-Christ. There’s a chain email (in multiple versions) going around giving the Biblical predictions for this. It’s been covered on Snopes, but I just wanted to re-emphasize the nonsensical nature of it because I personally know someone who claims this to be true, citing the email as one of the pieces of evidence to back up her claim.

Here’s the gist of the email.

According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is: The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal…. the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything. Is it OBAMA??

Read the Snopes post for the full debunking, but there are a few points I want to reiterate here.

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Hitler was not an atheist.

I am tired of hearing Christian theologians try to make the case that Hitler’s atheistic beliefs caused the deaths of untold millions.  Hitler was not the poster child for atheism. Hitler was the poster child for nationalistic bigots. Let me set the record straight for all of the historically challenged who keep asserting this incorrect belief.

Hitler was NOT an atheist.

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The Ten Commandments: Why most of them aren’t even good suggestions (Part 2)

The source for the following essay is Deuteronomy 5:6-5:21.

Well, here we are with commandment two.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

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The Meaning of Life

One question (or statement, depending on who’s speaking) I come across on occasion is how life can have any real meaning if I don’t believe in a divine creator. In other words, there’s a claim that if you don’t devote your life to serving “God,” your life can’t possibly be meaningful.

I was pondering posting my thoughts on this when I found the following post by Alonzo Fyfe of The Atheist Ethicist and thought I’d put off posting my own thoughts for now and share Alonzo’s wonderful metaphor. It gently and gracefully addresses the issue and shows a great difference between “meaning via religion” and  meaning via life.”

Here’s the link: The Meaning of Life

Enjoy!

Founded as a Christian Nation? No.

One of the common claims that tends to irk me more than some others is the claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation or based on Christian principles. This misconception has been refuted a multitude of times, but the refutations always seem to fall on the deaf ears of self-righteous, Christian ignorance.

The claim is usually made during political discussions, but the intellectual morose of the argument is evident regardless of context. I most frequently hear the statement from people who don’t have the information required to back up the claim and who refuse to acknowledge any evidence that threatens to penetrate their self-imposed cocoon of ignorance. For good reason, it seems, since if they did choose to acknowledge the evidence, their claim would be simply invalidated.

Looking at the text that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America used makes it unquestionably evident that a “Christian Nation” was not what they intended to create.

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Inhibiting Education

I was speaking with a co-worker this morning and she was telling me about her son’s recent experience at school. Every year, the school takes the seventh-grade students to a local community health center, divides the boys and girls, and gives each group a presentation on bodily changes (of both sexes) that will soon be happening (if they’re not already). Basically, it’s sex-ed biology… puberty, hormones, etc.

This year, evidently there were some parents who complained that they didn’t want their children subjected to that presentation. My co-worker didn’t know how many parents complained, but her son said that one girl is a (vocal) Christian and her mom complained. It’s probably a safe bet that any parents who complained did so because of their religious beliefs. Granted, there could potentially be other reasons, but it’s unlikely.

Because of the parental complaints, all the students were given a presentation on drug use instead of the planned “Your Developing Body” curriculum. While education about drug use is definitely valuable, it seems to be, given the age of the students, a second-rate substitute. Learning about puberty and the biological changes that they’ll be going through is more time-sensitive for that age group than learning about drug use.

I have two issues with this situation.

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