Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Jackie examines myth of Atheists persecuting Christians

Over at, our own Jackie Lavache -- Boston Atheism Examiner -- examines the oft-cited claim that Christians are persecuted by secularists hell-bent on reining in the free expression of religion. Writes Jackie:
He further complains that atheists have brought lawsuits to “stop ecumenical Christmas displays, or to expunge the mere mention of God from the public discourse.” What if the displays were of the Qur’an or Hindu gods? Would he fight for their right to exist on public property? Of course he wouldn't, because in his mind this is a "Christian Nation" and everyone else must shut up and put up-- a true violation of the First Amendment. Atheists don’t want atheist symbols in the place of Christian, rather they want no symbols so that no one gets offended or oppressed whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, etc…
Quite rightly examined, Jackie. The expression of personal traditions -- the religious kind are the most prominent -- does not need, and indeed should reject, government sponsorship in the form of funding, placement on government property, or preferential acknowledgement. The quick corollary to such seemingly benign support is preferential support, which leads easily to exclusive support. The solution is not to invite all traditions (be they secular, supernaturalist, or other) to queue up for billboard space on government property. Such a scheme would drown the courthouse lawn come December in the trappings of every sectarian holiday. Instead, such expression should take place in the private sphere -- homes, etc. -- and only in the public space when they are the immediate act of individuals. This guideline would preserve freedom of speech and separation of church and state. Smartly examined, Jackie.