The Question of Religious Freedom

The original source link for this story is down for some reason, but apparently — as America Experiences its Fourth Great Awakening and Revival– America don’t careth for the Atheist:

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

During the 1988 Presidential Campaign, George Herbert Walker Bush said “No, I don’t know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” So I’m not entirely sure this is news. As for Atheists and where they fit in the World Scene, I point to this: Atheists Riot After Blank Paper Is Found On Cartoonist`s desk!

There is a retro-50s feeling to this idea, which is Eisenhower’s “Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply held religious belief – and I don’t care what it is.” I’m thinking that in light of the study and its implications, we oughta go back and amend the Pledge of Allegiance, as we did in the 1950s. Since there may just be more Religious Fervor than there was in the 1950s, perhaps we could insert a half dozen “under Gods” in the Pledge. Here’s the New Pledge of Allegiance:

I Pledge Allegiance to God and the Flag of the United States of Godly America. And to the Republic for which God stands. One Nation, Under God, with Liberty and Justice for God’s Children.

Ugh. Okay. I admit the situation here in the United States is not as bad as in any Muslim Country. You know about the Christian Convert in Afghanistan? He’s facing the Death Penalty for being a Christian. Much as he would have if the nation-state were still under the Taliban control. The defense for him that may get him off? Well, maybe he’s Mentally Unfit! I don’t know, because I’m not there, whether he is or is not. But this is something that would spare us the embarrassment of having to admit to ourselves that our liberated Country of Afghanistan isn’t this great Beacon of Human Rights. Perhaps we can solve these problems of Islamic Law by nodding and urging Islamic nations to announce that all Christians are Crazy, and thus they can establish some sort of Insane Asylum for them.

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