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1/06/2005                                                                                       View Comments

America, Land of the Free

by AtheistMommy

Our Funding Fathers had a grand plan. A plan to create a wonderful place where all can be free, free to believe in anything, free to speak their minds, free to voice their opinions. Our Founding Fathers were not Atheists. They were not quite Christian, either though. Some didn't even attend church on Sunday or any other day. What they were, even better than belonging to a religion or not, they were Freethinkers.

How is it we can call this land free? Religious tolerance has hit an all time low. Atheists are now speaking their minds and standing up for their rights instead of lurking in the shadows and denying their lack of beliefs. We now have church on TV every Sunday. Religious radio stations both on FM, AM, and internet broadcasting, mostly Christian. We have a man in the highest of political offices claiming to be God's president. Public fights about the pledge, the religious slogan on our money, and who's God is real. Let's not forget the bill boards with "God Bless America" written across them. This is not freedom by any definition.

In this great land of freedom we call America, we have people from all cultures and all backgrounds. We have people from all walks of life and all religious beliefs, some without. This makes the separation of church and state that much more important. Without it, we show favoritism toward one religion over the others -- especially over those who live without the belief in Gods and Goddesses. Some refer to those who do not live with beliefs in Gods and Goddesses "unpatriotic."

But where is the line? Where should we draw this line? Is it really ok for a Bible to be on display to honor anyone on a public place? Is it ok not to permit something of that nature? Personally, I think that religious tolerance means that we have one of everything and nothing religious on anything that has to do with our government. No religious saying in our pledge to our country. No religious slogans on our money. No statues, pictures, or cased Bibles in our government buildings. Isn't it over kill anyway?

I mean, there are millions of churches, mostly Christian, not only here in America, but all over the world. Why is that not enough? Where I live there are over five in walking distance! Then there's always the church on TV. What an easy way to worship God. Let's not forget the countless religious schools available to those who want to teach their kids a God-filled lifestyle. Which brings up my next question, where are the Atheist private schools? The lack of belief is just as important as belief. Why don't we have a private school that supports that lifestyle, too? I have yet to find one.

And now the fight for homosexual rights. It seems Atheists have a lot in common with homosexuals. The religious "right" see us both as evil. They want both of us to have no rights and to just "stay in the closet." In fact, George Bush Sr., in a interview with American Atheists that took place on August 27, 1987, he 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." His son's attitude isn't much better.

What could possibly be wrong about two people loving each other so much that they would like to make it legal? Homosexual, bi-sexual, heterosexual it's all the same. Its two people having sex or just falling in love, period. Let's not make this into a religious issue. I mean really, how can we call ourselves the land of the free when people aren't free to marry anyone, regardless of sex, whom they love?!

But the ones I feel for the most are the children. Who are we to tell them what they should or shouldn't believe in? Every day they are led to believe that they have to stand up and recite the pledge with the words "under God" every morning in school. How many of them do you think actually know they don't have to stand or say the pledge, by law? I didn't know that when I was a kid. But I'm guessing because of all the hype more kids know now then when I was a kid. Of course, before that children were actually forced to recite the pledge or face punishment.

There should be a disclaimer said each morning at school, in every school, before the pledge is recited. It should go something like this: "We will now recite our nation's pledge, but if you do not wish to stand or recite the pledge you have the right to stay seated."

Religious tolerance should be respected and taught by all of those who value their freedom.

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