Monday, March 21, 2011

Put It in Neutral

In the debates about school prayer, the pledge of allegiance, the national motto, and other areas where theocrats have tried and often succeeded in putting religion in Government one often hears the ridiculous notion that removing these official theocratic acknowledgments of god somehow is the same thing as making the U.S. Government atheistic.  This is obviously absurd.

For the Government to be atheistic, there would have to be explicit denials of god's existence in similar contexts.  For example a pledge of allegiance that say "under no god" instead of under god would be atheistic.

The theocrats would have us believe that the pledge was atheistic when first written and remained so up until 1954.  Given that the original version was written by a Baptist minister, I think we can assume that the omission of god was not an expression of atheism.  It was simply consistent with the author's understanding that the pledge was a political statement and not a religious one.  Somehow that particular Baptist minister could understand what so many today cannot:  that politics and religion can and should be separate.

I have found that pointing out that removing the words "under god", etc., does not make the Government atheistic (such as in the paragraph in bold above) seems to fly right over the heads of the religious.  To be honest, anyone who makes such ridiculous statements may be beyond reach, but if you decide to try, then I suggest using a more concrete example to illustrate your point.  When you hear them make this sort of assertion, you can try saying:

"That's like saying that putting your car in neutral is the same as putting it in reverse."

This is a real world analogy that anyone should be able to understand.  If this doesn't get through to the person, nothing will.  As usual, I suggest dropping this little thought barb and then walking away.  Also, as usual, remember to keep close tabs on your non-verbal signals.  Confidence is very convincing to those social creatures who pick their opinions based on what others think, and the confidence to drop the subject as if you are speaking to someone who is clearly being irrational speaks volumes.

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