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Opening Arguments

Our cross to bear

A couple of commenters on a previous post take me to task for disparaging raging atheist Michael Newdow and say no "reasonable person" could be against some of his efforts, such as restoring the Pledge of Allegiance to its original form and eliminating the "In God we trust" motto from coins.

It happens that I disagree with those who think this is a "Christian nation" in any formal sense, and it would be dangerous to try to make it so. But people like Newdow waste enormous time, effort and money over issues that have nothing at all to do with real imposition of a state religion, which is what the First Amendment was meant to guard against.

What it usually comes down to is that some people are offended by certain religious symbols and expressions, and there is no constitutional right to not be offended. What these efforts usually lead to is something extremely stupid, such as this attempt to remove a cross that has been standing as a war memorial in San Diego for 50 years, I would guess without forcing a single person to become a Christian.

The case also involves a creatively unique, though probably quixotic, use of eminent domain.

Posted in: Religion


Tim Zank
Mon, 05/15/2006 - 5:27am

Well said Leo, our attempt as a nation to make sure no one is offended or left out has become absolutely comical. I long for the days of common sense, personal responsibility, and tolerance. So often it is the groups claiming intolerance are the most intolerant of all.

Bob G.
Mon, 05/15/2006 - 7:37am

I suppose that Newdow would rip up EVERY cross in ARLINGTON national cemetery as well.....idiot!
This "political correctness" in spite of anything and everything else really IS comical, as Tim stated. And if it were not SO funny, it might be pathetic (at best).

If being "offended" means you have to become a better person to OVERCOME (or rise above) such slights, I can see where many are just too damn lazy.

There are many things that offend me, and while those offenses might be things normal humans wouldn't consider, many are offenses that simply go against the normal evolution of mankind, church and state aside.
Universal truths are found in almost every religion and articles of government throughout the world, and are meant as guidelines for living and their associated behaviors.

Those people that cannot follow even the most basic ones are the reason we have LAWS, no matter WHAT culture you are from or subscribe to.

Atheists are entitled to THEIR opinion as much as ANY religious person, but to have one person dictate policies for the masses leads down a slippery slope, no matter how one tries to justify it.
We ARE still a democracy (last time I checked, anyway), which as Plato stated is "but ONE step above anarchy".


Mon, 05/15/2006 - 10:13am

There was a good commentary that actually came from India (which has it's own problems with it's hindu and muslim citizens), that made quite an excellent argument for having a secular government.

Essentially, secular government is not about "not offending" someone. It's about having a proper form of government that accommodates multiple faiths as easily as it does one.

So while I might petition law makers and my neighbor to remove these signs voluntarily, I don't see why Newdow or me should be prohibited from making a Constitutional case out of it. After all, government action can be un-constitutional even if only one person files a complaint.

And in that case it's not a single person dictating the country. It's the perfectly legimate block of the government with it's defined powers doing it's job. And as it's been in Newdow's cases, they have not even been dictating the whole country. Merely small portions of it.

Leo Morris
Mon, 05/15/2006 - 10:30am

"Essentially, secular government is . . . about having a proper form of government that accommodates multiple faiths as easily as it does one."

I'd say that's a pretty good description of how this nation has been run for the most part. Certainly anyone has the right to try to make a constitutional case of something, but that doesn't make it one. People who try to have a cross removed that's stood as a memorial to veterans for more than 50 years are trying to impose their will no less than the speaker of the Indiana House who wants an explicitly Christian prayer to open sessions.

Thu, 05/25/2006 - 5:50pm

These days, Americans aren't the sharpest tool in the shed. You write above "No reasonable person could be against some of his efforts"

I simply don't understand the theists in this country. The first constitutional amendment is very clear:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The word god in our pledge and money is respecting religion. He is fighting for the very respected document, the constitution. Anyone who opposes Michael Newdow opposes the first constitutional amendment.



Tim Zank
Fri, 05/26/2006 - 7:07am

Thanks for stopping by "free thinker". Sounds more like your way or the highway though. You guys crack me up.