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Member since: Sat Jul 3, 2010, 12:24 PM
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Because it is about Civil Rights.

I cannot name one publicized state/church complaint ever handled by the Freedom From Religion Foundation that wasn’t branded by someone as “petty” or “trivial” — whether the complaint was over huge Latin crosses on government property, or tiny tots being forced to bow heads and pray in kindergarten.

I’ve often wondered, if the violations we’re complaining about are no big deal, why don’t these public officials and critics just agree to stop them? We know from experience that when state/church violations go unchallenged, they create bad precedent and, often, even worse First Amendment violations. Although FFRF’s legal staff almost exclusively handles cases involving Establishment Clause violations, we make one exception. That is for violations of the Civil Rights Act.

The Civil Rights Act in relevant part reads: “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation . . . without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.” (See — religion is right there, along with race and color.)

FFRF was contacted by one of our Pennsylvania members, John Wolff, an octogenarian and retired electrical engineer, who was shocked to encounter a church bulletin discount at a local restaurant. Those bearing proof they had been to church that morning are given a regular 10 percent discount by Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia, Pa. FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote not just one, but three letters over the course of a year and a half, in a patient attempt to educate the apparently uneducable restaurant owners.


Recently, a few freethinkers have suggested that civil rights violations aren’t worthy of FFRF’s attention, that we should “pick our battles,” that negative reaction to such complaints makes atheists even more unpopular. So . . . should we blame victims? Empower hecklers with a veto? Would anyone call it trivial if a restaurant rewarded customers for being white with 20 percent off every Sunday brunch?

Ask those who have won landmark Supreme Court cases whether they were “popular” fights. FFRF and state/church complainants are not pursuing remedy of violations to be popular, or unpopular, for that matter. We are working to uphold essential principles of law that protect us all. Although constitutional law is not undertaken to gain social acceptance, history shows that standing up for one’s rights — as demonstrated by the civil rights and gay rights movements — is actually the surest path toward gaining social acceptance.

John Wolff deserves the support of all freethinkers and all Americans for standing up for civil rights: his, yours and everyone’s.


I think the takeaway here is in the second paragraph;
if the violations we’re complaining about are no big deal, why don’t these public officials and critics just agree to stop them?

This is where our common ground is to be found, DU'ers. I hope you will join me there.

A bit of perspective for the next time you think your religion is true.

How was the world created?

Particle Physics Gives Me A Hadron

Mormons quit church in mass resignation ceremony (Catholics, you need to pay attention here)

A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.

Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a "Declaration of Independence from Mormonism."


The church bills itself as the one "true" Christian faith, and its theology promises families eternal relationships among those who remain faithful, sealing those gifts through special religious rites.

Among the reasons cited by those resigning are the church's political activism against gay marriage and doctrinal teachings that conflict with scientific findings or are perceived as racist or sexist.


I would hope that liberal/progressive Catholics are able to see the parallels here. These people have not abandoned their faith, they have abandoned the patriarchal hierarchy that is holding them (and the rest of us) back. THIS is the change we need.

I'm trying Ringo. I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd.

But nothing short of accepting everything the religionists say will ever be good enough. Ever. And that makes me sad.

A genuine plea to come together by acknowledging where we have common ground while also recognizing the inherent problems that separate us is met with "fine, let's use the term anti-theist" as the alternative to the legitimate concern of applying an overreaching definition of "atheist" or non-believer.

Nothing will ever change because they don't want it to change. That is the only possible answer. They just won't admit it, to us OR to themselves.

So, What is Wrong with Liberal Religion?

It is obvious that I do think there is something wrong with liberal religion. And the problem with it cannot really be that it is destined to fade away, which is what Mark Lilla wrote in his book, The Stillborn God. Certainly I am in no position to criticize that. Hallowed Secularism, my position, does not even exist yet.

I think what bothers me about liberal religion—that is, people who don’t really believe in the supernatural claims of a religious tradition but who go on attending and practicing more or less as if nothing had changed—is that are blocking the future. Meacham apparently attends church and continuously translates what is being said there into some sort of acceptable alternative. Or, worse, he just lets it all wash over him as what he calls a mystery even though he does not accept what is being claimed. That is not a sustaining way of life. Religion must be a full, passionate commitment, including the viscera, as William Connolly puts it in Why I am Not a Secularist. Religion must include the nonrational elements of awe, wonder and worship. Religion must be something worth dying for. Some atheists would say that this is precisely why we should not have religion. Suicide bombers have something worth dying for. That is the problem.


I admit that I do not yet foresee this new way of life that replaces religion in a way that is humanly satisfying. But, liberal religion is not it and currently siphons off energy and intelligence that should be devoted to helping us find a way into the future. That is what is wrong with liberal religion.


I think the last paragraph sums up "the problem" quite nicely. Do you agree that liberal religion is not sustainable and is nothing more than a roadblock hindering the way into the future?
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