First Freedom First: Worship…or Not.

“Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of the earth, more than half of our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue.”

“Speaking to a small group of supporters in 1999, Bush reportedly said, ‘I believe God wants me to be president.’ Believing that God has delivered you unto the presidency really seems to entail the belief that you cannot make any catastrophic mistakes while in office.”- Sam Harris

“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia. (All the Jefferson quotes at that link highly recommended.)

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Freedom of Religion has allowed Christianity to flourish in this country. It’s sad that a small group of zealots think that is not enough, that if the government and public sphere does not “acknowledge” God in a prescribed way, something’s wrong.

And again with the science thing: Christians around the world, and particularly in this country, need to learn the definition of one simple word:

ALLEGORY.

The idea that a story written by ancient people featuring a talking snake means that God himself requires us to LIE about the age of say, The Grand Canyon, is so pathetic as to make our religion a public laughingstock.

The focus on “worship…or not” at the First Freedom First website has to do with NOT the public display of religiousity by elected officials. Believe me, Sam Harris and company will have to hold their noses when Obama gives his acceptance speech in Denver two summers from now. But there is too much pressure from inside the political power structure itself to make everyone join the theist party.

As Garry Wills, a devout Christian (though because he’s Catholic some Jesus lovers probably think he’s headed for hell) has pointed out in his book, “What Jesus Meant,” Jesus did not trust the political world to further his mission for him. In a wonderful NYT op-ed (and yes, it’s worth reading the whole thing, several times) Wills says,

It was blasphemous to say, as the deputy under secretary of defense, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, repeatedly did, that God made George Bush president in 2000, when a majority of Americans did not vote for him. It would not remove the blasphemy for Democrats to imply that God wants Bush not to be president. Jesus should not be recruited as a campaign aide. To trivialize the mystery of Jesus is not to serve the Gospels.

The flip side of this coin comes from First Freedom First:

Our private choice to worship, or not, must be protected when we go to work and to school and when we participate in our communities. It is never up to politicians or public officials to coerce us into supporting religious expressions in which we do not believe.

[Flying Spaghetti Monster adherents are also welcome to chime in at BG.]

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