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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Recovering Atheist

I read this story on the Blaze today:

Just as the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to tackle prayer at public meetings, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a church-state separatist group, filed a related lawsuit on Nov. 1 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court against the city of Pismo Beach, Calif. This atheist group is using the case to take aim at an unpaid city chaplain and the allegedly sectarian prayers he utters during city council meetings. 
“In virtually every city prayer, Jones pressures citizens and the council to live a Christian lifestyle in accordance with the bible, to vote for ‘righteous’ leaders and to make decisions that honor Jones’ particular god,” the press release proclaimed (read the legal complaint here). 
Dr. Sari Dworkin, a self-described “atheist Jew,” is a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation who brought her concerns to the organization and said that the Christian nature of the prayers made her feel “offended, disenfranchised, and intimidated.” 
While the atheist group is charging that egregious First Amendment violations have unfolded, Pismo Beach city attorney David Fleishman sees the situation a bit differently. He told The San Luis Obispo Tribune that cities are allowed to have chaplains so long as the religious leaders do not promote one religion. 
“To my recollection, Dr. Jones has been very good about that through the years,” said Fleishman.
I used to be pretty atheist in my youth. I still have misgivings about the whole thing. It isn't the philosophy that bothers me, I feel it's the best way to lead your life and create a free society. Judeo Christian ethic is what derived the idea that freedom is bestowed by God. I don't see what going to church and droning out the same chants every week does to enlighten a person. As a kid I was simply bored and never got much out of it. I finally took to atheism so I didn't have to get up on Sundays. A God who could see the beauty of a single proton to the enormity of the universe in the palm of his hand could really give a crap if I sat there in a pew saying "Amen" in my opinion. It's more important that I live my life properly and try to help others wherever I can.

That being said, I never looked down on anyone who choose that life. Indeed, there are times I think many people could use a little "churchin up." The other side of the coin is who was I associating with simply by identifying myself as an atheist? These jerk-offs who can't hear someone praying without curling up into a whiny ball whimpering about oppression? No thank-you.

I don't know the mysteries of the universe, but I do believe in the founding fathers and declaration of Independence. I can walk into my local courthouse and see a sculpture of the Ten Commandments on the wall and not feel like religion is being forced down my throat. If they won't give me a driver's license because I haven't taken Jesus into my heart, then I got a problem. But acknowledging religion is not the same as forcing it down your throat, no matter how anally obsessive you are about making sure you're offended.

Sure, religious people don't help themselves sometimes. But for the most part, I find more decency in the religious than the atheistic. They usually don't want the government to steal from me to give to others at least. Render unto Ceasar and all that.

So atheists, here's a little advice: lighten the fuck up. Starting by being a little more secure in your beliefs instead of acting like the zealots that you supposedly disdain. I'll pray for ya.

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