Your Comments: Atheism
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Second letter from Luna: Dear Andy and Berit, I would like to apologize for the e-mail I sent, about the pledge. It was a lie, and I feel horrible about it. I have an online friend (who I believe lives in Mississippi) who went through something similar, but in a Catholic school. The school had every right to take action. I lied, and it was wrong to do. I changed the person and the setting (which makes all the difference) and sent it, wanting to get something that would prove you were wrong. Instead, I proved you very right. I put into disrepute the fine public schools I go to and my parents, which is very poor payment for the work they’ve done raising and educating me. It was selfish, dishonest, careless and stupid of me to tell a fib, and I apologize from the bottom of my heart. Please, either take down the letter or post this one, so that readers know that I lied. Sincerely,
Dear Luna, we so appreciate your heart and your sensitive conscience. Thank you so much for telling us what happened. You are a very special person, and we love you.
From Luna: I read your comment on A. Miller's letter about atheism, stating that children are not forced to say the words "under god". As a thirteen year-old school girl in a public school, I can assure you that I am indeed forced to say those words.
Since becoming atheist two years ago, I have made a point of not saying "under god". One day, last school year (not long after September 11), I was talking to my teacher before class when the morning announcements for the pledge came on. He noticed that I didn't say "under god". When asked why, I said that I was atheist, and considered this country simply "indivisible".
By now, he was looking at me gravely, the class was assembled, and there were whispers and snickers at my atheism, as well as comments on how I was "in trouble". He told me to say the pledge properly (I hesitate to use that word, as I don't especially consider it proper) and I repeated it as I had said it before. My teacher grew angry, wrote me up a detention, and commanded again that I say it. I didn't want any more detentions, so I sullenly complied. When I went to the principal to complain, she told me that I ought to show more patriotism and that she was shocked at my "rude behavior and talking back" from a high-honor student with a clean record. I am forced to say "under god".
Another thing I would like to comment on is that you seem to assume that secular=atheist=anti-Christian=immoral. Secularism does not equate with atheism. I don't care if you put up a Christmas cross or something on town hall lands as long as I can put up a pagan yule display. I don't care if you stuff my mailbox with Christian pamphlets (well, its irritating, but I can throw it out) as long as I can stuff yours with atheist flyers.
However, I do care if you start making laws that inhibit my ability to be atheist. I care if I am forced to consider this nation under god. The majority (theists) cannot impose their beliefs on the minority (atheists) and vice-versa. A secular society is not anti-christian. Rather, it allows for you to fully express your beliefs without harming other's abilities to do the same. I can't make this a nation under evolution. You can't make this a nation under god. But we can coexist peacefully (if a little sullenly) in a nation indivisible.
Thank you, Luna, for showing us that you are compelled to conform, just as so many Christian children are forced to conform to today's multicultural practices and participate in pagan rituals. The pressure your faced is not Biblical. God doesn't force anyone to come to Him or follow Him. Neither should American schools. Our Bill of Rights grants freedom to be silent as well as freedom to express our beliefs.
From A. Miller: YOu have said time and time again that we in America are free to follow any religion we choose. This is not true of Athiests. Athiest school children are FORCED to use the "Under God" in the Pledge of Alligiance). (Note that the ORIGINAL Pledge did not have the words Under God. It was "One nation, indivisable. The "Under God" was added in 1954, what is wrong with going back to the traditional Pledge?)
Having the words "under God" in the Pledge is a sign of America's absolute intolerance for athiesm. Most
people including former President George Bush feel that Athiest should not be citizens of the United States. 7 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Lousianna still have laws that FORBID athiests from severing in public offices. What the words "Under God" in the pledge symbolize is that the United States does not accept athiesm and all athiests should either be deported, imprissoned or executed. I hope you post this letter.
The comment I posted about Jesse Ventura should tell you that some of your assertions are not true, Mr. Miller. I don't know the laws of the seven states you listed, but if they do forbid atheists from public office, those laws are not observed today. Atheists, pagans and others are free to express and pursue their beliefs, and no child has to say the words, "under God."
On the other hand, those old obsolete laws do remind us that the foundations of this great nation were Christian. The First Amendment was not intended to rule out expression of faith in public places. In fact, our founders continually expressed their faith in God. Yet, atheists, pagans and others are free to express their beliefs.
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