Live and let live

Why does it bug atheists when others choose to have faith?


I’m scratching my head about that once again, in light of the current kafuffle at the Washington State Capitol Building. Governor Christine Gregoire approved a sign next to Christian and Jewish holiday displays, which states that faith in God “hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”


Wow. Merry Christmas.


I’m not sure if Gregoire should be expecting much in her stocking after this clunker of a decision. Because any pre-school teacher could have called this one better than she did: 


Teacher:  Kids, I want you to draw a picture showing what the holiday season means to you.


Johnny:  I will draw a manger.

Teacher: Good Johnny.

Sarah: I will draw a menorah

Teacher: Very nice, Sarah.

Ronny: I will write that Johnny and Sarah and big dummies. 

Teacher: No Ronny, it’s not nice to call people names. 


Gregoire claims she had to allow the sign, because, as we all know, nasty insults are protected speech under the First Amendment. In that case, I’m going to make a sign that states, “The lottery is a tax on the stupid.” She better display it or I’ll sue. 


But that still doesn’t get me any closer to understanding why the faith of some seems to threaten those with none. Because those shrill and hysterical lies, now displayed so prominently in Washington’s seat of government, reveal bald hatred and fury from the source. And I just can’t figure it out.


Hard hearted? Those with faith? Really? Those who courageously stood up against widow burning, slavery, and cannibalism? Those who founded orphanages, hospitals, and humanitarian organizations all over the world?


What about Abraham Lincoln, who said the following shortly before he was murdered for ending slavery in the United States: “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsmen’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago still it must be said, ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”


Those words from the 2nd Inaugural send chills up my spine every time I read them. Yet, visitors and workers at the Washington State Capitol will be told this Christmas Season that they sprang from a “hardened heart.”


And what about those “enslaved minds?” Johannes Kepler, who after mathematically explaining the orbit of the planets around the sun talked of being “enraptured” by the work of God’s hands?


Or Galileo who said the “glory and greatness of the Almighty are marvelously displayed in all of his works?” 


Or those who founded Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, and scores of other educational institutions – and increased the literacy rate in geometric proportions all over the earth?


Incredibly, this Christmas Season, visitors and workers at the Washington State Capitol will be told that they were all laboring under “enslaved minds.”


I respectfully disagree.

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