It's that time of year again: the time for candy canes, gift giving, and holiday classics running non-stop on the television. It's the time for bright blinking lights and egg nog with a 'special ingredient.' Can you guess the season? That's right. The annual assault on religion by atheists is in full swing.
Folks like the 'Freedom From Religion Foundation', based out of Madison, WI., are especially sensitive to displays of religion in the public square, but it would be a mistake to see that as the real issue. Ultimately, anything that any Christian ever does in public, spurred on by their beliefs and values, is the target.
The best, most current example of this is Obama's insistence that religious organizations have to subsidize behavior they find immoral. The first amendment says that Congress shall make no law respecting religion or prohibiting its free expression, but to hear Obama tell it, this translates into a mere 'freedom of worship.'
The argument, in short, is that you can do whatever you want within your church walls for an hour, once a week--but there it must stay. It is exactly the same argument that the FFRF is making. With stories of the baby Jesus being replaced in nativity scenes by Frosty the Snowman, it would seem that the argument continues to gain traction.
But is it really an argument that they want to win? As is often the case, the merit of the argument extends just so far as it support one's own viewpoint and ends when applied to others. Just what makes something a 'religious' argument? For example, communism was violently implemented by hordes of atheists. When one presses atheists on this point today, they often say, "Oh, well, it turns out that communism was just a religion, so that explains it all."
This, then is the modern definition of 'religion': 'whatever is bad, and whatever has fallen out of favor.' Surely we can see how that could boomerang back on today's secular humanists. In point of fact, American courts have decided already that atheism is a religion--for purposes of the first amendment. When this country was founded, a state church was fiercely opposed. From that it is clear that when they sought to protect religion (and free speech) they really meant to protect free thought.
The point is important. To my knowledge, there are no plans to set up FFRF chapters in Tehran or Kabul. They would, of course, be welcomed in North Korea (to their credit, the FFRF would likely decline that invitation). Just as pacifists can only exist within a country where warriors watch the borders, atheists can thrive only where religious expression is vigilantly preserved. But America's freedom was not secured by just any religionist. The same people who brought us Christmas, brought us Independence Day.
Every Christmas, we find the atheists chipping away at the very thing that makes their efforts possible. I dare them to try the same thing in Cairo.
For a more thorough thrashing of the New Atheist's annual, childish, ranting, visit my blog.