Now Is Not The Time For Atheists To Back Down

Why We Need To Kick It Up A Notch...

The American Atheists, Inc. lawsuit regarding the 17-foot-tall Christian Cross Memorial has generated a lot of buzz about the method that some of us use to advance our cause. There are those who are adamant that we should be non-aggressive, respectful and tolerant of those who hold religious beliefs and that we should not be outspoken. However, there are those of us who just cannot adopt the “live and let live” philosophy, because the favor is not returned. While there is a place in our cause for diplomacy in certain situations, it is painfully obvious that in most areas diplomacy has miserably failed. Diplomacy only works when both sides are willing to compromise. While some may choose to remain silent or non-confrontational, there are a growing number of us who have decided that the time has come to no longer sit back and let the theocrats run the show.

The growing problem of the steady inclusion of church and state in the United States needs to be addressed with more urgency than many Atheists are affording it because the problem is increasing at very disturbing levels. As Atheists, we already face an uphill battle for acceptance in the court of public opinion because nearly every singe time we protest one of these violations, we end up, for lack of a better word, crucified. Unfortunately, there is no real way to avoid that.

Not only do individual Atheists have to deal with unavoidable negative publicity, but those groups that serve as our advocates, such as American Atheists, Inc., Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, Freedom from Religion Foundation and several others are also offered up for the same treatment.

Willful ignorance abounds about the religious beliefs of many of our founding fathers, and the erroneous conception that the US was founded as a Christian nation. This is more than just an inconvenience. It is causing blatant violations to the First Amendment rights of not only Atheists, but to anyone else who is not Christian. This country is systematically being converted into the exact opposite of what the authors of our Constitution intended it to be.

Our freedoms are being steadily stripped away and our precious constitution is being beaten, strangled and left bleeding to death. In order to stem the tide that is destroying the United States as a secular nation, along with our precious First Amendment rights and protections, we must continue our concerted and organized efforts.

We cannot afford to go quietly into that good night. We cannot afford to be silent and watch our rights to freedom continually eroded. We cannot afford to do little or nothing about the fact that we remain the least trusted group of people in America. We need to stand, be counted and continue to raise our voices in unified reason and not go away until every American citizen realizes that we are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, aunts and uncles. We are politicians, doctors, lawyers, managers, employees, politicians, friends and neighbors. We need to stay in the public eye and keep in the forefront of the minds of America that we are no longer willing to put up with the abrogation of our Constitutional rights.

Al Stefanelli is the Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc., and is also the author of “A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World – The Rise Of Atheism On Planet earth.” He also writes for the National Atheism Examiner

Views: 52

Comment by Meghan McWilliams on August 5, 2011 at 6:43pm

YAY! You added this to TA!! I couldn't agree more with you.

Comment by Al Stefanelli on August 5, 2011 at 7:00pm

Thanks, Meghan!  I try to add my blogs here and I totally forgot with ensuing mass of crap on the American Atheists, Inc. page.  I opened my email and saw your comment to me, reminding me that I needed to get this on here, so thank YOU!  Glad you liked it!

Comment by Rick on August 5, 2011 at 7:43pm

Well, then let's form a PAC... ooh, better yet a Super PAC and let's fund some folks to support our interests.

Comment by Albert Bakker on August 6, 2011 at 7:21am

This isn't really any of my business at all and I have difficulties to always understand the American politico-cultural sensitivities, but from the distance I look at it, I don't understand why this really is an issue at all.

As I understand it, it's about some steel girders in the shape of a cross, that is about to be put on display in the 911 Museum. The cross shaped steel remnants of a building are part of the history of the 911 attacks however which way you go about it and that fact alone would make it an appropriate artifact to be put on display in a museum. It's inappropriate that the cross-shaped piece of rubble in itself it should be treated like an idol and venerated as such, cheapen and falsify the history to an extent in the process, but I fear alas that's unavoidable.

That lawsuit seems to me wrongheaded and demands of removal or "equal representation" seem to me - again, not my business - just outright ridiculous. How when this artifact isn't put on display, this would save freedom in the US and the American Constitution defies my imagination. (Is it me or is it that if you just invoke those words you're always safe with Americans whatever you're arguing for or against?)

Comment by Rick on August 6, 2011 at 9:58am

 Albert: I read the post to go well beyond this 911 “cross” controversy. Frankly, that’s the only way I’m able to agree with it. The cross is indeed just an arbitrary hunk of metal that is perfectly suited to serve as a piece of history for the museum. The Christians want to jump on it and give it some religious meaning that it doesn’t have and the atheists only help to reinforce this notion by also recognizing it as a religious symbol they want removed. In this instance, the atheists are no better than the Christians. To me, this is no different than the people who made the pilgrimage to see a piece of toast thought to have jesus’ face on it. If stupid people want to worship stupid shit, I say let them. In the end it’s just a piece of toast and just a failed support structure.

And, yes… Americans like to arbitrarily invoke the constitution. I always find it amazing that outsiders perceptions of America and its politics are usually spot-on and often better informed than American’s.


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