Here’s a very interesting point of view on the Anti First Amendment Movement. This is just the kind of blog entry I love to read, because it gets my brain cells working.
I think there is a kernel of truth in this article, but I think it goes sideways at some point, probably near the beginning.
No God, no truth? I call bullshit.
To say that if life has no meaning, that you would be crazy not to put yourself first, is actually correct and I agree with the logic. But, I disagree with the premise. I don’t agree that without a God there is no meaning to life.
Mr. Flanagan states that he can’t tell us how many atheists have tried to assure him that even though the absence of God means there is no absolute truth, it doesn’t mean there are no truths. First, why can’t he tell us? I think it is because there weren’t any who told him that. I think he is setting up a straw man here. But I rise to the bait anyway. I don’t believe that an absence of God means there is no absolute truth. I believe there is absolute truth anyway. Again, because I disagree with his straw man and the premise, there isn’t any point in debating the resulting logical construct that he creates from that premise. Later on, we learn about secularists and how they are all trying to take over the country. I would like a definition of a secularist, but I’ll assume a secularist is an atheist who wants to freeze out any opinion he or she disagrees with. Keep in mind that with this definition, not all atheists are secularists.
So next, Mr. Flanagan is worried about a couple of things, and rightly so. His thoughts on the Soviet Union are spot on, but are like one sect of atheism, like a sect of Christianity that you can repudiate just like you can repudiate the Jonestown mass suicide as an expression of Christianity. They were atheists and did advocate secularism, but their brand of it is not my brand and I think their brand was wrong. I don’t want to set this up in our country, so I can’t agree with his conclusions again. I don’t want to tell anyone how, where or when they can worship.
His second worry is that secularists (assuming the above definition) have a zeal for saving Christians from their ignorant superstitions. Maybe. I have no inclination to save anyone from what they choose to believe. I will agree that some secularists probably want this, and that some probably want to compromise the First Amendment. I won’t agree that they all do.
Mr. Flanagan goes on to state that secular government on a large scale is shown in such states as Soviet Russia, Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, and even Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Perhaps, but what about states with overwhelming religious values: The Taliban in Afghanistan? The Spanish Inquisition? The Pogroms of Russia under the Christian Tsar? Salem, Massachusetts and their witch trials? I similarly have a lack of faith in religious beliefs when it comes to views of our common worth. I don’t think the problem is the point of view that dominates, it is the lack of respect for the rights of individuals which leads to using force against people who don’t agree with the prevailing belief.
At the end of his article, Mr. Flanagan makes some points I wholeheartedly agree with. I too would rather live in a society of many beliefs. He makes the point that Secularists don’t have the right to tell him where to pray, praise God, or study the Bible. I couldn’t agree with him more. But neither should the Christians have the right to tell me any of this.
I think the bottom line is respect for the rights of the individual. When you start infringing on those rights for whatever reason, the safety of the children, homeland security, to protect them from themselves, then your society goes sideways. You have the foot in the door to impose whatever you want after you start.