OK, I’m going to get this out of the way EARLY in the New Year. The year’s not a full two days old and I’ve heard two heated arguments involving this country’s relationship to religion. It’ll not stop until the Sun swallows the planet Earth. And while mileages vary on the subject, here’s my take. Let’s start with some questions.
How does a high school principal get away with forbidding a history teacher from teaching the Declaration of Independence because it contains the term “God”? (Actually, it doesn’t, but click here anyway.) Why would anyone with a 3-digit IQ petition the United States Supreme Court to have the phrase “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag? Why would someone else attempt to have the term “in God we trust” removed from the currency of the United States?
And, before I move on, here are a few more questions. Why do some people feel duty-bound to require public schools to include a morning prayer? What is the basis for the attempts to require public schools to include Creationism or Intelligent Design along side of Evolution in science curricula? Why do certain people feel compelled to pass a Constitutional Amendment to protect the “sanctity” of marriage?
I’m daring to generalize here; so, bear with me. Most of us are quite capable of separating matters of faith from those of scientific theory. But, a couple of small vocal groups—rabid believers and rabid non-believers—are not. And, when these two groups get to arguing about things, the river of STUPIDITY overflows the shore of reason.
It begins when both groups find themselves with an excess of time on their hands. Instead of cutting the grass, raking tons of leaves, shoveling snow, washing the car, or the tons of chores the rest of us do, they begin to “think” too much. And, before they realize it, an overwhelming urge to intellectualize simplicity—technical name: mental masturbation—has taken hold.
In my opinion, matters of religious faith are beyond the boundaries of rationalism. They warrant neither defense nor criticism. In other words, NO ONE really KNOWS; so believe or disbelieve, but be quiet about it. And, all but these two small vocal groups DO behave reasonably. It’s just that both of these groups are a lot louder about what they believe and disbelieve than the rest of us are.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits Congress from establishing an OFFICIAL state religion AND from prohibiting any of us from exercising whichever ones we like. This does not suggest to me, as it does to some, that we cannot use the name “God” in conjunction with State entities. It does not mean, in my opinion, that the State must sever itself from ALL things religious.
In other words, the State is free to permit Christians to place a Christmas Manger scene in the Town Square as long as it does NOT prohibit any other IRS-sanctioned religious group from doing likewise at appropriate times.
Nor, does the First Amendment prohibit pubic schoolchildren from saying a Christian prayer to start their day as long as they don’t exclude children of other religions from doing likewise. However, this could take most of the school day, which would be unacceptable.
So a moment of silence—with the emphasis on SILENCE—would have to suffice. And, if this isn’t enough time, the ultimate solution is to do the praying at home before leaving for school each morning.
Unfortunately, though, some people search for ways to take offense at things, even if they have to make something up. And, too many public officials are gutless when it comes to direct confrontation. They’re too quick to eliminate desired and harmless activities because a few idiots disapprove. And, like it or not, these include members of the United States Supreme Court.
Political Correctness is a direct result of attempting to be all things to all people and it could be the downfall of this country. So, ALL of us have a vested interest in getting over ourselves!
Also, like it or not, God’s in the Pledge of Allegiance. But, I’m old enough to remember pledging allegiance to our flag BEFORE Congress added the phrase “under God.” And, as I recall, I was pledging my allegiance to the United States of America and its FLAG. It was about loyalty and had nothing to do with God.
However, I don’t think putting God into it made the pledge any more valid. But, neither did it diminish its significance.
Believe all you want to that God grants us the freedoms we enjoy. But, what about many other countries that also believe in God yet enjoy few, if any, personal freedoms. Where’s God on their behalf?
Maybe God DOES grant our freedoms; I don’t know for sure. But, I do know that about two and a half centuries ago, our forefathers had the audacity TAKE the freedoms we enjoy today by kicking King George’s backside all the way back to England. And, we’ve been both WILLING and ABLE to take the steps to keep them ever since, even fighting to the death if necessary.
God notwithstanding, I believe THIS is why we’re free. And, if we ever lose EITHER, our ability or our willingness to use it, those freedoms will be gone and it will be interesting to observe if God does anything about it.
Many people use the terms “fact” and “theory” as though they are identical. They are not. Facts are things that, by observation, we can prove happened. Theories attempt to explain WHY they happen. But once a theory fails to explain critical facts, it becomes “unreliable” and ultimately denounced by the scientific community. So, you see, a scientific theory NEVER becomes a fact!
That there’s a God is NOT a fact. It can’t even qualify as a scientific theory because there’s no way to establish a falsifiable hypothesis to test it. It’s a matter of FAITH: it may be true but we don’t know that it is.
But, in FACT, Geology shows that fossils are from different ages. And, in FACT, Paleontology shows a fossil sequence of species representing changes over time. And, in FACT, Taxonomy shows the biological relationships of those species. And, so far, Evolution is the best explanation for how it all works.
Mind you, Evolution is by no means a foregone conclusion; but it’s the most robust, hypotheses-tested theory we have so far. And squeezing your eyes tightly shut and wailing, “IS NOT,” changes absolutely NOTHING!
We need to move beyond these mindless hissy fits. Since the dawn of modern humans’ recorded history, we’ve waged religious wars we can’t win. It’s amounted to nothing more than the killing of people over who has the best imaginary friend.
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.