The True Fanatics

Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion

So now we have a Wisconsin-based athiest group demanding the removal of a decades-old war memorial in a distant city they never visit because they suspect the city can't afford to defend itself. 

Religious people are passionate, and passionate people hope to influence. But this group of athiests, like so many organized in this way, are zealots who not happy until they have converted others. Something of irony there, to say the least.

Through the millennia, non-believers were sometimes exiled, tortured, and killed. Not good.

Now, however, the religious also have to "pay." Towns are forced, with public tax money, to defend themselves against groups which simply have their own agenda to "convert" and deny. I found it laugable that the self-important student in Cranston's legal brief claimed she felt "ostracized" by passing the "heavenly Father" statement on the school wall. Thousands of others over decades, believers and non-believers, were able to get through each day without that burden, but not her. So everyone else has to pay.

Still another mornonic letter in the ProJo the other day demanded not only freedom of religion, but "freedom from religion." That writer is in for a long day, since people can express religious beliefs in the public square, in their clothing and accessories, in their free speech, and on the very currency the writer uses to pay for his coffee. There is no "freedom from religion" clause in the Constitution, so you'd better run when they sing "God Bless America" at the ballgame.

Pawtucket ought to find some private backing to defend itself against the inevitable lawsuit, and then should counter-sue. If a cross honoring people of all kinds who died defending our country so ignites resentment half a country away, then perhaps we ought to look at which behavior is really deviant: acknowledging the dead with an historic symbol or respect, or demanding removal of something you never have to look at.

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gladys_kravitz May 04, 2012 at 12:14 AM
The cross is offensive to some for many reasons -- the church's history with women is nearly barbaric, the church does not treat the poor and sick. (When has OLM given to this community? Never, that is when) The church turned their backs on the Jews in WW2, and they continue to turn their backs on the many children that have been abused by priests. I think you would find the cross offensive if your child were one of these unfortunate few. Several of our founding fathers were atheists, and religion has no place in government. It is true, we should have freedom from religion... "Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies." - Thomas Jefferson "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man." - Thomas Jefferson "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies." - Benjamin Franklin "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. - John Adams The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." - Abraham Lincoln
Norm Bulasch May 04, 2012 at 03:42 AM
While I imagine that the same Constitutional precedents are at issue, I think there is a difference between the Cranston student objecting to words and symbols in a school she must attend and a group in Wisconsin trying to dictate what a town in RI must do with a historical marker. The former seems reasonable; the latter seems petty.
Alan Weiss, PhD May 04, 2012 at 10:32 AM
Gladys, you're making up history to suit your biases. Factual examples: Christian charities were far more effective in Haiti than any government agency; Catholic Charities runs the finest and most respected of all adoption agencies; and OLM has a private school open to al faiths locally which alleviates public school crowding (and provides a better education). There is no evidence of several Founding Fathers being atheists. They were Christians who exercised beliefs in a variety of away, as we do today. Read their works: "We are endowed by the Creator...." I respect your position to not practice or agree with religion, but you can't rewrite history to suit your needs. Those are isolated quotes for which you can find the exact opposites written by the same men. Franklin is probably farthest from Christianity, but this country was founded on Judaic-Christian principles, whether you like that or not. Norm, you raise an interesting distinction, which I find reasonable. But I do find it hard to believe one student in thousands over decades found her education intolerable because of essentially four words on a wall. But, then again, this administration has "holiday trees."
Alan Weiss, PhD May 04, 2012 at 10:33 AM
By the way, Gladys, you can see, historically, that the US "turned its back" on Jews in WWII, as did most of the world.
GameMaker May 04, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Yeah, that's pretty much my take on it, Norm.
Carl I. Hoyer May 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM
And, let us not forget EG's own Wayside Cross, located at the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Middle Road. One Peter A. Marks to Middle Road in the mid 1980's and, after he lived here about a year, stated that he found the cross..."offenisve", avoiding driving past it because of his conviction that it made non-Christians feel unwelcome, complaining to the ACLU who asked that the cross be removed. The cross had been in place for 65 years, in memory of Dr. Charles Eldredge, a life long resident and country physician. Because of the prospective legal costs to the taxpayers and the family not wanting to make the matter a "cause celebre", the cross (and the beautiful flowers surrounding its base) was removed. Mr. Marks then moved out of town, perhaps to seek other targets? The Constitution says the CONGRESS shall not ESTABLISH a religion,etc., but it seems that things are getting out of control. Also, is the ACLU truly altruistic or, are they hoping to get court awarded fees ? 'nuff said !
Alan Weiss, PhD May 04, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Carl, The Constitution says the state shall not recognize or establish any one religion, it does not say that no religious expressions may exist in the public square. We're dealing with fanatics who are determined to have their agenda imposed on everyone. You might enjoy this episode of my video series shot here in East Greenwich: http://www.contrarianconsulting.com/they-claim-there-is-no-god-episode-7/
Lisa May 04, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Amen to that Alan!
Carl I. Hoyer May 04, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Alan I viewed your video; very interesting. Thanx!
gladys_kravitz May 04, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Alan, I will definitely check out the video you mentioned. I am not being disrespectful, but why do you say I am changing facts to suit my bias? And why do you think I am biased? I posted relatively well-known quotes from some of our founding fathers. How is that changing facts? Your statement regarding OLM alleviating the overcrowding in public schools is a stretch there, don't you think, Alan? The school is not altruistic. Lastly, I did not rewrite history to suit my needs. That statement is a bit outlandish. I just submitted some facts.
Judy Bailey May 05, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Carl, I always think of the Wayside Cross when reading of these later developments. By the way, the legendary Mr. Marks lived next to my daughter and son-in-law in Exeter after leaving E.G. He complained when they left a truck on their property overnight. It spoiled his "country view."Once a complainer always a complainer. He has since moved on to haunt another community. I'm glad to see R.I. residents have had enough of this misinterpretation of the Constitution.
Elizabeth McNamara (Editor) May 05, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Clearly it's time for EG Patch to rehash the Wayside Cross. I'll be contacting both of you next week!
Frederick Remington May 05, 2012 at 04:10 AM
I don't disagree with Alan Weiss, but WOW! He is so self-indulgent and self-congratulatory in his pronouncement, video and otherwise. Weakens all of his arguments when we ask 'for whose benefit is this...'
Alan Weiss, PhD May 05, 2012 at 09:25 AM
Frederick, you can't be afraid to stand out in a crowd. I've written 46 books to help other people grow and thrive. If that's "self-indulgent" in your view, so be it. But calling me names doesn't help and reveals a failure to debate on objective issued. So try growing up. Gladys, if you did some historical research you'd find out easily that there is no evidence or claim that "7 were atheists," as you claim. All were deists, some more religious than others, and they were secularists, meaning they believed church and state should be separated, as do I. Your quotes simply support that the country is to be run without a state church, but all of these men believed in God. Jefferson: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." (He was talking about slavery.) Lincoln's writing are replete with references to God. (See next comment, there's a limit here!)
Alan Weiss, PhD May 05, 2012 at 09:25 AM
As for OLM, I don't think you understand how government works (and why you believe a religious institution should contribute more to everyone is beyond me). If OLM students attended public schools, your tax rate would go up. The school budget is the largest element of the budget, and everyone trembles at the thought of massive "affordable housing" bringing in hundreds of students. Also, everyone paying tuition at OLM is ALSO paying taxes toward a public school budget which they don't even use. And as for the vaunted East Greenwich public schools, there isn't one in the top 100 in the country. Let's agree that there should be no state-sponsored church. But to attempt to erase all religious influence and presence from the public square is ludicrous, a tyranny of the minority.
gladys_kravitz May 05, 2012 at 10:26 AM
Alan, where did I say that "7 were atheists"?? Additionally, I never stated that I, "believe a religious institution should contribute more to everyone" - where did I say that? That is the fourth example of your misquoting and misrepresenting what I stated. It's difficult to debate with someone who changes the direction of conversation for his own behalf (in addition to being so condescending).
Alan Weiss, PhD May 05, 2012 at 01:07 PM
You're right, you didn't say "seven," you said "several," apologies, but there is no basis for that statement, either. My fault on misreading the word. You said, "When has OLM given to this community." What else did you mean by that? I'm not interested in debating you.You have an agenda, so there can't be a debate with someone with an agenda. (Jefferson was being sarcastic in that quote, by the way, by you take him literally.) In any case, be well and prosper.
ELM May 05, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Religious displays of any type simply do not belong on public property which is supported by taxpayers with many and varied belief systems. END OF STORY! (I frankly don't care how many books you wrote, Mr. Weiss! Talk about arrogance!)
Alan Weiss, PhD May 06, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Your flexibility is admirable, like the guy who demanded a cross be removed at an intersection and then moved away. It's called "tyranny of the minority." I assume you don't use our monetary system at all since the bills say "In God we trust," right?! But thanks for your understanding.
gladys_kravitz May 06, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Wow, this guy is like the gift that keeps on giving - arrogance & condescendation, that is. Your "46" books (about consulting, not about "enlightenment") do not entitle you to put down your neighbors and act in such a repulsive way. Patch, why is this guy blogging for you?
Connie Zack May 06, 2012 at 01:46 PM
No sir, it's called "freedom from religion" for those who don't share your religious beliefs.
Alan Weiss, PhD May 06, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Gladys, stop suffering so much. It's another little thing called "free speech." You aren't forced to read my work, just as you're not forced to look at a cross. So stop reading my stuff if it bothers you. Connie, there is no provision in the Constitution for "freedom from religion," and I find it amusing that people who are so threatened by religion in public can possibly stand to have someone say "God bless you" or use money with "In God we trust" written on it, or not shudder at hearing "God Bless America." Presidents take their oath on the Bible, Horrors! Don't they know they're in public!?
ELM May 06, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Did it ever occur to you that some people may believe in a different "God?" One that may not involve a cross? Those people want freedom from your religion in the public places that belong to all of us. Why is this so hard for some people to understand?
Alan Weiss, PhD May 06, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Yes, it occurs to me, and I agree! I think any religious symbolism in public places is fine, no matter whose it is. It doesn't offend me or ruin my day, and I don't see why it bothers others unless they are desperately looking for an argument. But I'm done here, the debate is tedious. Feel free to have the last word. But thanks for reading my blog! Have a nice day! And God bless....! (Every President says "God Bless America"!)
Spring Street May 06, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Christmas & Hanuka displays on EG Town Hall lawn every year. I'm happy, I believe Mr Isaacs and many of these religions are also. The Nativity ,The Birth of Christ . The Menora,The Feast Of Consecration. Many towns invite all religions to present one of their displays also. During the Holocaust the Jehovah Witness's were the 1st to help the Jews when no one else would. A ship of Jewish refugees came here & to Cuba and they were sent back to Germany ! If you ever speak to a theologian then you will be set back. Plus a historian. Sins our country and others have and are committing against many globally. Many came here for religious freedom. I see Crosses along the roadside even by the sidewalk of the EG Farmers convenience store in memory of those lost in accidents. Even the Supreme Court has God in Latin right above them in the courtroom. To believe or not to is one's Inalienable right. Therefore neither should object to the other. Hm May we not have civil wars over religion as in the East. Now please just remember we didn't get here by ourselves. I know some will say science others religion. It's a mystery . When we depart all the answers will be there. Just try to respect each others religion and if other Religious Symbols are requested to be erected that's fine too.


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