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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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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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