Monday, September 1, 2008

Freedom FROM Religion? OK, or Not.

On the site of the Columbia Tribune, there is a short article called "Atheists, agnostics launch sign campaign." In it we hear about a group called "The Freedom From Religion Foundation" [boldface mine] is paying for billboards that say "Imagine No Religion." The discussion of the article is whether this is appropriate.

Nowhere in the Constitution are we guaranteed that we will not be offended by the ideas of others. One quote in the article worries that those who believe in God will be offended by the signs. This works both ways. Some groups are offended by the very mention of God in public, others are offended by signs such as this. It's all part of life.

What caught my attention in the article is the claimed goal of this "group of atheists and agnostics promotes free thought and the separation of church and state." They are barking up the wrong tree on the latter point. We have separation of church and state exactly as the Founders intended: the Federal government has not designated on Christian religion in preference to all others. Nor have they chosen one of any kind of religion.

It is a common mis-use of the First Amendment to use the metaphor "separation of church and state" to attempt to break down any mention of religion or God in the public square. This group, Freedom from Religion Foundation, is indeed free from religion if that is what they want. The Federal government is not forcing them to worship nor giving them and disadvantage if choose not to be worshipful.

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