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Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State
Secularizing Christianity: The Struggle Against Theocratization
Any attempt to secularize Christianity must be fought against with every asset we have available. American Atheists has received a lot of static from some of our fellow atheists for going after the Utah State Trooper crosses and the 9/11 Memorial-Museum cross, but these lawsuits are absolutely vital. It is important that we fight the secularization of the cross, bible, etc. When we allow these things to become secular then we are complicit in the theocratization (if it wasn’t a word before, it is now!) of the United States.
A recent example of the secularization of Christianity came to light in Sussex County, Delaware. The local County Council begins every session with the Lord’s Prayer. Our friends over at Americans United have asked the County Council to cease and desist violating the federal and Delaware constitutions.
What was the Council’s reply? The Council argued that the Lord’s Prayer is not exclusively Christian and that its themes are universal and therefore it’s recitation by a government entity is legal. One of the County’s attorneys said that the Lord’s Prayer was “as generic and universal as can be crafted.”
First, it’s time for Sussex County to get a new lawyer who actually knows the law and can give the county sound legal advice. After all, this same lawyer told the County that Marsh v. Chambers allowed them to say the Lord’s Prayer. Counsel is wrong on two counts.
Second, how can the Lord’s Prayer even possibly be generic or “not exclusively Christian?” The Lord’s Prayer is a central part of the Christian religion and it comes directly from the New Testament... you know... the second part of the book that Christians use and no one else does. Oh yeah... it appears twice in the Bible just for good measure (Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4). Of course like everything else in the Bible, the two times it appears contradict each other... but that’s another issue altogether.
The Lord’s Prayer is emphatically and exclusively Christian. The only reason to secularize it and make it “generic” is to continue to push theocracy. If you can convince the courts that an integral part of your religion is generic or secular then you have won the right to Christianize the country with the support of the judicial branch.
If the theocrats win at secularizing memorial crosses then how long will it be before schools erect “secular memorial crosses” for teachers who have died? How long before government offices erect “secular memorial crosses” for government employees who have died?
If the theocrats win at secularizing the Lord’s Prayer then how long before every government meeting begins with the newfound secular and generic prayer?
Fight the secularization of Christianity with every legal method you can. We know some of our fellow atheists think we are mean for going after memorials, but we are not going after the memorial: we are going after the secularization of the Christian cross. Americans United is not going after people’s right to pray: they are going after the secularization of an exclusively Christian prayer by government.
Read the article about the Sussex County prayers.
by Blair Scott