Not Happy With the Atheist Signs? Blame the Christians December 9, 2008

Not Happy With the Atheist Signs? Blame the Christians

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been taking a lot of criticism recently for placing their pro-atheism signs next to Nativity scenes on public property.

Bill O’Reilly is leading the charge.

Sandhya Bathija of Americans United for Separation of Church and State makes an important point, though:

The irony is that O’Reilly’s fury really should be directed at none other than the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) — a Religious Right legal group that O’Reilly supports in ideology.

The ADF brought a lawsuit against the state last year on behalf of a man who wanted to display a Nativity scene in the state capitol rotunda. The suit alleged that since a menorah and a “holiday tree” were displayed, officials cannot discriminate against a depiction of the birth of Jesus.

The case was settled with an agreement that the Nativity scene would be displayed and that the state would broaden its policy on religious displays.

The ADF was ecstatic over the settlement, so it seems rather funny that this year, when an atheist group wanted to display its own sign, that suddenly O’Reilly wants to point his finger at the governor, not his allies who started this mess.

So if you’re not happy with the atheist signs, don’t blame FFRF.

Blame the Religious Right.

In fact, I’m sure they would appreciate your words of gratitude.

It’s not that often a Christian Right group paves the way for atheist signs to be displayed at state Capitols.

Thanks, ADF!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • As an atheist, I didn’t appreicate the wording of the sign and therefore I can’t support it. I think it brings us down to their level. On the other hand, I get why it has to be done. SO while I don’t support this particular FFRF action, I do support their activities on the whole. I’ve written about it already. He has a good point, that the Atheists didn’t start it, but we did join in, so we really aren’t on any higher moral grounds. There were better ways to do this.

  • Ha ha ha, nice one. Talk about an own goal.

  • Carlos

    Funny thing (sad, really) about it is that, even as they insist on freedom of religion and religious expression, it is only their own freedom to their own religion they are interested in and of which they are even aware.

    It’s the converse of the concept Thomas Jefferson elucidated some 200 years ago: “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.”

    I live in Washington, and I think the more basic issue here is that no displays with overt or explicit religious associations should be allowed in the state capitol or any public property at all. That said, however, I am proud of the position Governer Gregoire has taken; that if the state is going to allow for religious displays in the capitol building, the state will not discriminate against nonbelievers, or anyone else for that matter.

  • Richard Wade

    I’m glad the atheist sign is there, I just wish it was an eloquent statement about keeping religion out of government rather than a deliberately inflammatory statement basically saying “Religion sucks.” Can’t “blame” the choice of words on anyone but Dan Barker. I agree with what the sign says, but:

    If you want people to see your point of view, don’t start by poking them in the eye.

  • Well this certainly makes the story much more interesting. Hahaha.

    I wish it was just a secular holiday greeting, like the “Be Good for Goodness Sake” bus signs, participating in the holiday celebration. Dan Barker is a big fat Scrooge.

  • I’m not sure what I was expecting when I subscribed to this site. Maybe intelligent discourse? Or, as the name suggests, a friendly approach and chance for discussion?

    Either way I have been let down. All I see in my feed lately are insults and poorly worded critiques – unless you like preaching to the (atheistic, thus figurative) choir. So I acknowledge that I, as a rational, free-thinking Christian, am quite obviously not the target for this blog. I’ve unsubscribed, but not without some sadness.

    It seems there really is not much room for common discourse nor many that really seek truth at the expense of all else, on either side. *sigh*

    For what it’s worth, I don’t have any problem with the principle of an Atheist sign at the display either. I think it was a poor use of the opportunity from a pure marketting standpoint (and obviously poor taste), but since I’m not an atheist that doesn’t bother me at all. 🙂

  • I sent them a thank-you note. Thanks for the link, Hermant!

  • Miko

    Actually, this kind of cross goes on more often than you’d think (at first glance), and in both directions. Probably the best example is the war on evolution being ramped up due to controversy over school vouchers for religious schools. As long as we’re intent on using government as a club (in the “big stick” sense of the word, although it’s certainly an exclusive social group as well), we shouldn’t be surprised that all sides want their equal chance to bash each others’ brains in.

  • Bruce Critelli

    I sent them a nice note.
    Don’t forget to wish them a happy holiday season!

  • Jesse

    No, If you’re not happy about the sign then blame the people responsible for creating it. It’s message is insulting and obnoxious to religious people, rather than something like Richard suggested in his previous comment. I wish that they hadn’t displayed the stupid sign at all – it can only make atheist public image worse.

  • Jamie G.

    About FFRF’s sign, I don’t think that they should have put it up. And I don’t think there should be a nativity scene next to it. In fact, all the displays need to be kept out, period. I’m all for our public buildings having a sterile feel and look to them. Post the Declaration of Independence on the wall. Put up portraits of Presidents (Buddha knows most American’s have no idea who the 23rd, 32nd, or 6th President was). It’s a State House, so decorate it with State-y things, but leave all the religious BS out, and back at the church house on private property.

  • Joe

    Some of you seem almost willfully ignorant of the actual issue: it has nothing to do with the sign’s atheistic nature, but with its (obviously successful) attempt to deride, belittle and offend. If you love the sign’s nasty message, or think that there should be no signs at all, or that the offended citizenry are necessary casualties in the battle for secularism, that’s fine, though I obviously disagree. But the red herring of “theists oppose atheist signs”, the dishonest framing of the issue, should be removed from the ideological rhetoric of any honest and intelligent person. Although it’s a handy way to fluff up an ideological hard-on, it’s also ideologically syphilitic.

    But who doesn’t love a good lay?

    And though I know that indiscriminately insulting Bill O’Reilly is a time-tested way to elicit Pavlovian Progressive applause and hand-jobs, I feel compelled to point out that this is the same basis on which O’Reilly objects–he has no problem with a non-antagonistic atheist display. He was also cool with the “Goodness’ Sake” bus ad.

    There are, of course, many reactionary, vehement, ideologically-driven theists who oppose any atheistic display, and they are missing the point, too. But there’s no need to join them. There are secular theists who oppose any signs, and everone-gets-a-sign theists as well. A lot of them. Even if only a quarter of U.S. theists approve of allowing an atheist display, that’s over 60 million people who got a big, undeserved FUCK YOU.

    The poem on the back of the plaque presents us with the Solstice gift of Perfect Irony:

    So many Gods, so many creeds,
    So many paths that wind and wind,
    When just the art of being kind
    Is all this sad world needs.

    Someone else must have put it there when Dan wasn’t looking.

  • paulalovescats

    Deride, belittle, and offend. I see nothing that does that. It’s stern and a little preachy, (haha) but it’s simply stating we need to grow up and stop believing in an old man with a beard.
    Also Santa.
    (45 years a theist, now atheist.)

  • paulalovescats

    That’s why it’s there. Fair play. I will be cool with the sign gone if everything’s gone. Why single out the sign?

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