Posted by: brian | December 5, 2008

Should atheists be allowed to express their ideas?

It seems that for most Christian groups, the answer is an unqualified “no.” Recently, a sign placed near a Christian nativity display in the Washington state Legislative Building was stolen and tossed in a ditch. The sign included a statement that “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens minds and enslaves hearts.” I think the people who put up the sign took the wrong tack, but they ought to have the same right to put up a display as those who put together the nativity scene. I don’t wholly agree with the sentiment that religion necessarily causes these things, but I know that it does contribute in many cases. I know plenty of religious people who are intelligent, open minded, and good.

But that’s not really the point. The point of the story is that a lot of religious organizations claim they are facing discrimination, and that those who disagree with them are attempting to suppress or eradicate religion and to persecute those of religious faith. A classic example of this mindset is presented by the noise over Prop 8 in California. People of faith express a sentiment along the lines of: “Liberals talk about tolerance and acceptance, but they don’t practice it. They are trying to oppress religion.” Apparently, tolerance and acceptance of religion means letting religious organizations impose their beliefs and rules on non-believers, and their tolerance and acceptance of us means they won’t hunt us down and beat us to death.



  1. “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” –Voltaire

    I find myself wondering what a nativity was doing in a government building in the first place. It reminds me of of the ten commandments in the courthouse brough-haha a few years ago. A little searching reveals that the ten commandments had to be removed.
    I wonder if the asshat that stole the sign is kicking himself now? If he had realized that everyone has the right to express their own opinion, then he wouldn’t have garnered the attention of an entire nation. Instead he’s got the police combing security tapes for him, and he’s made Christianity as a whole look even more dubious and petty.

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