Freedom from Religion Strikes Again

If I were an atheist, I would be more than a little mortified by the antics of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. It seems that they are determined to make their fellow atheists hated pariahs where ever they are by offending as many believers as possible. Read about their latest efforts to eradicate any public mention religion in Todd Stearns’ Townhall column.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation blasted what it called the “open defiance” of a valedictorian who delivered The Lord’s Prayer during a high school graduation ceremony last Saturday in South Carolina.

Roy Costner, a senior at Liberty High School in Pickens, created national attention when he ripped up his pre-approved graduation speech and instead led the crowd in a recitation of The Lord’s Prayer.

A video of the speech was posted on YouTube and has since gone viral. It shows the 18-year-old setting aside his speech.

“I think most of you will understand when I say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven,” he said as the crowd began to cheer.

He concluded his remarks by pointing to the sky and saying, “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”

The school district had been in a battle over public prayers after the FFRF filed a complaint objecting to what they called an “unconstitutional prayer practice.”

They hold the school district responsible for Costner’s open act of defiance and what they called a string of problematic religious violations.

“The valedictorian who so insensitively inflicted Christian prayer on a captive audience at a secular graduation ceremony, is a product of a school district which itself set an unconstitutional example by hosting school board prayer,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a prepared statement.

I’m happy with what I did,” Costner said. “I want this to glorify God. I want to use this as a witnessing tool and I hope others will stand up for God in our nation.”

He got the idea to deliver the prayer about two weeks ago when he learned that he had been selected as the top academic student in the graduating class. He was summoned to the principal’s office.

“She informed us that we could not have anything about religion or talk about God or Allah or whoever we choose to worship,” he said. “And they had to approve the speech prior to me going onto stage.”

The prayer controversy had gripped the small South Carolina community for quite some time – and many locals took issue with a group from Wisconsin causing problems.

The valedictorian inflicted Christian prayer on a captive audience? What about the Freedom from Religion Foundation inserting themselves and their values into a town in South Carolina where they were not wanted? Judging from the fact that the audience cheered, I am not sure how many of them felt that the prayer was inflicted upon them. If there were any atheists in attendance, I think they would have preferred to let their minds wander for the minute or so it would have taken Costner to say the prayer, rather than make a fuss that would be completely unnecessary.

I think that the people who are running the FFRF need to read the constitution and especially the first amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

By prohibiting Costner from praying in public or talking about his religion in his speech, wasn’t the principal prohibiting the free exercise of his religion? By demanding and enforcing a state sponsored secularism, isn’t the FFRF insisting on establishing an official state religion, or at least an official state ideology? Who is being aggressive in forcing their beliefs and values on others? Who is being the bully here?

 

2013

With all of the news coming out about how the US government has been spying on its own citizens, maybe George Orwell should have titled his book 2013 and set it in America. We do seem to be steadily getting closer to the sort of country where Big Brother is watching us, for our own protection, of course. Just looking at the headlines at the Drudge Report, we have the NSA tapping into the user information of Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and others, the Post Office has been photographing mail, the NSA has been intercepting Americans phone calls and e-mail, and who knows what else. It is as if every idiotic conspiracy theory put forward by the tinfoil hat wearers is turning out to be true.

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Our Future?

Of course, it is easy to go overboard over all of this. So far, there has been no indication that the government is actually spying on innocent citizens, at least not yet. The programs that have been uncovered do have a legitimate purpose. By having computers sift through billions of pieces of information, intelligence specialists can uncover terrorist plots, sometimes before they are even planned. We like to think that we have free will and we decide our actions, and we do, but our decisions are predictable if you have enough information. Any one working in sales or marketing already knows this. What the government is doing is simply taking the sort of data collection that advertisers do a further step.

The question is though, do we really trust the government with so much information? Can we rely on the people in our government to work for our protection and not use this information for partisan advantage? As the revelations about the IRS’s selective enforcement of the laws against the TEA Party might suggest, perhaps we should not trust them.

Meanwhile, It wouldn’t hurt to remind everyone that what you do on the Internet is never really private. Take it for granted that anything you post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or send in an e-mail can become public knowledge. Oh, and not to be paranoid,  but you may want to cover up that webcam that came with your laptop. They could be watching you.

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