Bahai News -- Home News Tribune - American religious freedom includes right to disbelieve Letters to the Home News Tribune for 8.25.03

Published in the Home News Tribune 8/25/03

American religious freedom includes right to disbelieve

John J. Botti of Rahway wrote that he was upset that the Pledge of Allegiance, containing an oath "under god," was ruled unconstitutional. He also wrote: "Anyone who disbelieves the existence of God is an atheist and should move to an irreligious country."

I would like to point out that any government that has the power to demand an oath "under god" also has the power to demand an oath "without god."

Such power is tyrannical and evil. Better the American way of religion being a personal choice.

There are many Christian sects that do not permit the taking of oaths, notably Quakers, who would be condemned by Mr. Botti under force of law, to violate their religion, if he had his way.

He goes on to define "atheists" as anyone that does not believe in his god, and says that they should leave this great, secular nation.

Does this include followers of the Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Wiccan, Pagan, Bahai, or Native American faiths, who are lumped into his false definition of "atheist"?

If so, they should all be deeply insulted by his comment, as should atheists, who do not believe in any of these supernatural deities.

I much prefer our society, where everyone may practice any religion they choose, or refuse them all and choose rationality instead -- a society where all live in civil tolerance of each other, even those that disagree with each other.

May I suggest that if Mr. Botti is unable to live in a religiously tolerant nation, instead of wishing to impose his "Christian Taliban" on millions of unwilling victims, that he peacefully and voluntarily look for countries that already have state supported churches and move there?

Quite a few exist; we are even at war with some. I am sure he can find one that suits his particular needs.

I'll even pitch in for the ticket. One way, of course.

Tom Wright
OAKLAND
The writer is the Northern New Jersey regional director of American Atheists Inc.

©Copyright 2003, The Home News Tribune (Central New Jersey, USA)

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