"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." ~ Alan Bullock
Separation of Me and State
Exclusive to STR
I listened to Dr. Laura every once in a while years ago, back when I was proudly religious and conservative. She was, and I assume still is, unabashedly conservative. She took a lot of abuse for it, but she stuck with it. (Of course, it did make her a millionaire.) One time when I was listening, a man called in to tell her that a young woman he knew had just had an abortion. What should he tell his children? Dr. Laura, in her typical fashion, practically cut him off: "You are not to gossip." I was a little surprised to hear this response, but after a while it made sense. Speaking ill of others and their private behavior is indeed gossip. This advice came from a woman who is staunchly pro-life. That's a pretty impressive and mature way to handle such a dilemma. The simple truth was, the man was asking the wrong question. It is Dr. Laura's approach that I would like to take here, with these Frequently Asked Questions from the website for Freedom From Religion Foundation, although it could be argued that my approach will be slightly less mature. I may agree with many of their findings as an ex-believer, but their responses to many FAQs leave much for a peaceful anarchist to desire. Feel free to peruse their replies, and see how they stack up against my Dr. Laura-esque answers below.
Christmas Displays on Public Property Are Christmas displays a violation of the First Amendment?
The whole thing is a bit silly if you ask me. The idea that such a scene should be that offensive to anyone is patently ridiculous. Who doesn't love a Nativity scene? What is not silly, but deeply concerning to me, is that your question does not address the real dilemma: Why does the government forcefully take property, declare it "public," and then forbid or favor the free exercise of any individual's or group's religious beliefs on that property? Am I free to mention the word "Christmas" when I visit the Grand Canyon , which is also "public" property?
Prayers at Government Meetings Is an Establishment Clause violation occurring at government meetings?
See the first sentence above. If I feel like praying, I can do it wherever I want on "public" property, since they can't deny me the free exercise thereof. You don't have to listen, participate, or wait for my prayer to finish. If the majority of people in the room, built with stolen money, wish to participate with me, you're going to look awfully foolish if you don't at least sit quietly and wait for my supplications to finish. Almost as foolish as I will look praying to a deity whose existence I now seriously question. In fact, your petty concern here is tempting me to do it just to spite you. Furthermore, you are once again asking the wrong question: What right does this government have to exist and steal money to build buildings, let alone condone one man's prayer over anyone else's?
Court-Ordered Participation in A.A. Can a court, prison, or probation officer sentence me to attend A.A., which is a religious program?
As far as I understand A.A., the only thing overtly religious about it is that it admits or encourages belief in a "higher power." If you're this afraid of religion, then I would rather not have someone like you lobbying government. It's as offensive to me as when I see a member of the religious right demanding the exact opposite from the same bloody, violent, lying, thieving institution. I disagree with A.A. for different reasons due to my inclination to believe what Alice Miller says about it, but when I read sentences like the one below in the site's response to this FAQ:
"Using the coercion test, a number of courts have recently found that forcing prisoners or probationers to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings under the threat that some benefit or right will be withheld for failing to attend is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,"
I find it hard to believe that you are unable, due to your abnormal fear of some future theocracy, to conclude the following: Using the coercion test, a number of free-thinking individuals have found that forcing prisoners or probationers to live in squalor and be raped on a regular basis is not justice when someone has been robbed, raped, lied to, beaten, kidnapped, or murdered. For murder, there can be no justice, as life cannot be restored to the victim. For robbery, the stolen property must be restored in order to satisfy justice. For being lied to, there can be only partial justice if loss of property or reputation was involved; the liar being what he is has destroyed trust, without which there can be no sensible relationship between two or more people. In most cases, justice is not served by putting someone behind bars, unless that individual is exceedingly and unrepentantly violent and threatening. However, even that isn't justice. It's just a safety measure. Other than that, people are placed in prison for revenge and the government's sickening need for control. In light of these facts, WHO GIVES A DAMN WHETHER THE PATHETIC BASTARDS ARE SENT TO A.A.??!!
Churches Meeting at Public Schools A church is meeting in a public school. What can I do about it?
What an excellent reason for dimwitted, weak-kneed parents to finally pull their defenseless children out of the lion's den!
State of the Law on Churches and Religious Groups Meeting in Public Schools How have the courts ruled on religious groups and public school cases?
Who gives a damn? Your children are abused mentally everyday, emotionally many days, and sometimes even physically, when they are sent to the lion's den. Religious groups in "public" schools, like A.A. in prisons, are the least of your concern. Well, they should be. You've already stopped listening, haven't you? Well, I feel sorry for your kids.
Prayer in Public School There is a prayer planned in my child's school. What can I do about it?
Again: What an excellent reason for dimwitted, weak-kneed parents to finally pull their defenseless children out of the lion's den! Or would you rather wait for the day when "public" school officials start handing out crack vials?
See You at the Flag Pole Prayer Gatherings Is it lawful to hold a "See You at the Pole" prayer gathering at my public school?
Okay, you haven't been listening, and probably won't if I get too unfeeling about your warped socialist questions. Therefore, I will simply respond to this reply from the site:
"There are parameters. Even the 'See You at the Pole' adult promoters admit that school officials may neither encourage nor discourage participation."
The only parameter in the lion's den should be not to make attendance a requirement. This is, of course, what they ought to do with all classes, credits, report cards, and so on. Furthermore, what happens if a religious teacher ("OH MY [lack of] GOD! A RELIGIOUS PERSON IS A TEACHER AT MY CHILD'S SCHOO-HOO-HOOL-L-L-L!!!") wants to attend a pole-gathering-and-praying thing? Would that be considered "encouragement"? And now I'm sorry, but I have to get up in your nether-regions once more: Why is this your biggest concern, and not the fact that sending your defenseless child into this environment will forever poison his brain? What the hell kind of parent are you?
Distribution of Religious Literature in Public Schools A teacher is sending my child home with religious literature. How can I stop it?
Get back to me when the teacher gives your kid a crack vial. *Click ' br-r-r-r-r-r-r'* Next caller.
Religious Activities at Senior Centers They make us listen to prayer before we eat lunch at public-funded senior centers. Help!
Set up your own goddamn senior center and stop stealing my money. What on earth is your problem with a little prayer, for Chrissakes? Prayer to a mythical God bothers you, but stealing my money doesn't?!
Religious Decorations & Activities HUD Housing I live in a HUD-subsidized housing [sic]. What are my rights to avoid religious activities and decorations?
You have no rights to avoid such activities and decorations in HUD Housing. I personally ordered them when I discovered that the government was stealing money from me to pay for your housing. As long as you live under my roof...
Pledge of Allegiance Does my child have to participate in the pledge at school?
Was this a typo? Did you mean to ask: Does my child have to participate at school? The answer is, "No." Remember that, little Jimmy, "No."
Citizen Oath What are my rights to avoid religious oaths when I become a naturalized citizen?
There are millions of people now living in this country without the government-required documentation. It is clear that the government is less and less interested in doing anything about them. There is strength in numbers. Don't worry about some silly oath, and forget about the word "citizen." Now you don't have to worry about the religious aspect, do you? Buena suerte!
Jury Oath Do I have to swear to god as a juror?
I may be wrong, but if you call up your county voter registration office and have your name removed from the voter registration rolls, you may not be called for jury duty at all. At least, I haven't been called up for duty since I renounced all violence. Other than that, this is one small area where I agree with the answers to these FAQs. Check out their response. Although, having to swear to tell the truth to anyone says something tragic about humanity, doesn't it? I hate to quote someone who frightens you, "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Matthew 5:37) The dude's right.
Marriage Oaths Do we have to swear a religious oath in order to apply for a marriage license?
Don't get married by the state! Your love doesn't need a piece of paper. Religious couples need God's confirmation only. Everyone else can plan as they wish. Plus, if you're the guy, you should read my article instead of worrying about the dreaded theocracy's invasion of your beloved secular state. ('You got religion in my state!' 'You got state in my religion!')
Church Bulletin Discounts A store is offering a discount or promotion for bringing in a church bulletin. Is that legal?
Thanks to pinheads like you, if I open up a restaurant or store, I have to abide by the arbitrary rules of a government which murders, lies, and threatens. You are not welcome in my restaurant or store. Get out. Go get a lawyer, crybaby. Learn to be offended. I'm one of those dreaded 9/11 "Troothers," so I know all about being offended, on a regular basis. I mean it. Get out. Take your poison-brained little brat with you.
Consumer Complaints I am tired of stores and restaurants playing gospel music. I feel this violates my right to 'freedom of religion.' Is there anything that can be done about it?
I agree with the site on this one, except for some petty semantic differences, along with the pettiness of the complaint itself:
"This is a consumer complaint, not a state/church violation [emphasis mine]...'vote with your feet'... The world is full of secular music."
The voluntary church, as illogical, absurd, and misguided as it can be, has murdered less people, and done far more good for individuals and families (including my own) than any involuntary government ever has or will. The church did not bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki . The church did not put ovens in Auschwitz . The church did not set up the "Gulag Archipelago." The church did not produce tons of useless steel in China , leading to economic ruin and the deaths of millions. The church did not botch rescue operations for Hurricane Katrina. The church is not responsible for the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. The church doesn't force me to contribute money. The church doesn't create prisons and overcrowd them with non-criminals. The church doesn't unwittingly send innocent men to Death Row. The church doesn't confiscate weapons and set up threatening regulations, making it virtually impossible for innocent people to defend themselves. The church doesn't electrocute people. The church doesn't pull me over and threaten me when I drive slightly faster than someone, somewhere decided was acceptable. The church doesn't come up with endless regulations from mindless bureaucrats that destroy the market, tradition, and all other sorts of voluntary associations. The church doesn't push poor and powerless people (and it's never the rich people with governmental connections) off of their land, claiming "eminent domain." In short, the church doesn't force me to do anything. I left my church and no one came after me. If I do everything I can to leave the government peacefully, and desire to live among my neighbors in the only land I have ever known and loved, the state will come after me and destroy much, if not all, of my life.
True, in olden days, various churches behaved violently and dishonestly. But that was back when they had The Ring, and to paraphrase Gollum, "Then they be the master!" The state officially separated itself from religion in this country long ago. It is a pity that the more murderous of the two didn't separate itself from us. I'll take a mild-mannered member of the Christian right any day over you and your annoying, state-worshipping complaints. You've got the wrong villain, in almost every way. Idiots.
You want to save us all from religion. Who will save us from yours? Your incomprehensible belief in the power of a benevolent government is nothing less fanciful than hope in Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, or even Santa Claus. I live in a theocracy of your making, a satanic cult that receives your continued support. Personally, I'd much rather go back to church.