Friday, December 05, 2008

Tolerance - Thou Shalt Not Steal

Photo copyright Freedom From Religion Foundation

Missing atheist sign found in Washington state
By Molly Simpson

(CNN) -- An atheist sign criticizing Christianity that was erected alongside a Nativity scene was taken from the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington, on Friday and later found in a ditch.
The incident will not stifle the group's message, Gaylor said. Before reports of the placard's recovery, she said a temporary sign with the same message would be placed in the building's Rotunda. Gaylor said a note would be attached saying, "Thou shalt not steal."

"I guess they don't follow their own commandments," Gaylor said. "There's nothing out there with the atheist point of view, and now there is such a firestorm that we have the audacity to exist. And then [whoever took the sign] stifles our speech."

According to the Seattle Times, and as seen in this photo:

Copyright Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times

The display consists of a small sign over on the left, near a large nativity scene, and there is supposed to be a menorah around there somewhere. So no, no one has driven Christ or Christmas away from anything. He's still right there, front and center. All we want is equal time.

I want to respond to this somehow, I do. But PZ Myers is calling for us all to take the high road and not declare open season on Nativity scenes. The point is freedom of speech is for everyone.

Personally I think it's fear based. When all you have is a myth that you have to misrepresent in order to even imply that it has any morality at all, threats abound.

Maybe posters nearby. It's a thought.


StillWind said...

I'm not a Christian, but I appreciate their feelings in this matter.

I'm not sure why it is important for atheists to transgress on a popular religious celebration, or what you were hoping to accomplish.

More importantly, I'm interested in why you have a totally negative perspective on Christianity in particular, and religion in general. I realize that you have very little education concerning the matters at hand, as evidenced by your statement, and are probably reacting to a personal trauma, but do you think that its appropriate to act out and demean people that you don't understand?

Christmas is a symbol, and the way that we react to symbols says everything about us.

Annie C said...

Well, I'm not a member of the FFRF foundation and I wasn't in on the decision, so I can't speak conclusively to the situation. But I believe the point of their various advertising campaigns is to communicate that there is a different viewpoint out there.

In this particular instance, we pay our taxes, we send our children off to war, we do our duty as citizens, and as such we deserve as much time in the public arena as Christian citizens. This was at the statehouse, I believe, clearly not on any form of private property. Which would include a church.

That you consider putting up a poster stating a different viewpoint "acting out" and having to share public space "demeaning" says a great deal about the whole Christian attitude, don't you think?

Annie C said...

Pardon me, you specified that you are not a Christian. My mistake there. So, says a lot about attitude in general.

Angel said...

I, for one, have a negative view on Christianity in particular and religion in general because it stops reason from entering the discussion, and it promotes hatred of groups of popel who are different from you. Take Prop 8, for example. It has no bearing on my heterosexual marriage, so what does it matter if the homosexual couple down the block wants to get married and live happily ever after?

It has, at various times, been used to support burning people alive, enslaving people, beating children, and killing those who don't agree with your ideology. Almost every religion has been used this way, where reason and a close, hard look at human suffering would have eliminated these atrocities.

Religion is used to scare people into belief and obedience instead of allowing or encouraging intellectual growth. It supresses natural exploration of the world and encourages people to fill in the gaps of our current knowledge with some imaginary being in the sky instead of continuing to seek out the answers. If Christianity had its way, we'd still have a flat earth as the center of the universe.

Anonymous said...

Well said Annie...I think most people (especially Christians) forget that the USA is a FREE country where EVERYONE has the freedom to speak and worship or NOT worship as they choose whether they be Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Agnostic, Athiest, etc. If Christians can't be TOLERANT of others in this nation (especially given the fact that Jesus said they should be, then perhaps they should find another country to live in and see how their INTOLERANT views are accepted there. The USA is a secular nation...always has been...always will be!!!