So I open my digital copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer the other day (3 July, 2019), and after passing the first couple pages, what do I get confronted with on Page A5 but the following:
The text that followed was pretty predictable: quotes from founding fathers, congressmen (no congresswomen, I noted!), Supreme Court justices and some other points on the curve, insisting that the United States was and is a Christian Nation. And who should be the source of all this religious breast-beating but our buddies at Hobby Lobby. I have to admit, I couldn’t resist, and not too long after, the following rebuttal went to the editorial desk of the Plain Dealer:
As an atheist, I found the Hobby Lobby ad on page A5 of the 3 July 2019 edition of the Plain Dealer interesting for at least one major reason. The ad cites multiple opinions of well-known founding fathers (Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, who spoke AGAINST the Bible at least as often as they did for it), along with other notable persons whose opinions follow that general trend. The notable absence in the piece was any citation of the Constitution, two portions in particular:
In addition, there is the matter of the Treaty of Tripoli, which states in Article 11:
“As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion …”
These are not opinions or points of view; these are codified laws which are an integral part of the foundation of this country, a country designed NOT to favor one religion over another so that all religious people, as well as those of us with no such belief, could know that our government was compelled by its foundational document to act in an even-handed fashion with ALL its citizens, regardless of belief or lack thereof. I see that as being enormously important for everyone, whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Mormon, Hinduist, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, or something else.
If we want our Constitution to “secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” we need to acknowledge the secular nature of our government and more: the rights of those who may believe differently from us, with the understanding that no one has the right to coerce another to their belief, without that other’s consent. Or, in other words, “There is no such thing as freedom of choice unless there is freedom to refuse.” -- David Hume
It probably wants some editing, and whether or not the PD will publish it is a question mark as a result, but at least I got that off my chest. I also spread the word among my friends at the Cleveland Freethinkers. Among them there is one Rafiq Mahmood, who apparently has a way with Adobe Photoshop. The following was his response:
One picture may be worth a thousand words, but one well-chosen picture and a handful of equally carefully chosen words may do even better!
Hope you had a Happy Fourth, everyone.