Seeking Advice from Fellow Atheists & Activists

I have been an atheist activist for twenty-three years. Wow… has it really been that long? Whew!

I started my activism in the twelfth grade in high school in 1989 attempting to start an atheist club in Moreno Valley, CA. My attempt failed and I did not know about any groups or resources to go to for help. After I joined the Navy I continued activism: going after evening prayers over the 1MC (ship’s PA system), stopping the Chaplain from presiding over my reenlistment and award ceremonies, making sure non-Christians religious sailors were taken care of by the ship’s Chaplain (you know, actually doing his damn job), etc.

When I got out of the Navy I started a local group (Mobile Area Freethought Association) and the Freethinkers Letter-Writing Cooperative (FLWC), Alabama Citizens for Education in Science (ACES), wrote for the Secular South E-Zine and coordinated the first atheist protest in the state of Alabama (against Judge Roy Moore). I would later go on to form the North Alabama Freethought Association and help form thirteen other groups across the Southeast and start The Critical Eye Podcast with my friend and fellow comedian Tom Hand.

In 2000, I found American Atheists. Holy national support, Batman! I became the Alabama State Director and then the National Affiliate Director and then the Communications Director and finally the Director of Outreach. During that time I was a staff writer for American Atheist Magazine and ran the NoGodBlog for a while as well. I ran their Facebook page and Twitter account and YouTube account, etc. I was named Atheist of the Year twice and received the Meritorious Service Award for my activism while working for American Atheists. I have greatly enjoyed my time with American Atheists and being a part of the advance forces in the trenches in the battle for our Constitutional rights and the Separation of Church and State.

I got to be part of the movement as it grew exponentially and started its peak in 2007 and continues to peak. I got to experience the amazing feeling of knowing that the groundwork we and those before us lay down was now finally being used to push the movement forward and that things were on the upswing and we were beginning to finally take some ground in that same battle. To be a part of the movement as we struggle to find space on the calendar for events that do not coincide with other events being held nationally (what a beautiful problem to have!)

But lately I have lost that feeling. I have found myself dreading each day on Facebook, the blogs, etc. Each day having to defend myself and American Atheists not against the hordes of Christians: but against our fellow atheists. Our fellow atheists who find a single word, or the font used on a billboard, or the color of a web page, or a single sentence in a two-thousand word essay worth creating an eruption of vitriol against fellow atheists on blogs and in comments.

I found myself dreading having to deal with the nit-picking of appearances on a news channel from atheists who had never been in front of a camera, criticism of a billboard from atheists who had never erected a billboard and were basically demanding that we put an entire thesis on a billboard, thus eradicating the entire point of a billboard. I dreaded dealing with atheists who reveled in taking on their fellow atheists instead of our common enemy: theists and theocrats. I dreaded the emails, the comments, and the constant in-fighting that is holding our movement back.

I would give an hour-long speech and the audience would agree with 99% of what I said, but because I said one word or one sentence that someone disagreed with, the blogosphere would erupt in idiotic drama. Over what? Where was the eruption of support for the 99% of what we agreed upon? I take exception to things people say on a daily basis, but I don’t make an issue of it. I can think of dozens of my fellow activists who have said stuff that drives me bonkers, but I’m willing to bet that my Facebook friends couldn’t name two or three of them. Why? Because I don’t talk about it or make an issue of it because while they say something that drives me bonkers, we agree on enough that it’s a non-issue to me.

No matter the trivial stuff we disagree on, there are always at a minimum three core things we all agree on: separation of church and state, civil rights for non-theists, and true freedom of religion (meaning freedom from religion as well).

Ultimately I became an asshole and just lashed out at my fellow atheists who engaged in that type of behavior. I realized that a few months ago that I no longer could rationally discuss these issues with those detractors because all I wanted to do was smash their smug fuc… (deep breath.) I realized that I had lost my patience. I had more patience with theists at this point than I did with my fellow atheists who felt the need to attack and belittle everything that was being said or done in such a pedantic and nit-picky fashion that it was almost laughable. Throw into that mix my fellow atheists who are not skeptics and believe all sorts of hokey nonsense, and it was a matter of time before I imploded.

The tone debate is a complete waste of time. Every methodology and approach is needed for the movement to reach every possible demographic. The anti-firebrands are failing to recognize the history of the success and necessity of firebrands in every past movement before us: gay rights, civil rights, women’s suffrage, abolition, etc. Stop beating each other up and arguing over method. What really matters is our destination. We’re all on the same highway; we’re just driving different cars, so why are we trying to drive each other off the damn road? Everyone should keep doing the method of activism that they are good at: firebrand, accommodation (I know, you hate that word), anti-theists, militant atheists (yeah, I hate that one, too), etc. All of you play a key role in the forward ability of this movement. How many blog entries are actually activism related versus blog entries attacking fellow atheists over pedantics, semantics, and tactics?

I have no more patience for it. I have become what I detest the most because now I find myself attacking my fellow atheists. It repulses me that I have become this.

I am seriously considering resigning from everything that I do and leaving the movement. No more blogging, no more Facebook, no more videos, no more writing, no more activism, no more conventions, and no more working for American Atheists. I talked to David Silverman (President of American Atheists) today (11/26) about this (we’ve had talks in the past about this) and told him he would have my final answer by Friday (11/30). David told me that I was getting sucked into the things that I hated instead of staying involved in the things I loved. Fair and valid point: but how does one stay above the fray when everything we do causes the fray to come to us?

And so now I’m reaching out to my Facebook friends, fellow bloggers, fellow podcasters, fellow video bloggers, and fellow activists for advice. What would you have me do?

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What If…

This is not about the question asked of every freethinker at least five thousand times during his or her life. This has nothing to do with, “What if you’re wrong?”

I am not the kind of person to buy into conspiracy theories. I usually laugh at those that engage in such apocalyptic-style musings with a serious tone that resonates with, “Look at me, I’m a moron.” I have engaged in “what if” scenarios, but only in fun and as a mental exercise.

I have to admit that my position of conspiracy abstinence has been extremely difficult to maintain in our current political environment (It is Viagra for the conspiracy theory). It is difficult, indeed, but not to the point that I have succumbed to the ramblings of grand conspiracies, the complete eradication of our rights, and the destruction of the constitution.

It is not hard to draw conspiracy theories based on some of the events we witness on the news and read in the newspaper. The golden nugget of information about the only problem state being governed by the brother of the candidate that lost the popular vote is enough to send any conspiracy theorist into premature ejacul… um, uh, speculation.

I am now going to break the chains of logic and anti-conspiracy and play the conspiracy game. I do this not because I believe this scenario to be true. I do this because it is fun to do and I could not think of anything else to write about. Is there really a conspiracy? Are we about to see the end of the world, as we know it? Moreover, what is this I keep hearing about the Idiot Heir?

Before we get started with this completely fabricated story (that was a hidden disclaimer within a larger disclaimer, by the way) let me reemphasize that this is completely out of fun and is for entertainment purposes only. While some characters that I use are actual people (some are imaginary), the actions I describe are made-up and the events and actions thereof never happened (not that I know of, anyway). I guess I should also add that I hope my story remains a fabrication.

Therefore, our story begins…

Containment Center AL-15, Mobile County, Alabama

Tomorrow I will die at the hands of others.

The OIC stopped by our cellblock this morning and informed us that we will transfer to the Coliseum tomorrow. Those that have gone to the Coliseum before us did not return.

I do not know what day it is and I can only guess at the month. The weather feels like October, but I cannot be sure. What I do know is that I arrived here in April 2006. I am also certain that I am still in Alabama because the truck ride from downtown Mobile was not very long.

During the day we work. Those that do not work go to the Coliseum. Many have volunteered to go to the Coliseum and get it over with quickly rather than working for the USCA via the CSOCA police. I chose to work because I only have one life to live and I still had hope that the nightmare would end. Tonight I am second-guessing that decision.

I am finding it exceptionally hard to sleep tonight as my mind processes memories and thoughts…

April 2001

The election of 2000 was an odd one. Men were not running for president. God and Jesus were. When I arrived to cast my vote, I would not have been surprised to see the Republican nominee listed as Jesus Christ and the Democratic nominee listed as God. It was the first election where I truly felt that I was voting for the lesser of two evils.

It is rare that anyone mentions the Florida fiasco anymore. There are many people talking about how we are witnessing the end. There is talk of a Nostradamus quatrain about the Idiot Heir and the astrological genre is bubbling with apocalyptic talk. If you look for coincidences, you will find them. I can take any quatrain of Nostradamus and match it to any historical or present event to justify my views. Psychics are making their typical general statements and the gullible public is buying it because they do not understand how to validate a prophecy.

Many that I consider my friends are also talking conspiracies and worrying about extreme reactions and actions. There is talk of destroying the constitution, making many civil liberties illegal, and running the United States like a Baptist Church. Most of us scoff at these “prophets” and worrywarts, insisting that Bush will never get anything accomplished.

Bush took office and Congress confirmed all of his cabinet nominees except Chavez, who dropped out before the hearings. We were all hoping they would deny Ashcroft, but they could not find anything juicy enough on him to prevent his approval.

The first three months had a few bumps. In early March, we learned that Jeb Bush ordered special recounts after CNN announced Gore as the winner of Florida, ultimately reversing the early results. This resulted in the arrest of several Republican heavyweights, but Ashcroft, under the guidance of Bush, dropped the charges and the cases. The Democrat that designed the punch card ballots in West Palm Beach admitted Republicans paid her to design the ballot as she did. Unfortunately, she died in a boating accident before she could testify. Surprisingly, the media did not really care that much about the Florida scandal.

Today, however, is a day of mourning and a day of concern. Last night Supreme Court justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Ginsburg, and John Stevens were riding in a limousine that wrecked on the I-95. The limousine exploded; killing and all four justices instantly. The nation is distraught over their sudden deaths, but there is already talk of replacements by the general public, political analysts, and the media. We are worried about who Bush will select to replace the four dead justices.

May 2001

Today the hearings ended for the new Supreme Court justices. They approved all four nominees made by Bush. The most controversial nominee was Judge Moore from Alabama. The controversy was not over his famous Ten Commandments, but over his lack of experience. He had just started on the Alabama Supreme Court when Bush nominated him.

The other three judges were Judge Wolfe, a conservative from Tennessee, Judge Thompson, an ultra-conservative from Oklahoma, and Judge Barlow from Texas, an old college friend of George Bush. This places the conservative position within the Supreme Court to an 8-1 at worst and 7-2 at best. Watchdog groups across the United States are concerned, but the majority of Americans seem to be behind the confirmations.

Only time will tell…

November 2002

There is a push of cases to the Supreme Court. The day that we have dreaded is coming near. After Congress confirmed the new justices, it did not take long for conservative states to start pushing ultra-conservative and religious laws.

Oklahoma passed a law banning all abortions. The ACLU initiated the lawsuit that is bringing the case to the Supreme Court. Louisiana reinstated their evolution disclaimer that specifically called for the teaching of the Biblical account of Creationism in Biology classes. Americans United led the way to bring this case to the Supreme Court. Florida started their Bible classes in high school again and added a class to the junior high and elementary level. Americans United, the ACLU, and PFAW joined forces to bring this case to the Supreme Court.

Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Missouri, and Mississippi passed laws making prayer mandatory each morning in public schools. Ohio ignored the previous ruling on school vouchers and initiated a voucher plan for the entire state. Groups like the ACLU, PFAW, Americans United, Freedom Forum, Interfaith Alliance, and others are finding themselves financially tapped. They are also finding an American public that is beginning to side with the conservative view more and more every day.

As the cases head to the Supreme Court, the different organizations that can afford it have joined forces and created a united front called Americans United for the Constitution (AUC). There are doubts about whether they can pull it off politically and financially.

February 2003

The FBI raided a meeting today between high-ranking officials of the AUC. Agents arrested most of the attendees. Attorney General Ashcroft in a press release stated that a video had surfaced showing everyone in attendance at a party. He stated that in the video showed most of them using drugs. He went on to say that in one part of the video a little girl was in the background. During their investigation, the little girl stated that everyone at the party had sexual relations with her. The little girl was 13-years-old.

Lawyers for the men and women arrested vehemently denied the allegations. They have accused the Bush administration of manufacturing the video. The media has suddenly found a slew of slanderous material from the past about everyone involved. The biggest targets of the investigation are Barry Lynn of Americans United, Nadine Strossen of the ACLU, Ralph Neas of PFAW, and Dan Barker of the FFRF.

Regardless of the protests by lawyers of the ACLU, PFAW, FFRF, and Americans United, the arrests will have a serious impact on the ability of the AUC to continue its legal battle against the rash of unconstitutional laws. The Supreme Court will hear the cases in March.

March 2003

The Supreme Court has voted on the cases. Our concerns were justified when they voted 7-2 in favor of banning abortion, 8-1 in favor of making prayer mandatory in public schools, 8-1 in favor of teaching Biblical Creationism in Biology classes, 8-1 in favor of school vouchers, and 8-1 in favor of teaching Bible classes.

Within 48 hours of their last decision, other states began introducing legislation to comply with the Supreme Court’s decisions. President Bush and his cabinet held a press conference commending the outcome of the cases. The press conference began with a prayer by Bush that denounced atheists, homosexuality, and non-Christians.

The next day a few groups denounced Bush’s prayer as racist, bigoted, and anti-American. After the arrest of the AUC leaders, many groups are afraid to speak out and remain silent. The incident passed over quickly as if it had never happened.

November 2003

Gay bashing has reached an all-time high and many deaths have resulted. Non-Christians in high schools around the country have been harassed, beaten, and in some cases, killed. Christians identify non-Christian easily because of the mandatory prayer programs initiated by 48 of the states.

Atheist groups around the country have begun to disband out of fear. Larger groups continue to debate, rally, and protest to no avail. Some smaller groups are hanging on and enduring the persecution, harassment, and increased hate mail and threats. An underground communications network has formed to keep fellow atheists informed of what is going on. Unfortunately, the system is plagued with moles.

Christian youth gangs are forming across the United States. Yesterday I saw a group of kids with Jesus shirts on beating a car with baseball bats. The car had a bumper sticker on it that said, “Freedom is the distance between church and state.”

I have told my children to participate in the prayers at school and to tell others that they are Christians. My children have learned to survive and lie very well in order to maintain their safety. I realized early on that there was a point where fighting the system was more dangerous than the system itself. I removed all my bumper stickers, closed down my Freethought group, and stopped attending the Unitarian fellowship months ago.

Two years ago, I was joking about how I should move up North to get away from the South or better yet, move to England or Australia. My family and I have started putting money aside to fly to England by next summer.

June 2004

The Bush administration has decided to go after immigration over the last few months. Bush has halted all immigration into the country. The Canadian Prime Minister has protested the move and shut down the Canadian border preventing all United States citizens from entering Canada. The Mexican President applauded the Canadian Prime Minister’s actions and shut down the Mexican border. European countries are also denouncing the halt of immigration into the United States. Many are calling for a reprimand from the United Nations.

Several European countries have convened emergency sessions to discuss the turn of events in the United States and specifically the ban on immigration. We are all hoping that world pressure will alter the path that America is taking.

August 2004

The majority of European countries have agreed to deny entry of United States citizens into their countries until the United States lifts its ban on immigration. This has destroyed our plans to leave the country and flee to England. On the positive, we have almost ten thousand in the bank to use.

The IRS shut down American Atheists this month for tax evasion. No one even questioned the evidence or asked about the circumstances. They have shut down other smaller groups, too. In the meantime, government funding of religious groups has increased almost 600% since Bush’s election.

My family is beginning to fear for our lives. While we have disassociated ourselves with all our ties to Freethought groups, there are still membership rosters out there that have my name on it. There are also people that have read my articles, my editorials, and know me personally as an atheist. Luckily, my children have successfully fooled the local schoolchildren and their teachers.

November 2004

Americans reelected George Bush by default. No one came forward to run against him. As a matter-of-fact, there was no election because only ultra-conservative Republicans ran for office. Things are starting to look extremely bleak. Hate mail has increased, someone vandalized our house, slashed our tires, bashed my car windows, my children can no longer fake it with their friends, and we have permanently pulled them out of school.

Christian youth gang activity has increased. They are nationally organized. Anyone that looks gay goes down in a swarm of fists, boots, bats, and anything else anyone can grab. Underground human smuggling operations have begun into Canada and Mexico. They are arresting anyone caught crossing the border and taking them to detention centers along the Canadian and Mexican borders.

My family has decided to find a new house and liquidate all of our assets. We will move into our new house under my wife’s maiden name in order to stop the harassment. We are not sure if this ploy will work, but our harassers leave us with no choice.

Someone burned the Unitarian church to the ground months ago, so we have lost contact with all our friends from there. We feel alone and isolated. The underground communications system has completely broken down and we have no contact with other freethinkers. We have also heard disturbing reports that Christian youth groups are targeting Catholics and Jews. We hope this information is incorrect.

There is no way to confirm anything because every radio station is either a sports or Christian station. Bush banned secular music and shut Hollywood down except a few Christian movie studios. They fill the news with “good news” that makes me want to vomit. All secular newspapers have gone out of business or Christian groups have taken them over. CNN is still on the air, but renamed to the Christian News Network.

I am scared.

December 25 2004

We woke up this Christmas morning to an announcement from George Bush. He was standing in front of all the Senators and Congressmen. They applauded as he entered the arena. He stood next to a nativity scene. He started his speech with a prayer that ranted against non-Christians, Catholics, Jews, atheists, homosexuals, and anyone else that was not a “true” Christian.

The Senators and Congressmen applauded after the prayer. Around my new neighborhood, I could hear people cheering and clapping after Bush’s prayer. My family looked at each other and cringed. It was harder to hide our fear from my children. They understood the implications of what was going on and we could no longer comfort them with words alone.

Bush then began a prepared speech. He talked about a group of atheists, Jews, and Catholics that started a large disturbance in Wisconsin. We were not surprised that we had not heard about this on the news. Bush stated that there were going to be some major changes in America starting January 1.

Bush announced they are renaming the United States to United States of Christian America and they are replacing the stars on the flag with a white cross. Bush then went on to say he is forming a new branch of federal police in order to ensure that non-Christians did not start any type of revolt similar to the one in Wisconsin. They will call the new federal police branch the Christian Soldiers of Christian America, or CSOCA (pronounced “so-ka”).

The only thing I could do was cry. My children, my wife, my parents, and my sister all huddled together and cried.

September 2005

They rounded my family up last week and moved us against our will to non-Christian housing. The housing is in what used to be the poorest section of Mobile. They moved all Christians from the area to the houses that non-Christians used to occupy. There is one positive thing about this move. We are now in contact with other freethinkers.

Each night a truck surrounded by CSOCA police makes its round through the housing. Speakers on the truck blare out the “good news” of Jesus and try to convince us to accept him. Many in the housing have agreed to accept Jesus in order to save their lives. Deep in their heart, they know the truth, but they value their lives.

Tonight I am sitting with my wife and parents discussing what we are going to do with my children. Most of my family was Baptist at the beginning of this. There is discussion about sending my children to live with them. The consensus seems to be that they would be better off Christian than dead. We all seem to agree that my Aunt is the best candidate, but we also agree that we should wait as long as possible before we do this. We will begin prepping the children tomorrow on how to pretend to be Christian for an extended period.

Our neighbors are becoming desperate. They have decided to take measures into their own hands. They have organized a group of about 30 that will attack the speaker truck and CSOCA police tomorrow night. We have asked them to ensure that they attack the truck away from the houses so the CSOCA police do not take their anger out on innocent residents. Luckily, they have agreed. I fear for their lives…

October 2005

CSOCA police killed over thirty non-Christians that attacked the speaker truck. The CSOCA police, dressed in solid black uniforms with red triangle badges that contain a black cross within, shot every one of them during the attack. Word within the housing area is that two CSOCA police were injured, but we are not sure if that is true.

Since the failed assault, the CSOCA patrols have increased and the police have become more abusive. We have decided to escalate the process of “converting” our children in order to get them to safety. My children are upset at our decision and they do not want to leave us. Their resistance is commendable and I am proud of them, but it is making it hard and increasing our anxiety.

What makes it even more difficult is the mandatory training for children within the non-Christian housing. They take my children away each night for two hours by bus to the Civic Center where they watch Christian videos and listen to preachers. The CSOCA police escort them the entire way. They have treated the children well so far, because of the Christian mindset that children are easy prey for conversion.

I find myself wishing that my children will convert at these training sessions so they will be taken to a family member’s house and be safe and away from the hardships of the non-Christian housing.

November 2005

We have received good news today. We overheard CSOCA police talking about current events. Apparently, NATO broke relations with the United States last year some time. NATO has encouraged other countries to align against the United States of Christian American (USCA). Apparently, several countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia have aligned themselves with NATO. Canada and Mexico have also joined NATO.

The CSOCA police mentioned that the Marines and Army have increased patrols along the Canadian and Mexican borders and withdrawn ambassadors from countries that aligned with NATO. The news excited the CSOCA police and they are hoping that the USCA goes to war because it would be a great avenue to convert the rest of the Pagans around the world.

This news is a ray of hope for us. This means that NATO and other countries are starting to apply pressure on the USCA. I find the irony of sanctions against the United States highly laughable.

April 18 2006

CSOCA police rounded us up today. They placed us in Army trucks with tarps preventing us from seeing where we were going. As we drove out of the housing area, I tried to visualize the streets and figure out where we were heading. I know we left the housing area going south and immediately turned east, but I could not judge the distance properly when we turned. If my calculations are correct, we are somewhere near Macintosh.

Containment Center AL-15 (CCAL-15), April 18 2006

Upon arrival at our new home, the CSOCA police rushed us out. Immediately they separated women from men. They sent children off in another group. We all screamed for our children and tried to reach them. The CSOCA police pushed us back into our lines and fired several shots into the air. One man ahead of us punched the CSOCA police officer in front of him and ran after his wife. A CSOCA officer still at the truck took aim and shot the man in the head. That image remains with me to this day.

Female CSOCA police escorted the children away in a quiet procession. No one treated the children with hostility or aggression, but the children were still crying. My father and I exchanged a glance and understanding that the children were going to be okay. They would convert the children, but they would be alive and safe.

I looked across at my wife and blew her a kiss, which she returned. I mouthed that I loved her and she returned in kind. I tried to tell her that the kids would be okay, but the group of women was already being ushered away. A few minutes later, we followed suit.

They took us to a dirt courtyard with a stage built near the end of it. As they placed us into lines, a CSOCA officer stepped up on the platform. He waited for everyone in the courtyard to settle down and the guards to indicate that everyone was ready. There was a small scuffle somewhere behind me, but I dared not look.

He finally began speaking, “Gentlemen, welcome to Containment Center AL-15 located in Mobile County. This is your new home. We will feed and house you, if you work. Do not work and you will face the consequences. The rules here are simple. Follow directions. If you do what we tell you, we will get along. In a few minutes, we will give you an opportunity to go to the church and accept the Lord Jesus as your personal savior. The escorting guards will let you know when you can do this. I encourage all of you to accept Jesus into your hearts and embrace his love and sacrifice. Only his love can save you now. God be with you.”

The guards had us “face right” and we started marching. We approached what was obviously a church and they told us to halt. The guard at the front of the lines informed us that we now had the opportunity to accept Jesus in our hearts. There were about 80 or 90 men in the group. I counted 24 entering the church, but I think I missed a few. Everyone else stood his ground.

The women were on the other side of the church. We could not see them, but we could hear them crying and we heard a few screams. The sounds of their tears echoed across the lots and most of the men bowed their heads and started crying as well.

CCAL-15, April 19 2006

Our sleeping conditions are horrible. Our berthing is a large tin building with four-stack racks. Each rack has a two-inch mattress on it with no sheets, no pillows, and a small wool blanket. Last night was either colder than usual for April or we were colder than usual because of the stress and fear.

At breakfast, which was a piece of bread, a glass of water, and a bruised apple, the OIC addressed the new group. He informed they sent children to a special children’s camp in Birmingham. The Birmingham center was a Christian Camp for Children that would educate the children about Christ’s love. The OIC assured us they would take care of the children, raise them to be good Christians, and have them help spread the love of Jesus worldwide. The OIC reminded us to follow instructions, work hard, and behave.

Regardless of our past treatment, I felt confident that the OIC was telling the truth about our children. I felt better about their situation because they were being well fed and cared for. Yes, the care was hypocritical, but at least they were alive and had a chance. Most of the men in the group shared my concerns and my relief. We have not seen the women at all. We fear that we will never see them again.

CCAL-15, Sometime Later

The CSOCA police are especially edgy today. Jets have been flying around all day. Earlier a line of helicopters flew over. They were troop or cargo-carrying helicopters under the escort of Apache gunships. The CSOCA guards around the gate doubled today. We are not sure what is going on, but several are speculating that tensions between the USCA and the NATO Alliance may be getting worse. We hope they are right.

CCAL-15, Five or Six Full Moons Later

As the months have gone, thousands of other men have joined us. We constructed over 60 tin buildings and built the four-stack racks for each. Also during that time, many men went to the Coliseum. We are sure CSOCA police and military personnel take men, and possibly women to the Coliseum to exterminate them.

Someone joked initially that Christians call it the Coliseum because they are still upset about the Romans and the “feeding Christians to lions” thing. It is no longer a joke.

My father and I are hopeful that my wife and mother are still alive, but we are also aware of the odds and we recognize that they might be dead.

During that last few months we have heard small talk among the guards and have heard word from newly arriving men. NATO and her allies declared war on the USCA a few months ago. USCA forces invaded Mexico and Canada almost immediately after the declaration of war. From what we can gather, NATO-UN forces have captured and freed Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Hampshire.

We have also heard that forces liberated parts of Mexico from USCA forces. Mexico, apparently, was a pushover and USCA forces captured it quickly. The attempt to invade Canada failed miserably and USCA forces only advanced about 100 miles inside the border. Opposing forces are running the NATO-UN air campaign exclusively out of Canada and South America.

Our hopes and spirits lift every time we hear of progress from newly arriving men.

CCAL-15, Going to Bed before Execution

I cannot sleep tonight. I know what is coming tomorrow and I can find no reason to fall asleep. All our hopes in the NATO-UN forces are dashed. I am glad that the hope will remain for those that will continue to live beyond tomorrow.

I remember a professor from the University of Jerusalem discussing the criteria needed for a new holocaust. He said there were three things needed for a second holocaust to start. First, a fringe group had to exist. Second, that fringe group has to gain control. Third, the rest of the population has to let the fringe group enact their views by law.

I wish I had remembered that lecture after Americans elected Bush. I wish I had been vigilant enough to see the signs early enough to take action. I wish I had not been as optimistic and recognized that this train was not going to stop.

I miss my children deeply and cry for them every night. I miss my wife and her company. I miss my mother and her everlasting motherly love. I miss myself, because I am certainly not the same person that I used to be. I miss the United States of America, and most importantly, I miss the Constitution of the United States.

CCAL-15, Execution Day

CSOCA guards came into the berthing and gathered all of us up. Several of the men put up a fight and CSOCA police executed them on the spot. I had considered fighting back, but there is still a ray of hope within me. A spark in me wants to live and insists that there is still a chance.

They placed us on school buses and drove out of CCAL-15. We were surprised that the windows were not blacked out, allowing us to see exactly where we were going. As we pulled out of the camp, we turned left onto a four-lane highway. A sign a few miles down the road indicated that we were on highway 49 heading south. Highway 49 placed us near Macintosh. At least I got that right.

We were heading south toward I-65. We were in a caravan of three school buses and four APC’s. When we reached the I-65, we headed south toward Mobile. Most of the men sat somberly without looking up and making eye contact with anyone. I decided to look out the window and enjoy the scenery that I had missed for the past months.

We were nearing mile marker 11 when I noticed several blotches on the horizon heading toward us rapidly. As the objects came closer, I realized they were helicopters. I lost interest in the helicopters and continued to watch the scenery around me.

The explosion was loud and several of the windows on the school bus erupted inward and scattered glass all over us. I glanced backward and the last APC in the convoy was rolling down the embankment in flames with pieces of metal jutting out identifying where the explosion occurred. The first thing I thought was that the explosion was internal from a fire or faulty ammunition. That was when we heard the eruption of gunfire.

The convoy had stopped. CSOCA police ran out of the bus and began discharging their weapons, aiming in the air.

The first helicopter flew over and swooped around. Three other helicopters formed a perimeter and began dispatching the CSOCA police and the regular Army troops. Two other APC’s went up in flames and exploded in brilliant orange and yellow with a flash of bright white. One of the CSOCA police turned his gun on our bus and began firing his weapon at us. Everyone dropped down to the floor as we listened to a hail of bullets and the racket of gunfire.

Everything went quiet and the only sound was the tinkle of glass and crinkle of flames. I peered out the window and saw what remained of the CSOCA guard that was firing at us. A man in a green uniform was approaching our bus and waving to us. I got up, approached the door of the bus, and opened it for the approaching soldier.

The soldier removed his helmet and addressed us, “Hello gentlemen! I am Captain Langston with the Royal Marines as part of the NATO-UN forces. Congratulations gentlemen, you are liberated!”

No one spoke. We stared at the Captain with disbelief and denial. A Royal Marine just north of Mobile flying in an army helicopter? It did not make any sense. I finally spoke up and asked him what he was doing here.

“We captured Florida last week. We have been operating out of the abandoned naval base in Pensacola. We captured Escambia County a few days ago and NATO-UN forces are currently engaged in Mobile, Biloxi, Gulfport, and New Orleans. We were heading into Mobile when we noticed the convoy. Freeing prisoners is our first priority and we were ordered to intervene and free you instead of continuing into Mobile.”

We all sat there and absorbed the information we had just been told. Florida was free and the Gulf Coast invasion was well underway. A man next to me asked the Royal Marine what parts of the United States they had liberated. “Most of the Northeast is free and all the states along the Canadian border are free. The invasion of California failed and we lost many soldiers. We decided to switch coasts. We are making great progress, but expect the war to last at least another year.”

Within a few minutes, a couple of large transport helicopters arrived and NATO-UN soldiers escorted us to them. We told the soldiers where CCAL-15 was and they told us they would liberate it within 48 hours.

The transport helicopters then flew us to the naval base in Pensacola, Florida. They gave us a hot meal, warm blankets, and fresh clothes. We also found out that it was September 18.

Pensacola, Florida, October 9 2006

The war proceeded. We learned a lot about what happened while detained in CCAL-15. The NATO-UN forces contained troops from nearly every country in the world. Primary forces were British, Australian, German, French, Russian, and Chinese. We were surprised to hear that Chinese and Russian forces were helping to liberate Americans, but very grateful for their efforts. The war had cost over one million lives so far, and that figure did not take into account the number of murdered non-Christians.

By October 9, forces had liberated most of Alabama and nearly captured Georgia. Mississippi and Louisiana fell rapidly. Texas was proving to be a problem for the NATO-UN forces. Local NATO-UN forces have advised us that Mexico has agreed to attack from the south while NATO-UN forces attack from the east. Canadian and French forces had liberated a lot of Northern California.

There is still no word on my wife, my children, or my mother. Forces liberated Birmingham and the children’s camp, but there is no word on the children, their names, or their condition. We are expecting some news within the week.

Most of the men, including myself, have volunteered to join the NATO-UN forces. Those of us with military experience will fly out next week to join the troops. Thos without military experience will attend basic training overseas in other countries.

Liberated United States of America, August 2007

The war is over. It effectively ended last month, but only technically ended last week.

Someone assassinated President Bush last month inside NORAD. The news is reporting that Bush was ready to launch nuclear weapons against England, France, and Germany when someone in his staff pulled out a sidearm and shot Bush. Bush loyalists immediately killed the assassin, but the motivation within NORAD to launch nuclear weapons subsided. The Bush followers had essentially witnessed the death of their Messiah.

The NORAD group held out until the end. The capture of NORAD was a bloody fight that resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides. Many of Bush’s team has been arrested and awaiting a war crimes trial.

Ultimately, we found my children. They had been “converted” and living with my cousin in Mobile. My children had decided to pretend to be Christians and get out of the children’s camp. Their courage inspired me on a daily basis on the battlefield. My wife and mother are still missing. We are sure that the CSOCA police killed them after they separated them from us. We still hope that they are out there somewhere waiting for us to find them, but we are realists.

Everyone is scared to elect a new government. We know we need to do it, but the majority of the survivors are willing to fall under common international law for now under the supervision of NATO-UN forces. In due course, we will elect a new government and proudly display the Constitution of the United States.

Gone are the Christian America flags. There have been some incidents of retaliation against churches and known CSOCA police, but they have been isolated and quickly stopped. Most of us understand the psychology behind the events because we know the history of Nazi Germany. We know that there will be groups of Christians that continue to wave the Christian America flag and dream of days gone by. We also recognize that our freedoms are more important than their stupidity. Let them wave their flags and spout their anger and hatred, for we will not force them to become what they are not. We will not be hypocrites.

New United States of America, January 2009

Americans watched the swearing in of a new President today. He is an adherent of Judaism from California. The Vice President is a female Atheist from New York. Immediately they proclaimed August to be Independence Month and Diversity Appreciation Month. We look forward to August to celebrate for the first time.

The new government dismantled some of the largest and most influential Christian organizations. They arrested and tried many of the organization’s hierarchy. Many Christians fled the New United States thinking we would treat them as they did us. Surviving members of the Interfaith Alliance reactivated the foundation to help bring all beliefs and non-beliefs together to help build the New United States.

There is a lot of work to do, but most Americans are motivated. Many Christians that went along with the Bush government are still recovering from the shock of realizing what they had done, or as many are realizing, what they had not done. Clinics have been setup across the New United States to help people deal with the psychological trauma of the ordeal. The clinics reach out to both lines of the war and bring all of us together.

The NATO-UN alliance brought the world together for a common cause for the first time. By the end of the war, almost every country in the world had forces engaged in the war. People see this world peace and cooperation as the dawn of a new age for humanity. Humanity, not countries or politics, is re-writing history.

What Is Wrong With Prayer In Public Schools?

Absolutely nothing is wrong with prayer in school. There is something ethically wrong with disruptive prayer in the classroom. There is something constitutionally wrong with school-endorsed (mandated) prayer.

We are fortunate to live in a country that gives us freedom of religion (or lack thereof). If you want to pray to your god while you are at school then you have that right. Where the problems start is with the appropriateness of disruptive prayer in the classroom and when the words “mandatory”, “facilitated” or “endorsed” rear their ugly heads.

One also needs to know the difference between the classroom and the school. No brick wall prevents religious beliefs from entering public school grounds. There is a wall, called the Separation of Church and State, that prevents a particular religion’s proponents from endorsing their religion and promulgating their beliefs in public schools where students hold different religious beliefs and non-beliefs.

There is nothing wrong with a student praying silently during class as long as that prayer does not interrupt the classroom environment. The prayer should also not affect the student’s ability to perform in class. Children have every right to pray while they are at school. While it is certainly not against the law for a student to pray in the classroom, it is more appropriate for students to pray during non-class times like lunch, break, recess, and after school.

Better to die on your feet than live on your knees!

Group prayer (student-led and initiated) is fine as long as it does not interfere with other students. Forming religious clubs for after-hours activities is fine as long as all groups have the same opportunities and the school shows no bias toward or against any particular group.

As long as students pray appropriately with respect to others then there is absolutely no problem with it being done at school.

Appropriateness also goes into what is acceptable in public, as well. The children of a Voodoo Witch Doctor know that spilling the blood of a chicken during their prayer is not appropriate in public – much less public schools. Speaking in tongues or praying aloud is not appropriate in public – especially in the classroom environment. The Wiccan knows that getting naked to perform a ritual dance is not appropriate in public – especially in front of children at a school.

Then there is the issue of mandated prayer. Mandated prayer is a clear violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Who is pushing the agenda of prayer in the classroom? The Religious Right and Christian Fundamentalists are the biggest proponents. When is the last time you heard a Wiccan, Buddhist or Jew demand prayer in public school?

Have Fundamentalists really thought this issue through? What will happen when they mandate prayer in public school classrooms? Do they realize that they will open Pandora’s Box?

Because of our freedom of religion, the government cannot pass any law or legislation that endorses any particular religion. Mandated prayer in public school classrooms is against the law.

Will Christians allow Satanists to pray in public schools? Will Christians allow the Wiccan to offer prayers and chants before a high school football game? Based on the information available from the mandated prayer proponents, the freedom of religion for non-Christians does not count. What they want is a Theocracy run by Christianity. They do not want the Muslim and Hindu children to pray in school. They want them to pray to the Christian god.

Do you think they would be as enthusiastic about forced school prayers if their child’s teacher was a Muslim or the principal of the school was Hindu? Have they thought about what sect of Christianity will lead the prayer? Pentecostal? Mormon? Baptist? Catholic? Adventist? Jehovah’s Witness? Methodist? Will the Baptist allow a Catholic to lead their child in prayer?

We have FREEDOM OF RELIGION here in the United States. That means you can believe whatever you want as long as you do not push it on others and it harms no one else (you can’t say that rape or murder is a part of your religion). If you bring mandated prayer into the public school classroom and 85% of the class is Christian, how do you think the Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Wiccan, and atheist children will feel? Kids already deal with enough peer pressure from drugs, alcohol, sex and cigarettes; why give them something else to worry about?

For the Christians; remember what Jesus said, (Matthew 6:5-8):

MATTHEW 6:5-8: 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Are atheists offended by school prayer?

When a student prays in private then there is no reason for an atheist to be offended. Even if a student prays aloud, there is really no need for an atheist to be offended. An atheist might look at it as ‘silly’ or ‘a waste of time’, but they certainly should not be offended.

Innocent or an outward sign of proselytizing and public display of religon violating Jesus’ command in Matthew 6:5-6?

If the prayers are school sanctioned or faculty led, then atheists should be greatly offended. Not just atheists should be offended at facilitated, mandated, or forced prayer in public schools – everyone should. If the prayer is based on Christianity, then what about the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Unitarian, Pagan, and atheist students? If Catholics lead the prayers then how will the Baptist and Mormon students feel?

In addition to being offensive and anti-pluralistic, it is against the law. The Constitution of the United States prohibits the government from endorsing a particular religion. If the schools offer a prayer then they have to offer a prayer for EVERY religion. This means we would have to sit through a prayer from a Christian (every sect), Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, Voodoo Witch Doctor, atheist, Pagan, Jew, Satanist, and every other religion you can think of. That is not very practical. The best approach for schools to take is a secular approach – let the students worry about their own religious and none-religious beliefs.

Students can pray all they want, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof. The school staff and the school in general cannot lead in prayer or endorse a particular religious belief, dogma, or ritual.

The establishment clause (separation of church and state) is there to protect everyone, including the religious majority. The Christian student is free to be a Christian because the government and schools are not endorsing and promoting Islam. The Muslim student is free to be a Muslim because the government and schools are not endorsing and promoting Christianity. The atheist student should not feel offended or pressured because the schools and government are not endorsing and promoting any religion. Well, at least they are not supposed to be.

Pray all you want – it does not offend us. Be polite and do not interrupt the classroom environment (pray quietly) and be ethical and do not rub people’s noses in your beliefs (over the PA system at football games). Just remember what Jesus said (re-read Matthew above) about public prayer and we should not have any problems.

Fighting Alabama’s Ten Commandments Legislation

There is no doubt that Alabama’s Legislative body has violated Amendment 1 of the Constitution of the United States. We can sue the state of Alabama and force this issue all the way through the Alabama Supreme Court and to the US Supreme Court where Alabama would lose just like every other state has lost in the past.

There is no doubt that Alabama’s Legislative body has violated Amendment 1 of the Constitution of the United States. We can sue the state of Alabama and force this issue all the way through the Alabama Supreme Court and to the US Supreme Court where Alabama would lose just like every other state has lost in the past.

  1. Kentucky, 1980: US Supreme Court rules that there is no secular purpose for posting the Ten Commandments in Stone v. Graham.
  2. Georgia, 1993: 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Ten Commandments display in a courthouse violated the Separation of Church and State in Harvey v. Cobb County.
  3. South Carolina, 1999: Judge Markley ruled that the display of the Ten Commandments in the Charleston City Council’s chambers violated the Separation of Church and State.
  4. Kentucky, 2000: Federal Judge Coffman ordered Kentucky’s state officials to remove displays that included the Ten Commandments from public schools and government buildings, stating that the plaques denoted an endorsement of a religion by the government.
  5. Indiana, 2000: The US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to remove a Ten Commandments monument because it violated the Establishment Clause.

The only downside I see with such litigation is that the state uses the taxpayer’s money to defend the very law that violates the freedoms of those same taxpayers. I am giving money to Alabama so they can defend themselves against me.

Which Decalogue shall we post? Protestant? Catholic? And what about the other version from the Bible?

The US Supreme Court has already set a precedent for the posting of Ten Commandments in government buildings; including public schools. Taking the issue to the US Supreme Court would more than likely result in the court stating that Alabama should reference prior decisions regarding this very issue. That would put the ball back into the Alabama Supreme Court; and we all know where the 10-1 GOP majority Alabama Supreme Court stands on this issue (especially now that Ten Commandments Boy himself is on the court).

Another problem I see with taking the case to the US Supreme Court is the issue of enforcement. If Alabama chooses to ignore the ruling of the US Supreme Court (as other states have done in the past) what will the federal government do about it? Will President Bush send in the National Guard to take over Alabama because the Governor refuses to comply with a US Supreme Court decision? Will Attorney General Ashcroft have the Governor of Alabama arrested and replaced with a governor that will obey the US Supreme Court?

Kentucky is currently ignoring a US Supreme Court decision regarding its use of the Ten Commandments. What has the federal government done to enforce the law in Kentucky? Absolutely nothing. Has the governor of Kentucky been arrested? Nope. Just a few weeks ago, the Ten Commandments proponents made an appearance on television begging Kentucky residents to donate more money so they can continue to fight to keep the Ten Commandments posted. Once again, the federal government has done absolutely nothing to enforce the law.

Of course, this has not always been the case. The federal government sent US Marshals and the National Guard to Mississippi to ensure that black students could enroll in college. Angry citizens shot several US Marshals and injured many more by throwing objects. The Governor of Mississippi at the time threatened to use the State Police against the US Marshals. Ultimately, however, he only prevented them from protecting the US Marshals. It is important to note that despite the injuries to US Marshals and the gunfire they were receiving, they never shot back at the crowd and maintained their line with only the use of tear gas.

President Kennedy pleaded with the governor of Mississippi on many occasions and tried to come to a peaceful agreement. Kennedy played every hand he had available until the governor forced Kennedy to use the National Guard. The citizens of Mississippi tore down highway signs and street signs causing a significant delay in the arrival of the National Guard and causing them to get lost a few times. The National Guard finally arrived on scene as the US Marshals were running out of options and tear gas.

So what happened to the governor of Mississippi? Did they arrest or impeach the governor? Did they remove him from office for violating federal desegregation laws, obstructing justice, and threatening federal police officers? Nope. Nothing was done because the governor finally succumbed but used Kennedy and the US Marshals as scapegoats when he addressed the citizens of Mississippi.

If we look at history, there is no precedent of removing a governor from office because a state refused to follow an opinion by the US Supreme Court. Opponents make out the US Supreme Court as the “bad guy,” using misinformation, propaganda, and mass hysteria to their advantage. One need only look at the recent decision regarding the Santa Fe football prayer to see how that strategy works.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t sue Alabama to get the Ten Commandments legislation repealed. What I am saying is that a victory in the US Supreme Court may only be symbolic.

So what do we do?

The best way to get the attention necessary is to take a three-pronged approach. Perhaps a Devil’s pitchfork would be a more appropriate visualization.

Prong One

The first prong is to take the battle to the US Supreme Court, via the Alabama Supreme Court, based on the violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States (Establishment Clause). A major organization such as the ACLU, Americans United, American Atheists, or People for the American Way, would have to handle this type of litigation. I am sure all three of those groups are watching Alabama very closely right now.

Of course, the group that does file suit against the state will need a volunteer to put their name on the suit. Is anyone ready to make history and be part of “your name v. State of Alabama?” Any takers?

As mentioned above, Prong One will mean that our tax dollars will defend the state’s position. While I hate to think Alabama will use my money to fight for the Ten Commandments, I have to remind myself it was my tax dollars that paid for the legislation, pays for the legislator’s salaries, and will pay for the design of the plaques, and the labor of the men and women that will install the plaques.

Either way, we pay for it.

If you do not want to volunteer your name, there is still a way you can help with Prong One.

Donate money to the ACLU and Americans United and specifically state that you want the money to go to fighting the Ten Commandments in Alabama. Often these groups will solicit funds for specific purposes, so if you are a member of any of those groups do not be surprised if you get a request for funds.

Also, do not forget to write a letter of opposition to you representatives in the state house and senate.

Prong Two

Prong Two and Prong Three go after the Alabama Constitution, but from different angles.

The Alabama Constitution of 1901 (the last of six revisions), Article 1, Section 3, Religious Freedom, states,

That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.

Posting the Ten Commandments in any government building, including public schools, clearly violates the Alabama Constitution. Posting the Ten Commandments gives preference, by law, to a religious sect (depending on what version of the Ten Commandments they choose), a religious society (Christianity or Judaism), depending on the version they choose, it gives preference to a denomination, and it also gives preference to a mode of worship (Thou shall have no other gods before me).

Larger constitutional organizations can file a lawsuit on a state level. A lawyer working pro bono can file a suit, as well. In each case, volunteers need to attach their name to the lawsuit.

The best part about this approach is that the lawsuits do not have to go exclusively after the Alabama House or Senate. We can sue any form of government that adopts the legislation and places the Ten Commandments illegally.

This multi-lawsuit approach may actually be the best approach, anyway. Overwhelming the state, counties, and school boards with litigation over the Ten Commandments will tap resources quickly. Many school boards, counties, cities, and townships will remove the plaques at the threat of a lawsuit in order to avoid litigation costs.

History shows that in most violations of the Separation of Church and State that we only need a notification of possible litigation for compliance by the facility with state and federal law. When the threat does not work, then litigation must go forward.

Here is where you can help. If your child’s school has posted the Ten Commandments, then let someone know. If your local school board is forcing the Ten Commandments on all the schools in its jurisdiction, then let someone know. If you local government is posting the Ten Commandments, then let someone know. If you are willing to add your name to the lawsuit, then make sure you take the appropriate action.

A major lawsuit going after the state and many smaller lawsuits going after counties, cities, and school boards will overwhelm the state’s finances and legal resources.

Prong Three

Prong Three is based on the Alabama Constitution just as Prong Two was. The difference between Prong Two and Three is approach and tactics.

Instead of suing the state for posting the Ten Commandments, sue the state for only posting the Ten Commandments. As stated above in the Alabama Constitution, legislators cannot pass laws that give preference to a religious sect, society, denomination, or means of worship. By posting the Ten Commandments, they have given such a preference.

Roy Moore’s Holy Tonnage in the Alabama Supreme Court

Now all we have to do is ask them to post every other religion and non-religion’s code of ethics, creeds, or other behavioral-type criterion. We sue the state for not going far enough, for not posting the ethical codes of all religions. Article 1, Section 3 of the Alabama Constitution is clear, you cannot make a law that creates a preference for one, but you can create a law that allows equality for all.

Who gets involved will depend on the version of the Ten Commandments that they choose. If Alabama chooses the Protestant version, then the Catholics and Jews should demand that their versions get equal time and treatment under the Alabama Constitution.

Non-Christians around Alabama should request equal time and treatment just like the Ten Commandments for their version of ethics. The Humanist Manifesto is a great place to start for atheists and humanists. Buddhists should demand the posting of the Noble Eightfold Path and the Five Wonderful Precepts.

The state should post the Nine Beliefs of Hinduism and the Five Pillars of Islam. Of course we can’t forget about the Nine Principles of Anuvrat, the Five Vratas (vows) of Jainas, or the Bahya Tapa and Abhyantara Tapa, which are internal and external austerities, respectively.

Of course, how can we forget the Five Points of Wiccan Belief with its wonderfully great Law of Return and the Ethic of Constant Improvement? Of course, I am sure Alabama’s legislators will be thrilled when they receive a request to post the Nine Satanic Statements and the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth alongside the Ten Commandments.

Are you willing to submit your code of ethics for posting in Alabama alongside the Ten Commandments, making the new law constitutional by giving no preference to a single religion?

What Else Can We Do?

Help bring this issue to the citizens of Alabama. Let them know that Christianity is not the only religion in this state or country. Let them know about the different versions of the Ten Commandments. Write letters to your local newspapers and to your state representatives; including your congressional representative and senator. Write your local government officials when they start to consider adopting the new legislation. Let your children’s school know that you will not tolerate the posting the Ten Commandments.

Get involved with local and national groups that strive to maintain the Separation of Church and State. Donate money to organizations that are involved in the fight (that is a tax write-off, by the way).

Watch for peaceful protests, show up, and give your support. Volunteer your time to make buttons, signs, or other materials for protests.

Contribute no more than what you are capable. Do not go bankrupt trying to help and do not ruin your marriage or forget about your kids. Help according to your skills and your talents. The most important thing to do is help, no matter what level of help you can or cannot provide.

Under God?

The fact that the Pledge of Allegiance contains the words “under God” makes it unconstitutional and a blatant disregard of non-Christian Americans.

It is a common misconception that the Pledge of Allegiance is the same today as originally written. Let us clear up that misconception right now. The Pledge of Allegiance as originally written goes like this:

ORIGINAL PLEDGE: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

This was as it appeared in a Boston based magazine called “The Youth’s Companion” back in 1892. The words were for students to repeat on Columbus Day. The magazine’s circulation manager, Francis Bellamy, wrote it. Columbus Day fell on October 12, 1892 and children recited the Pledge of Allegiance – beginning the tradition of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each school day.

When do we pledge to uphold the Constitution?

A National Flag Conference in Washington, DC on June 14, 1923, modified the Pledge of Allegiance. The NFC replaced “my flag” with “the flag of the United States of America.”

In 1942, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that schools could not force schoolchildren to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

In June of 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. President Eisenhower said,

EISENHOWER MODIFICATION: “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

President Eisenhower made the change after the Knights of Columbus (self-proclaimed “Strong Right Arm of the Church”) campaigned for the change (during the era of McCarthyism and the “Red Scare”). Bellamy’s granddaughter said that Bellamy would have resented the second change because it went against his original intent for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Bellamy was the circulation manager for the magazine because he walked away from his church as a Baptist minister the year before. Reverend Bellamy left the church in 1891 because of public views about his socialist sermons and because he felt that the church was bigoted and racist. After he retired to Florida, Bellamy discussed what he was thinking when he wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. He said,

BELLAMY: “It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution… with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people… The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the ‘republic for which it stands.’ …And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation, which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future? Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity.’ No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all…”

The addition of “under God” is a clear violation of the Separation of Church and State. Eisenhower and the Congress changed the law when a small group of Strong Arm Catholics made a stink when everyone was afraid of those “godless Communists”. The Supreme Court has already ruled that schools could not force schoolchildren to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and yet schools continue to defy that decision. Schools have suspended students for refusing to say the Pledge – even though the Supreme Court said they do not have to say it.

The addition of “under God” is a clear violation of the Separation of Church and State. Eisenhower and the Congress changed the law when a small group of Strong Arm Catholics made a stink when everyone was afraid of those “godless Communists”. The Supreme Court has already ruled that schools could not force schoolchildren to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and yet schools continue to defy that decision. Schools have suspended students for refusing to say the Pledge – even though the Supreme Court said they do not have to say it.

The immediate claims on the airwaves were simple arguments and pleading to the emotionalism of Americans. Only those that supported the court’s decision actually had any facts or law to back up their view. The religionists only had emotional pleas and babbling nonsense, such as claims that “under God” was a generic statement and did not support a particular religion. The historical ignorance of the phrase became obvious in letters and on the airwaves. It was not until after a few weeks that the majority of Christians at least acknowledged that the insertion of the phrase in 1954.

Even the judge that ruled against the phrase, a Republican, stated in his opinion that he disagreed with it and felt it should be there, but he had no choice but to follow the law. None of the opponents of the decisions ever mentioned that. Of course, none of the proponents of the decision seemed to mention it, either. It seemed that both sides were missing the key points. Even the media swayed away from the decision and started pinging on the personal life of Mike Newdow, the plaintiff in the case.

I pledge allegiance, to the Constitution, and the rights for which it demands!

If, as the opponents said, the phrase “under God” was generic, then why is it that the decision only upset Christians? Sure, there were the Jews in Congress that were upset, but that was a political ploy – not reality. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, was a good example of this political hypocrisy. He put his personal beliefs aside in order to gain political favor with his Christian voters. Too bad.

Is the phrase “under God” generic or does it promote a specific religion? If you consider the source of the phrase and the historical origins thereof, it is clear that it promotes not only a specific religion, but also the specific sect of Catholicism. It was a Catholic strong-arm group, the Knights of Columbus, who persuaded and pushed for the addition of the phrase during the height of the scare of those “Godless Communists”.

If the phrase is generic then it should fit every religion, as the Christians would have you believe. So let us take a closer look at the way different religions spell the name of their god(s) and write it.

“G-d” is the way that god is written out in Judaism. It is blasphemous to spell out the name of god, so they insert a hyphen. We can eliminate Judaism as the endorsed or sponsored religion because the phrase is not “under G-d”.

Islam uses the phrase “The Father” (Allah). We can eliminate Islam as the endorsed or sponsored religion because the phrase is not “under The Father” or “under Allah”.

Deism believes in an impersonal god spelled with a lowercase “g”. We can eliminate deism and related religions as the endorsed or sponsored religion because the phrase is not “under god.”

Paganism, Shamanism, Wicca, or similar religions use “goddess” or the proper names of individual goddesses. Earth-based religions would not call “Mother Earth” such a sexist term as “God”. We can eliminate Paganism and related religions as the endorsed or sponsored religion because the phrase is not “under Goddess” or “atop Mother Earth.”

Hinduism talks about the “gods” or uses the specific and proper name of the incarnation of Vishnu, depending on what sect you are referring. We can eliminate Hinduism as the endorsed or sponsored religion because the phrase is not “under gods.”

What does that leave? What religion spells god with a capital G? Christianity is the religion that spells their concept of god with a capital G. Christians are the only ones up in arms over the decision. A Christian sect strong-armed the government to make the change. The Christian mindset of fear of godlessness is what setup the environment that brought on the change. These things combined clearly show that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is a direct endorsement and promotion of Christianity by the government of the United States. It is therefore an unconstitutional phrase and the phrase needs removing.

There are many Christians that say by removing “under God” from the Pledge that the government is endorsing “the religion of atheism.” To endorse their concept of what religious atheism is (the disbelief in God), we would not remove the phrase but change it to “under no God”. The removal of the phrase does not endorse any religion or non-religion. It makes no statement either pro or con of any god or goddess concept. The Pledge, without that phrase, remains neutral to all religions.

I am often surprised that Christians endorse the Pledge of Allegiance in the first place. After all, pledge to an icon (the flag) is in violation of their Ten Commandments. Should they not be pledging to their god? Of course, that goes for any religionist – not just Christians.

Freedom of religion founded this country, and as we have already learned, religion does not mean god. Buddhism is a religion without a god and others as well. To pledge to this country by way of its flag with a law written to endorse a single religion (which it does by capitalizing the word god) is a clear violation of the Separation of Church and State.

Of course the issue of forcing patriotism through rote Pledges is another topic altogether…