A Response to FWD: Pray
A copy of this FWD came to my wife’s inbox today and, as I’ve been in a period of philosophical, religious, and non-theist study and reflection, I did a quick google search and decided to write a reply. Interestingly, this has been going around the interwebs since 1999 and although it has been attributed to Andy Rooney, was mostly the work of Nick Gholson, a sports writer from Wichita Falls, TX. Read the full forward on snopes.com (here) or below first for full effect. While the s.e.e.p. has generally discussed environmental and some political issues, we will in the future also be discussing religion, it’s place in regard to scientific pursuits, it’s effect on our civilization, social justice and other aspects.
While religion also has been important to the development of our civilization, you are wrong when you assert that a 30-second prayer does not endager our liberty. While you say that the United States was founded on Christian principles, you are partially correct in that it was indeed Christians who came here, seeking freedom from religious persecution. But from whom? For the most part, other Christians. The nation was indeed started by Christians, but anyone who says that we are a “Christian Nation” does not truly understand freedom, nor do they understand the principles upon which it was founded. People of this mindset often misinterpret “freedom of religion” as “freedom to live in a Christian Nation”, when what it really means, is that everyone has the right to practice their own religion, or lack thereof, without being harassed or their freedoms imposed upon by members of other religions. In order for us to achieve real freedom for all, this concept needs to apply to any government-related activity, in this case, public schools. Just as you have a right to say a PERSONAL prayer before a football game, I have the right to not have what I consider superstition and mythology preached at my child’s publicly-sponsored activities. If you want to have a group prayer before a game, send your child to a Christian school, not a public school where everyone must be free of religious indoctrination or coercion. How does the son or daughter of Muslim, Jewish, or non-theist parents feel when many of their classmates are chanting a prayer from a different religion that they do not believe in? They feel at best segregated, and at worst demeaned or oppressed, and is not much better than good-old fashioned school bullying.
Using the argument of numbers, where Christian churches outnumber others 200-1 is a horrible logical fallacy. I hate to play the incessant Glen Beck Hitler card, but the although the numbers were to his advantage when he conquered Greece, Libya, and other countries during their advancement in WWII, this most certainly did not make it the right thing to do. This is clearly exaggeration of the issue at hand, but I’m sure you get my point. Our country was founded from a minority, feeling that the majority was wrong and oppressing their freedoms. By calling for a Christian ceremony to take precedence over the practices of non-theists and non-Christians, simply because they are a minority, you imply that they do not have the same rights as Christians, and in doing so you miss the entire point of what freedom really is, threatening to become the same type of despots that led to the founding of our great country.
I find your interpretation of an atheist’s response amusing and hypocritical, as Christians have a longer and more violent history of the same, with many lawyers being called to take scientifically supported evolution out of science in exchange for non-scientific and religiously-based “intelligent design”, as well as banning books, taking away people’s rights by not allowing them to marry, and other impositions on our civil liberties. Contrary to your opinion, others have more of a right NOT to hear your prayers in public schools than you have to say them. And to clarify, this does not infringe on your liberties at all, as you are still welcome to practice your religion in whatever way you please in your home, your 200-1 churches, or other non-taxpayer supported venue.
CBS and Katie Couric et al must be in a panic and rushing to reassure the White House that this is not network policy. (Andy Rooney's segment on 60 Minutes program on CBS Sundays is below.) Folks, this is the year that we RE-TAKE AMERICA & CANADA ********* Get Ready ********* Keep this going around the globe. Read it and forward every time you receive it. We can't give up on this issue. Andy Rooney and Prayer Andy Rooney says: I don't believe in Santa Claus but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwinbut I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution. Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire Book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game. But it's a Christian prayersome will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America and Canada , countries founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect -- somebody chanting Hare Krishna? If I went to a football game in JerusalemI would expect to hear a Jewish prayer. If I went to a soccer game inBaghdad I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. If I went to a ping pong match in China I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha. And I wouldn't be offended.It wouldn't bother me one bit. When in Rome ..... But what about the atheists? Is another argument. What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humour us for 30 seconds.If that's asking too much bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer! Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations. Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep.Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying. God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well, just sue me. The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we tell that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority doesn't care what they want. It is time that the majority rules! It's time we tell them, "You don't have to pray; you don't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honour Him. That is your right and we will honour your right; but by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back and we WILL WIN!" God bless us one and all...Especially those who denounce Him,God bless America and Canada , despite all our faults we are still the greatest nations of all. God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God. Let's make 2010the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions. And our military forces come home from all the wars. Keep looking up. If you agree with this please pass it on.= ------ End of Forwarded Message