Atheist Revolution has a post concerning Taking Back America For Atheists which suggests that Christians have taken over America. It has a criticism of patriotism while suggesting atheists should become patriotic to “take back America.” I need to reply to a few of these ideas.
First, this isn’t a Christian nation and there’s nothing to “take back” since it still belongs to all of the people regardless of their religious belief. Even the Muslims still have freedom of religion even if there are currently some that are vocal for limiting their freedoms in this country. Religious freedom needs to continue to be protected for all, but it’s not yet time to sound the alarm of a Christian takeover. Yes, I said religious freedom needs to be protected. If I am free to think and believe what I want then everyone else should be free too. We need to live together without interferring with each other’s freedoms.
I never feel threatened or compelled to engage in religious belief because of my government. The only threatening thing I can’t opt out of that I can think of is “In God We Trust” on my money. Obviously we don’t all trust in God so that needs to change back to E Pluribus Unum as the original motto that captures the true spirit of the country. “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible” is also divisive but I’m not obligated to say it and I won’t get thrown in jail if I don’t. I can hold my head high and reflect on our freedom while everyone else bows their head in prayer at a sporting event. The religious police don’t come over and haul me away for not praying and I’ve never received any weird looks or threats for it. If most people at the event want to participate in a prayer, then why should I care as long as I’m not compelled to join in?
Yes, I think prayer has no business in an official government setting led by government officials, but if they allow all beliefs to have a turn at it then that supports freedom of religion for me. If they limit it to Christian prayer then they’re just wrong since that’s not the law of this country. We usually get that kind of thing corrected. A “take back America” for any one group as an attitude is unpatriotic to me since we should all fight for each other’s freedom to believe and act how we want. Many times I’ll see the majority doing things I don’t like or won’t participate in but as long as I’m still free to not join the majority, then we’re good.
Our very secular government serves all of the people. Until I hear of a day that the police, fire department, social services, or any other governmental function will not serve me for my lack of belief in god, then I see every reason to continue as a patriot of our country. In my time of need I know I won’t just get prayed for instead of receiving government action. There are flaws and problem areas caused by religious people, but we’re doing pretty good overall. Our government and the laws of this country are the only things a freethinker has to be thankful for on any level close to that of a deity. The country is definitely a greater power than any individual. Our society and our government allows me to live the life I have without fear of the thought police or other forms of mob rule over an individual. These are some of the reasons I think freethinkers should be a patriot and a fan of our country. This definitely isn’t Iran, North Korea, or China. Right now we have some pretty good legal protections for a lack of belief even if we don’t exactly have a utopian freedom from religion. I agree this isn’t a permanent trait of the country and it does need some improvement and protecting, but we haven’t lost America yet.
Freethinkers are the best patriots as exemplified by someone like Thomas Paine and we have every reason to continue in the footsteps of someone like him. If this country really is about liberty, freedom, and the Bill of Rights then anyone trying to remake us into a Christian nation is the most unpatriotic type of person of all. The Atheist Revolution post has it right in saying:
The Christian right has long had their version of a “take back America” movement, exemplified most recently by Fox “News” windbag, Glenn Beck. But they seek to take us back to a fictional time and place, turning us into something we’ve never been and that actually violates much of the Constitution.
My feedback on the marketing approach of saying atheists should have their own “take back America” movement is to say that America isn’t lost yet. The real movement would be to remind everyone how secular the government really is and have a patriotic movement that protects freedom, liberty, and justice for ALL, not just the “right type of Christian” that would get more and more restrictive if we ever went down that road. Marketing would say things like “True patriots defend freedom of belief” and “true patriots want liberty for all, not just one type of God believers.” We don’t need to “take back America” and we just need to protect it from “my group only” attacks since “America is freedom for ALL.”
I have a funny side note since the post mentioned Glenn Beck. I’ve seen where Glenn Beck apparently idolized Thomas Paine for Common Sense and wrote a book based on that pamphlet. I definitely recommend another work by Thomas Paine called The Age of Reason, which is a wonderful critique of religion. This is from the same person that’s hailed as the The Father of the American Revolution and considered to be one of the founding fathers of the United States. Some Christians believe the United States was built in the Christian image while leaving God and Jesus completely out of the documents that serve as the foundation for our government when in truth it was created in the minds of people like Thomas Paine.