Sunday, May 11, 2014

How Public Prayers are Morally Reprehensible

For more than a year, Rich Lane of Shelbyville, Kentucky, has been imploring the Shelbyville City Council to stop opening meetings with christian prayers.

He has cited the First Amendment, the divisiveness of sectarian prayers, the insults to non-xians and non-believers, even the biblical injunctions against public prayer.

In response, he has received nothing but disdain, contempt and insults from the council members.

As a fellow atheist, I agree with Lane's points and support his effort unequivocally.  But for me, the strongest argument he made was his latest, on May 1.

In that statement, he referred to a deeply insulting and anti-American remark from council member Bob Andriot, who told Lane - during a public council meeting - that because Andriot is a christian, and everybody he knows is a christian, then he was going to continue to promote christianity in his capacity as an elected official no matter what.

This was, by the way, before the U.S. Supreme Court legitimized Talibantastic sentiments like Andriot's and basically told every non-Christian in the country to fuck off and die in a fire.

On May 1, Lane exposed the essential hate behind Andriot's statement:

"Imagine if Shelbyville were struggling with racial tensions, and I was standing up here arguing for racial equality instead of religious equality.  Just think about the public outcry that would ensue if someone on this council were to make the exact same comments that were made to me during my last appearance, substituting the word 'White' for 'Christian.'

"In fact, there's no need to imagine - I'll do it for you.  I want you to hear the exact same words that were said to me in a different context to help you understand just how intolerant the council is actually being.  Again, this is word for word what was said to me, substituting five occurrences of the word 'christian' with the word 'White.'
'With all due respect to you, Rich I totally disagree with you.  Me being White, I feel very strongly about what we do here, and I'll continue to do i8t until the Supreme Court says we can't.

'I feel like this community is a White community. And that b ei9ng the case, then I think that's where I feel like our support ought to go.  And so therefor I'll always support the White doctrines.

'And I feel at this point Whites are still a majority, and that being the case, people know where I stand on i8ssues.  They know I'm White, and what I believe.'
Lane continued:
"Spoken in the context of racial inequality, it's immediately obvious how intolerant and prejudiced those statements really are.  Yet when those same words are masked behind the cloak of religious convictions, they're not only tolerated; they're often encouraged and even celebrated!

"I think it's morally reprehensible and completely inappropriate for this council to behave in this manner."
The only thing that separates a democracy under the rule of law from a theocracy under the rule of freakazoids is the separation of church and state embodied in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Bob Andriot and people who share his hateful behavior should move to Saudi Arabia, where their dream theocracy rules all.

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