WTF? - "Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace"

BGH
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WTF? - "Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace"

This editorial was in today's St. Louis Post Dispatch from a local contributor.

The writer basically states that placating religion is the way to achieve world peace. She asserts Europe is in serious trouble because of their efforts to keep society secular and encouraging religious beliefs to be private.

I found it interesting that she asserts muslims in secular societies only have a choice between militant atheism or militant islam. This is a complete non-sequiter, the article pretty much started my morning off right by completely pissing me off.

"Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace




I recently returned from a cultural exchange program in Switzerland, where I
spent my days admiring alpine vistas, eating too many truffles and trying to
explain American religiosity to puzzled Europeans.

Gently — but persistently — my Swiss interlocutors pressed me for answers: Why
are Americans so religious? Why does faith play such an important role in
American debates? And why, in an age in which terrorists murder in God's name,
do Americans affirm the value of religion in public life?

Implicit in many of these questions is the view that religion is a divisive
force best quarantined from public life. For many Europeans, this view is
confirmed by their continent's history of religious wars and by the assumption
that all religions and religious beliefs are essentially the same: that is,
essentially irrational and inherently dangerous.

Although atheist regimes from

Stalin's to Mao's made the 20th century the most murderous ever, many
secularists still believe that suppression of religion and rejection of theism
are the keys to world peace.

Attempts to eradicate religion's influence appeal to secular Europeans facing
the threat of Islamic extremism. After witnessing bombings in Madrid and
London, riots in France and worldwide violence to protest Danish cartoons, many
Europeans believe such incidents can be combated only with aggressive
secularization laws such as France's ban on religious apparel in state
schools.

That law, which sparked a fierce Muslim backlash, illustrates a deeply rooted
distinction between contemporary American and European approaches to religion.

Unlike Europeans, Americans never have had an established national church. Our
democratic experiment began as a quest for religious and political freedom, not
as a rejection of religion. Our founding documents explicitly refer to God and
draw on a Judeo-Christian worldview to assert the dignity and equality of all.

This heritage of defending religious freedom while affirming religious faith
explains our American tendency to see faith as a source of liberty rather than
tyranny and as a marker of individual identity that still allows for a common
civic heritage. From this heritage came our tradition of welcoming the diverse
religious beliefs of immigrants, while insisting that they accept the
fundamental values of our democratic society.

Our nation and its immigrants have not always achieved this assimilation ideal.
But a key factor in our success has been our vibrant religious marketplace.
This marketplace tends to marginalize and moderate extremist voices by forcing
them to compete with more reasonable religious voices and appeal to shared
values in the public square.

Our insistence on dealing with religious conflicts through vigorous debate,
rather than through state-sanctioned gag rules, makes life messy, but it also
undercuts the appeal of violent extremism. While Muslims in rigidly secular
societies must choose between militant atheism and militant Islam, Muslims in
America have other alternatives. Not surprisingly, they tend to be more
assimilated, tolerant and content than their European counterparts.

A recent Pew poll confirmed this, finding that most American Muslims have a
positive view of society, believe they can be devout Muslims while living in a
modern society and report no religious discrimination.

The picture is not entirely rosy: Eight percent of American Muslims and 15
percent of American Muslims under 30 believe suicide bombings are justified at
times. Those are alarming numbers, but the fact that they are significantly
higher in Europe suggests that Islamic extremism flourishes more in the vacuum
of Europe's staunch secularism than in the competitive marketplace of America's
religious pluralism.

As we confront Islamic extremism at home, we should remember the heritage of
religious freedom that has taught us that the best way to fight bad ideas is
with better ones.

Colleen Carroll Campbell is an author, television host and St. Louis-based
fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Her website is

www.colleen-campbell.com."

[edit - removed quote box]


BGH
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Vorax wrote: Grats on

Vorax wrote:

Grats on getting it printed!

To bad they had to sprinkle some insanity on the side Sad

Thanks!

JCE and I are going to work on a response to the "under god" letter, I can't have another letter printed for 60 days. 


JCE
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BGH wrote: JCE and I are

BGH wrote:

JCE and I are going to work on a response to the "under god" letter, I can't have another letter printed for 60 days.

Congratulations again, BGH!

Yes, the carpool was a little loud this morning from some crazy woman screaming at the paper....oh yeah, that was me.  lol 


Vastet
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Grats man. Make sure you

Grats man. Make sure you keep a copy of the paper for posterity. Sticking out tongue

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


BGH
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Vastet wrote: Grats man.

Vastet wrote:
Grats man. Make sure you keep a copy of the paper for posterity. :P

Thanks! Multiple copies already made and stored. LOL.

Hopefully this will not be the only one I ever have published. 


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BGH wrote: Vastet

BGH wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Grats man. Make sure you keep a copy of the paper for posterity. :P

Thanks! Multiple copies already made and stored. LOL.

Hopefully this will not be the only one I ever have published.

Congrats, BGH. It's a good letter... even if some of the words are too big for a few morons Eye-wink

Before there was a World Wide Web, letters to the editor were my preferred method of disabusing Christians of the notion that they and their worldview deserve a place in the creation of public policy. Any time one of my letters got published it was a big surprise, because the county and its biggest newspaper couldn't possibly BE more biased toward right-wing religious fundamentalism. Orange County, CA: Home of TBN, Calvary Chapel and the Minutemen Project... ugh

 

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ObnoxiousBroad

ObnoxiousBroad wrote:

Congrats, BGH. It's a good letter... even if some of the words are too big for a few morons Eye-wink

Before there was a World Wide Web, letters to the editor were my preferred method of disabusing Christians of the notion that they and their worldview deserve a place in the creation of public policy. Any time one of my letters got published it was a big surprise, because the county and its biggest newspaper couldn't possibly BE more biased toward right-wing religious fundamentalism. Orange County, CA: Home of TBN, Calvary Chapel and the Minutemen Project... ugh

Thank you!

Too many times in the past I read op-ed pieces like the one at the beginning of the thread and just went about my day irritated and pissed off.

Well when I wrote the letter it was actually relieving. I said what I wanted to say and whether it got published or not wasn't the point. It was to make the rational voice heard. We need to write more and voice more, we need to be heard. Silence has gotten us marginalized and treated like third class citizens, where people actually think we are some type of satan worshippers. I am going to write more and write often. This type of ignorant opinion piece in major city newspaper needs rebuttal, it should not go un-addressed.


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BGH wrote: ObnoxiousBroad

BGH wrote:
ObnoxiousBroad wrote:

Congrats, BGH. It's a good letter... even if some of the words are too big for a few morons Eye-wink

Before there was a World Wide Web, letters to the editor were my preferred method of disabusing Christians of the notion that they and their worldview deserve a place in the creation of public policy. Any time one of my letters got published it was a big surprise, because the county and its biggest newspaper couldn't possibly BE more biased toward right-wing religious fundamentalism. Orange County, CA: Home of TBN, Calvary Chapel and the Minutemen Project... ugh

Thank you!

Too many times in the past I read op-ed pieces like the one at the beginning of the thread and just went about my day irritated and pissed off.

Well when I wrote the letter it was actually relieving. I said what I wanted to say and whether it got published or not wasn't the point. It was to make the rational voice heard. We need to write more and voice more, we need to be heard. Silence has gotten us marginalized and treated like third class citizens, where people actually think we are some type of satan worshippers. I am going to write more and write often. This type of ignorant opinion piece in major city newspaper needs rebuttal, it should not go un-addressed.

It IS cathartic to write a letter and send it off, in response to such ridiculous nonsense. If it gets printed, all the better... although nowadays, you can post that same letter to a blog, website, forum, or whatever, and make sure your opinion is heard no matter what.

One of the reasons I support the RRS is because it's long past time someone stood up and demanded the religiously deluded cease being allowed to codify their worldview through laws that govern us all, and as someone who's been fighting this fight since the early 80s while trying to be as "tolerant" and gracious as possible, I realize that it's gotten worse over the years instead of better, and I'm more than willing to be associated with "aggressive atheists," because if the past quarter-century is any indication, unless we ARE willing to call bullshit on religion loudly and publicly regardless of how "uncivil" some might find having such widely-held delusions questioned, they'll continue getting more favor and more power in politics. It cannot go on. So at this point, I don't really give a rat's ass HOW we get attention and media coverage for our efforts, just that we DO.

When this issue first came to my attention (and got stuck in my craw sufficiently to get me fighting), I was still an agnostic theist. The separation of church and state has remained a cause worthy of my involvement through 25 years and a long, winding path to now. I am no more or less disgusted by the creeping fundamentalism I see in America as an atheist today, as I was as an agnostic in the 90s, a pagan in the 80s, or a "backslidden" born-again (I got caught up in a Calvary Chapel altar call... what the hell, I was 15!) in the late 70s.

First and foremost I am an American, and the document I hold most sacred is the Constitution. I may go until the day I die without seeing the religious neutrality of government mandated by the First Amendment come to pass, but that won't stop me from continuing to rail against the commingling of church and state in any way, at any time, the opportunity presents itself.

I'm really glad there are now so many young, educated and articulate atheists to join the fight... cuz I gotta tell ya, I'm old and I'm getting sorta tired... Eye-wink

Invisible friends are for children and psychopaths.


BGH
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ObnoxiousBroad wrote:

ObnoxiousBroad wrote:

It IS cathartic to write a letter and send it off, in response to such ridiculous nonsense. If it gets printed, all the better... although nowadays, you can post that same letter to a blog, website, forum, or whatever, and make sure your opinion is heard no matter what.

One of the reasons I support the RRS is because it's long past time someone stood up and demanded the religiously deluded cease being allowed to codify their worldview through laws that govern us all, and as someone who's been fighting this fight since the early 80s while trying to be as "tolerant" and gracious as possible, I realize that it's gotten worse over the years instead of better, and I'm more than willing to be associated with "aggressive atheists," because if the past quarter-century is any indication, unless we ARE willing to call bullshit on religion loudly and publicly regardless of how "uncivil" some might find having such widely-held delusions questioned, they'll continue getting more favor and more power in politics. It cannot go on. So at this point, I don't really give a rat's ass HOW we get attention and media coverage for our efforts, just that we DO.

When this issue first came to my attention (and got stuck in my craw sufficiently to get me fighting), I was still an agnostic theist. The separation of church and state has remained a cause worthy of my involvement through 25 years and a long, winding path to now. I am no more or less disgusted by the creeping fundamentalism I see in America as an atheist today, as I was as an agnostic in the 90s, a pagan in the 80s, or a "backslidden" born-again (I got caught up in a Calvary Chapel altar call... what the hell, I was 15!) in the late 70s.

First and foremost I am an American, and the document I hold most sacred is the Constitution. I may go until the day I die without seeing the religious neutrality of government mandated by the First Amendment come to pass, but that won't stop me from continuing to rail against the commingling of church and state in any way, at any time, the opportunity presents itself.

I'm really glad there are now so many young, educated and articulate atheists to join the fight... cuz I gotta tell ya, I'm old and I'm getting sorta tired... Eye-wink

Great post!

You are right, we need to stand up and be loud on all fronts like TV, newspaper and the internet. I agree blogs are a great way to reach people without having to rely on being 'published'. Although, I think the letters to the editor are still needed because there are many Americans who do not read blogs or message boards. We have to be 'out there' in all genres of media.

A note on the last statement of your post, I am sure you still have A LOT of fight still in you. We will work on this cause together.


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Ok, I have sent my response

Ok, I have sent my response to the following letter, which was written as a comment on the same article referenced here:

I commend Colleen Carroll Campbell on her commentary "Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace" (June 7). I agree that the key to world peace is freedom of religion. After all, our America was founded "under God" and with the principle that "in God we trust."

Let's try to keep our freedom of religion, to which each American is entitled.

Delores Kettenbach | St. Louis

So here is my response:

In response to Delores Kettenbach’s letter regarding Colleen Carroll Campbell’s commentary "Suppressing religion is not the key to world peace" (June 7):

I do not disagree that freedom of religion is a good thing. In fact, it is such a good thing that it is included in our Constitution as the First Amendment. I do disagree with her statements that America was founded "under God" and with the principle that "in God we trust”. To put it simply, this is untrue. The founding fathers made every effort to keep the United States government secular. This country was not founded under any “god” and Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists quite clearly supports the intent of the founding fathers on this issue. If that does not suffice, perhaps Ms. Kettenbach should peruse the Treaty of Tripoli for further confirmation of the fact that the founding fathers were adamant that religion stay out of government and this country is not a Christian nation.

The phrase “under god” was added to the pledge during the 1950’s as a reaction to the cold war. Again it was not a founding principle for this country. In fact, the only “god” mentioned is in the Declaration which is not a legal document and it references a creator, not the Christian god. “in god we trust” was made the official motto and officially added to our currency during the 1950’s as well.

Ms. Kettenbach should be careful about what she wishes for. Should the day come that this country does become a Christian nation, someone is going to decide for her whose version of Christianity is the “best” and it is unlikely that is what she wants. It stuns me that people with religious beliefs will continue to push the United States to become a Christian nation without taking to time to understand the ramifications of it. I think we should all consider ourselves fortunate to live in a country that enjoys freedom of religion and should stop trying to drag it into the political arena.

It is unlikely that they will print it, but as noted by BGH and Obnoxiousbroad, I did feel better after writing it and sending it.