Freedom from religion foundation, Inc | Subscribe
Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

6th place: College essay contest — Eleanor McHugh

Eleanor McHugh

FFRF awarded Eleanor $1,000.

By Eleanor McHugh

They walk asleep — their heads stuck in tomorrow. Children wail at the injustice of the present, but they pay no mind. “Everything is fine,” they think. “Justice will be served in the afterlife.” Religion poisons the masses into violent inaction. The belief in an afterlife, a God, discourages the urgent action necessary to solve the world’s biggest challenges. 

John Lennon’s words echo in the caverns of my mind, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. . . Imagine all the people living for today.” Unfortunately, this reality is difficult to realize given the overwhelming comfort that believing in God provides. I have often found myself leaning toward this comfort during times of strife, only to be reawakened by reality. The concept of a god allows empathetic people to sleep soundly knowing the extent of the human rights atrocities occurring outside their very doors. Who would want to give that up?

The concept of a god is forced upon the citizens of the United States. Even the Pledge of Allegiance reads like a perverted nationalistic prayer. “One nation under God” a choir of schoolchildren chants, and, if you listen carefully, you may even hear an “Amen” at the end. Before children are even taught to read, they are conditioned to believe in God. Of course, this violates the precedent set by the Supreme Court case Engel v. Vitale, banning school prayer. Yet children are far too young to know their rights in the face of the impending theistic machine.

Even our money is religious advocacy. “In God We Trust” is printed on our dollars and coins. This is a very intentional method of theistic propaganda. In the hands of millions of people, the currency of one of the most economically influential nations in the world extolls the merits of “God.” This is reminiscent of the imperialistic nature of U.S. mercantilism in forcing evangelism on peoples of other countries. The economy is a tool carrying the plague of theism to unsuspecting victims.

What is the purpose of this heavy-handed American theism? It is far from an indication of the devout religious tendencies of the U.S. government. This propaganda is far more deliberate and sinister. The purpose of this is to persuade the masses into passivity. Religion is a sedative that prevents the organized action of the people against the injustices of the world and the injustices of their own government.

When will the American moment of reckoning occur where we shun the veiled theism forced upon us in pursuit of true liberty? A nation that extolls the right to religious freedom has yet to grant freedom from religion to its citizens. “In God We Trust” is not a virtue, but a threat. A threat against action, that has thus far been successful.

I urge the theists to wake up. For too long I have walked among the sleeping masses, the passive. It is only when we rebel against our forced delusions of God that we can truly begin to see the world for what it is and correct injustice instead of waiting for an imagined force to do it for us.

Eleanor, 20, attends Long Island University. “I am an avid environmentalist and enjoy climbing, art and travel,” she writes. “I am invested in international public policy surrounding environmental issues and am majoring in global studies to find nuanced international solutions to global problems.”