Overheard (May 2023)
As a nonbelieving American, I’m put off, to say the least, by the reference to God in the pledge. While the pledge is hardly our biggest problem, it’s surely an unnecessary and all-too-often empty bit of symbolism. Its purpose is indoctrination. It’s fodder for the culture wars. Too often, it’s merely rote recitation. It’s anti-secular because it’s pro-God.
Nicholas Goldberg, in his op-ed, “Is the Pledge of Allegiance just an empty, performative ritual?”
Los Angeles Times, 3-20-23
As a lifelong atheist, I have always objected to forced public displays of religious belief [including the Pledge of Allegiance].
The words “under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. And . . . perhaps we should remove the entire pledge and replace it with an ode to the Bill of Rights.
Frances Segal, in a letter to the editor.
Los Angeles Times, 3-26-23
Look, I believe firmly in the separation of church and state. For me, that’s bedrock for how our democracy works, I have no interest in living in a theocracy of any kind. In my view, we live in our faith and under the law.
Sen. Raphael Warnock, when asked about politicking from the pulpit.
Religion News Service, 3-31-23
Every day I wake up at 91, I am happy without a coffin over my head. I don’t know where I’m going, but I do know from whence I came. I’m a New Yorker, born, half-bred and bred, who outlived my brothers and closest friends.
Malachy McCourt, Irish-American humorist, actor, author, bartender, nonbeliever and brother of Frank McCourt (author of Angela’s Ashes), profiled after he was kicked out of hospice for not dying quickly enough. (McCourt was interviewed on FFRF’s “Freethought Matters” TV show, March 2021. Watch at: bit.ly/3lbcJni)
New York Times, 3-12-23
Imagine if fundamentalist Muslims in our community demanded every female wear a head-to-toe burqa, like the Taliban do in Afghanistan.
Suppose Orthodox Christians demanded everyone celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, like in Russia?
Suppose you order a big, juicy steak at your favorite steak house on a Friday night, but the waitress brings you fish instead, because that is what her beliefs dictate. Or a waiter refuses to deliver pork.
These examples sound ridiculous, of course. They are laughable because we know with certainty these religious groups could never get serious consideration for such demands in America. So, what is the difference between these silly examples and the ones listed at the beginning? The difference is which people demand privilege — the privilege to force their own views onto their neighbors.
Columnist David Kashdan, in his op-ed, “Is one religion more valid than another?”
Times News of Kingsport, Tenn., 11-20-22