Letterbox (Sept. 2018)
Push to keep religion out of politics, science
In online political surveys, we are prompted to check off what we think is most important for our representatives to work on. For the “Other” category, I have gotten into the habit of adding: “Get religion out of politics, education and science!”
I don’t believe in miracles, but who knows, if we all do that, it might eventually have an impact.
Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ not as atheistic as it seems
I think the newspaper is the best part of being an FFRF member.
I’d like to issue a counterpoint to Caren Campbell’s proposal (June/July 2018) that “Imagine” be our “anthem.”
Lennon was not an atheist. The song was inspired by a poem from Yoko Ono’s s book Grapefruit, and he told Playboy magazine he wrote the song as a prayer to god. The lyrics ask us to “imagine” there is no heaven, which assumes we all believe there is one. Two years before he wrote the song, he said “Whatever they celebrate, God and Christ, I don’t think it matters as long as they’re aware of Him and His message.” (eeek!) He did take a lot of heat for the “no possessions” part, given his wealth.
Other wrongly interpreted songs adopted as anthems include “Born in the USA,” “This Land is Your Land” and “American Woman.”
People are free to take from lyrics whatever they choose, of course. We don’t need an anthem (we have lots of terrific slogans!), but there are some fine songs about atheism/secularism (Dan Barker knows this).
I particularly like these lyrics from James Taylor’s “Up from your Life:” “So much for your moment of prayer; God’s not at home, there is no there there; lost in the stars, that’s what you are . . . left here on your own. You can only hope to live on this Earth, this here is it, no second birth, no starry crown.”
FFRF bumper sticker gets positive responses
With much apprehension, I placed my new
To my surprise, it has gendered nothing but gratifying responses.
One day, I noticed, as I approached my car in a parking lot, a white napkin tucked under my wiper blade. It read, “Have a blessed day.”
A week later, again in a parking lot, I was momentarily annoyed to see a car stopped directly behind me, blocking my exit. The driver lowered the window and asked where I bought the sticker. I gave her a brief sales pitch on the merits of FFRF. She said, before driving off, “My husband has a sticker that reads, ‘I evolved, you didn’t.’”
Another plus: Now I am very patient in Starbucks drive-throughs, knowing the person in the car behind me is getting a thought-provoking message.
I am now into my 90th year and would like to become a Life Member. Enclosed is my check. Does a Life Membership come with any guarantees? If I die, do I get a refund?
Howard K. Bostock
Many thanks to FFRF for student activist scholarship
I would like to thank the anonymous couple from the Northwest who provided the money to make possible the Thomas Jefferson Student Activist Award scholarship I received. Thanks to everyone at the FFRF for believing in me enough to offer me the award.
I cannot express the amount of appreciation and gratefulness I have toward FFRF. Your organization provides thousands of people a chance to safely resolve and/or pursue challenges of state/church separation, allowing ordinary citizens the opportunity to be powerful influencers in their local, state and federal governments. Everyone deserves an equal chance to express their faith or lack thereof. Everyone deserves the right to be free from intrusions that poison our governments and communities with bias and hate. The power of the people rather than the forces of religion should inspire the government. I hope you know that you made a profound impact on my life and will continue to do so. Thank you for all of your help, support and kindness.
Longtime member now FFRF Lifetime Member
I have no idea how long I’ve been a FFRF member! I suppose it has something to do with my age — 82. I’ve done a lot and seen a lot. The best thing I did was having a career in the Marines. Running a close second was joining FFRF.
I’m still a foxhole atheist defending our Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic.
Enclosed please find my check for Life Membership.
Peter J. Viviano
‘Harry Potter’ phrase on shirt an ironic twist
I couldn’t help but laugh after reading the entry in the “Black Collar Crime” section (June/July issue) about Suzanne Owen, accused of seducing one of her students, because of the T-shirt she is portrayed in.
As any fan of the “Harry Potter” series knows, the phrase “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” comes straight from the works of J.K. Rowling, whom evangelicals have castigated as promoting witchcraft, demonism and who knows what else. What is a teacher at an evangelical school doing wearing such a thing?
The irony of the whole thing is that, in the end, Harry is portrayed as a Christ-like figure, dying and returning to life in order to save all that is good. These people don’t seem to be able to face up to their own contradictions.
Seeing the world as more than black and white
Here’s an impious exhortation for your Letterbox, should you deem it worthy. It’s titled “Against Color Blindness.”
Either/or, now or never!
What’s it for if not forever?
Christ or else! Choose this day!
No to this, in hell you pay!
When you must, by all means choose,
But your reason do not lose.
“Christ or else” an odious lie.
Keep integrity ’til you die.
Either/or is black and white,
Think in color without fright.
Complex the world appears to be.
Yes this truth will set you free.