I was reading this article by Valerie Tarico on alternet.org, “Former Christian Fundamentalist: How Science Made Me Lose My Religion” when I was shocked by the fact there are “32,000 denominations into which Christianity has fractured.”
Then I found this on rawstory.com, “Fox News host Dana Perino this week suggested that atheists should leave the country instead of trying to maintain the separation of church and state.”
I can see her point. After all, we have 32,000 Christian options to choose from. We should be able to find at least one that fits. (Regrets to you Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims. This one’s about Christians.)
Then the article goes on to say, “In a case before the Massachusetts Supreme Court, atheist lawyer David Niose argued that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the state’s constitution.
“I’m tired of them,” Perino complained on Wednesday. “I remember working at the Justice Department years ago when I first started right after 9/11 and a lawsuit like this came through, and before the day had finished, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge.”
“If these people really don’t like it, they don’t have to live here,” she added.
“Yeah, that’s a good point,” co-host Bob Beckel agreed.
“If you don’t believe then why do you care?” Perino wondered. “It’s just like some guy’s name.”
This whole thing got me to wondering what she’d have us do about agnostics. That’s when it got personal. I mean, should I, as an agnostic, leave the country of my birth, that by the way, guarantees separation of church and state in its consitituion.
But there’s another side to this story. Maybe we should be forced to leave. After all if you can’t make up your mind with 32,00 choices.
I guess I could sneak by saying the pledge of allegiance in its entirety, with “under God”, an entity which I have no way of knowing exists? Or maybe I should remain silent, out of respect for the people who believe they know God exists and favors this country above all others.
After all “it’s just some guy’s name.”
Anyway, as Ms. Perino is tired of atheists, she’s probably tired of agnostics. Well at least we can agree on that sentiment. As agnostics, we are the most tiring. We’re stuck in the middle of the balancing act between those who know God exists and those who know god doesn’t.
Maybe I can find solace in Ms. Perino’s memory of how the Senate and House both passed resolutions saying we should keep “under God” in our pledge. And although they didn’t specify which of the 32,00 choices is best, I’ll bet it’s a Christian one. But then I think about how ineffective are our legislators. An assessment well earned, I might add.
Well this is the life of an agnostic: We don’t fit in or either side of the religious arguments: Arguments that we believe, if truly settled, would bring everyone to agnosticism.
Aren’t 32,000 fractures enough evidence that the more we argue about religion, the more fractures we get? Think of the many layers of historical sediment settled on ancient texts. How can anyone be sure enough to tell someone either believe or leave?
But that doesn’t stop the Fox News crowd from spreading their unique brand of hate and ignorance. And that doesn’t stop the great unwashed from gobbling it up, further dumbing down the national narrative on religion.
Meanwhile the talking heads earn millions. Their employers, billions. The rest of us can argue about the freedom to believe or look for another place to live.
Would anyone like to debate how may angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Robert De Filippis