Any time I mention that atheists are in a better position to protect religious freedom in this country, the religious balk and go into fits of hysteria. How can a group of people opposed to something be its best protectors? The problem the religious have is one of equivocation. I didn’t say atheists were the best one for protecting Christianity, per se. Protecting religious freedom does not mean protecting Christianity, it means protecting a constitutional right. The phrase that sums it up is “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Ultimately, religious freedom is a freedom of conscience, a freedom to think and believe what you will. That means freedom to believe in a 2,000 year old Jewish zombie, an evil alien named Xenu, an “enlightened” fat man, an angel named Moroni, Wakantanka, astrology, that tax breaks for rich people equals jobs, no global warming, Nigerian princes in need, the power of magnetic bracelets, or anything else. It’s that freedom which is worth defending, and what I feel is too difficult for a believer in a particular faith to objectively defend.
Unlike teetotalers whose opposition to alcohol indulgence lead to the infamous Prohibition period, atheist organizations are not seeking bans on the faith indulgence of religion. Now I know the religious claim things like opposing religious displays on government property or opposing public school lead prayers and similar religious activities are attacks, but in actuality they are defensive actions, actions to protect and defend the constitution. Christianity has exceeded its rights, unfairly taking a place of privilege and unduly imposing on others. Such abuses have been largely ignored and exploited by the unscrupulous (most notably politicians), but with an ever changing religious landscape in this country with atheists, agnostics and non-Christian immigrants, these abuses, these impositions are being challenged; however, as seen in this story, only atheists appear capable of objectively defending religious freedom.
The Governor of Kentucky attended a Hindu blessing ceremony and his political rival, Sen. David Williams, called him out for it and made some ridiculous remarks about how Hindus need to find Jesus and similarly offensive comments (more here). The reason why I’m pointing to this story is the atheist response has been to call out the senator for deliberate “divisiveness for political gain” and to condemn his actions as disgraceful to “our country and humans in general.” In contrast we have Swami Poojananda Saraswati, a prominent Hindu nun and yoga exponent, saying: “It is out of ignorance and arrogance that a person would criticize the religion of other people”. Seriously? The atheist condemns the comment and rightly points out it’s motivation, political gain through divisiveness, and the Hindu response is, effectively, to take a shot at the atheists.
I know what you’re thinking, that the Swami didn’t mean to take a shot at the atheists, but then the senator didn’t, and still doesn’t find his comments that Hindus need to find Jesus and “salvation” offensive either. Suhag Shukla, managing director of the Hindu American Foundation, replied, “it is difficult to understand how an individual of your education, experience and position would think that calling ‘gods’ of another religion ‘false’ and its practices ‘idolatry, and stating that your hope was that ‘Hindus open their eyes and receive Jesus as their Savior’ would not be taken as offensive.”
The point I’m getting at is these two religions are solely focused on themselves. They lack true objectivity and are effectively blinded by their faith indulgences. The Christian is seemingly incapable of realizing his comments are offensive and the Hindus only see offense in what they perceive as blasphemy. What about the offenses that the senator seems unfit to defend a cornerstone of our constitution and more than willing to sew and exploit divisiveness for political gain? Those points seem unimportant to the point of not even being mentioned by the Hindus, which begs the question of whether they are aware them? I don’t know. Perhaps if the numbers were reversed, we’d have a report of a Hindu senator attacking Christianity for political gain. Who knows?
I can’t help but see the issue as an adult insuring unruly, narcissistic children get along and play nice together. It’s like Lord of the Flies.
Btw, when looking for a title image, I found this and found it so funny that I had to include it: