In the News: Reading & Resisting

A round-up of recent religion news. Continue Reading →

Advertising Patriotism

The Forsyth Area Critical Thinkers (FACT) and the Forsyth County Chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have erected a billboard along Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte, North Carolina. It shows an American flag with the text, “One Nation Indivisible.”  “Under God” has been explicitly left out, says a spokesman, to make people thing about patriotism.  The billboard is one of several that a coalition of athiest and agnostic organizations have commissioned for the four weeks leading up to the Fourth of July.

“A lot of people tend to think that those who adopt a view of the world that excludes the supernatural can’t be patriotic or are somehow less moral,” Richard Lawrence, the co-organizer of FACT, said yesterday. “It’ll force people to start questioning.”

The group notes that the Pledge of Allegiance, which the billboard quotes, was written in 1892 by a Baptist minister and didn’t include the phrase, “under God.”  It was added on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, by President Eisenhower. Continue Reading →

When is a Cross a Cross?

That is the question Stanley Fish at The New York Times asks when summarizing the Salazar v. Buono decision made last week by the Supreme Court. Fish looks at the surreal world of Establishment Clause jurisprudence and finds Kennedy’s assertion that the cross, in this case placed in the Mojave desert on public land to commemorate WWI dead, was not intended to “promote a Christian message,” is perverting the symbol with patriotism:

Notice what this paroxysm of patriotism had done: it has taken the Christianity out of the cross and turned it into an all-purpose means of marking secular achievements.

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