In article <17852@paperboy.OSF.ORG> jon@osf.org (Jon Taylor) writes: >>> I agree that Bus

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In article <17852@paperboy.OSF.ORG> jon@osf.org (Jon Taylor) writes: >>> I agree that Bush could show some moral and intellectual spine and >>> be willing to embrace an unpopular opinion - but I hardly think his >>> off-the-cuff condemnation of atheism is a serious proposal for public >>> policy. He was pushed into a corner, and (in his inimitable way) he >|>> caved in and said what was expedient. Is anyone out there surprised? >Brian Evans writes: >|> No, I am not surprised that he said it. And that is because I think >|> he truly believes. Yes, Bush is all gung-ho for keeping his polls >|> up. However, to come out against atheism is hardly an unpopular >|> opinion. > Sorry - I guess I wasn't being clear. The "unpopular opinion" I was >referring to was an endorsement of the rights of atheists. To set the >example: > >[excellent example deleted] As you clearly noted, support of a person's *right* to an opinion is in no way the same thing as endorsing that particular opinion; Bush makes his meaning quite clear. I would disagree that the majority of people think that atheists have no *right* to their opinion, although most would disagree with the atheist position. I also recall (and can dig up more info) that a recent poll showed a fair percentage of people who wouldn't mind voting for an atheist for office, all other things being equal. Depending on the audience, Bush's stated opinion could certainly be politically expedient. But is he simply a cynical politician playing on the religious angle, or is he a "true believer"? A letter to George Bush elicited the following response: "As you are aware, the President is a religious man who neither supports atheism nor believes that atheism should be unnecessarily supported by the government." Fine, but support nor agreement was ever asked for. While George Bush doesn't think that government should support atheism, he has no problem at all with the government supporting religion. The first official act of George Bush, in the office of the Presidency, was to endorse religion, and he has done so consistently ever since. Proclamation 5936 of Jan. 20, 1989 National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, 1989 ..."We celebrate America as "one nation under God."....."Let all Americans kneel humbly before our Heavenly Father in search of His counsel and for His diving guidance and wisdom upon the leaders of the United States of America." Proclamation 5942 of March 17, 1989 National Day of Prayer, 1989 "..their view of the rights of man and the proper role of government were derived from their firm faith in God."....and the entire contents of this document completely ignore the Deism of the day... Proclamation 5956 of April 14, 1989 Education Day, USA. 1989 and 1990 "The principles of moral and ethical conduct that have formed the basis for all civilizations comes to us, in part, from the centuries-old Seven Noahide Laws. The Noahide Laws are actually seven commandments given to many by God." Proclamation 6012 of August 15, 1989 National Plege of Allegiance Day, 1989 "A diverse people, we Americans are united by what we believe. We believe in God; we believe in freedom..." Proclamation 6022 of Sept. 15, 1989 Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 1989 "Knowing the danger of relying upon human wisdom alone in forming a free and just government, they often prayed for Divine guidance in as they defined the powers of the Congress and the President..." Proclamation 6025 of Sept. 21, 1989 General Pulaski Memorial Day, 1989 "General Pulaski clearly understood that liberty is the God-given right.." Proclamation 6029 of Sept. 27, 1989 Religious Freedom Week, 1989 "The American people's faith in God- unencumbered by legal restrictions and untainted by government influence (????) - has been a powerful force for maintaining high standards of morality and justice in our society." In other parts, he directly contradicts his earlier stand; as well as his comments at a Catholic dinner soon after the infamous quote, that belief in God is necessary for the office of the President. Proclamation 6039 of Oct. 5, 1989 National Children's Day, 1989 "Parents have no greater responsibility than to ensure that the young stranger God brings into their lives is welcomed, loved, nourished, protected." Proclamation 6054 of October 25, 1989 Polish American Heritage Month, 1989 "With great faith in God and in America's promise of freedom and opportunity for all, they worked with pride and diligence." "...these changes represent even more than a victory for the Polish people- they also bear witness to the power of faith and the triumph of democratic ideals." Proclamation 6082 of Dec. 10, 1989 Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Human Rights Week, 1989 "That vision- which recognizes protection of the God-given rights as the only legitimate ends of just government..." Proclamation 6090 of Jan. 19, 1990 National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 1990 "On this day, we thank God for the millions of Americans who work every day to affirm the sanctity of life..." "On this day, we also thank God for the advances in medicine that have improved the care of unborn children in the womb..." As well as a general diatribe against abortion. You get the idea. George Bush believes in rights and freedoms..for believers. The unbelievers are to be tolerated, at best. For now. > My point was that Bush waffled on supporting freedom precisely because >doing so would be unpopular. I doubt whether he has the moral strength >to lead a religiously-inspired anti-atheist crackdown anyway! I tend to agree, but the voice of the highest office of the nation is continually relegating atheists and unbelievers to second-class citizens, if at all. This can only encourage others who have less compunction about active persecution. Religious radio and TV programs continually rail against unbelievers, which is their right, but now they have the seal of approval of the highest levels of government. For a man who claimed "There is no place for the baggage of bigotry in the United States of America", he has laid the groundwork for religious persecution.

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