A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why Don't Christians Believe In Freedom ?


Why don't christians believe in freedom? I don't mean all christians, of course. But there is a significant segment of christians in this country that doesn't seem to appreciate living in a free country. They whine incessantly about the right to freely practice their particular brand of religion, but get very upset when anyone dares to put forward a different point of view.

A few days ago, I showed you a billboard in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The billboard did not denigrate christianity or any of its sects. It simply said that being a good person doesn't require god, and that if you don't believe in god you are not alone. These truisms seem harmless and rather obvious, but the billboard created a firestorm of protest in the community. Many citizens and business owners demanded the billboard be taken down.

Now it has happened again. An even less offensive billboard (if you think the first was offensive) has been put up in Birmingham, Alabama. The billboard was put up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Alabama Freethought Association (AFA), and it simply said, "Imagine no religion" -- a line from a John Lennon song.

But since the billboard message went up, AFA and FFRF members have received many ugly and threatening phone calls. Pat Cleveland of Talladega has even been told she should be "Burning in Hell" -- an odd threat to someone who doesn't believe in Hell. She said she's received about 50 calls, and there's even a petition demanding the billboard's removal.

Ms. Cleveland replies, "I’m sorry if anybody is offended, but I’ve seen billboards that offend me, like ones that say ‘Jesus is Lord’ over Talladega. I’m proud to be an American. I refrain from any religion. I’m a good person. I pay taxes, abide by the law and I’m good to my family. I help people. I believe hands that help are better than hands that pray.”

Obviously, these "christians" don't understand that you can't have a free country without also having and protecting free speech. And protecting free speech means even protecting speech that you may not agree with or which may offend you. It has been said, and I agree with it, that if you are never offended by any public speech, then you don't live in a free country.

It is sad to think these descendants of people who came to America seeking religious freedom would now seek to deny that same right to others. For you cannot have religious freedom without also having the right to be free from religion.

I really think many of these people don't want to live in a free country. They would prefer a theistic dictatorship. Maybe they would have been happier during the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

6 comments:

  1. Nice essay. One point the religious tend to forget... They want to be able to put their message out into public discourse, free from repression and this is something most of us agree. However, with this freedom also comes the freedom of others to criticize them, a freedom they do not want us to have. Beyond hypocrisy and a fear of having to think through and intellectually defend their own beliefs, I cannot think of a reason why.

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  2. I dont know what you mean by significant but I am definitely not in that group. I give everyone their chance to say what they want without resorting to name calling or fear mongering (some ppl tend to dwell on hell when its heaven was what Jesus was adamant about. Save not condemn.)
    If its a private billboard, I see no reason why this lady was called with threats of hell seeing as how you said a) she doesnt believe in it and b) most ppl dont respond wel to threats.
    Honestly I could care less about a billboard and see no reason to have a hissy fit.
    Im not offended but obviously I disagree but you know the quote. Agree to disagree.
    However, I do think you tend to criticize Christians when Muslims have people who are more likely to destroy this country. Not everyone but extremists.
    I just hate when atheists only attack Christians when there are people who are actually dangerous to this nation.
    Thats all.

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  3. Gabriel-
    Atheists "attack christians" as you say, because there are many more scary fundamentalist christians in America than muslims, and they have a lot more power.

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  4. They said I ought to be where John Lennon is, burning in hell.

    If there's an afterlife, given the opportunity I would specifically choose to end up where John Lennon is. If that's hell, so be it. Einstein's probably there, too, and he's likely got TV hooked up by now.

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  5. Freedom of speech is why the Westboro Baptist Church is allowed to spout anti-American sentiments.

    And, regarding the "dictatorship" of America... No. It's more like a monarchy. Remember, Christ the King? *eyeroll*

    Well, let the christians spit hellfire. It's their hell, they get to burn in it anyway. Besides, the term "religion" in those billboards isn't aimed solely at Christianity. It's aimed at all religion.

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  6. jobsanger - I seriously doubt there are so many fundamentalists trying to bring down this country. Sounds like an exaggeration. maybe there are but I havent met any.

    Anonymous 2- Your post is worthless (you didnt contribute anything to the discussion)but you say its toward ALL religion. If so why dont atheists talk about these so-called 'other religions'. Every single atheist blogger's comments have been ONLY about Christianity and when they do (on the off chance) talk about other religions, they paint it in a good light making it seem better than Christianity and showing a great bias towards something they should have dislike for.

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