Vol. 20 No. 4 - Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. -
View the Table of Contents for this issue
Surprisingly Candid Church Marquee
"I drive by this Lutheran church every day on my way home. It's in the North Scottsdale desert. We finally stopped to take a photo. The kid in the photo got it right--he's terrified of church!"--Susan Sackett, Arizona
In the spring and with the coming of Easter, an old man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of gods. I am now 83 pushing 84 and the closer I come to shuffling off this mortal coil, the more mystified I am by Christian belief in the deity they call by the not very original name of God (as if there had never been others). . . .
All gods from time immemorial are fantasies, created by humans for the welfare of humans and to attempt to explain the seemingly inexplicable. But do we, in the third year of the 21st century of the Common Era and on the springboard of colonising the universe, need such palliatives?
. . . wherever one looks there is conflict: Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland; Jews, Christians and Muslims in Palestine; Muslims and Hindus in the Indian subcontinent; Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Is not the case for atheism made?
Author Ludovic Kennedy
The Guardian [UK], April 17, 2003
The God hypothesis is rather discredited. . . . I asked myself what were the two things that appear inexplicable and are used to support religious beliefs: the difference between living and nonliving things, and the phenomenon of consciousness.
Dr. Francis Crick, 86
"DNA leaders call religion to account"
London Telegraph, March 22, 2003
Every time you understand something, religion becomes less likely. Only with the discovery of the double helix and the ensuing genetic revolution have we had grounds for thinking that the powers held traditionally to be the exclusive property of the gods might one day be ours.Ê.Ê. . I came to the conclusion that the church was just a bunch of fascists that supported Franco. I stopped going on Sunday mornings and watched the birds with my father instead."
Dr. James Watson
London Telegraph, March 22, 2003
Never before in my lifetime have I seen the merging of religion with government as this administration prepares to dole out dollars for political support to every religion that stands in line. And you can bet that the price for government dollars to religious leaders will be the same political support that is demanded of corporate America--as God and government march hand in hand under a new banner with the Christian right leading the way for the Bush Administration.
Columnist Jerry Fuchs
The Independent [Burlingame, CA]
Is it time to say the last rites for the daily prayer [in the Washington Statehouse]? It has either become divisive, rather than inspirational, or it has been drained of meaning in hopes of rendering it noncontroversial. Either way, what's the point?
Columnist Peter Calgarian
[Tacoma] News Tribune, March 6, 2003
The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. The European experience, with its state religions and concomitant homicides in the name of the True Faith, was fresh to them. We have a civic faith in this country, and that is faith in our public institutions, the confidence that, no matter what our religion, these institutions seem to belong to all of us. This is the faith that [Secretary of Education Ron] Paige does not seem to appreciate.
Columnist Richard Cohen
Washington Post, April 15, 2003
. . . the president's AIDS initiative is likely to attach antiabortion paranoia to every single dollar and to force-feed religion to the poor on a global scale.
President of Catholics for a Free Choice
Boston Globe, March 4, 2003
Because our enemies are for the most part more enthusiastic about horizontal prayer than we are, and see absolutely no difference between church and state--indeed, want to make them the same--it is alarming to reflect that they may be having more success bringing us around to their point of view than we are at sticking to our own traditional American beliefs about freedom of religion. When Ashcroft and his enemies both begin their days with displays of their godliness, do we feel safer after they rise from their devotions?
Movie critic Roger Ebert
"Public prayer fanatics borrow page from enemy's script"
Chicago Sun-Times, March 5, 2003
A federal appeals court is right: The words "under God should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance recited by millions of schoolchildren. . . .
Our one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all, was founded by people who fled the oppression of state religions in Europe. The founders understood the distinctions, however galling that might be to the devout.
Seattle Times editorial
March 9, 2003
Faith-based initiatives outrage all of us who know the evil that can be done behind a religious mask. . . . Faith-based initiatives diminish the overall impact for good. Against all Bush assumptions, there is no empirical evidence that such religiously oriented programs are more effective than others. Even the Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society of Mr. Bush's first faith-based czar, John J. DiIluio, has expressed grave doubts and spooky statistics.
Prof. James Dunn
Wake Forest University Divinity School
TomPaine.com, Feb. 27, 2003
Based on the documents, only one conclusion can be made about the diocese's allowing clergy to sexually abuse children in its care for more than forty years: The diocese knowingly left children in the hands of pedophiles. Time and time again, Manchester bishops turned a blind eye to the predatory sexual behavior of their priests out of a desire to save their own and the church's reputation.
Union Leader Editorial
Manchester, NH, March 5, 2003
. . . any time a leader claims a divine calling for his temporal aims--especially temporal aims likely to involve massive bloodshed--people should get a little nervous. The belief that God is on one's side tends to skew the judgment and behavior of any mortal. . . .
Michelle Cottle, Senior Editor
New Republic, March 7, 2003
And what remains the best-kept secret from the Second World War, because it is so embarrassing, is that Hitler was a Christian, and that his swastika was a Christian cross made of axes, an apt symbol of a political party for Christians of the working class. And there were simpler, unambiguous crosses on all Hitler's tanks and planes.
Author Kurt Vonnegut
In These Times, March 6, 2003
May 2003 Excerpts