Foundation member Donald A. Mosher was one of five people asked to write an essay about where they would draw the line on sacrificing personal freedoms for the sake of homeland security by the Post-Crescent, the daily newspaper in Appleton, Wis. Here is his response (originally appearing on Nov. 20, 2001).
The First Amendment is in serious danger with the present efforts of the religious right to put "God" (whose version?) into our government.
The proliferation of "God Bless America" signs assures us that our God is bigger than their God. Should we have a right-wing Christian Taliban, based on Old Testament commandments, running our government and our lives? After all, the terrorist attacks were examples of "faith-based initiatives."
The attacks of Sept. 11 are characterized as political by our leaders. The attackers were (and are) religious fanatics who happen to be Muslims. Our own leaders fall all over themselves to stress that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the attackers have contorted the Koran.
Actually, the attackers hewed to the fundamentals of their Abrahamic-revealed religion. Their "how-to" manuals were laced with religion and prayer, not political writings. "Kill the infidel" is a key and prominent feature of Islam. Fortunately, most Muslims are not that zealous.
Jewish and Christian holy scriptures each advocate the same style of religious violence. The Old Testament is a litany of wars and terrorism in the name of God. The God-given commandments (not just 10 of them) are still there, calling good Jews and good Christians to perform the same gory executions of non-believers today.
Again, good thing most Jews and Christians are not that zealous. Jesus did not advocate changing "one jot or tittle" of the Old Testament: "Unbelievers should be brought hither and slain before me."
We should call on Muslims, Jews and Christians to disavow these violent writings of the past--but that is something they cannot bring themselves to do.
Involved in corporate aviation for some 40 years (pilot, fleet manager) and other aspects of aviation for 10 more, Don Mosher is now retired. He has made a "lifelong study of religions, especially the Bible. That's why I am an atheist."