Self-Righteous Atheists Are Misguided Killjoys
It's that time of year again. 'T'is the season to be jolly -- or, if you're an atheist activist, to throw a wet blanket over the holidays.
In California, long the birthplace of national trends, they succeeded in getting a federal judge to ban not only Nativity scenes, but also secular displays from Santa Monica's Palisades Park. Un-decking the public halls and squares is becoming our new national tradition, because equal-opportunity speech isn't good enough for self-righteous atheists. They won't rest until all remnants of our Judeo-Christian heritage are wiped clean from civic life in their quest for secular purity.
Ironically, not even "the world's most famous atheist," Richard Dawkins, the British evolutionary biologist who encourages atheists to "come out of the closet" and organize, advocates an unholy war against tradition. When it comes to Christmas, he once said in an interview that he's no "killjoy."
As many of us count our blessings this time of year, it's also worth counting the ironies and contradictions lost on killjoys who put their faith solely in government and the virtue of politicians. Here are a few.
1. Both believers and nonbelievers owe their freedoms, particularly the one about speech, to our founding deists, who declared the self-evident truth that "they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." Radical atheists flatly reject what the framers explicitly described as the source of their individual rights, yet they claim that those same men intended "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" to mean censoring all religious symbols and expression from public life.
2. The late Christopher Hitchens, Dawkins's counterpart in America, once complained in the Washington Post about Christmas trees and manger displays in the "taxpayer-funded space" of the White House's East room. He then proceeded to write that it amazed him how ignorant Christians are of the fact that their traditional Christmas displays and timing of the holiday itself are not part of the actual biblical text. If one accepts his argument, then what isn't in the scripture can't possibly violate the separation of church and state -- which isn't part of the Establishment Clause, anyway.
3. Fanatical atheists who go "all in" on their atheism are every bit as closed-minded and intolerant as they claim religious fundamentalists are. Even Dawkins allowed in February that he was only "6.9 out of seven" certain that a supernatural creator doesn't exist. Religious Americans have traditionally been models of tolerance compared to atheists who berate, mock, and seek to censor all religious speech from the public square.
4. Absolute secularism is not absolute freedom. People in positions of power are hardly equal to those without power, and to reject the idea of a Creator who endows us with the same rights and sets our moral foundation is to condone the idea of rights, and morals, prescribed by other humans. Outside the construct of a "higher power," there's nothing to prevent men and women empowered to grant specific "human rights" -- long lists of them in modern constitutions like South Africa's -- from omitting them, amending them, or taking them away. Absolutely secular governments with constitutions that grant rights and explicitly separate church and state include the Russian Federation (as did the former Soviet Union) and Cuba. Government-derived rights are exactly what our Founders set out to prevent, and the only thing worse than atheists' interpretation of our First Amendment is the fact that so many in positions of power agree with them.
5. Far more detrimental to our liberty than government respect of religious displays on public property are zealous atheists with government allies who "uphold" the Establishment Clause by pressuring schools and local governments to establish an "anti-church." This year, Baby Jesus got "stuffed in a closet" at an elementary school in Florida after a Department of Education official dropped by to discuss "the legalities of religion in the school systems and the separation of the two." In essence, they are enforcing "separation of church and state," which isn't in the Constitution, while violating the part about the government not "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion, which is.
6. Hitchens once argued in a debate that accepting the idea of a Creator installs a "celestial dictatorship -- a kind of divine North Korea," but history proves otherwise. Judeo-Christian influence on governments has led to the freest societies on Earth. Atheism's influence on Karl Marx has led to communist states, which impose a form of tyranny exceeded only by Islamic states. China's constitution actually elevates socialism to a religion, stating, "Socialist public property is sacred and inviolable." This is the greatest irony lost on American atheists: an absolutely secular state isn't the opposite of a theocracy; it's just the opposite side of the same coin.
In trying to force their rigid belief system on the rest of society, radical secularists are of the same mind as radical Islamists. Both seek to create a state in their own image. You can see the synergy at work across the pond in Europe, where Belgian atheists no longer have to put up with Christmas displays in the Market Square. Thanks to pressure from a growing Muslim population, Brussels city officials replaced the traditional Christmas tree this year with a secular "light sculpture" to celebrate "winter."
So as we gather around the Christmas trees -- indeed, as some of us thank God that there are still places in America where we can have Christmas trees unmolested -- let us try to plug our ears against the killjoys' carols for at least one night this year.