Friday, January 2, 2009

In defense of the majority

Happy New year.

On January, 20 2009, Barack Hussein Obama will be sworn into office as President of the United States of America. While this will be a cause for great celebration among certain sectors of the American populace, one tiny group has chosen to protest. But it’s not conservatives, as one would expect. No, it’s Atheists.

Because Obama, who has repeatedly countered rumors that he is ultra-liberal and possibly a closet Muslim, has emphasized that he is a Christian and will take his oath using President Lincoln’s Bible. The inclusion of the Bible, and the oath taken to uphold the constitution “so help me God”, is apparently offensive to Atheists. These, in turn, have filed suit—that’s right, they are seeking legal recourse to block President-Elect Obama’s right to express his determination to uphold the constitution by invoking the symbol of his religious faith in order to affirm his sincerity. Why?

The atheists assert that "there can be no purpose for placing 'so help me God' in an oath or sponsoring prayers to God, other than promoting the particular point of view that God exists." They add that any reference to God violates the Constitution’s ban on the governmental establishment of religion. Tragically, they feel that “having to watch a ceremony with religious components will make them feel excluded and stigmatized.” They “are placed in the untenable position of having to choose between not watching the presidential inauguration, or being forced to countenance endorsements of purely religious notions that they expressly deny.”

At this juncture, it would be helpful to get some facts about atheists in America. A quick search brought me to an atheism blog that provided some basic information. In one article, they discuss their own prevalence within our society and give this interesting poll result:

85% of Americans self-identify as Christians. (2002)
7% of US adults classify as evangelicals (2004)
38% of US adults classify as born again, but not evangelical. (2004)
37% are self-described Christians but are neither evangelical nor born again
Atheists and agnostics comprise 12% of adults nationwide. (2004)
11% of the US population identify with a faith other than Christianity (2004)

Did you notice the odd result there? Focus only on these three numbers:
85% of Americans self-identify as Christians. (2002)
11% of the US population identify with a faith other than Christianity (2004)
Atheists and agnostics comprise 12% of adults nationwide. (2004)

These results seem nonsensical to me. If 85% of Americans are Christian, then only 15% remains for anything else. 11% of that remaining 15% clearly state that they “identify with a faith other than Christianity”. That must mean that they are Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. 15% minus 11% leaves only 4%, not 12%. Since you cannot be both Atheist and Christian, Muslim , Hindu, etc. one can only come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with the polls. But at any rate, it is safe to say that the number of atheists in America is certainly less than 12%, and probably around 4%.

This is only important in so much as it puts into perspective the current situation. A tiny minority (less than 12% of the population) of Americans who profess to be absolutely sure that there is no God are demanding that all public expressions be devoid of religious content, because they feel “excluded” and “stigmatized”. Apparently realizing the hubris in such a demand, they fall back upon the famous “establishment” clause of the constitution, as an attempt to lend credibility to their argument. But once again, we must clarify that the intent of the religion clauses of the constitution was not to eliminate religious expression from the state, but simply to prevent the government from establishing a state-sanctioned faith and imposing that upon the rest of the society and compelling others to believe. The spirit of the amendment was born of historical concerns, as the framers had been direct witnesses to the religious conflicts between the official religions of certain governments, resulting in wars between Catholics and Protestants. But it was never their intent to sanitize government and society of all references to God. Quite the opposite is true. The inalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and formalized in the Bill of Rights for the benefit of men “are endowed by their creator”. They are not granted by the government—if they were, they could be denied by the same government at any time. No, they are endowed by God and the Laws of Nature and are therefore inalienable.

It is therefore absurd for a tiny minority of the society to decide that their particular view—that God does not exist—must therefore limit the expression of faith of the rest of the society. Worse, this actually would represent a horrific blow to democracy. After all, the whole basis of a democracy is that the opinions of the majority decide the course taken by the society. Certain provisions in the constitution prevent the majority from violating the rights of the minority, but in no way was it the intent of the framers to allow a tiny minority to impose their views upon the majority.

The desire of the atheists to silence religious expression is just another expression of our cultural decadence, leading to widespread narcissism, and ending in ideological fascism.
I sometimes envision our society as a tiny dory, tossed around by the prevalent forces of culture. The current sometimes draws society to the right—as it did during the Prohibition days—and sometimes toward the left—as it currently appears to be doing. The sudden, often chaotic lurching direction of our culture can appear to be horrifying at times, but the common sense of the citizens has, for over two hundred years, allowed us to stay upright and keep off the rocks.

But be warned: our ability to navigate through the vagaries of cultural whim will be disastrously hindered if the current tendencies of political intolerance prevail. And, to the surprise of the many, the current threat comes not from religious conservatives on the right, but from “liberal” militants on the left. For while it has been a widely accepted notion that the forces of intolerance that have led to totalitarian or fascist policies usually come from the far right, a fair analysis of our society demonstrates that it is now organized and militant minorities on the left that believe they have the imperative to impose themselves upon the majority.

The tendency is showing up in a number of manifestations: The imposition of the “gay agenda” upon society and accusation of being “homo-phobic” against anyone who disagrees with the policies; the attempt to replace Christian expressions of faith from Christmas with “acceptable” secular expressions; the attempt to limit speech and prohibit the use of “ethnically offensive” terms such as “Islamic extremist” or “Islamist Terrorists”; the use of race-baiting to silence opposition to politicians by labeling any questioning of their policies or qualifications as “racist”; the silencing of scientists and academics who disagree with the “Global Warming” craze.

The commonality between all of these “currents” is that every one of them is promoted by a small minority of the society, which in turn is unwavering and uncompromising in their radical dedication to their agenda, and the proponents of each movement have resorted to distorting Human and Civil Rights advances in order to make itself “morally undeniable”, thus automatically tainting any opposition to it as a violation of human rights and human dignity. The scientist who questions the data behind Global Warming is suddenly a “flat earth” radical, the moral equivalent of the religious fanatics who punished Galileo and Copernicus. The pundit who demands to know more about Obama’s connections to extremist groups or convicted felons is “racist” for doubting his purity. And most absurd of all, Christians are told that it is “offensive” for them to say “Merry Christmas” during the Christmas Holiday, because that could be offensive to any non-Christian who hears it.

A democracy simply cannot survive if discussion is forcibly suppressed. When intolerance becomes fashionable and results in the wholesale elimination of open discussion and passionate argument, then the beliefs of a small group may be converted into oppressive policies whose “righteousness” becomes literally indisputable—not because they are right, but because disputation is made impermissible.

This is the precipitous slide toward totalitarianism that allows Nazis to slaughter Jews, Islamists to slaughter infidels, communists to slaughter intellectuals—on and on. The only solution is for the society to recognize that there is wisdom within the ranks of the majority, and to promote and defend the beliefs of the majority.

1 comment:

Thed Weller said...

i think it's sort of much to do about nothing...I think that if an atheists gets elected president, they should organize their inauguration how "they" see fit...That would be a "good fight" to me. if they were trying to "make" the president elect use a bible and take the oath.