Following up on my little rant of yesterday, I had started to write my original piece about the eagerly offended agnostic. However, what do I find, but that the ever eloquent Mr. William F. Buckley has once again stolen my thunder (though while talking about a completely different subject):
The opposition to nativity scenes at Christmastime, or to the singing of songs that focus on the manger and the stilled star that hung over it, embraces a wide group of people. Among them are secularists who have drunk deep of ACLU doctrines over the years and have convinced themselves that any theological exercise in public circumstances is both a deprivation of their rights to seamless agnosticism and a personal affront to believers in competing doctrines. In such language you can’t say a Christian prayer without offending the Jew or the Muslim.
Those can be thought of as bureaucrats of weights and measures. But in this band are also genuine anti-Christians: people who wince when Christianity is deferred to, people who hate Catholicism as the axis of Christianity and who will seek any opportunity to hinder or belittle it, whether it is removing common prayer from the schools or the invocation of Christ during a Christmas holiday (not holy day).
It is imprudent and historically ignorant for these to seek to hinder the community that wishes to express sentiments, at Christmastime, that relate to the establishment of the day.
I guess if you are going to be scooped, it’s best to be scooped by Mr. Buckley. However, he does hit on the right points, but here are a few more of my own invention. Why have the so called rational agnostics become so terrified of their own moral pillars that they must be prevented from the knowledge of other men’s faith? And why is public expression of such a faith such an outrageous behavior? And why have Christians worked themselves into such a tizzy about the lack of “public acceptance” of their ideas? Well, here’s my little spiel about it dear readers . . .
The problem is that when you come right down to it, people are just people. And in being people, many take the path of the petty, weak and cowardly. The secularist movement is filled with the same sort of extremely touchy people that fill so many of those fundamentalist church seats every Sunday. It’s about the easily offended vs. easily frightened.
The start of the problem is that people are desperately concerned with being right. Really, that isn’t so bad; I’ve been right all my life and have quite enjoyed the experience. However, combine that with the fact that most people define being right as being agreed with and you’ve got a nasty combination. They desperately need a group to validate their ideas and to protect them from the hordes that will attempt to change their mind.
Then it’s that awful we vs. they thing and nothing will attract the lowest people than a mob. Well, the Christian Right and the Secularist Left have gotten themselves a couple of doozy mobs. The Christian Right goes on and on about losing their rights to religion which, I will say is hard to find here in Oklahoma City where the churches outnumber the ACLU and American Atheists offices by at least 10,000 to 1. No, what their really afraid of is that there are a whole bunch of people who don’t share their particular moral framework and they are somehow corrupting the youth or destroying society by their personal decisions. Well, this must certainly be stopped.
Of course, that’s the same problem with the Secular Left. They’ve got all of these devout Christians wandering around questioning their spiritual decisions. And some of these bad religious folks are condemning the secularists to bad places that they’re not quite sure exist or not. But secularists really don’t like being condemned to possibly fictitious bad places so the best way to take care of it is to make sure they are protected from these troubling ideas so that they can sleep better at night. I mean come on, with all of these religious people wandering around how can I really feel comfortable? They must be kept as quiet as possible.
I hate to tell you, I don’t really have any sympathy for either side, primarily because they are really arguing from a premise that is in fact a logical contradiction. They are arguing about group morality which is a contradiction of terms of the first order. Morality begins and ends at the individual level. Your knowledge of your correctness comes from you, from your mind not from any large group of people, secular or religious. And because it comes from the individual, it doesn’t not require the validation of the external to defend its existence. In other words, grow up and take some damn personal responsibility for yourself. Quit worrying about the rest of the world. There are enough people worrying about it already.
If you Religious Right people are so concerned about what your children are being taught in public schools, why don’t you take a real moral stand and take responsibility for your children’s education by teaching them yourself or at least finding a nice private school that share your beliefs. Take a long hard lesson from the Catholic’s in this country; who have been doing a marvelous job of it for quite a long time now.
And you squeamish atheists, if you are so concerned about the large preponderance of religious people in office, try to get elected . . . Wait, take that back, do something really moral and read a good book. It’s better for all concerned anyway. I mean seriously, who really cares anyway, it’ll all be over when were dead.
Not that I have any strong opinions on the subject.