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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:26 PM

My Mother is Very Religious, and I Am Not

I've been following some threads here at DU that I find troublesome. Criticizing President Obama for invoking God in his Inaugural Address, and the singing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

I am not a religious person. I don't attend church and I doubt the existence of God. I think the Catholic Church should mind it's own business on social issues and I think the Christian Coalition is made up of people who are intolerant.

However, my beliefs belong to me and anyone who has a different set of beliefs than I do should be respected. I do not think more of someone who holds strong religious beliefs, and that includes all religions, but I do not think less of them, either.

Today, I was pre-planning my Mom's funeral arrangements. She's not sick and I expect to have her with me for a long time, but I did so as a matter of having the arrangements planned during a time that is less stressful and to pay for the services at a time that I know I can afford. As a result, the plan was that she have the service she wants. She will be buried with my late Father, she will have a Catholic Church Mass in the same Church in which she was baptized, received her First Communion, was Confirmed and Married. I discussed this with her in a matter of fact way, but I will not tell her the arrangements are already made. That may upset her.

Since I respect the wishes of my Mother, why would I deny that to any other person. The First Amendment doesn't outlaw religion, it prevents the Government Establishment of one. I have great joy and pride (and even more-so since 2008) in joining in singing God Bless America. I understand the historical nature of Religion in our culture and I try not to offend others with my own belief.

The President swears an oath of Allegiance on the Holy Bible, In God We Trust is on our money. These things will never change and these facts have little impact on our lives, religious or not. They are traditions embedded in our culture. It's not dogma, but an accepted practice. There are major battles ahead involving helping the poor and the middle class. Preserving the Social Services created by FDR and Lyndon Johnson. Those are the real fights and are actually part of the belief system of those we are trying to convince.

When we make an issue out of someone's deep seeded and long-held beliefs, we hurt our cause. We're trying to convince people to agree with us on major issues, and that means not looking to pick a fight where none exists.

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply My Mother is Very Religious, and I Am Not (Original post)
louis c Jan 2013 OP
Angry Dragon Jan 2013 #1
louis c Jan 2013 #2
onenote Jan 2013 #17
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #3
kestrel91316 Jan 2013 #6
OriginalGeek Jan 2013 #27
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #11
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #12
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #15
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #23
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #24
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #25
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #29
fadedrose Jan 2013 #4
kestrel91316 Jan 2013 #5
louis c Jan 2013 #9
kestrel91316 Jan 2013 #10
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2013 #16
kestrel91316 Jan 2013 #20
OriginalGeek Jan 2013 #28
truebluegreen Jan 2013 #30
riderinthestorm Jan 2013 #36
Egalitarian Thug Jan 2013 #7
louis c Jan 2013 #8
Generic Brad Jan 2013 #13
brooklynite Jan 2013 #14
onenote Jan 2013 #19
truebluegreen Jan 2013 #31
riderinthestorm Jan 2013 #18
JNelson6563 Jan 2013 #21
Silent3 Jan 2013 #35
Are_grits_groceries Jan 2013 #22
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #26
truebluegreen Jan 2013 #32
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #33
cynatnite Jan 2013 #34

Response to louis c (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:33 PM

1. A thoughtful post

One problem: In God We Trust has not always been on our money ...........

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:37 PM

2. I know it's origin

It was not coined until the 1950's. I never said that the founding fathers put it on our original bills. However, it has been the case for over 50 years, so it does have some significance.

By the way, I do not find it offensive, and I'm not a believer.

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Response to louis c (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:27 PM

17. It first appeared on coinage in the 1840s. On paper money in the 1950s.

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:44 PM

3. Well Stated ...

especially, here:

When we make an issue out of someone's deep seeded and long-held beliefs, we hurt our cause. We're trying to convince people to agree with us on major issues, and that means not looking to pick a fight where none exists.


But I suspect much of the "Oh Noes" were not to pick a fight with those that DISagree with us on the big issues; but rather, an attempt to pick a fight with those that agree with us on them, but not on that particular matter.

Some here, just need to gripe. How else can one explain the sudden offense being communicated on a day that should have been seen as a day celebrating a triumph?

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:03 PM

6. It suddenly became an issue yesterday because a memo went out to the troops. JMHO.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:41 AM

27. I didn't get a memo

but I have been against any religious artifacts in my government for close to 30 years. There's just no good reason to have any of it in there. It serves no purpose. If "In god we trust" wasn't on our money it would still spend. Obama would still be president if he was simply sworn in on his honor as a human being.

I don't expect to see any of it change in my lifetime though. That doesn't mean I should just shut up and take it. I'm not in favor of banning religion. I'm in favor of people finally realizing they don't need it. It will happen eventually.

Now, with that all said, there is a big difference between religious icons in government and a person respecting their parents' wishes. OP is doing a good thing making sure mom gets what she wanted. Just like I will be doing for my grandpa some day. Just because he is a believer and I am not doesn't mean he isn't my personal hero. I'd do anything for that man and that includes making sure his wishes are respected when he passes.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:25 PM

11. Bear in mind that it can be very alienating to be an atheist in America

This post is not meant as an attack of any sort, rather an explanation of how some of us see things, or how I do anyway.

I've never knowingly met in the flesh another atheist, I even had an OP up about it in the religion forum last April.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/121820137

The atheist in a heavily theist society has two basic ways of thinking of themselves and their fellow humans who are theists, either they are all deluded and maybe a little crazy and you are one of the rare sane or the atheist is the freak missing some basic portion of the human sensorium that allows the perception of the divine.

Honestly, neither scenario is particularly comforting and in the USA it's hard to escape being reminded of it.

Seeing a large mass of people engaged in either deluded/crazy or seeing something you are completely blind to is a little hard to take sometimes but mentioning that discomfort absolutely guarantees an avalanche of criticism.

I fit every negative stereotype on DU, older white male raised and living in the deep South, EmoProg Firebagger and atheist, I'm at war with every single part of my own being, a walking dichotomy. Those I resemble in real life mostly loathe me if I allow myself to speak of anything beyond the weather or sports and then I come on DU and find that everything I am is hated too.

In 2003 DU was a comfort to me, a refuge to escape the crazy I was surrounded by and talk with people I mostly agreed with about subjects that really concerned me, DU hasn't been that refuge for several years now but I'm still surrounded by the crazy.

Just my two dollars, not meaning this as an attack in any way.








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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:48 PM

12. Okay ...

I can get with your description of the atheist experience in America (or maybe the world ... since I would venture, most of the world is heavily theist).

But I would suggest, it is not the "mentioning of your discomfort" that guarantees the avalanche of criticism; but rather, as evidenced in the various threads, maybe it's the demand that everyone refrain from expressing their faith, because you do not believe.

Believe me ... and maybe you can help me understand ... I have gone through the thought experiment where I substitute African-American for atheist; but I come up wanting ... the treatment of African-Americans by the most racist of individual/society, is based not on my beliefs, or lack thereof, but who I am. And while I can change what I believe, I can't change who I am.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:19 PM

15. You can't pass and I can

I don't have to wear a scarlet A on my clothes or tattooed on my forehead and you cannot change your skin color any more than I can.

Trying to compare the two experiences is not productive I think and I wasn't really trying to go there, again not trying to be dismissive or confrontational. If you wish to continue that line of thought I'm happy to follow though.

Imagine a world in which you could say that you have never met another person of your religion, including your parents. Would you be able to maintain your faith in such a situation? Imagine being the only one of your particular faith you have ever known in a society which proclaims atheism as strongly as our own proclaims theism.

I'm not asking these as rhetorical questions, I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts on the matter.

People say stupid stuff on the internet, go overboard, look for reasons to exaggerate things, it's hardly a new phenomenon I've done it myself more than a few times.






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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:06 AM

23. I'm liking this exploration ...

Imagine a world in which you could say that you have never met another person of your religion, including your parents. Would you be able to maintain your faith in such a situation? Imagine being the only one of your particular faith you have ever known in a society which proclaims atheism as strongly as our own proclaims theism.


I suppose, and would hope that, since it is my belief (or rather, non-belief) system, I would have to look inside; rather than seek validation(?)/support(?) from others. That would be difficult, no doubt! But isn't that the basis, or better, the challenge of all/every personal belief system ... to believe what you believe?

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #23)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:52 AM

24. Research shows that using self control in one part of your life lessens self control in other parts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-control#As_a_limited_resource

Research by Roy Baumeister and colleagues has shown that people's ability to exert self-control depends on a strength-like resource that diminishes after use.

After participants performed a task requiring self-control, they were less able to exert self-control, even in entirely different areas; this result was replicated in over a hundred experiments


The urge to eye roll at some behaviors, either literally or figuratively online is damn hard to overcome sometimes, I burn up a lot of self control that way. Even Michelle Obama can't always overcome it.

Part of my feelings on this have to do with the fact I'm not much of a "joiner" to start with, I don't really get team sports although I'm fairish athletically for my age.

I'm reminded of Jesse Ventura's rant about pot vs alcohol but it applies here to what's considered "normal" in our society.


JESSE VENTURA, HOST: Imagine an alien suddenly dropped into the 21st century America. He goes to a Monday night football game and witnesses thousands of people guzzling a liquid refreshment as fast as vendors can supply it. Observing the spectacle of the game itself, the alien is constantly distracted by fans whose behavior seems to become more and more bizarre. He watches as fights break out between half-naked fans with painted bodies.

By the end of the contest, on the playing field, he notes that most of the people around him seem to have lost their ability to walk and for some reason, their speech has changed. Words are less audible. They seem to be talking in slow motion. Once the game is over, he watches the fans stumbling toward their cars, cursing and threatening other fans.
Clearly, the alien observes, something has caused these fans to have a mind-altering experience. But whatever is going on, it seems to be acceptable behavior for this society, because all the while, many police officers observe the behavior, but remain at a distance and don't interfere.

The next day, the alien attends a lecture on a college campus. After the lecture, he's invited by some students to a party. At the party, students are sitting around drawing smoke from a bottle-like structure with water in it. The smoke is inhaled into their bodies, the conversation is friendly, calm and respectful, and music is playing in the background. But all of a sudden, many police officers arrive with guns, grab the water-filled bottle, put handcuffs on everyone in the room, and take them off to jail. The alien is totally confused.

Welcome to the United States of America, the land of hypocrisy.


Note my avatar in this context..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:17 AM

25. I'm not understanding much of what you have written ...

I get the limited resource part; but (how can I say this without offending) ... is your having to draw on your resources to maintain your belief system, society's issue, or your issue, to deal with?

As far as the JV rant ... well ...

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #25)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:55 AM

29. Bear in mind I'm an older white guy living in the deep South

I hear so much incredibly stupid stuff I could easily spend my entire time arguing with morans and getting absolutely nowhere, even the weather is a political minefield for discussion these days. The urge to argue with people spouting incredibly ignorant crap is one I have to fight a lot and it's by no means limited to religion, religion just happens to be one in a long list of things I have trouble relating to in our culture.

The piece by Ventura was pointing out that if you view things as an alien who just dropped in there are a great many things in our culture that don't make rational sense. Why does the land that celebrates being "the land of the free" have the highest incarceration rate on the planet? And on and on and on.

Trying to be a rational person in our culture is an exercise in self control because so much of it is head trauma level irrational, some people take those observations of cultural irrationality and turn them into humor, George Carlin and Chris Rock are two good examples. I have that talent only to a slight degree unfortunately.








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Response to louis c (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:47 PM

4. To each his own . . .

And no one knows the real truth about anything, so why bother people who are happy with what they believe? Would it make anyone feel better to make them miserable without their faith? Not me.

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:02 PM

5. I am of the firm belief that no small percentage of the fanatical religion haters here on DU are

RWers being facetious and deliberately trying to make liberal non-christians look like horrible people. And it's working.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:49 PM

9. I agree

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Response to louis c (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:07 PM

10. Their attacks and RW talking points are clearly coordinated.

They follow a very clear pattern of poutrage du jour, and they have for years.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:24 PM

16. I have noticed over the years that there are some people who never post

except as atheists in the Religion forum and the Atheists and Agnostics Group. You never see them in GD, the Lounge, LBN, or any of the other main sections. This is not a new phenomenon, either.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:16 AM

20. This is also true of the Gungeon.

They don't participate in DU in any meaningful way. It's clear to me they aren't Democrats.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:51 AM

28. Hmmmm

You see a cadre of mean-spirited atheists attacking the good christians while I see a cadre of mean-spirited christians attacking the faithless.

Perhaps we are both wrong.

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Response to OriginalGeek (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:12 PM

30. +1

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Response to OriginalGeek (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:42 PM

36. +2. The accusation that anyone questioning the religiosity of the inaugurals as RW trolls

or Mitt lovers, or that we "only" come out when its about religion in government is deeply offensive.

And wrong.

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:13 PM

7. In God we trust on our coinage was imposed by religionists at the end of the Civil war.

 

There is no requirement to swear the oath on a bible. Things have changed and are still changing. Atheism is growing faster than religion and there is nothing yet in place to stop that trend. Your assertion that these things will never change is simply not true.

Oh, and we became "one nation, under God" in the 1950s.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:24 PM

8. It was made the official motto in 1956

although it was first proposed during and just after the Civil War and used periodically on some coins, "In God We Trust" was made mandatory on all U.S. Currency by an act of Congress in 1956.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_we_trust


My point is that if you pick this fight, we lose on the big issues.

Anytime the other side can change the argument from economic and social justice to some sort of tangential issue, we lose.

Let's not fall into that trap.

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:06 PM

13. If only all beliefs were respected like that

I am non-religious and was kicked out of my family because of their intolerance for atheism. I have been an atheist for more than 30 years, but it took around 23 years for my family to realize that's what I was. I fully respected their belief and did my level best to avoid sharing my thoughts on the Almighty and heaven because I knew their strong feelings on the matter. Once they finally figured out I was an atheist and a Democrat to boot, I was promptly told to leave and not come back until I was a divorced, born again Republican.

I am proud of you for respecting your mother's sincere beliefs. I did my best to do the same with eventual failure. It is my greatest wish that everyone would have mutual respect for each other when it comes to their beliefs.

But for every atheist out there who is an arrogant jerk, towards the faithful, there is also a sanctimonious, intolerant, judgmental true believer who feels justified attacking quiet non-believer.

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:12 PM

14. The religious trappings didn't bother me, BUT....

The difference between the President's Inauguration and your mother's memorial is that once is a Government function, honoring one person but representing all of us, and the other is a personal event. It's easy to expect "respect for tradition" when the tradition is yours, by right of majority. On the day in the future when someone decides to be sworn in to office on something other than a Bible (or indeed on nothing at all), or decides that Buddhist/Muslim/Shinto prayers are more appropriate will likely be the day when "tradition" gets thrown out the window.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:41 PM

19. if the issue was simply whether the inaugural events represented everyone

then the presence of exclusion of a particular type of music or the appearance on stage of persons of one ethnic background but not another would also be the subject a bunch of threads here. But they're not. Why? Because religion rings a different bell. And its because religion stands out that the Constitution ensures that the government will neither force someone to become an adherent of a particular faith (or of any faith) nor will it prevent people from exercising their religion.

Where the proper line is under the Constitution is something that has been debated for a long time and will continue to be debated for a long time. My only wish is that the debate take place in a respectful fashion, with neither the believers denigrating the non-believers, nor the non-believers denigrating the believers. Too often over the past two days I have seen exactly the opposite from both sides of the debate.

My personal take is that the presentation of religious speech at the inauguration (including the singing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the references to God in various oaths, speeches, benedictions etc) did not cross the Constitutional line as it currently stands in they eyes of the law. Someday the line may be moved -- that is the nature of a living Constitution that is subject to interpretation and reinterpretation.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:14 PM

31. +100

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:27 PM

18. "Tradition"'s the last bastion of bigotry. Look hard at those who aren't open to dialogue and change

including yourself.

"Traditional" marriage.

"Traditional" (anti-gay) Boy Scouts and Military

"Traditional" gender roles where women were chattel and couldn't vote, inherit or participate equally in society....

I could go on and on but your demand (yes demand) that "we" DON'T make an "issue" about someone's deep seeded and long held beliefs and traditions means that keeping silent is implying assent for bigotry.

Nobody on THIS side is demanding everyone agree with us on major issues, especially the inaugural ceremony. We are asking for some respect for the dialogue about the validity of these traditions. We are asking for respect for our opinions. We are asking to not be told to STFU for expressing any critique. Some beliefs are not made for respect (do you as an adult believe in the Easter Bunny? Santa? flat earth?). I don't think it's a stretch to anticipate that some things will be questioned and that such questioning necessarily implies a lack of respect.

Your post appears to more of the same STFU. Can you clarify? Perhaps you aren't trying to shut down dialogue?



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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:53 AM

21. Agreed.

If only us atheists would learn to be quiet! Suck it up unbelievers!

Oy.

Julie

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:29 PM

35. +1 n/t

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 05:22 AM

22. Religion and believers become a problem for me

when they use the tenets of their beliefs to try to run my life or to treat me as a lesser person.

My answer to them is always, "You believe in God, but you are not God. It has been and always will be his judgment to make about people(if you are a believer) in the end. I will leave it up to him and so should you. Jesus invoked the Golden Rule. That rule does not give anybody control over anything but themselves. If you want to view the Old Testament as a guide, then you have completely forgotten everything about Jesus except his name."

This is my theological argument with them. I will use it so that I am speaking in their language whether they want to acknowledge it or not.

And don't think that religious squabbles are just between Xtians and everybody else. Get a bunch of devout Catholics, Mormon, and Baptists together and watch the fur fly.

As I stated before, I had no problem with Myrlie Evers-Williams invocation. After all she has been through and done, she could sing "Jesus Loves Me" for all I care. Her faith has led her to be open and accepting. She does not damn people to perdition if they don't believe or believe differently.

If I ever get down to brass tacks with anybody, I tell them that I believe God is a mathematician or possibly a physicist. PI is a symbol and a sacrament to me.

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:27 AM

26. I viewed the Inauguration as tradition, so I let the religious part

roll off my back. Religious people have rights too. I have no problem with religion as long as it's not forced on me. I do have a problem with those that use religion to persecute others.

Me ... I've never labeled myself as to beliefs. I know I am not religious. Having some background in high energy physics, I accept that the universe is quite complicated and there is much to be discovered ... a vast amount to be discovered. Often I think of humanity as an extraterrestrial experiment, perhaps.


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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #26)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:19 PM

32. "I have no problem with religion as long as it's not forced on me."

The Supreme Court has long held that public prayer in schools, or at graduation ceremonies, is forcing religion on people, and is therefore not permissible in our secular democratic republic. How is it different to do it in a public, government forum like an inauguration? Isn't the issue not giving a government seal of approval to any religion?

And yes, I would welcome some consistency from our government on this.

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #32)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:22 PM

33. Yes, good points! n/t

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Response to louis c (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:27 PM

34. I wouldn't have a problem with other people's deep seated religious beliefs...

if they didn't insist that the rest of us have them as well.

I didn't mind the invoking of gawd and all that yesterday. It doesn't bother me that people express their faith...even though I think it's too much.

It's when they inflict their views through laws and on our children against our wishes that they go too far.

The fight exists and I will keep fighting it.

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