Imagine. No religion, too
By Michael R. Shannon
web posted November 7, 2011
There's a woman who lives near me with a personalized license plate that proclaims she's a WICCAN. If her idea of theology is a penetrating discussion with a pecan tree and she wants to proclaim her lasting commitment to cellulose; that's her right. Even though the sentiment appears on a plate issued by the Commonwealth.
She's joined by motorists displaying plates with DRUID, PAGAN and even VEGAN.
Although the thought processes behind the adoption of these belief systems are opaque to me -- much like the decision to go out and get a tattoo -- knowing religion–oriented plates are out there is not disturbing.
However, one can't say that for atheists who are very easily disturbed. Evidently their dedication to their lack of faith is so fragile that exposure to slightest whiff of Christianity has the potential to propel them backwards into darkness and superstition. The next thing you know they're eating Wednesday night dinner in a Baptist Fellowship Hall and wondering why there are never any salt shakers on the table.
Atheists and the separation–of–church–and–state crowd are busy banning Bibles in schools, crosses from Utah roadsides and the phrase "God bless you" from funerals in a Houston VA cemetery. Consequently, they aren't focused on license plates, but I have a feeling it's on a To–Do list.
Readers who rely on the news media for their Constitution instruction may not know this, but the document is not actively anti–religion. The founders were believers and the thought of banning government from even the most glancing connection with God would have seemed absurd to them.
The Constitution only prohibits the establishment of a state religion, for example: Emperor worship during the Roman Empire or the Anglican Church in England under Henry VIII.
The phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution. This atheist catchphrase originated in a private letter written by Thomas Jefferson and has no more force of law than this column.
And Jefferson, bless his heart, had his idiosyncrasies. Acting as the Gutenberg of the scissors and a paste–pot set, Jefferson produced his own Bible by literally cutting out the parts he didn't like and keeping what he did.
This may make him the first Unitarian Universalist and would probably qualify Jefferson to be ordained as an Episcopal bishop, but it does not make him a reliable source on the religious views of the founders.
For the sake of argument, let's assume the religion scrubbers are correct and the Constitution justifies purging all trace of worship from the public square. The question is what type of government do they think will result?
A cool, clean empire of intellect ruled by Mr. Spock? Maybe, but China is more likely.
This would make many progressives very happy, including those in the White House. China is a communist government run by experts. (A two–fer in progressive circles.) These experts don't get bogged down in partisan gridlock caused by annoying Republicans who smoke. Decisions are made based on science, not politics. Plus, the experts are Asian and everyone knows how smart they are.
China is also rich. And it has bullet trains that fly between major cities. State–sponsored abortion is legal. (You could almost call it human sacrifice, but that sounds too much like religion.) And since there is only one party, there are no messy political campaigns and tacky commercials.
China is everything a secular humanist could wish for, until a toddler gets hit by a truck.
Then you learn the price for removing religion from the public square. 18 different people in Guangzhou watched as a two–year–old girl, who wandered into traffic, was smashed by delivery van. They left her lying bloody in the street until she was run over by a truck. Finally, after seven long minutes, an elderly scrap peddler, who may not have had anything to lose, dragged her out of the street.
People don't help injured two–year–olds in China because helping others is not state–approved behavior. In 2007 a young man was sued after he helped an elderly woman with a broken leg to the hospital. The Wall Street Journal reports the court ordered the rescuer to pay 40 percent of the woman's medical bills because "according to common sense" he would not have helped her if he had not been in some way responsible for her fall.
This is social Darwinism as a governing philosophy. Altruism only creates suspicion in a government where religion is banned.
This is why over time the religion haters won't like the government that results from their efforts. Because when you jettison God you also jettison the Good Samaritan.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at
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