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Austin Cline

Church/State Fundamentals: Ganulin v. United States (1999)

By December 2, 2013

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Richard Ganulin filed suit against the US government, arguing that making Christmas Day a legal public holiday violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Christmas Day is when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be their Messiah and it's also when Christians celebrate the arrival of the Christian figure "Santa Claus." Because of this, Ganulin argued that the official adoption of Christmas as a national holiday constituted an endorsement and furtherance of Christianity and Christian beliefs.

Read Article: Ganulin v. United States (1999)

Comments
November 12, 2008 at 6:44 pm
(1) Nancy González Hernández says:

I agree. It does go against the first amendment of the constitution and as an atheist I hope one day the government refuses to give Christianity this privilege.

November 12, 2008 at 11:32 pm
(2) j-mil says:

If it wasn’t for Christians coming to America, pillaging lands and converting slaughtering Natives, you wouldn’t even have a country let alone amendments giving you rights, Nancy.

Fixed!

December 13, 2009 at 9:18 pm
(3) Ron says:

The winter solstice celebrations take different forms in different cultures. The celebrations are therapy for seasonal affective disorder

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

December 14, 2009 at 3:33 am
(4) TRUECRISTIAN says:

Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. And because we have understood that our source is eternal, America has been different. We have no king but Jesus

December 14, 2009 at 8:59 am
(5) Ron says:

(4) TRUECRISTIAN says:We have no king but Jesus) .In other words, indirectly, you are a sun worshiper? Here is an informational link. Be warned. get a firm grip on your anti-intellectual faith

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQLD59fK_Iw

December 14, 2009 at 9:13 am
(6) Rock says:

Fear? What are you afraid of…ask yourself that question, as an atheist. You speak of Christians being afraid to simply drop the language of the holiday. In turn, why are you so afraid of the faith altogether? A quick etymology lesson: Christmas: Christ’s Mass, or, a gathering of people to celebrate Christ’s birth. Lastly, if you believe that the writers of the constitution would approve of this, you have a warped and simply uninformed view of history. The purpose behind the first amendment was to prevent the State from adopting a single “governing” religion. Christ and God are an absolutely integral part of all of the writings and activities of the time. Denying this is just ignorant. But, fear…fear seems to be rampant among atheists who just can’t possibly tolerate the celebration of a holiday…Seems ironic…doesn’t it?

December 14, 2009 at 9:25 am
(7) Austin Cline says:

Fear? What are you afraid of…ask yourself that question, as an atheist.

If that were a serious question, you’d not try to answer it for people you don’t know and have never met.

You speak of Christians being afraid to simply drop the language of the holiday. In turn, why are you so afraid of the faith altogether?

Who said we were?

A quick etymology lesson: Christmas: Christ’s Mass, or, a gathering of people to celebrate Christ’s birth.

You seem to be ignoring the “mass” part. Do you participate in a mass on Christ’s Mass?

Lastly, if you believe that the writers of the constitution would approve of this, you have a warped and simply uninformed view of history.

Feel free to show how.

The purpose behind the first amendment was to prevent the State from adopting a single “governing” religion.

That’s a popular myth, but ultimately false.

Christ and God are an absolutely integral part of all of the writings and activities of the time.

Prove it.

Denying this is just ignorant.

Then it should be easy to prove.

But, fear…fear seems to be rampant among atheists who just can’t possibly tolerate the celebration of a holiday..

Prove it.

Seems ironic…doesn’t it?

No, it just seems false — a false assertion from someone who arrogantly and presumptuously pretends to know the minds and feelings of people they neither know nor have met.

But you are of course welcome to show I’m wrong by demonstrating that your claims about others are correct.

December 14, 2009 at 10:11 am
(8) tracieh says:

Woowee! Fear? On the AETV list, we get at least 3 letters a week from frightened Christians who assert that as long as we don’t accept Jesus, we will live under fear and doubt. This is because they believe that if they don’t believe, THEY will live under fear and doubt. And that fear has such a grip on them, they can’t fathom that anyone else might live outside their faith and really NOT be under fear and doubt.

I don’t fear faith, but I do have concerns about large segments of the population adopting a belief system that promotes faith (belief in unsupported claims–gullibility) as a “virtue” and also aligns that with the assertion that an ultimate authority figure exists and runs their lives and polices their thinking. In such a system, whoever gets the job of telling them what this all-authority figure expects of them get’s to hold the reins on the masses. And we commonly get conversations with Christians who assert they would kill their own children if they believed it was what god wanted.

I am concerned about that sort of blind, unquestioning allegiance to anything–god, government, you name it. But I don’t think that’s an unreasonable concern to have. It’s no different than being concerned about people who believe in Allah’s authority and would kill for Him. I’m concerned about them as well–is that wrong?

December 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm
(9) Rock says:

I figured if I waited a few minutes and someone would “arrogantly and presumptuously pretend to know the minds and feelings, etc.” It took 20 minutes to get a response painting Christians as sort of kooky, kool-aid drinkers. Because atheists only know the truth, right? So, I’ll agree that you’re not afraid…just “concerned” about people who believe in a higher power…I guess that’s a little different. For me, I could care less what you believe. But, for the record, I don’t support native American slaughter or baby killings in the name of Christ. Jihadists are just as bad as others who mass murder, yes. I’m not sure I understand the point there. But, past all of that, I feel that I’m at least fairly aware of my country’s history. That’s what we were really talking about.

Austin, the reason it seems like fear to me is because I see the almost hair-trigger war against the holiday and Christianity (in the public forum). To the extent that public schools are slowly beginning to even ban text referring to God in historical documents like the Declaration of Independence. As a teacher, I don’t even have words for this. It’s like teaching one of my English classes and refusing to talk about the role Christianity played in the life of CS Lewis! And, before you think anything…yes, I was asked not to talk about that aspect of his life in one of my classes. It’s absurd to the core because his beliefs intimately shaped his writing.

My question to you…Why do you care if a small-town community wants to read the biblical story of the birth of Jesus in a public forum. So what? There’s no slippery slope to government sponsored religion. Our country doesn’t have a history of this at all. Just like you, I don’t want the government to tell me how to believe (though they sure like to tell us what to do!). But, if one atheist is standing in a crowd of 250 participants listening to a story. And, by your own admission that story is silly, impossible and filled with assertions that can’t be supported…can’t you just walk away and be comfortable with your beliefs? Do you really feel so uncomfortable with your own beliefs that groups like the ACLU need to bully citizens and corporations into saying XMAS or Festivus or Solstice…or…nothing at all? So, yes. I would say fear.

By the way, did you write an article berating the Muslim day of prayer back in September? I didn’t see one. This wasn’t a prayer before a football game or a tree lighting…No, this little festival occurred on national tv, supported by thousands, and on the capital steps no less. Yet, I didn’t hear much screaming or kicking at the time.

I understand that you’d like me to quote some biased source to refute that you’re academically wrong about whether or not Jefferson was a deist, unitarian, naturalist or Christian. I won’t do that. If you don’t believe that religion shaped the opinions of our founders then there’s not much to talk about. But, I will ask you to honestly read the many letters exchanged between Jefferson and John Adams (without extracting quotes to support your position) during the years after the revolution. They both speak freely of their faith and how their faith shaped the writing of the declaration and constitution. And, they freely discuss their skepticism of the way European governments were intertwined with the church. This is what they were concerned about…establishing some kind of church-driven government. The constitution and declaration vaguely referenced God because of that skepticism and fear of what “could” happen. But, to say that religion wasn’t an integral part of their lives is intellectually dishonest. This is like saying the pilgrims were Quakers, not Christians (yes, I’ve heard this argument before).

So, I will leave you with a couple of quotes:

“our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (Adams)

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” (Washington)

“The goodness of the Supreme Being to all His rational creatures demands their acknowledgments of gratitude and love; His absolute government of the world dictates that it is the interest of every nation and people ardently to supplicate His favor and implore His protection.” (Hancock)

December 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm
(10) Austin Cline says:

I figured if I waited a few minutes and someone would “arrogantly and presumptuously pretend to know the minds and feelings, etc.” It took 20 minutes to get a response painting Christians as sort of kooky, kool-aid drinkers.

Feel free to show how. I imagine you think you’re talking about Tracie’s comment, but no where does she say anything about Christians generally, much less that they are kooky — nor does she pretend to know the minds and feelings of Christians generally. She is, instead, critical of what some Christians say and think as well as concerned about anyone being taught uncritical faith. For you to translate that into “Christians are kooky” is not only bizarre, but fairly instructive about the degree to which outside information may get twisted by you when you process it. If this is how you twist Tracie’s comments, then I feel comfortable in not taking at face value all your expressed concerns about education.

Austin, the reason it seems like fear to me is because I see the almost hair-trigger war against the holiday and Christianity (in the public forum).

Even assuming that is correct, your conclusion is that “fear” is the only possible reason? Feel free to support this.

To the extent that public schools are slowly beginning to even ban text referring to God in historical documents like the Declaration of Independence.

…and atheists alone are responsible for all the problems you perceive?

My question to you…Why do you care if a small-town community wants to read the biblical story of the birth of Jesus in a public forum.

I don’t care if private individual in the community want to do this. I also don’t care if private individual want to gather together as part of a private organization to do it publicly.

I do care, however, about the government giving an official, approved and supported status to any religious ritual, religious text, religious belief, or religion. That’s illegal and the distinction is, I think, made quite clear in my above post. Curious that you don’t bother to address it.

But, if one atheist is standing in a crowd of 250 participants listening to a story.

No one said it was an atheist who asked if the practice was legal.

And, by your own admission that story is silly, impossible and filled with assertions that can’t be supported…can’t you just walk away and be comfortable with your beliefs?

Why can’t you just walk away and have the reading as part of a private organization? What fear motivates your need to have the government give your religion a stamp of official approval?

Do you really feel so uncomfortable with your own beliefs that groups like the ACLU need to bully citizens and corporations into saying XMAS or Festivus or Solstice…or…nothing at all?

Please do cite any organization doing this to any corporation.

By the way, did you write an article berating the Muslim day of prayer back in September? I didn’t see one. This wasn’t a prayer before a football game or a tree lighting…No, this little festival occurred on national tv, supported by thousands, and on the capital steps no less. Yet, I didn’t hear much screaming or kicking at the time.

Was it sponsored, supported, or endorsed by the government? Was the prayer said by someone employed or tasked by the government to do just this? Was the festival something unusual in that no other religion or religious festival is ever accorded the same status?

If not, that’s why you didn’t notice any screaming and kicking — because Muslims aren’t demanding that the government privilege them and their religion.

I understand that you’d like me to quote some biased source to refute that you’re academically wrong about whether or not Jefferson was a deist, unitarian, naturalist or Christian.

There you go, presuming the read the minds of others. You’re not at all good at it.

But, I will ask you to honestly read the many letters exchanged between Jefferson and John Adams (without extracting quotes to support your position) during the years after the revolution.

I have read many of those letters. In fact, I have even reviewed a book collecting many of the letters that are most relevant to this very topic. It’s arrogant to presume that I haven’t read any of these letters, merely because I degree with your political position.

Oh, and I must of course point out that none of these letters support the contention that the purpose of the First Amendment was merely to prevent the creation of a single national church and nothing more. The fact that they did have concerns about established national churches does not in any way imply that this is where their concerns stopped. Even a cursory look at other issues they involved themselves with demonstrates that they objected to much more.

The attempt in Virginia to collect taxes to disburse to churches, for example, was something that Jefferson and Madison fought hard against. Obviously that wouldn’t have amounted to an established church, officially endorsed by the state government, but it was also just as obviously important to their thinking and relations between religious organizations and the government — and thus on what they intended by the Frist Amendment.

So, I will leave you with a couple of quotes:

None of which were from Jefferson or Madison, the primary movers and thinkers behind the First Amendment.

December 14, 2009 at 5:35 pm
(11) Rock says:

First, ask and you shall receive…Oh, I’ve quoted several founders and signers…I’ve read their letters. I’m waiting to see something other than an article you’ve written or someones interpretation of their beliefs. Show me that my history is incorrect:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” (Jefferson)

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” (Madison, 1778)

I can do this all day. You may choose to simply re-write the fact that the founding fathers believed that the order for effective government was God, then government. Where we agree is that they didn’t want the two to intersect. Jefferson especially didn’t the government to create some kind of state sponsored religion. We agree on this.

I will respond to your major contentions (the ones without the added sarcasm). First, I never suggested that the state should sponsor anything. I don’t believe this should ever happen. Allowing citizens to light a Christmas tree and tell a bible story is not an endorsement of religion!!! It’s in no way different than the muslim day of prayer??? How is this inconsistent? What city government that you know of ever sent out mandates to celebrate Christmas? I’m saying that the two events are no different, yet, the quite large presentation of Muslim prayer was somehow glossed over. How is it relevant? It was held on the Capital steps on government property.

Oh, please stop trying to misdirect my arguments as some kind of mind reading experiment. I’m simply refuting your arguments. I don’t pretend to read your mind. I do, however, have a firm understanding of our history…I’ve provided you with quotes and will be happy to provide you with more.

We actually probably agree on more than you think. I like you’re articles even though they don’t necessarily follow my own beliefs. But, you’re a great writer and spirited. Thanks for the debate. Now…off to feed my kids. Happy Holidays!

December 14, 2009 at 6:42 pm
(12) Austin Cline says:

First, ask and you shall receive…Oh, I’ve quoted several founders and signers…I’ve read their letters. I’m waiting to see something other than an article you’ve written or someones interpretation of their beliefs. Show me that my history is incorrect:

You’re the one attributing a particular and narrow “intent” to the First Amendment. You’re the one making the claim that the First Amendment was always intended to be interrupted in a particular way. The burden is yours to demonstrate that it must be interpreted that narrowly, in contrast to the established body of case law which interprets it far more broadly. The burden is not and never was mine to prove you wrong.

None of the quotes, by the way, support his interpretation. What’s worse, at least one is definitely fake:

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” (Madison, 1778)

I’ll wager you got it from David Barton who has actually admitted that he published a false quote. Now I’m afraid that you’re going to have to provide original citations for any quotes you want to offer, otherwise none of them can really be taken at face value and trusted — because you have demonstrated that you can’t be trusted to provide accurate quotes. Sorry, but once you start using and relying on information that has long been known to be false, you undermine your own credibility.

I can do this all day. You may choose to simply re-write the fact that the founding fathers believed that the order for effective government was God, then government.

Since none of this is actually in the text of the Constitution, you’ll have to explain how and why it’s relevant — after, of course, you make your case without fake quotes.

I will respond to your major contentions (the ones without the added sarcasm).

None of my contentions were made sarcastically. I have to regard this as simply a lousy excuse to try to avoid addressing serious problems with your comments — like, for example, you attempt to make false attributions to others about describing Christians as “kooky” or your failure to support your belief that “fear” is the best or only likely reason for what you see atheists doing.

First, I never suggested that the state should sponsor anything.

Then you should also oppose official government functions where one religion is singled out for recognition and endorsement not otherwise afforded to any other religion.

I don’t believe this should ever happen. Allowing citizens to light a Christmas tree and tell a bible story is not an endorsement of religion!!!

Once again, you are missing the fact that private citizens, acting as private citizens, are not being stopped from doing this. They can host their own events on private property or, with the right permits, do it on public property. The event in question, in contrast, was an official government event where the government controlled the activities, the speakers, the content of the presentations, etc. That makes it all government speech, and thus whatever content is there is also endorsed, supported, and promoted by the government.

What city government that you know of ever sent out mandates to celebrate Christmas?

You are missing the fact that the government doesn’t have to mandate something in order to promote, privilege, endorse, or encourage it. If any government released a statement like “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light,” that wouldn’t be a mandate to believe in Jesus nor would it be the creation of an official government church — but it would still be unconstitutional because no government has any authority over such matters. The government can’t endorse or deny Jesus. The government can’t endorse or discourage prayer. The government can’t promote or discourage any religious text. All of this is outside the boundaries of government authority and competency.

I’m saying that the two events are no different, yet, the quite large presentation of Muslim prayer was somehow glossed over.

If you wish to claim that they were no different, then you should be able to answer my questions instead of ignoring them:

Was it sponsored, supported, or endorsed by the government? Was the prayer said by someone employed or tasked by the government to do just this? Was the festival something unusual in that no other religion or religious festival is ever accorded the same status?

Don’t waste time claiming that this is somehow a valid, relevant analogy unless and until you can answers these questions about just how similar the Muslim event was to the Christmas event at issue here.

How is it relevant? It was held on the Capital steps on government property.

FYI, private individuals having a privately-funded and -sponsored event on public property is quite different form an official government event where the government decides what will happen, who will speak, what will be said, etc.

Oh, please stop trying to misdirect my arguments as some kind of mind reading experiment.

I’m not. I’m simply informing you that you are terrible at mind reading and should stop. Don’t presume to know what I want, what I will do, or what I’m feeling — thus far you have been wrong every single time and it isn’t likely that your performance will improve.

I’m simply refuting your arguments.

Where? Bogus quotes aren’t a refutation. Even legitimate quotes aren’t necessarily a refutation unless it can be establish that the quotes are relevant to the interpretation of the Constitution. Furthermore, events held by private organizations are not a relevant analogy for government events.

December 14, 2009 at 8:21 pm
(13) TRUECRISTIAN says:

We are approaching a time when Christians, especially, may have to declare the social contract between Enlightenment rationalists and Biblical believers – which formed the basis of the constitution written at our nation’s founding – null and void

December 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm
(14) Ron says:

(13) TRUECRISTIAN says:

We are approaching a time when Christians, especially, may have to declare the social contract between Enlightenment rationalists and Biblical believers – which formed the basis of the constitution written at our nation’s founding – null and void…….
I, for one would not know how to respond to that statement!

December 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm
(15) Ron says:

Re: (13) TRUECRISTIAN says.)
After a few moments, I do in fact have a response.
Most of the Christian people that I know seem to be very comfortable with the notion of civil liberty and personal autonomy. A few do not. You, my dear person appear to be one of the latter.

December 15, 2009 at 1:42 am
(16) TRUECRISTIAN says:

I simply don’t get it. They are filled with so much hate and animosity to people who don’t share their beliefs (aka, decent people). Gays just seem to absolutely hate Christians, have no respect at all for us. They are always, ALWAYS going on about having special rights, about how persecuted they are, blah blah blah, etc. Yet they themselves have no tolerance for Christians who tell them they are evil.

That is my belief folks! That is what I truly and honestly belief and nothing can make me change that. I truly feel deep down that homosexuals are all going to hell. God made me this way. So why don’t homosexuals want me to tell this to them? They are attempting to infringe on our freedom of religion!

December 15, 2009 at 10:38 am
(17) tracieh says:

>I figured if I waited a few minutes and someone would “arrogantly and presumptuously pretend to know the minds and feelings, etc.”

Where did I do this? When a person say, “Wow encountering that huge spider must have really scared you,” it’s arrogant and presumptuous and assuming to think that is the person demonstrating that “huge spiders” would be frightening to “them”? They’ve just expressed that–if you pay attention and understand extreme basics of human communication. Unless they know me personally (and they don’t) and know I have some personal fear of huge spiders, they’re assumption of _my_ fear can only come from their assumption that this would be something scary.

I have a relative who routinely asserts that things in life must really “worry” me–when they don’t. Where do you think this assessment is coming from? It’s a statement of how similar situations would affect them–they would worry. You really don’t get that?

Far from asserting what Christians think–I actually began with their own demonstration and admission of what they think, and proceeded from there.

December 15, 2009 at 2:31 pm
(18) tracieh says:

I should also note that:

1. Many atheists beign ex-believers, which means they can speak about motives of belief from a position of knowledge, not speculation.

2. I personally engage theists directly on a program where I get to ask all manner of believers to explain “what you believe and why you believe it.”

This makes it even more ironic that you levy, against me specifically an accusation that I am “arrogantly and presumptuously pretend[ing] to know the minds and feelings, etc.” of anyone else.

I would readily admit, and have on many occasions, that there are multiple factors that feed into the millions of different believers in the world. However, any believer that comes out of the gate assuming that all atheists are living in dread and doubt demonstrates that is his assessment of what life would be like without his belief. This is what he _assumes_, therefore, life is like for atheists.

Since I’ve never met an ex-theist atheist living in fear and doubt, the believer who levies such an accusation is demonstrably not deriving his assessment from observations and discussions with atheists. So, where does his concept of this model come from? Why, it comes from where all concepts come from–his own mind. The “fear and dread” he describes is the fear and dread he avoids by believing. And he has said as much himself to anyone who actually knows how to listen and hear communication–and understand the inter and intrapersonal messages invovled in any dialogue (that our statements about others carry with them communcations about our own perceptions of reality–we tell others about _ourselves_ any time we levy a judgment).

That doesn’t mean the information we share is necessary bad–they’re just informative pieces of us.

December 15, 2009 at 5:45 pm
(19) fauxrs says:

Yet they themselves have no tolerance for Christians who tell them they are evil.

That is my belief folks! That is what I truly and honestly belief and nothing can make me change that. I truly feel deep down that homosexuals are all going to hell. God made me this way. So why don’t homosexuals want me to tell this to them? They are attempting to infringe on our freedom of religion

Ah a perfect example of the love and charity of christians. Hate the sin and hate the sinner and all that.

Of course I am sure you are tolerant of all who claim christians are evil and I am quite sure you wouldnt want them to stop telling you that either.

December 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm
(20) Liz says:

I mainly want to comment on something in Rock (9) about the ACLU. Before you go maligning the ACLU, you should look further into what they do. It is true that they are involved in 1st Amendment cases where govt somewhere has done some activity that privileges some church (usu. Christianity). The times when they are active removing crosses, for example, get a lot of play in conservative press.

But look at other cases: recently they restored the rights of a pentecostal prisoner to preach. And in 2006 they filed a lawsuit seeking to protect the right of veterans and their families to choose religious symbols to engrave on headstones in federal cemeteries. You get that? They want individuals to have the right to choose and express their religion (or lack thereof); they don’t want govt to impose a cross or religion or anything on citizens.

Some people might not always agree with what the ACLU does on a personal level, but they are defending the 1st Amendment – not everyone really understands what it
stands for. Several years back, a non-practicing Christian said to me: “What’s wrong with having the 10 commandments at the courthouse? Who can disagree with the 10 commandments?” The ACLU was “disagreeing” with the 10 commandments. Where to even begin with all the things wrong with that person’s statement?!!

Recently, I heard someone say that “freedom of religion” means we *should* have prayer in school and religious symbols all around! Not having religious symbols, school-sponsored prayer and the like was actually, to this person’s mind, not respecting her freedom of religion.

Really it takes my breath away.

December 16, 2009 at 9:24 pm
(21) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

Rock (9). If you know how X is pronounced when combined with other letters, you know XMAS is pronounced Christmas; not EXMAS. I am a geologist/geophysicist; we shorten crystal to xtal, crystallography to xtallography, crystallization to xtallization, etc; the pronunciation of the words are not changed to extal, etc.

Complaint about the use of Xmas for Christmas is a confession of ignorance.

December 17, 2009 at 10:44 am
(22) TRUECRISTIAN says:

If we didn’t slaughter, how would you get that big juicy Steak on your plate? Eh? Homer!!!

Now I am late with my Christmas Shopping. Check back here later when I expose some more of the toe-tappers I’ve lately seen swarming around EVERYWHERE I GO NOW

And expose some of those never previously suspected. Like John Wayne. Like Errol Flynn. Like Laura Bush.
__________________
“Santa Claus” is not only the anti-Christ but a big red COMMUNISS

December 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm
(23) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

TRUECRISTIAN (22). What is a COMMUNISS?

December 14, 2010 at 12:27 pm
(24) NAKATTACK says:

WARNING!

DO NOT FEED THE TROLL. (TRUECRISTIAN)

December 21, 2011 at 3:11 am
(25) stormy says:

I just want to say this…..i have no problem with anyones doubts about whether or not my God exists as i was not always a believer myself. I understand the the need for proof or hard evidence. I was there. And i still have no proof to offer. My complaint is this…why are unbelievers so offended by mine and my childrens faith in something that only calls for a person to be loving and kind and to have a moral compass. Where is the harm in prayer in public schools? If you dont belive in it then dont pray! How can you be offended by something that you believe doesnt exist at all? I dont get mad when i break a mirror and someone says ill have bad luck. So leave my Christmas alone. Its a birthday party for MY family. I believe that every non-Believer is a project for a Christian. Its our obligation to spread Gods word andSAVE the lost. That doesnt mean bash the atheist…it means sharing the love and compassion we share with our Lord. Id just really appreciate not being bashed by atheists either. And if ANYONE believes that this world without Christianity would be ok…..oh boy…..glad i wont ever have to see that.

December 21, 2011 at 10:43 am
(26) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

Hi Stormy,

>>Where is the harm in prayer in public schools? If you dont belive in it then dont pray!<<

You seem to not have attended "Public School." If you had you would know that not being a part of the majority sets a child up for bullying or other harrassment, and you would know that, if you knew anything about child behavior.

And if you were honest, you would know that rather than becoming such a victim, such a child would probably pretend to pray with the others, now wouldn't he?

Is the all this meaningless to you? What I would like to know is: Where is your moral compass?

Grandpa

December 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm
(27) Cousin Ricky says:

stormy wrote: “My complaint is this…why are unbelievers so offended by mine and my childrens faith in something that only calls for a person to be loving and kind and to have a moral compass.”

This is not about being offended; that is the price we pay for living in a free society. This is about the government privileging your religious celebration. Your faith doesn’t only call for being loving and kind. It also calls for tithes and worship and believing that a virgin gave birth to a god so that we can torture and kill him so that he can rescue us from a hell that he lovingly created. Chances are it also calls for misogyny, discrimination against homosexuals, micromanagement of our sex lives, and denying women the right to make their own health care decisions. (My apologies if the latter don’t apply to you.)

> “Where is the harm in prayer in public schools? If you dont belive in it then dont pray!”

If your children do believe in it, just let them pray. They have that legal right. They do not have the legal right to have the school set it up for them.

> “How can you be offended by something that you believe doesnt exist at all?”

We are not offended by your imaginary god. We are offended by people pushing their religion into the government.

December 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm
(28) Cousin Ricky says:

stormy wrote: “I dont get mad when i break a mirror and someone says ill have bad luck. So leave my Christmas alone. Its a birthday party for MY family.”

Christmas can be whatever you want it to be. No one is denying you that.

The issue is that court has decided that Christmas is not exclusively Christian. If you agree with the court, you may go home and celebrate Christmas. If you disagree with the court, then I expect you to write your congressman to revoke Christmas as a legal holiday. You may then use one of your vacation days and go home and celebrate Christmas. Win-win.

> “I believe that every non-Believer is a project for a Christian.”

You ask to be left alone, and then have the balls to withhold from us the same courtesy? WWJD?

> “Its our obligation to spread Gods word andSAVE the lost.”

That’s your religion, not mine. Leave me alone.

> “And if ANYONE believes that this world without Christianity would be ok…..oh boy…..glad i wont ever have to see that.”

You have an inaccurate view of history. Christianity is what brought Europe the Dark Ages and bloody sectarian wars for centuries. Christianity is now dying across Europe, and they seem no worse off for it. (If you’re thinking about communism, that isn’t simply a case of being without Christianity; it is a case of forcibly replacing one authoritarian system with another, which is not what American secularists are advancing.)

December 22, 2011 at 2:19 am
(29) stormy says:

Well……as a girl with Stormy Hale as a name I was bullied and picked on plenty. In about 7 Very public schools. The fact that my mom married 6 times didnt help. And we were sorta poor too. More bullying and rejection there. Mayybe the bullies are atheists like you. They need to pray about how they can be kinder and not judge. You just made some of the most senseless and narrow minded judgements about me ive ever heard. And were pretty wrong about all of it.

December 22, 2011 at 2:32 am
(30) stormy says:

Furthermore Gramps…i have three children. And personally i think its the parents of the bullys responsibility to give their child the proper guidance about how to be a decent respectful human being towards another person. Hold them responsible. Not the praying child. Argue with the lacking parents about their failure to instill better values. Dont take away our right to show appreciation to our God. It only takes a second and it doesnt even hurt.

December 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm
(31) Edmond says:

@Stormy,

I’d like to say that, as an atheist, I have no problem with people who choose to be believers. But many religious people do NOT behave with love and kindness. As a gay man, I often see quite the opposite from people who claim to be acting on a god’s behalf.

I believe that the best moral compass we can equip ourselves with comes not from any scripture, but from social cooperation. We can find out what is right and wrong by observing the consequences of our actions, and assessing them for harm. I don’t see the harm in 2 consenting adults wanting to be together, so I don’t understand how that violates anyone’s moral compass. The bible condemns many such harmless activities, and endorses some really awful ones. The fact is that even Christians do not REALLY use the bible as a moral guide. Even they are capable of culling out the useless commands of the bible, and they can build their own moral judgment on issues where the bible is silent. How many Christians would say they take their moral guidance from the bible on pedophilia? It should be “zero”, since the bible never mentions it.

As for prayer in public schools, it’s perfectly allowed. Any student may do so. What’s prohibited is for school administration to PUSH prayer onto students, and hopefully you can agree that should not be done.

However you want to celebrate Christmas is just fine, though you should recognize its pagan roots, and see that anyone may celebrate it however they wish. Very little about Christmas today comes from Christianity.

Finally, I wish that you could see how offensive is to say that non-believers are a “project” for you. We are not “lost”, and we are not inviting you to involve yourself in our lives in that way. Should every atheist consider believers as a “project”? Wouldn’t that attitude bother you? Please don’t consider us “deficient” in some way, just because we can look at the world’s mythologies rationally and objectively.

December 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm
(32) Katvilani says:

I’m so tired of hearing the myth that the first amendment only forbids a national religion. If you are brave or inquisitive enough just follow the link prvided below.

http://www.sunnetworks.net/~ggarman/index.html#Return to Essay list.

December 31, 2011 at 2:08 am
(33) Michael Rudas says:

I say, “Put the Mithras back in Mithrasmas!” It’s on December 25th, too. Christianity was a cobbled-up religion. For example, one of the Ten Commandments says to keep the Sabbath holy, yet Christians violate this commandment every week by going to church on Sunday—and the name “Sun” day is no coincidence.

You see, the ancient Babylonians were the world’s first known astronomers. They were also obsessed with the number 6—so much so that they created a calendar based on 12 months of 30 days each (both numbers divisible by 6) instead of the more logical 13 lunar months of 28 days each. That’s also why a circle has 360 degrees and a week has 6 days of work and one “holy” day of rest.

“But wait,” you say. “There are 365 0r 366 days in a year!” Therein lies the origin of what became known in Roman times as Saturnalia. The year started on the winter solstice, but the next five days (inclusive) were sacred to the gods, hence off the calendar. The last day of Saturnalia fell (usually) on what would now be called December 25th and was especially sacred. Later, the mystery cult of Mithras adopted the date as his birth date (as many of you know, a mystery cult is a religious group that believes that its central deity was born of a virgin, was resurrected after death, and whose adherents absorb his vital essence when eating “flesh” wafers and drinking “blood” wine—sound familiar?).
[Continued]

December 31, 2011 at 2:10 am
(34) Michael Rudas says:

[Continued from last message]

Along came Julius Caesar, who decided that he was so important that he had to name a calendar month after himself, July. In order to make his month more important than the others, he “stole” a day from Saturnalia and made July have 31 days. After him, Augustus did the same thing, and August now had 31 days, too. By the time the process was done, several months had 31 days, February was reduced to 28/29 days, and Saturnailia was gone.

When Constantine founded the Roman Church in an attempt to unify and control the Empire, he took elements from the various religions practiced there and cobbled up Christianity as we know it. Among the elements he borrowed from Mithraism was turning Mithrasmas into Christmas, keeping Sunday as the holy day, and turning Mithras’ holy district into what became the Vatican.

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