Signs of the times: The never ending story

Well, since I did post something a while back on this story, about the atheist sign in Washington, it seems obligatory to follow up on any updates. The latest is that 500 people were protesting this little atheist sign, which most likely would have been otherwise nationally ignored. I suppose publicity is a good thing?

The protest — organized late last week by a Federal Way man who said he was offended by the sign installed by Wisconsin’s Freedom From Religion Foundation — drew Christian pastors, at least one state legislator and a handful of counter-protesters.

Aside from noting that some people just have too much time on their hands (something about the devil and idle hands?), I have to wonder what it is that offends them. Is being reminded that not everybody believes as they do offensive? By this logic, I ought to be offended everyday, when I drive by this large cross on a hill off the road. I may think it is silly, maybe obnoxious, but I have no rights to not be offended. Perhaps it is offensive that since the government can not condone or sanction any one religion, all ideas must be allowed to be represented or none. Perhaps being reminded that government can not sanction only Christianity, but was designed to be secular from the beginning is offensive. The irony of using political correctness backwards is lost on these protesters.

Of course, the simplest solution is to have no overtly religious symbols in government buildings at all. Otherwise, things could get pretty crowded and make things difficult for the people’s business to be done. Seasonal symbols, such as a Christmas tree, are probably fairly innocuous and can (in my opinion) be appreciated without the religious overtones, whereas a nativity scene, could be seen as condoning a specific story or myth. Put up nativity scenes in home, your outside lawn, around churches, wherever, but they are probably not appropriate in government buildings. The government is the people’s government, including people who are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Great Spirit followers, atheist, or Flying Spaghetti Monster devotees. For a government to display religious symbols is to inherently lend official credence to that religion to the exclusion of others not so represented.

But, wait, there’s more! Again from the article:

State Rep. Jim Dunn, a Vancouver Republican, called for the crowd to continue their energy and prayers.

“It is time to chase out of the house of God all the unbelievers and evildoers,” Dunn said.

First a comment on the second sentence. State Rep. Dunn seems to be confusing a Capitol building with a church. I suggest he go back and study up on our form of government and the Constitution, as he seems to not understand that we are not (yet) a theocracy. Perhaps putting religiously themed decorations in the Capitol is what confused him and shows why this might be a hazardous thing to do.

On the first sentence, I’m curious as to for what he would like people to pray exactly. That God will magically make the atheist sign disappear? That the Freedom from Religion Foundation will turn into the Freedom to be Whatever Brand of Christian You Want Foundation? Perhaps he is praying that all we atheists will be raptured so we won’t bother him anymore.

Next, he is urging his listeners to “continue their energy”. O.K., this captured my inner geek’s interest. What does this mean? Does he mean to keep whatever kinetic energy they have at the moment ongoing, that is never stop but either keep moving at the same speed or compensate with increased mass? Or is he including potential energy to mean total energy? Is he talking about motion at velocities at a significant fraction of the speed of light so that relativistic formula are to be used? Perhaps he means simply to keep eating so the body has fuel to burn for energy? That would probably mean a call to not do a hunger strike. That’s advice even I can follow.

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