Rage Against God
By Charles Chandler • February 28, 2014 Decision Magazine
The Ten Commandments, which were guiding principles for many of the Founding Fathers who framed the U.S. Constitution, are now being labeled unconstitutional by a leading atheism advocacy organization. That rather bizarre claim in an Oklahoma City lawsuit exemplifies the growing ferocity of attacks by atheist groups and individuals across the country against public expressions of Christianity, especially in government and community settings
Just as prayer was removed from public schools in the early 1960s on the basis of the separation of church and state, another landmark case is before the Supreme Court that threatens to outlaw prayer before government and civic meetings.
All over the nation, dozens of lawsuits and legal threats have aimed at removing crosses and Bibles from public places. A high school football coach in North Carolina was forced to stop praying with and baptizing some of his players, even though the activity occurred primarily at church.
Atheist groups are also vigorously trying to strip churches and pastors of tax exemptions.
And in one of the most visually prominent examples to date, an organization called American Atheists erected a billboard in New York City’s Times Square during the 2013 Christmas season that posed the question, “Who needs Christ during Christmas?” The name of Christ was crossed through, and the question was answered: “Nobody.”
Internationally noted Christian journalist and author David Aikman said there’s been a steady acceleration of anti-Christian activity by atheist groups over the past five years and that believers must rise up to stop the momentum.
“It’s a constant threat,” said Aikman, author of The Delusion of Disbelief: Why the New Atheism Is a Threat to Your Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. “Christians have got to defend themselves against these proposed restrictions on First Amendment principles.”
The First Amendment right of freedom of religion is front and center in the Oklahoma City lawsuit filed by American Atheists in an attempt to have a Ten Commandments monument removed from the grounds of the state capitol.
The monument is deemed religiously offensive by the plaintiffs, who charge that most of the commandments—except those prohibiting crimes such as murder and stealing—would be unconstitutional if they were part of Oklahoma law.
For example, the lawsuit says the prohibition against taking the Lord’s name in vain is a violation of free speech, the command to remember the Sabbath is an “invasion of the mind,” and the order against coveting creates a “thought crime.”
U.S. Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), a devout evangelical, sharply criticized those legal claims being made in his home state.
“The question of the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments is ludicrous,” he told Decision. “People who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob try to adhere to the Commandments. … No one is trying to make them the law of the state of Oklahoma.
“The monument on the state capitol grounds is an artistic expression that reminds people of the Judeo-Christian heritage of the state and the nation and of the moral underpinnings of our civil government.”
But tradition rooted in religion, regardless of its merits, is under siege in these attacks.
In Starke, Fla., a group of atheists unveiled a monument last June near the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Bradford County Courthouse. It included the following inscription: “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
Even a small amount of research exposes that as revisionist history.
“It’s a flat-out lie,” said Aikman. “To make a ridiculous statement about America’s foundations having nothing to do with Christianity is a form of dishonesty that is quite breathtaking.”
Perhaps nowhere is the battle more intense than in the current Supreme Court case Greece v. Galloway, in which Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the town of Greece, N.Y., on behalf of an atheist, Linda Stephens, and a Jewish woman, Susan Galloway. The women claim that the Greece town board’s regular practice of prayer—usually Christian—before its meetings is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case last November and is expected to render a decision by June. It’s the first such case about public prayer in three decades.
Stephens is using the national platform to try to rally atheists into action.
“One thing I would say to my fellow atheists is we need to come out of the closet,” she told reporters last November. “There are many, many of us and we have to follow the lead of the LGBT community, and we have to make our voices heard.”
Aikman said it’s clear that atheist groups are trying to capitalize on the legal successes of the gay rights movement. ...Rest of article