Saturday, June 26, 2010

False Belief -- in Oppression

Posted by JHW22

There are good and bad things about Facebook. The good is finding old friends, following amazing sources of information and just plain ol' goofing off. The bad includes wasting time, reading stupid comments from idiotic strangers and the worst: finding out things about your relatives that you wish you never knew. The latter has been an on-going problem for me since my elders joined Facebook and I have learned that aunts and uncles I always respected and considered intelligent, are in fact, tea baggers. Yes, I admit I have tea baggers in the family. What's a girl to do? I can ignore or I can address things head on. For the most part I ignore.

But when my aunt posted Red Skelton's interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance -- accompanied by a horrible quotation, which I will cite, meant to incite the oppressed Christians of America -- I couldn't keep my mouth shut or my fingers still. What follows may perhaps be the end of a pleasant aunt and niece relationship. But as an atheist-American, I felt my personal values and the principles I hope to raise my son respecting must be defended -- especially in light of the meaning behind the Pledge and its meaning for all Americans to stand together and respect who each one is as a member of a nation who shares many beliefs and shouldn't pretend that one belief isn't held to a higher level of respect than the others.

Red Skelton interpreting the Pledge and what each word means. It’s quite moving actually. In fact, it further motivates me to ensure that more Americans actually have access to the same liberties and unity that the rest of us share. Pretty powerful stuff. Then he goes and ruins it by suggesting that “under God” should stay in the pledge and wouldn’t it be a shame to remove it and all it stands for. You can watch if you want, but I think I made a pretty fair summary.

And this is what I wrote to my aunt in response to her posting of the video:

I wish we applied those liberties and freedoms to all Americans -- like gay and lesbian Americans. It would be nice if we applied our patriotism to them.

I also think it's interesting that "Separation of Charch [sic] and State ,was never ment [sic] to Exclued [sic] ,But has been used in schools to undermind [sic] the teachings of Parents, and clouding what is right and wrong who can say what is right or wrong ,if we are never Tought [sic]" (well, heck that entire quote should be a [sic]) is meant to imply that those who believe in God are somehow jipped yet people who don't believe in God just have to accept that God is in the national pledge. God is spoken in schools every day in this country. How is that exclusion? Prayer IS allowed in schools. Any student or staff member CAN pray in school. All that the courts have ever said is that one prayer can't be said for all students. And really, isn't THAT inclusive? Perhaps you can't understand that as an atheist or a Jew or a Muslim that being required to say or hear a prayer of Christians is NOT a part of that UNITED and LIBERTY part of the pledge and THAT is why schools do not hold a daily prayer. Your God's name is spoken in schools. Please don't act as if YOUR beliefs are infringed upon.

I also find it insulting that the above quote from the Skelton page implies that only those who think "under God" has an impact on the teaching of right and wrong. Or that only those who believe in prayer teach what is right and wrong.

No, to me, it would NOT be a shame to remove "under God" from the pledge. To me it would take us back to the original version that actually included by not designating. It didn't say "under a non-existent entity". Only by putting the words in there did anyone even think that removing them would be excluding. Until then, Americans' views were represented. Now, only those who believe in God’s are. But that's OK: atheists aren't hurt by hearing the words, right? It doesn't hurt to hear words. So then why would it hurt to not hear them? Why is unification and liberty applicable to those who FEEL oppressed who never see that they are in fact getting what they desire and can't imagine how letting go would be more true to the concept of that liberty and unification they claim to hold so dear?

Delete this comment if you want. And delete me if you want. But please, realize that there are two sides to this issue and your side is the one most upheld and yet most manipulated to make you feel outrage over something that isn't real. Christians are not oppressed each day that "under God" is said in our public schools. Christian children are not oppressed when they get public support of their beliefs. Atheist children learn right from wrong.
My favorite reverend, Reverend Welton Gaddy, said this:
"Well, it also seems a little bit religious hypocritical because —religiously hypocritical—because in most traditions, authentic prayer and meditation are acts that are done alone for the spiritual communication and meditation of the one involved. And all of the protests that we‘re seeing today is not in favor of prayer as defined in historic religious traditions, it‘s about public prayer.

And I have always argued, whether you‘re talking about the National Day of Prayer, or whether you‘re talking about enforcing prayer in school, the issue is not prayer, the issue is proselytization, doing something in public that is supposed to be a private act, that is convincing others do it exactly the way you do, or feel guilty about it or move to the periphery of society."


veralynn said...

nicely done jhw22. I will be sharing on FB.

Broadway Carl said...

Thanks, JHW22. I watched the video and thought the same exact thing. A wonderful Skelton sentiment ruined by the last 5 seconds of "under God" rhetoric.