Church, State, and Creationism [ Index ]
Flag Desecration Amendment [ Index ]
Government Endorsement of the Boy Scouts [ Index ]
Is America a Christian Nation? [ Index ]
Pledge of Allegiance [ Index ]
School Prayer [ Index ]
Supreme Court Decisions [ Index ]
Vouchers [ Index ]
Related Sites [ Index ]
An overview of church-state relations in Norway.
It is long overdue that people who do not believe in any god are elected to significant political office. Atheists must start electing some of their own, and Eddie Tabash, the only admitted atheist to run for political office in 2000, describes what is necessary for this to happen, and how we need to overcome crippling assumptions and prejudices and start getting politically savvy, just as the Christian Right has done.
"In God We Teach" is the story of Matthew LaClair, a student at Kearny (New Jersey) public high school who secretly recorded religious statements made in class by David Paszkiewicz, his history teacher. After approaching the local school board for redress and receiving none, LaClair took his secret recordings to the media, accusing Paszkiewicz of illegally proselytizing for Jesus in the classroom. This in-depth documentary explores the blurred lines between personal belief, religious dogma and civil law through the eyes of an average, blue-collar American town, presenting the views of both Matthew LaClair and David Paszkiewicz in an interesting and entertaining manner.
The written statement of Jon G. Murray, then-President of American Atheists, Inc., submitted to U.S. House of Representatives. The statement is a supplement to the oral remarks he was scheduled to deliver on 1988 regarding legislation "To modernize United States circulating coin designs of which one reverse will have a theme of the Bicentennial of the Constitution."
Susan Jacoby's Freethinkers paints a broad picture of American secularism, beginning with the US Constitution's break with all precedent in failing to make even a passing reference to a deity, then outlining the importance of Enlightenment values--particularly the concept of natural rights--in propelling the abolition of slavery. Though Jacoby surveys a cast of nineteenth-century secularist heroes, she does not sufficiently emphasize the battles taken up by late nineteenth-century freethought organizations. But she does enjoin us to educate ourselves and ensure that the public never overlooks the harm that religion has caused, offering no compromises for the sake of political correctness.
In Kingdom Coming Michelle Goldberg lets America's "Christian Reconstructionists," who openly advocate making the Bible the basis of a shari'a-type religious law, speak for themselves. Though considered extreme even within the religious right, an offshoot called dominionism, or Christian Nationalism, openly advocates theocracy and is rapidly gaining ground among "mainstream" right-wing Christians. Those swept away in this fundamentalist counterculture live in a universe that they have created, separate from and parallel to the one that the rest of us live in. The immediate danger they pose is not their impact on social issues, but the subversion of rationality itself, which has been achieved to an alarming extent. Today the best established scientific conclusions are routinely undermined and derided, and even the mainstream media feel that they have to offer "balance" on scientific issues by giving equal time to cranks and crackpots. The religious right is motivated, organized, and well-funded, and they are not going away. We ignore them at our peril. Goldberg has done us a service in giving us a beautifully crafted statement of why we fight.
David Eller's Natural Atheism is no ordinary freethought handbook. Its chapter on church-state separation reviews most of the appropriate legislation and case law, concluding that freedom from religion is protected by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. As an unapologetic rationalist, Eller insists that any deviation from reason--including faith--merely masquerades as thinking. Advocating the relativity of moral systems to specific social contexts, Eller nevertheless thinks that reason can ground moral systems by encouraging socially beneficial behavior on the basis of intersubjectivity. And while he thinks that no religious source truly values toleration, he is ambiguous about the extent to which freethinkers should tolerate religion for social convenience at the expense of truth.