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Author/DatePost
n-atheist
Aug 7 2011
interesting editorial in nyt

There was an interesting editorial published today in the New York Times which argues that our usual response to things like Governor Perry's "prayer-fest" is misguided. Rather than saying such events should not be allowed because of church-state separation, the author of the editorial says we should make use of the freedoms that allow such an event to respond in kind.

Some people think we would be better off without religion in public life. In the long run, however, we would lose much more than we gain. Our debates may be more contentious if we allow religion in, but they will also be more committed and honest. Just as the Constitution allows Mr. Perry to stake his political future on “The Response,” it allows the rest of us to answer back.

I'm still not entirely sure what I think of it -- using his power as governor to hold this meeting which treats evangelical Christians differently than people with other religious views really does seem to be a violation of the first amendment to me -- but he definitely makes some good points.

For the rest of the article, see

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/06/opini ... ponse.html

Rhett_Butler
Aug 7 2011
Re: interesting editorial in nyt

Interesting editorial, and I agree that the double standard does need to end - religious views cannot be both allowed in the "public square" and protected from public criticism. However I disagree with the author's characterization of the atheist viewpoint. The aim is not to remove religious views from the public square - it is to remove them from governmental speech and actions. WalMart is the public square, as are street corners, Starbucks, newspaper editorial pages, college campuses, television, and internet sites not ending in .gov. Congress, Town council meetings and political rallies announced by a governor in his official capacity are government speech. For me it is not a difficult distinction to make, yet experience has shown me that religious people are either incapable or unwilling to do so. Probably some of each.

Here is another response to the prayer rally- this one from a religious Texan, also unhappy with Governor Perry. It's called "Five Scriptures You Won't Hear at Rick Perry's Prayer Event. It doesn't address the church-state separation issue.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/03-7

As for me, I signed an e-petition or two asking our Governor Haley not to attend. She didn't. Doubt the petitions had anything to do with that. I would vote against Perry, but I don't live in Texas. I voted against our mayor, who prays before Town Council Meetings - he won anyway. Picketing is also not effective. Lawsuits get lawyer's attention, but I think that many of the cases taken to the federal courts in the cause of church-state separation in the past 5-10 years were ill-timed and led to decisions more damaging than the status quo.

-RB

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