I’m sometimes asked by Christians as to what atheists want. By that question I always take it for granted that I’m being asked why we’re so noisy in the public arena. We’re just a tiny portion of the population here in America, but we are vociferous when it comes to advocating for the separation of church and state.
The idea of government, at any level, passing laws based upon a religious belief, in this case, and in this country, Christian, is something the founders of our country were decidedly against. Of course the 1st Amendment doesn’t explicitly say that, but it’s implied in the text. By saying that “Congress shall make no law” with respect to religious practice, in other words, favoring one religious belief over another, they were also saying that government should not make laws preferring any religious belief.
Maybe the founders should have been more explicit by saying that “Congress shall make no law favoring any religious belief over another”, but they didn’t. It seems apparent that the wording used in the amendment would be obvious to anyone reading. Not so.
I’ve always been against government interference in the personal lives of its citizens, even when I was a believer. Why should government determine whether or not a woman should have to carry a fetus to term? How is it that government may decide who may marry whom? Yeah, those questions probably didn’t make me a very good Christian, but it did make me a good conservative.
If there are those that want prayer in school, and want their children raised with a religious orientation, send your children to a private, religious school. Just don’t expect all of your neighbors to pay for your privilege (vouchers for private schools). I know some very good atheists that are graduates of those same schools.
Want to prevent abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, or have laws against gays? There are plenty out there , just apply for a visa and when there, apply for citizenship. Of course, some of those same countries will not allow their citizens to worship as they want. There’s always a downside, isn’t there?
I’ve always felt privileged to have been born, and lived, in a country that allows its people to worship as they see fit. Or not. That there would be no laws created that would force someone to act other than what their conscience tells them. It’s been difficult, but slowly, surely, America is getting to the ideal that our founders envisioned: A secular state where no one is persecuted for their belief or for their moral principles.
Atheists should continue to stand for those founding principles.