On Nov. 16, I spoke for Houston Oasis, a freethought community in Texas. It was my first experience with what the media has labeled an “atheist church.” I didn’t know what to think before, but now I know that this group is nothing like a church. There was no charismatic pastor-figure, no prayers or hymns, and no rituals. It is a large group of like-minded thinkers who meet weekly and provide free daycare. Here is my presentation on how to discuss controversial topics in a friendly and effective way.
Though the ideas of a government with a Christian agenda began in the early times of our settlers, it has continued until this very day with the printing and coining of all American currency. “IN GOD WE TRUST” appears on all forms of American money from the penny to the one-hundred dollar bill. Similarly to the pledge of allegiance, the U.S. government began printing “In God We Trust” on all American legal tender as a way to increase religious sentiment in a time of conflict. This addition to our currency was added during the civil war as the nation’s Christian population increased dramatically. According to the Secretary of Treasury in 1861, he began to receive an influx of letters demanding that the union make a coin recognizing their faith. The first of these letters was written to secretary chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Pennsylvania. In this letter, Reverend Watkinson states that by producing such a coin “This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed.” The “IN GOD WE TRUST” motto first appeared on an American two-cent coin in 1864. Continue reading
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ONE NATION, UNDER GOD
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.” These great words, written by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a group of Danbury Baptists, originated the belief that the doctrine of separation of church and state was the original intent of the first amendment saying “…no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof…” Though we have this strong sense of separation between religion and politics, this boundary is sometimes overlooked because of the overwhelming dominance of Christianity in America. Though separation of church and state has often served as a pillar of support for our flourishing government, the Christian majority seems to override our secular-based government in many ways beginning in the days of the puritan colonists in the early 1800’s. Continue reading
George Washington was the first President inaugurated in the United States of America, John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic ever elected President, and Barack Obama was the first African American to be sworn in. And now, for the first time in American history, the citizens of this amazing country will have the opportunity to take part in an event that will turn the page on our archaic belief structure by electing the first ATHEIST President of the United States of America. Continue reading