The Ten Oppressions
Bear with me...there's some boring history involved.
There was a bit of controversy a while back about putting up the Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn in *Somewhere,U.S.A. I have sided with the "whiners" or at least so we we're called.
Don't get me wrong, I'm for not stealing and killing each other, but I have a problem with commands for me to worship someone else's god, being carved in stone and put up on government property. Of course some of these people are so black and white that if you're not for them you're against them (which is how the bad guys in Star Wars act by the way). So the "whiners" and I are all Satanists in their eyes of course. I'm not a Satanist, but it does have some good ideas and oddly enough, many Satansists (LaVey Satanists) don't worship Satan or any other deity....but I digress.
Christianity is great and all. It has some good ideas and some bad ideas, in my opinion. I was Christian myself once, but after studying several religions you find that not one has any more validity than any other. Christianity is no more the TRUTH than what many call Greek Mythology. In fact, and I mean no disrespect, but Christianity fits the definition of mythology and what is called mythology is still practiced as a religion by some. Just because it's mythology doesn't mean it is completely false either. The point is, religious truth is subjective. There is no ONE TRUTH, yet many conflicting religions claim their's is the the ONE TRUTH, even though there is no evidence to support it.
I don't have a problem with Christianity...I just have a problem with Christians. Of course not all Christians, but the ones who shove it down your throat with a funnel as if they have the only truth and they're going to save you from an eternal damnation in a Hell of which they have no evidence. Christians who practice with peace and tolerance are unfortunately, few and far between.
And now the boring part of the argument (if you're still awake at this point):
"Of course there's a God, just look around you," they say. Sure, I get the argument they're attempting to make. Apparently, can't have a creation without a creator. Something can't come from nothing, but if you use that logic, something had to create God. Nope, God is their constant. He just was always there. So why can't the Universe just have always been there?
The next argument: "I'd rather be wrong and find out there's no God, than be un-Christian and find out there is a God." There are thousands of religions out there and they all lack evidence. If there's a perfect, loving god, he won't condemn everyone to eternal suffering for choosing the wrong religion with a 1/5500th of a chance of getting it right. Chances are, everyone of them are wrong anyway.
They run into dead ends there so we go on to how the country was "founded on Christian morals". Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is not a Christian theocracy. Many of the founding fathers were considered Deists.
"Voltaire and J. J. Rousseau were deists, as were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington." This is taken from the listing for Deists on Encyclopedia.com.
They believed in a god, but just left it that they didn't understand the nature of it. Thomas Jefferson even published the Jefferson Bible (prints are available on Amazon.com), which was a book of the gospels with all references of miracles, angels, and anything supernatural taken out. Why?...He didn't believe that Jesus was the son of God and I'm pretty sure that rules him out for Christianity. Thomas Paine wrote the Age of Reason and was constantly quoted opposing Christianity and religion in general.
George Mason wrote the Bill of Rights, which includes the first ammendment. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,..." I would say that putting up a monument to Christianity on a government property is respecting the establishment of the religion of Christianity (but then so is putting "In God We Trust" on our money) and is therefore unconstitutional. Some Supreme Court cases agree...some don't. In my opinion bigotry is wrong and religious prejudice is nothing more than bigotry. Sometimes it IS legal to be an *******, but it doesn't make it right.
Usually, morals are brought up as if non-Christians lack a good moral code. Buddhists, whose religion happens to be older than Christianity, have a strict moral code (as do many Atheists actually). The Commandments are actually very similar to the Buddhist's five precepts.
1. Do not kill
2. Do not steal
3. Do not indulge in sexual misconduct
4. Do not make false speech
5. Do not take intoxicants
But I still disagree with putting them up on government property as well. Again, I agree it's wrong to kill and steal in any society, but other's may think it's okay to lie sometimes, take intoxicating drugs (this means alcohol too), or commit acts of sex that may seem deviant to others (I happen to like doggy style).
Finally, the debate evolves (or devolves) to "What's the big deal anyway?" History tells us that when religion was involved with government in any way, it always resulted in tyranny and the halt of scientific or academic advancement. A free country doesn't fall into the dark ages over night, it usually slips into it with small encroachments. Many of these people complain that society is degrading because we don't have religion in our schools (they mean their religion of course). No, it's because too many parents ignore your kids when they misbehave!
What's funny, is some of these people don't realize that they lump themselves in with all Christians so they can claim they are in the majority, but then claim Catholicism isn't really Christian. Catholics represent the world's largest religion. It's also the religion that all other Christian religions branched from. If the wall of separation of church and state fell, the U.S. would be a Catholic nation.
Finally, to answer the "What's the big deal?" question: Would it be a big deal to you if someone wanted to put up an 11 Satanic Rites of Earth monument on the courthouse lawn? I'm wagering that there would be some complaints.
I respect people who take their faith seriously, if they can manage to respect other beliefs. It works for them. It makes them feel good and can help them act humane or even inspire themselves and others to do good things. You can't, however, tell someone that your god hates them because of what gender they are naturally attracted to. Don't pray or have pity for other's because they don't subscribe to your particular brand of mythology.
How about we agree on the not killing and stealing and leave it at that?