Pharyngula

The NY Times has a decent summary of the Dobrich case—the families in the Indian River school district of Delaware who are suing to end the state sponsorship of sectarian religion that is running amuck there. Most of the residents there don’t seem to get it—I wish people would stop calling this a school prayer issue, because it plays right into their hands. It isn’t and never has been about restricting people’s ability to say prayers or practice whatever consensual superstitious nonsense in which they want to indulge. It’s about preventing the power of state authorities being used to compel people to join in unwanted religious practices.

It’s probably impossible to explain that the problem is about refusing to give a particular sect a monopoly on religion in an area, or about denying secular authority to the pastor of some random church, when the citizens are as oblivious as the thick-witted bible-thumper who made the comment below:

A homemaker active in her children’s schools, Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read “Jesus Saves,” she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.”

Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, “If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”

I don’t want to ever hear anyone calling atheists “arrogant” anymore, either. We’ve got nothing on this kind of smug, pious con artist.

“Because Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, I will speak out for him,” said the Rev. Jerry Fike of Mount Olivet Brethren Church, who gave the prayer at Samantha’s graduation. “The Bible encourages that.” Mr. Fike continued: “Ultimately, he is the one I have to please. If doing that places me at odds with the law of the land, I still have to follow him.”

Hmmm. My militant atheist philosophy encourages me to spit on the wingtips of puffed-up sanctimonious preachers, and my bladder encourages me to piss on the foundations of the cheap gathering halls they use to fleece their flocks. It’s useful to know that our whims supersede not just civility, but the laws of the land.