Thursday, January 12, 2012

Inequality for All

Until today I had never even heard of Jessica Ahlquist or her struggle to have a prayer banner removed from her school wall. In the post is a link to a similar article in support of Damon Fowler. While both of these teens are atheists they help to bring light to a serious problem that everyone of a minority faith (or no faith at all) has experienced on some level in their lives.

There seems to be this opinion among most Christians (I understand that this statement doesn't represent all of Christian faith just a vast majority of them) that they're being attacked. That those of us who are not Christian are all out to rally together and stop them from practicing and celebrating their faith. They fight when Christian tablets are taken out of courtrooms, and when prayers are removed from town meetings and school functions, and take particular offense over the holiday season when people dare to say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. Conservative law makers even try to support bullies on the grounds that they should be able to speak their minds about whatever they want if their faith dictates them to do so.

There is always a common thread among those who get into a huff over these issues. "They're spoiling our fun" "We're not hurting anyone" "Really it's more historical than religious" ultimately what they mean to say is "How dare the little people challenge the status quo, we were happy with the way things were." They spout long speeches that have no basis in real fact saying things like "this country was founded on Christian principals" No it wasn't. This country was founded on principals of freedom and fairness. If you happen to see those principals reflected in your religious tenants it's simply because all positive standards are founded on common ground. Not because your religion was the ring leader.

It's doubly sad that they are so convinced that their religious freedoms are being infringed upon but have no problem infringing on the religious freedoms of others. If you want to display prayers and religious scripture on your own homes, in your church, and in your private schools be my guest. But I pay taxes just like everyone else, I am not Christian, I don't feel comfortable paying for Christian rhetoric to be shoved at my child, and if my child is not Christian they shouldn't be forced to have it looming at them every day. It is a clear example of the school supporting solely those that are Christian whilst suggesting that those of any other faith (or lack thereof) couldn't possibly wish for those things for their school.

I personally have no problem with the prayer, it says nothing offensive, however, why must it end in Amen and why must it address the Christian God. Why can't it simply be a school mission statement there by purporting a positive message and being inclusive. Why does it HAVE to be Christian, why does it HAVE to be a prayer. For some reason people think that unless it has some type of Christian flavor it's not really a positive message.

Meanwhile they get offended and attack Pagans and Atheists alike if they dare to try and celebrate their beliefs publicly. A woman who decided to challenge the "all are included" policy at her child's school was turned away and told after the fact, after bibles were distributed and long standing Christian activities had taken place within the school, they she could not hand out Pagan literature because policies were being revised. I've read countless articles documenting pagan shops being attacked and vandalized by Christian's, and recently a woman was told she had to check with the librarian in order to access pagan and occult websites because their filtering system deemed them as criminal.

There is a clear double standard out there and those who benefit from it are not happy that people are standing up and asking once and for all for things to be fair. Either ALL religions have a place in government or NONE of them do. Personally I think it easier if religion stays a private matter rather than a public one.

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