Letter: I see hints of acceptance of nonbelievers
May 20, 2014
To the Editor:
1962; My father is upset. In his hand is a jury summons. With the summons is a questionnaire, a test, to determine his qualification to serve on a Maryland jury.
What upset him is the last question. Not the question itself, as an honest answer to that question would have disqualified him as a juror.
Serving on a jury would have interfered with my dad's workin', drinkin', and golfin'.
What upset him is the fact that on this questionnaire, the last question had been struck through.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision had determined that such a question as a means of determining fitness for public office is in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
The question: "Do you believe in God?"
This U.S. Supreme Court decision also ruled that mandatory, teacher-led recitation of the Lord's Prayer is also in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Which brings me to another story from my earlier days.
1968: One morning, late in my senior year in high school, I notice a Bible on the homeroom teacher's desk, now occupied by an elderly gentleman serving as a substitute. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the substitute states, "We will now recite the Lord's Prayer."
Immediatly I sit down.
After the group prayer, as the rest of the class sits, the substitute strides toward me at the rear of the classroom. Red of face, flecks of spittle flying from his lips, he loudly asks, "Have you no respect for those of us who believe?"
I think to myself, and said, "How is demanding that I go through the motions of professing a belief I do not have in any way respecting me?"
Mr. Hamilton, a respected Conservative opinion writer makes the statement, "…even Atheists are protected."
I am encourage. At one time that was not the Conservative position.
Go back to a time not so distant and many states legally disenfranchised nonbelievers.
At that time, many states legally required nonbelievers to go through the motions of faith. Nonbelievers even now are required to express the pretense of faith in the Pledge of Allegiance.
As to your opinion about climate change, doesn't matter. It's happenin' anyway.