Sunday, May 27, 2007

Northern Exposure

Like most readers, I carry an image of Alaska that was formed in large part by the quirky television program Northern Exposure. A populace comprised of congenial misanthropes and eccentrics who were charming against a backdrop of majestic natural beauty.

The frozen north it seems is not quite as friendly – at least to nonbelievers – as we were led to believe. The following letter has a decidedly less tolerant tone than one would expect to find in the Kenai Peninsula Clarion where stories of moose charges and Grizzly bear sightings make the front page. A certain Alice Shannon, whose letter appeared in the Clarion holds somewhat xenophobic notions in regard to infidels:

“It’s time to stomp out atheists in America. The majority of Americans would love to see atheists kicked out of America. If you don’t believe in God, then get out this country.

The United States is based on having freedom of religion, speech, etc. which means you can believe in God any way you want (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, etc.), but you must believe.

I don’t recall freedom of religion meaning no religion. Our currency even says, “In God we trust”. So to all the atheist in America: Get out of our country.

Atheists have caused the ruin of this great nation by taking prayer out of our schools and being able to practice what can only be called evil. I don’t care if they have never committed a crime, atheist are the reason crime is rampant.”

Well, Alice certainly has a bee in her bonnet. One hardly knows where to begin with this (but I am sure some readers do!). If I might throw in my two cents worth, I’d like to address Alice’s failing memory, “I don’t recall freedom of religion meaning no religion.” To quote Thomas Jefferson, author of the amendment she so clearly admires;

“But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

So to all you evil-doing atheists (with or without felony records) out there, watch out! Alice Shannon is on to you, and she has the [final?] solution.

My thanks to the Raving Atheist for this gem


Blogger Brian Hayes said...

Jefferson's "picks my pocket" became my theme as soon as I came across it, and while it encourages tolerance it also draws the line in the sand.

I found this link interesting. With a career studying the issue, Professor Bob Altemeyer of the University of Manitoba describes the key characteristics of followers (Right Wing Authoritarians) and their leaders (Social Dominants). 'The Authoritarians' is his summary of religionist behavior. With a sociologist's scientific bent, he includes an earnest warning too.

But I'm feeling less and less alarmed by fruitcake vehemence. After all, I'm getting accustomed to it every day. And I'm learning that inherent stupidity is no permanent threat.

I bumped into your blog just the other day, and lo!, you're coming back from haitus.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Naomi said...

(Psst! That has been debunked. The Kenai Peninsula Clarion checked it out and the woman, smirkily, admitted it. See Not All the News is Bad:

We have been betrayed.

It’s not easy to write these words, especially when we take so much pride in being the best — and most accurate — information source for the central Kenai Peninsula...

Someone has figured out how to "punk" us atheists...)

1:14 AM  
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10:52 PM  

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