The following is a letter I recently wrote to the editor of my local newspaper, the Dodge County News. I am not sure if it will be published in the edition that should be coming off the presses right now, but I do expect it should be included in next weeks edition. I have included in my salutation that I am a fiscal conservative Atheist and included my website, hoping to get some feedback from the local folks but I am actually quite nervous about it. See, I am out about my lack of belief…I don’t do anything to hide it and if someone asks me anything about religion I am more than glad to let it be known that I am indeed an Atheist. I have not, however, made an uninvited public statement as of yet which is why I know that members of my family and the family of my wife may be surprised to know of this and it may be a shock to them. Therefore, before I post this letter, let me just explain a few things:
- I did not choose to be an Atheist, I simply chose to think critically about my religious beliefs and it led me to this place, I am not making an effort not to believe, I simply find it impossible to continue belief in any god especially the god of Christianity.
- This is not the fault of anyone, it has nothing to do with a less than perfect (though it had it’s high points, don’t get me wrong) family life or any sort of trauma over the problems that my family has had.
- I do not hate the religious, I respect those that wish to continue believing. I have no intention of fighting the religious establishment in this town publicly. I just want to see common sense used when political rallies are held and false pretenses are used to attract participants. I still believe in the freedom to believe in whatever god or gods you please so long as your belief does not drive you to harm other people, I would fight to keep that freedom for everyone if there was ever an attempt to take it away.
- My morals have not changed, there are no black robed satanic rituals occurring at my home nor any wild orgies. I still love my wife and am wholly dedicated to my marriage.
- None of my opinions, views, beliefs, or lack of beliefs are necessarily shared by my wife. She believes whatever she wants to believe and I have not made any effort to stop her from believing in god. Please don’t apply any words that you read here to my wife because they simply are not her statements. If you want to know about her beliefs or disbelief you will have to ask her though she doesn’t seem too very inclined to discuss those things with a whole lot of people.
If you came here after reading my letter please feel free to comment in the comments section, I will not censor any views so long as there are no threats made against myself or my family. Sometimes people do irrational things in the name of god and I know that %99.9999 of you would never do anything to harm another person, but for that individual that cannot tolerate questioning his/her beliefs people like me on occasion fear the repercussions of not participating in the status quo. I love my fellow man, I care about this country, and I worry about it’s future – this is why I wrote this and why I continue my blog in the way that I do.
My Gripe with the T.E.A. Party of Dodge County Georgia
This Independence Day there was a gathering of concerned citizens at the ChasMar parking lot under the banner of a T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already) Party. Who’s stated goal and purpose was to speak out against bad fiscal policies and overspending in our local, state, and federal governments; all of which are things that I think need to be protested and fought against as strongly as possible. I went to the T.E.A. Party expecting to protest these things and hear people talk about how spending is simply out of control in Washington and elsewhere. What I got was something entirely different.
I know that I live in a very religious minded community, so I would never expect even the most secular of functions to go on without some sort of prayer or homage to god. What I do expect is for a group of adults to keep their focus on the task at hand: taxes and wasteful spending. What I got was anything but that. I was fine with a prayer but I saw no real reason for a Christian Flag to be present, we were supposed to be protesting issues of government – not issues of faith. However, the flag was a mild disappointment compared to the speakers, two of four saying nothing or next to nothing about government policy and focusing almost entirely on getting America “Back to God”.
The worst of these had to be the preacher from Solid Rock Church of God (I can’t imagine why clergy were asked to speak about taxes anyway….they make a living off of a tax exempt business) who thought that this was his opportunity to rail against abortion and the Ten Commandments not being displayed absolutely everywhere, among other things that are generally fed to masses in order to get them riled up however far from the truth these things may be. The only substance of this speech was religious in nature or something along the lines of calling “liberals” a bunch of “communists” (It sounded as if he had never read anything by Marx or Engels – I digress). I didn’t go to hear that, nor was it advertised as a religious rally- so why was I subjected to it?
I don’t care if you and everybody else want to believe in god or Jesus, I would gladly lay down my life to make sure that your right to religious freedom is preserved in this country, but turning what is supposed to be a political rally into a parking lot revival is dishonest and rude to those that do not believe as you do and it completely avoids real solutions to real problems. Prayer and repentance are not going to change this nation, only action can do that while prayer is only an excuse to avoid getting your hands dirty. Alienating unbelievers that want to see conservative fiscal policies in this nation is a really bad idea so I recommend that from now on the TEA Party organizers stick to politics when it comes to the rally and put their religion anywhere else.
Another thing that was forgotten by every speaker and most attendees at the rally is the fact that the Bush administration hasn’t had a balanced budget in 8 years and that trillions of dollars have been thrown at Iraq and Afghanistan with no end in sight – what have these wars accomplished that sovereign people could not on their own? For some reason it was forgotten that bad fiscal policy didn’t start with President Obama, it began long ago and only got worse with Bush in office. If I remember correctly though, there were no TEA Parties in Dodge County for those 8 years, or even toward the end of his term when the TARP was signed. I reckon everyone was too busy praying for the President to notice all of his screw ups. Even during the primaries, when it actually mattered a little more – no TEA Parties. No one really seemed to give a rip until Obama got elected and simply continued the same bad policies of the old administration, too late now.
I was so shocked by the religious nature of the Dodge County rally that I had to go to the official website to see if this was what normally occurred at these events; I found out that most of the events actually focus on taxes…So I have to find fault with someone and I do: The organizers and speakers. The organizers failed to find relevant individuals to speak on this subject opting for clergymen that couldn’t control their zeal and the speakers decided to use their time as opportunities to throw bible verses around proclaiming this nation a Christian one (A very very wrong statement). Let me remind you folks, America is NOT a Theocracy nor was it ever.
In closing let me just ask this of the organizers of the T.E.A Party for next time:
1: Focus on fiscal policy
2: Find qualified speakers
3: Include information on the cost of the war & foreign policy, protest that too
4: Remember that this isn’t something that began with Obama and avoid ad hominem attacks on his administration
5: Don’t preach at me
Fiscal Conservative, Social Liberal, Atheist