Saturday, July 20, 2013

Letter to the Freedom from Religion Foundation

I wrote the following in order to report a "church/state violation" to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, an agency based in my current residence of Madison, Wisconsin. It is regarding a sign in the Wisconsin State Capitol which was placed there by the Freedom from Religion Foundation itself.

During the winter holiday season, the Wisconsin State Capitol displays a sign from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which contains a quote from Ellen Wheeler Wilcox that reads in part "there is no god".

First off, I would like to know why F.F.R.F. repeatedly uses rhetoric like "the constitutional principle of separation of church and state" when the phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution, but in the writing of Thomas Jefferson.

It seems that F.F.R.F. does not know the actual text of the First Amendment which pertains to religion; that is, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...".

Part of F.F.R.F.'s website's "Church/State F.A.Q." section reads in part, "the government is prohibited from promoting a specific religious belief".

I understand that atheism is not a religion, but isn't the statement "there is no god" - when displayed on public grounds - "a specific religious belief", i.e., a belief about religion and gods? One wonders how F.F.R.F. would react if someone added the words "but Allah" to the end of "there is no god".

I do support many of the efforts of F.F.R.F.. But if merely displaying the Ten Commandments on public grounds in Alabama is enough to constitute a violation of the "constitutional" separation of church and state (because it resembles an endorsement or establishment of religion), then the Wisconsin State Capitol's display of the F.F.R.F.'s sign should constitute the same, as a specific belief about religion and gods is being displayed and apparently endorsed.

In summary, please remove the sign, or allow people to deface the sign by adding the words "but Allah".

One last thing: the F.F.R.F.'s recent position that Stars of David should not be displayed in Holocaust museums should be offensive to any person with critical thinking skills, and to anyone who knows that, during the Holocaust, Jews were targeted as victims because of their religious beliefs and ethnic and cultural heritage.

I am not Jewish, I do not support the State of Israel, I think Abraham Foxman's efforts to condemn any and all speech which is critical of the State of Israel and of Jews are an affront and a threat to the freedom of speech, and I've written and performed Holocaust jokes. But I can honestly say that F.F.R.F.'s position on Stars of David in Holocaust museums is one of the most vile and disgusting things I have ever heard.

If I were trying to think of the most offensive Jew joke possible, I couldn't have come up with what your organization has done. It is a cynical, mean-spirited insult to the memory of those who died. To suggest that this has anything to do with freedom of speech or government establishment of religion should be treated as nothing more than a joke.


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