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← Atheists Excluded from Mayoral Prayer Service

Atheists Excluded from Mayoral Prayer Service - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

This should get some action taken somewhere beyond a press release by the Secular Coalition For America. It is hoped the main wire services pick this up and a broader discussion takes place. Is this inauguration a private religious event event or a, as it ought be, a secular and public event?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 03:27:04 UTC | #569975

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 2 by Stevezar

Why don't they say the truth: we are not good enough to be in the presence of people who believe in sky daddy?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 03:58:51 UTC | #569977

dr in the house's Avatar Comment 3 by dr in the house

"...we request to be part of an ecumenical prayer service that is supposed to unite the entire city and are told there is no place for nontheists.”

  • I'm sorry but why on earth would athiests want to attend a prayer service at all? An hour of pointless pleading to an non-existent being to unify the entire city? Bollocks.
  • Wed, 29 Dec 2010 06:26:49 UTC | #570007

    SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 4 by SoHelpMeReason

    I sometimes get the mild vibe that we can get semi-cliquish as atheists and band together in a vaguely police-like way (which I'm not saying is bad, in and of itself, and can be a great medium for necessary change) except to the point occasionally that it does extend to pushing ourselves onto the public a bit. I don't mean to throw us all aboard one ship, most of us slide past these minor things and go on our merry way, but if a grievance of ours concerns not being included in, like has been said, a prayer service, then it seems we've kind of let things get silly, no?

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 07:15:09 UTC | #570015

    beanson's Avatar Comment 5 by beanson

    It's not atheists who want to be included- it's humanists- those sad, would-be-atheists who really do live up to that annoying debate point: "atheism is in itself a religion"

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 07:38:19 UTC | #570017

    mmurray's Avatar Comment 6 by mmurray

    Comment 5 by beanson :

    It's not atheists who want to be included- it's humanists- those sad, would-be-atheists who really do live up to that annoying debate point: "atheism is in itself a religion"

    What's your problem with humanists ? I'm on the BHA email list and they seem to do good work. Wish there was a lobby group that active in Australia.

    Michael

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 07:47:25 UTC | #570018

    Starcrash's Avatar Comment 7 by Starcrash

    Comment 4 by SoHelpMeReason :

    ... but if a grievance of ours concerns not being included in, like has been said, a prayer service, then it seems we've kind of let things get silly, no?

    Yeah. Reminds me of a case a few years ago where the African American community wanted hurricanes named after them. Equality's great, but it seems like they picked the wrong place to draw the line.

    I agree with SHMReason. We don't need representation in a purely religious ceremony, because as we are all aware, atheism is not a religion. We can pick a different battle. There's no shortage of them.

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 08:30:29 UTC | #570023

    Stevehill's Avatar Comment 8 by Stevehill

    Is it constitutional to have an elected representative who, in his first official action, states by his actions that he declines to represent (at least) 20% of Americans who put him there?

    @beanson

    humanists- those sad, would-be-atheists who really do live up to that annoying debate point: "atheism is in itself a religion"

    A humanist might be an atheist, he might not. You don't have to like them, nor do you need to gratuitously insult them. Under UK case law they have the advantage (over atheists) that they are a "belief system" entitled to protection under the European Convention of Human Rights, which is extremely useful from the point of view of campaigning and getting the ear of government to get, at least, a secular voice into the legislative process. It would for instance be possible in the UK to set up humanist schools, but not atheist ones, because this important principle has been established.

    I'm not a BHA member, but am supportive of a lot of what they do (such as the Atheist Bus Campaign).

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 08:34:16 UTC | #570025

    beanson's Avatar Comment 9 by beanson

    That's not a gratuitious insult but fully deserved.

    What have I got against humanism? Well the fact that it (sometimes) wants to be included under a religious umbrella as per the article surely goes some way to explaining my dislike. As Steve Hill says they are a belief system and as such (sometimes) to be ranked among other religious belief systems.

    And as I suggested they muddy the waters, as an atheist I don't want to be associated with any group of people connected by a common set of aims, philosophy or (god forbid) "mission statement"

    Comment 8 by Stevehill I'm not a BHA member, but am supportive of a lot of what they do (such as the Atheist Bus Campaign).

    Well, I support (morally) some of the work of that bastion of evil the catholic church

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:19:08 UTC | #570052

    ComradeFrana's Avatar Comment 10 by ComradeFrana

    Well, as I see it, the main problem is that this is an official inauguration event. Meaning that, at least in my opinion, this is a clear violation of separation of church and state and discrimination on religious grounds.

    As for rejecting Amanda Knief's request the article does not provide enough information whether the reason was willing exclusion of non-theists or just organisational mishap. If it is the former, then again, it is a discrimination on religious grounds.

    All in all I think Amanda's complaint is justified, even though I too don't see much point in partaking in such prayer service.

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:39:34 UTC | #570061

    rpitchfo's Avatar Comment 11 by rpitchfo

    To be an humanist im pretty sure you have to be atheist.

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:00:58 UTC | #570069

    Ygern's Avatar Comment 12 by Ygern

    I can't really find any particular sympathy for this. Why would a secular organisation that presumably represents members who are atheists and non-theists want to be included in a prayer ceremony?

    The protest would be better aimed if they were investigating why local government was wasting its time by engaging in faith-based activities in the first place.

    I have nothing but support for Humanist organisations, but discovering that the one I belonged to was trying to get itself to be included in a prayer ceremony would result in my unsubscribing.

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:58:27 UTC | #570091

    kev_s's Avatar Comment 13 by kev_s

    Excellent move. They want to be included because it's reductio ad absurdum. After a while of insisting on Humanist inclusion in prayer days, eventually someone will realise that its stupid to have a prayer day at all. Edit (Just like the buses in Fort Worth, Texas.)

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:38:35 UTC | #570103

    jel's Avatar Comment 14 by jel

    Rather than insisting on being included, wouldn't it be better to insist on it being banned?

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:52:13 UTC | #570109

    sdando2000's Avatar Comment 15 by sdando2000

    I have to agree with beanson. The whole idea of a Humanist Celebrant (or a Humanist Chaplain/ Humanist Minister as I have heard them called) is just appalling to me. According to the AHA website they celebrate life cycle ceremonies and are "legally recognized in all states and worldwide, being accorded the same rights and privileges granted by law to traditional clergy". The whole humanist movement was founded as "a new kind of religion". That's also from the AHA website.

    It's a very short step from there to some kind of muddled Deism.

    Take the shackles off people.

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:57:01 UTC | #570113

    katt33's Avatar Comment 16 by katt33

    Not sure why they would want to be included, but then again I guess one can be a humanist and deist believing in a deity who lit the fuse, stood back and let it all unravel as it would without further interference.

    If there is a funeral etc... one might want someone of an official capacity to handle all aspects of it, to give a formal presentation, to be a comforter in reason. I see no problem with that.

    Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:20:17 UTC | #570426