Last night Laurie's brothers and I had a debate with your typical young liberal. You don't want to stereotype, but here it is- basing arguments on emotion rather than logic, making generalizations based on revisionist history, and unwilling to hear when his own words contradicted themselves. The type exemplified by Paul McCartney last week when he said that doubters of global warming are comparable to those who don't believe there was a holocaust. (Let's see: one is a theory, which by definition is an unproven assumption based on observation and one is a proven fact attesteded to by eyewitness testimony and mass graves. Yeah, I see the connection, Paul.) Anyway, I don't want to rehash the whole conversation, but I am going to quote one phrase of his that sums up the whole argument and the wrong headedness of it:
"The government is there to protect the minority from the majority."
NO IT IS NOT!!!!!!
Our friend spoke alot about the founding fathers' intent ( a subject I told him he would be well served reading George Washington's diaries to get some real facts about) but if you look at that intent, a goal such as he expressed would have been better served by never revolting. The government they fought against was protecting the interests of the minority- the elite that were running the colonies from England. They revolted because the majority, living in the colonies, were not being served by absentee landlordship. You see, Joshua, the truth is that a government such as you described is what was already in existance. It goes by various names: monarchy, one-party state, dictatorship. You can use that last one in the old Roman sense. I'm not necessarily hinting at oppression, just the lack of majority voice.
What the founding fathers created here was a - in our friend's own words- a representative democracy. In this Government, the goal is THE GREATER GOOD FOR THE MOST PEOPLE. The declaration of Independance (surely a good example of the founding fathers' intent) says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. "
That does not mean that a lone man can say, "I don't believe in God, the government should eliminate all places and events that expose me to religion." That is tyranny of the minority, which is what the founding fathers were trying to escape. What it can be applied to is, "I don't belive in God, I don't think I should be isolated from my classmates in a public school setting because of it." While that does happen- to no great extent- our friend seems to think government persecuting him for the sake of religion includes "in God we trust" on his money and "under God" in the pledge of alliegiance and moments of silence. He honestly belives that the government is harming him by allowing these! To this, I say: Don't read your money! Leave "Under God " out when you pledge alliegiance! Don't pray when you keep silent! The Muslims might have a case on these things, saying that they might be committing a sin if they did them. An atheist or agnostic only has annoyance, it's not like the God that doesn't exist is going to send them to the hell in fairy tales to punish them for doing so. If you are truly atheist, religion is foolishness that cannot harm you anymore that a group of people playing a game across the street. If you belive you are being harmed by these things, you are not being an atheist- YOU ARE BEING AN ACTIVIST AGAINST GOD. Thus, by giving any notice to it, you are implying belief that there is a god of some sort.
Now, our friend was intelligent and well spoken. But as Chuck said, "There is 'education' and there is EDUCATION."
One last way to look at it. My theory of government says that, if a senior class votes to have an invocation at graduation and one person is opposed, find a way to accomodate the person without disrupting the happiness of the majority. Our friend's way says that everyone else must suffer to placate the minority. Which really makes more sense? Keep in mind that our friend's theory of Government is not limited to its affect on religion. What if the lone man wanted no girls present? Or blacks, or Mexicans? What if he was offended by kids with long hair, or black shoes? The ACLU protects minorities, thus we have cases where homeless child predators are allowed to live in parks across the street from schools because chasing them out would violate their rights. Tell me again who we want to protect.