Freedom to Choose or Not

Freedom to Choose or Not

I don’t have time to address this as well as I would want to, because I need to sleep. So I will make it short.

You will hate that article. If you can’t get through all of it, I would understand. I will quote the important part.

Gary Colatch of Connellsville, an organizer for Thou Shall Not Move, called the Morgantown Street location “the free speech zone.”

“Freedom from religion offends Christians,” Colatch said. “Christians don’t believe that atheists should tell us what we can and cannot do. This monument is the free speech zone.

“They have wakened up people of this area,” Colatch said. “We decided to stand up for Freedom of religion — not from religion. No one is going to move this stone. We will not allow it. We’ve decided to stand up for this monument and to stand up for Jesus Christ.”

I guess, for the sake of clarity, this should have bothered me earlier. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an awesome group that goes around making sure that christianity cannot force itself down everyone’s throats without them having a choice, tends to catch a lot of rage. They push for action like that ‘atheist monument‘ down in Florida, something that should never be necessary, and has already been desecrated a little (though the Florida situation was American Atheist). In this article, they fought to get the 10 commandments, a non-secular symbol, taken off of government property, which by its nature should be kept secular.

The crisis here is how the very name of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is being taken in this situation. To this particular christian group, who are probably rather radical anyway, the use of the word ‘from’ makes it sound like we are taking away. Its the fault of the English language really, and I think Britain owes us an apology or two, but it makes me wonder whether we can’t modify our language in those cases where we hope to sound inclusive.

Because removing the 10 commandments here had nothing to do with taking religion from anyone, it is about our freedom to choose our religion, or not choose at all. Unfortunately, the Freedom To Choose Our Religion Or Not Choose At All Foundation doesn’t ‘snap’ with focus groups, and doesn’t fit on bumper stickers. But when it comes to clarity, that is what we mean, and sometimes we have to realize that everyone will read as much of their own view into what they are given.

Of course, sometimes being offensive is the point, in which case I recommend the Freedom From Your Ancient Dirt Farmer Fairy Tales Foundation.


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