The Presidential Oath
I've spent so much time on your site recently. Mainly because I feel the need to do something about the increasing intrusions into my life by un-thinking, bigoted religiousness. I'm looking for something that I personally can do to help make this world a more rational place.
One thing I'm extremely troubled by is our current president's blatant theistic actions. I'm kind of ignorant about the details of the presidential oath of office, but do you know if there any consequences to violating his oath to uphold the constitution? Isn't calling for a National Day of Prayer a violation of that oath? Isn't the act of vetoing a bill based on purely religious "reasons" a violation of that oath and the first amendment of the Constitution itself? Am I just exaggerating the importance of this? When I try to bring this subject up with my friends I tend to get pooh-poohed... they tell me it's not that big a deal. Most of my friends have told me they are really tired of having to tip-toe around all these "complicated rules and regulations" about religion. They think the president should be able to call for people to pray if it helps in these troubling times.
From my point of view it just serves to make these times even more troubling. From my point of view it is a very big deal that nobody seems to question these motives.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Anthony Heath"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: October 26, 2001 7:33 PM
Isn't calling for a National Day of Prayer a violation of that oath?
I don't know how one would prosecute when such Presidents as Washington and Adams did the same thing. Lincoln had to invoke the Emancipation Act before the Constitution was applied to all men, and then we still had to go through the Suffrage movement for it to apply to all humans. Our Constitution has never been fully obeyed: the closest we have come to it in my lifetime was during the administration of Jimmy Carter (which was a disaster in several other respects).
I do know that when a mayor in Arizona tried to invoke National Bible Week, some people sued. The court threw it out because of a Supreme Court ruling that basically says that if the only damage comes from the fact that it's against the law, there is no real damage as far as suing in court goes.
The main problem is this: who in their right mind is going to support, much less bring up, a move to bust a President for being overtly religious? I doubt even an openly atheistic Senator or Representative would do this (not that there is such a thing as an openly atheistic politician -- there isn't). Those Jewish representatives in local assemblies who must stand outside during the Christian prayer know better than to even squawk about it: they resign to standing politely outside until the Christians are done pretending that this is their country and theirs alone, and then they walk in and take their seats and conduct their business with all the caution you'd expect of a despised minority.
You just don't take on religion in the United States and get away with it: the dominant religious groups in America are powerful, corrupt, jealous, vindictive, and extremely greedy. If you think fooling with the Mafia is dangerous, try tinkering with organized religion and see what happens. Organized crime at least has some product to offer, be it drugs, odds, or whatever; organized religion is pure profit, offering nothing in return for your money. The religious leaders will thus protect this margin at all costs, having that much more to lose than even organized crime.
Almost all of the consequences will come at the polls, and this will not come about unless and until we get busy and support some serious public education efforts.
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