Regarding the front-page article of July 7 (“Prayer breakfasts scrutinized”), here are some thoughts about the Freedom From Religion Foundation and its threatening moves toward legal action against the city of Augusta and Mayor Deke Copenhaver:
LET THERE BE no mistake: The Freedom From Religion Foundation is, itself, a religion of self-exaltation and secularism, and a very aggressive one at
While its members say they stand on the First Amendment – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...” – they attempt to use the law and the courts to impose their secular religion on others.
Their website even boasts of “DeBaptism” certificates that are simply renunciations of the Christian faith and, effectively, into their secular “non-church” church.
If people want to be debaptized, that is OK with me, but I object when the FFRF’s legal moves appear to be intimidating attempts to remove all presence of faith from the public sector and replace it with their own atheistic and secular faith.
This is prohibited by the First Amendment, since this cornerstone of religious freedom permits all religions to be freely exercised – even secular ones. Unfortunately, the secularist religion is very intolerant of the beliefs of others.
While proponents of secularism love to quote Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 regarding the “wall of separation” between church and state, it is clear in the context of the letter that our third president was more interested in protecting the church from the state than the other way around.
ALSO, THERE IS ample evidence that the Founders were decidedly religious and saw no problem having displays of religion in the public arena. The U.S. Capitol was even used by both Jefferson and James Madison for public church services by different denominations on a number of occasions. I think that just this example should help people see that what Jefferson meant by the “wall of separation” is quite different than what the FFRF is promoting.
Whether they were Christian or Deist, virtually all of the Founders believed that public and private belief in God, His natural law and much prayer were essential for the ongoing operation of a free society. I’m sure they would have all attended a Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Augusta if the event had been around then.
The use of taxpayer resources, the Congress or the courts to attempt to impose secularist religion on all other religions should be thought of as both unconstitutional and illegal by those who affirm First Amendment rights.
While FFRF “ministers” have the same right to promote their religion as everyone else, it is neither moral nor just for them to assert that their viewpoint must be observed by everyone. What the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says is that taxpayer resources, the Congress and the courts cannot be used to establish any particular religion, even a secular one such as the FFRF’s.
THAT MEANS that no one can make or enforce a law that says that one particular brand of church must become the official church of the land.
That is exactly what the atheists of FFRF are seeking to do. Apparently, what they cannot do directly they are trying to do indirectly by intimidating others with threats of a lawsuit.
(The writer is an Augusta resident.)