By Silas Montgomery
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
In the small village of Tijeras, N.M., an epic battle is brewing. That close-knit community of fewer than 500 people is being forced into a costly legal battle with the American Civil Liberties Union.
What have they done that warrants such fierce opposition from the "defenders" of American civil liberties? In 1973, the citizens of that town voted to redesign their village seal to reflect their cultural heritage, which meant a small cross in the seal.
This heinous crime, committed more than 30 years ago, went unpunished until the righteous crusaders from the ACLU took note of it and decided that justice had to be served. Naturally, "justice" from the ACLU took the form of a threat: Change the seal or be sued into oblivion. The townspeople, unaware that they hated America because they had a religious symbol in their town seal, took a vote to determine their response. They voted to fight.
However, because Tijeras is such a small town, it did not have the resources to maintain a legal battle against the large and powerful ACLU. Fortunately for them, though, the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization that defends public displays of religion as constitutionally acceptable, came to their aid. Because of the ADF, Tijeras may be able to publicly acknowledge its cultural heritage.
Unfortunately, the fight playing out in Tijeras is not unusual in America today. All over this great land, religious liberties are under attack not only by the ACLU but also by atheist radicals like Michael Newdow. His legal quest to destroy the Pledge of Allegiance typifies the strategies militant atheists employ to undermine America's religious foundations and liberties. Their rallying cry for this attack on our civil liberties is the infamous "separation of church and state."
The phrase "separation of church and state" did not originate in the godless boardroom of the ACLU, nor in the pitiful minds of those like Newdow, but rather in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association written in 1802. In this letter, Jefferson used the phrase to reassure the God-fearing in Connecticut that a state religion would not be instituted, even though the nation's new president was of a different religious tradition than the Baptists.
It is a sad state of affairs when the reassurance and comfort that Jefferson offered his contemporaries cannot be extended to all Americans today; only the militant atheist who can take solace in his words now. Atheism is the official state religion of America, and it is a religion devoid of tolerance. It is this state-mandated and ACLU-endorsed religion that is used to persecute and oppress us, even our fellow citizens in Tijeras.
If we as American citizens allow this grave injustice against our humanity and perversion of our liberties to go unchecked, we are a people to be most pitied. Those who refuse to shape their fate but accept it from the hands of others are not worthy of such a great nation as America. If we are not willing to maintain constant vigil for the sake of our freedoms and the freedoms of our posterity, then we do not deserve them.
Fortunately, for us and for America, we can overthrow this state-sponsored religion. If we stand up and loudly proclaim our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion (not freedom from religion), our enemies - the enemies of religious freedom - will crumble. We must show them that we are not going to go quietly into the night.
These acts of religious determination against state atheism can take many forms. Muslims can hold their prayer services on public lands. Jews can insist on Kosher alternatives in public cafeterias. Mormons can insist on tax-free travel while on missions. And Christians such as myself can use newspapers, like the Arizona Daily Wildcat, to spread their message of Jesus' incredible love, even to the point of death, for all who would receive him.
It is only by defying the state-sanctioned religion of atheism that the American people can be free again. We must shake off the bonds of our oppressors from our own wrists and ankles, because it is only in doing so that we are able to preserve for ourselves, and for our posterity, the rights with which our creator has endowed us. Let the fight begin today.
Silas Montgomery is a Judaic studies senior. If you would like to be featured in "Writing in the margins," please contact us at email@example.com.