Atheist Activist Group Seeks to Stop Ceremonial Prayers at New Hampshire Air National Guard Base

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — A prominent professing atheist organization is seeking to put an end to prayers and Bible readings that are presented by a chaplain during ceremonies at a Air National Guard base in New Hampshire.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to the leadership of Pease Air National Guard Base to assert that the inclusion of the invocations and Scripture readings are unconstitutional. It stated that it was contacted by a concerned guardsman, who informed them of the chaplain’s offerings.

“Christian prayers delivered at an official military event violate the Constitution’s mandate of government neutrality between religious beliefs,” FFRF contended. “Any prayer—including non-denominational prayer—violates the required neutrality between religion and nonreligion.”

“By imposing prayer on its guardsmen at mandatory events, the Air National Guard is violating the constitutional limits on government religious endorsement,” it said.

The organization also opined that the inclusion of the prayers is “unnecessary and divisive,” as well as “coercive” and “insensitive.” FFRF said that the invocations exclude those who don’t identify as atheists, and noted that military members are “free to pray privately or to worship on their own time.”

“The Air National Guard must refrain from lending its power and prestige to religion, amounting to a government endorsement that excludes the over 23% of military personnel who either express no religious preference or are atheists,” it said. “It is also simply insensitive for a government employer to inflict prayer on employees regardless of their personal beliefs.”

FFRF requested that it be assured in writing that the invocations would be discontinued at future events to “protect the rights of conscience” of guardsmen, such as those who do not share in the religious beliefs of the presenting chaplain.

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“We ask that you protect the rights of conscience of every guardsman by ending the practice of including prayers at official ceremonies and other events,” it wrote. “Please inform us in writing of the actions that you intend to take to address this issue so that we may notify our complainant.”

While it is not yet known how the base plans to respond, United States Air Force Chaplain Sonny Hernandez told Christian News Network that he doesn’t believe the Constitution mandates that God must be kept out of military ceremonies, nor do any military policies require the separation of religion from government at official events. But even so, chaplains aren’t speaking on behalf of the government, he said.

“There is nothing in the Constitution, military policies, rules, law, or regulations that prohibit a military chaplain from offering prayer or Bible study to service members, as chaplains are mandated to perform their duties at all times, which are compatible with their respective ecclesiastical endorsing requirements,” he said.

“When a chaplain prays, they are not representing the government; they are representing their Department of Defense (DOD) approved ecclesiastical endorsing agency. Title Ten Code and Air Force Policy will concur (Air Force
Policy Directive 52-1, 3.6.2.),” Hernandez further noted.

Hernandez

He also explained that when chaplains offer invocations at ceremonies, members of the military are not required to pray with them, and there is no disciplinary action taken against those who opt not to join in the prayer.

Hernandez opined that FFRF’s argument that the prayers are “unnecessary and divisive” is likewise faulty as there is no constitutional right not to hear speech that one dislikes or finds offensive.

“FRFF must be reminded that the Constitution does not guarantee an individual the right that they will avoid dogma to which they are adamantly opposed,” he said. “FRFF is unable to articulate a tenable response to the recurrent constitutional policies, which does not prove that prayers and Bible readings are unnecessary or divisive—it only proves that the FRFF does not like Christian sentiments or adulation given to God.”

Hernandez outlined that he sees the matter more as the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion rather than a constitutional mandate to keep God out of the government.

“The First Amendment is applicable to all Americans, and no one, including the FRFF, has a right to suppress this inviolable liberty that an incalculable number of men and women have died to secure,” Hernandez said.

In 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee said to his troops, “Soldiers! We have sinned against Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies, and have cultivated a revengeful, haughty and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes; that ‘our times are in His hands,’ and we have relied too much on our own arms for the achievement of our independence.”

“God is our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him,” he declared. “Let us confess our many sins, and beseech Him to give us a higher courage, a purer patriotism, and more determined will; that He will hasten the time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and that He will give us a name and place among the nations of the earth.”

Editor’s Note: Hernandez’ opinions are solely his and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military or religious organization. Hernandez contributed to this report, an issue of public interest, as a civilian on his own time.


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  • Rookheight

    The Air Force chaplain who was extensively quoted doesn’t understand the issue, which he mischaracterized as FFRF claiming a “constitutional right not to hear speech that one dislikes or finds offensive.” Read FFRF’s letter and you’ll see that they never make this strawman of an argument. The military, as a government body, cannot endorse religion during its ceremonies, regardless of whether any scheduled religious activities are voluntary. That’s a constitutional protection against government-endorsed religion, not a constitutional right to be free from offensive speech, which is nonsense.

    • Jason Todd

      Actually the chaplain understands perfectly: Speech does not equal endorsement or promotion. He knows this, so does the anti-Christian bigots known as the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

      There is a way to get these jerks to go away. Most people are so scared by these hateful bullies they will never use it.

      • Rookheight

        I’m not sure what you’re referring to in your second paragraph. Can you be more specific?

        When you say speech doesn’t equal endorsement or promotion…it depends on what the speech is. If someone says, “I endorse Jason Todd for his hot dog eating ability,” that’s both speech and endorsement.

        The government endorses scheduled speeches delivered by government actors at government-sponsored ceremonies. Thus, a government-sponsored, scheduled religious prayer, delivered by a government chaplain at a government ceremony, is both speech and a government endorsement of the prayer’s religious message.

        If you think it’s an answer to say, “it’s not an endorsement, it’s just speech,” then you don’t understand what endorsement is. Read up on Supreme Court Establishment Clause cases after Lynch v. Donnelly and you can learn all about it.

        • Jason Todd

          A chaplain giving prayer is protected speech. I don’t care what nine men in black robes say. I care about what the Constitution says.

          Of course, you are against this because you, too, hate Christian speech. Which is why your opinion is worthless.

          • Rookheight

            If you don’t care what the Supreme Court says, you are admitting defeat as to what is currently legal or not. What business do you have using phrases like “protected speech,” which comes from SCOTUS interpretation and not the Constitution itself, if you don’t care what the Supreme Court says?

            I passionately support both free speech and freedom of religion. When a government official uses his position to advance his personal religion (I don’t care which religion that is), it’s a violation of the religious freedoms of everyone who is subject to it. To put it in terms of the phrase you misused, a government actor promoting religion while on the clock is NOT protected speech.

          • Bob

            Dont fool yourself. You “passionately support free speech and freedom of religion” Yep, as long as its what YOU believe. Typical. LOL

          • Rookheight

            Not at all. If a government actor declared, while acting in their official capacity, that Christianity was wrong and no gods exist, I would object to that too, even though I agree with it. The government should not be endorsing any perspective on religion, which is what I keep repeating.

          • Bob

            You clearly stated religion was a myth in an earlier statement: “This country is, apparently, going the way of Europe: people are gradually realizing that religion is nothing but myth and superstition.” #doublespeak Are you ok?

          • Rookheight

            Religions are myths. As I said, I would agree with government actors who said as much, but I would condemn them for using their position to say so.

            It’s possible to hold a belief and to simultaneously condemn the government for endorsing it. I know that’s precisely what you’re struggling with at the moment, but I assure you it can be done if you study, understand, and respect the law of the land.

          • Bob

            I condemn nobody. BUT if you try and take my prayer life or the Lord out of my life (which is impossible), then we will have a problem. I won’t debate you on that because you will lose. This country is a free county and I will pray to God if I want to. Have an awesome and BLESSED day!

          • Rookheight

            Unless you’re a government actor, no one is trying to stop you from praying. You can put the pitchfork away.

          • Bob

            No pitchfork here, just the word of God: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrew 4:12

          • Chris

            Your bible also says you are to pray in secret. Why is it you want Christians, acting in a governmental capacity, to pray in public?

          • Ambulance Chaser

            The Constitution doesn’t say anything about chaplains giving prayers. It just speaks in vague terms about broad concepts. Luckily we have people “in black robes” whose job it is to clarify those broad concepts on a case by case basis.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          “I’m not sure what you’re referring to in your second paragraph. Can you be more specific?”

          I’m wondering that myself. It sounds like he’s threatening someone!

  • The General

    Bless their little hearts.
    Oh, wait, atheists don’t have hearts. Just look at all the millions of dead bodies. Stalin alone ordered the killing of more people than all the people ever killed by the Inquisition or the Crusades. And these people call themselves “humanists.”

    • Worf

      Comparing the average atheist to Stalin and Mao is as absurd as comparing the average christian to Hitler. Those were tyrants that committed mass murder for power. They didn’t kill for their claimed “beliefs”. Their rhetoric might have been christian or atheistic, but that was not the reason for the killing. The very real threat of death was a means of control over their respective populations.

      • Amos Moses

        Hitler was not a christian or an A-theist …… he was an occultist and was a follower of HP Blavatsky and believed in the Vril, Thule society, etc. ……… and sorry …. you cannot commit mass murder without a view that your fellow man is less than you and their deaths are meaningless …………. it is “my survival is more important than their survival” ……

        • TheKingOfRhye

          It’s “atheist”. Not “A-theist”. The only thing you do when you type it like that is look silly. And mildly annoy pedantic people like myself. lol

          • Amos Moses

            LOL

        • Worf

          Hitler might not have been a christian himself, but he used christian rhetoric to mobilize a vastly christian population to commit atrocities against humanity.

          But it still doesn’t mean those actions represent christianity. Just as the actions of Stalin and his followers don’t represent atheism.

          • Amos Moses

            “but he used christian rhetoric to mobilize a vastly christian population to commit atrocities against humanity.”

            yeah …. he was a liar and a deceiver ….. so what else is new ……. and if you do not believe the one true God ….. you may as well be an a-theist …… and yes it does “represent atheism” ………

      • Tianzhu

        Atheists often repeat the lie that people are not killed in the name of atheism. The facts say otherwise. From the very beginning the atheist officials of the Soviet Union held the core belief that religion had to be exterminated, and in following through on that belief they imprisoned and killed countless people.

        From the Wiki article “Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union”:

        “Throughout the history of the Soviet Union (1922-1991), Soviet authorities suppressed and persecuted various forms of Christianity to different extents depending on the particular era. Soviet Marxist-Leninism policy consistently advocated the control, suppression, and the elimination of religious beliefs, and actively encouraged atheism during its implementation in the Soviet Union.

        “The state was committed to the destruction of religion, and destroyed churches, mosques and temples, ridiculed, harassed, incarcerated and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with atheistic teachings, and generally promoted atheism as the truth that society should accept. The total number of Christian victims of Soviet state atheist policies has been estimated to range between 12-20 million.

        “Putting an end to all religion (and replacing it with atheism]) became a fundamentally important ideological goal of the Soviet state. The persecution of religion took place officially through many legal measures designed to hamper religious activities, through a large volume of anti-religious propaganda, and through education. In practice the state also sought to control religious bodies and to interfere with them, with the ultimate goal of making them disappear.

        “Some actions against Orthodox priests and believers along with execution included torture, being sent to prison camps, labour camps or mental hospitals. Many Orthodox (along with peoples of other faiths) were also subjected to psychological punishment or torture and mind control experimentation in order to force them give up their religious convictions (see Punitive psychiatry in the Soviet Union). During the first five years of Soviet power, the Bolsheviks executed 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and over 1,200 Russian Orthodox priests. Many others were imprisoned or exiled.

        “The Orthodox church suffered terribly in the 1930s, and many of its members were killed or sent to labor camps. Between 1927 and 1940, the number of Orthodox churches in the Russian Republic fell from 29,584 to fewer than 500. The watershed year was 1929, when Soviet policy put much new legislation in place that formed the basis for the harsh anti-religious persecution in the 1930s.

        “During the purges of 1937 and 1938, church documents record that 168,300 Russian Orthodox clergy were arrested. Of these, over 100,000 were shot. Many thousands of victims of persecution became recognized in a special canon of saints known as the “new martyrs and confessors of Russia”.

        “It is estimated that 50,000 clergy had been executed between 1917 and the end of the Khrushchev era. The number of laity likely greatly exceeds this. Members of the church hierarchy were jailed or forced out, their places taken by docile clergy, many of whom had ties with the KGB.”

        • james blue

          Atheism has just one tenet, the denial of the existence of any God. There is nothing beyond that and Atheists are not required to do anything beyond that. Other than the denial of the existence of any God there is nothing to connect one Atheist to another other than by coincidence.

          • Tianzhu

            You are a liar and a fool. When atheists control a government, they make it a policy to harass, imprison, and kill Christians.

            Don’t argue with dead bodies, you will only look sillier.

            The only difference between you American atheists and the ones in the USSR is that you don’t have the legal power – yet – to do what they did.

          • james blue

            Who said I’m an Atheist?

        • TheKingOfRhye

          You say Soviet Union was trying to exterminate religion. Okay, that’s not atheism, that’s more like anti theism. Just because someone is an atheist doesn’t mean they want to get rid of religion.

        • Worf

          That is a nice long post, but you totally missed my point.

          Obviously the Soviet Union was violently anti-religion. But they do not represent the average modern atheists in any way, just like violent and brutal christian people/groups don’t represent the average modern christian.

          We atheists are not stalinists. We simply don’t believe in any gods. We want a government free of religion. And freedom of religion is important to us, because we too fall under that protection.

          A government with religious preference or anti-religious tendencies is a danger to EVERYBODY that doesn’t believe what those in power do.

          A government with no religious preference is not atheist. Just as a stack of blank papers is not an atheist manifesto. Our government is intended to be secular, and should neither promote or prevent ANY religions.

    • james blue

      Stalin didn’t do that in the name of Atheism.

    • TheKingOfRhye

      That is the same kind of intellectually bankrupt and just lazy thinking that is at the root of racism and other forms of prejudice. You’re judging a whole group of people by the actions of some.

    • tatoo

      But the Inquisition and the Crusades did kill millions for the sake of Jesus. How Christian.

      • The General

        Like all atheists, you know nothing at all about history. The obvious reason you avoid learning history is that atheists are the worst killers ever. Naturally you prefer that people not know that.

        From the beginning of the First Crusade, in 1096, till the end of the last one, in 1276, perhaps 2 million people died – Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others – 2 million over a period of 180 years, and that 2 million includes Christians and Jews who were killed by Muslims.
        Historian Norman Cantor, an agnostic Jew, states that “The total number of people who died at the hands of all Catholic Inquisitions did not exceed five figures and probably did not total more than ten thousand people.”
        So that’s 2 million for the Crusades (1096 – 1276), 10,000 for the Inquisition (1184 – 1834). 60,000 for witch trials (1400s to 1700s).
        The big genocidal nations of the 20th century:
        USSR (atheist), 62 million
        Communist China (atheist), 35 million
        Nazi Germany (nominally Christian), 21 million
        China 1928-49 (Buddhist/Confucianist), 10 million
        Japan (Shinto/Buddhist), 6 million
        Cambodia (atheist), 2 million
        Ottoman Turkey (Muslim), 1.9 million
        Of genocides in the 20th century, atheist nations were responsible for 65 percent of the deaths.
        These numbers are from Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. Pinker is an atheist.
        The atheist dictator Pol Pot of Cambodia, in power from 1976 to 1979, killed 3 million – of his own people. Most were buried in mass graves, which the condemned dug themselves. The UN acknowledged “the near destruction of Cambodian society.” In 1932-33, the famine caused by the USSR government resulted in the deaths of 7 million. During 1937 and 1938, the Soviet secret police detained 1,548,366 persons, of whom 681,692 were shot – an average of 1,000 executions a day. China’s Great Leap Forward, 1958-61, resulted in at least 18 million deaths.

        Atheists are the worst killers in human history. No contest.

  • Guzzman

    Christian prayers delivered by a chaplain at an official military ceremony constitute government speech.

    Board of Education v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990): “There is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause FORBIDS, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect.”

    • Jason Todd

      Aaaaaand bullpucky. The Constitution protects religious speech. To establish is to create, and Christianity existed for hundreds of years before the USA did. This is a gross misinterpretation, twisted for use as a weapon against Christian speech in America. Period.

      • Rookheight

        “Gross misinterpretation” is an accurate way to describe your view. It should give you pause that no jurists or judges, even hyper-conservative ones, take this line of reasoning. You’re on your own and you’re just making things up.

        • Bob

          “The constitution says what is says and doesn’t say what it doesnt say!” ~The late great Justice Antonin Scalia
          Any judge/jurist/or hyper conservative can see that 🙂 But your interpretation is skewed. Are you ok?

          • Rookheight

            Scalia was inconsistent and at times incoherent, though he was a good writer. Even he would never argue something as imbecilic as “establishment means create, and Christianity predates the USA so you can’t establish Christianity,” which was precisely my point.

            You seem to be making a habit of inadvertently demonstrating my points when you try to refute them. Are you ok?

          • Bob

            LOL Can’t think of your own comeback? Wow your not as good as you think you are. You might get a demotion from your agitator position if you don’t pull yourself together.

          • Jason Todd

            Wow. An obvious troll, addressing Bob, but more directed at me.

            Are you familiar with the Preamble? It carries the phrase, “…do ordain and establish this Constitution…”

            What do you think that means?

            If you put aside contemporary definitions and focus on Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary, created less than a decade after the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, you’ll find “establish” means to set and fix permanently, to decree.

            For anyone to think the writer of the First Amendment had something else in mind when he used the same word are themselves imbecilic.

            FAIL.

          • Rookheight

            Bob was trying to defend you with Scalia, and I responded to him.

            You are misreading the First Amendment horrendously. First, the Establishment Clause goes far beyond the government (much less Congress itself) literally establishing a religion. Madison and Jefferson, its primary authors, made this clear. So your fixation on “establishment” is misplaced, since that’s a shorthand for a much broader concept.

            Second, and more importantly, the government “establishing a religion” means designating an official religion for the government, not creating a religion out of thin air. If your interpretation was right, the United States would be free to declare an official religion of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, or any of the other myriad religions that existed at the time. That’s probably the silliest interpretation of the First Amendment that I’ve ever heard, and you’ve got some serious contenders in that regard.

            You might want to read some constitutional scholars before you double down on an interpretation that none of them have ever adopted and declare “FAIL” to anyone who disagrees with you.

          • Jason Todd

            Unless you can provide evidence Jefferson and Madison meant promoting an already existing religion you have no idea what you are talking about.

            Of course, your admission elsewhere you hate religion in toto suggests a type of confirmation bias, which weakens your credibility regardless.

          • Rookheight

            Look up Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was a precursor of the Establishment Clause and goes a long way toward showing what he meant by the ten words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

            It includes a protection that ” no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.” That is (in part) what he meant by the Establishment Clause, and why he referred to the religious clauses together as a “wall separating church and state.” Nothing about it only applying to religions that don’t exist yet.

            And I never said I hate religion. Religions just aren’t true. I don’t hate them any more than I hate Greek mythology. But I’m totally open to contrary authority if you have any (but I suppose you would have mentioned by now if you did).

          • Jason Todd

            HAHAHA

        • Jason Todd

          Point? Because I already said I don’t care what men in black robes have to say. The Constitution says Congress cannot create its own religion nor keep people from practicing theirs. What part of that do you not understand?

          • Ambulance Chaser

            You can “not care” what the Supreme Court ruled to your heart’s content, but their rulings are law. Yours are not.

            The level of vehemence with which you “don’t care” about SCOTUS rulings does precisely nothing to alter this fact.

          • Bob

            One other fact to add: SCOTUS loses all credibility when they try to legislate from the bench, so if he chooses not to care…so be it.

          • Chris

            Except they’re not. They are issuing a ruling based upon their interpretation of the constitution of the constitution.

            Just because you disagree with them doesn’t change their role.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            SCOTUS doesn’t need “credibility.” I don’t know what kind of legal system you people think we run in this country, but it’s really not that complicated. SCOTUS rules, that’s the law. Period. It’s really that simple. Anything else is irrelevant.

  • Fran Dunham

    If we as believers stood together and up the way these atheist and satan
    worshiping folk do they’ve have a snowballs chance…But we don’t.

    • Rookheight

      If you see the government endorsing a religion that’s not your own, you can and should certainly stand up for it just like FFRF does. But I think what you mean is the opposite; you want members of your religion to defend the government in promoting that religion, which is illegal.

      • Bob

        LOL! The government was most certainly endorsing Pope Francis so I am not sure why you said their is no analogy there. Yet, you double speak here by telling Fran to stand up if you oppose the govts endorsement. Are you ok?

        • Rookheight

          The pope is also the leader of a foreign country, albeit a small one. There are a lot of reasons that him addressing congress is totally unlike a government actor giving a prayer, which is what this article is talking about. It’s only “double speak” if you don’t understand the difference.

          • Bob

            Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
            JAMES 1 ~Sounds like Rookheight might be double minded.
            #justsayin

          • Rookheight

            #justmissingthepoint

          • Bob

            Im ALWAYS on point 🙂

    • Bob

      FRAN, I do AND I will 🙂 Have an awesome day

  • Bob

    Hey FFRF …Pope Francis addressed joint session of the United States Congress! Enough said. What are you going to do now that you have a platform based on hypocracy and lies???

    • Rookheight

      Pope Francis isn’t an employee of our government. There’s no analogy there.

      Which town are you in the “took on FFRF head on”? Usually when people say that, it’s something like declaring victory by putting crosses on private property, or private citizens praying, failing to realize that FFRF only cares about government property and employees. Either way, it would be folly to argue in court that these prayers are constitutional.

      • Bob

        We certainly did and we certainly won AND on public property by the way!
        We will pray where we want, when we want and how we want to and nobody will stop it. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you can take it away. We have rights too and you will not infringe. Ever. Have a great day!

        • Rookheight

          But you didn’t mention which town. Maybe it wasn’t such a clear win?

          • Bob

            Since your clearly an agitator, do your own homework and find out for yourself. We won…definitively. And FFRF duck their tails and ran….never to be heard from again. #winning

          • Rookheight

            It’s hard to find in the sea of people who don’t understand the law, but claim victory anyway. Since you’ve demonstrated that you don’t understand the law, your town is likely the same. Or, maybe even more likely, you’re just #lying.

          • Bob

            The cross still stands….as beautiful as ever. I actually visited it today with my dogs.

          • Chris

            Still waiting for evidence of this.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Your claim, your burden. The onus is on you to provide the evidence.

          • Bob

            No burden, actually a relief that there is hope found in Jesus. Therefore, I have joy and peace within (and a wonderful future).

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Right.

            So, how about that evidence now?

          • Bob

            FAITH! 🙂

          • Chris

            He wasn’t asking for your reason for belief in God, merely for evidence of a win over the FFRF.

            All you’d done is make a claim with nothing to support it and when asked for evidence said “do your own homework”.

            I siggest you look up the term ‘burden of proof’ as regards truth claims – in this case the truth claim that you won a victory over the FFRF.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Faith? You have “faith” that your town beat the FFRF?

          • tatoo

            More fake news by a Christian. Quel surprise!

          • Bob

            More snakes crawling out…

      • Ambulance Chaser

        It’s not who he is, it’s what he did. Pope Francis should no more be leading the “Official United States Mass” than Richard Dawkins.

        • Rookheight

          Well, it’s both. I agree that it’s a problem for him to be leading a religious exercise for Congress, but Bob was trying to argue that it’s the same fact pattern as this military chaplain, who’s a government actor, making it even more obvious that he shouldn’t be leading these prayers.

          So his analogy doesn’t even get off the ground, even though I agree they’re both problems. No need to get into the weeds when your opponents don’t understand the basics! 🙂

  • Robert

    This country never going to be atheist so they have to choose fairly soon by voting which way they perfer it to go Muslim or Christian. I hear the democrats. WANT THEIR leader ship to be Muslim. I wonder how atheists are treated in Muslim country,s

    • Rookheight

      What you “hear” is nonsense. Have you been listening to Fox News or something?

      This country is, apparently, going the way of Europe: people are gradually realizing that religion is nothing but myth and superstition. In another generation or two, we hopefully won’t have to debate whether or not it’s appropriate for the government to endorse religion.

      • Bob

        Religion may be myth and superstition, but JESUS is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and thats all you need to know. Amen!

        • MarkSebree

          You do realize that your religion is also a myth and superstition, right? That means that the second part of your statement, the part where you are referencing your religious beliefs, is a reference to a myth and superstition, not to reality.

          And there is no reason to acknowledge a myth as being in any way related to reality, and there is no reason why anyone should know someone else’s myths if they are uninterested in them.

          • Bob

            Tell me all about that one second after you die. In the meantime, I will pray where I want no matter what you think. It’s a free country so move along marky

          • MarkSebree

            Sorry, but nobody can tell anyone anything after they die. They’re dead.

            And as long as you are not a member of the government, nobody is going to try to stop you from talking to yourself in public, in your own home, or in your place worship. People can stop you from praying on their property, if they wish, however. Their land, their rules, within reason.

          • Bob

            I talk with God…not to myself. Get it right. And nobody can stop me from praying anywhere I please. Free country, babe.

          • MarkSebree

            I did get it right. Your deity only exists in your imagination, thus you are talking to yourself. And you use your belief in your deity to justify your attitudes towards others and how you treat them.

            Ask yourself this, and be honest with yourself. Has your “deity” every told you something that you did not already know and could not have reasonably heard or learned previously? Has your “deity” ever told you something that was diametrically opposed to your own personal opinions? Do you have anything objective to support your assertion that your “deity” even exists outside your imagination?

      • Robert

        Democrats want Muslims to lead them not atheists.They just rejected one of them atheist when they rejected Sanders.

        • Rookheight

          And they chose the Muslim Clinton? To follow the Muslim Obama, right? Gotta admit, that does look like a trend. Almost enough to refute the fact that Christians (including those two) overwhelmingly over-represent their constituencies in the Democratic party.

          • Robert

            Keith Ellison a buddy of the Muslim brotherhood..

          • TheKingOfRhye

            One Muslim out of 435 US Reps. Wow, they’re really taking over!!!!

          • Mr. David

            Yes indeed. You’re right about that.

    • antifasciste

      “C” Non of the above.

  • InTheChurch

    Hey Wisconsin Group, can you please show me when and where you guys confronted Muslims, Satanist and other religious groups. It seems your angry is with God and you are to make Him miserable like yourself.

    • Bob

      BINGO!

    • MarkSebree

      Can you show where Muslims, Satanists, and other religious groups have used the government, either schools, school boards, city councils, or other government bodies, to show blatant favoritism towards a particular religion, such as flying a flag representing that religion or erecting a monument to that religion, or opening public meetings with sectarian prayers to that religion almost exclusively for months or years? Cases where such things a monument erected in response to a Christian monument that had already been erected do not count.

      If you cannot show where such cases have existed, and then were someone called the FFRF for help (they respond to requests for assistance, they do not go looking for problems), then you do not have much of a case. If the patterns of behavior do not exist among other religious groups where they control the government, then there can be no case because there has been no violation of the law.

      • Bob

        LOL, “someone called for help” like who? An imaginary demon?
        And yes they do go looking for problems: They “tried” to dismantle a big cross in our city that stood for over 30 years because of their same imaginary demon called in and complained. Well they lost that fight. It still stands just as beautiful as ever. Have an awesome evening 🙂

        • MarkSebree

          A citizen of the area who has standing. Your imaginary demons cannot do anything since they only exist in your imagination.

          You are giving a good example of why judges allow complainants in these types of cases to remain anonymous. The person has to be presented to the judge to demonstrate that the complainant is a real person, and that the person has standing. The judge then grants a motion for the complainant to remain anonymous, and the case is filed under a pseudonym in order to protect that person, his or her freedom, livelihood, property, and family from the hateful Christians who want to terrorize, ostracize, bully, and emotionally and financially devastate anyone who challenges their religious privileges. This has been seen in many cases in the past, and is a well established trend.

          • Bob

            There is only one true judge and it is the Lord God. This has been well established 🙂

          • MarkSebree

            Actually, that has not been established at all. Your imaginary friend has no standing in the US courtroom, and is not a sitting judge in any jurisdiction. Your beliefs hold no sway before a real and true judge in a US Courtroom, and your imagination and beliefs hold no relevance to anyone else. Nobody is beholden to your beliefs except you.

          • Bob

            The truth hurts. His name is Jesus, name above all names. supreme judge over all judges. Amen

          • Chris

            Argument by assertion fallacy. Would you care to rephrase?

          • MarkSebree

            “The truth must hurt you. ”

            Not at all. That is why I tell the truth, even in the face of lies, bigotry, and intolerance.

            “His name is Jesus, name above all names. supreme judge over all judges.”
            If you change subjects, you should really start a new paragraph. These two sentences and the previous sentence do not go together.

            And the name “Jesus” is just a name like any other name. And since he is not a member of any US judiciary, much less the US Supreme Court, he is by definition not a judge, much less “a judge above all others”.

            As I said, nobody is beholden to your beliefs, and nobody is subject to your personal delusions. If you seek to impose your beliefs onto others, then BOTH your religion AND the 14th Amendment basically state that it means that you want everyone else to impose their beliefs onto you. You cannot have it both ways in this country, after all.

          • Bob

            Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
            Matthew 7

          • MarkSebree

            In order words, you cannot refute my statements in an intelligent fashion, so you spout nonsense and run away. Is that what you are trying to convey?

            Your mythology does not help you since it does not apply to anyone else except you.

          • Bob

            “hateful Christians who terrorize” LOL Now thats funny!!!
            We are the ones being persecuted by you snakes and vipers. We are the ones helping people all over the world while Christians are being killed. You can spew your hate and lies but they are just that: HATE and LIES. We are here to stand up for our beliefs and rights (not privileges) and thats exactly what I will do. I won’t back down to your illogical idiocracy from neverland, mr i don’t believe in anything therefore you can’t believe in anything either. Just remember: It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” Romans 14:11 Sleep tight, nighty night.

          • Chris

            “hateful Christians who terrorize” LOL Now thats funny!!!”

            A Jewish man who complained about Christian favouritism in his town had his cat killed and hung up outside his front door, his car vandalized and customers refuse to have anything to do with his business.

            Hateful Christian fundies indeed.

            Now the majority of Christians are nothing like this. But enough Christians are to make such practices by the court necessary.

          • MarkSebree

            “”hateful Christians who terrorize” LOL Now thats funny!!!”

            No, that is very, very common.

            “We are the ones being persecuted by you snakes and vipers.”

            Not in the USA. Christians are not being persecuted at all. In fact, they are the ones who are most often persecuting others since they are the ones who are in the majority and have the civil power. Telling Christians that they have to play by the same rules as every other religion is not persecution, it is the denial and ending of privilege.

            “We are the ones helping people all over the world while Christians are being killed. ”

            You are also the ones that are promoting the killing and discrimination of groups that you do not like, including non-Christians, gays, atheists, and others.

            “You can spew your hate and lies but they are just that: HATE and LIES. ”

            What hate and what lies? I have been telling the truth, and I have not demonstrated any hatred at all.

            “We are here to stand up for our beliefs and rights (not privileges) and thats exactly what I will do. ”
            Actually, you are trying to hand onto your privileges, and to deny others, including other religions, equal rights. Look at your own words in previous posts. You imply strongly that everyone is subject to your beliefs, no matter what their own beliefs are. And when you are truthfully called on your words, you scream that the person is being hateful and telling lies, even when it is easily seen that they are not.

            ” I won’t back down to your illogical idiocracy from neverland, mr i don’t believe in anything therefore you can’t believe in anything either. ”

            You have not shown that I have been illogical anywhere, and you are the only one that is promoting “idiocracy from neverland” since you are the one that seem to think that your mythology and beliefs are somehow applicable to anyone besides you. “Idiocracy from neverland” better describes much of what you post.

            I never said that I do not believe in anything, and I never said that you cannot believe in anything. I am not presenting my beliefs because they are not relevant. Unlike you, I am not so deluded as to believe that anyone besides myself is subject to my beliefs.

            ” Just remember: It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” Romans 14:11″

            Why should I remember an irrelevant writing of a con man seeking to control the ignorant from thousands of years ago which has no bearing on anything in this discussion?

          • Bob

            You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Revelation 3
            The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14
            Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.
            Proverbs 26
            SO I GUESS THAT MEANS I WILL BE GOING NOW.
            ~~As always, Have a great day and a better tomorrow!~~

          • MarkSebree

            I see that you have been reduce to spouting non-sequitor nonsense again. You cannot support your position in an intelligent manner, so you make references to your mythology as if it means anything.

            By your words, you are the fool who is wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. You spout nonsense instead of trying to intelligently defend your position. You cannot accept that nobody else is bound by your beliefs, and your mythology an your interpretation of it does not apply to anyone except you. What’s more, the quotes you gave are the conmen who wrote the stories in your mythology are meant to keep the masses ignorant by keeping them from listening to people who are better educated, more cosmopolitan, and even more intelligent.

            If you want to toss around quotes, here are a coupe more for you.
            “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
            Lucius Annaeus Seneca

            “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich”
            Napoleon Boneparte

            “The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.”
            Sir Richard Francis Burton

            “All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”
            Edgar Allen Poe

          • Sharon_at_home

            I’m afraid you are wrong. There IS proof that the Bible is accurate – The Institute of Creation Research – It’s at LCR dot org /biblical-record

            There are many other sources that discuss these findings but I wanted to find a non-christian source so you can’t (shouldn’t) say that it was made up by Christians.

          • MarkSebree

            The Institute for Creation Research is described as a young-earth apologetics institute that specialized in media promotion of pseudo-science and pushing their interpretation of their mythology. They do not perform any actual scientific research, their do not submit their “findings” for independent review, and their claims are not to be taken seriously.

          • Sharon_at_home

            Show me proof that it is a “well established trend.” The true Christians would not be like this at all. We are to act like Jesus and that is not a behavior that He would approve of. Unfortunately some people who call themselves Christians do not follow Christ’s example and behave in a way that influences peoples understanding of what a Christian should behave like. We can’t control who says they are Christians; for all we know it could be another religion that wants to make us look bad. I’m not saying it is, I’m just saying it could be.

          • MarkSebree

            Just study the history of Europeans and European controlled/colonized areas over the last 1500 years. There were crusades that were nothing more than excuses to wipe out fledgling alternate denominations of Christians (Albigensian Crusade). The conquest, subjugation, and forced conversion of the various peoples of Europe. The massacre of Native Americans, Aztecs, and South American peoples. Inquisitions, of which the Spanish Inquisition is the most famous. Continued attempts to conquer and convert Muslims in the Middle East. The executions of people who were of other religions or non-believers throughout the last 2 millennia by Christians. And on and on and on.

            As far as examples of Christians ostracizing, bullying, vandalizing, and trying to destroy anyone who challenges their “Christians Privilege” and calls on them to play by the same rules as everyone else financially, emotionally, and even physically. Jennifer Ahlquist could serve as a case study in their (failed) tactics. Go to MRFF dot org and read the hate mail they get daily. It is under Inbox, then the link “Click here to access selected hate mail from detractors”. You can also see examples in the “listing of MRFF’s Inbox postings” link in the same area. Look at what “good Christians” did to the couple who called the bakers in Oregon (“Sweet Cakes By Melissa”) on their illegal discrimination, and after the bakers published and advertised the plaintiffs’ contact information. Look at the thinly and not so thinly veiled threats against people who challenge Christian privilege but who the courts rightly allow to remain anonymous. This even includes cases where these Christians get the wrong people as the complainants, and thus justify the need for anonymity.

            Just open you eyes and ears, and see and listen to what is being done and preached in the name of your deity. If you want to change people’s opinions about what Christianity is like, call out and oppose the hatred, fear, discrimination, violence, and intolerance that the most visible and historical aspects that your religion has justly earned.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      That really has nothing to do with this case. I’m not seeing the relevance of your question.

      • MarkSebree

        I do. “InTheChurch” is trying to establish that the FFRF is bigoted against Christians because they never bring cases against Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, or anyone else besides Christians.

        However, since they cannot show any instances in the USA where a similar situation arose dealing with a non-Christian religion, and a complainant went to the FFRF asking for help, much less that help being refused, their challenge falls flat.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          I know. I’m aware of what he’s trying to establish, it’s just that that has nothing to do with this case.

          I don’t believe the FFRF is bigoted against Christians, but even if they were, so what? What does that have to do with whether their assertions are correct in this case?

      • InTheChurch

        They only come after the Christians. They don’t question or go after anyone else. That is my point. They need to be the same with everyone.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          They don’t “need” to do anything. If the military’s behavior is unconstitutional, it becomes no more or less unconstitutional based on how the FFRF proceeds against other entities in other places other times.

        • MarkSebree

          “They only come after the Christians. ”

          Mainly because the Christians are by far the most frequent offenders. In most cases, if a person is seeing government promotion of a religion other than Christianity, they do not need to fear angry citizens bend on destroying their lives and livelihoods, which means that they do not need to remain anonymous, and they can get local help, like other parts of the government, to help them without any problem. Thus, it never makes the news, and the complainant never needs to seek help from someone like the FFRF.

          ” They don’t question or go after anyone else. ”

          Because they do not get complaints about anyone else. It makes no sense to “question or go after” someone who is not there.

          “They need to be the same with everyone.”

          They already are. The problem is that nobody else is causing such problems, and nobody else gets news coverage.

          • Sharon_at_home

            google FFRF and Islam…

          • MarkSebree

            Compared to the amount of overreach by the government in favor of Christianity, that is not much.

            As I said, nobody else is getting the news coverage. Christian “news” sites play up the stories where Christians try to impose their beliefs onto others to play up the persecution complex that their readers have. Christian “news” sites do not say a word about cases against other religions in most cases since those cases are so few, relatively speaking, and do not help their cause.

    • TheKingOfRhye

      It might have a little something to do with the fact that Christians are by far the largest religious group in this country. To compare them with Satanists is really ridiculous, not only are they a REALLY tiny group compared to Christians, they’re usually on the same side as the FFRF.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    America needs Christianity to be good. Taking away Christianity means taking away everything good and meaningful from the Western civilization including the USA. Atheism means amorality in the West; they don’t even have love for their home country unlike the communists. Atheism has nothing to protect. Christrians protect everyone for the sake of God.

  • http://batman-news.com Houmid

    Need to tell the Freedom From Religion Foundation to get stuffed. The first amendment says the United States can’t establish a state religion; but it also says it can’t prevent the free exercise of religion either. The FFRF is proposing an un-Constitutional prevention in the free exercise of religion by military members. Now if the FFRF wants proportional time for a non-religious ceremony, we can allow that.

    • Rookheight

      Interesting that you (mis)read the First Amendment and think that the law must work just how you interpret it. You might be interested to know that there’s an official entity tasked with interpreting the Constitution, and they have interpreted it quite differently.

      What the Supreme Court says is the law of the land, like it or not.

  • tatoo

    I am so sick of Christians forcing their practices down everyone’s throat. Leave us alone. Pray in church or your homes. I pay as much taxes as you, and people like me shouldn’t have to listen to your crap.

    • Joe Grace

      The same can be said in reverse.

      • MarkSebree

        Not really. Nobody else is really forcing their religious beliefs onto anyone else in the USA except Christians, nor is anyone else using public schools, school boards, the police, city councils, the military, or any other part of the government to do so. For every 95 to 99 incidents of Christians using the government to show favoritism towards their beliefs, you MIGHT find 1 case where it is another religion that is doing so. I may be underestimating the number of cases of Christians abusing government authority per each case of other religions having a chance to do so.

        • Joe Grace

          Relax, we Christians are just passing through your worldly chaos. Soon, I hope, we will burden you no more.

          • MarkSebree

            Everyone is “just passing through [this] worldly chaos”. It is called being alive. The only way that you would not “burden [us]” is if Christians, especially far right evangelical/dominionistic Christians, would develop some empathy and actually care about other people, and stop trying to impose their beliefs onto others.

            Perhaps if you tried to help the world instead of destroy it, Christianity would not be bleeding believers, especially from the younger generation.

          • Joe Grace

            Thank you for all your insight and advice Mark, have a great day!

          • Sharon_at_home

            You shouldn’t condemn all Christians for the behavior of a small minority of them. No different than not condemning a Muslim because a small group is not keeping to their religion. In all religions there are people who do not follow what their church tells them. Don’t put all Christians in one basket, Mark, I bet you talk to more Christians than you realize because the majority of us don’t bother telling everyone. The odds are that the people you think are ‘so nice’ – but not aware of any religious beliefs they have – were taught the same behavior we teach our children.
            If you don’t want to believe in our bible, then don’t. but it is not mythology. Otherwise it would be written like one. It isn’t even close to the Greek mythologies. And as I posted above, there IS proof of the historical correctness of the bible. No mythology can be proved with archeological findings like the bible can.

          • MarkSebree

            “You shouldn’t condemn all Christians for the behavior of a small minority of them.”

            I don’t. Look again at my post again. I specify “far right evangelical/dominionistic Christians”.

            “No different than not condemning a Muslim because a small group is not keeping to their religion.”

            Which is why I specified the group that I was talking about, and which tends to be the most guilty of such egregious behavior.

            “I bet you talk to more Christians than you realize because the majority of us don’t bother telling everyone. The odds are that the people you think are ‘so nice’ – but not aware of any religious beliefs they have – were taught the same behavior we teach our children. ”

            And I will bet that I have a good idea of how many Christians I talk to regularly. You do not seem to understand, or you are assuming the wrong things. I grew up and currently live in the midwest. I went to a parochial high school. I served in the military. I have worked the defense industry for 20 years. The last place I lived previous to my current residence was in the deep south. I have a first cousin who is a UCC minister. Most of the people I deal with are Christian.

            “If you don’t want to believe in our bible, then don’t. but it is not mythology. ”

            Actually, it is a mythology. It fits the definition perfectly.

            ” Otherwise it would be written like one.”

            The Bible is written like a mythology, mainly because it is on.

            “It isn’t even close to the Greek mythologies. ”

            So? The Bible’s myths are more related to Babylonian, Sumarian, Egyptian, and other Middle Eastern and North African mythologies.

            The Norse Eddas are nothing like the Greek myths, but I am sure that you would have no trouble classifying them as myths. Same goes for Hindu myths, Chinese myths, Japanese myths, Aztec myths, Native American myths, and so on. They all have different styles which derive from their cultures’ forms of storytelling.

            “there IS proof of the historical correctness of the bible. No mythology can be proved with archeological findings like the bible can.”

            Not really. Finding that a city existed does not make a myth into a fact. It just means that the myth included a real place in its tales. This is a very, very common device. It helps the story telling along because then you do not have to explain many attributes of the people and the culture to your listener.

            It is like Marvel Comics using real cities like New York City as their primary settings for their various titles. People know about NYC. There are archetypes for the people, well known landmarks, common events, and so on.

            Setting the Illiad in Troy used the same mechanism, for example. And given how common war was in that time period, setting it during a war is simple. However, I seriously doubt that Paris really judged a beauty contest between Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena, for example.

            Archeology does not prove much of anything significant about the Bible, especially is mythological aspects. Simpler, non-supernatural explanations are more likely to be true for supposed supernatural events.

    • Gold Eagle

      Tough luck. This is America. If you don’t like Christians, move to Saudi Arabia. There are no Christians praying in public there.

    • Delectable

      For someone who hates to hear what Christians say,
      you sure hang out a lot on Christian blogs.

      You poor old bored thing.

    • Sharon_at_home

      I have never heard any Christians EVER push their practices down “everyone’s throat in my 59 years. They don’t make you sit and listen to them so if you don’t like what you hear – leave! No one will stop you because the Christians were told by Jesus to not push our religion at people because believing in Jesus must be done as “free will”. You can’t force people to believe if they don’t want to. If the person is willing to listen you can sit with them and discuss it, but no one can be forced to believe something.
      And as far as “listen to your crap” there is such a thing as Not listening and if you can’t get away from them then you put yourself in the midst of it, not them.
      Stop complaining and live the way you want. The Christians are not forcing anything to anyone.

      You are putting yourself into positions to hear the word of God.

  • sammy13

    If people don’t like the words, don’t listen.

  • Joe Grace

    You never seem to hear atheist target Muslim, Buddhist, Hindus and all other non Christian Religions. They violate much the same atheist standards as Christians. Where is the out cry?

    • MarkSebree

      And what does that have to do with anything? It is a quote from a mythology, and has nothing to do with the article.

      • Joe Grace

        What do you have to do with anything?