Mister Pterodactyl
Friday, April 02, 2004
The writer, Leon Wieseltier, was in the audience for the Supreme Court hearing for the Elk Grove Unified School District v. Michael A. Newdow case.
Reading the article, though, I’d almost think he’d been reading my stuff too. A few highlights:

“But what kind of friendship for religion is it that insists that the words "under God" have no religious connotation? A political friendship, is the answer. And that is precisely the kind of friendship that the Bush administration exhibited in its awful defense of the theistic diction of the Pledge. The solicitor general stood before the Court to argue against the plain meaning of ordinary words. In the Pledge of Allegiance, the government insisted, the word "God" does not refer to God.”

“The distinction between religion and morality was championed by religious thinkers in all the monotheistic faiths, who worried that religion would be reduced to morality. Now we must worry that for many Americans morality is being reduced to religion.”

“It is one of the admirable features of atheism to take God seriously. Newdow's reply [to a question from Justice Breyer] was unforgettable: "I don't think that I can include 'under God' to mean 'no God,' which is exactly what I think. I deny the existence of God." The sound of those words in that room gave me what I can only call a constitutional thrill. This is freedom.”

“The argument that a reference to God is not a reference to God is a sign that American religion is forgetting its reasons. The need of so many American believers to have government endorse their belief is thoroughly abject. How strong, and how wise, is a faith that needs to see God's name wherever it looks?”

In case you're wondering, the actual title of the article is "What America Can Learn From It's Atheists." So I'm not just making fun of you.
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