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Nelson: Atheists are not morally deficient | COMMENTARY

It’s morally reprehensible for guest columnist Chris Roemer and others to keep indicting and slandering atheists as harmful to the well-being of society. Stop implying atheists are immoral to elevate your beliefs, as Roemer did in his April 7 opinion piece “America being transformed into secular country with no unifying moral concept.”

Keep the state and religion separate and study religions promoting knowledge. Roemer lacks evidence that atheist/nones are morally deficient.

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Concerning moral concepts atheist/nones have volumes: “Good Without God, “by Greg Epstein; “Atheism for Dummies.” by Dale McGowen; “Atheist Answers,” by David McAfee; “Society Without Religion.” and “Least Religious Nations Contentment & Cultural Religion,” by Phil Zuckerman; and “Kingdom Coming - Rise of Christian Nationalism,” by Michelle Goldberg.

Sounds like Roemer’s dominion theology crumbles unless dominating others. It’s not belittling to dispute/reject Roemer’s view of Christian authority about right or wrong. With 200+ Christian denominations, Roemer can’t claim ownership of unifying moral concept. Choosing one’s own path isn’t hostile. Need Roemer blame others because his beliefs aren’t selling? Fear of replacement or being disadvantaged, admits Roemer’s religion, has “disadvantaged” others.

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Congress investigated a 2005 scandal at the Air Force Academy. Evangelicals taunted Jewish cadets, calling them “Christ Killers” and harassed them to convert. Until 2005 I thought all Christians good. Moving into senior housing, I was shocked by Christian literalists intent on moving me out because I wasn’t Christian. Legal Aid convinced them religious discrimination in housing is illegal.

A Wantagh, N.Y., church sign reads, “God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians.” The Baltimore Ethical Society motto is “Deed Before Creed.” Humanist believe what you do to others counts.

Roemer sounds uncomfortable with change. John Leland, 1770, a prominent Baptist minister, wrote “The notion of a Christian Commonwealth should be exploded forever. ... Government should protect everyman in thinking and speaking freely and see that one does not abuse another. Liberty I contend is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable, it supposes that some have preeminence above the rest to grant indulgence whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.”

E. pluribus unum, “Out of Many One,” George Bush’s book, boasts pride in American diversity. Can Roemer accept diversity? I’m with Mark Twain, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Should I feign belief for Roemer’s comfort?

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E. pluribus unum calls for working together for the good of “We the People” within our godless Constitution that restricts religion and never mentions a deity. Roemer’s wish for a Christian nation fights the secular Constitution. In “The Founding Myth - Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American,” Andrew L. Seidel writes that the nationalist’s goal is wedding their religion and our government. Seidel explains “Judeo-Christian tradition” is a “made-in-America myth”; that “Judaism is Judaism because it rejects Christianity and Christianity is Christianity because it rejects Judaism.”

Search the Southern Poverty Law Center website and note who hate groups hate: gays Muslims, atheists and Jews. It’s disconcerting what 89% of Jan. 6 insurrectionists have in common. Robert Pape, of the Security and Threats Project, revealed they were not hate group members, they were willing to commit violence and motivated by “fear of great replacement,” according to the Washington Post.

Roemer stated that, in 1960, few claimed being atheist. Why wouldn’t an atheist tell a survey that? The year Roemer was born I graduated Milford Mill High. Now 80, I remember in a 1954 social studies class discussing televised McCarthy Hearings on Un-American Activities during the “Red Scare Era.” U.S. leaders needed a scapegoat to unify Americans against Russia. Politicians and zealots decided to make it “good Christian Americans’ vs. “evil atheists/godless Communists.” The hearings were inquisitions. Ethnic Russian Jews, gays, atheists or citizens discussing Communist ideas were considered threats — think fascist Germany. That’s why atheists said nothing in 1960.

Communists misread Karl Marx’s “religion is the opium of the people” quote; Marx advocated removing suffering, not removing religion. Communists didn’t invent atheism. It dates from Greek philosophy, based on reasoning. Whenever there are believers there are disbelievers questioning “how can that be?” Martin Luther said reason is the enemy of faith.

Did you feel “The Moral Arc” (a book by Michael Shermer) shift with the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer? We recognized moral evil.

The Humanist 10 Commitments are nonreligious moral/ethics for all.

Nan Nelson writes from Westminster.

For any member of the community who would like to submit a guest column for publication consideration, it should be approximately 700 words and sent to bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

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