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Letters to the Editor 7/11

Atheist not a dirty word

Keto Hodges’ July 8 letter to the editor opines that not taking part in the “Pledge of Allegiance” is analogous to changing the channel when you don’t like something you see on television.

Unfortunately, there is no alternate pledge that school kids can recite. So to help Hodges’ argument out a little I’ll make up a couple:

Alternate pledge No. 1:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag and the Wal-Mart that sold it to me, thus capitalizing on the tragic events of Sept. 11. And to the corporate monopolies that one day will wipe out competition and all individuality. One franchise, under corrupt CEOs, with liberty, justice and health care for all those who can afford it.” Oh yeah … “And all long distance phone calls up to 20 minutes for 99 cents, Amen.”

Alternate pledge No. 2:

“I pledge allegiance to learning and the right to think for myself, and to my fellow students whose ideas can differ from my own without me killing them, one nation, in search of truth, with liberty, justice, and opportunity for all.”

Without even getting into the constitutionality of the “under God” that was added in the 1950s during the “red scare” and McCarthyism, am I the only one who sees the absurdity of children pledging allegiance to anything?

Kids being led in a pledge, hmm … reminds me of something they had going on in Germany a few decades back. They called themselves Hitler Jugend.

Whether for good or evil, it is still programming. Everyone is forgetting that children are noncombatants. Once they pledge allegiance to the flag they can be counted as members of either us or them and lose their standing as innocent.

This gives terrorists and other religious zealots justification for targeting them with their violence in the names of their various invisible deity.

Hodges also brags that “90 percent of Americans are churchgoing and/or Christians. Of the remainder, only 25,000 are atheists.”

This is not surprising given the great lengths to which people like Keto have gone to exterminate those who don’t share their views.

You see, there used to be a lot more non-Christians in the world, even some here in America, before the “founders” of this country invaded and subsequently wiped them out by way of rifle and a small pox blanket. They had lots of different names but “Christians” called them “savages.”

Keto makes it sound like atheists are the evil, violent powers of the world. This suggestion would be laughable if it weren’t so sadly untrue.

It wasn’t atheists burning and drowning suspected “witches” in New England, nor was it atheists torturing non-Christians during the Spanish Inquisition, or on reservations, in internment or death camps, all brought to you by people professing “Christianity.” No atheist ever lynched an African American for talking to a white girl.

You can credit atheists and other “evil free-thinkers” with reasoning and science. Credit “Christians” and other “religious people” the Crusades, health clinic bombings and the iron maiden (the torture device used to punish people for not being Christian in the 15th and 16th centuries, not the metal band. They were atheists, I think … ).

But I digress. To summarize:

“Pledge of Allegiance,” bad. And to Keto Hodges, instead of expecting “heathens” to feel sympathy for the pain you feel upon seeing a sign that reads, “God is dead,” you should follow your own advice and not read it.

Stephen C. Bedell is an undeclared sophomore.

Pledge and church not the same

It should be noted that the pledge recited at public schools is a little different from attending church.

Sure, it may not be required by the state for children to recite the pledge, but how many children know that they have this right?

I remember when I was in school, my teachers would demand that we say the pledge or else face detention. That’s not freedom; that’s bullying.

Millions of kids recite this each day, not necessarily of their own free will, and when they do so, some of them are forced to acknowledge a deity they do not believe in.

There is nothing wrong with children being able to pray in school, but it is different if they are forced or at least led in some form.

On another note, atheists do not proclaim that God is dead. To proclaim such would be to first acknowledge that one existed in the first place, which is a rather silly stance for someone who claims not to believe in any.

The numbers cited (in a July 8 letter to the editor) are also incorrect. The Web site that 76.5 percent of the U.S. population is Christian and 13.2 percent of the population is non-religious/secular and 902,000 adults are atheists.

That’s a far cry from 25,000.

Jeff Sowers is a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering.