Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Why Atheists Care About YOUR Religion (by Ovablastic)

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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October 17, 2008 Posted by | religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Media Release: Coalition For Secular Government

Below is an e-mail we received the Coalition For Secular Government

"MEDIA RELEASE: COALITION FOR SECULAR GOVERNMENT

Nearly 40% of Colorado Voters Seek to Destroy Reproductive Rights

Sedalia, Colorado / October 7, 2008

Contact: Diana Hsieh, co-author of "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life" and founder
of the Coalition for Secular Government, Diana@SecularGovernment.us or
303.304.0689

A poll of likely voters shows strong support for Amendment 48, the ballot
measure that would grant the full legal rights of persons to fertilized
eggs.  The survey, conducted on September 28th by Rasmussen Reports with 500
likely voters, shows that 39% plan to vote for the measure, 50% to vote
against it, while 11% are unsure.  (See <http://tinyurl.com/4huary>.)

Such strong support for Amendment 48 should surprise anyone familiar with
the barrage of criticism published in Colorado media in recent weeks.
Critics of the measure have warned voters of its destructive effects on
Colorado's laws if passed and enforced.  They have shown that it would usher
in a near-total ban on abortion, outlaw the birth control pill and in vitro
fertilization, and subject pregnant women to police controls.  Yet these
latest poll results are basically unchanged from a June poll, also by
Rasmussen.  (See <http://tinyurl.com/4mm59r>.)

Diana Hsieh, founder of the Coalition for Secular Government and co-author
of "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life," argues that the broad support for Amendment
48 is driven by a deeply-held faith pretending to be "pro-life."

The most recent Rasmussen poll showed that 41% of Colorado voters believe
that "life begins at conception."  That number explains the strong support
for Amendment 48, despite the media barrage against it.  "People who endorse
that slogan regard a fertilized egg as a new, whole person with a right to
life," Hsieh said.  "They regard the enormous sacrifices forced on real men
and women by the measure as insignificant -- or even ennobling.  Their vote
is based on faith, without regard to the real-world requirements of human
life and happiness.  It's not 'pro-life' at all."

"To effectively combat measures like Amendment 48, the whole 'pro-life'
ideology must be challenged at its root," Hsieh said.  "A mushy slogan like
'it simply goes too far' is unconvincing, even misleading.  It doesn't speak
to the fundamental dispute.  Worse, it suggests that some compromise -- like
banning most abortions -- would be acceptable."

"Instead, reproductive rights must be defended on principle, based on the
objective facts of human nature.  With regard to abortion, the fact is that
a fetus or embryo is only a potential person so long as encased within and
dependent on the woman.  Once born, the infant is a new individual person
with the right to life.  That view ought to be the basis for the laws of a
free society.  Any alternative -- any attempt to grant rights to the embryo
or fetus -- would violate the rights of pregnant women."

For a principled defense of reproductive rights, see the Coalition for
Secular Government's issue paper, "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters
That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person," available at
<http://www.seculargovernment.us/docs/a48.pdf>, particularly the section
"Personhood and the Right to Abortion," pages 10-13."

- Chalmer

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Politics, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Separation of Church and State Rally

So, yesterday I we went to a separation of church and state rally at the Denver State Capital building. Joel, our President, was originally scheduled to give a presentation but had to cancel at the last minute so I filled in. We should have some footage of the event early next month. We filmed an interview of another guest speaker, best selling author and physicist Victor Stenger, by Elles, author of the blog Splendid Elles, for Skepchick. We should be posting that early next month too. Anyway, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the separation of church and state, including some of the stuff I covered in my presentation.

The separation of church and state is a gap intended to accomplish two primary things. The first is freedom from religion. Our government is based not on the values of any one ideology, but on the innate qualities and aspirations that unite every human being. As such, the government should be unable to enforce laws based on the beliefs of any one religious group. No one should be subject to the restrictions of a religion that is not their own. Ours is a government for the people, by the people, and I mean all the people. This is not a utilitarian majority rules type of democracy. Our government is suppose to represent everyone, not just the great in number. The only restrictions the government should impose is to prevent one person from impinging on the basic natural rights of another human being. Your government should protect you rights, and protect you from being subjected to the restrictions of any religion, whether your rich or poor, black or white, big or small, dumb or smart.

The second purpose of the separation of church and state is to guarantee freedom of religion. In the same way that you should not be subject to the restrictions of other ideologies, so to should you be able to choose which restrictions, beyond those minimal ones imposed by the government, you should be subject too. For example, if your don’t believe in blood transfusions, you don’t have to get one. However, you have no right to impose your principles on others via the government. Those who do not share some religious value should not, do not, have to follow them.

Whenever I debate this particular subject with others, one of the misunderstandings I hear is that a secular government is somehow anti-religious. In reality, a secular government is simply non-religious. In reality, a secular non-religious government is the only government with any realistic probability of guaranteeing the individuals right to practice their own religion. This is not a atheistic nation, and secularism and atheism are not synonymous. I often hear people say that we are a Christian nation, which, in a sense is true. Though our government is not based on Christian values, it is a nation of Christians. However, to say that we are just a Christian nation is absurdly reductionist. We are also a nation of Jews and Muslims, rich and poor, believers and non-believers, men and women, and so much more. Our nation is a melting-pot, and only a secular government can accuratley represent and effectively govern such a diverse populace.

The rights your government guarantees you are based on your humanity, not your religious affiliation and the laws you are subject too are to prevent you from impinging on the basic human rights of others.

– Chalmer

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Politics, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments