Monday, May 21, 2007

Freedom From Religion

The last time I lived in Madison, I found the Freedom From Religion Foundation highly annoying. Name a problem in the world, and they could find a way to blame it on religion. I appreciated it when Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF, gave me full access to her files while I was working on an article about government funding of faith-based initiatives. I appreciated the lawsuits that FFRF initiated against various government entities that sought to promote religion. But I wished that FFRF could just leave it at that, and not act so much like what I termed "evangelical atheists" -- folks who want to point out every last problem with religion, not recognize any of its benefits, and convince the whole world to forge a deity-less path.

Now, having spent two or so years immersed in a real Evangeland -- where the cubicles were decorated with cloying prayers, where the surest way to get ahead in the company was to attend one of two local megachurches, where conversations at after-work outings deteriorated into speculations about who in the office was "saved" and who was not, where I was always the last to find out about the office-wide speculations on my relationship and engagement status (since marriage and piety are the same thing in this version of Christianity), where attendance at non-compulsory weekly Bible studies was compulsory if you wanted to be perceived as a "team player" and reduce your risk of lay-offs, where the Catholics were nagged with questions about whether they had a "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ, where the one Jewish guy became known as "the Jewish guy," where I and my fellow agnostic singles were inundated with invitations to one singles ministry event after another, and where I finally began to understand why so many in the English-speaking world use "Jesus Christ" as an expletive -- I can find no fault with FFRF.

For this morning's devotions, I found "What Can We Do About Medicine?" from FFRF founder Anne Nicol Gaylor's Abortion Is a Blessing particularly edifying.

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