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Friday, April 16, 2010

I think you're abusing that punctuation, actually.

So over on Conservapedia they've got their undies all in a bunch about the recent ruling that the national day of prayer is unconstitutional. As you might guess, I rather appreciate this ruling seeing as how the federal government encouraging the citizenry to engage in religious rituals seems to be a pretty clear endorsement of religion, which is sort of a no-no. At the same time, said day of prayer has never really been top on my list of priorities as a member of the great secular/atheist conspiracy to ruin America,* so I'm not as excited about the ruling as you might otherwise think. The guys on Conservapedia, though, are in their usual snit:

Or, in plain text:

The National Day of Prayer, Honored in the United States For More Than 50 years, Is "Unconstitutional" !

A liberal federal judge in Wisconsin has ruled in a 66-page opinion issued Thursday. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said the holiday violates the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment, which creates a separation of church and state. The opinion comes in a case filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group of self-described "atheists" and "agnostics." [emphasis original]

And to this I can only respond: What the hell? Look, I get that you're pissed about the ruling- I expected nothing less since on Conservapedia religious freedom really means the freedom to ram conservative Christianity down everyone's throats while simultaneously referring to all other folks as Islamofascists.** Likewise, I'm not surprised that the Freedom From Religion Foundation was involved since this is exactly the kind of stuff they do.*** No, the thing that confuses me is the quotation marks at the end. What do you mean, "atheists" and "agnostics"? Do you not believe that they're atheists and agnostics? Because, you know, the FFRF describes itself by saying:

The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion. In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery. The Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church. [emphasis added]

Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems to me that the FFRF is pretty clear about being composed largely- if not entirely- of atheists and agnostics. Hell, one of its co-presidents is a former minister who became a vocal atheist. No crazy excessive quotation marks needed, guys! So what's the deal? Are we just adding quotes to whatever we feel like in order to make factual descriptors seem scary? Can I now describe Conservapedia as a "website" run by "Christians"? Is that what we're doing now? Can we maybe work out an emoticon for a disdainful sneer?****

Then again, what does it say about me that I'm so used to Conservapedia that the thing I complain about is their abuse of the English language? Yikes.

* We meet every third Tuesday. Steve brings the dip, I usually make chili con carne. It's pretty sweet now that we have the rumpus room all finished up!

** Please note that my use of this term in no way indicates that I think it makes any sense whatsoever.

*** And they're awesome. Don't forget the awesome.

**** This is a surprisingly difficult task. Might I suggest :-\ ?

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