Thursday, February 12, 2009

Attacks on atheist beliefs

As I go about my daily business I find myself surrounded by images, icons, symbols, and representations of religion.

Women will wear little crosses around their necks. Other women will wear headscarves and some even burquas. Jewish men sport the yarmulke. Priests and pastors wear their vestments outside of their churches. Imams favour full beards and headgear common to the Middle East. West of Toronto, there are thousands of men wearing turbans.

Their houses of worship are unmistakable.

Christian churches will be topped with crosses and if they are Catholic they may have statues of Mary near the front doors. The same is true of some Catholic schools. Around Christmas, some churches will display a Nativity scene on the front lawns. Protestant churches are fond of placing large signs facing the street announcing the hours of worship, the names of the pastors and the subject of their sermons. Some of these signs also announce religious events and others use humour to attract attention.

All of these things, directly and indirectly, are the ways the pious advertise their fealty to their god, or gods, as the case may be.

I have always thought that these were merely an exercise in the normal civil rights that our citizens enjoy in a free and liberal democracy, the right to visibly demonstrate their beliefs.

But, apparently, I have been deluding myself. Advertising these beliefs is nothing more than a blatant attack on atheists.

I have to thank Dr. Charles McVety and Bishop Fred Henry who took the time to comment on the proposed atheist bus advertisements for causing the scales to fall from my eyes and the light of truth to penetrate.

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