Faith and Values 2008: Q2 Report

Those of us who study religious politicking have had a most eventful spring. We have experienced the YouTube stylings of … Continued

Those of us who study religious politicking have had a most eventful spring. We have experienced the YouTube stylings of Father Michael Pfleger. We have had further encounters with the teachings of Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Articles about John McCain’s difficulties with Evangelicals now come out at 15-second intervals, so we have been pretty captivated by that as well.

With all the ructions of the past few months, there has been little time to step back and see the Big Picture. It may be helpful, then, to pause and identify leading F and V trends in the second quarter of 2008:

The continuing maturation of Evangelical America’s political project (Notice, I say “maturation,” not “collapse”): Little we have seen this year indicates that Evangelicals are going to line up in a massive, unified block and alter the outcome of the general as they did in 2004. Isn’t that a collapse? Kind of. But only for those few Christians who gauge the health of their souls by scrutinizing exit poll data.

Rejecting the narrative of collapse, I prefer to see a maturation process under way. After all, religious movements in democratic societies grow and prosper not because of ideological homogeneity and doctrinal rigidity, but as a result of intellectual diversity and theological open-mindedness.

Three recent events suggest that precisely such growth may be afoot. The first was the Compassion Forum sponsored by a group (Faith in Public Life) that is forcing secular liberals to learn how to tell White Evangelicals apart.

The second was the publication of the Evangelical Manifesto–a sort of theological Declaration of Independence aimed at questioning the political engagements of Fundamentalists and Right-Wing Evangelicals. Last (and overlapping with the previous two developments) was the emergence of Progressive Evangelicals. Their willingness to think about issues other than gays and abortion (and to bolt the GOP) has changed the complexion of the 2008 race.

This is not to say that we will be seeing the rise of PACS like Evangelicals for Nader, or NARALleulah!: Conservative Christians for Choice, any time soon. But the Movement is slowly diversifying and that bodes well for almost everybody.

And Barack saw that it was good: The Senator from Illinois is the greatest beneficiary of the aforementioned maturation. He is also the politician who can best cultivate its continued development. The Obama/Evangelical synergy of the past few months suggests a variety of forthcoming storylines. For starters, Progressives will not only vote but get out the vote for him. Their electoral good works should raise the overall percentage of Evangelicals who go Democrat from the anemic 22% of John Kerry to numbers like 30, 35 and possibly even 40%. Further, many of those Evangelicals who don’t like Obama, don’t necessarily hate him either. Given that McCain has yet to persuade them, some may forego the ballot box on November 4.

GOP Faith-based VP Angle: In light of the preceding it might seem that Obama is winning the battle for God Votes. He is. But it’s still early and Senator McCain could infuse some energy into his Faith and Values outreach, by selecting a running mate with neon-light-blinking appeal to either conservative Evangelicals or Catholics.

Atheists and Agnostics: Still Not Rocking the Vote: The Evangelical political project may be maturing or may be collapsing, but at least they have a political project. While nonbelievers roared in 2005-2007, their voices and issues have been virtually non-existent in the 2008 campaign.

In order to achieve greater political relevancy in 2012 — if that is, in fact, the goal–the following will be essential: 1) the rise of a cadre of political theorists, as opposed to critics of religion, who can rethink and reinvigorate the broader project of American secularism, 2) skilled leadership that can harness and direct the energy of the youthful community of nonbelievers, 3) a fundraising apparatus, and, 4) accurate census data that will identify those congressional districts in which atheists, agnotics and those who share common ground with them may be able to make noise in coming congressional races.

Obama less holier than thou: Obama’s announcement that he was leaving Trinity United Church of Christ was something of political/psychological breakthrough. It was Father Pfleger’s rant that finally put him over the edge. But in all truth he should have left Trinity months ago, maybe prior to even announcing his candidacy.

In any case, his resignation signaled the moment that he fully embraced “cynical politics” (otherwise known as “politics”). It marked the moment when he understood that his long-suffering Party doesn’t need any more nice guys or martyrs. It marked the moment where he grasped how important it was to his supporters that he win this election.

And so, in the second quarter of 2008 a less holy, more calculating Obama has emerged. Some who were initially excited by the Hopemonger — Muslim Americans, gun-control advocates, proponents of campaign finance-reform, Scarlett Johansson — have been rather rudely reminded that, to paraphrase Reverend Wright, a politician is not a pastor.

(For more information about religion and the candidates check out Faith 2008 by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.)

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
June 30, 2008; 5:05 AM ET

 | Category: 

The God Vote


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  • Biteme1

    Evangelicals may be maturing, but their consideration of a wider palette of issues does not necessarily mean their views on the standard issues — particularly abortion — are changing much. Indeed, indications are that young evangelical progressives are more anti-abortion than their evangelical parents. They do seem to have a more of a spirit of tolerance toward homosexuality, but this is not the same as approbation. In any case, it’s nice to see them trying to apply their beliefs more holistically and consistently across the board.As for the silence of secularists, I for one am glad. Their holier-than-thou rhetoric is as bad as the Moral Majority’s. Pluralism, not secularism, is the goal here.

  • COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret]

    Dear American Voters, reporters, media. professionals, political parties, and our hon. Presidential Nominees,Subject: Presidential TemperamentPlease talk about and “Compare And Contrast” the ” Presidential Temperament” of our Presidential presumptive nominees. I will also request and plead to the nominees themselves [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama ].Our nation has been applying this yard and stick tor the appointments and confirmation process of our Supreme Court Justices nominees.Our Greatgrand Nation Foundations are as under:It will be disgrace and shameful if the nominees and media will not look into this critical and crucial aspect under current challenging times and circumstances within our country and all around the Globe.COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret].PS: IT WON’T BE GOD IT WILL BE US WHO ELEECT NEXT PRESIDENT.

  • J A Reyes

    The only cynical people around are evangelicals, who want to have things their own way. Frankly, most of you are in it for power and money. So take your sanctimonious garbage out of here. And get a real job, instead of preaching and making money off the poor, dirt bag!

  • leftoflarry

    Secularists tend to have a holier-than-thou approach based on a reaction to the ever blinding advances of the christian right. It is apparent (to atheists at least) that pluralism will never work based on historical as well as contemporary fundamental differences within religions, and the non-religious. Most atheists, would not have a problem with religion if it were not for the fact that it is starting to affect their rights and their lives. What angers them most is the fact that irrational beliefs in unprovable matters, relying soley upon a book of allegory, are being brought to the political spectrum and guiding not only our domestic, but also, our international agenda. This is a dangerous move. The anger from atheists only comes as a reaction of years of allowing the religious right AND the religious middle, dictate our politics. The time has come to stand up for what is rational.This is where the silence of freethinkers and rationalists have led us. Creationism in schools, wars based on religious ideals, the slow removal of human rights, etc. And the multi-billion tax exempt industry we call religion.Time has now come to put an end to nonsense, and superstituion, much like we all stopped believing in santa clause. Pluralism, much like a marxist utopian society will never be possible in the grand scheme of things. History has proven this. Religion is the ONLY idea that is absolutely and positively not welcome to critical analysis. Thanks to the careful PR tactics of the multi-billion industry we call religion.This is leading us to a very dangerous road, and will impact us economically as well as socially.

  • leftoflarry

    Secularists tend to have a holier-than-thou approach based on a reaction to the ever blinding advances of the christian right. It is apparent (to atheists at least) that pluralism will never work based on historical as well as contemporary fundamental differences within religions, and the non-religious. Most atheists, would not have a problem with religion if it were not for the fact that it is starting to affect their rights and their lives. What angers them most is the fact that irrational beliefs in unprovable matters, relying soley upon a book of allegory, are being brought to the political spectrum and guiding not only our domestic, but also, our international agenda. This is a dangerous move. The anger from atheists only comes as a reaction of years of allowing the religious right AND the religious middle, dictate our politics. The time has come to stand up for what is rational.This is where the silence of freethinkers and rationalists have led us. Creationism in schools, wars based on religious ideals, the slow removal of human rights, etc. And the multi-billion tax exempt industry we call religion.Time has now come to put an end to nonsense, and superstituion, much like we all stopped believing in santa clause. Pluralism, much like a marxist utopian society will never be possible in the grand scheme of things. History has proven this. Religion is the ONLY idea that is absolutely and positively not welcome to critical analysis. Thanks to the careful PR tactics of the multi-billion industry we call religion.This is leading us to a very dangerous road, and will impact us economically as well as socially.

  • Mike

    Jacques comes across as more than a bit condescending here, equating intellectual diversity and theological open-mindedness with maturation. Are black churches, which vote predominantly Democrat at a higher percentage than Evangelical churches as a whole vote Republican, politically immature? Yes, I realize there are (and I know a few) African American evangelicals which fit into both camps, but I believe the point is still valid. And are gay rights advocates, who vote overwhelmingly Democrat because it fits with their values, politically immature? No, they’re simply voting for the party they perceive as being more supportive of their deeply held values, as do black churches, and for the last couple of decades, as have Evangelicals.Why not just note the diversification, vice maturation, of Evangelical voting patterns, not make a value judgment on their level of maturity, and call it a day?

  • Mike

    Jacques comes across as more than a bit condescending here, equating intellectual diversity and theological open-mindedness with maturation. Are black churches, which vote predominantly Democrat at a higher percentage than Evangelical churches as a whole vote Republican, politically immature? Yes, I realize there are (and I know a few) African American evangelicals which fit into both camps, but I believe the point is still valid. And are gay rights advocates, who vote overwhelmingly Democrat because it fits with their values, politically immature? No, they’re simply voting for the party they perceive as being more supportive of their deeply held values, as do black churches, and for the last couple of decades, as have Evangelicals.Why not just note the diversification, vice maturation, of Evangelical voting patterns, not make a value judgment on their level of maturity, and call it a day?

  • JBE

    It is a sin for an evangelical to be a republican, based upon a review of republican party member actions over the last decade.Don’t make me list the crimes and hypocrisy. There isn’t enough rom here for that.

  • dcp

    The only reason Evangelicals have been embracing of Obama (he coupled with Rick Warren for AIDS awareness long before the election) is because they are not aware of just how liberal he is. He is trying to play the center field now (he tries to play every field come to think of it), but every once in a while his true colors come out. I don’t think it’s appropriate to go through the laundry list here, but many people don’t know the important things about him. I’m pretty sure that the Republicans are waiting until after the Democratic convention to bring some of those things out into the open.

  • Paganplace

    “he only reason Evangelicals have been embracing of Obama (he coupled with Rick Warren for AIDS awareness long before the election) is because they are not aware of just how liberal he is.”Are you saying that Evangelicals should be pro-AIDS? ” He is trying to play the center field now (he tries to play every field come to think of it),”Actually, he’s trying to give more than lip service to having a national dialogue on issues important to people… not, for instance, to want to stuff gun control down people’s throats when the courts make a ruling in favor of gun ownership in the murder capital of the United States. Yes, he’s strongly liberal, …he’s also a real human being who didn’t read all his opinions from a party platform. I know it’s hard to imagine the possibility, but he *could* be being honest and practical and sincere about what he stands for.I know there’s a lot of very ‘liberal’ people like myself who are against the death penalty because it’s expensive, ineffective, unfairly-applied, and dangerous to police and innocent bystanders, (Once someone’s committed a ‘capital crime,’ why not commit more? Why not shoot a cop? Your Mom? Giving violent criminals ‘nothing to lose’ hardly sounds like a practical deterrent to me.) But a lot of liberals are perfectly willing to make an exception for serial child-rapists and murderers.It’s a dangerous tool and precedent, any use of the death penalty, (The famous West Memphis Three case has someone on death row even though there’s actually exculpatory evidence and massive police and judicial misconduct involved,) …But, really. Plenty of liberals do figure there’s a line, somewhere, and past a certain point of recurring atrocity, it gets pretty clear-cut. Where to draw the line, of course, is always a problem. But serial child rapists and murderers are over it, wherever it is. That’s not a ‘waffle’ or ‘playing center field, ‘ it just is. Plenty of people hold similar opinions. Maybe a Supreme Court ought to say no to us, anyway, but it’s there. Real and sincere. I’m a person of faith, ..just a different one from what I presume yours is, and a strong secularist. If you have to ask what there is to gain or lose, you *truly* don’t get it. Maybe you should figure there’s a *lot* at stake, though, since you have no idea. As you’re open to listening, what secularists of all faiths and beliefs have is certainly *not* the ‘right to not believe,’ not if we want equal treatment under the law to live our own ways, or even to be represented in government. Public piety in Christianity or Judaism is in fact *mandatory* for public office in most places, and certainly nationally. The Religious Right has pursued, and the religious center allowed tacitly, some extremely-aggressive measures against people who don’t follow certain tenets of certain forms of Christianity, or Christianity in general, and reason and science itself, which place our civil liberties and the future of our nation at great peril. Religious conservatives have even been trying to gut our public education system, except of course to try and insist it be used to proselytize Christianity while our nation falls further behind in the math and science that make for a future in a technological world, especially since while everyone was freaking out about gays, the religious conservatives let all our *manufacturing industries go overseas, turning us into a nation of consumers with too few skills and too little infrastructure…*While lining their own pockets because someone told us being ‘Godly’ made everything for the best. What’s to lose? A lot. What’s to gain? A future that ain’t feudal.

  • BlueTwo1

    As a secular humanist, it is assumed that I worship Satan. That’s where I get off the bus. Live and let live is my motto. Religion and politics gave us The Inquisition. That’s where you are tortured to confess your alleged arrangement with The Devil. Poo on that.

  • janice

    Many Christians have told me because of their race they feel pressured to say they are voting for Obama around families and friends– but when they go to vote- issues they feel strongly about (like abortion) and not skin color will be on their minds.

  • L.Kurt Engelhart

    Evangelizing only makes sense when the activists clearly know something that others need to know. Otherwise it is just obnoxious. Most of us understand by now that religious evangelism falls into the latter category. Political evangelism is another story, but political evangelists should not be identifying their cause with a particular religion. That is obnoxious. That is an abuse of the power of that particular religion, and its practitioners should expect to be held accountable for that abuse.

  • Mature Christians or Frisbeetarianists?

    I really do wish those who continue to call themselves Christians but refuse to follow Christ would take George Carlin’s lead and identify as frisbeetarians. For unless you believe Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to heaven, which he himself said, and unless you accept the Bible as truth, you have no business calling yourselves Christians. As for “Christians” who are willing to abandon the truth for what is currently the acceptable norm in society, that’s not a sign of maturation, that’s a sign of spiritual immaturity.

  • L.Kurt Engelhart

    “What angers [the non-religious] most is the fact that irrational beliefs in unprovable matters, relying soley upon a book of allegory, are being brought to the political spectrum…”What angers the religious most is the holier-than-thou belief of the non-religious that they hold no irrational beliefs in unprovable matters, that all of their references are indisputable fact, and that only their views are relevant in the political arena.

  • John Mounadi

    I must admit that most of the responses are quite off track in regards to Christianity. Nowhere in the Bible does it state you must accept The Lord Jesus Christ as your savior. It is simply based on faith. The Bible states that THE only way to eternal life within Heaven is through believing and accepting Christ as your savior. No amount of good deeds can save your soul, because how could we make up for all our natural faults. Christ purchased everyone’s sins, therefore leaving us saved IF we nchoose Him as our savior. It’s simple, and no one forces anyone to be a Christian.If you want to criticize a religion that truly states that its followers have an obligation , in this lifetime, to punish physically and spiritually if you do not follow the rules and/or refuse to accept its faith is Islam.Islam is a religion, or cult, that actually states in its own Quran what followers actually execute in their actions. Many of you simply don’t want to embrace the Christian faith, and that is your right, because you haven’t truly given yourselves the opportunity to experience and learn it. Many simply don’t have the will to follow the rules of the Bible, therefore feel vindictive towards something that holds them sccountable, but doesn’t force you to accept it.Christianity is a choice. Islam is not. There is a huge difference. That is why we have democracy, and Iran and Saudi Arabia doesn’t.

  • thankful

    i’m so glad you clarified that “you” said maturation not collapse. I really give a rip what you think as do most conservatives who don’t read this rag anyway. but thanks for clarifying, I really need the washington post to teach me how to be a christian.

  • spiderman2

    I think the Evangelicals is “not maturing”. They don’t change their belief system. It’s been there thru the centuries. What is really happening is that those who are not evangelicals are learning about evangelicals.In other words, you, Jacques Berlinerblau, is maturing. Good for you. Kudos.

  • Joe

    The way to Jesus is the way to Heaven. Jesus never said, for example, that all Jews were bound for Hell. He did teach us not to judge people and to not limit His grace. Nor did he ever say that the Bible was the literal word of God. The Word became flesh. To limit the bible to a literal reading is to demean the sacred. Further, to read the Bible as truth, that is, as God, is to make a physical object an idol. God can’t fit into a book, or our minds, or our petty attempts at morality. And Jesus is not a “get out jail free” card. Anyway, whether you agree with my statements or not, your argument than only people who accept your interpretation of and rules for Christianity are Christians is at the least ludicrous and at the most blasphemous, for you dare to think you know the mind of God and to judge others with it.

  • Joe

    The way to Jesus is the way to Heaven. Jesus never said, for example, that all Jews were bound for Hell. He did teach us not to judge people and to not limit His grace. Nor did he ever say that the Bible was the literal word of God. The Word became flesh. To limit the bible to a literal reading is to demean the sacred. Further, to read the Bible as truth, that is, as God, is to make a physical object an idol. God can’t fit into a book, or our minds, or our petty attempts at morality. And Jesus is not a “get out jail free” card. Anyway, whether you agree with my statements or not, your argument than only people who accept your interpretation of and rules for Christianity are Christians is at the least ludicrous and at the most blasphemous, for you dare to think you know the mind of God and to judge others with it.

  • ThePersian

    To the author: Your article is rather disgusting. Your attempt at rhetoric, exaggeration, and sensationalization wrapped with a psuedo-intellectual, liberal veneer doesn’t establish your credibility in any domain. If you have a need to be respected or heard, start with some honest hard work and analysis, apply some integrity, establish a legitimate topic and your legitimate credentials for it, and do some self analysis to determine what your motivations are and what you as a person are about. (whom do you serve or what do you serve? are you even qualified or should you recuse yourself?) So that you can’t accuse The Persian of sour grapes, let me give you an example…your subject alone is ridiculous on its face. Try one that hits close to home with real content and see how you perform sir. Perhaps “Persecution – Jews and Muslims – the greatest allies of the past two millenium”, or “cultural religions vs. personal faith – how these play out in politics” or “how socio-political devices influence middle-eastern voters at voting time” or “Can America continue to sepearate God and Country?”. Can you really take on such subjects or does arrogance or ignorance prevent you? Better yet, I suggest that truth and justice are your own greatest demons. You despise them both it would seem. To some of the responders, thank you for a well thought response. To the left and pluralist writers above, keep reading Berlinerblau, at least your minds are on the same wavelength. We could however create a classic comedy – “The Sand Lords – the Arab, the Jew, and the pluralist” – the dialogue would be, well, circular.To the publisher, is there no baseline standard of fidelity, performance, and integrity among your authors? Compared to most of your writers and editorials, you could syndicate “The Persian’s” articles.To the readers – the ticket could be Obama & Osama ’08 – be careful. The monsters of lore and the demons of the spirit world could become very real for us all in the next few years. Am I only referring to the US election? Not at all. There is more deceit and evil in the hearts of men than in a very, very long time. The Persian

  • BGone

    I wonder about, “Their willingness to think about issues other than gays and abortion (and to bolt the GOP) has changed the complexion of the 2008 race.”It’s those evangelicals still stuck on abortion and homosexuality that have bolted the GOP, been jettisoned. The ones out of gas, (that’s most all of them) are still very much on board.You’re still missing the boat. The real, “faith fight” this election centers on ecologicals not evangelicals. All religions attempt and are often successful in capturing nearby governments. The religious “purple” gang that has the US government in a strangle hold is the ecologicals. The evangelicals have been properly disposed of -goodbye to bad rubbish.McCain will carry California if Obama doesn’t come out strong for drill, drill, drill. Obama’s ecological supporters go for that? Those California Bubbas are out of gas “harder” than anywhere else in the country. There is no bus for them to take anywhere not even to church so they can pray to the being in the burning bush for Santa Claus to bring them an electric pickup truck. It’s a long time till Christmas you know and they’re out of gas and money both right now. It’s gonna take a lot of faith to believe in NO change for drilling everywhere bot nowhere more pronounced than California, (a blue state turning red from anger at ecologicals?).Maybe if Pat Robertson speaks to God on Obama’s behalf? McCain just cut a deal with the real Trinity God, Billy, Franklin and the holy spirit on the mountains where God lives,, in a loveless mansion paid for by evangelical suckers.

  • Anonymous

    Hi The Persian- Are you Peter?

  • mr_t

    I hope The Persian doesn’t here the rooster crow three times.

  • to janice

    Janice, there’s only pressure for Black Christians who are afraid of other’s opinions. I am a Black Christian and I tell people all of the time I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of voting for Obama. I know Black people who say they will vote for Obama no matter what. Even after I mention some of the things in his record, they still say it doesn’t matter. One relative told me that they are voting for Obama just because he is black and no scandal could change that. I have a church member who forwarded an email to me that’s going around saying that we should pray for Obama because he is under attack. I didn’t offer a rebuttal, I just hit ‘delete’. But when people ask, I tell the truth: Obama does not represent my values. Period.

  • dcp

    Paganplace, I hear you loud and clearly. First of all, you know very well I didn’t mean that Christians should be pro-AIDS. I was only referring to the alliances Obama had made prior to his presidential bid. Secondly, the problems you mentioned are not problems created by any established law. For instance, it isn’t mandatory to be pious to run for office. At least there is no constitutional law on the books stating this. If a candidate when asked states that he is an atheist which in turn causes people not to vote for him, what’s going to change that? There’s no legal recourse for this. People can choose to vote for whomever they deem worthy of the office. It may not seem fair, but people can make their choices using any criteria they choose. But there’s no law forbidding an atheist from running or holding the office if he is elected.The other thing you mentioned was the schools. The only recourse here is to bar all parents or local school board officials from having any say-so about the curriculum. Then we would have decide who does have a say-so over the curriculum. Only atheists? We can’t do that. We can’t bar all “Christian” parents, because this would be a form of descrimination easily shot down by all politicians and the courts. Any legislation barring parents altogether from participation in the education system will also be quickly shot down in the court system. In addition, politicians on both sides of the aisles in all levels of government will quickly denounce such a measure. If atheists want to stay in the public schools, then they have to deal with everyone in the public. Same for Christians. Same for Buddhists. Same for Muslims. Same for everyone. That’s why some people start private schools and home schools: to get away from the public school system. That’s their legal right and the right of atheists as well. So once again- no legal recourse.

  • John Mounadi

    Your comments were absolutely silly. Faith and science work hand in hand. To apply many medicinal ideas we must work off of faith that the cure will work.You are a bigot towards Christianity and you show complete ignorance towards the concepts of how this faith has influenced the very foundation of our nation and the rights we enjoy today.Science and faith, along with spiritual influences work hand in hand. That is why you are not some premordial ooze that walks around with no purpose. You have the ability to think, to feel hurt and love, to feel anger, and to know the difference between right and wrong.Perhaps you should really think before you post your thoughts, because you contradict yourself more than you realize.

  • John Mounadi

    Your comments were absolutely silly. Faith and science work hand in hand. To apply many medicinal ideas we must work off of faith that the cure will work.You are a bigot towards Christianity and you show complete ignorance towards the concepts of how this faith has influenced the very foundation of our nation and the rights we enjoy today.Science and faith, along with spiritual influences work hand in hand. That is why you are not some premordial ooze that walks around with no purpose. You have the ability to think, to feel hurt and love, to feel anger, and to know the difference between right and wrong.Perhaps you should really think before you post your thoughts, because you contradict yourself more than you realize.

  • John Mounadi

    Your comments were absolutely silly. Faith and science work hand in hand. To apply many medicinal ideas we must work off of faith that the cure will work.You are a bigot towards Christianity and you show complete ignorance towards the concepts of how this faith has influenced the very foundation of our nation and the rights we enjoy today.Science and faith, along with spiritual influences work hand in hand. That is why you are not some premordial ooze that walks around with no purpose. You have the ability to think, to feel hurt and love, to feel anger, and to know the difference between right and wrong.Perhaps you should really think before you post your thoughts, because you contradict yourself more than you realize.

  • Paganplace

    “The other thing you mentioned was the schools. The only recourse here is to bar all parents or local school board officials from having any say-so about the curriculum. Then we would have decide who does have a say-so over the curriculum. Only atheists? We can’t do that. We can’t bar all “Christian” parents, because this would be a form of descrimination easily shot down by all politicians and the courts. Any legislation barring parents altogether from participation in the education system will also be quickly shot down in the court system.”This argument is based in the common, but erroneous Christian religious belief that ‘atheism’ is a rival religion which is being promoted any time someone fails to indoctrinate children with Christianity as if it were rational fact. Simply *not promoting Christianity in schools* is not the same as ‘Teaching there’s no God.’ Every parent, of course, is welcome to participate in the school system, but being Christian does not give them the right to use government and public resources to promote their religion as if it were fact. Frankly, the proof is in the pudding, where they’ll try to insist it’s ‘freedom of religion’ to promote Christianity, but the same people will be up in arms if there’s even what they see as a *non-negative* portrayal *about* other religions, …the Harry Potter witchhunt being a conspicuous example: books which have nothing to do with Wiccan religion but are condemned as if they were some kind of secret religious agenda, they try to ban them for *not* condemning us. Or you can hear the promoters of ‘Putting Jesus ‘back’ in the schools,’ in their own words trying to finagle a way to call it freedom of religion for themselves, while still excluding any positive mention of any other faith. Science is *not* religion. If certain religions are confused on that point, that’s their problem, not science’s, and not everyone’s tax dollars’.