Offend Atheists 101: Simply Recommend Church

Colorado School District Sued for Listing Religious Activities as One of ‘40 Developmental Assets’

This Week’s Top Scrooge – October 19, 2007


It’s funny how your conscience works. For example, your friend could say to you, “Maybe you should go to the gym.” The next thing you do is say, “Why are you calling me fat?”

You don’t say, “Thanks for the recommendation!” Instead, you go to a therapist and tell them you feel offended and alienated. You say you are thinking about filing a lawsuit against your friend because you don’t believe in exercise and yet he or she violated your right to believe in a no-exercise lifestyle.

“How dare they recommend something that may possibly be good for me!”

Such is the case with an atheist family in Colorado who is suing the Cherry Creek School District. Only it’s not about the district recommending excercise, it’s about suggesting as one of 40 ways to help students be successful that they spend “one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.”

Funny how our conscious works.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation is representing the atheist family and its claim that the program, called 40 Developmental Assets, encourages religion over non-religion.

A lawsuit against encouraging a developmental asset? Hands down, the family and the foundation “win” This Week’s Top Scrooge honor.

This from

“A public school system shouldn’t be recommending students go to church or not go to church,” said Bob Tiernan, attorney for the atheist family. “That’s an individual decision made by parents and children.”

The program promotes things like family support, positive peer influence and doing homework.

But the part of the program in contention is titled “Religious Community.” It says “young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.”

Tiernan said it makes atheists feel like outsiders.

“By the government telling them that because they’re atheists, there’s something wrong with them, they’re outsiders,” he said. “Any number of things that the government is doing that makes them feel like they don’t belong.”

Like outsiders? Like they don’t belong? I feel like an outsider to this planet. Who can I sue?

Apparently atheists are more sensitive than I first believed. It doesn’t take just calling them pagans or sinners to get them to feel bad. Simply suggesting that they might try spending one or more hours a week with “believers” to do some sort of social activity will send them into a tailspin.

To the Freedom from Religion Foundation and other atheist groups, especially the ones filing lawsuits without merit, I also recommend doing something one or more hours per week: listen to your conscience.


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10 thoughts on “Offend Atheists 101: Simply Recommend Church

  1. Well, it doesn’t say “Church,” does it? It could be most anything under the heading “religious institution,” including strange cult groups, end-of-the-word sects, etc. etc. etc. — and there are some rather strange “church” groups out there. It is odd that anyone would so casually present time spent within a religous group as somehow inherently beneficial to development simply because said undefined group is “religious” — aside from the inadvisability of mixing religion into public education in a pluralistic society.

  2. Again, it was a suggestion. They didn’t say attending an activity at a religious institution for one hour or more a week is mandatory….you know perfectly well what type of institutions they were suggesting. You attend a KKK rally at this particular suggestion, then YOU have problems. Not the people suggesting simply nothing else but a more than likely positive experience.

  3. And what if public schools suggest to their students that avoiding religious institutions is better?

    The issue isn’t over “someone” suggesting they attend church; it’s a public school teaching their children that they ought to regularly visit a religious institution. That’s something the government has no business doing.

  4. I think the point of it is that it’s a public school, funded by the government. According to the first amendment establishment clause, the government cannot promote a religion over others or even none at all. It’s not about an individual suggesting something, it’s about a government entity suggesting that children could be better people if they attend religious services. Religion has nothing to do with being a better person, and the government is prohibited from explicitly funding something that promotes religion.

  5. The hypocrisy of the atheist family and the FFRF is very clear. They enlist the government (First Ammendment) that gives them the FREEDOM to whine and complain about the government to sue the very governmental organization that is providing a FREE education to their children. Unbelievable! The First Ammendment clearly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING the free exercise thereof..” Yet somehow it has been twisted to mean that religion should be banned from the education of our children? I think not! The spirit of intent of the Founding Fathers was NOT to prohibit the religious FREEDOM of the people but to prevent religious persecution against the people. This act of suing the public education system for exercising the First Ammendment is unconscienable. In my opinion it constitutes as a blatant form of religious persecution. This atheist family needs to grow up as well as “listen to their consciences”.

  6. Astonishing. This fellow believes that NOT forcing religious (he no doubt means “Christian”) education on those who do not want it is a “blatant form of religious persecution” of those who want to do the forcing. What he is advocating, of course, is a law respecting an establishment of religion, a blatant violation of the second amendment to the Constitution.

  7. An “establishment of religion” is one church or denomination. The school cannot suggest a specific church to go to, but of course they can suggest going to a religious institution. Suggestions are not laws. Also going to a religious institution and being in a religious community has nothing to say about what the person individually believes, it just educates them about a large and real part of society.

  8. Atheists that try to avoid hearing about religion or meeting religious people are not getting a good education. If they want to hold to their belief, as a good citizen it is important to know why they hold that.

  9. Here’s a summary of the above article:

    I’m a fundamentalist Christian who believes non-believers should be converted to my faith. I wish this to be done in a subtle manner; the Christian God should only be alluded to – not directly referenced. This way, non-believers will look like morons who are jumping to conclusions when they resist indoctrination. I enjoy generalizing all non-believers based upon %.00001 of their population.

    Seriously though, the statement to non-believers to join religion, is equivalent to the following being said to a Christian:

    “You should abandon your faith. You should burn your Bible and stop going to church. You’re obviously too dumb to realize that you’re wrong. You’re probably living an unhealthy, meaningless, immoral, and empty life. I’m only recommending this because it is for your own good.”

    You CAN NOT seriously believe that treating anyone like this is acceptable. I respect your Christian beliefs, and I would hope that you would respect mine. Neither one of us has any right to tell each other that we’re wrong, nor do we have the right to push our beliefs on each other. Granted, I know that there are some bad apples in the Atheist camp who have undoubtedly tried to do this to you. Well guess what? Christians have done the same to me. All this means, is that there are crusading idiots on both sides, and they should not be seen as a representation for a religion (or lack of religion) as a whole. I have many friends of many different faiths (including Christian), and I get along just fine with them because I respect their beliefs. I honestly, seriously, really wonder if you are capable of doing the same with non-believers.

    Merry Christmas.

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