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Daring To Be Different

The Evil That Men Do

By James Donahue

A few years ago I was troubled by a report about an atheist group in Denver that was barred by a federal judge from displaying a challenge to the Christmas story in the public square.

While I am not an atheist, I recognize atheism as a belief system that is as viable as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism or any of the other religions of the world. Our constitution, which promises religious freedom in America, should be upheld by the courts. . . even in this peculiar incident that happened during the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus.

For those who missed this story, here is what happened in Denver.

According to Reuters News Service, U. S. District Judge Zita Weinshienk ruled that the group, called Freedom From Religion Foundation, could not have its anti-Christian display presented with the Christian nativity scene at the Denver City and County Building.

The group's sign said: "The Christ Child is a religious myth. The City of Denver should not promote religion. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world."

Julie Wells, who placed the sign next to the Christmas display, argued that she had a constitutional right to state the atheist position because city officials created a public forum by planting a nativity scene on government grounds.

Wells, of course, was quite right but she lost her argument to an intolerant and obviously biased court. Oddly, this judge seemed to have no problem with the Christians doing exactly the same thing Wells was attempting to do. The differences were that the Christians got there first, and they outnumbered the atheists. The judge also was probably a Christian believer.

The story points to a very troublesome movement in the United States that seems to be singling out small groups or individuals who are not in lock step with organized Christianity. In the Western States the Mormons are a strong force, and Jews and Buddhists have a good standing major cities, so they also are left alone. Since 9-11, however, the Moslem believers have been singled out as potential "terrorists," even though they are among the largest growing religious groups in the nation. Anyone or any group that proclaims a variation in religious or non-religious belief from the above is singled out as a "dangerous cult" or person displaying "suspicious behavior." They are consequently watched closely by local, state and federal police.

The warnings of possible terrorism seemed for a while to be a ruse created by government to seek out and destroy those who failed to fall in line. I also suspect someone in high places was busy playing mind fear games to break down resistance to new laws that would rob us of our constitutional freedoms. Then came the 9-11 attacks and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Both events looked suspiciously "set up" by our own government, but just saying this places me in the realm of those nutty conspiracy theorists, which is not a popular place to be these days.

We hear frequently now of federal agents capturing would-be bombers on aircraft and suspicious characters sneaking across our borders, but to date, not one of these evil doers has successfully exploded or even planted a bomb or caused a true incident of terrorism. Yet federal agents are freely arresting, and convicting people of so-called thought crimes, claiming these individuals were planning to do something bad but were nabbed in the nick of time. Are our federal agents really this good; have we been this lucky, or is it all part of an elaborate hoax designed to keep us in a state of submissive fear?

One example of thought crime arrests were the number of school children being expelled from their schools, and charged by local police for planned "Columbine style" attacks on their classmates. For a while it was going on all over the country. Then, almost without warning, children and some adults began really shooting up their schools. The most recent major event was the Sandy Hook school shootings of 20 elementary school children. Did we somehow create this horror within our midst by our fear of it actually happening?

We also hear of new court and legislative decisions giving state and federal authorizes more and more freedom to collect, listen to and read our electronic transmissions, without a court order, in an effort to ward off more public acts of terrorism. Police now have listening devices that allow them to hear conversations in our homes. Video cameras are mounted on public streets and in public buildings, watching our every move.

All of this raises the question: just how free Americans are today. When you hear of people being arrested because of something they carelessly wrote on Facebook or in their e-mail, doesn't that send shivers up and down your spine? Big Brother is watching and listening to everything we say and write.

A few years ago I was in a chat room filled with people talking about entering the year 2000. I asked the simple question: how many people thought they would be alive to enjoy the New Year. I was referring to all of the news stories about terrorist threats. Also, it was something that often crossed my mind as I was growing up in the midst of the Twentieth Century. I used to wonder if I would live to write the number 2,000 on my checkbook and think how strange it might be to do so.

Someone in the group asked me if I was a terrorist. I immediately wondered if I was talking to a police officer. I answered, no, I was a survivalist. He then asked me if I was hoarding food. For those of you who don't know it, hoarding food is now a federal crime. I decided to back out of that web site and keep my conversations at home, with people I know and trust. The last thing I need is a storm trooper knocking at my door because I said something careless in an internet conversation.

I have noticed that public chat rooms on the Internet are but a thing of the past now. There was a time when they were so popular that we could join one to chat about just about any topic from political issues to the occult. Did government snooping destroy this popular public discourse?

My point is that our freedoms have been so badly eroded in America that they are nearly all gone. Anyone who takes a stand on almost any topic may find themselves under police surveillance and subject to possible arrest.

Our choice today is to fade in with the crowd and disappear, or step out among the warriors, question authority and take the heat. Fading in is the easiest way. Then you can be almost assured of being left alone by the authorities.

Here is how you fade: Take your Prozac (most doctors will freely prescribe it for you), join the local church (even if you don't believe the spoon-fed line you get), labor daily at some menial local job and struggle to live on the meager pay you receive, always pay your taxes, and always vote. Marry someone just as enslaved as yourself and produce a lot of children so the process will repeat itself. You also can be confident that you are contributing to the destruction of your environment.

Smile, your future is grim but don't have to think about it. You have prozac.