Misinformation in the name of the Lord

Last week the Obama administration welcomed the Secular Coalition for America to come to the White House to meet with officials in the administration. Keeping in mind that presidential administrations meet with special-interest groups and lobbyists all the time, you would think that this particular meeting wouldn’t have been as big of a deal — but this was the first time a US presidential administration has initiated contact with an atheist/agnostic/humanist organization.

First of all, it’s first notable that my current president acknowledges such groups (as compared to his predecessor) — but what’s even more interesting for me is to note some of the religious right’s response to this meeting. Case in point, CBN (Pat Robertson’s domain of the Christian Broadcasting Network) presented this news report:

A few things to point out in this “news” segment:

First of all, don’t you love that last-minute quote thrown out at the end of the report that “99.9% of Americans believe in a higher power”? Did you notice how the statistic is made EXTRA accurate because it’s verified by the speaker asserting “and that’s about accurate”? I suppose I should just take his word for it. So much for the accuracy of the 2008 Pew Forum’s report on the US’s religious landscape (which found that 92% of people believe in a supernatural force, but only 6-in-10 people view God as a personal, relational being).

In the report/article the CBN reporter outlined the three objectives the Secular Coalition wanted to discuss with the Obama administration — here they are, in all of their godless glory:

First, to protect children from what they call “neglect and abuse” for parents who cite religious reasons to deny their children medical treatment.

Second, to end coercion of military men and women from being proselytized or forced into participating in religious events.

Third, to make sure that faith-based organizations that receive federal funds cannot hire on the basis of religion or proselytize to those receiving their services.

Aren’t these demands utterly OUTRAGEOUS?! <-- sarcasm Seriously, what is wrong with this list? Why would the religious right want to call foul over these issues? Are they saying that children should NOT be protected from neglectful parents who choose prayer over insulin? Should it be US military policy that all soldiers be forced to participate in religious rituals whose beliefs they do not subscribe to? Would evangelicals be so protective of Faith-Based initiatives if most of faith agencies receiving governmental funds were of the Muslim, Hindu or Mormon faith systems that discriminated and proselytized? But the kicker for me is the fight over preserving the “under God” portion of the pledge of allegiance. Did you notice how protective the news report was over that phrase? Whenever someone gets red-in-the-face arguing for preserving the pledge, their ignorance is revealed. The “under God” portion of the pledge wasn’t added until 1954, when it was inserted during the McCarthy era as a way of distinguishing us good Americans from the red-commie atheist Russians. I’m sure Jefferson is still rolling in his grave over that insertion. Would these defenders of the phrase be so adamant if we said “under Allah” or “under Zeus” instead of “under God?”

Ah well. Nothing like a little CBN watching to brighten my day. Earlier this afternoon I was subjected to watching a graphic propaganda film on abortion. I’m continually amazed at how easy it is to mask unethical approaches under the guise of religious belief.