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Submitted unpublished response to Deborah Mathis:

The simplistic manner in which Deborah Mathis derides the continuous conflict between the Anti-American theocratic movement and the progressive elements of America (Big bang: lots of heat, little light Dec 29 2004) is inappropriate. She should instead thank groups like the ACLU, who continually “cover all our backs” against the constant barrage of anti freedom groups like the theocratic Discovery Institute.

She is correct, however, in wondering, “why do we have to keep revisiting issues that seem to have been resolved.” The answer to her befuddlement is that people like her keep sleepwalking through their democracy assuming freedom is safe when it is not. Nothing was resolved by the Scope trial as her article implies. Scope lost and academic freedom to study fact not faith suffered. Academic freedom means we can study the true essence of a subject and then debate various perspectives within the context of the subject. Theocrats demanding that religion charading as science has equal standing in scientific debate are promulgating deceit and repression not freedom. I’m all for societal or cultural debate, which is what evolution vs. creation is, in a history or philosophy class where the topics are taught about but not preached. Students could then truly have something to think about critically. But a subject like science must be taught without mangling its fundamental nature so that when brought up in history or philosophy the students have a true understanding of what it is that they debate. Ms. Mathis doesn’t understand this because she exhibits not one iota of knowing what a real education is.

For most of our history, the realization of the American hope of freedom was not extended to all. Ms. Mathis’ description of our past as being open and all-inclusive, leaving the contemplation of presented knowledge to the student is warped and contrived history. Only in the past half century has America evolved and really begun to practice freedom of religion just as an earlier America had evolved into extending freedom to all its citizens instead of slavery to some.

The Separation of Church and State was beginning to do quite well and American Freedom was advancing for more and more of the citizenry until “what was assumed resolved” was challenged again by America’s myopic theocratic movement. The ACLU and other groups like ADL, Americans United, PFAW etc. take up the defense of freedom only when freedom is threaten. They don’t go out looking to stir the pot for want of something better to do. These civil liberties groups did not remove the original chapters on evolution from Cobb County Georgia Science Texts or put disclaimers in new and corrected texts. They didn’t hang one religion’s symbols in government buildings ignorantly professing, or lying, that they are the basis for American jurisprudence. And they haven’t repressed the equal rights of American Citizens because of their sexual orientation. These protectors of American freedom took action only when “what was resolved became unresolved” due to the repressive attacks of the ant-American theocrats. Who, by the way, continually cry that they are being persecuted. The truth, however, is that no one cares about or will do anything to impede their beliefs. What they purposely misconstrue and whine about is people standing up in defense not offense against their attacks on the freedoms and beliefs of the rest of America.
So if Ms. Mathis is tired of, and is kept from falling backwards into her delusional slumber, by all the “unnecessary noise” from people trying to remain free, that’s just too bad. The efforts of all Civil Liberties groups aren’t filtering whom to protect. After all every American’s freedom is tied together in the struggle to remain free. Regardless of her reactionary self, Ms. Mathis will just have to go along for the “unnecessary ride” that is protecting her right to think that some of us have too much time on our hands.

As to her proposal about “ditching” both evolution and creationism “if we can’t get over this hump once and for all,” I think that is just plain wrong. Science and faith are two different but valuable ways for mankind to understand the Universe. They only conflict when deceitful people, wanting power, make them conflict.

To truly make our democracy work, we just have to remember that the United States is a nation with a government that is supposed to be neutral towards its citizens’ beliefs. The government is not Christian or Judeo-Christian nation as some would wish. Outside of the government, what we are is a nation with a citizenry that is predominantly of one belief, with several large segments holding many different views of the Universe, all having to give room and respect to each other. We only run into trouble, move backwards, and have to re-resolve things when we think like the reactionary Ms. Mathis.


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