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Grasshopper Soup: Religious freedom makes some people sick

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; There are wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, people are being slaughtered because of their nationality and religion, the U.S. government is trying to shut down the Gibson guitar company and American Atheists feel left out. Given the mess this world, and this country, is in, feeling left out might not be such a bad thing.

But an American Atheist organization spokesman is crying foul. It seems some bullies hurt their feelings when steel girders from the World Trade Center rubble were found in the shape of crosses and atheists were not included when one cross became special. Atheists demand to be included with the cross they donand#8217;t want included. Make sense?

The spokesman said atheists died too when the twin towers went down, and now, to add insult to injury, atheists get headaches, mental anguish, nausea and other physical ailments whenever they look at the metal cross. So why do they want to be included with it? I am not making this up. Physical discomfort is part of the basis for their lawsuit.



We must take care of our sick atheist brothers and sisters who are afflicted with cross-a-phobia. Please donate all the aspirin and Pepto-Bismol you can. Of course, the other remedy would be to follow momand#8217;s advice, which is, if looking at something hurts, stop looking at it. Imagine having to drive across the country on back roads lined with telephone poles when you are allergic to crosses. Youand#8217;d never make it.

The American Atheist group has officially announced that they are trying to conceive (create something from nothing) a symbol to represent them so it can join the cross at the ground zero site. Their official spokesman also promised to withdraw the lawsuit against the cross if their symbol receives equal attention in the same public place he claims the cross should not be allowed (apparently itand#8217;s OK as long as everyone has their say, which may increase ear-plug sales). He also promised that their suffering will miraculously vanish if their symbol is included at the memorial site with the metal cross.



That promise raises the question, will their new symbol just be a placebo, or will it be a real cure, or a magic spell, that defies explanation?

But the American Atheists have a conceptual problem. They canand#8217;t think of a symbol. What they should do is have a national contest. Whoever comes up with the best symbol for atheism gets the funeral and burial of their choice paid. My entry would be a red circle around the image of a bearded old man in white robes with a red line through it.

Naturally, the American Atheists are inserting the concept of separation of church and state into their argument to further rationalize or justify their allergic reaction to the metal cross, four of which were actually found near each other deep in the smoldering rubble of the twin towers. The largely Christian work force that found the crosses engaged in the free exercise of their religion when they saw, and reacted to, the crosses and gave one a place of honor. For them it was a natural extension of their religious freedom. So, how can their religious freedom be considered a violation of the rights of atheists?

Youand#8217;d have to ask an atheist, and youand#8217;d probably get a lengthy, fevered answer because atheists are free to have any reaction they want to a cross, including sneezing, dizziness and hives. Atheists with a healthy immune system might even react without bias.

But no one has the right to stop atheists or Christians from exercising their religious freedom. Hey, wait a minute, did I just say atheists are free to make themselves as sick as they want? Thatand#8217;s not what I meant.

See how awkward it is to talk about adults who let their feelings get hurt for no reason?

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 28 years.


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