Initiative Seeks to Discriminate against Atheists

Posted on behalf of Dave Miller, President of the Eastside Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Ms. Kimberlie Struiksma has filed a ballot measure (Initiative Measure No. 1040) that would, among other things, "prohibit state use of public money or lands for anything that denies or attempts to refute the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe, including textbooks, instruction or research."

The intitiative, as filed on January 28, 2009, first concedes that our government is based on the "consent of the governed"  and that "WE, the people ... are sovereign."

However, the author then goes on to say that "According to the founding documents of our democratic society, our liberties are true and valid because they are endowed by a higher power.... Thus, by denying the existence of a higher power our government defeats its purpose. It is therefore unconstitutional [italics mine] for the government, as opposed to the individual citizens of the state of Washington to deny or attempt to refute the existence of the Creator, the one responsible for Blessing us with liberty, the Supreme Ruler of the universe."

While it is true that the Declaration of Independence made reference to an undefined Creator as means of promoting a natural-rights argument in favor of American independence, it is also true that our Constitution, the supreme law of the land, makes no reference to God or a "Creator." An examination of the history of the Constitution shows rather convincingly that the framers intended a secular federal government.

There is much wrong with this initiative besides its ill-conceived conception of American government, not least its attempt to enforce a certain belief system. There are many in the state of Washington who either don't know whether or not there is a "supreme ruler of the universe" or believe there is not. Of course, this doesn't mean that these people should enforce their views on others via government policy either. Our federal and state constitutions are both clear that government should remain neutral in matters of religious belief.

The government should not have a rule that prohibits or promotes state use of public money or lands in favor of a supreme ruler or against a supreme ruler. It should safeguard individual freedom of belief and unfettered scientific and historical research.

Dave Miller
Eastside Chapter of American United for Separation of Church and State

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I read the proposed initiative.  It mentions freedom, and that "our creator" granted that freedom, so the government should protect our liberty...by preventing people who don't believe in God from getting state money.

This would mean that public schools could not teach aethiests, because they would have no funding to so.  An aethiest could not go to a hospital that receieved state funds.  They could not get food stamps, unemployment benefits, or health insurance.  

But, as I see it, there may be a bright side...

State Patrol would no longer be funded to catch aethiests who speed.

The state treasury would not be funded to collect sales taxes from aethiests.

The people would just have to hope that the person who comes up with the cure for cancer, or the solution to the energy crisis believes in God.  Otherwise, we're all screwed.

by Vexing on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 01:17:46 PM PST

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and speaking as a practicing person ... if the creator needs mere mortals to enact legislation defending his/her existence, so much for the almighty.

And what about offering free parking on state property to believers and non-believers alike?

I think that believers should pay for their parking since they are the one's raising the sword of public funds to defend their creator.

The Creator I believe in doesn't need mortals grandstanding on behalf of the higher power. If not true then we are in an even worse situation than the one those waiting for the Eye-Twinkling Rapture would have us believe.

What they inwardly imagine is the only thing they'll accept.

by Arthur Ruger on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 05:52:32 PM PST

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