Many of the threats against Amanda Scott by Alabama Christians, in retaliation for her request for equal legal rights for atheists, were frighteningly violent. I described some of those earlier this week.
Many of the angry responses, however, were so incompetently made that they’re more laughable than scary. Among these were the comments made by David Ritch of Fowl River, Alabama. Ritch wrote, “This country was founded by God fearing people,not Godless people. If they dobg wish to believe that’s fine,our way of life shouldn’t change,they can join isis. I don’t like stupid people”
If atheists don’t like America being dominated by Christians, they can join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria?!? It seems that David Ritch isn’t quite getting the point of Amanda Scott’s request for equality under the law. ISIS shares the anti-secular attitude of many Alabama Christians, differing only in the particular religion that they seek to impose on their neighbors.
When someone wrote back to Ritch, saying, “No it wasn’t founded based on God,” Ritch replied, “Sorry but it was.the pope had much to do with it. If you don’t believe in God that’s fine,don’t take our rights to suit others,the minority.”
The Pope had much to do with the founding of the United States of America?!? Actually, no. In 1776, the Catholic portion of the population of the 13 colonies was much smaller than the atheist portion is today. There were only six Catholic priests in the colonies at the time of the revolution. As documented in the book Nature’s God, by Matthew Stewart, people who, like Amanda Scott, were considered infidels by their Christian neighbors were prominent among the most prominent leaders of the American Revolution.
It seems that, in Alabama, faith-based education has led to a strange alternative interpretation of history, and of interpretation of the law. In other places in the United States, it’s understood that democracy isn’t the same thing as allowing the majority to do whatever it wants. A true democracy balances the will of the majority with some fundamental guarantee of legal rights for everyone, in order to protect dissent.
The malicious ignorance of David Ritch indicates how dangerous it would be to allow a religiously-established government to replace the current secular government of the United States of America. If Ritch can believe that a Catholic Pope was central to the founding of the United States and that atheists and Islamic fundamentalists are allies, then he could just as easily believe that the government has a right to search and seize private documents, that the Constitution allows for the violent interrogation of prisoners, that English was the only language allowed in the early United States, that Saddam Hussein was behind the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001…
Hm. Maybe there are more Americans like David Ritch than I had presumed.