Rational Inquiry -Volume 7 Number 3
From the Editor
By Karen Graves
I know SDARI was not founded as an atheist group, but some of its members are, myself included. My family could hardly be characterized as devout, but we did say grace before meals (probably a tactic to calm the little kids down at the table), go to church on Sunday (most likely to drink a cup of coffee with the neighbors afterward), and hit all the key Catholic holidays (the out-of-town relatives expected it). However lackadaisical my familyís attitudes towards religion was, I never once shared the disbelief in God I had ever since I was old enough to comprehend the abstract concept of the divine. In fact, I still havenít told my mother!
Why do I bring this up? Thereís been so much national emphasis on God and America this summer that non-religious and religious citizens have descended to the level of name-calling in public over whether or not the "under God" phrase added to the Pledge of Allegiance by an act of Congress should stay there. Even the AM radio station KOGO was playing the Pledge on air every hour with the phrase "under God" repeated several times. It is starting to make me wonder just how much of a religious outsider I am in this country. But then I wonder how many of people that claim God directs their lives and this nation are actually sincerely practicing their faith because God wants them to. I wonder too sometimes how often Godís name would be invoked by ordinary citizens or media broadcasters if atheists didnít keep pushing the issue. Perhaps the best way to expose religious hypocrisy on the national scale is to let the absence of religious sentiment (ironically) speak for itself.
Finally, I feel less lonely every time I stumble across the name of another atheist. The late Ted Williams was one, according to his teammate Johnny Pesky. So was Americaís first millionaire, merchant and banker Stephen Girard (1750-1831). He left strict stipulations in his will about banning members of the clergy from holding office in or even visiting the school he founded for orphans. Atheists might be quiet, but they are firm. I have hope.