The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is a professing atheist organization that this week warned an Oklahoma City high school about what the organization alleges is a “flagrantly unconstitutional use of a chaplain for its football team.”
The FFRF sent a legal letter to the Putnam City Schools to inform the Superintendent Fred Rhodes that “it is inappropriate for the Putnam City High School football team to hold prayer meetings before football games, or to designate a chaplain to do so. …” The FRFF also noted that its purposes “are to protect the constitutional principle of church and state, and to educate the public on matters relating to non-theism,” said FRFF Legal Fellow Christopher Line.
In the legal letter, the FFRF legal fellow appeared to rely on demagoguery and impetuous legal threats (i.e., “illegal,” “inappropriate” and “flagrant violation”), which did not prove that the Putnam City Schools did anything wrong by allowing a chaplain to pray – all it proved is that the FRFF does not like chaplains or prayer.
There are several reasons why the Putnam City Schools should ignore the FRFF and its legal threats:
The FFRF acronym stands for “freedom from religion foundation.” This is a phrase that is not found anywhere in the Constitution, and neither is “separation of church and state.” Instead of supporting the chaplain’s constitutional right to pray, the FFRF is asking the Putnam City Schools to investigate their complaint, stop coaches from praying with student athletes and to end their chaplaincy program. This is not necessary. The Town of Greece v. Galloway decision – which the FFRF legal fellow forgot to mention – was a Supreme Court finding that laid the axiom for those disgruntled individuals who wish to veto religious speech just because they do not want any reference to a particular deity:
“The First Amendment is not a majority rule, and government may not seek to define permissible categories of religious speech. Once it invites prayer into the public sphere, government must permit a prayer giver to address his or her own God or gods as conscience dictates, unfettered by what an administrator or judge considers to be nonsectarian. …
“Adults often encounter speech they find disagreeable; and an Establishment Clause violation is not made out any time a person experiences a sense of affront from the expression of contrary religious views in a legislative forum. …”
Since the FFRF legal fellow failed to educate the school superintendent on constitutional principles and non-theism, it is important to note that the FFRF co-president is Dan Barker – who happens to profess to be an atheist. Here are several arguments and questions the Putnam City School superintendent or anyone else that is threatened by the FFRF should ask the FFRF co-president, Dan Barker:
First, the public needs to be informed about Dan’s worldview. According to Barker, “Atheism has nothing to offer and nothing to prove. Being an atheist is no guarantee of kindness, morality, fairness, happiness, or even rationality” (Barker, “Losing Faith in Faith,” p. 100).Therefore, since Dan’s worldview has nothing to offer or prove, why is it wrong to allow a public school to hold sectarian or non-sectarian prayers as part of their school’s traditions?
Mr. Barker’s professing atheist worldview is absurd. If Dan posits that an eternal, supernatural and infinitely knowing God does not exist, then Dan would have to be an eternal, supernatural person who possesses infinite knowledge to justify if anything eternally or supernaturally exists. This is clearly self refuting, since Dan does not believe in an eternal, supernatural and infinitely knowing God. In a godless universe, life originated by chance permutations, and human beings are nothing more than pond scum that developed itself into a self-replicating cell. Therefore, when Barker denies the existence of God, his arguments are nothing more than chemicals reacting over time or matter in motion.
Second, in a debate with Peter Payne at the University of Wisconsin, Barker posits: “There are no moral absolutes. …” (at time stamp: 34:29). Here is a question for Mr. Barker: Are you absolutely certain there are no moral absolutes? Since Barker does not believe in moral absolutes, which is a self-refuting statement, why is it morally wrong for the Putnam City Schools to allow a chaplain to pray? How ironic that Dan does not believe in moral absolutes, but his foundation is accusing the Putnam City Schools of “illegal,” “inappropriate” and a “flagrant violation” of the First Amendment. This is what happens in Dan’s worldview that rejects God: He loses his appeal to absolute knowledge. Therefore, nothing could be absolutely wrong – because his arguments are arbitrary and have no justification.
In Dan’s book called, “godless,” he states [emphasis added]: “It turns out that atheism means much less than I had thought. It is merely the lack of theism. It is not a philosophy of life and it offers no values. It predicts nothing of morality or motives” (Barker, “godless,” p. 97). If Dan’s worldview offers no values, and predicts nothing of morality, then why does he value his foundations endeavors of telling the Putnam City Schools that prayers are morally wrong?
To make matters worse, Barker states: [emphasis added]: “Truth is truth. It shouldn’t matter what any of us wants to believe. The fact that life is ultimately meaningless does not mean it is not immediately meaningful” (Ibid., p. 347). This statement is proof Barker does not live in a way that comports with his worldview. If life is ultimately meaningless, then why does his foundation put such an unyielding emphasis on trying to ostracize Christian sentiments and vestiges away form the public sphere? That is because they do no support the constitutional rights of all – but rather their own agenda.
If your constitutional rights are attacked by the unscrupulous demands of the FFRF, do not allow your religious rights to be suppressed. Do not obfuscate your responsibility to persevere during difficult times, out of fear that someone will threaten you. Resiliency is corollary to the vital dedication of defending religious liberty. Stand strong! I did. In fact, I debated Dan Barker publicly. You can, too, by telling the FFRF that you will not yield to its demands.