Freedom From Religion Foundation and an Eagle Scout

By Don Ruhl

On October 12, 2007, the Grants Pass, Oregon Daily Courier ran two articles side by side that highlight the war Christians fight (Eph 6.11–16). Did the Courier do this intentionally? I do not know, but I hope that they did, to show that there is a war. The two articles are, “No prayers at this convention” and “Eagle Scout wins victory for God in dispute about flag flown over Capitol.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation 

The first article about a prayerless convention, speaks of the works of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The article’s subtitle says much, “At their gathering, atheists plan to hold raffles for God-free currency.” The Associated Press reported,

Members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation’s largest group of atheists and agnostics, will gather for a weekend of nonprayer breakfasts and raffles for Godfree currency at the group’s 30th annual convention.

Despite a new survey that shows most Americans still have negative views toward nonbelievers, it’s been a pretty good year for atheism.

The foundation has added thousands of members, is starting a national talk radio show and claimed two legal victories in disputes with states in recent weeks. Meanwhile, a spate of books have been selling around the nation, spreading its message that religion is the root of many evils…

Christopher Hitchens, author of the best-selling book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” will be there…

“There’s ample evidence that atheists have become much more vocal and also they’ve become much better organized,” [John] Green [a senior fellow with the nonpartisan forum, The Pew Form on Religion and Public Life] said…

The foundation is a watchdog group that advocates for the separation of church and state and promotes free thought, which it calls science and reason as opposed to faith in the unknown…

In Indiana, the state eliminated a chaplain who had been hired to encourage state employees to show their faith after the foundation filed suit. In Wisconsin, the Department of Justice removed a prayer and a religious hymn from a planned ceremony to commemorate murder victims after Gaylor complained the content was unconstitutional…

Instead of a prayer or a moment of silence, Saturday’s nonprayer breakfast will include the foundation’s traditional “Moment of Bedlam.” That’s when those sitting down to eat can make as much noise as they want by pounding their silverware, reading their favorite poem or simply yelling.

Let’s think about some things from this article.

  1. FFRF is an organization founded on a negative.
  2. Truly, atheism is the root of many evils and poisons everything.
  3. Atheists have become more vocal and better organized.
  4. They see the issue as science and reason versus faith in the unknown.
  5. They gained victories in Indiana and Wisconsin, but lost in the case of the certificate given with a flag flown over the Capitol (which we will cover next).
  6. They showed their unrestrained behavior.

FFRF Founded on a Negative 

While the article reported that the Foundation grew more than 50% last year, they cannot last or become too strong for too long, because their whole movement is founded on a negative. In time, that does not attract many. You cannot simply stand against something, you have to stand for something. Lack of weeds does not produce a garden without something positive growing there. One may boast that his garden plot has no weeds, but I want to know what does it grow? What does the Freedom From Religion Foundation grow? Psalm 10 shows that the atheist prospers for a while, but then his challenges to God (vv. 3–11), and his belief that God will not hold him accountable (v. 11), eventually catch up to him, and the believer, though defeated at the present, shines gloriously later (vv. 14–18). Romans 1.18–23 reveals the thinking of the atheist and the sadness of it, that while seeking to exalt himself (v. 22), he lowers himself (v. 24).

The Poison of Atheism 

They believe that religion is the root of many evils and poisons everything, but Romans 1.24–32 further reveals the bad fruit of atheism. What Paul wrote does not surprise us, because the driving force of atheism is, every thing is permitted if God does not exist. Psalm 10 revealed such thinking of the atheist. If he is not accountable to God, he is free to do as he wishes, unless some law of man prevents him.

Atheists Are Aggressive 

Mike Newdow seeks to remove “under God” from the pledge and seeks to remove “In God We Trust” from our money. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has highlighted his work. If they have to go at it, one person at a time, they will do it. Remember Psalm 10. Consider the words of Psalm 36.1. Imagine someone who lives the motto of the wicked stated here,

An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
(Psa 36.1)

What will he do who has no fear of God before his eyes?

Science, Reason, Faith, and the Unknown 

Atheists see the issue as science and reason versus faith in the unknown. The question is, are they scientific and reasonable, and is faith anti-science and anti-reason? Furthermore, what is faith? Is faith based on the known or the unknown? Can I know that something exists although I have never seen it? If we answer no, then what shall we do with history? History studies that which we have not seen, but we believe happened or existed. Why do we believe history happened? Substantial evidence exists to explain what we otherwise would not know. History accepts witnesses, circumstantial evidence, and other things. That is a way of saying history is faith. What is faith? Hebrews 11 states the essence of faith, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11.1). Faith is not the acceptance of the unseen without evidence. Faith is the acceptance of the unseen with evidence.

The fifth point from the article, about victories in Indiana and Wisconsin, I want to cover when we look at the article about the flag certificate.

Unrestrained Behavior 

Their “Moment of Bedlam” did not serve any purpose other than to show their immaturity and their protest at what they see as times of reverence. It showed that a life of no self-control is what they desire. Psalm 14.1–3 takes us behind the heavenly scenes that we might know what happened during their “Moment of Bedlam.”

The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
(Psa 14.1–3)

The fifth point mentioned earlier about the victories of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Indiana and Wisconsin, but their loss in the case of the certificate given with a flag flown over the Capitol, we cover now.

Certificates of Flags Flown Over the Capitol 

To the right of the article we just considered, the Courier ran this article, also from the Associated Press, “Eagle Scout wins victory for God in dispute about flag flown over Capitol.” The first three paragraphs report,

WASHINGTON — A 17-year-old Eagle Scout wanting to honor his grandfather’s “love of God, country and family” with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol has helped remove a ban on the word “God” in certificates that accompany these flags.

The acting Architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers, said Thursday he was revising guidelines on Capitol flag certificates because it was “beyond the scope of this agency’s responsibilities to censor messages from members of Congress.”

Last week Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, protested upon learning that the Architect’s office had removed the word “God” from the certificate of authenticity accompanying a flag 17-year-old Andrew Larochelle of Dayton wanted to give his grandfather.

When I first heard what the Architect of the Capitol did, I could not believe it. Why did he not make a certificate for people like this Eagle Scout and another for the people who are so easily offended by the mention of God? If an atheist does not like the wording of my certificate, he does not have to read it! If he wants one of his own, he can order it the way he wants. However, after some protesting the Architect changed his opinion and we rejoice for this victory. Remember Psalm 33.12 and others,

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
(Psa 33.12)

I present this that you might know that the secularists do not win every battle. Do not give up. Do not believe that our cause has lost. Keep doing whatever you can to promote belief in God.

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