One of the great founding principles of the United States and other democratic nations is freedom of speech. This principle ensures that we are able to express our opinions on most subjects without formal government prosecution, although private intolerance or persecution is tolerated except when it comes to certain protected attributes in the workplace (race, color, religion, gender, national origin, or, in some cases, sexual orientation). We have the right to say whatever we want, but everyone else is free, in most cases, to shun us or to treat us with disrespect and disgust. It is disturbing that those who have the highest so-called values are often the most intolerant of others.
Unfortunately, when the job of encouraging and enforcing tolerance goes to the government, the result is often a restriction on free speech that goes over the line of common sense into the realm of political correctness. In this realm, what is important is neither free speech nor tolerance, but rather vulnerability to lawsuits or bad press. The establishment of protected classes inevitably leads to a proliferation of groups petitioning to have their status protected from intolerance.
Some atheists have tried to claim that they should be protected from discrimination, but others claim that since atheism isn’t a religion, it therefore is not protected. Former President George H. W. Bush senior went so far as to say that atheists should not even be considered patriots. In my opinion, such legalistic arguments should be responded to in a legalistic way as well, with an equal and opposite force.
My legalistic counter argument is based on my own personal religious theory that atheism can be based in religious belief. Atheists may not believe in a present-day god, but this does not preclude the possibility that such a being ever existed in the past or will exist in the future.
My belief is that our creator, Bob, sacrificed himself for humanity by creating the universe in one gigantic Big Old Bang (henceforth referred to as “Bob”) that both destroyed him and created us from his very own energy. l believe that we are not only the creation of Bob, but that the essence of Bob will always be within us and around us. Without the sacrifice of Bob, nothing would exist other than Bob himself.
Obviously, we’ll never be able to understand Bob’s motivations or true nature, or even know his real name, but l suggest we use the acronym Bob out of respect for his ultimate sacrifice through initiation of the Big Old Bang.
So, if you feel you need protection from religious persecution, join me in the Church of Bob. I believe it should be the personal goal of each and every one of us to strive to become one with each other and the universe so that, some day, we as a whole will become Bob again. And the cycle will continue.
The church requirements are minimal, and all rites and ceremonies will be decided upon by nominations from the congregation followed by random selection on a specially appointed day, which may vary based on the position of the moon, planets, and stars. New rites and ceremonies will be reselected annually or will be discarded whenever one of them causes too much trouble to deal with anymore. All fundraising will be targeted towards inquiry that improves our understanding of Bob’s universe and the invention of new and improved random selection devices.
Do you think I’m out of my mind? Legally, it doesn’t really matter. I ask only for tolerance, not respect, and l will show the same to anyone else.
It is essential that we all respect the freedom of individuals to believe what they want and to express their beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we have to respect those beliefs themselves. In other words, l respect your right to say whatever crazy shit you want, but you should do the same for me. l would also ask that you respect my right to ask you to leave me the hell alone. Don’t knock on my door and try to teach me your view of the world. Don’t try and push your values in my face and tell me l have to respect them. And don’t try and get our government to adopt your hocus pocus or crazy-ass language into our collective ceremonies.