ChristianGovernance eletter – May 3, 2012
Star-Phoenix sides with atheist against praying Christian councillor
The Saskatoon StarPhoenix has taken a clear atheistic stance on Saskatoon Councillor Randy Donauer’s grace that has attracted the hatred of a self-professed atheist in the audience.
From the outset, the SSP framed the militant atheist as the victim. They refer to “an angry backlash” that he’s received, and they blame it on a “blinkered outlook. “Blinkered outlook” is a synonym for Neanderthal Christians. Later, they compare this controversy with another one that they deem similar, and then they use somebody else’s criticism in that case to label critics in this case as contributing to an image of Saskatoon as a “backwater of religious tolerance.” There’s a knock-down argument for you!!
The raging humanists at the SSP have also embraced the left’s favourite strategy – the race card. They object to the Christian prayer because Saskatchewan is “a multi-ethnic community.” What does ethnicity have to do with the situation? We’re discussing ideas; religion: atheism and Christianity? The bigots at the SSP sound like they are spinning another version of the racist leftist belief that “all blacks think alike.” Otherwise, what does ethnicity have to do with religion? It sounds like the SSP is trying to say that someone with Asian or Middle Eastern ethnic features can’t be a Christian, and isn’t likely to be a Christian. Are they any more likely to be an atheist? It’s very revealing that the SSP introduces the notion of ethnicity into this controversy. Maybe it’s also an admission that they know to be true the rumour that this guy is really a Hindu.
The SSP has also embraced the dishonest notion that “no prayer” is a value-neutral position. It’s not. There’s no such thing as a value-neutral position or a religiously-neutral position. “No prayer” is the atheist position. The SSP has therefore chosen to align itself with atheism – an extremely minority position in Saskatoon – against Christianity. In fact the SSP explicitly repudiates the only option that has a veneer of neutrality by saying: “Unfortunately, Mayor Don Atchison misses the point completely when he suggests that, in the future, the city’s volunteer appreciation dinner could feature prayers from different religions on a rotating basis, with even a dinner with no prayers for atheists.”
Instead, the SSP recommends “a moment of silent personal reflection” or the singing of the national anthem. The SSP pontificates that this is the solution that will keep everyone from feeling “uncomfortable or excluded.” Talk about a rhetorical tactic to marginalize Christians without interacting directly and honestly with their competing ideas! “What? You’re a Christian and you feel excluded by this eminently reasonable proposal? Then you don’t exist, and you certainly don’t deserve to have your feelings or beliefs taken seriously!”
The SSP provided an incoherent rationale for their assertion that the atheist’s “request isn’t an impingement on the freedom of religion claimed by his critics.” Their rationale sounds like an attempt to say that the government treats Christians with favouritism elsewhere in their policies, so banning Christian prayers here is not an assault on Christians’ freedom of religion. We don’t recall the SSP using this argument on homosexuals by telling them to shut up about marriage because they have recognition as common law relationships. But don’t expect rationality and consistency from the SSP. Christian-hatred is their non-negotiable starting point, so they will do whatever intellectual pretzel-making is necessary to invent arguments to back up that position.
The SSP also positioned themselves firmly as enemies of democratic tradition. When radicals can’t win at the ballot box – because they can’t convince enough civilized voters to embrace their insane ideas, they throw out the rhetoric of “tyranny of the majority” to try to bully people into submission. When you can’t win the battle of ideas, then bring out the baseball bats. That’s been the favourite tactic of goons and tyrants throughout history.
Apparently, according to the SSP, “a point forgotten by those who insist that immigrants such as Mr. Solo are being disrespectful to their host country and its traditions” is that “the tyranny of the majority isn’t in the best interest of a healthy society.” We won’t comment at this time on the strength, or lack thereof, of complaints levelled against the atheist which take that line of argument. We will assert that the SSP’s response is not more coherent. The only way to avoid a tyranny of any kind is to advance the foundational legal and moral principle of equality before the law. Today’s leftists abandoned that principle decades ago with their commitment to state-ism/socialism, as well as the humanistic cult of affirmative action. The SSP has no intellectual ground to stand on when objecting to critics of their new favourite atheist.
Are Saskatoon Christians making the above arguments against the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the other critics of Councillor Randy Donauer? Do modern Christians have a robust intellectual component to their faith? Do they understand the nature of their opponents’ views so that they can credibly and effectively challenge them? If not, they are dead in the water. Atheism and Humanism may be irrational and unsustainable, but they can do a great deal of damage to you and your children before they finally collapse if you don’t know how to counter them and expose them and call their disciples to repentance and faith in the true God Almighty.
If you know any young adults who would benefit from such Biblical worldview training, please point them to our upcoming Biblical worldview, apologetics and leadership youth camp – WAY Camp – website and have them get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 613-496-0091. We are committed to preparing the next generation of Christians for victorious Christian living through the discipleship of nations.