WEB EXCLUSIVE: AMERICAN ATHEISTS CELEBRATE 50 YEARS OF ATTACKING CHRISTIANITY
DECEMBER 25, 2013 AFP
• Assault on Christianity can be traced back to Jewish-initiated lawsuits
By Keith Johnson
Whether it’s Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge or Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, the fictional villains of Christmas past pale in comparison to their real-world counterparts.
Among the more notorious enemies of today’s sacred holiday is an organization known as American Atheists (AA) which is now celebrating its 50th anniversary with a fresh new attack on the Christian faith.
Founded in 1963, AA has, over the years, used the myth of a “separation of church and state” as a pretext to eradicate Christianity wherever it can be found. Though lawsuits and intimidation have been their standard modus operandi for many decades, glitzy propaganda campaigns have become this season’s weapon of choice.
As evidence, the group recently put their anti-Christian message in big bright lights over New York City’s Time Square. According to CBS NewYork, “The 40-by-40 digital billboard uses motion graphics to display an animated message beginning with the words, ‘Who needs Christ during Christmas?’ A hand crosses out the word ‘Christ,’ and the word ‘nobody’ then appears the group American Atheists explained.”
American Free Press is no stranger to AA. In December, 2012, AFP reporter Dave Gahary connected the group to the abolishment of a one-block-long Nativity scene in Santa Monica, California that dates back to 1953. More recently, Gahary interviewed AA Public Relations Director Dave Muscato to determine why the group opposed a Princeton, New Jersey fire station that wanted to display a steel beam from the World Trade Center with a small cross cut into it.
Though AA claims to be opposed to all religions, their roots are distinctively Jewish. In a recent interview with this AFP reporter, Dr. E. Michael Jones—author, historian, former college professor and current editor of “Culture Wars” magazine—said that the contemporary assault on Christianity can be traced back to Jewish-initiated lawsuits that just so happen to coincide with the birth of AA.
“There were two Supreme Court decisions in the late 1950s and early 1960s that were orchestrated by the American Jewish Committee (AJC),” said Dr. Jones. “Both Engel v. Vitali and Abington School District v. Schempp codified the assault on Christianity by outlawing Bible readings and prayer in public schools. This eventually morphed into the whole attack on Christmas and any manifestation of Christianity.”
In fact, it was the Jewish American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney and AJC counsel Leo Pfeffer who popularized the words “separation of church and state”—a phrase that can be found in the former Soviet Union’s Constitution but has never appeared in the United States Constitution or any official government document.
The term “separation of church and state” owes its origins from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut, who in October 1801, wrote to the president, voicing concerns about religious freedom. Jefferson’s January 1, 1802 letter is reproduced below and in instructive in understanding the past and current state of affairs. Note how Jefferson closes out his letter by referencing God:
To Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and Others, a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.
January 1, 1802
Pfeffer was a chief strategist for Abington—a case opposing Bible readings in public schools—that was argued on the floor of the U.S. Supreme Court alongside a similar lawsuit, entitled Murray v. Curlett. It just so happens that the founder of AA, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, was the plaintiff in that civil action.
In July of 1963, Supreme Court justices ruled 8-1 in favor of the petitioners in both lawsuits to declare that state-mandated prayer and Bible readings were a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Emboldened by this decision, AA opened their doors that same year and have since been a leading force in the war against Christianity. Over the years, the group has targeted a number of sacred American traditions, including weekly religious services in the White House, the phrase “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency and especially Nativity scenes and other Christian symbols displayed during the Christmas season.
Fortunately, however, in spite of their half-century long fight, AA has failed to restrain all of us here at AFP from taking the “X” out of X-mas and wishing all our readers a Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year!
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