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Hey, atheists, secularists and neo-liberals, I’ve got a deal for you. You don’t want prayer in schools? You say you want to get “religion” out of government? Fine. I’ll accept that, on two conditions.

1) You must explain what “rights” are, where they come from, and why anyone should care about yours. They certainly are not material things, and they can not be found in the realm of science, so what are they? Where are they? Why are they? I have my answer. In fact, America has an answer. The philosophical foundation of our nation, our government, our laws, and our principles, is the intensely spiritual notion that we are endowed with “rights” by a Divine Being. These rights, according to the Framers, are real and present, and they can not be given, removed, or altered by any agency of man. The government’s job is to protect our ability to realize the full potential of these cosmic freedoms, and to govern always with respect to them. That’s the DOGMA, the ORTHODOXY, and the BELIEF, at the root of our nation. When you speak of “rights” in the traditional sense, you are speaking spiritually, whether you like it or not. So, if these “rights” don’t come from a Higher Power, where do they originate? Are they simply arbitrary and subjective precepts outlined haphazardly in our founding documents? If so, who cares about them, really? They aren’t real. They’re a fairy tale. They’re as significant as the rules of a board game. They’re the outdated opinions of a bunch of dead white guys. That’s all.

Or do rights come from government? If so, how could you ever claim that government is infringing on your rights? They made them, so they can do what they want with them. If they want to have prayer in school, who are you to question it? School is government, government gives us rights, government can take them away. Simple as that. Sit down and shut up. You are nothing until the government says you’re something.

But if rights aren’t arbitrary, and they aren’t from government, and they aren’t from God, then what the hell are they? You can’t claim that they’re a “social contract” because then the majority would get to decide them. Which means, if the majority doesn’t want gay marriage — you can’t complain. If the majority wants prayer in schools — you can’t complain. So that can’t be it, right? Ok. Rights aren’t arbitrary, they aren’t from government, they aren’t from God, and they aren’t a social contract. What sort of origination point does that leave us with? Space aliens? Think about it.

2) You must consistently apply your “no religion in school” mantra. Do you know what a “religion” is? It’s got nothing necessarily to do with cathedrals and robes and gods and monks. Some religions have those features, but they aren’t intrinsic to the concept itself. A religion is simply a set of values and beliefs, generally shared by a group of people. Specifically and especially, beliefs about the cause, nature, and purpose of humanity and reality. So when you talk about human beings, and you mention our DNA, our physical features, and our biological and physiological functions, you are speaking scientifically. BUT when you talk about the sorts of things we SHOULD do, and how we SHOULD live, and how we SHOULD relate to one another, and how we OUGHT TO act, and what we SHOULD believe, you are speaking religiously. Period. Simple as that.

So no “religion” in schools? Well, then we’re saying goodbye to more than just prayer. That means no more talk about the importance of “diversity” and “tolerance”. No more bulletin boards celebrating “gay rights”. No more values, of any kind, represented in any form, ever in any school for any reason. Science. Facts. Data. That’s it. No more feminism, no more racial propaganda, no more talk about the LGBT community, no more discussion of cultural values. No more sermonizing about responsibility either, as any idea of responsibility is subjective and infused with personally held beliefs. No more beliefs. Any beliefs. No more morality. Any morality. From anyone. We do that, and then we’ll have a religion-free school.

Or could it be that you never wanted religion out of school in the first place? All you wanted was a certain particular religion out of school, because that leaves more room for yours? Have I made the mistake of taking you at your word again?

Otherwise, I imagine you’ll jump at these two conditions. And then we can usher in an era of compromise and understanding. You’re welcome.