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The Tentacle


June 25, 2002

Big City Stench Arrives In Downtown Frederick

Lee Marshall

The fact that the atheists are coming to town on their bandwagon to take over Winchester Hall in July is among the hot topics making the rounds in Frederick City and County.

The Washington Area Secular Humanists (WASH) took advantage of the building manager, who perhaps doesn't know a "secular humanist" from an archeologist, and he booked them in the commissioners' meeting room. That's a time bomb waiting to go off.

What a coup for this urbane group from DuPont Circle. Many fundamentalist Christians know what a secular humanist is and what he/she teaches. The warnings by evangelicals in recent years that secular humanists are quietly infiltrating our educational institutions and our communities have been pooh-poohed by even mainline Christian churches. But here they are, the stench is unmistakable!

Their purpose, they say, is to create a forum for discussing the merits of the Ten Commandments stone in Memorial Grounds Park. They will provide the speakers. Well, thank God for someone to lead us in this esoteric discussion! We country bumpkins aren't sophisticated enough to do it by ourselves.

It's easy to see the "forum" could become an angry shouting match, especially when the debate gets heated from the start - guaranteed! That's what the atheists, the so-called secular humanists want. It furthers their agenda and noise.

Okay, let's say the Frederick Ministerium wants to have a forum to discuss the merits of the stone at Winchester Hall. Oops, they probably couldn't do that if you listen to the community's new "learned scholars" on the issue of separation of church and state.

By their reasoning, God shouldn't be a part of family life in Frederick, but it's okay to spout nonsense about the supposed non-existence of God. That's political correctness.

County Commissioner John L. (Lennie) Thompson has an acerbic tongue sometimes, but we agree with comments he made last week and quoted in Frederick's Gazette:

"I cannot think of anything more outrageous," Mr. Thompson is quoted, "than a panel of publicity seeking outside agitators sitting beneath the seal of county, in the chairs of the county's elected leaders, [discussing] the moral values and religious beliefs of the vast [majority] of Frederick who follow the [Koran], Torah, the Bible, all of which include some version of the principles set forth in the Ten Commandments."

Way to go Lennie! You kept it clean and to the point. Now if you could just kick the moneychangers out of Winchester Hall (another legend recalled). That's the kind of chutzpah we need but rarely see out of our elected leaders, especially in the city (with a couple exceptions).

Lennie, always good for a quote, also endeared himself to this listening post a couple weeks ago when the Gazette quoted Lennie claiming he would chain himself to the Ten Commandments stone if they tried to remove it. He'd probably have a lot of company, not the least of which would be Oh Donna, trying to undo the "clasp."

A curious thought arises that these atheists, saying there is no god, should have no problem with the Ten Commandments stone. If God doesn't exist, then he didn't exist when "legend" tells us Moses received them from God, whose finger (which one?) allegedly did the writing.

Maybe the stone really isn't in Memorial Grounds Park at all, it may be one of those conservative, right-wing smoke and mirrors ploys we've heard so much about.

Therefore, the Ten Commandments must be only legend and hardly worthy of serious discussion. It's as if the atheists came here to talk about Captain MarvelŪ and the origin of the lightning that creates him from Billy Batson, the poor crippled newsboy. "Shazam," he said as the lightning flashed and our hero emerged to fight all evil and influence us that good always wins.

Regarding the issue of separation of church and state, one could opine that if you are talking about a non-existent god, then you aren't talking about a church, right? Wrong. The atheist's organization becomes a cult, a rite, in itself; group it with the Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all the others.

The Department of Defense told a chaplain he must take custody of the worship implements for a soldier who was a devil worshipper. A little weird but the chaplain watched over the bell, book, candle and knife. So a "church" can include both sides of the religion issue.

Regarding the atheists' attempt to weigh in on a community discussion, it's good politics on their part. They are taking advantage of our own rules of fair play. Realistically lots of groups use the Winchester Hall meeting room, from the Historical Society of Frederick to even the Defenders of Citizens' Rights and their rezoning arguments. That, however, is not "religion."

Winchester Hall is "our" building, and if it's available it should be used for other than governmental business - but realistically not a church. Of course, there are those congregations who rent schools in which to conduct religious services. We don't want to cause them any problems, but that's certainly prayer in school.

This can get to be ridiculous, arguing about the issue of church and state, when there is no genuine threat to that status quo from the solitary stone, standing in a sea of granite. The issue today has part of its genesis in the Supreme Court of Earl Warren, whose court gave in to the atheistic claims of the thankfully dead Madeline Murray O'Hair and declared prayer in school was unconstitutional.

It's all right though to have a chaplain and pray before each session of The Congress, to pray before inaugurating the president and other governmental rites.

Prayer is a part of our lives. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, churches were full as the nation said "prayers" for the families of the heroes and for safe keeping from further harm. It was quite a news story, too, about recitation of the 23rd Psalm over the telephone by one of the heroes who perished after stopping a terrorist hijacking of the United Airlines plane that crashed in Pennsylvania that fateful day.

The tragic death Saturday of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile brought a host of requests on television, radio and in newspapers to remember his family in "your prayers." We've done that, too, as have millions in this nation where believers outnumber the infidels. We believe in God and we believe in prayer.

If you're an atheist then you must not know intellectually what to do when these tragedies occur - bend over and kiss your rump goodbye.

Here's hoping that our church community will come together on this issue and elected officials on Church Street will prevent the atheists from sticking their noses in where they aren't wanted.



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