James Wolcott: Sunday Sermonette

James Wolcott reminds of us of the clear-thinking and generally-forgotten Robert Ingersoll, philosophic forerunner of Secular Humanism, a political position demonized by those who believe in demons, because its premise -- that kindness and consideration for others is a personal choice, a good one, but one for which the individual takes personal responsibility -- doesn't encourage or even regard highly the people who love the idea of punishment far too much and who demand obeisance to the version of an invisible friend they have created in their own images, to insist that it was the putative HIM that sets the rules for personal behavior and those rules -- known in their entirety only to them, may be disobeyed or questioned only under pain of the sort of sadistic monstrous torture they will so gleefully describe to anyone who stops moving long enough:

"'... Governors and Presidents should not issue religious proclamations. They should not call upon the people to thank god. It is no part of their official duty. It is outside and beyond the horizon of their authority. There is nothing in the Constitution to justify this religious impertinence.'"


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