Washington Post: Independence Day an Atheist Holiday

July 6th, 2010 11:06 AM

Someone get Lee Greenwood on the phone; he's going to want to know about this.

In a front-page Style section report July 5, The Washington Post breathed a sigh of relief that Independence Day gives Americans a break from those God-heavy holidays like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.

"The trouble with most major holidays in the United States, if you're an atheist, is that it's difficult to ignore the ‘holy day' etymology," Monica Hesse reported. "But not the Fourth of July. The Fourth is a little deity-free celebration stationed in the middle of summer for believers and non-believers alike."

Finally, a break from those religious zealots Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Thank God.

Hesse highlighted an annual gathering of atheists in Lorton, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. With tongues presumably in cheeks, the organizers promoted the event as "Ungodly Leaders to Gather at Potomac Picnic."

She defended atheists as misunderstood. "The most common misapprehension they encounter is that they must be immoral - that, lacking the promise or threat of an afterlife, they have no incentive to be good," she said. "They atheists here find this particularly offensive, as they say they believe in kindness for the sake of kindness, making the most of the brief existence they believe humans are allowed."

Hesse illustrated the loving tolerance of atheists, and their acceptance for differing opinions and views. "'I'm opposed to the illusion that there are really many difference between atheists at all,'" attendee Don Wharton was quoted as saying. "After all," Hesse added, "they are here to celebrate the things that bind them together rather than the things that separate them."

What binds them together? Victimhood, according to Hesse.

"Most of them have been told, at one point or another, that they are going to hell," Hesse noted, "which, when you think about it, is a fairly pointless threat to an atheist, like warning someone that you're sending them to Narnia."

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