Tuesday, January 20, 2009

American Atheists, Agnostics, and Nonbelievers celebrate: Obama just made us citizens.

"We are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."

This sentence from Obama's inaugural address is buzzing all over atheist blogs, twitters, and status messages. I got three text messages quoting it within 30 seconds after it was spoken. Already, "nonbelievers" feel justified -- this is, after all, the first time we've been recognized in an inaugural speech. In fact, it's one of the first times "nonbelievers" were mentioned in politics without being followed by, "...aren't citizens," or "...are ruining Christmas," etc. And we think this is progress.

However, Rick Warren's "prayer" (which felt more like an empty, obligatory political manifesto) was a tragedy to be laughed at. Half-hearted, insincere, and startlingly lame. He didnt even register in my brain as an adversary -- as most atheists would expect him to. He came of as pitiful, stupid, confused -- so distanced from reality it was almost sad. This article might be relevant.

It does seem, at least on paper, that Obama is also paying lip service to the Constitution. Have a look at the (shiny new!) whitehouse.gov's technology page. Is there still hope for civil liberties in America? Let's hope so. Good luck, President Obama!


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