Thursday, December 26, 2013


It was a swelteringly hot afternoon. The mercury had risen above 110 Fahrenheit and there was not a whisper of wind. But the heat inside the boxing ring in Reno, Nevada, was nothing when compared to the fiery atmosphere in the country at large.
Jack Johnson: black America.
The fourth of July, 1910, was to witness one of the most infamous boxing bouts in history - one that pitched black against white in a forlorn and foolish bid to demonstrate white racial supremacy.

The two men in the ring were both undisputed champions. Jack Johnson, the black-skinned son of an ex-slave, had been named World Heavyweight Champion in 1908 after successfully knocking out the Canadian fighter, Tommy Burns. His victory had caused such racial animosity among whites that boxing promoters began to search for a ‘Great White Hope’ to crush the black upstart.

James Jeffires: white America
The ‘Great White Hope’ they settled upon was the former undefeated heavyweight champion, James Jeffries. He was persuaded out of retirement to challenge Johnson. He represented the best hope for a white boxer to knock black Johnson down to size. After all, he had retired undefeated and was famous for his extraordinary strength and stamina. A natural left-hander, he possessed one-punch knockout power in his left hook.

But there was one problem. He was seriously out of shape by the time it came to fight Johnson. He hadn’t fought for six years and was hugely overweight. He also had little interest in the overtly racist fight, being quite content with his new life as a farmer.

Publicity for the fight
He was finally tempted back into the ring by the offer of a staggering $120,000. There was intense nationwide interest in the fight and racial tension increased dramatically in the days beforehand. ‘No ring contest ever drew such an attendance,’ noted the Los Angeles Herald, ‘and never before was so 
many thousands of dollars fought for or paid by the sport-loving public to
 see a fight.’
To prevent any violence in the arena, guns were prohibited, along with the sale of alcohol.

White-skinned Jeffries remained out of the limelight until the day of the fight, whereas Johnson did everything he could to court publicity. Confident he would win, he appeared for interviews and photo-shoots. He was a celebrity athlete before his time and his constant womanising (with white women) ensured that he was a regular feature in the gossip columns.

The fight: a great deal at stake.
The fight took place on 4 July in front of 20,000 people. It quickly became clear that Jeffries was incapable of imposing his will on the young black champion. Indeed Johnson dominated the fight and by the 15th round, Jeffries had suffered enough. To the horror of his white supporters, he threw in the towel. Johnson showed no magnanimity in victory. ‘I won because I outclassed him in every department of the fighting game,’ he said. ‘Before I entered the ring, I was certain I would be the victor.’
The outcome triggered immediate race riots across the United States. Johnson's decisive victory left many hard-line white supporters feeling deeply humiliated.

Not looking good for Jeffries.
According to the Los Angeles Herald, ‘race rioting broke out like prickly heat all over the country between whites, angry and sore because Jeffries had lost
 the fight at Reno, and negroes, jubilant that Johnson had won.’

Blacks were jubilant; they hailed Johnson's victory as a victory for racial advancement.
In some cities, the police joined forces with furious white citizens in order to subdue the black revellers. There were murders, knife-fights and even running gun battles. In New York, Chicago and other cities, violence spread throughout the poorer areas. In all, riots occurred in more than 25 states and 50 cities. There were thirteen certified deaths and hundreds more were injured, some seriously.

It's real hot today.
The film of the fight, ‘Fight of the Century’ caused almost as much controversy as the fight itself. Many states banned it from being screened. Within three days of the clash, there was a huge white campaign to censor Jack Johnson's victory by ensuring the film would never be shown.

The would-be censors found heavyweight support in former President Roosevelt, an avid boxer. He wrote an article supporting the banning of the film.

Not until 2005 did the Library of Congress decree that the film was of such historic importance that it should be listed on the National Film Register. Almost a century after one of the most infamous fights in boxing history, the clash between black and white has finally been granted its official place in history. 


At exactly 2.30pm on 11 July, 1897, a gigantic silk balloon could be seen rising into the Arctic sky above Spitzbergen. Inside the basket were three hardy adventurers, all Swedish, who were taking part in an extraordinary voyage.
The doomed balloon
Salomon Andrée was the instigator of the mission. Charismatic and confident, he managed to persuade Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel to accompany him on his historic balloon flight over the North Pole.
Andrée was confident of success. His balloon, the Eagle, used advanced hydrogen technology and he had developed a complex steering system using drag ropes.

Salomon Andree
A disastrous test flight suggested that Andrée’s confidence was seriously misplaced. The much vaunted rope-steerage system had numerous glitches and hydrogen was found to be seeping out of the balloon’s eight million little stitching holes.

The expedition ought to have been abandoned before it even took off. But Andrée overruled all objections and the launch was scheduled for the second week of July. The problems began within minutes of getting airborne. As the balloon drifted across the sea to the north of Spitzbergen, it was weighed down by the weight of the drag ropes - so much so that the balloon actually dipped into the water.

Almost airborne
Andree jettisoned 530 kilograms of ropes, along with 210 kilograms of ballast. This lightened the balloon so much that it now rose too high: the change in air pressure caused huge quantities of hydrogen to escape through the little stitching holes.
Andrée remained optimistic, releasing a carrier pigeon with the message ‘All well on board.’

This was far from true. The first ten hours of troubled flight were followed by 41 hours in which the balloon - soaked in a rainstorm - flew so low that it kept bumping into the frozen sea.

Knut Fraenkel
The Eagle eventually crash-landed onto the sea-ice some fifty hours after taking off from Spitzbergen. No one was hurt, but it was clear that the balloon would never fly again. The men were stranded, many miles from anywhere and lost amidst an Arctic wilderness. They were well equipped with safety equipment, including guns, sleds, skis, a tent and a small boat. Yet returning to the relatively safety of Spitzbergen involved a gruelling march across shifting, melting ice.

Nils Strindberg
The men spent a week at the crash site before setting out on their long hike. They had a reasonable quantity of food - meat, sausages and pemmican - but found it impossible to transport so much weight across the rucked-up ice. Much of the food had to be abandoned: henceforth, they were to rely on hunting for their survival.

They left their makeshift camp on 22 July and initially headed for Franz Josef Land. But the ice soon became impassable so they headed instead towards the Seven Islands, a seven-week march, where there was known to be a depot of food.
Over the ice
The terrain was so gruelling that they were reduced to advancing on all fours. But they eventually reached a place where the sea-ice had melted sufficiently for them to use their collapsible boat.

‘Paradise!’ wrote Andrée in his diary. ‘Large even ice floes with pools of sweet drinking water and here and there a tender-fleshed young polar bear!’

Their passage soon became impassable once again, forcing them to change direction. Aware that winter would soon be upon them, they built a hut upon an ice floe. But the ice broke up beneath them and they were lucky to struggle ashore onto desolate Kvitoya island.
Supper: polar bear
‘Morale remains good’, reported Andrée. ‘With such comrades as these, one ought to be able to manage under practically any circumstances whatsoever.’

It was the last coherent message he ever wrote. Within a few days, all three men were dead. Their fate was to become one of the great mysteries of Arctic exploration.
What happened to them? They had shelter, food and ammunition and ought to have been able to keep themselves alive. In the absence of any news, the world’s media began to speculate as to what had happened.

Nils with sledge
It was not until 1930 - fully 33 years after the men were lost - that their remains were finally found. Far from answering questions, the discovery of their bodies only deepened the mystery. The most plausible theory is that the men died of trichinosis, contracted after eating undercooked polar bear meat. They certainly had the symptoms of the disease and larvae of the trichinella parasite were found in a polar bear carcass at the site. But recent scientific evidence has thrown doubt on this conjecture.
Other suggestions include vitamin A poisoning from eating polar bear liver, lead poisoning from the food cans or carbon dioxide poisoning from their primus stove.

Their diary entries reveal that by the time they struggled ashore they were living off scanty quantities of canned goods from the balloon stores, along with portions of half-cooked polar bear meat.

They were suffering from foot pains and debilitating diarrhoea and were constantly cold and exhausted. Indeed they were so weary on their arrival at Kvitøya Island that they left much of their valuable equipment down by the water's edge.
Remains: 1930.
Nils Strindberg, the youngest, was the first to die. His corpse was found wedged into a crack in the cliff. Analysis of his clothing suggests he was killed by a polar bear.

The other two men seem to have weakened dramatically in the days that followed Strindberg’s death. As the Arctic winter struck in earnest, they lost the will to live.
It will never be known how many days they survived in their makeshift Arctic shack. By the time they were eventually found, all that remained was their diaries, a few spools of film (now developed) and a heap of bleached bones. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ed Gein

Edward Gein, the mild mannered, Midwestern psychopath from Plainfield, Wisconsin who, in the nineteen fifties, would shock the nation with his gruesome crimes. He would become the basis for the best selling book by Robert Bloch, "Psycho", as well as for the Hitchcock film of the same name. Accounts of Edward Gein's heinous crimes would also enter the consciousness of a young Tobe Hooper who, as an adult, would write and direct the classic cult film, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

In November 1957 the world would learn about a seemingly innocuous man from America's heartland who ended up being so deviant from the norm, Ed Gein. He would shock the nation with his last grisly crime, that of hardware store owner Bernice Worden, and with his secret hobby so depraved that it would shock the entire nation when it came to light. News anchors from around the world and journalists would come to the small town of Plainfield Wisconsin to give the public a brief, visual glimpse into the life of Edward Gein.

Edward's mother, Augusta would move him and his older brother, Henry, from La Crosse Wisconsin to Plainfield when they were still children. His mother moved to this location to prevent outsiders from influencing her sons. They were only allowed to leave the premises to go to school and spent most of the time doing chores on the family's farm. Augusta, a fervent Lutheran, believed in and preached to her boys the innate immorality of the world which in her eyes was the evil of drinking, and the belief that all women (herself excluded) were prostitutes and instruments of the devil. She reserved time every afternoon to read to them from the Bible, usually selecting graphic verses from the Old Testament dealing with death, murder, and divine retribution. Gein tried to make his mother happy, but she was rarely pleased with her boys; she often abused them. During their teens and throughout their early adulthood, the boys remained detached from people outside of their farmstead, and so had only each other for company. To make matters worse, his mother punished him whenever he tried to make friends, which was difficult for him to do in school since he had a very shy and effeminate nature which made him a target for bullies.

When His father died the two boys took up random jobs around town to help pay expenses and Ed would start to babysit for families in the community. He enjoyed babysitting, seeming to relate more easily to children than adults. As his older brother matured, Henry began to reject his mother's view of the world and worried about his brother Ed's attachment to her. He spoke ill of her around his brother and it wasn't long after this behavior that he would wind up dead. According to statements by Ed Gein, on May 16, 1944 his brother Henry decided to burn off a marsh on the property. Reportedly, the brothers were separated, and as night fell, Ed Gein lost sight of his brother. When the fire was extinguished, he reported to the police that his brother was missing. When a search party was organized, Gein led them directly to his missing brother, who lay dead on the ground. The police had concerns about the circumstances under which the body was discovered. The ground on which Henry Gein lay was untouched by fire, and he had bruises on his head. Despite this, the police dismissed the possibility of foul play and the county coroner listed asphyxiation as the cause of death. Although some investigators suspected that Ed Gein killed his brother, no charges were filed against him.

Shorlty fallowing the mysterious death of his brother, Gein lived alone with his mother, who died on December 29, 1945. Gein was devastated by her death; in the words of author Harold Schechter, he had "lost his only friend and one true love. And he was absolutely alone in the world." Gein remained on the farm, supporting himself with earnings from odd jobs. He boarded up rooms used by his mother, including the upstairs, downstairs parlor, and living room, leaving them untouched. He lived in a small room next to the kitchen. Gein became interested in reading death-cult magazines and adventure stories to pass the time as he lived alone on the farm house. It is clear the Edward Gein had an abnormal attachment to his deceased mother. It was an attachment that would manifest itself in unimaginable ways. It is almost hard to believe that such a diminutive, seemingly inoffensive man could be such a madman, but who but a madman would do what he did? Edward Gein, it was discovered, had turned his small farmhouse into a gruesome charnel house, replete with furnishings adorned with human flesh and bones.

On November 16, 1957, Plainfield hardware store owner Bernice Worden disappeared and police had reason to suspect Gein. Worden's son had told investigators that Gein had been in the store the evening before the disappearance, saying he would return the following morning for a gallon of anti-freeze. A sales slip for a gallon of anti-freeze was the last receipt written by Worden on the morning she disappeared. Upon searching Gein's property, investigators discovered Worden's decapitated body in a shed, hung upside down by ropes at her wrists, with a crossbar at her ankles. The torso was "dressed out" like that of a deer. She had been shot with a .22-caliber rifle, and the mutilations were made after death.

Searching the house, authorities found:

* Four noses
* Whole human bones and fragments
* Nine masks of human skin
* Bowls made from human skulls
* Ten female heads with the tops sawn off
* Human skin covering several chair seats
* Mary Hogan's head in a paper bag
* Bernice Worden's head in a burlap sack
* Nine vulvas in a shoe box
* A belt made from human female nipples
* Skulls on his bedposts
* Organs in the refrigerator
* A pair of lips on a draw string for a windowshade
* A lampshade made from the skin from a human face

When questioned, Gein told investigators that between 1947 and 1952, he made as many as 40 nocturnal visits to three local graveyards to exhume recently buried bodies while he was in a "daze-like" state. On about 30 of those visits, he said he had come out of the daze while in the cemetery, left the grave in good order, and returned home empty handed. On the other occasions, he dug up the graves of recently buried middle-aged women he thought resembled his mother and took the bodies home, where he tanned their skins to make his paraphernalia. Gein admitted robbing nine graves, leading investigators to their locations. Because authorities were uncertain as to whether the slight Gein was capable of single-handedly digging up a grave in a single evening, they exhumed two of the graves and found them empty, thus corroborating Gein's confession.

Shortly after his mother's death, Gein had decided he wanted a sex change and began to create a "woman suit" so he could pretend to be a female. Gein's practice of donning the tanned skins of women was described as an "insane transvestite ritual". Gein denied having sex with the bodies he exhumed, explaining, "They smelled too bad." During interrogation, Gein also admitted to the shooting death of Mary Hogan, a tavern operator missing since 1954.

A 16-year-old youth whose parents were friends of Gein and who attended ball games and movies with Gein reported that he was aware of the shrunken heads, which Gein had described as relics from the Philippines sent by a cousin who had served in World War II. Upon investigation by the police, these were determined to be human facial skins, carefully peeled from cadavers and used as masks by Gein.

At his trial, some hair-raising testimony on what was found at Gein's home, as well as on some of the ghoulish practices in which Gein engaged, took nearly a year from start to finish, and resulted in Gein being sent to the hospital for the insane in Waupun Wisconsin.

The case of the century was drawing to a close and for many years, it would still be a topic discussed in newspapers, books, in movies, on television and in comics. Even today we see new films and even *musicals about the notorious Ed Gein who had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. Who confessed to killing two women: tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954 and a Plainfield hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, in 1957. Not just the murders would be horrific to many, but the way in which they were treated after death make's Ed Gein one of Americas most bizarre murderers, long before other deviants such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy.

Ed Gein was placed between his older brother and mother and due to his tombstone being vandalized and even stolen on 3 ocassions, it is no longer placed there. This is also spot for many of Ed's visits to exhume bodies that he would then use to make his many furnishings in his home. One of the bodies he stole was only one row in front of him. Bernice, his last victim, is also buried at this cemetery only about 20 feet away.

These are the photo's taken of Ed Gein's property. The home was burned to the ground by the locals in 1958 after he was convicted of the crimes and sent to the mental institution. When he was told about it, he shrugged and said, "Just as well." Now the property is vacant.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Heresy and the Big Break-Up

Council of ClermontThe Story Thus Far: The Christian “Reconquista” movement against the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula and “Mad” Caliph al-Hakim bin-Amr Allah’s 1009 destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Islam-controlled Jerusalem finally directed the attention of mostly Christian Western Europe to the now-mostly Muslim Middle East 
The still-more-or-less-united Orthodox Church didn’t act immediately against the “infidel,” since it still had to convert and/or deal with non-Christians and “wrong” Christians, often violently. In Toulouse in 1022, it executed members of an originally Eastern European sect that had first appeared in the Limousinprovince of France between 1012 and 1020, a sect later popular enough to lead the 1028 Synod of Charroux (Vienne) to condemn it as heretical. They appear to have referred to themselves as the “pure ones” in Greek, a term later translated to “Cathars.”
However, a huge crisis was brewing between Rome, still capital (although basically in name only) of the mostly-defunct Western Roman Empire, and Constantinople, the capital of the surviving Eastern Roman Empire. I liken it to a marriage in which disagreements that had been boiling beneath the surface finally burst into the open. The irreconcilable doctrinal differences cited on both sides included the Filioque Controversy, East vs. West jurisdictional disputes, and dissent over liturgical practices like unleavened bread (originally a Jewish custom) at theEucharist.
As in an estranged marriage, the final blow-out fight began in 1053, when the Normans took and held Pope Leo IX prisoner in Benevento; under his influence, they started incorporating Latin/Western practices like the unleavened bread mentioned above. In retaliation, Patriarch Cerularius of Constantinople ordered the Latin churches in his city to follow Eastern/Byzantine practices; when they refused, he closed them down and issued a scathing letter to all Western bishops decrying these practices as “Judaistic” (too Jewish-y, basically).
The Western Archbishop Humbert of Mourmoutiers of Silva Candida carried the letter to Leo IX, who immediately ordered a reply responding to each charge and confirming Roman papal supremacy. He sent it with Humbert and two other papal legates to Constantinople in April 1054, where unhappy with their reception by Patriarch Cerularius, all three stormed out. Noting with rising anger that the legates had unsealed, tampered with, and replaced the pope’s letter with an earlier, less polite Greek draft for everyone to read, he let them cool their heels in the Byzantine capital, barely acknowledging their presence.
Even though Leo died on April 19 and with him the legates’ papal authority, on July 16 they laid abull of excommunication against the patriarch on the altar of the Hagia Sophia at high Mass and split for Rome two days later, leaving behind a city near chaos. Popular support heavily favored Cerularius, and so the bull was burnt and the three legates anathematized. Two separate Christian churches remained standing when the smoke from the Big Break-Up (theGreat or East-West Schism to historians) finally cleared: the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.
I can only imagine what a blow this must have been to those church leaders who had a vision of a world united under a single Christian banner (Eastern or Roman, take your pick). I wonder if the trauma of this religious divorce is what exacerbated the already-existent intolerance toward dissenting views within Christendom, because the Catholic Church in particular focused even more strongly on suppressing heresy. And there were those Muslims occupying its Holy Land to focus its frustration on as well…
The 1056 Synod of Toulouse further condemned the Cathar doctrine, and preachers flocked to the region to denounce it. In 1057, Norman Christian Robert Guiscard conquered and held traditionally Byzantine Calabria against the Sicilian Muslims. Roman Catholic Pope Alexander II took the time in 1063 to openly and officially bless the Iberian Christians in their “Reconquista.” And at 1071’s Battle of Manzikert the Byzantines lost most of Asia Minor to the Muslim Seljuqs.
This loss to Christendom in general may have prompted Byzantine Emperor Michael VII Ducas/Parapinakes to ask Pope Gregory VII for help against the Muslims in 1074. However, the Investiture Controversy intervened in 1075 to command Greg’s attention, and Europe found itself preoccupied with the issue of whether only the pope had the authority to appoint church officials, a right that secular leaders had been claiming for centuries past. This controversy lasted for several decades and eventually led to 50 years’ worth of civil war in Germany.
Islam once again commanded Europe’s attention in 1085, when the Christian kingdom of Leon in Spain seized the city of Toledo from the Moors, and ten years later in 1095, when Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus requested Pope Urban II’s aid in fighting the Muslims. The time had finally come for action against the unbelievers; at the Council of Clermont, before an assembly of clergy and secular leaders, Urban II called all Christians to a “holy war” vs. Islam:
Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor.
He concluded his call to action with the battle cry: “Deus vult (God wills it)!”
And the First Crusade was on.

Freedom of religion and speech is for everyone!

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Many of my readers will recognize the above words from the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. For those of you interested in reading an in depth analysis of this amendment in particular and its applicability to U.S. law and government there is some great information about it here. Note that this article refers particularly to the church in the U.S. only. I am not familiar with other countries and the extent of their religious oppression and suppression. 

One of the many things that I find quite disconcerting to the point of annoyance is the modern Christian movement claiming persecution in the U.S. by atheists. I am annoyed about this matter because I am an atheist and as a nonbeliever I think that theists as they often tend to do are misconstruing the facts. They are claiming that atheists have declared war on Christianity, that we are trying to eradicate their right to practice their religion and share their beliefs openly. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It seems that for the most part here in the U.S. theists believe as always under false assumptions, that this country was founded on Christian principles. Of course it was not, but it is because of this belief that theists claim the higher ground against any religion that is not Christian or any group that does not espouse and promote their beliefs. Christianity has often been defined as one of if not the most intolerant religion in the world. Their long and awful history obviously supports this claim. But they cannot be blamed entirely because they get these views from the Bible itself which supports an us against the world mentality. 

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:15

4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4

Finally, the apostle Paul speaking specifically to the church in Galatia in response to having heard that some had begun to stray from the beliefs that they had been taught by him alluded to the fact that there is no other gospel! 

8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Galatians 1:8-9

As you can see the church has always claimed to be the one and only absolute truth and God revealed religion from its inception. Today's theists are just carrying on the tradition by espousing the beliefs of their religions founders as outlined in their so called sacred text the Bible. These verses and many others clearly explain the us against them mentality inherent in those who espouse these beliefs. The various inquisitions and wars which the church later defined as pagan religions are the direct result of religious intolerance. The very accusations that the church makes against atheists is more fitting and true about them.

They want us to believe that atheists have nothing better to do than to attack their beliefs and false assumptions about this country's foundations. They call anyone who presents a belief contrary to theirs false and Satan inspired. They claim the right to freedom of speech and religion in this country for themselves, but they forget that these rights pertain to everyone. The first amendment was not speaking exclusively about Christianity. It was speaking about all religions and this includes the right to freedom from religion.

Religious beliefs and practices are a matter of ones personal acceptance of whatever beliefs  they choose to believe and follow. Religious beliefs are not meant to be forced down peoples throats nor using or implementing their majority status in a country as leverage to influence politics and legislation. We've already seen what happened when Rome made Christianity the state religion and it later became a theocracy. The founding fathers have learned from history and this is why the U.S. Constitution alludes to the separation of church and state. 

Contrary to what theists believe atheists have the right to defend their rights to freedom from religion. That is what we are defending and nothing more. We could care less if you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But when you begin to force your beliefs on us and demand that we teach creationism in our tax supported public schools, allow for prayer in schools, make abortions illegal, ban stem cell research, ban gay marriage claiming that marriage is a Christian institution (another false assumption), then we have the right to oppose you. If anything, anyone who is not a Christian are the ones being persecuted and I mean by this everyone! 

Christians attack evolution, equality of rights for all, our own rights of freedom from religion and speech. Atheists are not the ones going door to door with pamphlets, or handing out tracts in every public street corner in America, or "preaching" our non-beliefs in public. Although if we did do any of these things, like believers we are within our constitutional rights to do so and are just as protected by that same first amendment in our Bill of Rights. 

The problem with Christianity is that they believe that since they are the largest religious organization in the world especially in the U.S. that they have the right to dictate what our states laws should be, who should be allowed to speak, and what religions should be accepted or denied. Anyone who tries to defend their right to practice another religion or as in the case of atheism no religion at all is declaring war on Christianity. In reality, this is nothing more than that same arrogant spirit of superiority that the church has had since its beginnings. But as of late they have changed their tactics to make them out to be the victims; every ones target of attack.

The Bible and fundamentalism itself are the cause of the churches ignorance of its own history or history in general. When it comes to their beliefs they practice cognitive dissonance better than anyone else. They ignore any facts that shed light on their primitive and outdated beliefs and take this as a direct attack on their institution! Unfortunately for them this is a country with laws and a melting pot of religions, cultures, and creeds. Although they may be the majority, it does not mean that they can ignore the Constitution and try to manipulate and influence our government to implement laws that will favor their beliefs. 

It's funny how Christians oppose government actions that do not favor their beliefs knowing full well that the Bible even demands that they submit and obey those same authorities and in fact pay taxes. It claims that those authorities are place there by God himself but I guess this is one of those passages that they choose to blatantly ignore. Like I always say Christians are for the most part nothing more than hypocrites.

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:1-7

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. All other sources have been linked to in the text.