Originally Posted by youbet
. . . or aetheists heckling Christians worshipping in a public area, I've no use for it.
OK, let's look at that statement.* Who is getting into faces at the start by worshipping "in a public area"?
The last time I looked around there is NO
shortage of churches, Kingdom Halls, synagogues, temples etc in the United States.* Many of them seem to be open many hours a day, and some 24/7.* Why, I even have the impression that to a large degree those establishments operate pretty much tax free, which means that the public gets to foot the bill for providing a lot of infrastructure for them (which doesn't seem too equitable, does it?).
The Christians (since they are the predominent religious group in the USA) have a biblical injunction about that:* Mathew 6:5 "When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men."
That appears to be largely to be ignored by many Christians who seem to delight in forcing their religion out into the public spaces and into people's faces.* Once you decide to put on a public spectacle, you probably should not be surprised if the public decides to tell you what they think about that.
They've already got plenty of places to do their stuff - why can't they leave the rest of us in peace?* If I go to a local government meeting, I don't need to listen to a prayer.* If I go to a sporting event, I don't need to listen to a prayer.* If I go out to eat I don't need to listen to a bunch of people loudly praying and interrupting other people's conversations.* If I'm walking down the street I don't need someone coming up and inquiring if I've seen Jesus, (they sure seem to have a hard time keeping track of that guy).* I don't need to find religious pamphlets (like those from the wacky Jack Chick* http://www.chick.com/catalog/bibleseries.asp*
) scattered on the bus or under my windshield wipers or in my doorway.
If people want to go to their church and speak in tongues or writhe on the floor or handle serpents or engage in ritual symbolic cannibalism or whatever - knock yourself out.* As long as they'll stay at the "god botherer" stage and do not get into the "neighbor botherer" mode they aren't likely to find their friendly neighborhood atheist imposing on their private activities.