RICHMOND, Va. (BP)- I must admit to being a little perplexed about atheists who protest injustice.
The United States Supreme Court has heard arguments from California atheist Michael Newdow that school children are religiously coerced when they recite the Pledge of Allegiance -- infamous these days because it includes the words "under God."
If that's true, it's hard to understand why Mr. Newdow believes he has any rights to be violated. If Creator God isn't real, then we are all just animals in an accidental universe. What justice do animals know other than the law of the jungle?
The first amendment to the United States Constitution does indeed say Americans have a right to be free in matters of religion. But why do we have any "human rights" at all? How do we know what they are?
The most direct answer to that question is in the document that explains why this nation was founded - the Declaration of Independence. All people, it says, have the "unalienable" right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because those rights are given to us by God.
Attention, Mr. Newdow and all atheists: If God isn't real, then our founding documents aren't worth the paper they're written on. There's no such thing as right and wrong, and you haven't got a right to complain about being "coerced" to recite the pledge or use currency that has "In God we trust" stamped on it.
I am regularly taken to task by atheists who don't like what I write. They criticize Christians for "forcing" our values on others who don't share them. They make it very clear that, unlike Christians, they don't believe there are standards of right and wrong that apply to everyone, everywhere, all the time. [See Section on Pluralism]
Fine. There's no such thing as right and wrong.
So how can it be wrong for one person to force his beliefs on someone else?
People who deny God's reality and reject the idea that there are standards of right and wrong that apply to everyone don't seem to realize that their worldview doesn't include the right to complain about any perceived injustice - or to criticize the ones inflicting the alleged injustice. Atheists want to be free of God and his moral code, but they don't want to be treated like just another animal in the jungle.
You can't have it both ways.
The only way people have human rights is if they are created in the image of God. The only way the concept of justice makes any sense is if there is a God who created it.
Without a God to create human rights, the only other "rights" people can have would be whatever the ruling authority grants them. And in a democracy, that authority roughly equates to the opinion of the majority. Unfortunately for Mr. Newdow, the overwhelming majority of Americans seem to want God in the language of the state. The only way he could justify his complaint is to appeal to a higher authority that supersedes the will of the people – but a Higher Authority is exactly what he denies.
The fact that Newdow's worldview is nonsense wouldn't keep the Supreme Court from ruling on his complaint. The court has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to split legal hairs while ignoring weightier matters of justice. The "justices" - like most Americans - hold a worldview that says God is a mere belief that one can choose whether or not to accept.
God's reality, however, is not an issue of personal belief; it is an issue of fact and whether that fact can be proven to be true.
If God's reality cannot be proven to be true, then America needs to throw out the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and quit talking about justice and human rights - and Mr. Newdow should take his case to the streets because, in a world without God, only might makes right.
The good news is that God's reality can be proven. For the better part of a century, the leading edge of virtually every field of science has been amassing evidence that the universe is too complex and too finely tuned to be a cosmic accident. Apart from a Creator, no one can even explain where it came from, much less how it developed into such a marvelous place. The best science says God is real.
Mr. Newdow says, "I don't believe God exists." It doesn't matter whether he believes it or not; God's reality is a fact. Every individual and nation is "under God," whether they choose to acknowledge His existence or not.
If America has to accommodate whatever idea anyone might believe - even if it contradicts the facts, even if it makes no sense - then we'd better prepare for the lawsuit from the Flat Earth Society (http://www.flat-earth.org/). Because we'll also be needing to remove all the globes from America's school rooms.