…and anyone who says different will be prosecuted!
By now, plenty has already been said/written about this. Some crazy lady in North Bumblefuck, Washington has gotten together with her equally crazy pals to draft an initiative that would effectively outlaw atheism. She wants to deny public funds to any activity, demonstration, leaflet, instruction, scientific endeavor, etc, that “denies or attempts to refute the existence of The Supreme Ruler of the Universe.”
This means you, public schools. This means you, science class. This means you, buses and billboards and public buildings.
Putting aside, for a moment, the obvious absurdity of this proposal, the arched-brow amusement with which we greet the mere suggestion that such a thing could pass, and the terror at the possibility that it might, who is this Supreme Ruler? Do we each get to pick our own, thereby receiving carte blanche to print, circulate, teach, and advertise whatever we want as long as it doesn’t disprove the existence of our chosen Ruler? Do all proposed Supreme Rulers get equal consideration here? Can I sue a colleague for denying the existence of my chosen Supreme Ruler in order to champion his own?
Or is this (gasp!) just another thinly-veiled attempt by Christian Fundamentalists to silence opposition and dissent, to prevent any side being heard but theirs, in the fearful knowledge that it just doesn’t stand comparison.
Isaac Asimov would probably think so. In his book of essays, The Roving Mind, published in 1983, he was already talking about attempts to get Creationism taught in schools, under the battle cry of “equal time.” His opinion on the subject:
“And they want ‘equal time’? Don’t kid yourself. They want all the time there is. One can see why, too. Their case is so weak, so nonexistent, in fact, that the only way they can feel sure of maintaining it is to have their victims never hear of anything else.”
He goes on to say:
“It is not merely creationism that we are fighting in this matter. Behind it are the old enemies of bigotry and darkness, and we must not complain about this endless battle. The price of liberty, said Jefferson, is eternal vigilance.”