I am astounded you chose this most holy season to give front-page coverage to the atheistic dogma of the Freedom From Religion Foundation ("Happily God-free," 12/18/09).
Atheism is, in essence, an intellectual vanity. It presumes there is no God when, in truth, Gaylor and her ilk do not know that. I personally think of them as extremely arrogant, pridefully vain intellectual morons. Following their line of reasoning gives the ego free rein to engage in any kind of behavior with no accountability to anyone.
Nowhere in our Constitution does it mandate separation of church and state. The authors were well aware of the fall of the great Greek and Roman democracies as irresponsibility, decadence, profanity, vulgarity and obscenity were given freedom of expression. Sadly, we see much the same happening here in America today.
Isthmus, by touting the falsehoods of atheism and denying God as the ultimate authority, is contributing to this gradual destruction of our society and my beloved country.
Tim Lauri, Founder and CEO, God Anti-Defamation League, Monona
Your article about the Freedom From Religion Foundation mentioned recent advertising in which the foundation compares faith in God to believing in Santa or Mother Goose, and bus ads proclaiming "Yes, Virginia...There is no God," which the foundation considers "funny."
In my opinion, any message that seeks to belittle another person's religious beliefs or traditions is not "funny." I believe people should respect one another's freedom of choice. Among those choices is the right to believe in God or to belong to an organized religion of one's choosing without persecution or ridicule (really an insidious form of persecution).
The reasons I have chosen to be a person of faith are personal and reflective of my culture and values, which is why it wouldn't take being "insecure" to feel insulted if someone were to dismiss my way of thinking.
Perhaps Gaylor should respond to public nativity scenes with the same sense of humor she expects from people of faith who view her group's billboards, bus ads and Capitol Rotunda signs. Or perhaps she's the perfect example of how people tend to respond when they feel personal beliefs are being belittled or threatened.
Patty Wanta, Fitchburg
I am a self-described agnostic; others would probably call me an atheist. I subscribe to the Nietzschean notion that people create their gods. I am not in favor of "In God We Trust." And yet I have no sympathy for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. They are worse zealots than many a TV evangelist. They are fighting their non-crusade with a fervor that I can only call religious, no matter what their belief. If people choose to believe in whichever deity because it makes them happier, let them do so.
We all have a limit to our compassion. Some have more than others, and I like to think I'm at the higher end. But I just can't summon empathy for Annie Laurie Gaylor as she has to endure all the religious symbols during the Christmas season.
I know the Christmas season can be difficult. My heart and prayers go out to [many people in difficult situations]. But I just can't find it in me to add Ms. Gaylor to the list, and know she would not want to be in anyone's prayers.
But I'm sure there are many good readers of the Isthmus who have empathy for Gaylor's horrible suffering during this tortuous season.
Nick Spinelli, Cottage Grove
I expect you will get some hate mail regarding Ann Grauvogl's cover story and perhaps some added venom for running it during the Christmas season. But I want to offer thanks and a salute to Isthmus and the author for a timely and important story.
It's good to be reminded that we have dedicated people like Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker in our community who stand up for the proper separation of church and state. And it's good to be reminded that the holiday season belongs to everyone.
I am an associate member of the Iona Community, and my life has been enriched by the many prayers they suggest for personal use. I especially appreciate the one that affirms being made in God's image, befriended by Christ and empowered by the Spirit.
That affirmation is followed by the following: "I affirm God's goodness at the heart of humanity, planted more deeply than all that is wrong."
However, reading the sampling of emails sent to the Freedom From Religion Foundation (Sidebar: "God Is Going to Strike You Dead," 12/18/09), questions about the universality of that affirmation have arisen within me.