Opinion

Atheists Attack Christianity in Pennsylvania

“A city council in Pennsylvania has unanimously voted to remove a park bench that was meant to honor veterans due to objection from an atheist group regarding a God-centered inscription on the display that is attributed to the state’s founder.” (Christian News)

While there is no constitutional prohibition, either at the Federal or state level, to remove religious statements from government buildings, atheists continue to press the claim of a fictional prohibition through expensive court costs.

In this case, it’s a bench that reads, “Men who aren’t governed by God, will be governed by tyrants.” The inscription on the bench is attributed to William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. The atheists are proving the truth of Penn’s claim and denying the founding principles of the state of Pennsylvania.

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Americans Atheists (AA) “contended that the quote violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which instructs that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’ The group also said the text is disrespectful to non-Christians.”

Nonsense. The First Amendment is clear:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Four things to note: (1) Pennsylvania is not Congress, (2) a religious inscription is not “an establishment of religion,”1 (3) the Pennsylvania constitution states that “the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution,” and (4) disrespecting non-religious people is not a reason to violate either constitution.

In a second case, “A federal judge has allowed the advancement of parts of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of atheist groups upset that unbelievers cannot present a prayer before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives just like Christian chaplains.”

This seems to be a violation of Section 4 of the Pennsylvania constitution:

“No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.”

Atheists do not acknowledge “the being of a God” or “a future state of rewards and punishments.” Furthermore, atheists do not pray. If atheists want to believe and live like as atheists, then they need to stop being hypocritical by borrowing from the Christian worldview, and that would include laws against murder and stealing, two laws which atheists cannot account for in their matter-only worldview.

But benches and atheists prayers are the least of an atheist’s problems in Pennsylvania.

There are sixteen large murals — most of which are specifically religious and Christian — that were conceived and painted by Violet Oakley (1874-1961) over a ten-year period from 1917 and 1927 that hang in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The murals are massive, most measuring 10′ by 8′. At the unveiling ceremonies, members of the Supreme Court and the Governor were present. Apparently, the jurists in attendance did not see a constitutional issue in 1927.

The mural series is titled Divine Law. Plate V is “The Decalogue … the Hebrew Idea of Revealed Law.” It shows in brilliant and expressive color and descriptive form the Ten Commandments being chiseled in stone. Below the image is a recitation of the commandments in English — directly quoting the text of the Bible.

Plate VI shows Jesus delivering “The Beatitudes … the Christian Idea of Revealed Law.” Like the Ten Commandments’ mural, the Beatitudes are written out as they are found in the New Testament.

Plates VIII and X summarize the philosophy of the English Jurist William Blackstone. Plate X includes the often-quoted summary of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (see image below):

“This Law of Nature dictated by God Himself is superior to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this, and such of them as are valid derive all their force and all their authority mediately or immediately from this original. Upon these two foundations, the Law of Nature and the Law of Revelation, depend all human Law… Human laws are only declaratory of and act in subordination to Divine Law.”

Blackstone could not be any clearer and any more out of step with today’s foundationless judicial decrees. These plates need an extra coat of whitewash by the atheists.

Plate XV is the panel of “Christ and Disarmament … International Law.” Once again, the Bible is quoted. In this final mural, Jesus Christ is walking on the stormy seas of international conflict while warships sink around Him. “It depicts Oakley’s vision of what would occur if all nations accepted one code of law.” Oakley’s view was that ‘one code of law’ was Divine Law.

Don’t think these atheists are going to stop because of a park bench and a prayer? They won’t be satisfied until every vestige of religion is removed from our nation.

If you would like to read the story of Violet Oakley, I would suggest that you purchase A Sacred Challenge: Violet Oakley and the Pennsylvania Capitol Murals published by the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee (Room 630 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120). For a less expensive alternative write to the Capitol Preservation Society and ask them to send the brochure on “The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.”

I haven’t checked lately, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these publications are no longer available.

  1. “(I)n a recent dissenting opinion in a New Mexico Ten Commandments case, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Paul Kelly, Jr. and Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich noted that the Establishment Clause is being interpreted incorrectly and not in ‘the historical understanding of an “establishment of religion,” and thus with what the First Amendment actually prohibits.’ From the words of the text, though, two conclusions are relatively clear: first, the provision originally limited the federal government and not the states, many of which continued to support established churches; and second, the limitation respected only an actual “establishment of religion.”’” []
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