(Update, Apr. 10: Rep. Davis has apologized to Rob Sherman. Good on her. Oh, and the hearing described here wasn’t about the moment of silence thing.)
Eric Zorn reports an exchange in the Illinois General Assembly between State Rep. Monique Davis and Rob Sherman, an atheist who opposes Illinois’s law mandating a moment of silence:
Davis: I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children. […] What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous—
Sherman: What’s dangerous, ma’am?
Davis: It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!
(Emphasis added. Oh, and the audio is also available.)
Stop right there. Reread what she said. She said it’s dangerous for kids to even know that there’s such a thing as atheism.
Davis conceded right there that religion has nothing going for it. If your viewpoint is so weak that it can’t tolerate so much as the existence of an opinion that you’re wrong, then you’ve lost; your viewpoint isn’t worth having.
My family is Russian. My father was born in Estonia, before it was invaded by the Soviet Union. He spent several formative years in Nazi and post-war Germany. My mother’s family took advantage of WWII to flee the Workers’ Paradise™ and also spent time in Germany. As you can imagine, there was never any love lost in our family on either communism or fascism.
Yet, as far back as I can remember, my father has had a copy of Mein Kampf on his bookshelf. (I considered reading it, until my history teacher in High School said it was the most boring thing he had ever read.)
Nor did my parents utter a peep when I read Marx and Engels’s Communist Manifesto. They trusted me to come to my own conclusions, and were confident that if I were in possession of all the facts, that I would come to the same conclusions as they.
Truth has nothing to fear from examination. If something is true, it should be able to withstand scrutiny. And if something can only believed if you don’t examine it too closely, then it wasn’t worth believing in the first place.
Representative Davis, you just conceded defeat.
PS: Look through the comments in Zorn’s column for the first two instances of the phrase “good day”.