ONE NATION UNDER GOD
There is a Bar/Restaurant in North Versailles, PA named Casa D'Ice. It has become fairly famous on the Internet, thanks to the proprietor's willingness to say what he thinks on the big sign out in front of the restaurant. You can see it at http://www.casadice.com and look at all of the signs. I'm sure that there are some people who are offended at each of the signs that he posts. I don't agree with all of his positions, but I support his right to say what he thinks.
What I'm really wondering about is how we tend to defend people's right to say what they think as long is it doesn't offend the majority, or as long as it doesn't go against certain societal norms. A good example is one of the sayings on their sign:
"ONE NATION UNDER GOD. THAT'S THE WAY IT IS & THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, TOUGH SHIT "
That is easy to say, because supporting the idea of God and country has always been a popular theme. But what if their sign had said:
"ONE NATION UNDER GOD? WHO GIVES A SHIT?"
I suspect that there would be many complaints, hate letters and threats sent to Casa D'Ice -- which would be ironic because of the religious concepts of love thy neighbor and of forgiveness. But then some of the most unforgiving people I've ever met were ardently religious. However this isn't about religion. It's about saying what's popular versus saying what's not popular.
Being a teacher, I am quite aware of issues that teachers have. Colleges had to create the protections of tenure in order to give faculty the right to free speech in the classroom without fear of repercussions. I have the right to tell my classes that George Bush is an idiot or that God is a myth and not fear for my job from a fundamentalist, Republican administrator who may have voted for Bush. I'm thankful for that protection, but I don't abuse it. I try not to "push the envelope," as we military pilots used to say.
Recently I "pushed the envelope." I had read a lengthy article about problems with kids and parenting. One of the main points of the article was that too many parents are not good at saying "No" to their kids. I got the idea of having a Tee shirt made up with the saying: "If You Can't Say No To Your Daughter, Don't Expect Me To!" Big mistake. Never mind that all women are daughters. People read into it what they most feared. Live and learn.
So feel free to speak your mind, as long as it's socially acceptable. But whatever you do, don't speak ill of God or Allah. Some believer is liable to kill you for saying what you think.