Some Good Ole Propaganda

Walking across campus, I saw this flyer (below) from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (  Interestingly, I had recently run across this article from Fox News: “Pizza Parlor’s Church Discount Gives Atheists Indigestion.”  Seems the FFRF is intent upon making sure all Americans fall in line with their interpretation of American freedom—even pizza joints they would likely never frequent.

This is one of those groups that would shout “government should not legislate morality!”  and then turn around and use the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in support of their side (as seen in the Fox News story).  Seems the government can only enforce what they say it can.

But that’s another matter; for this blog I wanted to look at this flyer, because it is typical of the use of history, logic, and rhetoric in the attempt to win supporters to a cause by using subtle dishonesty, reductio ad absurdum, and demonization of the opposition.  Otherwise known as propaganda.

So I’ve labeled, with the numbers, the parts of the flyer that correspond to my statements below it.

1. The use of Sanger is always interesting.  Especially by a group that claims Freethinkers have been on the front lines of social and moral progress (i.e. slavery).  Sanger certainly lived by the motto of “No gods–No masters.”  She had some other interesting mottoes as well:

“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” (Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. pg. 12.)

“There is only one reply to a request for a higher birthrate among the intelligent, and that is to ask the government to first take the burden of the insane and feeble-minded from your back. [Mandatory] sterilization for these is the answer.” (Sanger. October 1926 Birth Control Review.)

Sanger was a well-known advocate of the eugenics movement, frequently partook in KKK meetings, and would have fit right in with the Nazi vanguad.  But who cares, right?  Planned Parenthood is widely hailed by most as a bastion of hope for mothers who want a career before a baby, and the innocent face posted on this flyer couldn’t be all that evil.  The logic is simple: only the pro-choice, freethinking, atheistic side really cares for the freedom and rights of women… except the conveniently ignored unborn ones.

2. “Dogma should not trump our civil liberties.”

The cliche (yet ever-unanswerable) question must be asked: why?  And then the next question: whose dogma?

Appealing to some transcendent or universal principle of freedom, liberty, and rights is quickly approaching shaky ground for those who believe in no higher authority than the self.  And to ever use the word “should,” immediately reeks of a certain dogma.  As we all well know by now: dogma, principles, beliefs, and religion are not the issue in this debate…it’s which one is correct?  The religion of skepticism? moralism? theism?

3. Let’s forget the idea that all justices who voted in favor of Roe v. Wade were men.  Along with that, let’s not remember that Brennan identified as Roman Catholic; Douglas, Powell and Burger as Presbyterian; Stewart and Marshall, Episcopalian; and Blackmun, Methodist.

Then of course, there’s the issue again of “Rights” and “Wrongs.”  Who determines these?  I think most will say they don’t care about the opinions of others, so why should they care about yours?  Is it determined by the Constitution?  Why not amend it?  Or is it dogma?  Dogma should not trump our—or the unborn’s—civil liberties!  I’m sure I’d have a better time defending that statement, because I can actually appeal to something outside of myself, and mere opinion.

4. I think Stevens’s opinion here is a bit overplayed; of course the building, the name, the abstract entity does not have a conscience, beliefs, etc.

Neither does my fist, but that doesn’t mean I can go around punching people in the face and claim no responsibility for it.  Corporations are run by people.  And as we—who believe in God—know, people have rights, beliefs, and consciences.

Here is some of that subtle doublespeak, and inability to see the futility of their own worldview.  People, according to their atheism, do not have consciences, beliefs, or rights…only what “appears” to be those things…but ultimately it’s chemical processes in the brain; perhaps we should medicate (or forcibly sterilize) those who hold to the “wrong” views.

5. Tyranny?

Wait.  Wait..  So the right for a privately held company, founded by a family with religious conviction, in a capitalistic, free market economy, cannot determine their business practice—including employee benefits?  Especially when the result is believed to be murder of the unborn?  This is tyranny?

Because the opposite would be freedom, correct?  For the state, the federal government, or the president to force a company or individual to compromise their religious beliefs for the established morality, and to conduct their practices according to legislated policies.


6. Same as 5.  Not to mention the empty uses of “must” and “should” again.

If they don’t want to work there, they do not have to…  This is actually closer to the meaning of “freedom.”  But I see, they don’t want this to extend beyond Hobby Lobby:

First, I don’t think they have much to worry about in this country.

Second, start your own company.  Hire people at the FFRF, and give them whatever benefits you want.

7. I invite any to read the document they cite here.  Here’s some excerpts:

CHILD [Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty] opposes religious exemptions in state law when they privilege religious practice above the best interests of children…we remain opposed to RFRA as applied to federal law because it compromises the welfare of children… (3).

It really isn’t a question of whether the cases cited weren’t valid concerns; but to hear a position that uses Sanger as their model concern themselves with the “interests f children” is laughable.

…the women in Hobby Lobby’s employ were hired under the protection of Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination…Therefore, Hobby Lobby cannot mandate that its employees share its owners religious beliefs, and, in this religious diverse society, many female employees likely will have their own, different beliefs (29).

No one is truly being discriminated against here.  Hobby Lobby certainly never “mandated” that the employees share their beliefs; but they do have the right to deny any coverage against their beliefs, especially when that health care is imposed upon them under penalty of law.  The same section of the Civil Right Act, says this:  “This subsection shall not require an employer to pay for health insurance benefits for abortion…” (Title VII; 2000e (k)).  The women of Hobby Lobby were hired under the protection of Title VII; that does not mean they dictate the coverage the company provides; it simply means they cannot be discriminated against in employment.  It’s not as if only the pro-choice, atheistic women were being denied this coverage, all of the employees are equally uninsured in this area.  They have every freedom to go out and find that coverage elsewhere…it’s a free country after all.

8. Theocracy.  I’m pretty sure no one has any idea what that term means anymore.  But it works as a rhetorical tool to elicit support…I guess.

9. Again, only the “Freethinkers” (the ones that think like them) truly understand freedom.  How one determines the “freedom” of their “thinking” is questionable; I think a decent argument could be made that the “thinking” of these Freethinkers is enslaved to their selfish desires, their darkened mind, and sin.

10. It’s only right that if you’re going to win people to your side you had better use a Founding Father for support.  For a group that advocates such strong and principled views of the separation of church and state, it would be interesting to watch them fumble all over this one:

To that kind providence [God] we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men.And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service —

(James Madison, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. I, pp. 450-452, June 28, 1787)

The FFRF cannot simply say that they just agree with the quote, and are not fully endorsing Hamilton, for then what was their point in using Hamilton?  Was it not to convince all who read this flyer that they have the Freethinkers, Founders, and moral giants on their side?

Unfortunately this tactic will work.  America hardly knows their history, much less the use of logic or reasoning, and are subject to the demagogues and propagandists that grace the walls of our universities with their boasts of godlessness and freedom from all masters.

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

-Psalm 2




~ by TSL on August 24, 2014.

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