To Those Working to Eradicate Religion: What About Helping People Instead?

One can read a threat into everything.

And if one has bad intentions or something to hide, one often does. One assumes people are out to get one if one is out to get others.

I thought about this when I read yet another article about the campaign to remove religious monuments and symbols in the U.S. due to the “threat” these pose to our nation’s integrity, freedom, and the separation of Church and state.

A woman holds a sign that says coexist with the letters made into different religious symbols
Photo by 1,000 Words/

When I look at the state of the world today—what with some 25 million individuals being human trafficked, two people dying in conflicts every minute, and lives shattered by drug addiction everyday—I have this (apparently misguided) sense that there are more important problems to “solve” than a Peace Cross commemorating World War I veterans or a Ten Commandments monument at a City Hall in New Mexico.

I, as a Scientologist, don’t feel slighted by a piece of stone, though it discloses beliefs that are not my own.

I am not offended by atheist convictions. I am not injured by the lack of belief in God. An atheist statue doesn’t assault my integrity. Even if the government paid for the grass to be mowed around it, it would still be just another silhouette in a vast landscape of differing views. And it might mean someone else is breathing easier knowing he is being represented—that his beliefs are reflected in the world around him, that a part of him—an extension of himself—is there on this earth in a form that others who feel as he does can celebrate and benefit from as well.

Why does that bother you, Freedom From Religion Foundation? Who does that hurt, American Humanist Association? And why is that more frightening to you than the thought of the one billion children worldwide living in poverty?

I, as a Scientologist, don’t feel slighted by a piece of stone, though it discloses beliefs that are not my own.

Even were I an atheist, I would not be frightened of a Dark Ages in which my kind were persecuted because there were signs around me of the faith of others.

“The government” is not on some campaign to shove religion down the throats of the American people.

But my neck is swollen full with your unbelief.

Bari Berger, National STAND Director, United States
Born in New York City, Bari is a graduate of Brown University, where she studied journalism and American literature and history. She is a second generation Scientologist.