As an atheist who happens to be president of a local Unitarian Universalist religious organization, I rejoice with the Brodheads for the successful outcome of their courageous act in asserting religious freedom; and I commend the Los Angeles Board of Education for its stand for separation of church and state by doing away with prayer at public functions under its control--a practice which, unconstitutional and inappropriate though it is, is frequently followed at secular, and even government-sponsored events.
Like the Brodheads I have often felt a sense of being violated when someone, on behalf of an audience of which I was a part, publicly presumes to transmit a message by some unknown means to a Big Man, or Big Personality in the sky who is capable of understanding human language and is responsive to the utterance. My intellect tells me this process is totally unbelievable and wholly unsupportable by scientific evidence; my conscience makes me want to cry out when it occurs.
Yet I think of myself as a deeply religious person. While the Brodheads are certainly entitled to be free from religion, if that is their wish, they, and all of us, are victims of a colossal myth perpetuated by theists: that being religious requires a belief in God. This is both historically and philosophically false.
JESSE H. HARVEY