It seems to me that atheism is, if properly considered, treason.
In countries with the Queen as Head of State, she is held to be ‘Queen by the Grace of God’. In the USA, the Pledge of Allegiance involves expressing belief in ‘one nation united under God.’ It seems that by believing the God does not exist, a rejection of the notion of the Sovereign Divine Right of the Crown is negated, as well as the notion of a ‘nation united under God.’ Therefore, it seems that atheists are guilty, ipso facto, of treason, at least in the USA and Commonwealth countries.
Well the Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t written until 1892 and even then it wasn’t until 1954 that ‘under God’ was added. (In God we trust was initially on coins starting in 1864 and eventually mandated on all money by law in 1956.)
When it comes to the United States, the Pledge really doesn’t have any official power nor is it required to be said except by MPs and Naturalized Citizens.
In addition, the US has the First Amendment which protect freedom to religion. That and public support for religious freedom would create havoc if someone started jailing atheists for treason when they were following the law.
The United States isn’t a fundamentalist country. (And that’s a good thing. Considering the original colonists were Protestant, we Catholics would be under persecution if it were.)
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
That’s not treason. Treason is an unambiguous betrayal of one’s country. Waiting in a Book Directory or a Theater and shooting the President with a gun is treason. Attempting to succeed from the Union and killing 140,000 soldiers from the Armed Forces is treason.
Leaving out the “under God” part from pledge of allegiance is not treason. Nor is not saying the pledge, nor is burning an American Flag (the supreme court said it was a legal form of protest).
In court cases, anyone who does not wish to take an oath on a bible (an atheist, a non-christian, a member of a christian sect that doesn’t swear on bibles, etc) is permitted to take an affirmation instead.
So instead of saying, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing like the truth so help me God”, an atheist would say “I affirm to tell the whole truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth under pains and penalties of perjury”.
This is “thought crime” territory. Seeing as treason is generally an act, such as purposely giving secret military info or equipment to foreign countries, or picking up arms against one’s country what one believes about the source of the leadership’s power is irrelevant provided they do not attempt to usurp them.
Just because they don’t believe or do not know God does not mean they never will - they have a whole life time to come to God - the guilty verdict is way too early. You don’t know what will happen and if these people will come to God - your assuming and passing judgement.
Not really. If being an Atheist is treason, then surely so would being any other religion other than C of E, as that is the religion of Queen Elizabeth II?
As an aside, I looked up the definition of “treason” on Wikipedia and it stated that being a Catholic priest has also been classed as high treason in the past.
It sort of is, to be honest. After her death, it is presumed Charles will be king because he was the first of her children to be born, and after his death, it is presumed to be William, as the eldest son of the heir presumptive.
Yes, I believe she does. As she said in her Christmas speech in 2014:
For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.
A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.
It also shows that she doesn’t consider Atheism to be treason.
Quite. This has been challenged in the past, namely in France, Russia, and with Charles I. It didn’t end well for any of their leaders.
In the UK, at least, the Queen/monarchy isn’t the government. Divine right doesn’t exist anymore in the UK.
Right. But this is more ceremonial than legally binding. The Queen can’t really refuse the government, and the powers she does have in regards to agreeing or refusing bills aren’t used anymore. You may have heard that Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party and the Opposition to the government refused to sing God Save The Queen at an event last year. It was branded as ‘disloyal’ and ‘immature’, but not treason.