If you’ve ever wanted to see a demonstration of the vast differences between the Right and the Left in this country, you need look no further than two religious rallies held this past weekend.

In New York, and at similar rallies nationwide, people gathered for the Priests for Life Rally for Religious Freedom to protest the Obama Administration’s mandate requiring religious organizations to pay for contraception and abortion services that violate their rights of conscience.

In Washington, D.C., thousands of atheists gathered for an event dubbed the Reason Rally, at which participants were urged to push (non-atheist) religion out of public life and to ridicule “theists,” particularly Catholics and other Christians.

At both rallies, participants promised activism.

‘We are here to deliver a message to America,î said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. ìWe are here and we will never be silent again.’

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said, “The unjust and unconstitutional mandate of this (coverage of birth control) will be defeated. It will not stand.”

But that’s where the similarities end.

At the Rally for Religious Freedom, a statement from New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan was read which said in part, “It is wonderful to see people of all faiths standing here for religious freedom. We will tirelessly stand to defend our religious liberty.”

Father Augustino Torres told blogger Jack Kemp, “This event stands for freedom of conscience. We define freedom as loving responsibility like marriage. That makes us free.”

At the Reason Rally, comedian Paul Provenza told the crowd, ìWe are here to say to elected politicians … that there is a base for them to stand on to stand up to the Religious Right.î

Celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins talked about despising what non-atheists stand for, and he urged the crowd to “ridicule and show contempt” for the doctrines and sacraments of other religions.

While the overwhelming theme of the Rally for Religious Freedom was the need for standing up to a government that seeks to impose its will on, over and above religious conscience, the theme of the Reason Rally was how to use that same government as a hammer to punish and tear down Christianity and other “theist” religions.

One speaker gleefully related how she sued her school to have a prayer removed from a wall, earning herself the nickname “evil little thing,” a sobriquet she apparently bears with pride.

Silverman also touted his group’s reputation for frequently suing to get other people’s religions out of the public view, and he called for zero tolerance against anyone who disagrees with or opposes atheism.

Two rallies, two very different purposes. The New York rally was mostly Christian but was open to other faiths as it called for freedom. The Washington rally was strictly atheists only as it called for a religious tyranny with atheism on the throne.

Make no mistake, atheism is very much a religion. It includes fundamental beliefs about the nature of the universe (mechanistic-random), an origin story (big bang), a creation doctrine (evolution), a behavioral doctrine (“science”), clergy and saints (Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley et al.), a moral code (whatever you can get away with), and a burning need to evangelize and convert or destroy the unbelievers. It even has “churches,” such as the First Atheist Church of True Science or the Church of Reason.

But modern American atheism of the sort on display in Washington this past weekend is the worst sort of religion: one that embraces and manipulates government for its own political ends. And as such, it is the perfect tool of the Left.

There is ongoing belief in some corners that President Obama is Muslim, rather than Christian as he claims. But it’s also been suggested that he is ultimately an atheist who cynically uses Islam as a tool against Christianity.

What Obama’s deeply held beliefs are is not clear, but what is clear is that the courts, the bureaucracy, Congress and the administration are more than willing to let atheism run roughshod over the religious freedoms of Americans while installing itself as the de facto state religion.

Whenever a group actively pushes for the relegation of another group to second class status, that is worrying. When it gets away with it, that should be alarming.

The organizers of the Reason Rally trumpeted it as a unique event, the largest gathering of atheists ever in our nation’s capital. In fact, the hatred and political ambition on display at the Reason Rally was reminiscent of numerous previous events, such as the annual Munich and Weimar rallies held in the 1920s by a nascent Nazi party.

Despite how much Dawkins and other atheists may rail against “theists,” it is they who are allowing themselves to be used as tools to tear down liberty.