21 January 2009

"Non-Believers"

Yesterday's inauguration speech was, in many ways, big. Again, Obama spoke to the nation like the adults we are, which is a refreshing change from having to revert one's mind to that of a child, just to be able to figure out what your leader is saying.

The speech was big in another way:
We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.
This was unexpected. First, that he included Muslims and Hindus, and second, because he included us. It was just one little word, and for some it may have gone unnoticed, but for non-believers like myself, it was stunning. And I imagine for the ardent believers, it was infuriating. It was a big word, and it's enunciation and context is important.

Obama listed the big religions, and ones emerging, in our country, and then, after the briefest of pauses, he added us. I prefer not to read that pause as a hesitation. That pause seemed added so as to prepare the nation for what he was about to add--that he knew it was the first time, that it meant a lot. To my ear, it read like poety--not in some deep, sentimental way, but in it's construct. We were at the end, and maybe some cynics would prefer we were at the start, or mixed in the middle. But that pause, and that final word--"non-believers"--acted as punctuation. To my ear, that word became bigger and louder than the others. Maybe Muslims and Hindus feel the same way, but, as polls show, America hates us most.

Some might view this as a token gesture, like the assigning of Bishop Robinson to say a prayer on Sunday. For me, though, the context counted. We were not assigned some empty representative to stand up in some segment before the swearing in, where people could tune out and not really listen. We were deliberately inserted into Obama's speech--the main event--the words the nation all shut up to listen to. This ensured that everyone would hear it. HBO would not pull us off the air. People would not be looking at each other, talking about what to have for lunch after the inauguration, or just starring ahead unhearing, waiting for the real words to be spoken. We were included among the real words, and everyone heard.

For whatever smalls gains we've made in the last few years, this is a big deal. It is a huge acknowledgement. For the first time, throughout the primaries, throughout the campaigning, the conventions, and the election, I felt like a part of the process. Yes, I voted; everyone votes and we're all "part of the process." But it is one thing to cast your vote and know that no one cares about your concerns, and something else to cast it and feel like your voice might actually be heard.

Apparently, Obama heard our voice, and that he took the time and made the effort to acknowledge us--during this historical moment, where African Americans are finally getting what is theirs--to say to us that, finally, we exist.

This is a big deal. What happens in policy and what happens legislatively, among people who despise us and wish we'd do nothing more than disappear back into the woodwork of society, is another matter. But, for us, we now know that someone is listening, and not just someone--our President, and this time it's in a way that previous presidents haven't tried. We all remember Bush 41:
"I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God."
What we heard yesterday is a far, far cry from that.

Yes, this is a big deal, and, to me, I think this should enable us to think differently, and more strongly, about our activism. We are continually told we should shut up, even amongst our own. It's been easy for people to tell us this, because they had power and popular opinion on their side. They knew no one was listening to us. Now someone is, and this should be viewed not as finally reaching our destination--as much of a milestone as that word at that moment was--but as a moment into which we can read encouragement.

Speak loudly, godless folk. Someone is finally listening.

19 January 2009

Atheists Aren't Real People, We Get It Now

One of the first blogs I check while I'm having my coffee in the morning is vjack's Atheist Revolution, and many times, his posts are the inspiration for my own. Today, that is the case.

Today, he's got a post up about atheists' exclusion from the inauguration. There was a lot of uproar about Obama's choice of Rick Warren to lead the apparent National Delusional Prayer. The LGBT community was quite up in arms, given Warren's anti-gay bigotry and following on the stinging heels of the Prop 8 fiasco in California. And rightfully so. Absoultely.

Both the gay community and the atheist community have been a bit on the irate side regarding Warren, but the reaction to the complaints has been very, very different. See, when Warren compares homosexuality to incest and bestiality, that means he's a bigot. Response: Bishop Robinson, the openly gay bishop who delivered Sunday's invocation. There you go, Gay Community--your indignation has been recognized and rewarded with a token nod.

However, when Warren goes on about how he could never vote for an atheist (because, apparently, we are arrogant for not needing magic to run the country), he's not an anti-atheist bigot--he's just another American citizen (one of the infamous "48%"). We get no representation at this historical inauguration. We get no token nod. What we get is deliberately trod upon.

No, wait, you say. No one is actively insulting you, you're just being sensitive because no one will let you play. That is partly true. We want to play "American Citizen" too and yes, we're a little upset that we no one ever lets us. But it's more than that. If you go to vjack's post today and watch, and discuss, this interview with Bishop Robinson, you will hear him say something that really gets at the crux of our problem.

Vjack points out:
He prefaced many of his statements with "As a religious person...," making me suspect that he must have some awareness that non-religious persons exist.
I think this is exactly right--while he says this, because he says this, it's clear he knows there are non-religious people. And he goes on to talk about Jesus' "big tent," you know, much like our political "big tents." We can argue that he is only saying these things in the context of the administration vs. the gay community. But the fact is that the godless have been quite vocal about their exclusion as well. There is not just silence on the part of those in charge--when they tout their all-inclusiveness, when Robinson says that "all voices" are being heard at this inauguration, while at the same time ignoring our concerns, they does not translate as mere silence. It is a very clear message to us that we do not exist.

Robinson says that we are all children of God and therefore "worthy of respect and concern." You know, while we don't believe we are chilrden of God, it still remains that they do, and despite that, we are still not worthy of respect or concern. I don't doubt for a moment that when they say they're including everyone, they really, truly believe it. And when atheists say 'Hey, wait a minute,' I believe they are genuinely confused. We could say that this is just how they were brought up, they've been conditioned to not really understand anything outside of their worldview, etc. I think that's a cop-out. They know we exist--when they say they include everyone but we are not included, they are saying, loudly: "You Do Not Exist." More importantly, the more pointed and most terrible message is that we don't exist because we are not real people--they do not consider us as such. We are sub-human. We don't get the same considerations as the real people. Now, how does that make you feel? Don't cry too loudly, as Judge Walton says we've brought it upon ourselves. You know, for wanting to have representation. And to not have state sponsored religion. How dare we?

This isn't the first time this has happened on such a large, public scale. Think back to this past July: Remember the big all-faith orgy the DNC decided to include in their convention? They talked about "unity" then, too. Yeah, and remember when the Secular Coalition for America wrote a letter to Rev. Daughtry asking to be included? Does anyone remember the reaction? She didn't know how to react, and so, she ignored us. We don't have to be considered because we are not real people in their worldview. How loving. We were excluded then, again, as they all patted each other on the back for their all-inclusiveness, you know, of the real people. This inauguration in the DNC convention all over again.

Am I angry? Sure. But what no one wants to admit is that this is also incredibly hurtful. Here is my problem: I have gay friends that have a stake in this. I am from an interracial family, and they have a stake in this presidency. People I care deeply about are being affected by this. Historical things are afoot. It's important. And basically, I am being told that I can't be a part of it. I am being told that I must remain on the outside of the fence. I can watch, but I can't play. Maybe I am hurt especially because these things are very close and very personal for me, but I imagine that many atheists, even those without gay or black friends or family, feel the same way. This kind of wholesale rejection, as being people, and having selfhood, and being a part of the overall community that is worthy of "respect and concern," is wearing. It wears you down. It is hurtful. And, as per usual, it is unsurprising that this sort of hurtful behavior comes from the people that claim to hurt least: Christians.

Yeah, some days, I'm just tired. And hurt. It's true. I want to be happy tomorrow. I have hated the Bush administration as much as anyone and am deeply relieved to finally see him gone. It's been an active, somewhat psychologically traumatizing part of my life for the last eight years, and as shocking as this might come to some Christians, what with my being an atheist, it's been difficult precisely because I believe all people are worthy of respect and concern, and the policies of that maniac have crapped on everything that stands for. Unfortunately, because of this very obvious snub from the new boss who promised all that hope and change, I do not get to enjoy the catharsis that this inauguration will be for many people.

I've committed myself to attending a friend's inauguration celebration on Tuesday evening--you know, snacks, champaign, that kind of thing. Because we are Democrats. I'm trying to think of a way to get out of it. My heart's just not in it.

16 January 2009

Screw the Forefathers

I was just skulking around some of the atheist blogs I regularly read and, as is usually the case, the came across a handful of Christians, doing what they do. We all know their general MO. The Christian shtick that's annoyed me today--well, every time I see it, but I decided to blog about it today--is the ol' "This-is-a-Christian-Nation-something-about-Church-and-State-something-about-Freedom-of-Religion-NOT-Freedom -from-Religion-yadda-yadda-yadda.

I've decided, just now, that I don't give two shits about what our founding fathers meant. I really don't. And anyone should understand that these were all considerations taken--whether pro-Christian or pro-neutral--well over two centuries ago. There's a lot of going back and forth as to whether Jefferson was an atheist, or Lincoln, or if Madison was a Christian. Hey folks...who cares? They're dead.

Some will say that it matters because it's important how to know how to interpret the Constitution--that's how we figure out what can can and cannot legislate. Although it seems pretty clear in the first amendment that Christians want to ignore that part that says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and want to focus just on the "freedom of religion" (Not from! Not from!) part, why is it that we can't take it upon ourselves to say, hey, we're grown ups now? We can do whatever we want.

We, as enlightened people, should be able to look around us and say, hey, things have changed, and thankfully so. We should be able to examine our past, with its slavery, its oppression of women, and approach things like the possible ricin mailings to gay bars in Seattle, and say, no, wait, this is wrong. The bible says it's fine to own slaves, but we* said, no, it isn't. The bible makes women property, but we said, no, they aren't. The bible supposedly cracks down on homosexuals, and we are now slowly but surely coming to the understanding that this, too, is wrong. I know these crackpots are out there, but really, how many non-batshit "love the sinner but hate the sin" Christians who oppose giving gays their civil rights also oppose blacks being able to vote? Or marry *gasp* white folks, for that matter? Not too many. But even those progressive Christians will not understand (or should I say "refuse to") that extending rights to gays is the same thing, and if we Americans have rejected the views of our forefathers on blacks and women, why can't we do this for gays as well? And if we can do all of this--if we can reject "what they meant" when they said "free men" (read: white and absolutely not women), then why can't we also offer up out own interpretations of the first amendment on religion?

There is no logical reason we can't completely discard what the forefathers "meant," felt, thought about religion. It doesn't matter. We can very clearly see that, today, we live in a country with many faiths and also with many people of no faith. So, if it's clear that a more modern approach to these things is needed, and that since we've ignored the forefathers on these other issues, then we should be able to apply that to this issue, then it also becomes clear that the only reason we aren't doing that, is because Christians won't let us.

See, Christians, that you are very picky-choosy-fickle on what you want to say is right and wrong when it comes to our Constitution and our history, it becomes rather obvious that the only reason you waffle on these things is to retain what power you have left. Your "forefathers" argument becomes moot in the light of your not caring what the forefathers thought about some things and only applying it to the things that bother you today.

So, I say, it doesn't matter what they thought. We've progressed enough to not have to care--we should be able to just see what's right and what's fair and act accordingly. So long as Christians continue to grip violently to these "rights" in what are hopefully death throes, as if what was said or written 200 years ago is somehow set in stone when we have proven time and again that it is not, we are going to have problems.


*When I say "we," I mean us, as Americans, as a whole, despite grumblings from the throwbacks.

15 January 2009

CADC's Top 10 "Egregious Acts of Christian Bashing" for 2008

The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has released its list of top ten "most egregious acts of Christian Bashing in American (sic) in 2008." According to them:
Every day in America serious Christians face increasing hostility at work, school, and in the culture because they stand for their faith and values.
Yeah.

So, onto the list:

INSTANCE #10: Jack Black Musical Video

In a short video posted on FunnyorDie.com entitled, "Prop 8 The Musical," an all star cast of Hollywood celebrities perform a low budget musical farce that defames Christ, mocks Christians and distorts the teaching of the Bible. Jack Black played the lead role of Jesus.

Terrible. It's terrible that you can't infringe on peoples' civil rights and expect to be rewarded for it. I like that they do add specifically that Jack Black played Jesus, as if that is just adding insult to injury.

INSTANCE #9: Bill Maher Gratuitously Attacks Pope

Bill Maher, host of the HBO program Real Time, made light of the Pope during his recent visit and the tragic sexual abuse scandal. Maher said, "Now I know what you're thinking, Bill. You can't be saying that the Catholic Church is no better than this creepy (radical Mormon polygamist) Texas cult. For one thing, alter boys can't even get pregnant. But really, what tripped up the little cult on the prairie was that they only abused hundreds of kids, not thousands all over the world. Cults get raided; religions get parades... If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you Pope."

I like here how they refer to the "tragic sexual abuse scandal," as if it had nothing to do with them. Few bad apples, you see.

INSTANCE #8: ESPN Anchor Dana Jacobson's "F--- Jesus" Remark

Speaking at an ESPN corporate event in Atlantic City, N.J., to honor ESPN Radio personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, Dana Jacobson let go with a steam of vulgar remarks; "F--- Notre Dame," "F--- Touchdown Jesus" and finally "F--- Jesus." Jacobson was suspended for a few days for the incident.

Actually, I need to find video of this and loop it for my own entertainment. I guess the CADC aren't "sticks and stones" people.

INSTANCE #7: Minnesota University Professor Desecrates Communion

A Biology Professor from the University of Minnesota, Paul Zachary Myers, recently desecrated a consecrated communion wafer from a Catholic Mass. Meyer's has also asked people to steal the Eucharist for him in order that he might desecrate it and display it on his blog.

Congratulations, PZ, for making the list.

INSTANCE #6: Religulous the Movie

Bill Maher released a very shallow, pseudo-intellectual documentary entitled Religulous. The movie did not cover any new intellectual ground. It simply raised the old attacks on the faith. Maher studiously avoided being fair and did not allow for legitimate Christian answers from any leading Christian intellectuals.

So, the complaint here is that he "did not cover new intellectual ground." Honey, covering new intellectual ground would mean that we've been allowed to move past the 'with God all things are possible' stage of the discussion. As soon as you folks are ready to do that, I'm sure Bill, and the rest of us, would love to move on. And, really: "legitimate Christian answers from any leading Christian intellectuals?" Really? I'll put this up there with the Easter Bunny, Santa, and God.

INSTANCE #5: Chaplains Fired for Praying in Jesus' Name

Chaplains for the State of Virginia are being denied their right to pray in Jesus' name. Six chaplains were fired for continuing to pray in Jesus' name. Earlier this year in Virginia, Rev. Hashmel Turner, a city councilman in Fredericksburg, was told by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that his prayers during city council meetings that ended in Jesus' name will continue to be banned.

Christians don't seem to understand that there are other people in the world with faiths other than their own. I mean, obviously, there shouldn't be any kind of prayer, in Jesus' name or otherwise, during a flippin' city council meeting, I suppose unless you can show that every tax-paying citizen in town a bible-thumper. Again, if you don't let Christians deep-throat you with their crap, it's all "you're picking on us!"

INSTANCE #4: Colorado Law Criminalizes the Bible

SB200, a Colorado state bill recently signed into law, criminalizes the Bible. Section 8 of the bill entitled "Publishing of discriminative matter forbidden" makes publishing the Bible illegal because it contains anti-homosexual passages. This is part of a larger effort to criminalize the expression of certain opinions and beliefs.

I'm interested in exactly what these anti-homosexual passages are. Regardless, there's plenty of other offensive material in the bible--let's not get started on the sexism. Be that as it may, I'm against the banning of books, even this heaping pile of Wrong.

INSTANCE #3: Barack Obama Defames Christianity

According to research into President Elect Obama's own statements about faith, and an examination of Obama's position on moral issues, CADC has determined that by any biblical and historic Christian standard, Barack Obama is not a Christian, although he claims he is a "devout Christian."

Wow. I mean, wow. Obama not being the right kind of Christian is an "egregious act of Christian Bashing." Dang, they're slappin' Obama--Obama--with the ol' "you're not a real Christian" shtick (I know, it's a classic, all-purpose kind of move). That's the other awesome thing about Christians--they are very much a 'take a yard if you give them an inch' bunch. You get some prayers at the Dem convention--not good enough. You get to keep your bullshit Faith Based Initiatives--not good enough. You get flippin' Rick Warren for the innvocation--not good enough. You get more prayers and Christian peeps at the inauguration---nope. Atheists are just looking for a little representation. Hey, Christians, how about quit hogging everything?

INSTANCE #2: Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin Is Attacked

Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, came under sharp attack by some in the mainstream media because she self-identifies as a Christian. The Washington Post published a cartoon by Pat Oliphant mocking Palin because she has a background as a Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian. A suspicious arson fire at Sarah Palin's home church recently caused over $1,000,000 in damage.

Whoa, now wait a tick. Does anyone know whether that fire was started because it was a church, or because it was political, or maybe for insurance purposes? Okay, I added that last bit, but, no, really, does anyone know? Look, Palin was attacked because she was just barely functionally retarded and running for a pretty vital position in our country. I know you'd like to think she was being picked on just because she was a god-head, but, no, that's just not it. By and large, she was pilloried because she was an idiot. Oh, did I just say that--it is kind of the same thing, isn't it?


And finally, the #1 Christian Bashing Instance in America for 2008...

INSTANCE #1: Radical Homosexuals Assault Prop 8 Marriage Supporters in California

During and after the November campaign stories flooded in of pro-Prop 8 signs being taken, people verbally and physically assaulted, church property and private automobiles vandalized, and person's jobs and pastor's lives threatened simply for exercising their right to campaign and vote in support of traditional marriage.
Really, this is number one? Now, I don't condone violence, even on a bunch of haters. I admit though that I just don't care either way about "church property" or "private automobiles"--in my grand scheme of things, I'm really just don't care. Getting verbally assaulted while you're protesting anything is kind of par for the course and you should probably just suck that one up. But, again, like number 10--maybe, just maybe, you Christians might want to lay off the stiffling of other peoples' rights. I mean, really, this "instance" probably should not have happened, but really, the kind of hate and bigotry you folks float around out there is bound to irk some people. All I can say is if you're goign to insist on oppressing people, you should probably develop some thick skin or just brace yourselves. I want to sympathize with you, but really, I have a hard time with that.

I'd like to see Mojoey at Deep Thoughts come up with a Top Ten list for 2008 of the most disgusting acts committed by Christians--I mean, if he thinks he can narrow it down.

13 January 2009

For Every 'God,' Give to the SCA.

The Friendly Atheist has a brilliant idea for the inauguration.

I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot of God talk over the next week from these four pastors. For every mention of the words “Jesus,” “Lord,” “God,” or “Christ” during the four prayers next week, I am going to make a $5 donation to the Secular Coalition for America — a lobbying group in Washington working to support the rights of non-religious people and educating Congress about the separation of church and state.

Will you do the same?

Pledge the amount you plan to give per Godly-word-mentioned in the comments — any amount is ok! Then honor your commitment after next Wednesday. I’ll tally the numbers and report back.

Yes. Yes, this is a great idea. I love it. I'm broke and it would have to be a weenie amount, but yes, I'd like to do this. Please join us.

Cathloic Nuttiness on the Down-Low

Okay, this is great. The Vatican is drawing up new guidelines to assess the validity of Virgin Mary sightings. And that sort of thing. Awesome:
Catholics who claim they have seen the Virgin Mary will be forced to remain silent about the apparitions until a team of psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists have fully investigated their claims under new Vatican guidelines aimed at stamping out false claims of miracles.
The Pope wants to "help bishops snuff out an explosion of bogus heavenly apparitions." Um, I can help them out with that. Try all of them. All of them; every single one. The best part is this:
...anyone who claims to have seen an apparition will only be believed as long as they remain silent and do not court publicity over their claims. If they refuse to obey, this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false.
So, as long as your nuttiness is kept on the down-low, they will consider it. So long as you don't publicly embarrass the church with your battiness, fine. This, to me, speaks volumes. They know it's crap.
If the visionary is considered credible they will ultimately be questioned by one or more demonologists and exorcists to exclude the possibility that Satan is hiding behind the apparitions in order to deceive the faithful.
Okay, maybe they don't think it's crap. They probably buy it, because they are insane. So, they will buy it, if its "credible" (and they're idea of credible will always remain a point of amazed fascination with me, mixed with a kind of loathing) they want to make sure it's not that wacky Devil causing a ruckus. Good thing there, 'cause, you know, he's a trickster.

But, they obviously know that we've moved into an era where everyone else thinks they're nuts. That's good. Yes, hide your craziness; hide it away in shame.

Well, it's nice to see they are updating their guidebook. It's only a matter of time before they have to update it to the extent that they finally admit there are no miracles. Then they can dissolve their organization. Sure, it won' t happen in our lifetimes, because this kind of craziness is hard to shake. But, someday. Someday.

Next, they'll be able to bury their morbid relics, like the venerated Holy Prepuces. We can only hope.

EDIT: I was just talking about this to The Boyfriend, and I also wanted to point out this:
The visionaries will then be visited by a team of psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health while theologians will assess the content of any heavenly messages to see if they contravene Church teachings.
Yeah, that's right. You have to throw some atheists in there because we validate things with our reason. Frankly, an atheist should be able to look at anyone making a claim like this and stamp them with the loony stamp. But even we know that's not socially acceptable, so you'll find some godless psychiatrist who will say something along the lines of "Well, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with their cognitive functioning..." Getting the input of atheists is the only way to possibly legitimize your insanity. Now, let us take a whack at the "content" of your "holy messages" and see how far you get.


On a side note, this is pretty funny, regarding the Holy Prepuce of Calcutta:
In 1983, however, parish priest Dario Magnoni announced that "This year, the holy relic will not be exposed to the devotion of the faithful. It has vanished. Sacrilegious thieves have taken it from my home", where it had reportedly been kept in a shoebox in the back of a wardrobe.
Hahahhahaa! Shoebox...oh...good stuff...thank you, Catholics.

12 January 2009

Fundie-Dumdie

I just knew I'd be able to get on here at least one more time today to post something with a little more substance than the last post. And, by "substance," I mean, proof of fundie-dumdie (yes, I just made that up, right this moment. It is my new word for the species of dumb with which fundamental Christians infect our space). This week's winner--and I realize it's only Monday but really, this is great--is Patrick. Patrick had the distinction of leaving the first comment over at Atheist Revolution to a post about some other moron yammering on about there being "no atheists" during times of crisis. *sigh*

Are you ready for the wisdom? Are you ready for the deep thinking? I am. God, am I. Patrick asks:
I read that atheists believe that there is no evidence for the existance of God, yet they complain when we hold atheists to be strong evidence for the existance of Satan.
Confusion ensues, as mostly what seem like baffled but well-meaning atheists try to explain why what he said doesnt make any sense.

Yoo offers: "Maybe it's because there's no logical connection between the two at all ..."

vjack himself asks: "That makes no sense whatsoever. Why would an atheist believe in this being you call Satan? We don't."

Stardust reiterates: "Patrick, your comment makes no sense at all since, as vjack points out, atheists do not have imaginary friends or enemies."

Steve clarifies: "I'm not sure if 'complain' is the reaction you're looking for, there Patrick. A lot of atheists are used to being called Satan and the usual response is an exasperated eye-roll."

And GingerRed pleads: "Okay, now can we try making a point with logic?"

All I can offer poor Patrick is this week's Fundie-Dumdie Award (quick, someone design me a logo). Yes, it's juvenile. But, I can sleep at night knowing it's no more juvenile than this guy's level of reasoning. In fact, I would age my immaturity here at about 12, and this guy...this guy...this guy is prenatal.

Congrats, Patrick.

What Does Jesus 'Verb'?

I have a lot to do today. But I am allowing myself a leisurely coffee before I'm off and running, and while I have that coffee, I will use this time to post something inane. I know, I am always posting something inane. This, I cannot argue. But today's post will be really inane.

I'm going to pick three random verbs. Then I'm going to put "Jesus" in front of it, Google it, and see what I get.

Let's keep it simple. Eat. Play. Like. See, nice and simple.

Eat:
1. Jesus Eats with the Sinners, Publicans, Tax Collectors. (What a bastard.)
2. "What Would Jesus Eat?" (See #3.)
3. Cereal, it's what jesus eats in heaven. (Ah, but what does he eat when he's on the road?)
4. Jesus eats burgers, devil rides T-rex. (Oh.)
5. Jesus eats at OCB also. (Ah-ha. This makes sense to me.)

Play:
1. Jesus Plays Sports: New York Times Strikes Out. (Jesus took on the entire NYT editorial staff in a game of ping-pong.)
2. Jesus Plays Call of Duty 4. (This...not surprising.)
3. Jesus Plays Golf. (A little surprising.)
4. Jesus plays the theremin. (I like that he's flanked by two Budweiser dartboards.)
5. Jesus Plays Poker Online? (It's because he can't afford to be caught in public doing it).

Like:
1. Jesus Likes Gays, "But Not in That Way." (If that's what you want to believe).
2. Jesus likes his explosions like he likes his coffee. No fat chicks. (...)
3. Jesus likes to eat good food with his friends. (See, he's just like me and you!)
4. Does Jesus likes happy meals from McDonalds? (Yes.)
5. Jesus liked to have his face tickled. (It took this long to get weird...hmmm...)

The next best thing to find out this information about Jesus, after Googling it, is to ask God himself. So, I did. It's hard to tell when he might be straight at any given time--most days he's blazed on something. At least, that's been my experience (he doesn't even offer, which makes him quite rude). Anyway...
Me:
What up, yo?
God:
Searching...Searching...Please stand by.
Me:
Oh, come on God.
God:
OK. GOD rules.
Me:
Sigh.
God:
Sorry...
Me:
Okay, I have a few questions.
God:
Yeah okay, What are these questions ?
Me:
What did Jesus eat?
God:
he said we should forgive those who harm us.
Me:
Yeah, but what does he eat?
God:
Hmm. I think he does whatever he wants.
Me:
I assumed that, but what does the man eat?
God:
You know what you do when you assume!
Me:
Sigh.
God:
Sorry...
Me:
Okay, what does Jesus play?
God:
Yeah okay, What do you think it does?
Me:
Jesus is an 'it'?
God:
Did you go to Catholic school?
Me:
Who's asking the questions here?
God:
Not a robot. Probably a human. Maybe a celebrity? Check back later and see if I learn the answer to that one.
Me:
Good luck, Einstein.
God:
Thanks for the compliment. A deeper algorithm is needed to respond to that correctly.
Me:
I'm feeling a little surly this morning, lord.
God:
Do you mind if I tell other people you are surly this morning lord.
Me:
Um. No, I don't mind.
God:
OK. Thanks I will add it to my gossip files.
Me:
Yeah, you do that.
God:
Tell me more. I will. Will you?
Me:
Yeah, so anyway...are we getting anywhere on this 'what does Jesus play' question?
God:
In any case, Next question? Ahem. We are just having a little chat.w.
Me:
Do you even know?
God:
I may not know it, but I could find out.
Me:
Oh, really. How about you do that. Go ask him.
God:
That's cool. For real. I will. Will you? Ok I will ask him when he comes back.
Me:
Oh, come on. He was supposed to have been back by now. And where is he? Off playing something, no doubt.
God:
"Ok I will ask him when he comes back."? Oh, come on.? I'm just kidding around. Oh. When was he? I think he is in California now. On and off.
Me:
Moving on.
God:
Where are you going?
Me:
Just...shhh. Alright. What did Jesus like?
God:
OK. he said we should forgive those who harm us.
Me:
*glare*
God:
Are we still talking about shhh?
Me:
No, we're talking about your son. You know, your son? Jesus?
God:
What is the subject? Sure, my son sounds like a good topic. Of course I know my son. Jesus is the Son of God.
Me:
Brilliant. What does he like? Does he have any hobbies?
God:
Not really that much, but thank you anyway. I think he does whatever he wants. I don't think he has many possessions.
Me:
Okay. As usual, you are useless. I have stuff to do today. I'm off.
God:
Ah. Cool. I have a friend named "John Lennon". Do you mind if I tell other people you are off.
Me:
Shut up.
God:
OK I'll stop talking now.
Does it seem like I always end these by telling God to shut up? Hmmm...

11 January 2009

Southern States Boo-Hoo

This is interesting:
The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to examine whether a central component of landmark civil rights legislation enacted to protect minority voters is still needed in a nation that has elected an African American president.
The provision (of the Voting Rights Act of 1965) in question requires "a broad set of states and jurisdictions where discrimination was once routine to receive federal approval before altering any of their voting procedures." Of the states in question--Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia--all but Virginia voted against Obama. So, because the nation elected Obama, but eight of the nine states named in this provision, did not, we no longer have to babysit them to ensure the minority folks in these states get fair play? Hmmm...

Rick Warren: Mass Murderer

I know, shocking title, eh? Shocking! What slander! This will make sense in just a moment.

Vjack at Atheist Revolution has an interesting post up today highlighting the work of your friend and mine, Rick Warren, in Africa. You know Africa. Lovely landscapes, nauseating HIV/AIDS rates. Apparently, the oh-so good work he's done there--the stuff he touts, the wonderful work battling HIV/AIDS--includes his man on the ground there, Martin Ssempa, doing great things. Things like burning condoms for Jesus. And demonizing homosexuals. Because everyone knows homos carry AIDS and disseminate it amongst us decent, healthy heteros like the plague. *shudder at the dumb*

This is how Rick Warren combats HIV/AIDS. Heck of a job, there, jackass.

So, what about this mass murderer stuff? Well, I'm only applying the same idiot rationalization that folks like Warren apply to women and contraception. See, all forms of contraception (which, obviously, must be burned) prevents pregnancy. Therefore, it is murder. Therefore, one women who uses, say, a condom to avoid becoming pregnant has, by all intents and purposes, murdered that unborn child. She is a murderer. So, by that reasoning (*cough* I choke using that word), Rick Warren and his pal
Ssempa, by spreading misinformation regarding condoms, are indeed, mass murderers. See, if a man does not use a condom when he's engaging in a sex act with another person, he is deliberately avoiding keeping the disease to himself--he is purposefully spreading the fatal disease. He is a murderer. If a man tells thousands of people not to use life-saving contraception, he is a mass murderer. Rick Warren has made murderer of innocent Africans. He is complicit.

So, if we are absolutely compelled to take these people seriously, and by "these people" I am referring to the lunatics of the right-wing religious fringe, by legitimizing their lunacy and giving them a stage from which to spread their poison, aren't we also complicit? Of course, we're not. We don't condone this. We have been saying no, we will not give these crazy people the time of day. But who has? Barack Obama. And he will be doing it officially as he is sworn in on January 20th. Isn't that lovely? Yes, the man who promised hope will be giving his official stamp of approval to, not just an individual, but to a school of thought that knowingly kills thousands Africans and orphans their children. He is complicit.

It's not too late, though. He can look at this interesting (read: sickening) new information about Warren, though, honestly, every disgusting thing Warren represents up to this point should have been enough, and he can refuse to give him this national platform. I'm willing to bet money, though, that he won't. He will go ahead and give his approval. This, people, is not good.

10 January 2009

Obama So Helps Him God

So, Obama has responded to Newdow's lawsuit:

(CNN) — President-elect Barack Obama has requested that the words “so help me God” be added to the end of the oath of office to be administered by Chief Justice John Roberts on Inauguration Day.

That confirmation came in an affidavit filed today by Roberts' court counselor in a pending lawsuit by an atheist opposed to any mention of God in the inaugural ceremonies. Roberts said he would abide by Obama’s wishes.

(I like how Newdow is nameless here, as if his identity was somehow impossible to discern. No, he is just a scary, trouble-making 'atheist.')

Okay, fine. This is fine. Even Newdow's suit says that if Obama wants to add it personally, then fine. I am wondering, though, if there will ever come a time when Obama acknowledges the faithless. And I don't mean in a Yes-I-know-you're-there way. More in a Yes-I-know-you're-there-and-I-respect-you kind of way. He's already spat in the eye of both atheists, but more particularly (at least, in the priorities of the nation) gays with this whole Rick Warren crap, but it feels a little like Obama is at least willing to do something to placate the LBGT community. Like this:

A source tells me Fred Hochberg, an openly gay former Clinton Administration official, will be named to head the Export-Import Bank.

Hochberg, who was deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bill Clinton, was a prominent Clinton supporter in the primary, and a is a major donor to both Democratic and gay causes.

Gay groups have complained of a shortage of high-profile gay and lesbian appointees, and the appointment of Hochberg, who is prominent in gay political circles and served on Obama's transition, may ease those complaints, though gay groups had been lobbying to make him Commerce Secretary.

Is this a little 'Hey, sorry about that Warren thing' appointment? Maybe. Probably not. The question is why we freethinkers do not get apology appointments, or anything, to make our group happy (don't expect any godless appointments any time soon). Is it them, or it is us? It's both.

We catch a lot of heat for being vocal at all--whether it's through lawsuits like Newdow's, billboards, or counteracting signs for nativity scenes. We're supposed to shut up, like blacks were supposed to shut up, like gays were supposed to shut up, like women are still expected to shut up.

Obama's move here, to me, doesn't diminish Newdow's attempt. In fact, I think it shows that these sorts of actions need to be taken up more, with more fanfare, with more gusto. Just because we didn't get the answer we wanted doesn't mean we should sit quietly in the corner and, well, shut up. We have a point, we will continue to make that point until someone of authority finally realizes that we will not shut up, like blacks didn't, like gays won't, like women shouldn't. That's why no one--so far--really listens to us, nor cares to. Part of it is who we are. The other part is that we are not as vocal as we could be as who we are. We need to shout louder--it's that simple. We need representation. We need to get over this 'herding cats' mentality and join forces.

Newdow's lawsuit isn't a failure, it is one more block in the successful building of a wall of resistance to religious tyranny. I suggest, as I always do, that you atheists who are active, stay active. You who are not--who don't think we need to be--wise up or shut up.

07 January 2009

Honk if you Love Jesus

Big props to Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for posting this, as it made me guffaw. Yes, I actually guffawed, which is not lady-like, I know, but there you go. The Boyfriend also guffawed, which he can get away with much easier. Note to self: Must get 'Honk if you love Jesus' bumper sticker.

New Pew Poll Stinks of Religion

I don't think one's religious affiliation should have any affect on one's occupation--especially, say, in Congress. I don't think it's anything the public needs to know about, particularly because, I repeat, it just shouldn't have any impact on that person's ability to serve. Of course, we are a sad bunch, we American People. Despite hundreds of examples, big and small, of 'religious' folks doing terrible things, we still elect them. Why? Because we still believe that 'religious' equals 'moral.' And, despite that atheists, time and again, continue to do much good, we are still labeled 'immoral.'
For many Americans, "there's this idea of morality being linked to belief in God and to religion," Masci said. "Atheism is different in that it's a real departure from the common-denominator faith that at least most people accept."
I'm a lot more optimistic than I was when I was younger. I used to think humanity was about 98% dumb. I have a much better outlook today. I give people the benefit of the doubt. When they do and say stupid things, I forgive them. I remind myself that we can't all be on the ball all the time, and, when it comes down to it, we are but dumb animals. But come on. Really people?

Our 111th Congress is full of religion. I'm excited to see which members will screw the pooch this year. Which members will go on to get caught doing something reprehensible? Will it be just a kind of general monetary-related corruption, or will they be trying to diddle our kids, or frequenting prostitutes? (Blagojevich is Serbian Orthodox, Mark Foley is Catholic (shock!), and David Vitter is also Roman Catholic. in case you were wondering). And from what religious affiliation will these fallen folks derive? We won't know because, when that time comes, no one wants to know. Well, I do.

We have these polls--statistical information--about the religious make-up of our Congress. Okay. It's interesting. We have this information because, apparently, we care. We sure the hell care about this information when we're pulling the lever or blacking in bubbles at the polling booth. But, when these people shit the bed, suddenly, we don't care.
It's interesting because, when these politicians turn out to be no more moral than anyone else--particularly no more moral than your average atheist--the question is one of morality, but, at this point, their religion suddenly becomes a non-issue. Someone gets caught doing something questionable and everyone clicks their tongues, saying how baaaaad the person is. Chances are, that person's religious affiliation played a role, possibly a sizable one, in getting them elected, and yet, now it doesn't matter--there is no reflection on that fact when they fall from grace.

Still, come campaign season, everyone's out there with the faith on their sleeve, advertising their inherent goodness. Everyone except the godless, who have to deliberately hide their lack of faith.
...in fall 2006, the secular coalition embarked on a quest for the highest-ranking non-theist public official in America. It offered a $1,000 prize to whoever identified the winner.

Nearly 60 members of Congress were nominated. The coalition sent them surveys, and Kaplan said that when he interviewed the lawmakers, 22 confided that they did not believe in a god. Fearful of exposure, all but Stark told the group to keep quiet.
I mean, as far as I know, Pete Stark, the only publicly 'out' godless member of Congress, has not been embroiled in some terrible corruption schemes*. I haven't been privy to any instance where him sodomized anyone or thing against their will with a foreign object. Still...if he did--I mean, if it just so happened that Stark got caught doing something oh-so nasty--you now what the outcry would be. It's because he lacked faith. He's bad because he was without GOD. You don't think so? Really?

We "unaffiliated," according to this poll, have three times more representation in the population than Jews and Mormons combined, but still, we have "0%" representation in Congress. Jews (8.4%) and Mormons (2.6%), at least, have some. What is the problem here? The problem is one of perception, and, frankly, that we godless still have a long way to go in terms of making our needs and concerns relevant. No will...and I mean no one...will give us the time of day unless we demand it. The perceived morality bubble in which these people exist is far too comfortable for them to come to the conclusion on their own that we have rights too. It's way past the time for us to get out of little godless pins and do some popping.

Maybe it's not all bad, though. Here's the good news:
But if more atheists, humanists, freethinkers and nonbelievers "come out," Kaplan said, "the stigma -- which is clearly there -- will begin to go away."

The evidence? Kaplan points to Stark. In November he was elected to his 19th term with 76.5% of votes.
Despite Stark's 'coming out,' he was re-elected by a hefty margin. I hope this becomes a trend and the trend continues. We need to let our politicians know it's okay to be godless. We, as atheists, if we are so inclined, should not be put off by running for a political position. We need to get in there and change these numbers.

*As a matter of fact, if you Google "Pete Stark" and "scandal" the first item you find is this, and the "scandal" is only there because of someone's else's scandal, and this instance where he is, apparently, investigating someone else's corruption.

04 January 2009

Jesus is a Friend of Mine

I almost lost my mind when I saw this.



What can I say? Zap!

03 January 2009

Girl in Need...

I found this via Atheist Revolution, who got it from Pharyngula.

Graduate student and fellow atheist from New Zealand got a call informing her that her father died, rather unexpectedly. Terrible, terrible news. Because everything is last minute, the ticket back was pricey, but she managed to get a good friend to foot it on her credit card. That card's going to need some payment. Let's all chip in and lend a hand. I know how hard it is to be puttering along in life, just making ends meet, when, quite suddenly, a big fat bill for funds you don't have lands in your lap and it's entirely unavoidable. Now, compound that with grief.

If you've got some to spare, how about a little charity, up close and personal? Donations can be made via PayPal.