Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rational Response- Governor Bentley

Separation of church and state.

Let that sentiment sink in for a minute…

Separation of church and state.

What does this term mean to you? It can bring forward some pretty intense feelings on both sides of the argument but, just to be clear, let’s outline what it means.

It means to have a secular government that is concerned with the rights and concerns of all individuals and groups regardless of their creed or culture, while not espousing the beliefs and concerns of only one thereby setting that belief on a higher level of importance.

It means to have a government that does not endorse one religion over another as its official religion or as the core of its value system.

It means to have a government that doesn’t “de facto” exclude a portion of its population by supporting as official doctrine a religion that is contrary to many of the segments of its populous.

NOT separating religion and politics violates freedom OF religion because it inevitably supports one over another and relegates other religions to second class citizen status.
Leaving your religion at home in politics is MOST important because it protects everyone.

It PROTECTS religion and everyone’s right to observe their own beliefs within the confines of the law of the land.

The point is that for a government official to purposefully exclude or single out one (or a few) segments of his constituency as unworthy by his religious standards is not only unethical since it was (at least partially) those same people who got him elected, but it is a violation of the principles that many modern nations were founded upon.

Enter Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

I represent you all equally, even more equally if you love Jesus!

In his inaugural speech he said all the right things and displayed all the traits that got him elected in the first place.

He said very clearly that he wanted to be a leader who represented every single one of his constituents as fully as any other.

"(I am) Governor of all of Alabama; Democrat, Republican and Independent, young and old, black and white, rich and poor."

Sounds great! It has been far too long in political discourse that a politician has come along who wants to forget the partisan divide and represent everyone equally.

So where is the problem?

The problem began only a few hours later when he was reported by the Birmingham News to have said-

“If you're a Christian and you're saved, it makes you and me brother and sister," and "Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters, So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother."

And now we have entered into the realm of the politically unethical. Gov Bentley has raised some eyebrows with these remarks and rightly so.

Certainly the religious organisations were outraged by his singular display of kinship with only one portion of the population and his dismissal of all others. He tries to maintain the high road by expressing how much he desires those who are not his “brothers” to become so.

How can they do so? He is very clear that the only way that he will accept all others as his “brothers and sisters” is if they betray all of their deeply held beliefs and join his, one true religion.


How can a politician, in all good conscience, betray a large portion of the people who trust him to represent their interests fairly by telling them, in one breath, that he will treat ALL Alabamans equally and then in the next that he feels a special kinship with only a certain portion?

How can he reject all Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Sikhs, Pagans, and everyone else by telling them that he will only fully accept them if they agree with HIS ideology?

The answer is because he doesn’t care about those groups. He has fallen prey to that failure in moral imagination that allows him to forget how people will be offended by being told that they are not good enough.

Now I will say this;

He may actually be able to fairly represent those that he feels are not his “brothers and sisters” but, after being so summarily dismissed, how can anyone who is NOT of this family ever trust that he even wants to?

Are you SURE that I am welcome here?

A message to the Governor-

Sir, you are the representative of a large body of people whose beliefs are varied and far reaching. You have also taken on the responsibility to be guardian to them ALL equally. Not just to represent their interests equally but to always carry the appearance of recognizing their equality.

You violate these principles by publicly identifying your favourites.

You violate the principles of your office by bringing religion into the public forum, and you display for everyone how little you understand the concept of the separation of church and state.

Freedom OF religion means freedom FROM religion.

If you can’t understand how this best protects everyone, atheists and theists alike, or even why it is important to appear to have everyone’s interest at heart equally and to keep your religion to yourself, then I am afraid that you have taken on an office that you don’t deserve.

This should concern everyone, most of all you.

You owe the people of Alabama an apology and you owe your own office and position far more respect than you have shown it thus far in your very early gubernatorial life.


Edit- He has since apologized for his remarks.  Is this a case of too little too late or has he already revealed himself?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shout Out to Stupid- Bill O'Reilly

I just don't know what to say.   I have taken a week or so to think about this one because of the sheer stupidity that is involved. 

To let everyone absorb it.

It was so stupid that even his guest (David Silverman, president of "American Atheists") had to have a double take.

In an argument about whether or not "religion is a scam", O'Reilly took it upon himself to defend his God's existence.
How did he do this?
By way of a wonderful "No Spin Zone" analogy.

"Ill tell you why religion is not a scam, in my opinion, tide goes in, tide goes out, never a miscommunication." 


"Tide goes in tide goes out??"

That was Mr Silverman's response to what 'ol Bill said.  He gathered himself with a shake of the head and carried on, but it was a comical moment.

But what made me pause, FOR A WEEK, to consider this monumnetal misstep was the statement that immediately followed.

"YOU can't explain that"

Um ... are you serious?


Tides are pretty easily explained. 

By anyone.

Well, anyone over the age of 10 anyway.
note to Mr O'Reilly- Do NOT go on this show
When Jeff Foxworthy leapfrogs over you in terms of intellectual standing at Fox might be a redneck.

The fact that he kept arguing that point, as though it held water was shocking to me.  Even though he has made a career out of being more than a bit of an ass, and saying some crazy things, THIS was over and above anything that I have ever heard in a public forum. 

Hey Sarah, you two have so much in common!

Just in case you ever read this Bill, I will try to explain it to you with the expurgated version of "Tides-101". 

The moon is a REALLY big thing....
did I just lose you Bill?  Ugh, I am afraid that I just can't get into this without thinking that he will come back with "Gravity is just a theory".

On second thought, I will leave it to the intelligent people at Fox News to explain it to you.

Now I am not saying that I even agree with Mr Silverman's argument, nor his approach in saying that religion is a scam.  (A scam has to be a concious thing, not just the product of irrational thinking)  I actually think that he was being a bit of an ass himself and only trying to ruffle feathers and get some national attention and I think that Bill O'Rielly was right to say that he (Mr Silverman) was insulting people and he wondered what he sought to gain by it.

But O'Reilly's response let him off the hook with the sheer stupidity of its content.  He took all the attention off the actual topic of discussion and moved it into the realm of absolute incredulity over the magnitude of idiocy it took to utter that statement.

The clown took the stage and stole the night.

To your credit Bill, you jumped at the chance to defend your beliefs, you displayed a take no prisoners attitude and certainly thought you were helping when you joined the fray against something you found pretty offensive. 

And believe it or not, I thought, for once, you had a salient point.

But sadly, in order to defend your beliefs, you had to open your mouth, and now I am pretty sure that even God wishes that you had stayed out of it.

Seriously Bill, can you downplay our relationship a bit?

For those of you who would like to watch the infamous stupidity, here is the link (if you wish to skip the interview and get right to the stupid, go directly to 1:55 in the video)


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Atheist Evolution- Hate Mail

I thought it would be entertaining to post some hate mail that I have received over the last year, and to look forward to more great examples of theistic love in the year to come.

What surprises me about my hate mail, is just how vitriolic is gets at times.  I try to be very respectful, rational and reasonable in my posts and never use profanity or insults in responding to people who write to me in response to articles that I have written.  So when I get some of the more hateful letters and realize that they are not responding to my articles at all, but merely attacking me as a person, I get confused (and to be honest, more than a bit entertained).

Let's move on to story time;

 (* I have corrected for spelling and grammar for the most part, for the sake of readability)

This one is by a fellow called "Darwinisatwink";

"anyone who says one word of disrespect to God should be put to death. People like you are PWNED by Satan. Which means watch out for that gang of home brothers from the hood. They carry big knives. Justice is often carried out by criminals unknowingly working for Satan."

He is actually saying that he hopes that I will be attacked and killed by gangbangers working for Satan (who is clearly defending God.)  Doesn't that mean that God lets Satan do his dirty work and that the gang is by extension, working for God?


Here is another one by "solariis888";

"You stupid fuck, how dare you call the bible immoral. You are the immoral sack of shit and your blasphomy will be punished in hell. Simple as that fool."
Well, he's certainly convinced me.  Apparently it's as simple as that!

This one was a poster who just wouldn't stop with his hatred.  I received more than a dozen from this little gem named "Saynotodarwin";

"You are no better than Charles Manson and are probably worse if the truth be known. You have disrespected the godly. I sentence you to hell. You will die this year, before January 1. God will judge you and put you right in hell. You are a detriments to your grade school, for you are a fifth grader, nothing more.' "

Apparently he is the jury for God almighty!  He has sentenced me to death and hell.  I had to include this one because it is now January 4rth.  His sentence is a bit late in taking effect.  Ugh, Jesus is late AGAIN!

There are others still that go on and on with scripture and preaching and then end with;

Thank you "DarwinsBSdog" for that one.

Others are just nonsense from the start (Darwinisadink);

"idiots like you will fail. You shall die of AIDSm all nuts are homer sect shules."


There are others which are far more common, but to me, the most entertaining (holisticgod);

"If you want to live your life judging things solely by what is REAL, and accepting only facts as truth, then you will miss out on everything that is good in this universe.  Then you will burn and die in hell for not loving it in the first place.  Hope you are ok with that"

This was one of my favourites.  She is actually deriding me for judging things based on them being REAL and TRUE.   Hilarious!

I get a LOT of these ones (Repentorburnbaby)

"True men who fight for their country are always the Christians. We saved the world for you, you butt nuts. USA all the way. We are the ones with a great Christian country that saved the world.  There are no atheists in the military, you are not a soldier, you are too cowardly for that and I hope that you get captured and tortured by the Taliban.  Who will you scream for then?  No one will hear you scum!" 
Um, didn't he just get finished telling me that I wasn't a soldier? 

There are many more, but I just wanted to share a small portion of them, and share the joy and ironic smiles that I had in reading such irrational and nonsensical letters.

Not sure what the point was in writing them, but I am pretty sure that they didn't acheive it.

Message to the haters; 
Do you realize that you convince me and those like me, with each hateful word, that I have made the right decision? 

Do you realize that you are giving a perfect example of "Christian Love"or how "peaceful" islam is, each time you write?

Please respond to the criticisms specifically or know that you are only adding to the mountain of hateful theists that give credence to the sterotype of "hateful theists" that abounds in our circles.

If you don't care about that, then keep 'em comin', we all need a good laugh.



Sunday, January 2, 2011