America Hating Theocrats Pray For Failure

Hey everybody, let’s all pray for the failure of the new president!

Wait, you silly fundie, haven’t you heard that it is treasonous to criticize a sitting president in a time of war?

OOOOOHHHHH! I’ve been waiting to say that for a long time.

…But seriously, folks, I’d like to say a few words about partisanship.

I don’t believe in treating both sides equally. That should be clear from my consistently stated position on teaching Intelligent Design in schools (for example, in this press release that I wrote), or their latest smokescreen, euphemistically known as “academic freedom” or “teach the controversy.” There is no “controversy” other than the one raised by a tiny minority of religious goons seeking to camouflage their efforts to make political hay. Matt and I have both repeatedly said that it’s a good thing to be biased in favor of reality, and not make up reasons to criticize both sides equally. There are not really two sides to the question of whether we landed on the moon, or whether Barack Obama is secretly a reptoid. Or rather, there are two sides, but one side is clearly a bunch of idiots.

So. I’ve occasionally been accused of being a partisan hack for Obama. I don’t love everything Obama does. I have some objections to his overt religious statements, which I believe I’ve aired out on the show before. I’m not delighted with his choice of Rick Warren as a speaker yesterday. When I specifically object to some of Obama’s policies, I’ll let you know.

However, it would be a mistake to think that it reflects some sort of unthinking bias if I am less critical of this president than the previous one. Casting around for an analogy… okay, let’s talk about movies. I absolutely love Inherit the Wind. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. I own the DVD, I watch it repeatedly. It is an enduring classic with great acting and a powerful message.

If presidents were movies, Barack Obama would not be Inherit the Wind. He would be… oh let’s say… Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters is a pretty good movie. It’s funny. It’s got some good performances and quotable lines. If it happened to be on TV I would probably watch it. But it’s not in the same league as Inherit the Wind.

On the other hand, the Bush presidency in my opinion has been Plan 9 From Outer Space. There’s very, very little for me to recommend it, whether we’re considering faith-based initiatives, or otherwise funneling money into organizations with evangelical ties like Blackwater, or constant lip service to the National Day of Prayer, or an aide’s snide dismissal of the “reality-based community.”

There is simply no comparison. It’s not mere partisanship that impels me to say that Barack Obama is likely to be a better president than George Bush. It’s simply that it would be hard for him to do much worse. I disagree with the new president on some of his choices, and appreciate him for others — like his straightforward acknowledgment of non-believers as part of our nation’s heritage. A minor thing, it doesn’t translate into any policy changes, but it’s something Bush would never, ever have done.

However, as with everything, I reserve the right to change my opinion when presented with new evidence. So when Obama does something clearly offensive to the atheist community, I promise you’ll hear about it from me.


  1. says

    Funny you put this out there, I share office space with some fundies. Yesterday, the boss of this bunch kept bringing up that the stock market was falling. Without saying it, he was trying to imply a correlation with Barack Obama, that it was somehow his fault. There was little I could say, he wasn’t talking directly to me, plus I have to keep the peace here. But I can’t tell you how sick and tired I am of listening to his blind enlightenment. It’s wholly evangelically driven, totally right wing biased bullshit. Like this morning, he clarified that yesterday’s stock market crash was due to bank failure issues, which it was. But he continued that the blame was in Obama’s “socialist” policies, which will likely take control of the failing banks, leaving their stock prices at nil. Bullshit, the problem stems from deregulation in years past, not from a current necessity to save the banking system. Leave the failing banks alone, don’t get the government involved, then see what happens. Not only will the price go to zero, but you will lose the banks, jobs and whatever else with it.But what can I say to a guy who believes the Unites States should be a theocracy, and that Obama is not ruling the way he should, which apparently is thru strict adherence to the bible; No abortion; No stem cell research; No gay marriage, and whatever else… All I feel I can do is wait for the right opportunity, when he says something ridiculous and I am right there to shove the truth down his self-righteous throat.I greatly appreciate the opportunity to rant, with any luck perhaps I will find that opportunity.

  2. says

    Good to see our conversation turned into a damn good post. I agree entirely. It’s not “blind partisanship” to happen to agree with one party more than the other or to support the President from one party more than the other. The parties are a label placed on their policies. If Obama doesn’t live up to my expectations or if he does something he has promised to do and it is something I disagree with, well I’ll be the first person to rip him a new one and that is the only logical way to approach the situation. Bush is objectively far worse than Obama. Being objective doesn’t mean straddling the middle.

  3. says

    By the way, it has been rightfully pointed out to me that it is not really appropriate yet to say which movie Obama is. We’ve only seen the movie trailer at this point. It looks like a promising flick so far, but the movie itself could turn out to be Inherit the Wind or Ghostbusters… or Ishtar.

  4. says

    Ai Deng said,”But what can I say to a guy who believes the Unites States should be a theocracy, and that Obama is not ruling the way he should, which apparently is thru strict adherence to the bible”I’m reading “The Handmaid’s Tale”, by Margaret Atwood. That book is just scaring the sh*t out of me because it is so, oh so very easy for things to turn out the way she describes in the book, in which the USA has turned into a right-wing christian theocracy based on strict adherence to the bible, JUST LIKE YOU DESCRIBE your boss thinks it should be.Thanks for letting me know my fears are not unrealistic. Let me go take some heartburn medicine now. 😐

  5. says

    The logical fallacy you’re looking for is “false equivalence.” For instance, because extreme right-wing partisans support Bush for bad reasons, they make the (intentional?) mistake of asserting that people reject Bush or support Obama for equally bad reasons. In truth, most of the attacks on “partisanship” fall into the same pattern: people who hold an illogical or unreasonable position try to justify their beliefs by claiming that the “other side” is guilty of as much or even worse. Shades of “evolution is a religion” and “atheism takes more faith than theism”… There’s a reason why creationists are mostly politically right-wing as well: both positions are based on a worldview that is fundamentally illogical in similar ways.

  6. says

    “When I specifically object to some of Obama’s policies, I’ll let you know.”Well, I’m a big fan of Obama’s actions to this point.That said, I really dislike that he’s against equality for gays, in the form of stating that he’s against gay marriage.

  7. says

    If all he turned out to be was Ghostbusters, that would be perfectly fine by me.Of course, Ghostbusters is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, so I think our metrics here differ a bit.

  8. says

    Talking about movies, one could say to Joseph Farah what Walsingham said to Norfolk in Elizabeth:”You had not the courage to be loyal, only the conviction of your own vanity.”

  9. says

    Improbable Joe – You said “There’s a reason why creationists are mostly politically right-wing as well: both positions are based on a worldview that is fundamentally illogical in similar ways.”Could you please explain why you think a right-wing political position is illogical? I consider myself a Libertarian and have left leaning social principles but right leaning political principles.(I’m also not 100% on either side, as I view each issue on a case-by-case basis.)Anyway, I’m just curious why you think a conservative political philosophy is illogical.

  10. says

    In a manner of speaking, you ARE treating things equally… by holding them up to equal standards of evaluation.For instance, if you are evaluating evolution and intelligent design, you can treat them “equally” by evaluating them using the standards of the scientific method. Given that “equal” treatment, ID can be categorically dismissed (after which you don’t need to treat it equally anymore!). ;-)That aside, I agree that there are definately things that get based on personal preference and opinion. We hope, however, that we temper our preferences and desires with reality-based evidence and facts.Cheers!

  11. says

    If presidents were movies, Barack Obama would not be Inherit the Wind. He would be… oh let’s say… Ghostbusters.You really think he’s that mediocre?I wouldn’t necessarily equate Bush with Plan 9. That film had some redeeming value, in the form of campiness. Ishtar, definitely. Or, better still – one of those Christian films that involves no acting talent, poor production values and says absolutely nothing of substance or relevance to reality.

  12. says

    It’s nice to see that the standards for yellow journalism are still alive and well in the mind of Joseph Farah. I so enjoyed his lack of editorial integrity when he worked-over the Los Angeles Herald Examiner (which promptly went belly up when he came on board), and the Sacramento Union (which also went belly up soon after he joined it). I am watching the Australian Open and even the Aussies are showing decent support for Obama. Are they better “American patriots” than Joseph Farah? With such anti-American leanings, let’s just label Farah a Communist now and get it over with. I hope it doesn’t give him whiplash to go from one political extreme to the other overnight.

  13. says

    I’ve never seen “Plan 9 from Outer Space” but if it’s as hideous as “Manos: The Hands of Fate” then I’d say it’s a pretty accurate description. If you ask me, though, “Reefer Madness” encompasses the Bush presidency to a “T.” I mean, you got your incompetent performance, you got your laughable ideology AND it’s full of misinformation and outright lies… it has it all, don’t you think?.

  14. says

    My expectations are high, and I imagine that this may lead me to be even harsher in my criticism of Obama than I was of Bush (if that is possible).

  15. says

    “I’ve never seen “Plan 9 from Outer Space” but if it’s as hideous as “Manos: The Hands of Fate” then I’d say it’s a pretty accurate description.”Compared to Manos, p9fos is a cinematic masterpiece.I’d say Obama made a good start, lets see how long he can keep this momentum going. Closing Quantanamo Bay is a huge plus in my book.

  16. says

    Coralbee,I was looking to see your question answered, but unfortunately it wasn’t. What I’d like to say though, I myself don’t see everything conservative as illogical. Possibly like you, I feel that extremes of both the left and right can be harmful. What we need is something balanced, and the case-by-case scenario sounds like a good approach.Some conservative ideas I personally agree with include: – Gun ownership rights – I’m against affirmative action – Balancing the BudgetRegarding affirmative action, I think we should hire the person most capable to doing the job. I do recognize the unequal distributions however, and I feel the problem should be dealt with at the educational level. Although there are some problems associated with School of Choice programs, I am in favor of them. I have seen first hand the different education levels offered at different school districts, and it really isn’t fair.Although I am in favor of balancing the budget, I feel there is currently a necessity to act, and so I am in favor of the bailouts if handled properly. The alternative appears to be a greater disaster in my mind.Really, my major problem with the conservative side is that it has become the stronghold of the religious right. So the conservative position is being utilized to further a dominionist theology, which I feel is highly dangerous and counterproductive to the aims of an advanced future society.

  17. says

    Ai Deng – Thanks for your well said response. I agree with you. I had a problem with Improbable Joe’s generalization and was wondering if I was missing something.

  18. says

    Hear, hear, Russell. I’ve been too trusting in the past and have been burned often, but the mere acknowledgment that I exist as a full-blown citizen of the country of my birth is a big deal coming from the mouth of my President.Ever since I came out, meekly, I’ve felt like a black man who could, at will, morph into a toothless, shit-heeled redneck. Life is easier for me, but I want to be me all the time, damn it!

  19. says

    I perused several links, like WorldNet, and I notice the ads for “detoxification” and other pseudo-science. If you have a credulous audience, might as well make hay.