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Feb 23 2014

Christian Prick Bills

Just this week, the Arizona legislature passed a bill giving believers the right to discriminate against gays and others based on their religious belief. The bill has been touted for protecting “religious liberty”. And indeed, it allows people holding particular religious beliefs to run roughshod over the wishes, desires, and even religious liberty of their victims.

 “Except as provided in subsection C, OF THIS SECTION, STATE ACTION shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” (From the text of SB 1062)

 I say “particular religious beliefs” because we know that minority religious beliefs will never be upheld in Arizona or most Christian dominated communities. And let’s be clear: this is a Christian initiative and just another “Christian Prick Bill.”

The bill reminds me of other Christian initiatives in recent years. Christians have pushed for the “right” of pharmacists to not fill prescriptions for which they have a religious objection. Trans-vaginal probes lie in store for women seeking abortion in many states, thanks to the efforts of Christians. Gays in schools are more likely to be the victims of bullies, thanks again to Christianity. Of course, Christians have bullied gays for money for decades. These modern initiatives echo past Christian efforts to murder Jews, Muslims, Cathars, and infidels, the Inquisitions, the justification of slavery, and the subjugation of women.

Let’s pull out the common themes in these Christian Prick Bills:

  • There is usually a claim that Christians are suffering some sort of persecution, that their religious liberty is being compromised; they are the victim. And the only way to address this terrible situation is to enable them to victimize their chosen enemy. This is a huge lie, of course. Christians rarely suffer the persecution they would gladly inflict on others. Theirs is a position of privilege in terms of power, laws, and tax breaks.
  • They want immunity from the consequences of their actions. Rarely, is there a notion of tit-for-tat. They want to bully and persecute while simultaneously being protected from any retaliation for their bullying. I’ll guarantee the Arizona bill will not protect the “religious liberty” of a doctor who refuses IVF, say, to a Christian couple because of his sincere religious belief that there are too many Christians.
  • A related idea is that Christians want to wash their hands of any personal responsibility for these efforts. They want to be pricks to gays in their businesses but not have any financial fallout from being labeled bigots. They want unwanted children to be born, but they don’t want to provide for them. They want to control people’s medical decisions, but be immune from any harm that comes from that control. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility.
  • There is a strong undertone of vindictiveness. In reading the Bible, you’d get the impression that that the Christian god is a petulant, sadistic, murderer and thug. These initiatives honor that spirit. I’m actually OK with vindictiveness, but only to the extent that it becomes synonymous with the brand of Christianity. From a recent Pew poll, we see that young people are turned off by the judgmental attitudes and hypocrisy and are leaving the church. This can only be a good thing and it will be helped by making Christianity synonymous with thuggery in the popular culture.

“But wait,” I hear some Christians say, “that doesn’t represent my version of Christianity. You’re painting with too broad a brush.” I have a number of responses to this sort of complaint:

  • First, you don’t get to do action X and the opposite of action X and claim the backing of some sort of divine moral intelligence. That’s like circling all the answers on a multiple-choice test and claiming you aced it. If you guys can’t agree on your Creator’s absolute morality despite your claims of actively conversing with him every week, that’s evidence enough for me that the whole enterprise is just a fraud. The Bible a Rorschach test for the morally challenged – it supports pretty much all positions. Ministers are just working an invisible puppet who seems to always agree with their bigoted attitudes. Atheists can see through this con.
  • Next, what kind of Christian are you? So many Christians are content to go once or twice a week and get their shot of Jesus heroin, have a magic cracker, bask in the fantasy of perpetual orgasm, or being raptured up to watch Armageddon unfold and enjoy the torments of non-believers. These people count the days when they can be relieved from being in this world and regain their “true spiritual nature”. Such people are, by their own definition, useless to this world. You would think if they really believed that stuff, they would hurry on to their reward.
  • If instead you’re a genuinely decent person who wants to make the world a better place, why do you let such an evil institution trade on your good name? Why not distance yourself from the historical and current cesspool that is Christianity?
  • If you really want to hold onto the Christian label and you don’t like the Christian Pricks defining you, please consider taking up your complaint with them. I don’t consider this my problem. So often the idea is to shut down the person pointing out a problem with Christianity, rather than address the actual complaint.

Us atheists do owe the Christian Pricks a debt of gratitude. They make our points for us and they hasten the day when belief without sufficient evidence is just the hallmark of a powerless rube.

36 comments

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  1. 1
    Narf

    Yeah, I heard about this one. Stay classy, guys.

  2. 2
    Al Dente

    Many Christians say the US is a Christian country and simultaneously claim Christians are a persecuted group one step away from the gulags. I wish they’d pick one stance and stick with it instead of shifting back and forth.

  3. 3
    Monocle Smile

    The second bullet list is what typically gets me. Moderate or liberal Christians abhor being associated with aptly-named “pricks,” but then they blame US for some reason. Clean your own damn backyard if you hate the fact that it’s full of garbage.

    These folks are often more irritating than creationists and “pricks,” because the latter groups can be dismissed as having something wrong with their heads. The former group are regular people who are smart enough to know better, but they choose to be brain-dead on these issues.

    1. 3.1
      Matt Gerrans

      I like the “But wait” list too. It is funny how the same people who like to claim the US is a “Christian Nation” are also wont to waffle on what a real Christian is, or what real Christian “values” are. Reminds me of Sye Ten Bruggencate’s insane claim that anyone who loses their Christianity was never a Christian in the first place. We should not allow any sanctioned tax evasions to any “Christian” organizations unless they can prove unequivocally that they are entirely (every member) “True” Christians.

      FYI, a couple typos (it would be handy if there were a way to reply to the author with proofing notes, rather than polluting the comment section with them):

      “The Bible a Rorschach test for the morally challenged…” –> “The Bible is a Rorschach test for the morally challenged…”

      “Us atheists…” –> “We atheists…”

  4. 4
    xscd

    You know, there are a whole lot of Christians who don’t support the authoritarian religious legislation of the representatives they vote for, just like there were a whole lot of Germans who didn’t support Hitler’s anti-Jew sentiments and programs, but thought that Germany needed a strong leader at that time to get the country back on track. You can’t blame all these good, reasonable and intelligent Christians for the misdeeds of their Republican representatives, any more than you can blame all those good people of Germany who were not anti-semitic themselves, right?

    (Just being sarcastic.) It’s a pet peeve of mine that people let themselves off the moral hook by saying they don’t personally support some of the policies of the people they vote for and elect. For example, “I have nothing against gays, I just think that Republicans are more fiscally responsible and more capable of running the government.” So for decades, anti-gay legislation was enacted that these people ignored as just an unfortunate side-effect of electing Republicans to office.

    1. 4.1
      Deesse23

      So for decades, anti-gay legislation was enacted that these people ignored as just an unfortunate side-effect of electing Republicans to office.

      And from 1933-39 this was exactly the excuse of those many germans when they saw their neighbours being bullied or deported finally: “This is only temporal, its a side effect. it will go away”

      1. Narf

        Well, you’ve got to admit, they got started on a pretty good effort to make the Jewish problem go away.

  5. 5
    chris lowe

    Republicans are more fiscally responsible and more capable of running the government?

    1. 5.1
      xscd

      Well, conservatives often believe that other conservatives are naturally better at running the government, business and other institutions. They are often not sure where liberals fit in, or whether they contribute much to society at all. From many conservatives’ point of view, the world and our nation actually consist of mostly conservative societies. Liberals are just out there somewhere (where do they all come from?) ephemeral, mercurial, like ghosts haunting our great nation, undermining it like little devils, even though it’s often not their fault; liberals are just often ignorant or easily deceived. The true substance of our nation resides in the hearts, minds, intelligence and responsible actions of our conservatives.

      That’s not my view, but I live in a very religious-conservative, Republican-voting area of the country (eastern New Mexico, “Little Texas”) so I have been exposed to and understand to some extent these people’s worldview, a conservative worldview that is often as shortsighted as it is nearsighted.

      1. Monocle Smile

        That’s…terrifying, actually. I’m rather liberal, and I don’t feel even remotely the same way about conservatives or the societies of the world (we’re actually archaic compared to most developed nations).

        I see them as longing for a simplistic world with easy, familiar rules, like “Leave it to Beaver.” They see it as pragmatic and merely fail to understand that the world is all shades of gray rather than black and white and that change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Conservatives favor intuition and tradition over data, which is my biggest objection. I don’t necessarily fault most of them; I just think they don’t know any better.

      2. changerofbits

        And meanwhile, it’s the blue urban, liberal places who are paying most of the taxes and voting in folks who actually enact stuff that will help those who are less fortunate. As Larry Wilmore said on the daily show (paraphrasing, he was schooling libertarians on taxes): “You know that sadness and rage you feel about losing your money, well that’s the way some of us feel about people.”

    2. 5.2
      doublereed

      This is empirically false, with conservatives are responsible for eliminating competence in the government and giving the reins to corrupt contractors (most notably, this is what Saint Reagan did). Conservatives also drain the GDP of the nation or state when they are in charge. Blue states obviously make more money than red states, by a significant margin as well.

      Sure, conservatives can be competent and liberals can be incompetent. But really by any measure, liberals win in terms of competence.

      “Fiscal responsibility” often just refers to beating up old and poor people, at the expense of society (rather than a government line item). Financially, they seem to completely ignore the concept of an ‘externality.’

  6. 6
    BMcHell

    Someone should start a petition urging Arizona lawmakers to pass new laws outlawing divorce and remarriage, given their clear and strong commitment to preserving the sanctity and protecting the integrity of Christian traditional marriage and family values.

    Given that Arizona is in the top ten list of states with the highest divorce rates, that would be fun to see.

    1. 6.1
      Narf

      That suggestion sounds similar to the bill that some Oklahoma lawmakers produced, which would have removed state recognition of all marriages.

      “Okay, so gay marriage doesn’t seem to be destroying straight marriage, like we’ve been screaming? Guess we’ll have to do it ourselves.”

  7. 7
    A Masked Avenger

    I’ll guarantee the Arizona bill will not protect the “religious liberty” of a doctor who refuses IVF, say, to a Christian couple because of his sincere religious belief that there are too many Christians.

    Of course not, silly! These bills protect freedom of RELIGION, not CONSCIENCE. So it doesn’t protect a gay restaurant owner refusing to serve straights, unless he belongs to an actual church with actual commandments on the subject. Likewise your hypothetical doctor.

    For lulz, refuse to serve theists. You’ll be treated to Christian lawyers swearing that atheism is NOT a religion.

    1. 7.1
      Matt Gerrans

      Hmm… It seems like it might be valuable to get a legal ruling that atheism is not a religion. Then it would at least be useful to point out in discussions with believers who make that silly claim. I wonder if that ruling has already been made.

      1. Narf

        Part of the confusion could be because of rulings about things like Secular Humanism. That has been recognized as a religion/philosophy, and since most believers aren’t very good at subtle distinctions, they say that atheism is a religion … because all atheists are secular humanists, apparently.

        Well, most religionists probably have no idea of that ruling about secular humanism, but if they did, it would confuse them.

        1. L.Long

          So a place of Secular Humanism does not pay taxes?? Does not have to submit the draconian 501 paperwork for charity work??? If they have to do the paperwork and do taxes then they are NOT a religion. Because that is the only important part of being a religion, why do you think scientology exists?

          1. Narf

            From what I’ve heard, it seems that a Secular Humanist church/fellowship/organization/whatever just has to file paperwork the same as any other church, and they’ll get an automatic exemption, just like a Christian church. Of course that’s assuming that some clerk in a Bible Belt state doesn’t get a bug up his/her ass and target them, in defiance of the Supreme Court ruling.

    2. 7.2
      RyanM

      I think this is a valid hypothetical. The doctor could, for example, be a Muslim, and could argue that offering help to heretics violates his religious convictions. Or perhaps he believes in some form of theistic satanism, and doesn’t believe in offering help to enemies of Lucifer. So according to this bill he should be able to refuse service to Christians. But somehow I doubt that the doctor in this scenario would be able to have this particular religious “right” protected.

    3. 7.3
      Narf

      And a Muslim or Hindu doctor who does the same for his/her religious convictions would have a wee bit of trouble that a Christian doctor would not have.

      Well, the judicial system would probably support a Muslim doctor in discriminating against teh gayz. However, we know that in the case of religion-on-religion discrimination, a Christian doctor discriminating against a minority religion would have support in expressing his religious beliefs by persecuting other religions … and Christians would, at the same time, scream that their religious beliefs were being suppressed, if a doctor of another faith discriminated against them in the exact same way.

      Welcome to the Christian worldview.

  8. 8
    Lea

    That is an excellent list of responses to the “they don’t represent me” christians, especially the last two.

  9. 9
    Sir Real

    What amazes me is it’s fascism taking place here in the U.S. and these X-tians complain about Hitler being a X-tian when their being just as prejudice and hypocritical as Hitler or their megalomaniac god. The very reason I choose to end my X-tian beliefs and start my path to becoming an atheist is because I cannot trust a god who is a lying, irresponsible, prejudice hypocrite whose only concern is to be praised and worshiped for crap he is not only responsible for but guilty of as well. This sounds like a job for the FFRF to handle and stop those bigots from ruining this country.

  10. 10
    David Munson

    Anderson Cooper had an interesting exchange with a prick Xian about a hypothetical loan officer at a bank denying a loan to a divorcee or a single mother. Of course the prick had no idea that a fellow prick might have a religious issue with them. Made it perfectly clear that this was nothing more than homophobic hatred.

    1. 10.1
      Narf

      Oh, absolutely. I can imagine any number of assholes discriminating against women who use birth control pills, have had an abortion, have had a child out of wedlock …

      How long until we have a virginity test for women, before they can get a loan, because if they’ve had sex before marriage, they’ve shown that they aren’t capable of making sound decisions and are a poor loan risk? Once you allow religious bullshit into the system, you’re paving the way for all sorts of bat-shittery.

      1. David Munson

        I think if a law like this ever gets enacted it is encumbent on those who oppose it to push it to its extreme to show just how idiotic these laws are.

        1. Narf

          Yes, I’m reminded of the Satanists putting up a monument …

          1. David Munson

            I find Satanism to be just as silly as Christianity, but I would love to see a huge monument of Satan on the OK City courthouse grounds.

          2. Narf

            Yup. The Satanists who really do treat it as a religion are no better than any other religious sort, but they’re even more objectionable to the Christians than we are, so they’re useful that way.

      2. Ruben Laane

        I do not get it??? Why do you think women are even allowed to leave the house under christian government. A loan for a women??? You must be mad to think that a man’s property has a right to take any action at all??
        Surely next you will be telling us that women should be allowed to vote or even speak in a man’s precense.
        In fact now that I begin to think on your remarks, you must likely be a witches sidekick. You shall burn on a stake before you shall cross the righteous again. Your sins are obviously many so the fires of hell should consume you and fast.

        Actually I think that is the more appropriate assesment of that christian interpretation of their law if given half a chance.
        And just to be absolutely clear: No offence intended to you. But stories like these are less far away then we would like.

  11. 11
    mingy

    Does anybody know why this episode hasn’t shown up on the various places like http://www.atheist-experience.com/ and http://www.atheist-experience.com/archive/ ?

    Divine intervention?

  12. 12
    Narf

    Which episode? “Christian Prick Bills?” It isn’t an episode, just a blog post created by Don.

  13. 13
    mike

    The governor has vetoed the bill and we can all thank the NFL for that. This actually turned out pretty good, the ridiculous bill doesn’t get passed and the Arizona politicians showed their true bigoted colours.

    1. 13.1
      Narf

      Yeah, this is kind of the best of both worlds. We have a horrible bill to point at, and we don’t have to waste the time and money to get it shot down in the courts.

      1. David Munson

        Sadly I am sure it will rear its ugly head again (either in AZ or one of the other states considering being a prick).

    2. 13.2
      Ruben Laane

      The fact that someone in government is actually using his brain is good. But the fact that this law got past any government is abhorrent.

  1. 14
    This Week at FreeThoughtBlogs | Evangelically Atheist

    […] Just this week, the Arizona legislature passed a bill giving believers the right to discriminate against gays and others based on their religious belief. The bill has been touted for protecting “religious liberty”. And indeed, it allows people holding particular religious beliefs to run roughshod over the wishes, desires, and even religious liberty of their victims. [Read more] […]

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