Matt and Martin chat about rattlesnakes and the Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities.
Matt and Martin chat about rattlesnakes and the Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities.
Don and Matt talk about slavery and Matt rescues Don from someone equivocating on “law”. Enjoy.
Mona Charen is a syndicated right-wing columnist who appears in the Austin American-Statesman. I usually find her pieces loaded with soft-peddled right-wing vitriol and poorly thought out. She published a piece on same-sex marriage on October 13, 2014 titled “Olsen Evades Gay Marriage Questions” in the Washington Examiner. In the Austin American-Statesman, it was titled “Give Acceptance, Without Undermining Marriage.” There is so much wrong in this editorial that it makes me wonder whether she really believes what she’s writing.
First, let me fix some framing that Charen doesn’t address in her editorial. Almost all opposition to same-sex marriage and to treating gays and lesbians as human beings in the United States comes from Christianity. In the 70s, Christian leaders figured out that selling hatred of gays was a big money maker. It was precisely the sort of red meat issue that got the “base” riled up and kept the money flowing. It speaks volumes about the actual morals of Christians that they have created this sort of market. When seen in historical perspective, anti-gay prejudice just another faith-based initiative like the Crusades, Pogroms, Witch Burnings, torture of infidels, slavery apologetics, and murdering of Jews that one might expect from a bunch of people who blindly follow an invisible genocidal maniacal thug whose only communication is a functional Rorschach test for the morally challenged. Today, the homophobia industry is in decline, largely playing itself out in the minds of people who are no longer taken in by the lies and hysteria. The die-hard peddlers of this product are screaming like scared children. The are terrified of having their power and wealth slip away.
To begin her piece, Charen points out the hypocrisy of Ted Olson, a politician who has previously won elections pandering to Christian hatred but who has now read the handwriting on the wall that his message will have to change or he’ll risk losing re-election. We can be overly generous and say he is just representing the evolving views of his constituents. Or we can just chalk it up to politicians being politicians.
After showing her warranted disgust at Olson’s seeming change of principles, Charen asks, “… why not leave the matter [of same-sex marriage] to state legislatures and voters rather than taking the question out of their hands?” The answer is simple: that’s not the kind of country the United States is. The Constitution protects the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Perhaps Charen missed the recent Supreme Court ruling on this very question. Maybe she is unaware of a variety of circuit court rulings striking down various marriage laws on the basis of equal protection. I recommend Charen go back to high school and get a civics refresher. A patriot would have a clue how the government works.
And Christians love majority rule, exactly when it allows them to advance their agenda. They claim to follow and have a “relationship” with a dead guy who allegedly said to “do unto others what you would have them do unto you,” but I have yet to meet a single believer who thinks that the marriage rights of Christians should be put up for popular vote by gays. Think about it. If the gays voted against marriage rights for Christians, it would be a delicious just desert for the Christian thugs. If instead they voted for it, it would show that gays own the moral high ground. Either way it’s a win. But that will never happen. Christian leaders wouldn’t allow following their own god-man’s words to get in the way of their political agendas.
Next in her editorial Charen champions the views in Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, an anti-gay hate group. To his credit, Mr. Perkins’s views are unwavering, but far from exemplary. Let’s be clear here. Tony Perkins, Ted Olson, and even Mona Charen herself are all making their livelihoods trading on the rights of other Americans. All three are despicable low-lifes whose ideas are unworthy of consideration, though I fully support their right to express their wrong-headed views. It makes me wonder why Charen even chose Perkins as some sort of champion. It makes me wonder if, were she was writing in the 1500s, would she be in full support of Martin Luther on the question of whether Jews should be able to live, worship, or have businesses.
Throughout her editorial, Charen decries the use of “emotionally laden expressions such as ‘dignity’ and ‘respect’ as if to say that those who resist same-sex marriage are opposed to those civilities.” What amazing irony coming from the defender of a movement that has championed the “sanctity of marriage,” that has insinuated at every turn that gays are out to “recruit” children, that AIDS is God’s wrath on gays, and that gays are out to destroy civilization. The same Christians seem to ignore the fact that, the Catholic Church is a de facto crime ring that molests children with impunity and even gets tax subsidies in the bargain. Does Charen realize how stupid she sounds?
For the record, I’m a married gay man who works hard and makes an honest living. And while I’ve never been a married straight man, I’m pretty sure I feel the same way about my marriage as others do about theirs. I have made a family that I care a lot about. Conservatives seem to feel it is their right to meddle in mine and others’ families. It isn’t their right at all. There isn’t a single person in their ranks qualified to do so. If conservative Christians want to persist in this sort of meddling, please forgive us if we start “doing unto others” and actively sabotage their marriages. We’d only be following their example.
And let’s face facts. Conservatives lie when they say they are for families, liberty, and religious freedom. What they really mean is that they are wanting to control others’ families, take away others’ liberties, and foisting their religion onto others. Religious freedom means that I can be free of the murderous fraud known as Christianity just as others are free to uncritically support it.
Back to the editorial, Charen goes on to assert that the rights of gays and lesbians are not worthy of support because they constitute only a small fraction of the population. What fraction of the population are Christian demagogues? What rights do they deserve? And do I get to take those away? What fraction of the population has sworn allegiance to the Pope (a leader of a foreign government / organized crime ring) while harming US citizens? What fraction of believers kill their children through faith healing, prayer, or though the anti-vaccination craze? Charen quotes CDC statistics on the population size of gays, throwing a bone to those in the base that still are convinced by Christian propaganda that homosexuality is a disease. But the groups I mentioned above have all done measurable harm while gay marriage does not harm anyone. Well, perhaps with the exception of those like Charen who peddle hate for a living. Gay normalcy takes food out of their mouths.
In a pathetic attempt to seem nice, Charen says that gays are worthy of “dignity” and “respect”, but not worthy of the right to build families, have legal protections, enter contracts, and have some measure of security in our later years. I guess to conservatives, they long for the day when they could suppress women, blacks and other minorities and not be called bigots. Perhaps if Charen does return to high school, she could also take in some history about the Jim Crow laws and how “separate but equal” worked out only to benefit the already privileged. I suspect Charen and her readers long for those days. I can’t see why I should be treated as a second class citizen when, quite frankly, I’m a better human being than those trying to oppress me.
Like many conservatives, Charen argues for something resembling traditional marriage, but she and they prefer to be vague about exactly what they mean. Traditionally, a man owned many wives who were his property. The wives had no rights as independent people. This is the concept of marriage in the Bible. I find it ironic that only Christians on the radical fringe think highly enough of their holy book to openly support such a crazy idea while the rest lack moral conviction. But this begs the question of why did the US already destroy traditional marriage by preventing Mormons from taking multiple wives just like Abraham, Solomon, and David did in the Bible? Why don’t Christian conservatives champion the legal framework of women as property, passed from father to husband, with no independent lives? Why do Christians tolerate divorce, especially as instigated by an unhappy wife? Which specific version of marriage do conservative Christians want? If we ever get an answer, let’s check the calendar to see how long this “tradition” has been in force. The perpetual vagueness on what “traditional marriage” means is nothing more than intellectually dishonest attempt at emotional manipulation–precisely what Charen criticized Olson for doing.
Christians and conservatives during the 60s made arguments against mixed race marriages that echo with same-sex marriage arguments today. Back then, the arguments were about God purposefully separating races and fake concern about how the mixed-race children would be treated by bigots as they entered school and public life. Ironically, the bigots were precisely the people making the false and self-serving arguments. Over and over again, history repeats with Christians marching under the banner of God in the wrong direction.
Finally, we get to the meat of Charen’s editorial. She argues that “… same-sex marriage [will send] the message to heterosexuals that mothers and fathers don’t really matter.” If I’m to understand correctly, the idea is that heterosexual couples are not bright enough to raise children without proper cultural meddling, and so the rights of others need to be trashed to set the right ambiance for baby making. I think life would go on splendidly without the Christian conservatives. Christians are obsessed about controlling reproduction for the simple reason that there is no god who can make babies who will grow up to become the next generation of gullible tithers and who will support the parasite class more commonly known as priests and ministers. Penises and uteruses must be co-opted for this lofty goal. If only the Christian god could “get it up,” there’d be no need to control anyone’s reproduction. The parasites have every interest in keeping their exalted place. It is true gay marriages aren’t about government control of reproductive parts in service to the majority religion. And yes, that poses an existential threat to those living of the fat of others. May I suggest that priests stop having sex with teenage boys, take wives, and make babies of their own. They could get then get honest jobs and raise those kids with their own money. Nobody is stopping them from doing this. Perhaps then they would be busy enough that they wouldn’t feel the need to meddle in the affairs of others.
Conservatives like Charen falsely conflate the concepts marriage and reproduction. I have yet to hear a single proposal from conservatives regulating child birth, which is what they really care about, yet they want to step in to regulate marriage as some sort of proxy. Perhaps Charen could help us pick a government agency she thinks should crawl up into her uterus and play traffic cop. With artificial hormones, women can carry babies well into their 60s and sperm is cheap and plentiful. Even conservatives know this is level of control a non-starter. One need only look at the horrors of the Ceaușescu regime’s Decree 770 birth control program that are still playing out today.
If we are really concerned about the institution of marriage, shouldn’t we be concerned about the fact that the divorce rate of conservative Christians is higher than, say atheists? In a jaw dropping leap, Charen blames the idea of same-sex marriage for high divorce rates. She claims that marriages based “only on love” are to blame. At the same time, Christians are using marriages as the only socially acceptable means young people can have sex (and only for the purpose of making babies). Charen even nods to this Christian entrapment tactic in her editorial. Have the conservatives stopped to consider the harm done to a child growing up in a home where the parents are miserable and the child know that they are the cause of the suffering? Next, if we are really concerned about the sanctity of marriage, shouldn’t we prevent a fraudulent religion from trying to co-opt the institution of marriage to perpetuate the fraud? Also, given that, belief in Christianity is correlated with a variety of social ills, shouldn’t we be actively preventing Christian marriages? Sadly, the arguments of conservative Christians more aptly apply to the ills of their marriages than to same-sex ones.
Yes, stable families are good places to raise children. And guess what? About one tenth of gay people are parents. When conservatives prevent same-sex marriage they actually penalize the children by inhibiting those families. Most people realize that such punitive policies demonstrate Christians to be uncaring thugs. Perhaps everyone but Charen is aware of the wealth of scientific evidence in support of same-sex child rearing (one article here). I think the real fear of conservatives is that gays will someday soon surpass conservative Christians at child and marriage longevity. It’s a relatively low bar.
Charen closes her editorial with the claim that gays only want social acceptance, not really marriage. I personally have no desire for “social acceptance” by bigots. They have chosen me as their enemy and I welcome their hatred and bigotry. Celebrate it and imbue your institutions with it. It is your God-given right to do so. God is on your side. Go ahead and return to witch burning and Jew murdering. Be honest for once about the history of your religion and embrace the harm you have caused. Then I want to separate that evil from civil society like a callus around a wart. Let Christian leaders be marginalized like the KKK and the Westboro Baptists. I want conservative pundits and religious leaders to be held accountable for lying and fomenting hate in the public arena. I want all institutions that have sold hatred of gays to forever lose any tax exempt status as they have proven themselves unworthy of public support. I want the money that such groups have made selling the hatred of gays to be paid back tenfold–not to gays, but for the benefit of society. Then, I want the United States to honor its separation of church and state and forever separate the legal rights and privileges of marriage from whatever irrelevant rites may be performed in churches. Churches don’t own marriages and they should have their noses rubbed in that fact. Oh yeah, I also want the same rights and responsibilities that everyone else has. (How selfish of me, I know.)
Charen still seems to think that the marriage rights of gays is still up to debate and she and her pals can make a decision not to “undermine marriage.” I’m already married and the “decisions” of conservatives is nothing more than self-serving noise.
Feel free to share any lame rationalizations you’ve heard.
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:
“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:
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.
The religious conservatives are once again being dishonest in their quest to control others’ reproductive organs in Texas. In the 60s, the religious conservatives argued that the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds would help with juvenile delinquency (by blatantly violating the highest law in the land). In the Texas Legislature, they are working to close down Planned Parenthood clinics because they provide abortions. They don’t seem to care that Planned Parenthood actually prevents more abortions than the Christian God, the Bible, Prayer, rosaries, holy water, or Christian bullying in the name of “love”, combined, has ever prevented.
There isn’t an official contest, but maybe there should be. I nominate Texas Governor Rick Perry for the Dick of the Year Award. Granted, Perry’s work was part of a team effort, with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, and a host of conservative Christian Texas legislators giving assistance. Rick and his pals have largely dismantled the Texas Women’s Health Program, a program for low-income women to get reproductive health care. The program has been about 9/10ths Federally funded. Part of the agenda there is to stop unwanted pregnancies as such pregnancies increase federal costs down the road to cover those pregnancies. It is good public policy. Or, rather, was.
The point of contention is that the program would fund Planned Parenthood to provide many of these services, much as it has done with public and private of funding. In the minds of Christians, though, “Planned Parenthood” is synonymous with “abortion.” Yes, Planned Parenthood does provide abortion services, but state and Federal funding are never used for this purpose. In fact, Planned Parenthood works very hard to prevent unwanted pregnancies through its education efforts and providing contraceptives.
Rick and the Christian chorus have argued that because money is fungible, giving any money to Planned Parenthood is effectively funding abortions. By that logic, tax breaks to or public funding of any Catholic organization is equivalent to government funding of an international pedophilia ring.
To make his point, Perry barred funding of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s health program. Planned Parenthood sued, but lost. Perry’s lawyers argued that to be acceptable to the state, Planned Parenthood would have to change their name and distance themselves from any abortion services. So this is a case of Christians using the power of the state to screw over an organization they have unjustly vilified.
The Obama Administration declined to have its Women’s Health Program hijacked by a bunch of Texas dicks and de-funded TWHP. Miffed, Perry and Abbott sued in Federal court to have the funding restored. Just this week, a Federal court ruled that their attempted exclusion of Planned Parenthood violated Health and Human Services guidelines and threw out their claim. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has won a temporary Federal injunction from being barred from TWHP funding. I’ll bet someone’s feeling a little blue in the balls over this. Thankfully, for Rick there will be little political fallout. His conservative Christian base is cheering him on.
For now, Texas is left to fund the program on its own. Given Texas’ history of ideological sex ed in schools and state funding of Christian-based crisis pregnancy centers that provide manipulation instead of information, I’d be very surprised if Texas properly funded an effective program. Meanwhile, they are doing an effective job of dismantling women’s reproductive health in Texas. Many smaller clinics have already shut their doors over funding uncertainties.
So Perry deserves the Dick of the Year award. In a mad quest to prevent abortion, Perry and his Christian pals have sabotaged a public health organization (Planned Parenthood) and a Federal program that would have prevented unwanted pregnancies and women seeking abortions to end those pregnancies. It is well documented that legal restrictions on abortion do not reduce abortion rates, but they do increase the health risks associated with those abortions. Thus, abortion laws mostly serve to increase suffering and death under the pretense of morality. Perry clearly lacks compassion for the women involved, many of whom are poor. About 3/4ths of women seeking abortion say that they lack the resources to raise a child.
I know of two solutions to the abortion problem. The first solution is to take the claims of Christians at their word and address the lack of resources. Christians say they have a special relationship with an all-powerful god who answers prayers. They also claim to care deeply about the welfare of the unborn child (at least until birth). They claim to follow Jesus, who cared for the poor. Churches even get tax breaks for their alleged charity. So the solution is simply set up a registry where pregnant women who lack the resources to have a child sign up to get financial support for themselves (as care giver) and the child until the child graduates from college or vocational school. In the case of a disabled child, care should be funded until death. Churches and their members would be taxed to provide the necessary funds. Think of it! Poverty would be reduced instead of increased. Christians would have a compassionate way of demonstrating the courage of their convictions. Children would have church and state support instead of the church using the state to punish them and their mothers. Christian leaders could even offer up one of their own to be killed for women who die in childbirth (i.e. Exodus 21:23). They should want to be held to their God’s laws as an example to their flock.
How would churches find the money for such a program? Simple. They can pray and God will provide. Each Church’s petitioners would pray to God for reimbursement and there would be no net loss to the church. Churches promoting false religions or out of favor with God would not be reimbursed and their assets would be liquidated to cover their share of the program. The ministers of such churches could go out and make an honest wage that go toward the expenses. If that weren’t enough, members could be taxed. I can’t imagine a Christian wanting to have a child that they brought into the world starve or otherwise suffer due to their moral failings.
We know that this is not a viable solution, simply because Christianity is a fraud. We all know there isn’t a god that someone can pray to to get the things they want, despite Jesus’ claims to the contrary. If prayer worked, Christians could simply pray abortion away and not have to hijack the government and uteruses to make future tithers. Everyone knows that God can’t. God also can’t make more sycophant believers, so women’s reproductive organs have to be co-opted to perpetuate the fraud.
The only tools Christians have in their arsenal that really works are manipulation and thuggery. If they can’t manipulate women into keeping their unborn child (such as through guilt, ultrasound baby pictures, or lies about mental health harm), they can always rely on thuggery, such as vindictive abortion laws, trans-vaginal ultrasounds, intruding in personal and medical decisions, forcing women to bear children they don’t want, risk their lives with child birth, and commit many of them (and their child) to a lifetime of poverty. Rick Perry and his Christian pals are completely on board with this manipulation and thuggery, making Rick my nomination for dick of the year. To end the year, Rick Perry vowed to outlaw all abortion in Texas.
The second solution to the abortion problem is to make them safe and rare, through reproductive education, contraceptive availability, and family planning. First world countries do this and they are successful at keeping their abortion rates down without being dicks to the women involved. Rick and his pals would never think to use a proven effective means of reducing abortion. Instead, U.S., Christian conservatives seemingly work to increase unwanted pregnancies, and then wonder why U.S. abortion rates are so high. They are all dicks, in my opinion. They want the power to make a decision for someone they don’t’ know but they run away from the responsibility of such a decision.
It’s hard to understand these small minds and hearts. If men like Rick want control over a vagina, they should have a sex change operation. Their god clearly knew they couldn’t handle control over even one. Perhaps they’re so insecure over their own manhood that they have to cause women to suffer to feel good about themselves. Perhaps Rick and his pals get some sort of sexual pleasure out of controlling other’s reproduction. Regardless, he is nothing more than a dick and everyone should know that fact.
It seems that the Vatican is having a little trouble containing damaging internal information leaked by Ratzinger’s very own butler, who remains under arrest in the little nation of Pedophilistan. Apparently, nobody is believing they’re not a corrupt organization. Imagine that!
In the crisis, what does the Vatican do? Get their all-powerful god to come to their rescue? Don’t be silly. Everyone knows that will never happen. They double down and hire someone who really knows how to solve the problem: a propagandist from one of the world’s greatest propaganda empires: Fox News. Fox News is now famous for their distortions and misinforming their viewers. That’s just what the Vatican needs: more lies, better lies. Lies that someone might actually believe.
Good luck with that, Vatican. You’ll need it.
The Vatican would like to be a religious concern when it wants to inflict its “moral teachings” on non-Catholics, control Cardinals and Bishops based on church teachings, and not pay taxes. On the other hand, the Vatican would like to be a country when the Pope is named in lawsuits or when they would like to sweep their minions away to the Vatican when they face legal trouble in some country. The Vatican has done a great job of advancing their agenda with this sleight of hand. For those of us with a shred of skepticism, it smacks of a con game. “Heads I win, tails you lose.” Since being a religion has never helped the Catholic Church with its depravities, let’s force them to just be the little tin-pot country they want to be.
The first thing that has to happen is that the Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests here in the US all need to have their country loyalty questioned. One cannot serve two masters. Are they American citizens subject to US law? If so, then there should be no cover-ups, no hiding behind “church state separation” (where it suits their needs), and no misdirection of the legal system. Those who swear their loyalty to the Pope or god or some other authority should have their US citizenship revoked. If the Vatican wants to issue them passports, that’s fine. However, let’s be clear: they are guests in our country and subject to our laws. If they violate them, those involved should be prosecuted or deported. If they behave as organized criminals, then subject their institutions to racketeering laws and have their assets seized until they have had a proper trial. With their stonewalling, that could take centuries. So be it. Since their criminal activities run internationally, such as money laundering and sex crimes, then let them be subject to international courts, where needed, to bring them into line.
Tax favoritism of Catholic properties should be stopped immediately. There is no reason why the US Government should be subsidizing foreign governments, especially those that have harmed American children. As a point of comparison, Saddam Hussein never harmed Americans, let alone on our own soil. An objective look at their government activities leads one to the conclusion that they are not a friendly nation. Let their activities be scrutinized by the CIA. Let’s stop publishing their press releases in our newspapers. The USA should not be foreskin-whipped by a bunch of child molesters and their enablers.
Just this month, “US” Catholic Bishops have thrown a little tantrum over their “religious freedom.” Like frothing Muslims when someone draws a cartoon, they have learned that behaving like bratty children gets media attention. This time, they want the US government to bend US laws so that they can control the reproduction of others. Why, exactly, have we let foreign governments control our nation’s hospitals? Why are they holding so many medical ethics board seats? Supreme Court seats? What about the real religious freedom of skeptics not to have to subsidize blatantly criminal organizations?
The Catholic “pro life” stance is just self-serving ploy. Those familiar with the history of the church should be aware of the centuries of torture and genocide it has perpetuated. Remember the Crusades? The Cathars? Witch Burnings? The Inquisition? Auto-da-fé? The rape of the Americas? After its silent assent of the Holocaust (“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”), the Catholic Church contrived its pro-life policy out of a sense of survival. An educated Europe turned away from this horrible murderous institution. How will the parasite nation go on? We all know that God will not provide and nothing fails like prayer. Its only means of survival is to get its clutches into the next generation, the poorer and more gullible, the better. Buy low, sell high. Their newfound “value” of human life is strangely proportionate to that life financial value as a potential tither. If the Catholic Church would like to manufacture humans, then let them fund their project themselves. If they will not fund the children they want to create, then they are the abortion murderers, are they not?
It’s time to treat the Vatican as a country—one with its own self-interests almost universally at odds with ours. Let’s make them stop using Americans and America for their ends. Let’s bring the crime ring to justice.
In the next Atheist Experience episode, we’ll explore yet another failure of Christianity: the Catholic Church pedophilia scandal. Consider this post an open thread for comments.