Religious Right AGs Blow Gaskets

Check out this rant about the same-sex marriage verdict. It’s the kind of thing we might usually see in all capital letters. Sadly, it’s from the Texas State Attorney General, who seems to not understand the establishment clause or 14th Amendment and thinks of himself as the only one in the world who has the correct opinion on law. Reminds me of Alabama’s Roy Moore who also went ape shit.

Conservative Honesty out of the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages are now legal in all states and all states have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The ruling is especially relevant to me, living in Texas but married to my partner of almost 16 years in another state. It’s a great day for civil rights in the United States, but that’s not my reason for this post. I’ve noticed that the ruling has had a positive effect on the religious right: suddenly, they’re a lot more honest about their true motives than they have been. Let me explain.

Christian conservatives have their panties in a bunch over the ruling. Like many arguments you hear from those quarters, there’s a lot of spin and obfuscation. Some are claiming that a majority voting on the rights of a minority is a foundational part of our government. As Ben Franklin said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” Other conservatives claim that states’ rights are paramount and same-sex marriage should be an issue left to the states. Ironically, the case was ruled on the 14th Amendment, which became part of our Constitution precisely because the states were abusing the rights of their people. Maybe they would prefer to have the Confederate flag above the U.S. flag on their government buildings.

In a refreshing bit of honesty, conservative Texas politicians are finally admitting that same-sex marriage has been about religion all along. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, “Despite the Supreme Court’s rulings, Texans’ fundamental right to religious liberty remains protected. No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage.” Nothing scandalous there. That’s what the advocates of same-sex marriage had been saying all along. Texans are still able to go to churches that condemn gays and fomenting hate. No church has to marry a same-sex couple. They can still thump their Bibles about gays, ignoring what the Bible says about witches, Jews, abortion (i.e. nothing), Amelekites, eating shellfish, figs, talking donkeys, Lot making babies with his married daughters, golden hemorrhoids, or anything that doesn’t make them money. We all know it’s not about Biblical integrity. It’s about spinning and interpretation to advance your agenda. Yes, Gov. Abbott, all that hasn’t changed.

What has changed is Christians can no longer point at gays and say they’re less in the eyes of the law and therefore Christians are somehow better. Legally, Christian marriages are exactly the same as same-sex marriages, even if same-sex marriages aren’t primarily about manufacturing the next generation of tithing believers. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has never made a major decision without getting a green light from God, stated, “It has been said that those who oppose gay marriage are on the wrong side of history. I would rather be on the wrong side of history than on the wrong side of my faith and my beliefs. I believe I am not alone in my view in this country.” I’m sure Dan would have been among those religiously opposed to interracial marriage, too, back in 1967, when Loving vs. Virginia was handed down. Where are those people now? They’ve either died, became less bigoted, or are now ostracized as the lunatic fringe. This too, will be the fate of Dan Patrick’s kind and I think this is the real reason the conservative Christians are quaking in fear of gay rights. The smell of obsolescence is in the air.

Gov. Abbott, Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton, Dan Patrick, and many other state legislators have expressed grave concern over the religious freedoms of Christian clerks in county marriage offices. The rights of such clerks (to put their private religious beliefs above their jobs) shall not be infringed. It is their God-given right to shove their nasty religion down the throats of anyone within their power. I have yet to hear a single conservative religious freedom “advocate” express the smallest bit of concern for the religious freedom of those minority religions who have never had an issue with same-sex marriage or those, like me, who think Christianity is steaming pile of horse manure. I never hear these folks support my analogous right discriminate against Christians because of my deeply-held beliefs (not that I’d want to). All of these people, elected to represent all Texans (or Americans), clearly have a conflict of interest and are thus unfit for public office.

So there you have it. The issue with same-sex marriage was, is, and always will be about the religious privilege of Christians. It’s nice that they are finally being more honest about it.

Mission Control Texas

Over the last year or so, The Atheist Experience has been the subject of a German documentary. The documentary, Mission Control Texas, is about religion in America, and especially Texas. It’s a study of contrasts as you can see from the trailer, below. They focused on our show, I think, because we are one of the few places where honest discussion happens about religion on the air.

The documentary is done and they are showing it in at least one film festival in Germany and it will be aired on German television in the coming months. If we ever find out how to buy it, we’ll post something here on the blog. For now, enjoy their great trailer.

Pascal’s Wager … again

P.S. @ Matt Dillahunty._ You are going to die sooner or later_That is a natural fact. What you assert is there is no God; the God of Bible because He cannot be proven_ Is a fact. You are “Gambling” that there is no God; the Christian God of the Bible_Is a fact. By your own admission the Christian God of the Bible does not exist, therefore you would reject that you possess a soul that is eternal, that will either go to heaven or hell._Is a fact.
FACT_you are going to die someday; are you willing to take that GAMBLE that you do-not have a soul that will live forever either in heaven or hell?
P.S. _ I really believe that Matt Dillahunty is Demon possessed, and anyone that would argue with a Demon will get no-where because it is a slippery slope because Demons are masters of deviation

We get e-mails like this all the time. Matt has answered more than his fair share of these, so I’ll take one for the team. This person singled out Matt, but he (she?) might as well have written it to any AE host, or any atheist for that matter. I’ll refrain from commenting about writing style as that’s just too easy. The e-mail above is unedited.

First, atheism is the lack of a belief in a god. Check the front page of the ACA’s web site. Mankind has invented tens of thousands of gods and there is no reason to believe that any of them are real. Christians are atheists, too, with respect to most gods, but they think their god is special. Is it? I can’t think of a reason. Is it because there are a lot of Christians? There are a lot of Buddhists too, does that make their religion true? Is it because there’s more evidence in support of Christianity? Nope. I don’t know of any solid evidence for the claims of Christianity. Is it because they believe passionately? Would anyone say there’s a Muslim afterlife with 72 virgins just because the 9/11 attackers believed so passionately enough to kill themselves for martyrdom? Of course not.

In nearly all forums where I interact with believers, I ask for good evidence for the claims the believers are making. I’m usually disappointed in what I get. Let me be clear on what I’m looking for. There are lots of bald assertions that believers give, usually claiming this or that about their god. If you don’t have evidence to back up those claims, then please forgive me if I just ignore them. “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” (Christopher Hitchens) Beyond bald assertions, I’ll also disregard falsehoods, deception, logical fallacies, and emotional manipulation. These seem to be the primary tools of apologists. If you have to lie to me, trick me, or manipulate me to believe something, what does that say about that thing you’d like me to believe? It says that even the theist can’t think of a good reason to believe in their god, so what’s left are bad reasons.

I’m pleasantly surprised that you admit that your god can’t be proven. Starting from there, the conversation should go like this:

  • Atheist: Do you have any good reason to believe in your god?
  • Theist: No.
  • Atheist: Thank you for your honesty. Please understand if I don’t believe.

End of story. But in their desire to market their religion, theists go on to give bad reasons.

Yes, we are all going to die. And we’ve heard “Pascal’s Wager” a million times. It’s a really bad argument with at least a dozen flaws. I’ll answer it, though in my own words. I personally have no fear of your god, or any god for that matter. As near as I can tell, the god of the Bible is fictional and I can think of no reason to fear fictional characters. But let’s pretend for a minute that gods are real. Is the goal to choose the one that offers the best afterlife, or perhaps save you from the worst hell? Isn’t that exactly like being a hedonistic toady, or perhaps sucking up to a monster so that you will be spared eternal torments. Maybe it’s both: you can even get to watch the torments of others while basking in eternal bliss. This seems rather sick to me, yet it seems to be what Christianity is promising.

Do you follow the most noble god? The god of the Bible blames Adam and Eve, indeed the entirety of humanity for his mistakes. Later, Yahweh orders Abraham to kill his own son. That story reads to me like a gang initiation ritual. In New Testament mythology, the same god kills his own son because there had to be a blood sacrifice due to a rule he either made up or given to him by some other more powerful god. Appeased, by his actions, he then allows the Jews to take the blame for his alleged sacrifice? Every story about the god of the Bible paints him as a monster. Even if he were real, I wouldn’t follow him.

I’ve made the decision to live my life as if there are no gods. I’ve looked at god claims, and I find them all to be without merit and most likely derived from human imagination. So how will I respond if, after my death I find out there’s some god that wants to torture me? I may not be happy, but I will have a lot of things (assuming “I” continue to exist) that will never be taken away. I’ll have the satisfaction of having lived my life in a sensible and kind manner. I will have the solace of knowing I’ve taken responsibility for my actions and that I will forever be more moral than the monster who is torturing me. In short, I will have my integrity. My integrity is not something I’m going to bargain away for vague promises from an invisible monster.

What will be your legacy when you die? From my perspective, perhaps the biggest claim you could make is that you tried your hardest to be a vector for a disease that has stifled progress, caused untold human misery, and murdered millions. From my perspective, you have hitched your wagon to a delusion. You’ve already pissed away your integrity. How sad.

I wonder, too, if you really believe your afterlife claims. If you’re going to go on to some perpetual orgasm, why hang around only to make the world a worse place? Please don’t let me stop you. I suspect you too have your doubts. If you don’t believe in Jesus why should I?

As for demons, atheists think demons are at least as silly (and unlikely) as gods. Be sure and check for monsters under your bed and sleep with your lights on. Boo! Maybe your invisible friend will protect you.

Now let me respond to the subtext of your letter. If you actually had good reason to believe in your god, you would have presented that. Since you didn’t present a good reason, it seems clear you have none. We both know prayer is a failure or you could have prayed for one ahead of time before writing. Next, if Christianity had any positive value, you could have pitched that. Again, it seems there is no positive benefit. You did offer threats (emotional manipulation). While Islam’s main tactic is murdering those who disagree with them, Christianity relies on lies and thuggery. Death threats are a common Christian tactic to get their way. Lies, like the “Christian Nation” propaganda only show how much a fraud the religion is. With threats of hell, there is usually caveat by the threat giving Christian that he has nothing to do with the threat; they’re just passing it along from on high. Yet I have yet to meet two Christians who can agree on the nature of their god, and as you admit, there is no good evidence to believe in such a good. People like you choose to believe in a clearly evil god. I can only imagine you do so because you identify with that aspect of his storied nature. Ultimately the threats are coming from Christians who believe themselves to be good. This is part and parcel of an evil delusion.

Years ago, Christians actually tortured non-believers, with the idea that coercing them to “believe” was a kind of mercy. Converting them here through torture was thought preferable to the “loving” justice of eternal torment. Fortunately, secular morality has made torturing heretics an anachronism. Christian torture and holy wars have just made more atheists. Regardless, the subtext of your note tells me that Christianity has no merit (you seem to admit that) and you still want me to join you. You want me to shut off my brain, give up my integrity, and become a wannabe thug that excuses the atrocity of the Bible and the murderous fruits of Christian belief. Yet the only think you’re offering is some idea you have in your head that I might get to look down from heaven in a blissful amoral stupor and enjoy watching the torments of my fellow human beings in hell. Wow. What a steaming pile of shit.

I want nothing to do with your religion.