No better than the bigots they claim to fight

Addendum: Ask an Atheist now has been added to the partners page. A shame it took a little public shaming to accomplish it, but for now, hold off on the email and Facebook abuse. Thanks.


Okay, try this on for size. And pay close fucking attention, because this shit is why we need Atheism+, in my not-so-humble opinion.

So the crew of Ask an Atheist up in Seattle host a 24-hour fundraiser for Washington United for Marriage, a marriage equality group. Because marriage equality is a thing atheists, in general, want to get behind.

After they have the money, what does Washington United say to Ask an Atheist? “Thanks for your wonderful support!”, perhaps? Or how about, “FUUUUCKK YOOOUUUUU!”

Come on. Guess.

Aw, how did you guess?

According to Mike Gillis at AAA, the response they got from the people they helped and supported was that Washington United “could not risk any negative publicity that may come from association with an atheist organization.” Because, of course, it is far more in the best interests of the LGBT community to pander to the theists who don’t fundraise for them, don’t support them, and would happily see them all die in a ditch for the greater glory of Jesus.

Seriously, people. Think long and hard on this one. Let it sink in.

Briefly to why this underscores and validates the Atheism+ concept: You might want to sit down for this, but there is a shit-ton of anti-atheist bigotry out there. People simply have this prejudice that, because we reject belief in an invisible magic man in the sky, we are thus irredeemable, immoral, corrupt and despicable monsters. Period. And this prejudice, as we can clearly see, extends even to the people you’d think were on the same side (and who apparently are, until the fucking check clears).

What Atheism+ seeks to do is counter this cultural bigotry through associating atheism with positive social causes. No, it won’t be an immediate mind-changing magic bullet. But, as Dawkins stated in The God Delusion, hopefully it will start to raise consciousnesses. Maybe you still think that’s a needless effort. I disagree, and present this situation as exhibit A. No, I’m not trying to guilt anyone who doesn’t want to adopt the A+ moniker into doing so if they still think it’s not for them. I just want you to understand why those of us who do want to adopt it find it useful to do so. That’s all.

As for Washington United, well, fuck them right back. Feel free to disagree, but I think the public shaming should be heavy on this one. They have a Facebook page. How about that? They also can be contacted here. Just a polite note to the effect of “Thanks for being total douchebags towards Ask an Atheist, that was really nice” ought to do. And if you’re a Washingtonian and still want to support equality in that state, apparently Equal Rights Washington are the good guys.

Remember Dennis Markuze/David Mabus?

After atheists and scientists online spent years putting up with a literal veritable tsunami [FTFY -Russell] of increasingly violent and unhinged death threats from Montreal resident Dennis Markuze (among whose many aliases, “David Mabus” is the best known), the authorities finally took reports of his stalking seriously and arrested the guy last year. Here is the latest.

Dennis Markuze, 40, recently received a suspended 18-month sentence after he pleaded guilty to uttering threats toward eight people. The case was heard at the Montreal courthouse.

Markuze, a resident of St. Laurent, was ordered to “abstain from participating in a social network, blog and discussion forum” during the sentence.

According to documents filed in the case, Markuze resided at Freedom House, a rehabilitation centre, to deal with problems he had with drugs and alcohol before he entered his guilty plea. According to the documents, he began consuming marijuana at age 15 and cocaine at age 23. At 25, he started drinking heavily, according to an assessment filed in his case in March.

The same assessment described Markuze as being motivated to deal with his substance abuse problems and mentions he completed a therapy program in March.

“He doesn’t want to return to prison nor have more problems with the law,” Freedom House’s Clement Proulx wrote in the assessment. “He takes responsibility for what he is charged with and takes his sobriety seriously.”

It all sounds very much like a wrist-slap, but I suppose it’s harder to get more decisive action taken on matters like these. Still, the law in Quebec can no longer say he’s not on their radar, at least. Can someone of Markuze’s dysfunctional mental health be trusted to abide by a ruling to stay away from the internet?

Keep an eye on your inboxes and comment threads, people. Be ready to report the very first violation.

(PS: FFS, when I said “literal” I didn’t mean “literally literal,” I literally meant “literal” like you mean it when you don’t mean “literal”! Why does everyone have to be so literal? It’s literally the craziest thing in the history of ever, and I do mean that literally!)

Stay classy!

This is an actual postcard snail-mailed to residents of Conway, SC, by The Rock Church, inviting people to their Easter services.

The blood smear is an especially nice touch, don't you think?

Nice, huh? Now imagine you’re a parent with a kid, and this turns up in the mail, and either your kid sees it, or you immediately think “Holy shit! My kid could see this…” Well, you don’t have to imagine it, because that’s what happened.

Now as you all know, I’m not bashful about sick, politically incorrect, potty-mouthed humor. But I like to think I have enough basic common sense to gauge my audience. I try to understand the fine line between what’s really funny, that people will get, and what’s just trolling. But what happened here is that The Rock Church basically trolled its own congregation and its entire community. Smooth.

Kevin Childs, the pastor, has offered an apology. And he assures us he’s really sorry, and that he’s not making one of those “‘if you’re offended, I’m sorry you’re offended’ non-apologies that don’t impress me either.” But while I’m sure he thinks he’s being sincere, his apology actually turns out to be more offensive than if he’d offered one of those Limbaugh-style not-pologies after all. And here’s why.

The problem isn’t so much the card, it’s the grotesque prejudice behind it.

Apparently, Childs is surprised and disappointed at the criticisms he’s getting, not from his congregation (whom he dismisses, strangely, as “fussy over-churched little Pharisees” — seriously, this guy’s on douche overload), but from atheists.

…if MUCH of the criticism is coming from the very people my own heart longs to reach, THAT stops me in my tracks. I could pretend otherwise. I could stick my jaw out, think up some zinger come-backs, and pretend I’m “earnestly contending for the faith.”

Listen, if fussy over-churched little Pharisees slam us, I honestly could not care less. If their unbelieving neighbors say that we’ve pushed them FURTHER from faith, that will keep me up at night. If our attempt at edgy irreverent outreach cast our church and Christianity in a bad light, blame me. Just me. And I apologize.

Wait, what?

So, Kevin, what you’re saying is that you really intended your card as an outreach to atheists? Because somewhere in that cracked clay pot you call a brain pan, you got the idea that we’re such disgraceful, immature, heartless and morally bankrupt people that we would look at an image making a joke of animal cruelty and totally go “LOL! Dude, I used to think religion was bullshit. But this church looks like the fucking bomb! Look at that little bunny’s guts! LMAO! I gotta go to this church now. Maybe if I get lucky the pastor will sodomize a couple of kids and put a kitten in a microwave!”

I mean, really?

Look, dude. You want to reach out to us? Fine. Here’s a protip. We like things like arguments, and evidence, and discussion, and rational discourse. We’re not a bunch of overgrown frat boys lighting farts and doing our best to extend our arrested adolescence into our fifties. (Can you actually light a fart, by the way?) That would be you, if this is any indication. To get us into your church, you first need to convince us your God exists at all. And the way to do that is by engaging that dusty little thing you’ve had on the shelf for years called a mind. Really, man, you could not have faceplanted into a steaming pile of fail more gracelessly if you were Pauly Shore starring in a Uwe Boll movie.

And no, I’m not judging your whole church by your own idiocy, because those fussy little Pharisees have called you on all this, too. If anyone reading this is from Conway, and you know this guy, or anyone from his church, please, tell them to tell him to give his head a shake.

Ray Comfort, pathological liar

Once again, Ray Comfort is telling the readers of his absurd blog that the only reason he has not called into the Atheist Experience is because we have not extended an invitation to him.

But of course, we have. I did so here. This was nearly a year ago. Hilariously, Ray dodged my invitation by linking me to his interview request page. This is typical of his dishonesty.

Another thing that is typical of his dishonesty: If you go to the original post on his blog, you won’t see the comment exchange detailed in my own post that I link to above. Because Ray has completely scrubbed his post of almost its entire comment thread.* (Unfortunately, the post is a little too old to find a cached copy of the original version with comment thread intact, but if any of our readers have l337 internet skillz and know how to dredge one up, by all means have a go.)

So you see, this is Ray’s little game. If we go to his blog and extend an invitation, he will simply delete it, thus enabling himself to continue claiming that we just aren’t inviting him, or maybe we’re scaaared of him, or whatever sustains the deluded fiction upon which he has constructed his life.

Ray Comfort is a liar. The proof’s in the proverbial pudding.


* I’ve been informed (in the very first comment below) that the comment thread was disappeared not by any duplicity on Ray’s part, but by the installation of a new comments module, which can have the effect of losing all your past comment threads. (It’s a reason I don’t switch us to Disqus here.) So, thanks to BathTub and my apologies for the error. Still it does not change the point of the original post: Ray’s continuing claims that we have not made any attempt to contact him are flat lies. According to Jen we’ve had an even more recent exchange with his staff.

Notice how misogynist the GOP has gotten lately? Want to do something fun about it?

Abortion rights is not necessarily an atheist issue. But it is a human rights issue. And it’s something the Christian Right has chosen to go to war over with its biggest, nastiest guns. They’re not exactly about playing fair either.

Recently, civilized hominids everywhere were left slack-jawed in disbelief when Republicans tried to redefine rape in order to make it damn near impossible for any actual rape survivor to terminate her pregnancy. They coined the baffling term “forcible rape,” implying they think there’s such a thing as “consensual rape.” Or something. Anyway, it’s obvious no Good Christian Woman would be out drinkin’ in bars and shit. So if some slutty sinful whore gets her drink roofied, it’s obviously her fault for not being pure enough, ain’t it?

Now it’s gotten crazier. As it seems to be GOP policy to constantly try to out-douche one another, Pennsylvania’s Republican Senator Joe Pitts has introduced H.R. 358. This bill would allow hospitals staffed by the kinds of people with a bug up their ass about abortion and a thin grasp of the Hippocratic Oath not only to decline to provide a life-saving abortion to a woman who direly needs one, but even to refuse to facilitate transporting her to a hospital that will. Save her life, that is. So we are presented with the spectacle of a woman dying in agony in a hospital parking lot while the nurses and orderlies on duty calmly watch Oprah and tweet about their weekends. Paradoxically, Pitts calls this the “Protect Life Act.” What a lovely thing Christian family values are.

And remember, these are the same people bleating about less government, less government!

It’s especially boggling when women, in what can only be thought of as Stockholm Syndrome taken to exponential new heights, fall into the right-wing misogyny camp and oppose the very medical procedures designed to help them in the unfortunate and hopefully unlikely event they will need them. Get it straight: no one is a fan of abortion. But to deny that sometimes the procedure is necessary, and moreover, to declare that the life of a woman is automatically worth less than that of a blastula, and that once a woman is gestating, she is automatically deprived of her personhood and her only function is now that of incubator, is nothing less than monstrous. That this is in fact how the Christian Right thinks is enough to make you think nuclear holocaust might be all humanity deserves after all.

But here’s a little something you can do. It’s even fun!

Recently, Lila Rose, a rising star in the (sexist wisecrack coming) right-wing bimbo brigade behind Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, made a ludicrous attempt to swiftboat Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides a plethora of invaluable health assistance to women everywhere, but which the right chooses to characterize exclusively as Dachau for Babies. Rose’s stunt was butt-stupid, even for a Republican. Like her BFF, convicted criminal James “Doctored ACORN Videos” O’Keefe, Rose tried to punk PP with some video doctoring of her own. Her ingenious plan must be read to be believed.

Over a five day period, visitors to Planned Parenthood health centers in six states said they were seeking information from Planned Parenthood about health services Planned Parenthood could provide to underage girls who were part of a sex trafficking ring…. Men, sometimes accompanied by a woman, have visited at least 11 Planned Parenthood health centers in six states within a one-week time frame. During their visits, they claimed to be involved in sex trafficking of teens, some of whom are in the United States illegally. These men appeared at health centers without appointments and said that they were seeking health services for themselves, but they quickly turned the conversation to the sex ring they said they were managing.

Wait, what?

Yes, you read that right. The plan was to get PP to appear as if they were helping conceal the existence of a child-sex trafficking ring. Rose’s little brainchild was itself aborted, however, when PP did what she hoped they wouldn’t do: report this bullshit to the FBI.

Now of course, poor Lila — abetted by her pals in right-wing media, of course — will continue to try to sell this false story, and probably paint herself as some kind of martyr for truth. Wingnuts do that kind of thing. But here’s a fun thing we can all do, as a kind of sweet revenge. It’s a way of letting petty little people like her, and all her anti-choice pals, know that the more they lie, the more they try to tear down women’s right to safe and legal health options through disinformation, the more we will remain committed to the cause of women’s health. And a little thing called truth.

  • Click on this link. It will take you to Planned Parenthood’s “Honorary Giving” donations page.
  • Throw a few bucks their way “in honor of” Lila Rose!
  • Finally, send Lila a friendly, cordial, profane-insult-free email at lilarose@liveaction.org, informing her that you have done this, and that her campaign of disgraceful lies has resulted in your increased support for Planned Parenthood. In her name. Don’t be snarky. Don’t cuss her out. Don’t give her any ammo to whine about the evil libral socialist godless heathen scary people who are stalking her. Be so civil it hurts. You could also add that you hope she never finds herself in need of PP’s services, and to keep an eye on her drinks when she goes out.

That should do it. A little bit of the old martial artist, turning your opponent’s attack back upon them, you see. Most satisfying. But then, people like Rose have committed to a life of lies. Committing to truth, as she’ll soon learn, wins in the end.

Presenting the most offensive email we’ve ever gotten

And it’s not even Christian hate mail. Hell, that stuff’s almost always penny ante.

No, this is someone who claims to be a fan, but who has his head…well, let’s just say that the attitudes expressed here reflect a level of clueless douchebaggery and stupidity that I’ve rarely seen. I suppose this way of thinking might fly in the Christian Quiverfull community, or among 13-year-old boys who’ve learned everything they think they know about females from torrenting Girls Gone Wild videos. But to hear it coming from an (choke) admirer of ours is creepy to say the very least. One gets the impression he’s the sort of fellow who wonders why women only want to go out with “jerks” and not “nice guys” like him.

Why post it here? Simply because I think this is the sort of thing that deserves public shaming. Rock-stupid condescension and male-entitlement attitudes like this continue to thrive when those who express them are brushed off with a “boys will be boys” dismissal, rather than being subjected to the castigation they deserve. So, castigate away.

Subject: message for jen peeps

hi,

I think you’re great, and your current look is excellent suits you very well.

I am only saying the following advice because you’re good and thus deserving of my advise

You look hot here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7w7hOv47Y4
this seems to be your current look

Long hair is very important.

It’s a minority that look reasonably good with short hair, and even those that do, would almost always look better with long hair.

You look bad with short hair.. As in
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsaOL85jx9Q
It might be better if I don’t elaborate on that or get too blunt, because women can burst into tears over that kind of thing.. and you’re nice I don’t want you to burst into tears or even to get upset. And there’s no reason to, this is a very positive message that you look hot -now-. and that it’s so easy for you just don’t cut your hair short. And since you’re so logical, I know you will take this message as a positive thing since it should be, and it’s not spun either.

A secondary issue, is your clothing in that older video is frumpy rather than modern-sexy.. women usually look sexier in a t-shirt than in frumpy clothing, and you are no exception. I know you’re not trying to look sexy even when you do.. but no point dressing in a frumpy way. Really since i’m a guy I don’t care about type of clothes.. but as a woman you’re familiar with clothes and you’d understand if I said your clothing there was frumpy.. and it was. The recent video where you wore the t-shirt is better than the frumpy clothes.. though you’d look hot either way.. since as I said clothing was secondary. From a guy’s perspective, something less frumpy might not hide you as much. I hope you get a nice partner, like Russel , a particular hero of mine, and have lots of intelligent logical discussion and kids like you two! or like almost any on AE, at least 5 or 6 of you are incredible and really leading atheist thinkers.

In 15 years you’ll look quite bad.. and after that you’ll look as disgusting to a man(A man with standards) as any other very middle aged woman is just expired and at different stages part their expiration date. So look good and sexy and enjoy the experience while you can. And be glad that you can..

I am very happy that you are hot, because you deserve to be!

“If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

We have lately gotten a number of emails from viewers bringing Rich Allen’s YouTube bullshit to our attention, and who haven’t gotten the memo that Jen essentially exposed the guy for the pathological liar he is more than a week ago. They seem to think we need to address Allen’s falsehoods as a matter of some desperate urgency. These viewers need to realize that this is exactly what Allen wants you to think: that he is important and that his ravings have some bearing on our own character and credibility.

There are two kinds of people in the world: honest and dishonest. And among each, but especially among the dishonest, there are multiple levels of severity, from the inconsequential dishonesty that comes from mere ignorance, to the truly malevolent levels of douchebaggery that come from a sense of self-importance inflated out of all proportion to any actual achievement or substance to back it up. Because Rich Allen belongs to the latter group, it is senseless to engage him or any of his little pals beyond the level we already have.

There are plenty of sincere Christian apologists out there genuinely interested in having a two-way conversation, in which actual ideas are exchanged, for us to waste our time with the kinds of people who (as happened earlier tonight with one of Allen’s doucheposse) send us emails simply repeating Allen’s little content-free shifting-the-burden fallacy (which Matt thoroughly disposed of today) and, regardless of whatever answer they receive, respond with such delightful bon mots as (as our correspondent called Jen) “you stupid fucking cunt.” Guys like this are just bad people, and there was never even the hint of a desire on their part for an honest exchange of ideas. Their pattern is infantile in its simplicity: taunt the atheist to get him riled up, then declare victory no matter what is actually said by whom. Like their idols in the lunatic fringe media (Glenn Beck seems to be the template here), the principle in play is “Just say anything!” The bigger the lie, the better, because you can guarantee the target you wish to smear will get angrier, and all you have to do is get them angry.

So, you know, fuck these guys. Seriously. Don’t keep emailing us about them, because you’re giving them the credibility and attention they crave.

There’s a scene in the classic movie Casablanca that sums up the situation beautifully. Peter Lorre plays a small-time hood who is desperate for the attention and admiration of Rick, Bogart’s character. Bogart has his number and basically dismisses him as the wannabe poser he is. At one point Lorre, with wide, expectant canine eyes, says to Bogie, “You despise me, don’t you?” And Bogie, without even looking up from his work, calmly replies, “If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

So there you have guys like Rich Allen, our little Peter Lorre*, forever seeking the attention of the atheist community despite a total absence of any real cred to shore up his bluster. He almost surely does deserve to be as despised as he wants to be, because bad people are despicable by nature. But really, should we give him any thought? What has he brought to the table to earn it? Beyond his oft-repeated lies, I mean? Nothing? Well, sorry, but nothing earns you nothing here. So let’s hear no more of Rich, then, okay?


* Naturally, I am speaking of Lorre’s Casablanca character here. Lorre himself is someone I’d have loved to have known!