But…but…it makes no SENSE!

Welcome to Florida, where they hate teh gayz, but are apparently pretty open-minded about furries. The Sunshine State goes out of its way to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying or even adopting (though their adoption ban has been ruled unconstitutional), and yet they just can’t seem to muster up the energy to ban bestiality.

But here’s what I find confusing, even by the standards of wingnut tomfoolery. Aren’t these folks the ones who believe that homosexuality leads to bestiality? Aren’t they the ones telling us that buttsecks and being fabulous is just a gateway drug to boning Fido? I mean, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and our ol’ buddy Pat seem to think so, and many others in the I’m-Not-Repressing-Anything-No-I-Mean-It Brigade agree. So is it Florida’s position, then, that while The Gay is a threat to the very fabric of our society that must be eradicated at all costs, the presumably-ickier kinks it apparently leads to aren’t really much to be worried about? Wouldn’t it follow that if homosexuality really corrupts society, then bestiality would be a total apocalyptic leghump for the whole planet? But if they’re now saying bestiality is a “rare crime” that it would be a waste of time dealing with legislatively, then aren’t they admitting that Huck and Pat and Rick and those guys are (gasp!) wrong!? But how could they be lying to us? They’re good Christians! Gah! Dealing with these people makes my poor head* throb. I need a cookie.


*I mean the one on my shoulders. Geez, you people…

One Nation Under God

“It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase ‘under God.’ I didn’t.”

–Barak Obama, “Call to Renewal” Keynote Address, June 28, 2006.

This quote was featured this morning on another atheist blog I frequent, Austin Cline’s atheism.about.com section.

Austin makes some good points, and points most of the people who visit this blog spot would probably think of themselves. That the phrase is openly discriminatory toward atheists, and that it furthers the disenfranchisement of atheists in our culture.

I certainly don’t disagree. Although, if I’m going to be honest, I personally also never felt that the Pledge thrust religion or monotheism upon me as a youngster. I honestly don’t believe that any child will become monotheistic by being compelled to say the Pledge every morning and recite the phrase “One Nation Under God.”

Let me be clear, however, that I acknowledge that the insertion of the phrase is completely in violation of the Establishment of Religion clause, and should be removed, if on no other grounds than that.

Also, just because the phrase never offended me, personally, I certainly don’t take issue with anyone else feeling uncomfortable with it. How it makes a person feel is just that–how it makes them feel. It’s not wrong to have feelings or to acknowledge them. And just because I don’t share a person’s feelings, doesn’t invalidate their feelings, or my lack of them.

So, it is a phrase that at the very least violates our Constitution and, therefore, our law, and also that may offend some citizens who like to think that they are just as patriotic as any theist, or that they don’t want their children compelled to say this any more than a Christian would want their child compelled to say “One Nation Without a God.”. And these are real problems.

In my humble view, however, as someone who has dialogued with quite a lot of theists, neither of these things comes close to what I consider to be the real harm caused by the insertion of this phrase into our Pledge of Allegiance. What disturbs me beyond these two very real concerns? The fact that there is a group of very vocal, very politically active theists, specifically Christians, who would insert this phrase and similar phrases all over our government and our government-sponsored public institutions in order to promote the view that we are, on some level, a theocracy.

The last time I was on AE, Matt Dillahunty pointed out that if a person says “This is a Christian nation,” and they mean by that that our citizens, by and large, are Christians, they are correct. If they mean by that that the vast majority of early Americans and founders of the United States were Christians or monotheists along Christian lines, they are correct. If, however, they mean by that that our laws are based upon the Bible, and that Biblical authority or Christian authority supersedes Constitutional authority, they couldn’t be more wrong, (and, I would add, perhaps dangerous).

I know that by posting this, I’m preaching to the choir. And I have no intention of launching into arguments that already plaster the Internet regarding why I disagree with the theocratic stance. I’m only writing to address that, to me, it is unwise to ignore a growing group who vocally express a wish to enforce their religion upon the rest of our society. And it is unwise to believe that simply because I’m not feeling particularly offended by something, it’s not potentially threatening or harmful. Did anyone see the early push that Huckabee got in the primaries? Anyone who thinks there isn’t a growing movement for theocracy in the Christian community isn’t paying attention. And anyone who isn’t concerned by that isn’t thinking it through to the end. Even Christians should fear that concept, because, historically speaking, believers haven’t been particularly kind even to other believers when they aren’t in complete doctrinal agreement.

I’m not going to slam Obama as a uniquely insensitive or unaware, here. I’m sure Obama isn’t the only person–or politician–to share this sentiment. I actually have heard many atheists say the same thing: “It doesn’t bother me, why get all worked up over it? It’s harmless recitation.” But to that, I have to respond that there is a larger world out there, beyond me and how I feel. And it would be wise of us all to take notice of how others around us “feel,” because we might find they feel that our government should require us to adopt, if not their beliefs, at least their behaviors with regard to their religious perspectives. And they use these seemingly innocuous items to promote that agenda. Since it shouldn’t be there in the first place, by law, is it wise to endorse it, retain it, or defend it as “inoffensive,” while supporters of a U.S. theocracy begin to rally and test their power?

I’m thinking, “not.”

Huckabee’s fundamentalist pandering: a rant

There’s a rumor going around that America is the most advanced nation on Earth, in terms of human rights and scientific prowess at the very least. But in reality, the majority of this nation has greeted the prospect of returning to the dark ages with open arms. Atheists only ever usually see this in the comments creationists leave on science blogs, most of which (the comments, that is) are such a black hole of vacuous moronity coupled with unwonted arrogance and smugness that they must be seen to be believed.

But Americans’ eagerness to flush the last 200 or so years of civilization down the commode can be seen in so many places, and most prominently in the fact that the front-runner for the GOP right now is Mike Huckabee, a hyper-fundamentalist nincompoop who proudly wears his sexism, homophobia and scientific illiteracy on his sleeve, and who puts his superstitions right at the forefront of his campaign as if they were his greatest virtue. That the benighted American public thinks the more idiotic religious atavism you practice, the more virtuous you really are, it’s sadly predictable that Huckabee’s lunacy is selling. It’s selling so well that people not only don’t care that, when he was governor of Arkansas, this staunch enemy of abortion rights pressed for the early release of a serial rapist from prison despite numerous warnings that the man would almost certainly offend again (and sure enough, he raped and killed one more woman after Huckabee let him walk), but they’d probably be more inclined to support him if they did know. Hell, it’s what all them uppity feminazi bitches deserve, ain’t it?

I fear some folks are taking the confident “it can’t happen here” attitude towards a possible Huckabee presidency. Even American voters couldn’t be that idiotic, they assure themselves. Well, when you remember that over half the population of this country believes the universe was created after dogs were domesticated, I think the intelligence of the majority is something one should not overestimate. That Huckabee has gotten as far as he has solely on flogging his Christian faith, while openly displaying his ignorance of foreign policy and geopolitics ought to be enough of an indicator of GOP voters’ low standards for who they’d like to see in the White House (as if Bush weren’t bad enough).

Yes, Huckabee has tried to assure people he’s open to non-Christians as well (“The key issue of real faith is that it never can be forced on someone. And never would I want to use the government institutions to impose mine or anybody else’s faith or to restrict…”), but when he’s on record as stating he’d like to “take this nation back for Christ,” then defends it as simply the kind of thing you say to a Baptist gathering, forgive me if I’m a little dubious. If a presidential candidate were to appear at an Islamic mosque and talk about taking America back for Allah, or at a Klan meeting to talk about putting the uppity blacks in their place, and then respond to the press that “certainly that would be appropriate to be said to a gathering of” Muslims or neo-Nazi hicks, his political career would be over faster than you could say “redneck.” (Though creepily enough, Ron Paul’s lunatic fringe of supporters don’t seem terribly bothered by his apparent affiliation with white supremacists, so maybe racism wouldn’t be much of a liability to a candidate these days.)

Well, who knows yet how things will turn out in the caucuses, but it does appear as if the GOP at large is throwing former golden boy Romney overboard in favor of Huckabee. I can say that if Huckabee actually gets the GOP nomination, it would be a sufficiently awful turn of events that I might actually be driven to support Hillary. At least the worst you can say about her is that she’s a dishonest, opportunistic careerist who never takes a stand on anything she can’t abandon in a heartbeat if it appears to be hurting her in the polls.

Can you tell I’m not overly optimistic about the election year?