Why I’m Not Thrilled at Trump’s Supposed Secularism

CN: Donald Trump, Michael Shermer

Skeptics, come get your boy Michael Shermer! For the last couple of weeks, he’s been on a Twitter rant about how the March for Science is supposedly playing identity politics (topping it all off with this lovely gem). Now he’s shifting his focus on Trump’s supposed secularism in this Politico article. Although Shermer doesn’t claim Trump is one of us (he suspects Trump practices “Cafeteria Christianity, where one orders only the most appealing items on the menu”), nor does he praise Trump as a president, he does find Trump’s lack of religiosity as “hugely refreshing.” Shermer writes:

It looks like the U.S. religious reawakening from the 1950s through the 2000s, then, might have been an anomaly. The long-term trend is certainly toward secularization.

The Evangelicals who helped put Trump in the White House would probably dispute that. But they are missing the bigger picture: Trump was elected president despite being the least religious major candidate in the 2016 field. Looked at this way, Trump isn’t the evangelicals’ savior. He’s just another data point in America’s long march away from religion.

Now look, I’m as happy as the next atheist that society is gradually moving away from religion. I long for the day religion becomes either a historical artifact or at least just a social thing people did on Sunday and nothing else. But Trump’s lack of religiosity doesn’t mean a damn thing to me because his  secular values are not humanist values.

Look at the Muslim ban. Look at his transphobic policies. Look at his climate change denial. Does this guy look like he cares deeply about science, reason, and human rights? I think not. Also, if Trump’s such a secularist, why does he pick a far-right anti-abortion anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian like Mike Pence as his running mate? I know secularism doesn’t automatically make you either pro-choice or pro-LGBTQ, but if Trump’s lack of religiosity is such a huge leap forward towards secularism, why do his politics look like the same old Religious Right song and dance?

I also find it interesting that Shermer didn’t mention another largely secular presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, in his article. Throughout his campaign, Sanders exemplified progressive humanist values that emphasized human action over divine intervention. Where’s the article saying his campaign marked a shift in our religious landscape? Where’s the article praising Sander’s humanism, whether it’s religious or secular?

Besides, Trump doesn’t give a shit about us atheists. During his weekly address last Friday, he said, “America is a nation of believers . . . And we pray for the strength and wisdom to achieve a better tomorrow—one where good people of all faiths, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu, can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience.” It’s great he gave a shout-out to Muslims, Jews, and Hindus, but what about us atheists? What about us who don’t pray to any god?

If Trump’s lack of religiosity is a sign of our increasingly secular nation, I’ll gladly take our previous liberal Christian president any day of the week.

 

Why the Alt-Right Should Love the Attack on Syria

Welcome to my life: I came home last night after a successful first meeting of a new local LGBTQ group only to find Trump attacked Syria. I’m currently trying to avoid social media posts about it because I know it will depress the hell out of me, and instead going to focus on being productive, including calling my reps.

But I will say one thing; I’m shocked that the alt-right’s mad about the attack on Syria! Richard Spencer, Ann Coulter, and Paul Joseph Watson all condemned Trump on Twitter for getting involved with another country’s problems, something that Trump promised he wouldn’t do. I find that odd because out of all the people in the world, the alt-right should be the most gung-ho about blowing up Syria, and here’s why:

1). Trump’s killing brown people. Since the alt-right’s whole premise is based on racism and white nationalism, they should be happy he’s blowing up more brown people and Muslims, right? Unless the alt-right meant killing brown people here in America rather than over there in the Middle East. Still, blowing up Syria means less terrorists coming here to America, right? Forget accidentally finding a bad Skittle; destroy the entire bag and be done with it!

2). War is politically incorrect. If there’s one thing Republicans love to complain about (besides blacks moving next door to them), it’s that Democrats are way too soft on terrorists and dictators. It doesn’t matter that Obama used drone strikes or Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State when we killed Bin Laden, Republicans love to perpetuate the narrative that war is politically incorrect, and that Democrats want to give evil dictators tea and biscuits. And since the alt-right thinks politically correctness is a bigger threat to the First Amendment than Trump’s war on the media, they should be shitting themselves with glee over how the Syrian attack triggered a shitload of snowflakes. Hell, maybe even Dave Rubin will interview Trump and praise him for sticking it to the Left!

3). Meddling in other countries’ affairs is what makes American great. Trump supporters love to talk about bringing America back to the good ol’ days when men were men, and white people didn’t have to shit next to black people. And what’s more American than racism and sexism? Imperialism! It’s not enough that we get to enjoy our freedoms in our little corner of the world; we want to make sure everyone else does, too. That’s what makes America great!

Whether or not the Syrian attack means the end of the Trump presidency, I don’t know. (Probably not because the Trump Tape didn’t ruin his chance of winning the election.) As for now, I’m just gonna enjoy watching the alt-right scramble to find a new führer.

We’re Not Alone in This Fight: My Latest for Splice Today

Besides having anxiety attacks over whether or not people will accept me as a non-binary trans person, I also had them all last week in trying to decide if I should attend a town hall hosted by Republican Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1). On the one hand, this would be a chance to make my voice heard and push for change. On the other, the Eastern Shore doesn’t take kindly to progressive queer trans people, so I was afraid I’d get hurt. I texted my friend Jim—a seventysomething hardcore progressive anti-theist who doesn’t take shit from anyone—to come along with me, and he agreed.

We arrived at Chesapeake College just after five to see a huge line outside. Jim and I chatted with people from Talbot Rising who were holding protest signs, which meant we weren’t able to get seats inside, so we stood in the back of the auditorium. I had a question for Harris written down on a piece of paper, but unfortunately missed the deadline to submit it.

The meeting began with a pastor reciting a Christian prayer (roll of eyes), followed by the Pledge of Allegiance (another eye-roll since it included “Under God”). Then Harris came onstage. He began with a short slideshow to make everyone believe that Obamacare ruined America, but the audience wasn’t having it. They booed, yelled, and demanded Harris skip the slideshow and go straight to the questions. At one point he told one woman in the audience, “Ma’am, if you don’t stop yelling, I’m going to ask you to leave,” but he quickly shut up when we all yelled in unison.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #21: Have You Tried Not Being Poor?

We start today’s episode talking about the new GOP healthcare bill, and how it’s going to screw us all over. Then after we get a history lesson from Ben Carson, we discuss Christina Hoff Sommers’ latest video debunking the gender wage gap, and how it overlooks a lot of social hurtles.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #21: Have You Tried Not Being Poor?” on Spreaker.

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ICYMI, Three Recent Splice Today Articles I Think You All Will Appreciate

As you may or may not know, I recently started writing for Baltimore-based website Splice Today which covers politics, art, and culture. Here are three recent articles I wrote for them that I think y’all might like:

Fear Builds Walls: How Pink Floyd’s The Wall Predicted Trump

Gender Dysphoria as a Still, Small Voice (It’s pretty emotionally raw, so discretion is advised)

The Failure of Classical Liberalism (Oh boy, this is gonna piss off the Free Speech Warriors!)

So yeah, hope you like them.

Bi Any Means Podcast #88: The Resist Podcast with Danielle Muscato

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Returning to the show today is Danielle Muscato. She’s a trans woman and an atheist activist who is starting a new podcast called The Resist Podcast, which is focused on social justice activism to fight back against Donald Trump, fascism, and the alt-right. So we’re gonna catch up with Danielle and find out what all she’s been doing lately.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #88: The Resist Podcast with Danielle Muscato” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #87: Trans Rights, Inciting Incidents, and the PC Lie with Marissa McCool

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My guest for today is Marissa McCool. She’s the co-host of the Inciting Incident podcast, and is the author of several books, including her latest, “The PC Lie: How American Voters Decided I Don’t Matter.” Today we’re going to get to know Ris and all the great stuff she’s doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #87: Trans Rights, Inciting Incidents, and the PC Lie with Marissa McCool” on Spreaker.

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Are LGTBQ Rights Trump’s Next Target? – My Latest Article for The Humanist

During his first weeks in office, President Trump signed several executive orders for an Environmental Protection Agency media blackout, a ban on funding global organizations that either perform or mention abortion, and the now-infamous “Muslim ban.” Several in the LGBTQ community are worried that their rights are next on the list, especially after an anonymous White House official told the news site New Civil Rights Movement that Trump would overturn Obama’s 2014 anti-discrimination protections.

Last week, however, the White House released a statement assuring the public that Trump will keep Obama’s non-discrimination order intact. According to the statement:

President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The President is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.

While this may give some a sense of relief, it doesn’t negate the fact that the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is still on the table.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #18: Trump’s War on Science

Today Matthew Facciani joins us to talk about Trump’s War on Science. We look into Cheeto Hitler’s executive order, and the nerd uprising that followed it. Also, I comes clean about a controversial opinion.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #18: Trump’s War on Science” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #85: The Hispanic Atheist with Luciano Gonzalez

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My guest for today is Luciano Gonzalez. According to his bio: “Luciano Gonzalez is a vocal atheist. He’s also Latin American. As a Latin American born in the United States, and raised in Latin America, he has had quite a lifetime of experience with the Church. By the time Luciano was halfway through his freshman year of college he had realized that he was an atheist. Shortly after realizing that he had gradually lost his belief (having been raised by Catholic Puerto Ricans, in North Carolina, Georgia, Honduras, Colombia, and Panama), he made the decision to become a vocal and open atheist, a decision which isn’t easy for many Latin Americans, especially given that he lived (and lives in) the Bible Belt. Luciano is a college student who is studying history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also runs the Honduras Report, a digital news group which translates news from Honduran sources (in Spanish) into English and presents them to 900+ people in Honduras, many of whom don’t speak Spanish, or aren’t native speakers and don’t feel comfortable with their level of Spanish who live in Honduras in places like Copan or Roatan. Luciano can be found on Facebook as The Hispanic Atheist and is a founder/administrator of the Secular Latino Alliance, a Facebook support group for Latinos who are no longer (or never were) religious and instead either don’t identify with any religious identity, or consider themselves someone who is irreligious. ” So today we’re gonna get to know Luciano and all that he’s doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #85: The Hispanic Atheist with Luciano Gonzalez” on Spreaker.

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