Allen West Doesn’t Like Our Billboard

Former congressman Allen West encountered one of our “millions of people are living happily without religion” billboards in the subway in Washington, DC. He was so bothered by it that he posted it to his Facebook page, which has gotten almost 10,000 comments as of this writing. You can only imagine the quality of the comments from his followers. Here’s West’s statement:

I had a meeting in downtown DC and am standing at the McPherson Square METRO and an advertisement caught my eye saying, “Millions of Americans are living happily without religion.” The ad is sponsored by the Center for Inquiry at www.livingwithoutreligion.org. America has a Judeo-Christian faith heritage and promotes the free exercise of religion. However, it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy. After all, as it says in Joshua chapter 24, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Yeah, we do need a Values Voters Summit and probably another Great Awakening in America.

What does that second to last sentence have to do with the one before it? Atheists must be miserable because “As for me and my house we will serve the lord”? Wha? Some of the comments:

Your civil liberties are based upon religious principals. To espouse a religion-less life and impugn those who do believe is tantamount to unraveling our republic and invite future anarchy.

Civil liberties are based on religious “principals” (sic), which is why religious people spend so much of their time attacking civil liberties. Makes total sense.

Its not about religion, it about relationship!!!!

On the local media reports on the billboard, there must have been at least 50-100 comments left with that tired and ridiculous claim that Christianity is “not a religion, it’s a relationship with Jesus.” On one long Facebook thread for a local radio station, there were at least a dozen such comments. But there was also one guy very loudly and repeatedly arguing that atheism is a religion. I asked him several times for a definition of religion that would include atheism and he finally (and predictably) offered one that was so broad — any gathering of like-minded people — that it would include a football tailgate party or a book club. I finally left a comment that said, “Things I’ve learned in this conversation: Christianity is not a religion, but everything else is.”

And of course:

BS..the woman in the pic is obviously a Muslum…and last I checked that was still as religion.

There were a whole bunch of comments like this. The woman in the picture is dark-skinned, therefore she must be a Muslim. Because all dark-skinned people are Muslims, dontchaknow.

32 comments on this post.
  1. unbound:

    it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy

    It has been my experience in life that people who possess deep faith are liars and con artists.

    Your move.

  2. Randomfactor:

    “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

    The OTHER white meat. As the Rabbi said, “even better than pork, eh?”

    A good friend of mine is Jewish, and she tells me the ones she’s in contact with shrug their shoulders at “Judeo-Christian” considering that a meaningless construct. I suspect they know they’ll fare no better than us godless types “comes the revolution.” Camouflage, nothing more.

  3. hexidecima:

    unsurprisingly, Alan West is a lovely example of “religious principals”. There are no civil rights in his magic book, and he breaks one of the few decent commands in it when it says do not lie.

  4. thinkfree83:

    I am an atheist, and I suffer from anxiety and depression. But I suffered from these things when I tried out religion for a few years as well. I tried prayer to feel better, but it couldn’t change the underlying problems that were feeding into my depression. Millions of people suffer from mental illness or melancholy for reasons that have nothing to do with their metaphysical beliefs, or lack thereof. Many of my problems stem from long-term unemployment, which West and his teabagging cronies are making worse with their asinine policies. I am not unhappy because I don’t have a relationship with Jesus, I’m unhappy because I lack meaningful work.

  5. MikeMa:

    West disapproves of anything not directly related to promoting Allen West. He has unshakable faith in his own infallibility – a sure sign he’s full of shit.

  6. John Pieret:

    it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy.

    Gee, maybe that’s because you spent your time in the military and in Congress trying to make the lives of such people miserable. It’s pretty hard to express what happiness you have when surrounded by morons like you!

  7. Larry:

    You just know West is aching to tear down the sign and impose some of that xtian love on those who reject his beliefs. After all, in my experience, those professing deep faith are not happy unless they’re shoving their religion down everyone’s throat.

  8. eric:

    Its not about religion, it about relationship!!!!

    Then you shouldn’t be bothered by the billboard, should you?

    These folks need to get their complaints straight. They can complain that it offends their religion or they can complain that it mischaracterizes Christianity as religion, but they can’t make both complaints at the same time.

  9. Modusoperandi:

    To espouse a religion-less life and impugn those who do believe is tantamount to unraveling our republic and invite future anarchy.

    Future anarchy is pretty awesome. It’s got a silver jumpsuit and a teleporter, but you can’t tell it where to teleport you, man!

    There were a whole bunch of comments like this. The woman in the picture is dark-skinned, therefore she must be a Muslim. Because all dark-skinned people are Muslims, dontchaknow.”

    Even Al-Lan West?

  10. Red-Green in Blue:

    Its not about religion, it about relationship!!!!

    Oh well, if it’s not a religion, you won’t mind giving up your tax breaks and regulatory loopholes then…

  11. timgueguen:

    There are lots of people with strong faith who are miserable because they think they can’t live up to God’s demands, or because one of their relatives are gay and hence sinning, or any of a dozen other reasons that flow directly from that faith.

  12. poxyhowzes:

    So thanks to Allen West, some 10,000 folks* or so from geographically diverse areas have seen a positive message about atheism that they might have missed if they don’t regularly go through the McPherson Square METRO station in DC?

    Is West’s middle name “Barbra”? — pH

    * I recognize that the number of comments /= the number of folks, but still…

  13. anubisprime:

    When Christians have to redefine their faith as ‘ a relationship’ then you know they are on the backfoot.

    Trying to distance themselves from ‘religion’ makes it appear like the scattering of cockroaches diving for the shadows when the light goes on, they are ashamed of their religion…that is so obvious!

  14. eric:

    When Christians have to redefine their faith as ‘ a relationship’ then you know they are on the backfoot.

    Not necessarily. Every organization has to change its PR messaging or branding occasionally to attract more members/users. That doesn’t necessarily signal weakness, it just means they understand the public communications business. If you want other examples, think of the regularly-changing taglines of the Army or MacDonalds.

  15. exdrone:

    Yeah, we do need a Values Voters Summit and probably another Great Awakening in America.

    If you accept that we are in the dying days of the fifth Great Awakening, can we please allow it to fail before starting a new one.

  16. Chiroptera:

    “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind so much people and their houses serving their lord. It’s when they try to use the power of the state to force me and my house to serve their lord that bugs me.

  17. Michael Heath:

    Allen West writes:

    . . . it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy. After all, as it says in Joshua chapter 24, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Yeah, we do need a Values Voters Summit and probably another Great Awakening in America.

    When you got into a turkey barn all the turkeys are relatively quiet, at most a significant minority are quietly clucking. However if a tom (male) gobbles, he’ll get a big response from all the turkeys where they immediately gobble back. You can even it do yourself, you don’t even need to mimic a gobble, a short sharp yell is sufficient.

    Allen West’s 10,000 comment post response illustratively validates this call and response can be true for certain human tribes as well, intelligence or coherency not required.

  18. zero6ix:

    I wonder if all those people he knows that are without faith are unhappy because every time West enters the room, they collectively groan at the oncoming verbal vomit coming their way.

  19. rationalinks:

    Man, that Alan West guy has us pegged. Atheist gatherings are exactly like emo conventions, lots of sad faces and eyeliner.

  20. Sastra:

    However, it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy.

    Yeah … whenever he gets into a political discussion with a secular liberal they want to argue with him because they’re not happy about something or other.

    A good reason why we don’t assess broad social question by going with one person’s “experience.”

    (I also suspect he defines a person with “deep faith” as “someone who is both religious AND extremely happy.”)

  21. caseloweraz:

    West: America has a Judeo-Christian faith heritage and promotes [permits] the free exercise of religion. However, it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy [with me].

    FTFY

  22. Gvlgeologist, FCD:

    Allen West Doesn’t Like Our Billboard

    Literally my first thought upon seeing that was “Well, you must be doing something right”.

  23. matty1:

    I tried a relationship with Jesus. Terrible, never called when he was out late with the disciples, expected me to do all the housework, and I’m pretty sure he was cheating on me with that Judas.

  24. Modusoperandi:

    Michael Heath “When you got into a turkey barn all the turkeys are relatively quiet, at most a significant minority are quietly clucking. However if a tom (male) gobbles, he’ll get a big response from all the turkeys where they immediately gobble back. You can even it do yourself, you don’t even need to mimic a gobble, a short sharp yell is sufficient.”
    “You are a madman…”

  25. Moggie:

    Judeo-Christian = simultaneously believing that Jesus was and was not the Messiah. It’s sort of a Schroedinger’s Cat deal.

  26. Lofty:

    Strangely his idea of happiness does not correspond with mine.
    Happiness = quivering in terror at the feet of an abusive madman, hoping for approval of your meanness to others not like you.
    I get my happiness cycling past a church on Sunday mornings watching the sneers on the faces of the scarecrows entering therein. I’m free!

  27. Robert B.:

    If civil liberties are based on religious principals, why are religious principals always getting sued by the ACLU?

  28. dingojack:

    Gvlgeologist, FCD – my first thought was:
    Wait now – Adam West doesn’t like the billboards? Holy Judeo-Christian Principals, Batman!
    ;) Dingo

  29. Michael Heath:

    Robert B. writes:

    If civil liberties are based on religious principals, why are religious principals always getting sued by the ACLU?

    There’s many levels of incoherency here.

    The ACLU doesn’t sue ‘religious principles’. When it comes to people whose constitutionally protected civil liberties are being infringed upon, the ACLU typically sues the government entity who is doing the infringing.

    Even if civil liberties were based on religious principles, that doesn’t preclude civil liberties being based on other premises as well, e.g., enlightenment thinking, historical lessons applied to the law (here we consider Madison’s research when developing a constitutional framework he introduced and got passed at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787). So we’d need to first understand the weight religious principals contributed to civil liberties before we started leveraging only that single premise to make a conclusion as we see Robert B attempt to do here.

    I’m not aware of civil liberties being based on religious principals to the point only it should be raised.

    We know that our concept of rights comes out of Western Civilization where Christianity was the dominant religion. We know that the Declaration of Independence’s argument in the context of rights is in direct opposition to biblical edicts coming from the god(s) of the Bible. We also know that the Constitution’s protection of civil liberties also directly violates biblical edicts. We know the hierarchies of Christian denominations at the time the concept of civil liberties emerged supported and in some cases successfully demanded that government be used to enforce religious law at the expense of our individual rights.

    So it seems to me that civil liberties emerged out of thinking that was not loyal to the dogma of Christianity but instead directly opposed such submissive dogmatic thinking; however that’s not a field of study for me so I’m sure there’s a lot more to it.

  30. dingojack:

    Psst Michaell Heath – look up ‘principles’ (those things you’re bangin’ on about) and ‘principals’ (things that the person on Allan West’s comment form was bangin’ on about).
    Are they the same?
    Helpfully,
    Dingo

  31. democommie:

    “Every organization has to change its PR messaging or branding occasionally.”

    Or. when you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. Many christians are decent, honest people. Unfortunately the vast majority of the KKKristiphrenic assholes running the GOP and Teabaggists are cynical pricks or delusional fucktards.

  32. Robert B.:

    Michael Heath @29: My, there sure are a lot of arguments in favor of your position. Why, I bet someone could even make a snarky comment pointing out that religious people in positions of power, even relatively minor positions such as school administration, have a history of using that power to violate the civil liberties of the people they’re supposed to be looking out for, in the name of the powerful person’s religion. That would be evidence against the idea that the religion is the source of the civil liberties, wouldn’t it?

    And if the person making the snarky comment were enough of a nerd, he might combine it with some sort of pun… perhaps making use of commonly-misused homophones…

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