The Real Curse in the White House

I shouldn’t be surprised in the least by the outrageously stupid things theocons say. But Ed Brayton reports on one who has just climbed an Olympus Mons of batshit insanity:


Joseph Grant Swank, a past winner of the Robert O’Brien Trophy, has an amusing article where he declares that the White House is now under a curse. Why? Read for yourself:


For instance, I believe there presently is a divine curse on the White House. Why? Because President George W. Bush placed the Koran in that house’s library. The occasion was a much-celebrated Ramadan dinner where both Muslim males and females were guests.

With much fanfare Mr. Bush announced his placing the Koran in the White House library. Taking biblical data into consideration, one can conclude that God was very angry at that move. I believe He has brought a curse the White House because of placing the Koran alongside the Bible in the White House library. God cannot tolerate those who place other gods alongside Him.

Uh oh. There’s a “curse” in the White House. Someone has put a hex on the country, perhaps even gave us all the Evil Eye.

Gee. I wonder who that could be?

Seriously. You don’t need a jealous tantrum-thrower of a god getting miffed at the Koran to explain why the White House appears to be under a curse. You just need to look into the eyes of the dillweed playing spoiled rich brat in the Oval Office to know that yes, the White House certainly is under a curse. No God did it. The little fucker stole two elections to get there.

And there’s a few problems with Swank’s theory:

1. It’s utterly fucking inane.

2. I’ve had the Koran and the Bible inhabiting the same shelf for a decade. Aside from Bush, it’s been remarkably free of curses.

3. The Koran is a book, not a god. I know this is difficult for mentally challenged people like Swank to understand, but I do wish he’d try.

4. And lastly, Allah is God, you raging fuckwit. God would be putting a curse on the White House because he’s jealous of himself.

Which, from what I’ve seen of the right-wing idea of God, wouldn’t really surprise me. If ever there was a deity who needed Prozac….

Helping Teens Find Faith: First, Provide Them Loaded Weapons

You really need to be sitting down for this. All drinks need to be fully swallowed and moved out of spilling range. Ready?

Right.

Canadian Cynic’s post titled “Kill ’em all, and let God sort it out” takes us, without comment or adequate warning, to this article, wherein we discover:

An Oklahoma church canceled a controversial gun giveaway for teenagers at a weekend youth conference.


What. The. Fuck. They never gave away guns when I was a teenager in church! But it gets better:

Windsor Hills Baptist had planned to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle until one of the event’s organizers was unable to attend.


Semiautomatic assault rifle? Are they out of their fucking minds? Wait a sec – Oklahoma, Baptist church, lots of insane fuckheads who worship the Second Amendment more than God attending same. Forget I asked. But let’s see what the “reasoning” behind this blessed event was:

The church’s youth pastor, Bob Ross, said it’s a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event.


You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

A video on the church Web site shows the shooting competition from last year’s conference. A gun giveaway was part of the event last year. This year, organizers included it in their marketing.


What the fuck are you people “preaching and teaching,” exactly? Someone show me the part in the Bible where Christ asks people to worship by honing their killing-people skills.

“I don’t want people thinking ‘My goodness, we’re putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn’t respect it who are then going to go out and kill,’” said Ross. “That’s not at all what we’re trying to do.”


Really, Mr. Ross? That statement would be a lot more credible if it wasn’t a fucking semiautomatic assault rifle you’re giving away to the kiddies. Or are the deer really that formidable down there in Oklahoma? Are they, perhaps, equipped with rocket launchers? Or have you assclowns been playing too much “Left Behind” lately? Delusions of being Tribulation Force, I see.

Ross said the conference isn’t all about guns, but rather about teens finding faith.


At gunpoint, if necessary.

Fucking. Unbelievable. And you know the best part? They didn’t cancel their “Give a Teen a Semi-Automatic!” extravaganza because they had a change of heart and realized that, in a country where school shootings are regular fare, gun violence is out of control, and the news is full of kids killing kids, placing semi-automatic weapons in the hands of a teen may not be the best way to teach kids about finding faith. They didn’t cancel it because they had an epiphany and realized that, if swords should be turned into plowshares, maybe assault weapons should be too. They didn’t even cancel because the community outcry shamed some sense into them.

No. They cancelled because the pastor who runs the event broke his foot and can’t make it this year.

Let that one sink in before the coup d’etat’s delivered:

Ross said the church would give the gun away next year instead.


And these are the people who are soooo morally superior to non-believers. What the fuck kind of demented moral system believes that being gay is a crime against humanity, but giving children assault weapons is perfectly fine?

When is civilized society going to stop pretending that faith like this deserves respect?

The Great Cracker Controversy of 2008: My Best Friend Weighs In

The controversy continues to unfold. Instead of getting actual work done today, I spent most of it chasing blog posts about the Great Cracker Controversy through the blogosphere, reading comments and laughing my arse off at some of the most beautiful smack-downs I’ve seen in a long time. The best raging argument I’ve seen so far that’s short enough to follow is in Ed Brayton’s delightful post on the subject.

I now have ammunition for all of those “respect my religion!” bleaters. I hope I never have to hear another damned word about Communion wafers and the profaning thereof, but if I have to debate someone over the mess, I don’t think they’re necessarily going to like the result now.

Three things have completely stolen the outraged Catholic’s thunder for me, completely aside from the fact that, as an atheist, I don’t think any religion deserves extraordinary respect and universal reverence for its sillyness.

Firstly, there was the fact that my own dear NP took the calm view of the situation. As a Catholic, she could’ve assumed the outrage position, but she didn’t.

Secondly, there’s the little gem of information I stumbled across today that people in the Middle Ages used to take the damned things home for good luck. (And yes, if you’re wondering: Rev. AJB is an actual reverend. I think he probably knows church history.)

Thirdly, there’s my best friend. Since he’s a Christian whose church, while not Catholic, celebrates Communion – I believe they call it the Lord’s Supper, but I could be wrong here – I figured he’d be on the “PZ Myers is a bad, bad man!” side. Instead, when the subject came up (as it inevitably did), he started chuckling, then laughing from the belly, and then said, enunciating every syllable, “It’s. A. Krac-kur.”

And yes, that is the spelling we’ve settled upon: krac-kur. This is going to be our catch phrase for years to come.

His church is definitely not on the transubstantiation side – if it’s not expressly spelled out in the Bible, they don’t buy it – and so they don’t have the “You’re kidnapping Christ!” syndrome. In fact, I came away from that conversation with the impression that, if asked, they might just ship PZ a whole box of sanctified wafers to have his way with. After all, they’re just krac-kurs.

Garrett and I agree on very few things religious these days, but on this issue, we’re in perfect accord. Refreshing, that.

I’ve spent entirely too much time thinking about this whole issue today. It’s forced me to search my own (metaphorical) soul to discover why, exactly, PZ’s provocation didn’t bother me. After all, I don’t believe in going out of one’s way to be offensive. Love, respect, and toleration would be welcome additions to the world.

And those are exactly the things the Catholics involved in this debacle didn’t show.

They blew a minor situation completely out of proportion. The original transgression, by their own teachings, should have been handled with grace, compassion, and understanding. Yes, the young man who absconded with the Host should have known better. But he hadn’t even left the damned church. Would it seriously have been so much trouble to just simply ask, “What are you doing? Showing your friend? You plan to complete the ritual afterward? Fine, then. Next time you want to satisfy someone’s curiosity, just talk to the priest first instead of taking matters into your own – ah ha ha – hands.”

Instead, they overreacted to the point where Webster Cook decided it necessary to teach them a lesson. And from there, they escalated to threats, more threats, death threats (which I have yet to see condemned by the Church, by the way), and the whole mess spilled over into the secular sphere, where it manifestly does not belong.

PZ blew a hole in their hyperbole by offering to show them precisely what real desecration looks like. He showed them up for what they are by incurring their wrath: bullies. Far from being a reasonable bunch we can share a dialogue and eventually come to an understanding with, they’ve demonstrated that there’s no middle ground: if we don’t pander to their every religious whim, we become targets of threats to our jobs and our lives.

They haven’t earned the slightest bit of love, respect or toleration.

PZ stood up to a bunch of bullies, and I respect him immensely for it.

I want you to understand that I’m not applying this to all Catholics. I think NP shows that there are plenty of Catholics out there who aren’t utterly unhinged. I think there’s plenty of room for love, respect and toleration, but it has to be mutual. With people like her, Garrett and other amiable Christians, it absolutely is.

Not so much with bullies. And I think we all know what happens if you don’t stand up to bullies.

International “Give God a Headache!” Day

You remember that whackjob Biltz? Yeah, Mr. “I can look at NASA’s data and figure out when Jesus is coming! Well, sorta….”

He’s baa-ack.

Ed Brayton, surely laughing his ass off, directs our attention to Biltz’s latest cunning scheme:


I find this Worldnutdaily story amusing:


An American pastor who made news in April by studying NASA’s eclipse calendar to speculate on the return of Jesus Christ to Earth is now planning a worldwide blast of trumpets this fall to get God’s attention.

Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Wash., is organizing the global “Day of Shouting” for the evening of Sept. 29, marking the annual biblical holiday known as the Feast of Trumpets.


Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me?

Alas, no.


Let’s have an around the world shofar assembly in every time zone on the Feast of Trumpets at sunset announcing to Messiah we are awake and anxiously anticipating His return. What a dress rehearsal! Won’t that stir His heart?


A dress rehersal? Mark, seriously, I know snorting too much fundamentalist religion does serious damage to your brain, but for fuck’s sake, this is an easy detail. A “dress rehersal” refers to something that, aside from the audience, is exactly like the real thing. Are you trying to tell me that everybody else has been wrong about the Rapture, and that it won’t start until a bunch of silly fuckwits with sheep horns start making a gawdawful racket? That’s not the Rapture, you dumbass – that’s God snatching his children over his knee for a good sharp smack.

Maybe you should read up on Sumerian mythology and find out what happens when humans make so much noise the gods can’t get a good night’s sleep.

Although it’s like critiquing a five year-old’s art project, let’s deconstruct this inanity a bit further.

This little stunt implies several things:

A. Jesus hasn’t heard a single damned prayer.

B. Jesus is very near deaf.

C. He has absolutely no clue that people have been begging for him to return for, oh, gods, what is it now, 2,000 years?

D. We’ve been so meek and quiet he must’ve thought we were all asleep.

E. He’s such an uncaring SOB that it takes several million doofuses blowing horns for all they’re worth to “stir his heart.”

Oh, his heart’ll be stirred, all right. I know mine would be pumping after that much ruddy noise. It’s called outrage, you silly shit.

You know, it’s a damned good thing I’m not a believer. People like this would be an insult to my faith instead of merely an endless source of ready entertainment. What a narrow and pathetic view of the almighty he’s got.

All I can say is this: he’d better not be tooting his horn outside my window on September 29th. By then, I’ll have decided whether I’m more inclined to break it over his head or shove it up his arse, and I shall act accordingly.

For Crying Out Loud!

Bill Donahue, famous attack-Catholic, has taken umbrage against our own dear PZ for his intemperate remarks about a cracker. His letter-writing campaign has of course led to a spate of death-threats and calls for PZ’s job. This is good Christian love for you: instead of using the dustup as a teachable moment for all involved, he’s inciting a raving bunch of wanna-be super-ignorant fundies to new heights of insanity.

This is a poor reflection upon most of the Catholics I know, who are almost without fail kind, decent and above-all sane people. I give you our own beloved NP as a shining example. It’s one of the bajillion reasons I love her so.

You can write the President of the University of Minnesota – Morris and let him know that not everyone’s a raving lunatic who wants to see one of U of M’s best professors dead for dissing a Communion wafer:

President Robert H. Bruininks
202 Morrill Hall
100 Church Street S.E.
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

For points on style and erudition, see John Pieret’s letter here.

Now, I’m afraid that Billy’s bluster is going to lead PZ to do something really not nice to a cracker, which could lead to pitchforks and all kinds of other Dark Ages nonsense. So I’ll tell you what. Instead of sending a pilfered consecrated cracker to PZ, who will have no choice but to do mean and awful things to it by way of getting up Billy’s nose, send the damned thing to me. I’ll keep it in a nice glass case atop my mythology bookshelf, along with my Shiva Nataraja, my Ganesh, my Star of David, and my Green Tara. It’ll be shown the same care and attention I show these other diverse religious symbols: i.e., I’ll try to keep the cat from sitting on it, and I’ll remember to dust it once or twice a year.

(I admit an ulterior motive. It’s not just that I’d like to snatch further ammunition out of raving lunatics’ hands, although that’s certainly a consideration. No, what’s really going to be awesome is the fact that I’ll be able to say, with all honesty, that Jesus is in my home when the proselytizers come a-knockin’.)

It would be very nice indeed if everyone was respectful of everyone else’s symbols. It would be even nicer, though, if people could respect people more than things. I think that’s the most important message to take away from this brouhaha: descecrating a cracker is disrespectful when the cracker in question is a consecrated Communion wafer. But threatening to destroy a living, breathing human being for disrespect to a symbol is outrageous, shameful, and shows exactly why we all need to step back and consider the fact that people, ultimately, are more important than things.

People like PZ take unpopular stands to prove that point. And I say it’s a wonderful service to all mankind. Whatever else you may think about his threats against a cracker, at least it’s brought this question of relative importance front and center.

It’s just too bad people like Donahue have such a hard time loving God and loving people more than they love crackers.

Profaning the Sacred

You’d think nobody had ever abused a Communion wafer before:


Here’s a story that will destroy your hopes for a reasonable humanity.


Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.


This isn’t the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!


Catholics worldwide became furious.


Would you believe this isn’t hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker.


Death threats. Police protection for Communion wafers. Calls for this poor schmo to be expelled. I know it’s an important symbol, and I know some people think religion’s the most important thing humanity has. But for fuck’s sake – if it really is the body of Christ now, don’t you silly shits think God can take care of his own smiting?

That’s what really terrifies them, actually: the fact that it’s all just fiction. That’s why it’s taken so damned seriously. They know if they let one person get away with it (not like many people haven’t, and without much more than a brief snort of outrage), then their symbol, powerless in itself, will lose its power.

I’d just like to ask: what the fuck has a Communion wafer done for humanity that warrants police protection? And why can’t the Constitution get the same respect these days?

Our Congress is about to take another step along the road to making the basis of our government so much empty rhetoric. Pretty words on old paper. They’d be up in arms if someone walked out with the original document and burned it, but as for the real protections it enshrines, those are okay to destroy.

Symbols are important, but ultimately, they’re just symbols. It’s the actions, the philosophies, and the laws they stand for that are of true importance.

John Pieret responded to PZ’s call for blasphemy by pointing out how we’d feel if Ken Hovind got his hands on Darwin’s original notebooks, defaced and destroyed them. Fair enough. We’d be upset. But what would he have destroyed? Is Darwin’s great contribution those notebooks, or the ideas within them? The notebooks would be gone, and no doubt they’d be a loss. But the ideas within them can’t be destroyed so easily.

I’d argue the same for Communion wafers. One college kid walking out with one wafer isn’t going to destroy the entirety of the Catholic faith. So it was consecrated. So it was the body of Christ. How many millions of those are passed out every Mass? Is Catholicism really so weak that the loss of a single holy wafer can deal it a death blow?

I’d like to say this to all of the folks who’ve totally gone off the rails on this: think about what’s more important, the symbol or the faith? Haven’t you rather mistaken one for the other? Isn’t there something in the Bible about not taking the symbols to be more valuable than the thing itself?

And this is why the whole farce made me think of the vote that’s going to rip a giant hole right through the Fourth Amendment. This will be done by people who would not dream of harming the physical document. Ask them to take a pair of scissors in hand and cut out the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution from the original document, and they wouldn’t. Ask them to vote to destroy the protections it enshrines, and they shall do so with nary a twinge.

A few people in the House and Senate understand. They know that you could put the Constitution itself through a papershredder and then light the fragments on fire, and nothing would change. They know that what is really going to harm that document is voting its protections away.

They know better than to mistake the symbol, no matter how sacred, for the thing itself. It’s too bad so many others get it backwards.

God’s President

This… this is priceless. Via Sadly, No! comes word that needs to be spread to every 28-percenter in the country:


Yes, we can vote for George W. Bush in 2008. We have the right to write in the name of our chosen candidate, regardless of whether or not he is officially on the ballot.

We know that George Bush was God’s Candidate in 2000. We know that George Bush was God’s candidate again in 2004. And George Bush has been God’s president for the last 8 years.

Trust in God and vote your faith. Keep America safe. Write-in George W. Bush for President in 2008.

Stay the Course

Under the strong leadership of God’s President we’ve been safe for 7 years. But if we abandon God now, we could be hit again. We don’t need to worry about the details, we just trust in God and vote our faith. When we step out in faith and leave the details to God, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished.

God’s President, eh? I like it. There’s a certain truth to it. If, after all, we go for a literal interpretation of the Bible, God was indeed an egomaniacal fuckwit who liked to level whole civilizations for the gain of his chosen few, and to hell with the rest. So is Bush. God was just the kind of short-sighted assclown who would, in a fit of pique, destroy the entire world and then go, “Whoops.” So is Bush. God created all sorts of nonsensical laws that show remarkable moral blind spots. So does Bush.

They’re absolutely right. He is God’s President!

We’ll leave the Smack-o-Matic on the wall. Oh, sure, I could go to bloody town with their batshit insane idea that not keeping Bush in office forever is tantamount to abandoning God. I could wear my arm out on people stupid enough to equate voting for Bush with voting their faith. I could tear my rotator cuff pounding these lackwits over willfully ignorant “we don’t need to worry about the details” bullshit. But I won’t. You know why?

For one thing, I’ll exhaust myself for nothing. I could beat these people with a smart-stick for five years straight, and at the end of it my stick would be worn down, I’d be worn out, and people like this would still be as dumb as a bag of bargain-basement bricks.

I could even enlist every intelligent Christian in our arsenal to go try to lead these people to some semblance of rationality, and they’d remain as religiously incompetent as a lobotomized lobster.

So I want them voting for Bush. If they’re busy writing in their hero’s name, they’re manifestly not voting for McCain.

I don’t have to spell this out for you, do I? You can do this wee bit o’ math.

Tell your neoconservative friends, family and sworn enemies that they do have a choice this November! Give them a pen. Help the more backward of them learn how to write George W. Bush. You can even order up some practice ballots and coach them. Make sure they’re fully prepared for the election this November.

Between Bush and Barr, I’d bet Obama could come out as a kitten-raping, baby-munching, professional earthling-exterminator from Alpha Centauri, and he’d still win this election by a landslide. This could be the only election in U.S. history where a major-party candidate gets 1/2 of 1% of the vote. This could be such fun.

So who wants to hand out Write-in Bush bumper stickers at the Republicon National Convention with me?

Bashing Ann Barnett

Well, same-sex marriage has been legal in California for over a week now, and aside from a few histrionic fits from the frothing right, civilization hasn’t ended and marriage seems to be flourishing. Two of my friends are still planning to get hitched this October, in fact – what a surprise that California’s decision didn’t impact theirs, eh?

The worst effect I can discern at this point has been that the “aawww, happy couples, how sweet!” factor has gone up exponentially, reaching near-diabetic levels. I keep coming across pictures of ecstatic partners kissing over wedding cakes. It’s such a normal human thing that it really shouldn’t be that heart-warming – and I’m one of those people who tends to roll the old eyes at weddings anyway – but the fact they had to fight so long and so hard for such a basic ceremony has me wanting to pop open champagne by the case.

If Ann Barnett had her way, the corks wouldn’t be popping at all. And that’s where I have to put down the bubbly and limber up the Smack-o-Matic.

I’m sure the majority of you have heard about the Kern County, California clerk’s decision to stop performing marriage ceremonies right before same-sex couples could start tying knots. If not, educate yourselves and return.

Right, then. A couple of points:

First, the whole “we’re not gonna do it cuz we can’t afford it” defense sort of collapses in light of little details like this:


On Monday, The Bakersfield Californian published e-mail messages between her office and a conservative legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund in Arizona, which had unsuccessfully argued against same-sex marriage in front of the State Supreme Court.

In one message, a member of Ms. Barnett’s staff requests legal assistance, saying Ms. Barnett “fully expects to be sued” for stopping the weddings.


You don’t have the resources to perform weddings, but you’ve got the resources to pay settlements? Go on, pull the other one – it’s got wedding bells on.

It’s even better that they’ve reached out for defense to the group of lackwits who failed miserably in front of the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage issues. Something tells me the more liberal California courts will be making mincemeat out of these meatheads.

Secondly, does anyone else find it ironic that it’s the government, which is supposed to be non-religious and non-discriminatory, that’s discriminating based on religious dogma (despite their transparent financial figleaf), while we’ve got some deeply religious folks doing things like this:


Still, ministers like Rev. Byrd Tetzlaff of the Unitarian Universal Church will be out here at the Kern Co Administration Plaza marrying gay and straight couples for free.

Rev. Byrd Tetzlaff, Unitarian Universal Church: “I think it’s important because we need to celebrate justice wherever it is and folks have been denied the right to get married for a long time.”


You know, I don’t think atheists would have much to bitch about if the vast majority of churches were like this. Oh, there’d be good-natured quibbles about rational vs. irrational thinking and all that rot, but nothing like the acrimony that’s sparked when dogmatic religious fucktards decide that their medieval views need imposing on society. I don’t know if Rev. Tetzlaff drinks, but my shot glass is tipped her way regardless.

I’d like to see a lot more of this sort of thing. A lot more same-sex couples getting to suffer enjoy the same right to marry that heteros do, and a lot more moderate and liberal religious sorts getting out into the public eye and proving that you can believe in a magic sky daddy without being a total asshole about it.

One final point: FindLaw’s Vikram David Amar has a nifty little column up showing that the neocon’s palpitations over teh gays getting married OMG!!111!1! is remarkably similar to the hysterics thrown over letting black kids go to school with white kids:


After the school desegregation ruling, some jurisdictions simply tried to close down their schools, rather than desegregate them. Prince Edward County, Virginia, shut down its public education system in 1959 rather than comply with a desegregation decree. The case ultimately made it to the Supreme Court, in Griffin v. County School Board, which ordered the schools to reopen, stating whatever “nonracial grounds might support a State’s allowing a county to abandon public schools, the object must be a constitutional one, and grounds of race and opposition to desegregation do not qualify as constitutional.”


You know, I don’t know what it is about that ruling, but I get this strange feeling it might come into play when Ann Barrett gets her bigoted arse hauled into court.

I can hardly wait. This is going to be almost as good as Expelled: the Unending Dumbassery.

What a Sick, Twisted Little Worldview They’ve Got

One of the greatest pleasures I take in being an atheist is not having to really dig for evidence that God’s pissed off and not slacking off in the smiting department.

Fundamentalist Christians have this desperate – actually, pathological – need to believe that humanity’s nothing but worthless pieces of shit deserving of God’s wrath. Disasters don’t just happen in their world. It’s got to be God, using natural processes to bitch-slap people for straying from the straight-and-narrow. Floods in the Midwest? Smiting the sinners! Fires in California? It’s all about teh gays! Something awful happened to you? What did you do to get up God’s nose? It’s your own damned fault!

That’s more destructive than the floods, fires and other assorted castastrophes. Folks like to claim religion’s a wonderful and positive thing in one breath and then claim God’s an indiscriminate, hateful bastard in the next. And it warps people badly.

I’ve known deeply religious people who use every little setback to flay themselves with. You couldn’t fill a pea with the self-esteem they’ve got left. They spend all of their time obsessing over every tiny detail, every infintesimal misstep, bewailing their badness. “I have a hangnail – it must be God punishing me for looking at nudie pictures!” “I slipped on a wet sidewalk in a rainstorm and twisted my ankle – it’s my fault for not going to church last Sunday!” The slightest mistake followed by the teeniest misfortune is proof positive God’s mad at them and they’ve got atoning to do.

Some of my friends were almost destroyed by that mentality. They’re paralyzed, terrified of getting the slightest detail wrong and bringing down the wrath. God’s not so much loving father as evil control freak – and yet they claim He loves them.

If it was really God punishing them all out of proportion to their supposed sins, we’d have a word for it: abuse.

The truly God-fearing are a sad bunch. But the self-righteous fuckwits who love to point to every disaster and crow about God’s vengeance against [insert fundie bugaboo here] are just downright evil.

How shrivelled a conscience do you have to have to respond to other people’s suffering not with sympathy and a desire to help, but smugness? “You brought it on yourselves,” fundie fucktards like Ray Comfort announce. “God’s getting you back for not toeing his impossible line.”

Never mind that Christians are suffering right along with the sinners. That doesn’t matter to despicable religious frothers like Comfort (a misnomer if there ever was one). No, to prove that their God’s the biggest, baddest, toughest, and smitiest god evah, they’ve got to explain every misfortune as his punishment for transgressions, and if the innocent suffer alongside the guilty, well, it just shows how powerful and angry God is, right? The energy these people expend in finding the reason God’s so pissed at places like Iowa is remarkable. Comfort actually had to go and search for some natural disasters in California to explain that no, really, God’s not letting that gay marriage thing go without pointed comment. How fucking pathological do you have to be to believe that this is a) a useful thing to do and b) that it proves God exists and is worthy of worship?

A religion based on fear and guilt isn’t moral, or just, or worth having: it’s a mental illness.

It leads to fear, and hate, and self-righteous fuckwits like Ray Comfort.

So I just have one question for these masochists: if your God is so all-knowing and all-powerful, exactly why is it that the assclown needs to resort to indiscriminate arson and flooding to get his point across? Doesn’t he have the knowledge to sort out the real sinners from the decent folk, and the power to smite selectively? Wouldn’t it make more sense, wouldn’t it be a more potent example, to single out those who’ve given him the one-finger salute and strike them down in a fashion that can be explained by nothing else than a seriously outraged deity?

The religious frothers will try to answer that. They’ll torture logic beyond recognition to try to prove just how mysterious and awesome God is, and all they can prove to an atheist like me is that they’re nuts. Every time they try to point to some natural catastrophe and twist definitions to prove Goddidit, they’re showing how weak their argument really is. They dump more proof that God doesn’t exist right in my lap, which is already overflowing with proof aplenty.

And they’re showing how fucked-up and sad their little worlds are.

That’s why I have to say, “Thank you.” Thank you, Ray Comfort, and Jerry Falwell, and Jason Lerner, and all your ilk, for reinforcing my happy atheism. People like you prove to godless sorts like me every day that we’re not missing a damned thing by dismissing the God delusion.

What Kind of Atheist Are You?

I’m in way too mellow a mood tonight to be laying the smackdown, and I think we’re all tired from a weekend of insane politics (and beating up Ken Ham, which was just more cathartic than I can describe), so let’s do something fun together.

No, not that. Mind out of the gutter, you! Yes, you – I see you smirking there in the back.

Ahem.

So here’s the bone (shadupshadupshadup!) I want to throw you:

I’ve been doing a fair bit of hanging about with various and sundry atheists in non-cyberspace lately, and I’ve noticed a spectrum. I’ve not done enough hanging about with atheists to really get a clear perspective, but I’m seeing some broad categories:

The militant atheists who’d love nothing more than to stamp out the last bit of religion – verily see it as their duty to do so;

The newly-arrived atheists who’ve just come out of the soul-shredding experience of rudely losing their faith and who are starving for confirmation that there really is life after religion;

The long-term atheists who’re tremendously comfortable with their godlessness and truly enjoy poking sticks at fundies just to watch ’em howl;

The easy-going atheists who think just about everything’s a bit of a lark, especially the silly things religious people do, and love nothing more than having a good-natured laugh over it all;

The live-and-let-live atheists who have no problem with believers who aren’t viciously trying to force their belief on others;

The who-the-fuck-cares atheists who are too busy caring about other things to give religion much thought at all, despite being surrounded by frothing fuckwits like Ken Ham (yes, I just couldn’t resist another poke – he’s such an easy target);

…and many more, I’m sure.

The point is, just like you can’t label a religious person a definite way just by virtue of them being religious, you can’t know everything about an atheist just because they’re an atheist. “Atheist” is just the big-tent label that contains a huge variety of folks. I’ve even heard of conservative atheists, although how someone can be rational enough to abandon religion and yet still buy into conservative philosophy in the current climate, I still haven’t figured out. Maybe there’s a conservative atheist around here who could enlighten me.

I wish I could tell you where I fall on the atheist spectrum. Honestly, I’m still not sure. I know I’m not militant, although there are days when I just want to take every believer in the universe by the scruff of the neck and shake the faith right out of them – we all have those days, especially after dealing with Ken Ham. But religious moderates don’t actually bother me, when I stop to think about it. After all, there’s the good believers at Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the secular folk in a valiant effort to keep religious fuckery out of the public sphere. There’s my many faithful friends, who believe in a wide range of God, gods, goddesses, and other assorted supernatural beings, most of whom are rational enough not to fall for woo despite the religious streak. Their faith makes them happy, it’s not something they force on a single other soul, and there’s no way I could bring myself to take it from them. So, militant I am not, despite the fed-up days.

And who the fuck needs a label, anyway? We are who we are: complicated human beings, too complex for labels to fit most of us neatly. So let’s consider it a banquet. Which atheist dishes do you heap on your plate? Do you take a heaping helping of militancy with a side of fundie-poking? Do you load up on there’s-room-for-everybody, but pick out the Ken Ham because that just ruins the flavor? Are you newly arrived and scarfing up a bit of everything while you figure out what’s most to your taste?

And how do we show the world that there’s not a single entity behind this term “atheist,” but a whole smorgasboard of godless goodness?