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Aug 07 2012

We don’t care about your dead guy

CNN contributor Dana Loesch recently provided a textbook example of how ready and willing religious conservatives are to leap into a shameless, disgustingly self-righteous defense of their narrow and exclusive version of faith, utilizing every fallacy at their disposal to pretend this is the One True Religion, while not even respecting it enough to bother trying to make a valid argument. They demonstrate no real concern for whether they’re actually right – sheer loudness and repetition will suffice to convince themselves of this.

This five-minute excerpt from the July 24 episode of Loesch’s radio show is a display of rapid-fire ignorance so packed with intellectual dishonesty that it’s a challenge just to keep up with it. When a caller says she refuses to go to Chick-fil-A because of the upper management’s homophobic beliefs and funding of anti-gay causes, Loesch responds with a string of claims so ridiculous, it’s difficult to accept that she even believes what she’s saying.

She first tells the caller:  “I don’t understand how you can claim to practice the Christian faith while saying that someone else’s Christian viewpoint is hate.” Apparently nothing can possibly be hateful as long as it’s part of someone’s “Christian viewpoint”. It doesn’t matter what their viewpoint is, or how obviously hateful it would otherwise be – claiming it’s covered by some kind of Christianity is enough to legitimize it. But Loesch takes this even further, telling the caller, “you consider aspects of the Christian faith to be hate” – as if criticizing Chick-fil-A is the same as criticizing Christianity as a whole. Is the anti-gay stance of a chicken company now a defining feature of the Christian religion, delineating what is and is not Christianity?

And then comes the most hollow accusation I’ve ever heard: “You only subscribe to certain aspects of Christianity.” You know, unlike all of the other Christians who somehow follow every mutually contradictory belief that’s ever been endorsed by thousands of different Christian sects. When the caller rightly points this out, Loesch objects: “That’s not how the gospels are presented!” Well, you’d better go tell that to every Christian who’s ever existed. Congratulations to Dana Loesch, the one person who, out of billions of Christians throughout history, has finally established what Christianity truly is.

Finally, Loesch claims that if she thinks so-called “traditional marriage” is “hateful”, then she’s “literally calling Christ hateful”. It’s not unexpected to see conservative Christians twist any criticism of their openly prejudiced beliefs into some kind of personal attack against their head honcho in heaven, but the sheer arrogance of treating disagreement with their views as a direct assault on the almighty creator of the universe is always staggering. Of course, Loesch wasn’t finished taking offense on behalf of her imaginary savior, concluding: “I know you hate Christ.”

That’s just how immersed some people are in their religious worldview. They can’t conceive of any kind of difference of opinion without it being forced into the framework of either loving or hating their preferred deity. If you don’t agree with them, if you don’t follow their personal interpretation of religion,  if you don’t patronize a business whose president declares that support for marriage equality means shaking our fist at God, that means you are literally hating some guy who died 2,000 years ago. This is nonsense. We don’t need to hate or love your Jesus – he’s just not that important. Try to understand that just because he matters to you, that doesn’t mean he matters to us. This is about what you said, and we simply don’t care about some unaccountable corpse to whom you attribute your beliefs.

48 comments

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  1. 1
    Alverant

    This is exactly why holy books are evil. To their followers disagreement with them means you hate their god and everything good they stand for. It’s Ashcroft’s phony patriotism of, “Questioning the President helps the terrorists!”

    1. 1.1
      K Smith

      For many Christians that actually isn’t true. We don’t assume that you hate our god and the things we stand for. The reason that Christians try to convert others is because we truly believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. So when a Christian tries to get you to believe, it’s because they care about you. So for many Christians not accepting our religion just makes us sad, not angry.

      1. Jafafa Hots

        I’ve talked to many Christians who were trying to “save my soul.”
        I’ve known other Christians who simply were nice and didn’t try to convert me.

        The ones trying to convert me never once seemed even slightly concerned about my soul as they walked away from my front door. I have never been rude, I simply ask them simple questions and point out contradictions and point out when their arguments are circular.

        They don’t leave concerned for me, and they never come back again to try to “save me.”

        I think they’re trying to save their OWN souls, and in at least three cases were simply trying to save their own cherished worldview.

        The Christians I have known that truly cared about people’s welfare (and I have known many) simply ran food kitchens, shelters, took strangers to detox and AA meetings and other programs with the only indication of their religion being perhaps the wearing of a cross, or a quick non-denominational prayer at the Thanksgiving dinner they were giving the homeless.

        They were nice people. The door-knockers? Not so much. Kinda rude, actually.

        1. Emburii

          Eh, I can see where the above poster is coming from. If you truly, honestly believe in Hell in all its horrors and pay attention to the lengthy sections where a supposedly all-benevolent and all-powerful deity is willing to consign people to it, knocking on people’s doors to save them that pain becomes the least that believer can do. They’re either wrong on the existence of the entire shebang, of course, or their deity is such a horrific being that it doesn’t matter how they try to save people from a fate this entity designs from scratch, but in some cases it can be real compassion. Not all, but at least in some cases they’re trying out of some (doomed) sense of empathy.

      2. Emburii

        And I as an atheist understand you feel that way, and feel that your concern for others does do you credit. The problem is that, well, religion is wrong, demonstrably so, and buying into your system involves killing my sense of wonder and understanding about the world around me in order not to understand the contradictions and breaking my inner moral compass to worship an entity of capriciousness and inequality. Go ahead and grieve for me, but understand that doing so makes you a better person than even your hypothesized Savior. The credit is to you, not your religion.

        1. K Smith

          Jesus also grieved for people who did not believe. I’m sure even now up in heaven he is saddened by the thought of people not getting to join him in heaven and have eternal life. And thanks for being kind of nice when you commented. Pretty much everyone else has been rather rude when replying to me.

          1. Shplane, Spess Alium

            And yet he is supposedly the same being (And yet also a different being, because that makes sense) who is going to send them to Hell.

            How about he just doesn’t do that? Like, it seems like “Not sending people to Hell” would be a pretty easy thing for the omnipotent entity that made Hell to do.

            Or, ooh, hey, why didn’t he just never make Hell? That would be a great idea!

          2. Emburii

            If he grieves, then why not let them in? Or at least give them unequivocal evidence of this supposed truth so that they can find the way? In real life, someone who has the power to warn someone about a sinkhole or save them from such a dire fate but instead just cries over it is not any definition of loving that I can respect.

            As for being nice, understand that I think of you as a victim or in about the same mental weight class as a very small child. Absolutely no thanks needed for pulling my punches, and you should not be taking it as a good thing.

          3. K Smith

            To Emburii: If I were older I may be offended by the “very small child” comment but I am only 14, which some may consider to be pretty young. Jesus can’t just let people in because the only way to heaven is through him. The bible is very clear about that.

          4. Emburii

            Ah, so you are on the younger side of things. Good on you for being willing to seek out alternate viewpoints.

            And yes, the Bible is very clear about a lot of things…including parts where Jesus says all the Old Testament still applies, and that none of it is supposed to be interpretation. So do you support disobedient children being stoned to death? Woman killed or abducted as involuntary concubines and breeders? Slavery? Your Jesus is not love. He is pain and gloating and all the worst in human nature, an entity that supposedly has the power to do whatever he wants and forgive every transgression but instead uses that limitless power to sit idly by while people suffer for eternity because said entity wasn’t willing to commit to open and unequivocal action. Might, even infinite might, does not make right, but that’s what you’re asking us to accept.

            This is even supposing such an entity exists, and that’s begging the question right there. People have good things happen to them even when they don’t pray or believe. Devout worshippers have bad things happen to them even when they do everything right. Different cultures have completely different stories. Scientists can even induce ecstatic states identical to religious feelings just by applying current to a certain part of the brain.

            It sounds like you’re still part of a very religious family, and you may not have been exposed to the evidence for other viewpoints. This blogging network is a good place to start (even despite the rudeness, and consider that people might be testy because you’re trying to make the case for dominion of a mythology that worships a murdering, raping, morally and ethically apathetic bastard of a slaver character). Stick around, if you’re sure your faith can take it.

      3. BecomingJulie

        The reason that Christians try to convert others is because we truly believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. So when a Christian tries to get you to believe, it’s because they care about you.

        Do you really not see how other people might have a problem with this behaviour?

        1. K Smith

          I do understand how some people can find it annoying, especially when it is the kind of Christians that knock on your door. Most Christians don’t do it to be annoying though.

          1. BecomingJulie

            Most Christians don’t do it to be annoying though.

            Oh, really? So what effect did you think it was going to have, when you did something to someone that is widely considered to be annoying?

      4. Kes

        “Eternal Life”? You’ve got to be kidding, right? Who in their right mind would *ever* want to live forever. I can’t see any attraction in it at all.

        1. baal

          If I could keep youthfulness, I could imagine having stuff to do for 1000 years. Eternity would be a few days too many, however.

        2. K Smith

          The reason that some people are attracted to the idea of eternal life is because the bible describes heaven in ways that make it seem glorious and quite frankly it is better than the alternative.

          1. anat

            What’s so glorious about heaven that would make it better than stopping to exist once you’ve had enough? That Christianity had to come up with hell to make heaven appealing is telling.

          2. M can help you with that.

            Spending eternity praising a demon-god who condemns most of humanity to eternal torture really doesn’t sound so appealing. at least in hell one could be in a morally superior position. Of course, since both places are imaginary it’s a bit of a moot point…

      5. N. Nescio

        “The reason that Muslims try to convert others is because we truly believe that Allah is the only way to eternal life. So when a Muslim tries to get you to believe, it’s because they care about you.”

        Can you demonstrate why this is any less valid than what you just claimed? How do you know you’ve got it any more right than the Muslims?

        1. K Smith

          The reason I believe that I’ve got it right is because when I pray, my prayers are answered. The reason many people struggle with believing in a religion is because sometimes there is no proof, and sometimes there are no answers, but you have to keep believing anyway.

          1. Emburii

            …and there are Muslims who claim their prayers are answered as well. And Wiccans. And Mormons. And Hindu sects. Why are your claims special? You ‘know’ they’re true, but that’s no different from the racist who ‘knows’ how much better white people are, or the pedophile that ‘knows’ their victim really wanted it. I lump you in among the brainwashed and the sick because, quite frankly, there’s no way to tell the difference between them and you.

            Understand that I am not saying this to be mean, and that I grieve for you in your blindness and fear and hope for better. Truth and courage are not always easy things to find, but they make the world so much more beautiful in the end.

          2. Steve R

            Your prayers are always answered? Try flipping a coin and praying for “heads.” Repeat 1000 times, recording the results. Try it again, without the prayer.

          3. David Hart

            “my prayers are answered”.

            Do you mean in the sense that you have the feeling that someone or something is listening? Because Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Mormons (if you’re counting them separately) etc all make the same claim – indeed, there wouldn’t be Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Mormons etc unless they thought they were getting something out of their religion – if they never had the sense that someone was listening to their prayers, they would quit and, quite possibly, try some other religion.
            The only logical possibilities here are:
            1) God is talking to everyone who prays, regardless of their religion;
            2) God doesn’t exist, and that sense of being in contact with the numinous is just a feature of the human brain that can be turned on by certain states that do not depend on the actual content of the religious doctrines you believe;
            3) God is only talking to the Christians, and every single one of the billions of members of other religions is lying when they claim to experience the presence of the divine;

            So which is it? I’d say 2 is the most likely. Given that many many people leave religion, including Christianity, even though they have personally experienced what they thought at the time was the presence of the divine, because they did the maths and realised that the factual claims of their religion made no sense, or conflicted with the real world evidence, you should not be confident that your sense of prayer being answered actually reflects there being a supernatural prayer-answerer.

            And if you mean it in the sense of the specific things you ask for when you pray actually coming to happen in the real world, well, that is a testable hypothesis, and tests can easily be done. Try getting, say, (1) yourself, (2) a Muslim, (3) a Hindu,(4) a Jew,(5) a Mormon and (6) a Zoroastrian together in the same room. Each of you prays to your respective god(s) to make the number I’ve just assigned you on a 6-sided die come up when you roll it. Repeat hundreds of times. Also, repeat the experiment with other groups to get thousands of data points. If one number comes up massively more than the others, that is good evidence of the existence of the god(s) of that particular religion. If the results are random, then you have proved that this particular type of prayer does not get answered. You can, of course, come up with countless other tests where different people pray for mutually incompatible outcomes.
            You might also like to look up on the Templeton Prayer Study.

            You cannot use the slippery ‘it is unethical to put God to the test’ excuse, because no convincing explanation has ever been given as to why it is unethical – but it is exactly the sort of commandment a charlatan would make who doesn’t want people to discover the fact that their god is imaginary. And remember that every prayer is an empirical test of the power of prayer (assuming it asks for specific things, like protection, or healing etc) – some tests are simply more rigorous than others.
            You might also like to consider that the Bible itself, in 1 Kings 18, depicts Elijah conducting a very specific test of the power of prayer.
            If you declare in advance that God won’t answer prayers if we make every effort to remove our own subjective biases from our assessment of whether he is answering prayers, then you have defined God in such a way that he is indistinguishable from the imaginary – and thus have no basis to expect people to take seriously any claim that he is not imaginary.

      6. gmacs

        Aw crap, nested comments. Here goes:

        The reason that Christians try to convert others is because we truly believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

        Not all Christians believe this or try to convert. I think there’s even a red-letter (Jesus) quote that commands Christians to be quiet and humble in their worship. I am an atheist and my girlfriend is a Lutheran. She has never once attempted to convert me and doesn’t seem to care about hell or saving people. She just doesn’t like confrontation. (I however was once the sort of “sad” Christian you describe.)

        Also, you imply here that you speak for all Christians, and I’m sure you (or at least many Christians) would claim that my girlfriend is not a “True Christian”, a term for which I have heard so many unbacked definitions as to render it meaningless. But by implying that you speak for all Christians, you make the same fundamental mistake as the person Zinnia is criticizing. Do you know that not all Christians believe in that “one way to eternal life” spiel? Did you know that not all Christians even believe in hell?

        I will grant you, however, that you are not engaging in the more pertinent and problematic practice of shrieking at those who disagree with you and denying their self-expressed religious identity. Thank you for being respectful about it.

  2. 2
    unbound

    Always amazing to watch the conservative religious argue. Their world is truly black and white, so if you aren’t with them, you are completely against them and, therefore, they are perfectly justified in using their god’s hate…er, wrath…against those that disagree.

  3. 3
    Alvin

    It’s just a coincidence that God hates all the same stuff I do, What? Things I do are listed as wrong in the bible? That’s just stuff that’s mistranslated, or it’s part of the bible that no longer applies… the stuff you do… that’s hell worthy though.

    Hypocritical? No, I’m no more free to do that stuff that I don’t want to do than you should be, so it’s fair.

  4. 4
    ButchKitties

    Chik-fil-A is funding groups that want to use force of law to prevent liberal Christian churches from marrying their LGBT members. They are directly interfering in the ability of those Christian churches to practice their beliefs. I guess CFA must hate Christ even more than people who aren’t seeking to force conservative churches to perform gay marriage ceremonies, but are merely protesting their inability to freely practice their own religion by boycotting a fast food restaurant.

  5. 5
    Rogi Riverstone

    Zinnia, honey, she doesn’t have to BELIEVE what she says; she just has to TRAIN THE SHEEP how to enforce the coming theocracy! And it works well! Now, what do we do about this?

  6. 6
    H.H.

    I find it amazing how people I’ve never known to be especially religious suddenly espouse a devout piety when the subject turns to gay marriage. I doubt most of them could list the 10 commandments or the names of the gospels if you held a gun to their head, but when it comes time to justify their bigotry suddenly they’re invoking “god’s word.”

  7. 7
    K Smith

    I find it rather ironic that on a website where u can express ur thoughts freely, somebody complained about someone else expressing their thoughts. Obviously the radio host didn’t express her feelings very kindly, but that does not mean all conservative Christians behave that way as well. Everyone has been making a huge deal about the owner of chick fil a saying he did not believe in gay marriage but honestly it’s no big shock because the bible itself speaks out against it. And to anyone who is convinced all Christians try to shove there religion in your face well it simply isn’t true.

    1. 7.1
      Natasha

      And yet here you are shoving your religion in our faces. Chick-fil-A supports groups pushing for striping us of all rights and backs the kill the gays law in Uganda. So you can understand if we take this a little personally. Yes the head of Chick-fil-A has the right to make his bigoted remarks and we have the right to call him what he is, a hateful bigot. Oh and I find your religion more then slightly rediculous.

      1. K Smith

        I was not trying to shove my religion in your face, I was simply stating my opinion, just like you are. I apologize if it came across that way.

    2. 7.2
      Zinnia Jones

      “I find it rather ironic that on a website where u can express ur thoughts freely, somebody complained about someone else expressing their thoughts.”

      I know, right?

    3. 7.3
      Anat

      K Smith, freethought isn’t about ‘express ur thoughts freely’.

      And the problem people have with Chick-Fil-A isn’t that their owner expresses ideas we disagree with but that he gives money to hateful causes that harm gay people.

    4. 7.4
      Jafafa Hots

      I’ve never eaten at Chik-fil-A, but I bet there’s a decent chance there’s something on their menu the bible also condemns.

      1. Rory

        Meat and cheese, together in one sandwich. An abomination unto the lord!

        1. BecomingJulie

          No it isn’t, because (1) the meat isn’t being boiled in milk; and (2) it comes from a different kind of animal than the cheese.

          The only biblical proscription against mixing meat and dairy is a reference to cooking a baby animal in its own mother’s milk (which almost certainly is a direct reference to a rival tribe’s sacrificial ritual). Anything beyond that is made up. Go and read the Bible, if you don’t believe me.

          Disclaimer: I come from Indo-European stock, and as such have maintained lactase production into adulthood. Apparently we’re the freaks.

    5. 7.5
      Kim

      Leaving aside that Zinnia is complaining about the content of thoughts and not Loesch’s expression of them…I would have thought complaining about someone else expressing their thoughts fell under the heading of expressing one’s thoughts freely. Obviously I reckoned without the Christian reasoning that “freedom of expression” means that those who disagree with Christians are bound by law not to say so in pubic.

    6. 7.6
      Onamission5

      Being free to express oneself does not equal being sheltered from criticism or disagreement. Self expression comes with responsibility. I know that is hard for some religious people to understand since they’ve been hiding behind their special privileges and dictating to others what we can or cannot say and do for so long, but that’s how it works in a truly free society. If you say something which is untrue or misleading, do expect to be told so.

    7. 7.7
      Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      I find it ironic that you’re complaining about someone complaining about someone else expressing their thoughts.

    8. 7.8
      M can help you with that.

      Other commenters have already pointed out the distinctions between objecting to the content of a statement and objecting to the ability to make a statement, and between freethought and “spewing whatever’s on my mind uncritically”. I’ll stick to pointing out the deceptiveness of what you’re saying:

      Yes, many of us object to Mr. CFA’s insistence that his religion should dictate marriage laws. But yeah, on its own that’s just an opinion — and opinion many of us disagree with quite vehemently, and an opinion sorely lacking in ethical grounding, but still. Suggesting, as you do, that a difference in fucking opinion is the only grounds for the CFA boycott isn’t a difference of opinion — it’s a lie. The CFA boycott (which has been going on for years) is due to CFA’s toxic corporate culture, well-known and extensive employee discrimination on the basis of gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation and religion. Add on CFA’s active funding of a whole range of heterosexual-supremacist, Christian-supremacist and cis-supremacist groups with modes of operation up to and including demanding the death penalty for gay people…yeah, it’s difficult to express how horrendously false your claim for the reasoning behind the boycott is.

      Want to support the values Chick-Fil-A stands for? Munch on some carrots and celery, then take out a hit contract on a gay person. It’ll be healthier and more honest!

      1. K Smith

        Your reply did clarify a lot for me and I thank you for that, but are you certain they are funding such groups? Quite a few people have said it and I’m curious where they got that information from.

        1. Emburii

          I have a post in moderation because it contains links, but check ‘chick-fil-a charitable donations’ in your search engine of choice and pay special attention to the results from equalitymatters dot org. That particular website actually has copies of Chick-Fil-A’s publicly available tax returns that include lists of their charitable donations.

  8. 8
    Kevin

    The whole “First Amendment defense” is a canard. A red herring designed to distract attention away from the vile behavior and statements made by Cathy.

    Of course he has First Amendment rights to make those statements. It’s also his money, and if he wants to fund front people for bigotry, hatred, and — yes even — murder, then there’s not one thing I can to do stop him. (Except of course if he goes one step too far and directly funds hired killers — not likely.)

    However, I have the right to evaluate him based on his statements and which hate group he funds. Exactly the same as I evaluate people like David Duke and Louis Farrakhan. And to decide based on that evaluation what, if anything, I wish to do about it.

    It’s my moral obligation as a human being to make this evaluation. And it’s my moral obligation to avoid participating in a business endeavor that supports hate groups and that is led by someone who engages in hate speech.

    Evaluation. Not discrimination. Different.

    He has his rights intact. I have mine intact. My rights do not interfere with his rights. My rights only interfere with his ability to fund his rights.

    Don’t let people get away with this type of argument. It’s always wrong, always bad, and always an attempt to put you on the defensive for disagreeing with someone’s position. In effect, elevating their position above yours.

  9. 9
    rogiriverstone

    Trans* Film Casting Call! http://youtu.be/y13V0AGwdbQ

  10. 10
    Bjarni

    Damn, that last paragraph is so full of win, I don’t know where to start.

    Thanks for cheering up my morning a little :)

  11. 11
    Buffy

    When you cloak your hatred in your religion, it’s easy to pretend any criticism is hatred of your god/religion. That’s why it’s so effective.

  12. 12
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Is the anti-gay stance of a chicken company now a defining feature of the Christian religion, delineating what is and is not Christianity?

    My favourite verse from the babble :

    http://www.thebricktestament.com/david_vs_saul/jonathan_and_david/1s20_41b.html

    1 Samuel 20:41 : They kissed each other.

    Also :

    1 Samuel 20:42 : Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn in the name of Yahweh that Yahweh will bond you and me and your descendants and my descendants forever.’

    Yeah, that’s Christianity. Kinda. As, um, not at all often practiced by its most vocal not-so-much “followers.”

    I kinda think if the Rabbi (teacher) Jesus were around today his actions and compassionate, kind and accepting and loving politics would shock the hell out of those abusing the religion he (if he existed anything like he’s been portrayed) supposedly inspired.

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