Perhaps you thought that glossolalic freak I highlighted the other day is unrepresentative of religious attitudes in America. How about these people, though?
They’re probably good, decent people who care about their families, but listen to what they are saying — they are picking a president on the basis of his dedication to the Bible. They are advocating a foreign policy based on biblical prophecy. They measure patriotism by whether someone “worships” (interesting slip, there) the flag and Jesus. They parrot lies, such as that Obama is planning to be sworn in on the Koran.
Like I said, probably good people…but the whole problem here is that their brains have been poisoned by religion, a lying, dishonest, corrupting religion that has turned them into deluded fools. Lay the blame for this criminal distortion of human minds right at the feet of religious belief.
Oh, and lest anyone think I’m not an equal opportunity rejecter of religion—be entertained by this Iraqi kook who thinks the earth is flat. Blame that idiocy on religion, too.
Oh my! I don’t even know where to begin with this quartet. It’s just so … wrong!
Not too far from where I work. The Southern states may be the last area on the planet to be secularized…even if the world declared tomorrow that the Bible was proven bullshit. What the fuck does religion have to do with corn pudding and fried pork anyway?
She wants a man who will stand behind his word because he believes in god. Yeah, we see where that got us with Bush. He sure stood behind his word, didn’t he?
The Bible on pork:
“And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.” [Leviticus 11:7-8]
“And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you. Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.” [Deuteronomy 14:8]
Yet Genesis, that you take literally. *heavy sigh*
The Silent Observer says
Ignorance knows no race, creed, color, sex, or nationality.
I’m starting to see a corellation between kooky beliefs to how thick your drawl is. ;)
It is much worse. The Xian Dominionist faction runs around 10-20% of our population. Anyone who voted for Huckabee for sure. Looking at up to 60 million people who want a theocracy.
This would destroy the USA of course. Theocracy got a bad name centuries ago as a singularly bloody minded dysfunctional way to run things. We call that era the Dark Ages for good reasons. Today in the world we have theocracies in Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Texas. Who in the hell wants to live in those places?
For me this is the single most depressing video you’ve shown yet. I am all too familiar with this mindset, and I know that it is pervasive in much of the country. You will hear exactly the same thing from Michigan to Florida. The message that we need to get right with God is pounded relentlessly into their brains, and anything and everything is proof that we are living in the end times and the rapture could happen at anytime. They live in fear and subservience, and they are taught to be happy about it. They won’t do any investigation beyond information they are spoon fed, and once they have gotten together in a group and prayed to Jesus about something, their minds are pretty much closed. It is as fascinating as it is disgusting. The only thing rational people can hope for is to outnumber them.
The biggest problem with religion is that it spouts outright lies, which is painfully obvious when you look at the nonsense these two at the beginning believe. I suppose it’s easier to make things up when you know that your followers will let you lead them around by the nose than to actually have a consistent, rational position.
I still think we need a bag limit on stupid people. You can kill a maximum of 5 stupid people per week, but you’ve got to be able to justify your kills. Might clean up the gene pool. ;)
And of course with an accuracy of predictability the Bible can only envy the familiar “In God We Trust” motto was brought up as supportive proof positive that WE Americans trust in OUR God and in OUR Bible and those OTHER people who don’t worship OUR God can just go some other place than OUR country which is, of course, America, in which WE Americans all trust in GOD.
“Ceremonial Deism” my ass.
Kinda feel bad for ’em…especially the girl…so completely indoctrinated that you no longer have any contact with reality
I don’t think they’re good people at all. They’re just brainless hicks who are so far out of touch with reality that they can barely even function in the world. All they seem to know is whatever hatred their kind and loving god supposedly tells them is fine and dandy.
Seriously. How “good” do you think this collection of people would be if Senator Obama showed up at their door one day?
5? wow, I’ll have to be more selective next time… I only hope all the extra people that I don’t target get picked off by someone else. Must be a slow acting plan you are working on ;)
In a recent post on Expelled, I repeated Catholic claims that link Creationism with idol-worship.
Likewise for “Iraqi kook” — mainstream Islam does not stop at the Koran, but includes the Hadith and doesn’t rule out ideas not in either. Even in Saudi Arabia, the religious police segregate men and women in motor vehicles, they don’t outlaw motor vehicles because they weren’t mentioned in the Koran.
Information theory (ala Shannon, not ID kooks) tells us that a finite text only has a finite number of bits, and cannot act as a oracle to all the questions over a billion people might have in a lifetime.
It should not take atheists to point out that scriptural literalism makes religious people more stupid than other religious people.
Profound ignorance without the mitigation of even a scintilla of doubt. There people are so ill-informed that they have to struggle to come up with the name of Senator Obama, whom they can’t distinguish from Rep. Ellison, the one Muslim member of Congress. And they “know” things because one of their church members keeps track of such matters for them. How? With his head up his ass and Fox News blaring away full blast?
I wish I could say these people don’t remind me of my family.
Lucas Cantor says
Thank goodness Huckabee will never win.
Oh, I also enjoyed the video on the Koran Fanatic. ‘Anything not directly based on the Koran is false.’ I wonder if he believes in cancer…
It was nice of them to fix him a traditional End Times lunch
PZ Myers says
Please don’t talk about violence against these kinds of people — we’re probably talkng about half the country. And I really do think that these are decent people, EXCEPT that religion has taken a basic desire to be good and to support family and community and subverted it into a nightmarish advocacy of dogma and stupidity, effectively harming those they want to help.
Their motives are good. Their premises are false. This is why we have to oppose religious ideas, not religious people.
But are these theists really all that goofier than an unreconstructed Marxist-Leninist, an ultra-libertarian anarcho-capitalist, or a non-theist white supremacist eugenicist?
“But are these theists really all that goofier than an unreconstructed Marxist-Leninist, an ultra-libertarian anarcho-capitalist, or a non-theist white supremacist eugenicist?”
Let me know when one of them is running for President.
Hate to say it, but my immediate family is exactly like that (without the accents), and they’ve only become that way in the last eight years. My hardcore brother would not let them see the grandkids unless they demonstrated some serious zealotry (a very effective means of blackmail, BTW). Now my mother can’t say two sentences without mentioning God in it somewhere. Needless to say, an evil godless infidel like myself has been disinherited. Nothing I can do, except maybe get a lobotomy and join them.
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups” – George Carlin
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things, it takes religion” – Steven Weinberg
I can’t improve on that….
Bill from Dover says
And I’m supposed to believe that God created these people in His image?
Today in the world we have theocracies in Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Texas. Who in the hell wants to live in those places?
Why do you say Somalia is a theocracy? There’s not enough structure in Somalia to have a theocracy, or any other kind of -ocracy. Somalia proper (excluding Puntland and Somaliland) is pretty much in a state of warlordism with a bit of anarchy thrown in.
No list of theocracies can be complete without mentioning Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Are eyeglasses in the Koran?
Blake Stacey says
For a moment, I thought that zoom-in at the beginning would land in Huntsville, Alabama, where I grew up.
My family is just like these people, as well, and became that way far more than 8 years ago, unfortunately. I escaped the asylum in my late 20s, but had to choose between my family (including 10 young and brainwashed nieces and nephews) and real life.
I made the decision and have not seen my family since 2001, but every day it becomes more and more clear that I made the right choice. There was no hope of saving them–I could save only myself.
Gee whiz, I’m glad I live in Canada!
Also, look at these tentacle chandeliers!
You look but do not see. These are folks whose lives will always be at the bottom economic rung. The only thing that allows them to endure is their faith. Just as our slaves hoped for better days, so do they.
The young girl used the only patois she knows. She dissed Bush with it. I’ll take progress where I can.
Huckabee is nominally one of them. You don’t snipe at blacks for voting Obama or women for voting Hillary. Huck also has a better record for their group than others that ran.
I, too, have relatives like this. Last saw them at my Grandmother’s funeral over Thanksgiving. Hopefully, I won’t see them again. I remember my uncle going off against evolution when I was in elementary school and working on a science project. I didn’t do well on the assignment–and I deserved not to. Thankfully, my acceptance of his nonsense didn’t last. Dad, a HS biology teacher and then veterinarian wouldn’t let me get away without accepting evolution either (and he really enjoyed the copy of “Your Inner Fish” I bought for him–it was basically a primer on the field since he’s left college).
It’s not just a Southern thing. My relatives are in NW Iowa.
Heck, my sister, a United Methodist minister, got in a bit of trouble–in Minnesota, and only an hour from the Twin Cities–with her congregation for accepting evolution (and pre-marital sex, and homosexuality)….now she works as a hospital chaplain. This is one of those good people, bad idea things PZ’s talking about. I respect the work my sister does, providing comfort for sick and dying people and their families. I just wish that they, and she, didn’t need to rely on fairy tales to do so.
Hank Roberts says
Remember, nobody can disprove the theory that it’s all intentional. Whatever happens,
“I meant to do that”
— My cat
MIKE HUCKABEE is the candidate America deserves!!!
Am I a terrible person when I think that that girls accent marks her for life as an ignorant hick? I’m sorry, I usually don’t discriminate like that, but please, she sounds the the stereotypical inbred mouth-breather who still flies the Confederate Flag.
Unless you’ve lived in rural Tennessee and know the people, please shut-up. You are a bigot.
Milo Johnson says
Talk about abomination – these vacant-eyed automatons are utterly disconnected from reality to the point of insanity. The abundance of superstitious ‘droids like this gives me great concern for the future, not just of our country, but of the planet.
The clip from Iraq was quite remarkable — a genuine debate between two scientists and some guy claiming the earth was flat. Note the serious tone, the solemn rebuttal — not a whiff of ridicule or scorn. Nothing but respect.
I couldn’t help thinking that maybe this is what happens when you “respect the controversy” on evolution. Next thing you know, you’re patiently trying to explain that all modern discoveries point to a sun which is quite a bit larger than the earth, and the other guy is insisting that this is all a type of science that he rejects, categorically, and besides, no it’s not, you can tell it’s not because of what happens when we watch an eclipse, and the moon hides the sun because the moon is the same size. And then the NASA scientist takes his fair turn.
Maybe they should simply “frame” the issue by showing that the Quran does so say the earth is round, and vindicate science that way.
I’m staunchly opposed to Huckabee’s campaign, but let’s not forget that Phil Sharp is from Kentucky and E. O. Wilson is from Alabama, just to name two people teaching in my neck of the woods. I do my best to evaluate someone by what comes out of his or her mouth, not by how the words sound.
We don’t have too many fundies on the WC, as many Wiccans and New Agers probably. But there are some. One of our support people is one.
She is pleasant and likeable, a decent human being.
She got pregnant at 15, married at 16, second kid at 17, divorced without child support from a husband her age who ran out and disappeared. Who in the hell wants to be married with 2 kids at…17!!!
And she isn’t descended from no monkey, no way. At least she is quiet about her religion around us.
You’re giving me an ulcer with these videos PZ. I didn’t even have the ability to watch this one. How have we as a society allowed this sort of ignorance to replace reason? Most of these people can read and write, they’ve been to school, they’ve seen the progress that has been made by science, have generally benefited, and yet they wallow in abject mental poverty and seem to revel in it.
They might be poor (didn’t watch the video), but they aren’t starving, or living in a hunter-gatherer or sheepherder society where there is no system for explaining natural phenomena other than by invoking Gods.
How the hell did these religious memes become so strong and why are they so destructive?
I feel so sorry for that girl. Thing is, it may not be too late for her… its possible that if she had a chance to get away from the indoctrination and the surroundings that she might be salvageable. You can tell she doesn’t have the whole shpeil down yet, and there’s still a lot of kid just saying what she thinks she needs to say for approval from her family and community.
But it won’t happen though, she’s doomed.
I’m scared, very scared. PZ may call them good people, but I would not want to put that hypothesis to the ultimate test. As an atheist, I believe if my future were in their hands, I’d be toast. There’s a cold irrational look in their eyes. And it’s scary.
I doubt very much that the religious nuts would return the favor by making such a generous distinction. Their motives are like arcade tokens, they are only good inside the store, a.k.a. the delusional bubble. Any person caught outside is their enemy.
After watching that, I need a drink.
The Ridger says
The growth of religious fundamentalism in this country paces the growth of poverty and the widening of the gap between the poor and the even just kinda wealthy. When you have nothing, and can get nothing, and people despise you, you look for salvation elsewhere. One of the best ways we could fight this would be to get serious about eradicating poverty, instead of worrying about coddling welfare queens and giving people handouts.
Thank you, Barack Obama, and all the other pols who are too chicken shit to stand up to these religious morons, for helping to breed the ignorance that is on display in that depressing video.
Fuck. You. All.
I am so sick of dumb asses with their biblical doom and gloom. Jesus was an important historical figure and I wonder if some of his philosophy helped spark the enlightenment in terms of liberal social values. How he would cringe to see the fundamentalists using him like a cheap ho.
And since you brought up Obama… i’d like to propose that no other candidate is better prepared to face down McCain. No one else can throw down the nasty dunk in McCain’s face like Obama.
Brian, how about a little Aristotle?
“A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”
It’s kind of funny how they are all getting their information from some guy or gal instead of watching the news or reading the paper. Unfortunately they seem to have picked the village idiot as their source. Even more unfortunately, the village idiot seems to be getting his or her information from Fox.
Rachel I. says
For what it’s worth, most of the worst stuff these days seems to come from the monotheists. India may not have fully gotten over its caste-system yet, but for the most part the polytheists, deists, and suchlike are far less harmful than the Abrahamic gangs. Strange and deluded, maybe, but less directly harmful. *shrugs*
That cold irrational look in their eyes is the conviction that they are inherently evil, and that so are you.
Talen Lee says
I just gotta say, here is a representation of the reason a lot of the people in Australia think a lot of Americans are dumbasses.
The Ridger (#43):
It’s ironic that you call for ‘getting serious about eradicating poverty’ while using the ‘welfare queen’ and ‘handout’ slurs that were created precisely to justify leaving the poor to rot.
Which is more important to you? Eradicating poverty or maintaining ideological purity through not giving money to those who don’t deserve it? You can’t pick both.
The beginning of the video makes it clear that they’re in a church. So why are these three women not silent as the Lord hath commanded?
Mena, #46, makes a very good point about these people and those like them. They have a deep need for a patriarchal authority figure to think for them and intercede on their behalf with the Lord God Yahveh. Rev. Huckabee has now been endorsed by Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family who is probably behind the conservative backlash against McCain. The lady with the remarks about supporting Israel seems to parrot Dr. James Hagee and Pat Robertson who use this theme to raise loads of $$$ for their “ministries”. Their names are Legion.
What we need now are some good serpent-handling and poison-drinking videos to prove their faith.
dead santa says
Can’t you see his brilliant plan?
Starve all poor people. Poverty eradicated. Taxes reduced. Problem solved.
Well the catholics know idolatry better than anyone from the virgin Mary to the Saints.
Bride of Shrek says
I find it interesting that she says she wouldn’t vote for Clinton as she “suported her husband”…um isn’t that EXACTLY what they profess “good” christian women SHOULD do?
Its way to late for the two older women but I think there’s hope that the young lass could be unindoctrinated. She’s still only parroting what the older two say and obviously can’t come up with an answer to anything other than “follow the word”. Get her out of that cult and there might be hope for her, leave her there and the church has a new Pastor in twenty years.
Jim B says
I think the gentleman in the Iraqi video is doing a great service in exposing the idiocy of literalism in biblical and Koranic interpretation.
Let’s hope he gets a daily program making it utterly clear to ordinary citizens that the Koran has little bearing on the lives of thinking people.
I thought that the US of A had special deprogramming agencies to deal with cults like these.
You know what? EVERYONE is “good people.”
These people are DANGEROUS because they are CERTAIN and they are IMMUNE to reason. They have absolutely no doubt that they are right, and people who don’t doubt that they are right, not just “probably right” but DIVINELY right are capable of the GREATEST evil. If we’ve learned anything from the 20th century, I would hope it would be that.
These people scare the shit out of me.
Connecticut Man1 says
Tengrain has the perfect image to go along with the video of those Hucksters.
I don’t understand. What is this “bobble” of which they speak?
H. Humbert says
Wow, that Iraqi man thinks that human eyes actually work like bifocals, with the upper half of the eye used for seeing things far away, and the lower half near. He justifies this by stating that “no scientist has ever figured out how the eye works.”
Religion makes people dumber. It isn’t just an impediment to an enlightened society, it actively works against intellectual progress. Anyone who can’t admit that religion is part of the problem is part of the problem.
“Nationalism is our incest, is our idolatry, our insanity, and patriotism is its cult.” ~ Erich Fromm.
… in this case, LITERALLY.
Holy fucking shit. TERRIFYING!!
Scott Hatfield, OM says
Oh, and lest anyone think I’m not an equal opportunity rejecter of religion–be entertained by this Iraqi kook who thinks the earth is flat. Blame that idiocy on religion, too.
The catholicity of your disdain is noted!
I know that anti-Science nutjobs are abound in the Muslim world, but I refuse to support those ‘tards at MEMRI.
I was getting ready to dump on Tennessee, but the video reminded me that Tennessee is the home of the Jack Daniel’s distillery.
A state that can produce fine sippin’ whiskey like JD can’t be completely insane…
JD’s distillary is in a dry county in Tenn.
If that isn’t insane, I don’t know what is!?
I notice this was filmed in Lynchburg Tennessee, where hypocrisy is as inbred as children.
Years ago, some friends and I were hiking through the Smoky Mountains, a miserable week of cold & rain. Around the fire one night we decided to screw it. If we walked down through the night, we could be at our car by morning, and the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg by noon. Visions of a very pleasant afternoon lighted our way down.
Somehow we made it there and dutifully took the distillery tour. Waiting for the part when we’d be seated on a big old porch, and girls in homespun dresses would bring out that fine fine whiskey.
Nope. Towards the end of the tour we’re told Lynchburg was in a “dry” county – couldn’t serve or sell the firewater, would we like these nice JD t-shirts instead?
Driving back towards NY that night, I thought of what phonies they were. Every father, husband and brother in Lynchburg probably worked at the JD distillery, but it would be immoral to publicly serve or sell the whiskey they made.
The 3 generations of women on this film are no surprise. PZ can be pc, just ‘good people making bad choices’. But I bet if you transported them 12,000 miles, they’d be chearing for the beheading of that poor woman accused of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia.
They can say that they’ll vote for whoever they want, but at this point they’re not influencing the race in the slightest if they’re not giving money.
Got any other powerless, unimportant, uneducated, impoverished, marginalized toothless hillbillies to pick on?
Jeff, me too.
and Kieran, don’t be too glad, I live in Canada too and know lot’s of people, family members included, who voted for Stephen Harper strictly on the basis of his religiosity.
Ex Partiate says
After watching this pathetic group of dumb asses and meeing what the U.S. is becoming I am glad that I moved to Europe 9 years ago into a former communist country. The church is here but mostly quiet.During elections for President or the parlimentary elections religion is never mentioned and most people don’t give a damn if a candidate has a girl/boy friend or a mistress/lover, as long as he or she does the job. I just hope to hell the fundie nuts stay home and don’t come here.I will vote absentee in the coming election and will hope for a change.
Should have used the other accepted spelling – cheering
Not true. Huckabee’s run a better campaign for a lot less money than Romney. These people are organized, make no mistake. They are the achilles heel of democracy.
So Laris says
They are simply people who want to be “good” and have been taught that ONLY certain ideas are to be considered as paths towards this “goodness.”
Some, though in a mob nearly all, of them would willingly (part gleefully, part sadly, part mechanically) obey their preachers’ orders to boycott my business, abuse my family, even attempt to assume custody of my children. Some, given a gradual enough campaign, would engage in pogroms against people like myself.
This is horrible, sadly human, and the same as it ever was.
One part of these people. told to engage in such actions, would also begin to think about their beliefs, and would revise, even reject, them. There are good people inside many, surprisingly many, of these folks, but the times do not press them to more than childishly fantasize about that spiritual candyland of a Xian nation without coming to grips with exactly how horrid, and how poor, such a place would without the smallest doubt be.
Determined patience and constant vigilance.
H. Humbert says
telecom, if you don’t think the religious right were responsible for handing the Presidency to George Bush the last 8 years, then you weren’t fucking paying attention. They are hardly powerless or unimportant when they can be motivated to vote in large numbers. These people can and do swing elections. But it’s picking on them to point out their lunacy “at this point” in the election race? What, should we wait until the race is over? You’re an idiot. Whatever scorn is being directed their way is more than deserved. Your sympathy for these people has blinded you to how dangerous their delusions are.
And when I search a faceless crowd
A swirling mass of gray and
Black and white
They don’t look real to me
In fact, they look so strange
Michael X says
Poverty. A bit as been said about the connection between it and religious tendencies. And while there may be good evidence to support that position, I would like to insert one small point that should sound dim and common-sensical. Poverty is not causally related to religion. Being poor does not dictate that one will believe, nor of course, does it dictate that if poor and a believer, one cannot change.
If you had taped me as a teenager, with my father watching, perhaps the same sense of hopelessness in the comments would abound. And it would be wrong. Once I was away from my family, I began to learn and have my views challenged even without prominent atheists to bring up the issue.
In short, it is the social reinforcement and enclosure that keeps religion going. But, with the internet, free public schools, and the bare necessities of life being largely provided for in the US, poverty is less and less a deciding factor of what keeps you away from that information as opposed to other countries. Giving this girl a better chance to learn, and maybe get away.
So the doom talk can cease. The chance may be a slim, but thankfully, it is not preordained.
Michael X says
On a different note, their condemnation of Bush is asinine, and for reasons that should be obvious to them even within the narrow world view that they hold. They judge his failure in Iraq because “he wasn’t right with god.” But any and every evangelical religious group is fundamentally tied to the idea that we are to only pray that “god’s will and not my will be done,” as many a family member is so fond of stating. Meaning, god will do whatever the hell he wants no matter how it may upset you (though feel free to pray, it shows him you care…).
In fact when things go rough for the evangelicals I know, they don’t jump to assume that they screwed up, on the contrary, the truth is that “god is testing me. I mean hey, you wouldn’t be such an asshole to assume that I’m not a good christian would you?” (Well, maybe that last sentence isn’t spoken, but it is understood.)
Thus, from their dogma alone, we cannot know Bush’s “relationship with god” by only looking into the state that his life is in. It could just as well be that god wants things to work out that way “for some higher purpose.” God works in mysterious ways last I heard. (Though I’m sure god is much less mysterious when everything works out your way.) Not to mention, Job would have to be condemned for the same catastrophes in his story. And if Job isn’t the standard bearer of every christian in hard times, (aside from maybe Jesus being beaten) then I dunno who is.
But of course, this all too reasonable. They don’t condemn Bush because he failed god, they condemn Bush because he failed them.
ennui, OMygawd says
PHARYNGULA COMMENTS BOILERPLATE
*snickers* [Insert snarky stuff about Bush/Cheney, Fox News, Limbaugh, etc.; make joke about ‘teh internets’.]
Bwahahahaha! …Ben Stein …Expelled! …[fucktard, creotard, nutter, asshat, tinfoilhat, IDiot, muppet, tosser,fundie,nutjob, pig-ignorant] …Gobsmacked …Bukkaked by Stupid …it burns!
[Relay personal anecdote about Christian roots to boost your blog-cred!]
…She turned me into a newt! …Gravity is ‘just a theory’, too! …Blah blah blah TruthTM yada yada Riding
around Eden on dinosaurs! Hahaha! IMHO, snark snark snark FSM. rAmen! BTW, …mitochondria blah blah
…powerhouse blah of blah blah the cell. Denialist!
[Insert Cephalotard haiku]
[Punish random troll, sockpuppet, or poor speller]
[Insert hyperlink/hypertext to funny atheist video]
Write serious comment with concrete suggestions about how to address the perceived problem(Optional)]
[Get reamed by truthmachine]
I live in Australia & there are plenty of dumbasses like those in the video here too. Maybe you just haven’t met any of them yet :)
Inkady, I don’t agree with a single thing the people in this video said, but I didn’t hear anything about their being opposed to open and competitive elections or representative government. Just because somebody has different (or even profoundly ignorant) ideas doesn’t meant that they are “the achilles heel of democracy.” Just like you and me, their parents fornicated in this country and now we all get to vote on where we want it to go. But more to the point, an even cursory survey of history will show you that the single greatest demonstrable threat to democracies over the centuries is a corruption, specifically high-level corruption. The machinery of democracy, once built, depends upon honesty and fairness for it’s maintenance. The Bush family is a much greater threat to democracy than this family will ever be.
And H. Humbert, these people are so far from having any consequential influence on public policy it’s laughable. They may make trouble for their local school board or complain about their neighbor’s chickens but that’s the horizon line of their influence. The only time they’ll ever spend in the corridors of power will be pushing a mop or looking for the bathroom. They will never see the other side of the velvet rope. At least not in this lifetime. Like somebody scared of homeless bums, you are investing disadvantaged people with some great, terrifying power that they don’t possess. It’s how we demonize people. Who knows, you might think I’m a backwoods destroyer of worlds as well. Boo! What an asshole you are.
$5 says “telecom” is really Jaycubed/SwelP/Legion…
Chuck Olsen says
I’m the person who shot this video.
It’s been interesting to see the flood of comments unleashed here and on the original YouTube version. This video, and these people, very much deserve serious discussion. I don’t think anyone should wish ill upon them, or simply dismiss them as hicks.
Once I drove out of Lynchburg and pulled over to eat the fine meal they served up for me, I was really kind of confused and reflective. PZ is right – these are GOOD people, some of the nicest folks I’ve ever met in my life. And what they believe is so wrong, and the fervor with which they believe it is frightening.
I won’t say much more than that, except I’m glad they welcomed me into their poll barn church and were eager to let a stranger record their views – though they’d never heard of YouTube. Anybody want to send that girl a $100 laptop with an EVDO card? :-)
This video was made on my trip through the South for a citizen journalism organization called The UpTake, getting deeper stories and motivations behind primary voters. Check out more vids from my trip here.
These may be “well-intending” people, but their god isn’t. They worship a god who is going to rapture them to heaven, and then take a giant shit on the rest of us. —– I was raised in a fundamentalist xian home, and it took me years to rid myself of the magic, the poison, the utter lunacy. Seeing this video brings back a lot of pain, and the sense that common sense may never prevail — let alone mankind.
But it was large numbers of families like this that voted in the Bush family – three times!
the amazing kim says
Oh hey, Aussie crowd. Yes, there are plenty of crazy people here in Queensland. (None of them crazy enough to employ me, on another note)
Though, it’s a pretty crazy cult that worships a bubble, I’d say. Got to admire their devotion: following “the word of the bubble” can’t be easy, especially on windy days.
I think the real travesty about the parroting of lies is the fact that people seem to be showing an increasing lack of interest in the credibility of things they hear. Dawkins pointed out in The God Delusion that children trust in the words of authority figures (grown ups). The problem is that often, as is the case with religious Fundamentalists, this leads to a complete disregard of critical thinking.
People like this are afraid to question things. When they hear something that they want to believe (such as that evolution is a fraud, Obama wanted to be sworn in on the Qur’an and that he refuses the Pledge of Allegiance), it’s more convenient to accept it — no matter who told them. And from the moment they parrot it to others, it becomes verified truth.
We’ve all done it, even by accident, and especially as children. As a kid I attended a daycare run by Amway-selling environmental nuts. Now, I don’t mean that as negatively as it sounds. What was negative about it is that they were filling our heads with bogus statistics and lies about product brands that “caused harm to animals”. If these teachers had been telling us kids things that were verified and true, they would have been correct in their worldviews. However, they were parroting information that was completely fabricated to suit their cause, and it is for this reason that my father was annoyed as I came home every day spouting kooky nonsense about how such-and-such organization was deliberately going out and clubbing baby seals for sport.
(I use a made-up example; it’s been twenty years and I can’t really remember any of the silly ideas I came home with. But these teachers would have done just as well to teach us about energy conservation, spaying and neutering your pets, etc. Instead they got us jazzed up with over-the-top accusatory statements with no facts to back them up. My father, a rational man who doesn’t believe everything he hears, was pretty irritated after having to “straighten me out” on these topics each and every day.)
I’ll use another example: a friend of mine in high school told me the “Spanish Fly” urban legend about one girl’s unfortunate accident with a sportscar stickshift. Because my friend swore up and down that she “heard it on Oprah”, I went home and told my dad about this ghastly and sad “true story”. Needless to say, my father had to once again give me another lesson in credible sources and taught me that you can’t believe everything you hear just because someone swears THEY heard it from a reliable source.
And Fox News isn’t a reliable source, but that doesn’t stop Fundies from parroting their stories — and the game of Telephone (or “Chinese Whispers”) warps those stories into outright fabrications as they are parroted through the congregation. Soon enough the entire parish is blabbing lies.
This behavior is, needless to say, not restricted to religious folks. It is, however, a strong sign that we are not teaching people to do their own research, make up their own minds.
Even at the age of twenty-five I’m realizing just how often I have taken things at face value without question. People need to be taught that thinking critically takes bravery, but is far more rewarding than realizing thirty years down the line that you were a willing slave to misinformation.
Watt de Fawke says
Salt of the earth, my ass. These people are pig-ignorant and proud of it.
Lilly de Lure says
Then why is Mick Huckabee odds on favourite to become John McCain’s VP nominee, despite the fact that the rich, priviledged wing of the Republican Party despise him? In large numbers these people do have power (almost by definition in a democracy).
For the individual family you are doubtless right and I take your point about their religiousity and ignorance being tied in with desperate poverty (and manipulated by political and religious leaders who have made that poverty and hopelessness manifestly worse).
Whilst I might take that as a primary example of why the US social welfare programmes (not to mention the public education system) need urgent reform and would support a candidate who suggests these reforms (do you know any?) in the meantime I think it is naive at best to describe the views that these people hold as anything less than dangerous to the future of your republic.
Fernando Magyar says
Someone ought to let these poor folks know that when Moses was carving the ten commandments on the stone tablets he left off the most important one of all. “Thou shalt not be ignorant”, for ignorance is the most egregious mortal sin of all. It really can kill you and others around you.
I wish all religious moderates would take a good, hard look at these people and realize what exactly they mean. If you’re not as zealous as they are, then you are misguided and deluded and as bad as atheists. When they talk about the evil/wrong/godless bad people, they are talking about you. Your religion is not good enough for them, and they will come after you, too. Moderates need to take a strong stand against this, not try and be “tolerant”.
Lilly de Lure says
Indeed, the moderates or those not of their denomination are typically bound for perdition, too. I’m reminded of Jon Ronson’s account of a meeting with Sheikh Omar Bakri and his followers:
“Look at me!” he said. “Here I am with two infidels. Saul is an atheist. And Jon …'”Omar paused for effect, “… is a JEW.”
There was an audible gasp, followed by a long silence. Of all the locations in which Omar could have chosen to disclose this sensational revelation, a packed jihad training camp in the middle of a forest was not the place I would have hoped for. I found myself searching for the fastest path to the door.
“Are you really a Jew?” said someone, eventually.
“Well,” I said lightly, “surely it is better to be a Jew than an atheist.”
There was a silence.
“No it isn’t,” said a voice from the crowd.
Stephen G says
The first commercial flight of Spaceship Two should be filled with Iraqi Imams (Kooks). It could bring forward the end of the conflict. Hell, I would even contribute towards the cost.
Love how this country was founded on religious freedom but apparently Christianity is the only religion allowed in this country according to these poor uninformed folks. Do they realize that the people that live in Israel are Jewish and don’t believe in Jesus?? Poor, poor uninformed, hypocritical folks.
Damn… Half my brain’s dead now. Good job.
Scary, truly scary. Maybe there is something to be said for giving the vote only to educated people.
In the meantime, the ladies should perhaps join this church to get their minds off their weird political opinions
“These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know…morons.”- Blazing Saddles
Does Pastor Karen Sanders, the second woman speaking in the video, realize that Mike Huckabee doesn’t approve of her being a minister at all because his denomination forbids women to be pastors? I think you wouldn’t like a Huckabee presidency as much as you think you would, Pastor lady Serena Joy.
“Then why is Mick Huckabee odds on favourite to become John McCain’s VP nominee”
Perfect, that’ll make sure he doesn’t get elected president.
The key to this election is going to be wether Mc Cain or Obama (assuming it’s him) gets the biggest share of the independent voters.
These nutcases will vote for McCain anyway, with or without the Bumblebee.
But Huckabee scares the shit out of the independents.
So, yes, McCain, put Huckabee on your ticket.
After so many years, finally, the pendulum within the Christian world is swinging back to the moderates.
The neo-cons have lost.
(BTW I need to keep repeating that shit I wrote above to myself so that I don’t feel too depressed watching this video)
Lilly de Lure says
The Vice President is not exactly a powerless position, ask Dick Cheney if you don’t believe me!
Actually without Chuckleberry it’s not certain that they will, they might well just not vote because they can’t bring themselves to vote for someone who is not far-right enough for them. Hence McCain’s interest in Chuckleberry as a running mate, without the loonies, he’s lost.
I really hope you’re right about that because if McCain does get in with Huckabee as a VP then it will be the loonies voting for Huckabee who got him into the White House. This will put the religious right in possibly the most powerful position they’ve been in yet to control the political agenda (and the VP will be a genuine believer not some manipulative neocon liar like Cheney).
Lilly de Lure says
I’m really Sorry Negentropyeater!! I wrote my response before your second post appeared, apologies for adding to the depression!
Jason B says
In response to #2, the Southern states aren’t completely lost in this mental quagmire. Close to, but I think the pendulum’s actually swinging slowly in the other direction.
The younger generations here know better, thanks to the Internet (can’t keep out a “Yankee” influence completely) as well as to our existing educational systems. Us older generations are waking up, it seems–I have met more “new” atheists in the past year than I thought Arkansas had in total.
We’ll secularize. It’s only a matter of time.
The (Parenthetical) Atheist says
I hope you don’t mind, but I linked to this article from my blog, The (Parenthetical) Atheist. If this is a problem, please let me know.
My family were Mennonites. Anabaptists. You know what these “good people” with their “good motives” did to us? They killed us. They killed us in Europe. They killed us in the United States before and during the Revolutionary War because they could. Because we weren’t the “right kind” of Christian.
The only reason I exist is because one of my ancestors wasn’t at the farm the day the Baptists came. But they did kill his brother.
So I’m not to interested in “good people” with “good motives” and blanket excuse them because we wish to engage in “good behavior.” Especially when those “good people” are descended from others that, as a group, executed pacifists as heretics and demonstrate, to this day, the same religious intolerance and bigotry. And those “good people” are the primary cause and enablers of most of societies ills we suffer today.
Good motives are demonstrated when you fully research the issues and make the best, rational decision possible that includes you not forcing your unexamined religious beliefs on other people. Good motives are demonstrated when you act with compassion, do not support an illegal war, or outrageous prison sentences, or the death penalty. Good motives are demonstrated when you accept others can have different, or no, religious beliefs and you don’t try to make your beliefs the Law of the Land, but allow others to make their choices freely and treat them as equals. Good motives are demonstrated when you don’t act like you have all the answers and try to impose your blanket, religious punitive-solutions on others with whom you disagree – whether it’s regarding race, gender or orientation.
As far as I’m concerned, based on what I’ve experienced in my life, the majority of Christians are pliable, hateful people, who pick and choose their beliefs to justify whatever intolerance, to the greater or lesser degree, they choose to practice. And history has shown us, as a group of people, time and time again they’re just waiting for an excuse to act on their deviant assholeishness. That they’re not on the jihad today, doesn’t mean when the jihad comes around to their neighborhood they won’t decline to get on the jihad-wagon.
So, no, they get no bone. They’re not good people, they’re hypocrites. I’ll talk about them being good people when we no longer have almost 50 million people living in poverty while they build mega-churches. When they march lock-step to stop the people suffering and dying in an illegal war they supported wholeheartedly. When they mind their own business and stop with the gay-bashing and misogyny and all the rest of their fucked-up morality destroying our country like a slow cancer.
Death camps. It worked for the Jews, it can work for the poor. Hell, it’d be a growth industry, like prisons. Why, CCA could probably make some solid, low-bid contracts and in five, ten years at the outside, poverty is eradicated.
And, with the SS having done all that product-development work on things like soap, lampshades and jewelry made from the dead Jews, we’d be able to ramp up some secondary industries post haste. Why the benefits would be awesome.
Inner-city ghettos would be a thing of the past. The poor would be gone. We could lower taxes without all those parasites. Crime would drop. Heck, we’d even make Amerika whiter.
Yes, sir. It would be a paradise on earth. Great job. Way to think “outside the box,” there.
Others seem to be reading this statement in ways I don’t quite follow. To me, what this says is that people who whine about things like ‘coddling welfare queens and giving people handouts’ are part of the problem, and need to get the fuck out of the way so that sane people can improve matters. No?
PZ Myers says
I don’t think people quite get my point. I am not making excuses for these people.
The essential perspective to take is to recognize is that these are not people with evil intent, although they may be promoting an evil agenda. These are not James Bond villains with nefarious plans to destroy the world — these are ordinary people who want to be economically secure and want their children to grow up healthy and strong and above average. That is the the ultimate motive.
The villain here is religion, which has taken those normal desires by ordinary people and subverted them with lies. You want your children to be happy? Then the most important thing is to make sure they’re right with this imaginary god, who will let them live forever in paradise. You want security? Then the strength of your country is entirely dependent on the power of this imaginary god, so you must worship him, and any denial of that god is a direct threat to your nation.
I don’t blame these people. I blame the lies with which they’ve been indoctrinated. And lies they are…evil, destructive lies that convince people to work against their own interests to prop up a bloody book of hate and ignorance.
You might be right. But that’s not how I read it. If it was intended a different way, it should have been clearer as “coddling welfare queens” and “giving people handouts” are oft-repeated Republican/Libertarian talking points. It should be clear that, on the semi-anonymous Internet, where one can’t always clarify one’s position after a verbal faux pas, that if you’re going to use them (especially in irony), you need to make sure it’s clear to your audience that you’re repudiating them or being ironic.
Honestly, it wouldn’t be the first time a poster has stepped into a pile of shit they intended to miss. I’ve done it myself. More than once, to my chagrin. But, still, you’ve got to make sure you come across with your actual intent to your target audience.
Whats so terrible about having a president be sworn in on a Koran? I happen to think its equally wrong to swear in with Bibles, as it would be to swear in with a Koran. But as long as we’re still going to go ahead with this ceremony, and if the elected president did happen to be Muslim, why not swap out the Bible for the Koran at the proceedings? The whole point of the exercise is to make the inauguratee feel as though he is swearing to his higher power that he will do an honest job, so that even if the people never find out his misdeeds he will still have to answer for them to the being he can’t hide it all from. Or have I missed these nice folk’s real point?
“I don’t blame these people. I blame the lies with which they’ve been indoctrinated.”
I blame the professional leaders who spread the lies. They are the ones doing the damage, and they are the ones who should know better. They have the time and responsibility to study and consider what they are teaching, and yet they continue to hone their craft of selling destructive bullshit to well intentioned people. Blame the pastors, Christian school teachers and their training institutions. Blame the televangelists and Christian talk radio. Blame James Dobson. Blame religious leaders of all kinds. They give religious lies life. These people and their professions deserve to be ridiculed and stigmatized.
Why halloo there, Mr. Trainwreck.
This is why I fear for this country. FFS, watch the news on your own instead of listening to x prejudiced church member
Rey Fox says
” Or have I missed these nice folk’s real point?”
Yes. The point is that Muslims are Bad, and Obama needs to swear on a Bible, because that will magically turn him into a Christian.
Now, from what I remember, one doesn’t even have to swear ON anything when taking an oath for public office. But don’t tell them that.
“you can’t go against Israel, because Israel is god’s chosen people.”
Six million jews can’t be wrong. Oh, never mind there was no Israel during the holocaust.
If my evil atheist memory serves, Jesus and Muhammad both said not to swear on things. Just keep your word, say Yes if you mean yes, No if you mean no, etc.
I don’t blame these people. I blame the lies with which they’ve been indoctrinated.
I *do* blame at least some of them. Some of them are sad excuses for human beings, and use their religion to manipulate others, at any cost. I have life-long, first-hand experience with them and they are not good people all. They use their religion to demonize entire swaths of society, even to the point where killing becomes justifiable. And I don’t blame their upbringing or education. I was raised in an environment completely surrounded by this garbage and I had enough sense to reject it at eight years of age. Their religion is not a peacful, kind, and gentle thing. It is a snarling, nasty, hateful thing. If they can’t see that, then they are blind indeed.
“I don’t blame these people. I blame the lies with which they’ve been indoctrinated.”
Are these not the people who spread the lies?
One of them was a minister.
What does it even mean to blame religion?
What is religion if not the people who subscribe to it?
Religion is not some magical force that invades peoples minds and turns them from “true goodness”.
Religion is made up and propagated by people. They use it to justify their hatred and fear of “The Other”.
It seems like you are letting these people off the hook because they are “just following orders”.
I don’t but it.
I judge people by their actions not their claimed religion.
In my opinion the people in the video are the problem.
David Marjanović, OM says
Comment 25… Israel? A theocracy? What have you smoked, and where can I get some?
David Marjanović, OM says
Comment 25… Israel? A theocracy? What have you smoked, and where can I get some?
I take PZ’s point here, and you could make the same point for all sorts of religious extremism.
A lot of people — especially, in my experience, ‘liberal’ theists — seem to have the idea that nasty people seek out “nasty” religions. If you want to turn someone away from fundamentalist Islam, say, the best way is to show them love and understanding, make them happy and secure, give them a reason to be nice — and when they become a nice person, they will drop their mean religious convictions for nicer ones.
It doesn’t always work that way. In fact, I suspect it seldom does. The number one reason people join the “nasty,” extremist, intolerant forms of religion is because they are born into such religions, indoctrinated into them, surrounded by them, breath them, and have never thought it would be “nicer” to consider them anything but nice. Intolerant religions REFRAME issues so that they’re not intolerant — they’re realistic. Honest. Clear-seeing and deep-loving and aware of dangers that others miss.
Mark Twain once wrote that his mother was the kindest, gentlest, sweetest person he ever knew, who would not hurt a fly and would grieve over a dead bird — but it never once occurred to her that slavery was wrong. Or cruel. As a Christian, she knew it was the way things were supposed to be, and that was that.
The problem is not that the people need to be made nicer in the usual sense, that of being taught kindness or made to feel as if they are cared for and then just watch them blossom into rational thinking. Ecumenical tolerance isn’t going to come to people through bringing them casseroles when they’re sick, so they return the favor and realize you’re not going to hell. Their religion has made them immune to such persuasions, it saw them coming before its followers were born.
I have to say, judge the message, not the delivery. If this video was of a group of people making a perfectly logical, reasoned, defensible argument, would you still see fit to deride them for their drawl?
Nice, Moses. Your failure to correctly understand Ridger’s point is somehow his (or her) fault? I understood the post quite clearly, and so did MartinM. Ridger’s post did not say we should quit “coddling welfare queens,” it said we should quit “worrying about coddling welfare queens.”
And Ridger is right.
So how is it these assholes don’t see Christianity as a Jewish cult when all they do is reinforce some bullshit from another bullshit religion? Christianity isn’t even original, just pretty much plagiarized garbage from another plagiarized religion that itself plagiarized it’s irrational beliefs from some ignorant individuals 5000 years ago. You had Sumerians, who understandably were ignorant, having their stories plagiarized, then adapted, along with Egyptians, towards a cult called judaism, which itself was plagiarized by another internal cult and then branded christianity. This in itself can be understandable 2000 years ago, but here we are, in the modern age. With enough information at nearly everyone’s fingertips, and yet, these fuckers walk around as ignorant as those poor bastards thousands of years ago. Yet today’s religious nut-jobs are worse, because the truth is right there to be revealed. If these morons were illiterate, even then I could perhaps understand, but they’re just brainwashed assholes disseminating garbage they don’t even really understand. If they’re so orgasmic about some shit that happened thousands of years ago, let them dump all this technology that science provided and go deal with things on donkeys, mules, stables, whatever else they may wish to relive.
I bet these stupid hypocrites probably use medicine that would not be possible without a good understanding of biochemistry, evolutionary adaptation, immune resistance, and all sorts of fields they fear. Sadly, this type of thinking is not limited to some rural shit-trap in TN, but all over this country.
Joe Blow says
Ridger’s post did not say we should quit “coddling welfare queens,” it said we should quit “worrying about coddling welfare queens.”
We should do both: stop enabling society’s leeches and stop worrying about it.
I think my favorite part is probably at 1:45 when the first old woman, referencing the rumor about Obama being Muslim and wanting to use a Koran to be sworn in, asks “Why should we let somebody else come in and use their faith to be sworn in and not our faith?”
Hmmm…maybe…because…we have freedom of religion and separation of Church and State in this country? At least until a retard like Huckabee gets elected and changes the Constitution to better suit the Second Book of the Desert God.
Did you hear what happened when Corrine met a bubble? There was an explostion!
John Scanlon, FCD says
amazing kim # 86,
Got any interest in palaeontology, lab skills and/or a burning ambition to live in an overpriced, way-the-fuck isolated desert mining town? There just might be someone crazy enough, if you do. Can’t promise anything.
October Mermaid says
“Got any interest in palaeontology, lab skills and/or a burning ambition to live in an overpriced, way-the-fuck isolated desert mining town? There just might be someone crazy enough, if you do. Can’t promise anything”
This used to describe me (well, the paleontology part), but severe anxiety problems have held me back. I also wanted to get into marine biology and study that, but the idea of an anxiety attack while at sea or diving is enough to terrify me out of it.
The same basically applies to being out in the desert and heat. It’s weird when passion collides with stark terror.
Ecumenical tolerance isn’t going to come to people through bringing them casseroles when they’re sick, so they return the favor and realize you’re not going to hell. Their religion has made them immune to such persuasions, it saw them coming before its followers were born.
I feel compelled to change that last sentence to a slightly more optimistic, “all but immune to such persuasions.” The recognition of worthwhile qualities in others does go a long way towards alleviating fanaticism. When the “enemy” has a face, and a family, and seems awfully nice and brings “casseroles when they’re sick”, well, perhaps they have “good souls”, too. And if people like those in this video can begin to wonder if God would truly send that awfully nice Moslem/atheist/Hindu/whatever to the same hell as murderers then it’s a foot in the door for tolerance.
It seems to me that half the fanaticism in groups like this results from being cloistered and secluded among their own kind as much as adhering to their particular belief system. True, most of them are not going to change their worldview, it has become hard wired into their brains, (or is it rigidity, itself, that has become hardwired into their brains?) but some of them may be reached, and all of them will be affected by real world, positive human contact–whether they admit it or not. Perhaps, at least, they won’t be so energetic in their attempts to commandeer science for themselves.
I’m reminded of Anita Bryant, back in the seventies, who became an outspoken anti-gay proponent for religious reasons. She was dogmatic and unyielding. Years later, I read where she had had to work with some gays and after the experience said something to the effect of “I was surprised. They didn’t seem all that bad, just regular people.” I don’t know if she still thinks they are going to hell, but her fanaticism was definitely subdued, and, I believe, still is.
Is that justifiable either?
ilya zlatkovsky says
Would it be worse if the president was sworn in on the Koran or Marx’s Manifesto? Not that I’m a follower of either.