Atheists for Liberty flying their colors


Atheists for Liberty, that horrid far-right reactionary organization, is now campaigning at CPAC. At long last, David Silverman (he’s on their advisory board) has got his wish, finding a front that will support his dream of an atheism that reeks of conservative values. Take a look at the books they are selling!

Those authors are all on their board of advisors, except Hitchens, who is dead. Also on board: Ron Lindsay, to my disappointment. They seem to be recruiting anyone who shows the slightest right-wing tendencies. I wonder why they haven’t invited me to join their board?

Also no surprise: they’ve gone anti-vax. Their argument is that there are religious exemptions, and rather than working to end them, they want to expand them to include atheist exemptions.

Comments

  1. says

    Sounds like a devil’s bargain to me. I wouldn’t trust anyone connected with CPAC. They can try but they will be the first up against the wall when the X-tian extremists take over America and start killing atheists wholesale.

  2. Matt G says

    So much for following the evidence….

    Maybe religion isn’t as big a problem as conservatism.

  3. blf says

    Their argument is that there are religious exemptions [to vaccinations, so there must also be] atheist exemptions.

    There are no atheist exemptions so there must also be no religious exemptions.

    I do not actually like that counter-formulation — which is intended only to illustrate the stupidity of their position — as it (or the original) suggests there is such a thing as a “valid” non-medical exemption (when vaccines are available and the individual is medically-eligible).

  4. says

    Maybe it’s not religion that poisons everything. Maybe its conservatism.

    I used to imagine how Hitch would adjust to fit the times, but then I realized that he might not. Can you imagine having to read a Hitchens piece whining about wokeness? It’d be well-written and witty at least.

  5. Artor says

    “A dollar today keeps wokeness at bay!”
    So I guess sleepwalking is a conservative virtue? Or are they just trying to lock everyone into a perpetual nightmare?

  6. raven says

    Also no surprise: they’ve gone anti-vax.

    In other words, they’ve gone reality denier and they’ve gone stupid.

    CDC: Boosters reduce COVID death risk 20-fold compared to

    Dec 20, 2021 — Those who received COVID-19 booster shots were 20 times less likely to die than the unvaccinated in October, according to new data, …

    Being vaccinated and boosted reduces your chance of dying from the Covid-19 virus by 20-fold.

    For most people it is even more dramatic than that. The vaccinated people who die from the Covid-19 virus are mostly old (average age 81), organ transplant recipients, or cancer patients.

    In the ICUs, around 95% of the Covid-19 virus patients are antivaxxers.

  7. woozy says

    But…. to have a religious exception you need a religious belief against vaccines. I don’t see how you can have a atheistic belief against vaccines (Okay, the people attempting religious exemptions don’t actually have a religious belief against vaccines either…)

    And the construction of “atheistic” and “belief” is incompatible… Aren’t they the ones who came up with “You are entitled to your opinions but not your facts” (and you are not entitled to have your opinions unquestioned)?

  8. microraptor says

    woozy @7: Turns out, these atheists have a powerful belief in making money with little in the way of ethics as to how they do so, it seems.

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    woozy @7:

    I don’t see how you can have a atheistic belief against vaccines

    Of course you can. You could believe the vaccines haven’t been tested enough, or that they are harmful. Being an atheist doesn’t mean you can’t be an ill-informed dumbass.

  10. says

    The reading list 3Rs: rapists, racists, and Reaganists. No wonder they’re welcomed with open “OK” hand gestures.

    They call it “Conservative Political Action Conference” (CPAC). But a better name would be “Ignorant Political Extremist Conservatives Action Conference” (IPECAC). It makes you want to throw up.

  11. blf says

    wozzy@7, “to have a religious exception you need a religious belief against vaccines.”

    By-and-large, not quite, that should be “…you lie your religion prohibits…” (but see below).

    Very few sects / religions oppose or prohibit vaccination, and some consider it an obligation. From Anthony Fauci: “There are precious few religions that actually say you cannot” get vaccinated (October 2021):

    Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s review of immunization and religions identified a small subset of Christian faiths that oppose vaccination on theological grounds. There are five, a group that includes the Dutch Reformed Church, Church of the First Born, Faith Assembly and Endtime Ministries. The Vanderbilt list is largely a topline overview, not a comprehensive study of all religions worldwide.

    [Christian Scientists …,] Protestant faiths, Islam, Roman and Orthodox Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and more have no prohibition against vaccination. The Vanderbilt survey named 24 religions in this group.

    Unfortunately, a common(?) exemption dodge is one need to claim a sincerely-held religious belief, which all-but-impossible to disprove:

    “The standard is the sincerity of the personal belief, not whether you’re part of an organized religion that prohibits vaccines,” said University of California Hastings Law School professor Dorit Rubenstein Reiss.

    […]

    “The problem, of course, is that it can be difficult to disentangle the reasons why someone objects,” said Wendy Parmet, a Northeastern University law professor. “States or employers that reject a requested exemption could be vulnerable to litigation.”

    What a court has to decide is whether the belief is religious and whether it is sincere.

    “A fervently held personal belief can be religious in nature even if it is not endorsed by any recognized or organized religious group,” Lindsay Wiley, a law professor at American University. “But not all personal beliefs are religious in nature.”

    So it perhaps ought to be “…a unproven-claim of a sincere religious belief…”.

  12. simonhadley says

    Right wingers like to infiltrate organizations and spread their views. Maybe we should do the same with them? Just my two cents.

  13. whheydt says

    In California, the governor cannot (by law) issue a vaccination mandate without a religious exemption. There is a bill in the state legislature to remove the religious exemption from COVID vaccination mandates. Such exemptions have already (for some years now) been removed from other school vaccination requirements.

    Now the downside… There are enough shady doctors that will sign off on fake medical exemptions that that has become a problem. There is now legislation in place to crack down on that practice. (There are grifters everywhere…)

  14. says

    Their argument is that there are religious exemptions, and rather than working to end them, they want to expand them to include atheist exemptions.

    In other words, they’re going along with the old theist “atheism is a religion” bullshit.

    “A dollar today keeps wokeness at bay!”

    Do they ever get around to defining what “wokeness” is, or explain why it’s bad?

  15. PaulBC says

    Doesn’t keeping “wokeness at bay” translate to keeping everyone happily asleep?

  16. fishy says

    My mother did not raise me right.
    Why can’t I be a dishonest grifting piece of shit?

  17. andrei613 says

    Well, atheism is a position on one issue, nothing else.

    We as a species already have many examples of people who hold a couple of accurate views while the rest of their views are utter factless garbage.

    So, it’s not a surprise to find a few whose few accurate views are about religion, while almost everything else they believe is a steaming load of dingo’s kidneys.

    I grant that it’s sad to have to face the fact that a few atheists are also utter loony dingleberries, but that’s life.

  18. says

    @3 blf
    There are seven states where it’s still illegal for atheists to hold public office. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas (of course), Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and both Carolinas.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Ayn Rand was both an atheist and a mean loon. Over here in Europe, a sh*tload of conservative politicians are atheists, a lot of them having more humanitarian views than their religious American cousins.
    In Sweden a whole bunch of the conservatives are decent human beings who do not hate the poor, or minorities. Tories and Republicans represent the primitive, crudest version of conservatives in its most reactionary form. It does not help that they take money from absolutely any shady characters.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    Ayn Rand was both an atheist and a mean loon. Over here in Europe, a sh*tload of conservative politicians are atheists, a lot of them having more humanitarian views than their religious American cousins.
    In Sweden a whole bunch of the conservatives are decent human beings who do not hate the poor, or minorities. Tories and Republicans represent the primitive, crudest version of conservatives in its most reactionary form. It does not help that they take money from absolutely any shady characters.

  21. says

    #19 “There are seven states where it’s still illegal for atheists to hold public office. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas (of course), Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and both Carolinas.”
    I’m no lawyer, but it seems pretty clear to me that Constitutional Article VII (“No religious test will ever be required . . .) along with Article XIV, which prohibits states from abridging federal rights, would make such state laws illegal. Have these laws been enforced or judicially tested?

  22. jrkrideau says

    Those authors are all on their board of advisors, except Hitchens, who is dead

    I do not see any problem here. A few years ago someone noticed the Fraser institute, a right-wing “think” tank in Alberta had several dead board members.

  23. Alverant says

    I’m wary of any group with “Liberty” in their name because they often don’t know what it means or what it implies. (Same with being anti-“woke”.) Last week I saw a video review of a MAGA-hat romance book named “Ladies First” by a Liberty Adams, who says she’s a woman but several commenters think that could be a lie. She uses the word “man” but instead of “woman” she uses “female”. The book also has so much strawmen you’d think it was a scarecrow convention.

  24. microraptor says

    Raging Bee @14: They deliberately don’t define wokeness. By keeping it vague and nebulous, they can use the term to label anything they dislike.

  25. Alverant says

    @14 Do they ever get around to defining what “wokeness” is, or explain why it’s bad?
    Doubtful. I’m not even sure what it is myself, like what a “radical liberal” is supposed to be when a term is used by someone like Carlson or other conservative talking head. Best I can do is, “questioning are unquestionable position as being above everyone else”.

  26. nomdeplume says

    “Atheists for Liberty” really is a dead give away. I mean I don’t know any Atheists who are NOT in favour of “liberty”. I reckon Hitchens (rabidly in favour of the Iraq War) would have been a member of such a group. And yes, Ayn Rand is the perfect example that being an atheist doesn’t make you a decent human being.

  27. PaulBC says

    nomdeplume@28

    I mean I don’t know any Atheists who are NOT in favour of “liberty”.

    Not to nitpick, but I imagine it was not hard to find such people in government in the former Soviet Union. But yeah, nah, I don’t know any either.

  28. says

    @23 Laws are still on the books. They were allowed to be passed. Creationists always claim Atheism is a “religion”, yet they allow these laws to stand. Which one is it?

  29. Alverant says

    @23 IIRC some Republican challenged the election of an Atheist in SC a few years back. In Texas, an Atheist tried to run for public office and was murdered. Cops didn’t even try to find out who did it.

  30. woozy says

    woozy @7:

    I don’t see how you can have a atheistic belief against vaccines

    Of course you can. You could believe the vaccines haven’t been tested enough, or that they are harmful. Being an atheist doesn’t mean you can’t be an ill-informed dumbass.

    But you don’t get exceptions for being a dumbass.

    Their argument is completely analogous to imagining a state that has a drivers license/photo id requirement that ones face and head be unobstructed. But the state allows religious exceptions for catholic nuns, muslim women, and seikh men. Now a baptist complains that is unfair those religions get an exception but baptists don’t just because baptists don’t have prohibition against having the head uncovered. That’s discrimination that is….
    ….

    Okay…. I know, I know. This is the wrong crowd to take religious exceptions as axiomatic … but seriously, their argument is completely flawed.

  31. tacitus says

    To understand it’s conservatism that’s the problem, one only has to answer a simple question: “Who do you believe is more a danger to society — liberal Christians or conservative atheists?”

    Conservatism will outlast Christianity. It already has in many parts of Europe. And when it comes to continuing to wage the culture war, conservative non-believers have been perfectly adept at coming up with non-religious reasons why society should discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community, and other minorities. Trump’s popularity with right-wing Christians had nothing to do with the Christian part of their worldview, and everything to do with their right-wing politics.

    If Trump’s evangelical base was one day forced to choose between conservatism and Christianity, the vast majority would drop Christianity in a heartbeat. (The same can be said about liberal Christians — politics is primary — not that it’s particularly relevant to this thread.)

  32. John Morales says

    tacitus,

    Trump’s popularity with right-wing Christians had nothing to do with the Christian part of their worldview, and everything to do with their right-wing politics.

    Um. Christianity and fascism are a marriage made in heaven.

    And for most people, their Christianity is synonymous with their politics.

    How you justify ignoring that, I don’t know.

    Here https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55578096 (15 January 2021):

    Christian supporters of President Donald Trump were among the thousands who descended on Washington DC last week. Their presence highlights a divide in American Christianity.

    Before the march on the US Capitol began last Wednesday, some knelt to pray.

    Thousands had come to the seat of power for a “Save America” rally organised to challenge the election result. Mr Trump addressed the crowd near the White House, calling on them to march on Congress where politicians were gathered to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

    The crowd was littered with religious imagery. “Jesus 2020” campaign flags flapped in the wind alongside Trump banners and the stars and stripes of the US flag.

    The throng did march to Congress, a protest that led to chaos at the Capitol.

    At least one group carried a large wooden cross. Another blew shofars – a Jewish ritual horn some Christian evangelicals have co-opted as a battle cry. Elsewhere a white flag featured an ichthys – or “Jesus fish” – an ancient symbol of Christianity.

    For some Christians, seeing religious symbols alongside Confederate flags was shocking.

    But for others, Mr Trump is their saviour – someone who was “defending Christians from secularists” as Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, told the BBC.

    In short, for many many MAGAs, their religion and their politics are one and the same.

    And when it comes to continuing to wage the culture war, conservative non-believers have been perfectly adept at coming up with non-religious reasons why society should discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community, and other minorities.

    That religious belief is not the only basis doesn’t mean it’s not an important one.

    (Also, with non-religious reasons, at least they don’t have “God says so” as their, ahem, Trump card)

  33. John Morales says

    PS

    If Trump’s evangelical base was one day forced to choose between conservatism and Christianity, the vast majority would drop Christianity in a heartbeat.

    Except for that majority for whom the two are one and the same. As I noted.

  34. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @34:

    for most people, their Christianity is synonymous with their politics.

    Hard to make any sense of that. Most white evangelicals voted for Trump. Most black evangelicals voted for Biden. The Catholic vote was split 50-50. If you mean that people’s politics can be informed by their Christianity, then yes. For example, MLK and Desmond Tutu.

  35. John Morales says

    Rob,

    Hard to make any sense of that.

    I had insufficient specificity, apparently. So.

    The referent in context was “Christian supporters of President Donald Trump”. Not all religionists, not even all goddists.

    (Not like he hides his malfeasance, is it?)

    But there are a myriad of juicy quotations and imagery, if you doubt my claim.

    For example, MLK and Desmond Tutu.

    Again, subject at hand was USAnian evangelicals, of whom most are hard core “Christian supporters of President Donald Trump”. You know, the people for whom it is impossible to disentangle the politics from the religion.

    (Their version, obviously)

    Try Googling “trump flawed but chosen by god evangelical quotation” or similar string.
    See what you see.

    (Don’t look at the religious iconography of buff Trump Jeebus figure with a gun and/or a halo, unless you’re like me and don’t worry about unseeing)

  36. ORigel says

    Hard to make any sense of that. Most white evangelicals voted for Trump. Most black evangelicals voted for Biden. The Catholic vote was split 50-50. If you mean that people’s politics can be informed by their Christianity, then yes. For example, MLK and Desmond Tutu.

    There are zillion versions of Christianity, cutting across denominations, where people assume that Jesus, as the perfectly moral person, agrees with or embodies what they think is perfectly moral.

    The Bible tells us slavery is good, has militaristic imagery, and preaches hatred (Lk 14:26) among other things. Like right-wingers assume that Jesus was somehow capitalist, MLK assumed that Jesus agrees with him, because the imaginary Jesus in their heads is more important than what’s actually in the Bible.

    Liberals construct a liberal Jesus. Conservatives construct a conservative Jesus. Pacifists construct a peaceful Jesus. Militants construct a warrior Jesus. Etc. The Bible is an anthology so it has verses to support most points of view, especially via citing a verse that does not support your view, and either twisting it to say what you want, or just citing it and allowing your gullible audience to think it does say what you imply it says. Both liberals and conservatives can be dishonest in that way.

  37. ORigel says

    @37
    Plus, I suspect a lot of the secular right-wingers on the Internet are Russian trolls and bots, just like lots of former Democrats and “don’t sully your ideological purity by voting blue” progressives are Russian bots and trolls.

    This perception is based on ancedotes from the brief time (after sanctions were announced) Russian bots and trolls were not on social media.

  38. erik333 says

    You can make a body autonomy argument, but ive yet to hear of a religious text mentioning vaccines. Fear of needles isnt a religion, yet.

  39. John Morales says

    ORigel, sure.
    I’ve no doubt much such trolling occurs.
    But why would those trolls get traction were it not that they stroke just right?

    (And, if they didn’t get that traction, it would not be an issue, would it?)

    Anyway, my point was for most religious people, religion and politics are hardly orthogonal.

    Obviously, anyone following an organised religion will tend towards the authoritarian — not like religions encourage people to make their own determinations, after all.
    They get told what to believe.

    And the subtler point is that for some yokels (like MAGAs, say) their religion and their politics are indistinguishable. Not even slightly orthogonal.

    (Their religion is very much in your face, defaced as it may be)

  40. KG says

    The Bible tells us slavery is good – ORigel@38

    Rather, it simply assumes its existence, and has nothing to say against it. The Tanakh (“Old Testament”) places restrictions on how Israelites should treat their Israelite slaves, but very few on how they should treat slaves of other ethnicities, and specifically allows for the sex slavery of captured women (and it was of course wrong when other people enslaved Israelites). The NT says that “in Christ Jesus” there is “neither slave nor free” (Galatians 3:28), but also tells slaves to obey their masters (in numerous places e.g. Colossians 3:22).

  41. Rob Grigjanis says

    So the bottom line is that conservative Christians vote Republican and liberal Christians vote Democrat. What an insight!

  42. KG says

    John Morales@34:

    for most people, their Christianity is synonymous with their politics.

    John Morales@37,
    [Several attempts to pretend that “most people” doesn’t mean “most people”.]

  43. John Morales says

    Rob:

    [Several attempts to pretend that “most people” doesn’t mean “most people”.]

    Me: “And for most people, their Christianity is synonymous with their politics.

    How you justify ignoring that, I don’t know.

    Here https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55578096 (15 January 2021):

    Christian supporters of President Donald Trump"

    But fine. It is indeed most people who are genuinely religious, though since I continued “In short, for many many MAGAs, their religion and their politics are one and the same.” it should have been evident (not for you, obviosuly) that there no pretence there.
    That’s the mob to which I referred.

    Anyway. Is it your contention that for example, MLK’s and Desmond Tutu’s religion differed from their politics? Your own example.

    More generally, do you think most religious people’s politics conflict with their religion?

  44. John Morales says

    [Interesting. Tethys (I think, not searching) had the same, where a <code> tag somehow manifested. I’ve checked the input source, and no I did not put one in. But it certainly manifested, and shows up in the source. A badly closed quotation, it was. Hm]

  45. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @45: You seem to be confusing me with KG. But that’s alright (with me, if not KG).

    do you think most religious people’s politics conflict with their religion?

    If, by “their religion”, you mean their own personal priorities/emphases (which may differ from others of their denomination), then, generally, no. For example, I suspect that Matthew 25:40 was very important to MLK and Tutu, but not so much to your average Trumpist.

  46. redwood says

    Whenever I hear someone spout “God says XYZ” I just replace it with “I say XYZ.” Let’s cut out the middleman.

  47. birgerjohansson says

    The liberty they want is to be Tywin Lannister and lord it over commoners without institutions that might moderate their rule. Like the Amazon bosses are doing.

  48. StevoR says

    @ ^ birgerjohansson :

    Reminds me of the old childhood rhyme (no idea who first coined it) :

    America’s a free land.
    Free without a doubt.
    If you haven’t any money there
    Then you’re free to go without.

    Paraphrasing (?) from memory..

  49. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Atheists for Liberty is too vague a name, they need to be honest and call themselves Assholes for Self-Promotion.

  50. Rob Grigjanis says

    StevoR @52: I like Anatole France’s

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal loaves of bread

  51. Walter Solomon says

    I remember when the biggest enemy according the religious right\fundamentalist Christians were “secular humanists.” I guess that’s too ’90s and they’ve moved on to considering “wokeness” the enemy like the rest of the knuckle draggers.

  52. PaulBC says

    Rob Grigjanis@54 France’s formulation carries a higher risk of being taken at face value, particularly in US culture, driven by sympathy for “the millionaire I might be one day.” When I’m rich, I won’t be allowed to sleep under a bridge, so why should that bum be allowed? Majestic, equal, and unironic

  53. ORigel says

    @42 I felt too lazy to cite examples that I expect this commentariat to know. I know the Bible doesn’t say “slavery is good” but having rules to regulate it is close enough

  54. ORigel says

    @47 Many Trumpists know about Matthew 5:40; however they delude themselves into thinking awful behavior towards their tribal enemies is loving. That’s why the phrase “Christian love” is regarded as a dark joke in some circles.

  55. ORigel says

    @47 Oops, guessed wrong verse. “Love your enemy” is Matt 5:44.

    I fully agree that Trumpists ignore Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:40. Most of them probably don’t even know it, and assume Jesus thinks lazy bums should get a job. Biblical literacy is low among most Christians. Maybe they think “God helps those who help themselves” is from the Bible (it’s not).

    No one has any use for that extreme command except fanatics. The rest are ignorant of it, ignore it, water it down to a reasonable amount of charity, or pay lip service to it.

  56. Frank J. Trezza says

    Starting with your first sentence, your post is factually incorrect. Despite having books on display at CPAC, AFL does not sell these books there. These are recommendations only. Membership is the only thing sold. Secondly, the organization is neither far-right nor reactionary. For free-thinkers, those who value liberty above all else, and embrace enlightenment values. Finally, while the president, Thomas Sheedy, may be a republican, many of the members are not. Personally, I’m a classic liberal and registered as a Democrat. In addition, AFL is not anti-vaxx; rather, they are pro being treated fairly, which includes being allowed to exercise all the same options that religious people can. Its purpose is to make sure Atheists have the same rights and freedoms as religious people. Last but not least, AFL would be attending conventions from the other side, but they haven’t had any for about two years. Prior to that, the ones we attempted to attend often denied us entry.

  57. says

    Heh. Not far-right? It certainly is. It’s just that a “classic liberal” (a silly phrase that fundamentally means “conservative”) can’t tell.

    Oh. You’d be willing to attend mainstream conventions, but you are “denied entry.” I wonder why that is? Is it because it’s an organization of assholes and no one wants them around?

  58. PaulBC says

    The acronym confused me. Not the American Federal of Labor, anyway (the “AFL” half of AFL-CIO). Acronyms make strange bedfellows for sure.

  59. Rob Grigjanis says

    Frank J. Trezza @60:

    AFL is not anti-vaxx; rather, they are pro being treated fairly, which includes being allowed to exercise all the same options that religious people can

    That amounts to “we shouldn’t have to get vaccinated because those guys don’t have to”. The petulant kindergartener argument. Informed adults understand that the importance of vaccination is protecting yourself and those who are most vulnerable.

  60. Frank J. Trezza says

    Hey Rob, this interaction is from me as a person and an AFL Member –

    Pfizer’s CEO stated in a recent interview on Jan 10th, “We know that the two doses of a vaccine offer very limited protection, if any. The three doses with a booster, they offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths. Against deaths, I think very good, and less protection against infection.” and an August 25th study from Israel that hasn’t yet finished peer-review stated in it’s results that natural immunity seems to be 27 times better than the immunity from the vaccine in preventing new infections with the delta variant, and they expect similar results to the ongoing study with the omicron variant. If that study gets reviewed and shown to be accurate, I’m wondering if you would still feel the need to mandate people (many of whom have already been infected and have antibodies) into getting a vaccine? You seem to be under the assumption that everyone who doesn’t want to get this is somehow selfish. I’ve gotten the shot twice and the booster. I knocked the shit out of me, I couldn’t work for 2 weeks, and I work from home. When David Silverman got the booster he had a headache the didn’t go away for nearly a month. You consider yourself an informed adult, and want to protect those who a most vulnerable. What about those people with health conditions that can’t get it? like organ-transplant recipients on immunosuppressants? or those with heart issues? What about those who got it and had adverse effects like anaphylaxis? then were told if they didn’t get a 2nd shot they couldn’t go back to work…despite the first shot nearly killing them?. There should be exceptions for them, but many states of removed all exceptions now. Of course, daring to challenge the status-quo at all will get you lumped in with the Anti-Vax people despite none of us telling people not to get vaccinated. There is a difference between Anti-Vaxx and Anti-Mandate, but they’ve decided to redefine the word and lump us all in the same camp. This is more about rights. If a person has a right that another person does not have simply because of their religious choice or lack thereof, that is discrimination. This is something most of the free-thinking Atheists of old would agree on. Now, you can try to make it a political issue – and to a degree everything is nowadays. But when it boils down to it – this is about freedom and liberty – and that is why AFL got involved.

    Also, Post-modernism is cancer.

  61. Frank J. Trezza says

    Minor correction to my last post, I meant to say “this interaction is from me as a person and NOT as an AFL Member”

  62. PaulBC says

    @65 See https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/jan/14/blog-posting/claim-about-pfizer-ceos-description-vaccine-leaves/

    The Pfizer CEO was referring specifically to protection against contracting the omicron variant, which was pretty obvious to me from context, but I had to check. One shot of the vaccine is useful. Two is better. Neither will suffice to keep you from picking up some variants, but you are still less likely to be hospitalized or die.

    Mayo clinic: “People who are fully vaccinated can get breakthrough infections and spread the virus to others. However, the COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness.”

    What about those people with health conditions that can’t get it? like organ-transplant recipients on immunosuppressants?

    This is also highly misleading. My daughter is a kidney transplant recipient who takes immunosuppressants. She received two doses of Pfizer according to the normal schedule, and developed T-cell immunity but not antibodies. She received a third full dose at her doctors’ advice and finally gained measurable antibodies. Later, she received a booster.

    Some people may be unable to receive the vaccine, but the group you just identified actually requires extra doses of the vaccine to gain protection. Nobody is going to force anyone to be vaccinated against sound medical advice, but this is a small percent of the population.

    What does this have to do with atheism or freedom? People didn’t used to be such dumbasses about getting vaccinated. You can’t fix stupid.

  63. Rob Grigjanis says

    Frank @65: The bottom line is that people have died because they couldn’t get the treatment they need, because hospitals have been busy dealing with idiots who simply chose not to get vaccinated (I mean people who could have taken the vaccine).

    My life isn’t threatened, but I’ve been unable to get two operations I need because medical resources have been stretched so thin. I’m on a list for one now, with no idea when I’ll get it, and have had no word about the other. So I’ve had to walk with a crutch for the last 18 months or so, and avoid tasks I’ve been doing for decades, like shovelling snow.

    Sorry about your rough couple of weeks.

  64. PaulBC says

    There is well over a century of medical experience in the routine use of vaccination, even ignoring early approaches to inoculation. Typically, atheists align themselves with a reliance on empirical data, for which we have a preponderance in favor of vaccines. So I don’t get that part at all.

    Now the “freedom” bit? Well, I’ll grant anyone the freedom to harm only themselves. However, spreading a disease will potentially harm me. Taking up hospital beds unnecessarily also causes harm to those who are hospitalized through no fault of their one. So, freedom, huh? Personally, I would like freedom from this fucking pandemic, and that won’t happen as long as idiots deny themselves every opportunity to limit the spread whether by masks, distancing, or vaccination. No, you don’t have the “freedom” to carry out a bioterrorist attack on those of us who are taking this seriously and working to end the pandemic.

  65. John Morales says

    Frank:

    I’ve gotten the shot twice and the booster. [It] knocked the shit out of me, I couldn’t work for 2 weeks, and I work from home.

    I had two Astra Zeneca shots and a Pfizer booster. I resulted in a mildly sore arm where I got the injection for a day or two. And that was that.

    (I reckon it probably was a psychosomatic reaction in your case, given your belief system)

    As for your fears, it would help you to know just how and why the vaccines work.
    The biological facts, as it were.

  66. says

    @John Morales
    Interesting thought. Perhaps more than psychosomatic though. My first was fine, the second knocked me out, and I got some somatographia. “Skin writing”. One of the most common skin irritation conditions.

    Given my, intense nature, I haven’t ruled out personality and the interaction between the immune system and emotion.

  67. Tethys says

    Gee, I wonder why most atheist organizations don’t want anything to do with these grifters?

    Frank-– this is about freedom and liberty

    If you want a religious exemption, you are FREE to go join the very regressive sects that think getting any sort of medical treatment is a sin, and shut up about your precious freedom.

    Damn entitled whiners.

  68. PaulBC says

    I had pretty bad chills for a little over a day after the second, and similar but less so with the booster. I probably could have reduced chills with Tylenol, but I (somewhat superstitiously) didn’t want to limit the effect of the vaccine in any way.

    There’s a slight possibility I have SIRVA from the booster itself. That has nothing to do with a particular vaccine, but getting an injection in the wrong place and puncturing the bursa. Basically, the brief muscle stiffness never went away and I have limited reach months later. But I had persistent shoulder pain in the other arm before that where I was not vaccinated. It’s an issue I need to address and I have seen a doctor about the first arm. Xrays don’t show anything. I’m reluctant to even connect the two issues. Regardless, I am glad to have the booster. Shoulder pain starts for all kinds of reasons in late middle age.

  69. raven says

    Frank the creepy liar:

    Also, Post-modernism is cancer.

    Post modernism more or less doesn’t exist any more. You must mean “cultural Marxism.”
    Oh wait, that doesn’t exist either.
    Just tossing out some fact free insults.

    Frank Trezza and Silverman are why I have nothing but absolute contempt for the AFL.

    Frank the idiot:

    What about those people with health conditions that can’t get it? like organ-transplant recipients on immunosuppressants? or those with heart issues?

    Just about every sentence Frank wrote is wrong or a lie. It’s just mindless gibberish.

    In point of fact, organ transplant recipients and other immunosuppressed groups (autoimmunes) can and should get the vaccines. They are at very high risks of flat out dying from the Covid-19 virus.
    The problem isn’t getting the vaccines but getting the vaccines to work in these patient populations. And there are various strategies to do so, including sometimes taking a holiday from immunosuppressive drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases.

    The risk for death of organ transplant patients who get the Covid-19 virus is 20-30%. This is very high. In fact, organ transplant patients make up a significant fraction of the ICU patients. They get vaccinated multiple times with their antibody levels checked.

    I saw this with my friend who works in the Covid-19 virus ICU. She wasn’t supposed to be there but they are short staffed these days. She has a medical condition that makes vaccination difficult. She was on her third dose and her antibody levels were just starting to move up when she caught the virus. She went downhill fast and they were close to putting her on one of the ventilators she runs,…and then she stabilized and her O2 saturation started up. She went home the next day to recover.
    Without the vaccination, she would have been dead in a few days.

  70. says

    #65: That’s an anti-vax screed, no matter how much you deny it. No one claims vaccination is consequence free, only that the consequences of vaccination are far, far less deleterious than the disease itself — which your whole argument demonstrates. Yet then you turn around and pretend anecdotal side-effects are grounds for questioning the efficacy of the treatment. They are not. That is nuts, and is just an anti-vax talking point.

    The line “Post-modernism is cancer” is a non sequitur, but it does expose your ideological biases. This is not a debate about post-modernism. None of the people here (probably) are post-modernists. I don’t, and you don’t, know what the postmodernist stance on vaccination is. Here’s an article that argues that it is a postmodernist position to question vaccines. It’s not that I agree with it, but that “postmodernism” has become a poorly understand boogey man to fling at anything you don’t like.

    You missed a trick. A few years ago, you would have written “Feminism is cancer.” I guess the slogans have evolved.

  71. snarkrates says

    Frank Trezza,
    I am afraid that your argument bears far less resemblance to Voltaire and Francis Bacon than it does to the apologetics of St. Augustine. One of the most critical values advanced by the enlightenment was embracing truth, while you and your brethren carefully step around it. Almost 11 billion doses of COVID vaccine have been administered, and the incidence of significant side effects has been exceedingly rare. Yes, some people feel like crap after the vaccine. That is their immune system reacting to the spike protein–and it’s a pretty good indication that the disease itself would have hit you hard! Meanwhile the official death toll from the disease tops 6 million, and several estimates show that is an undercount by as much as a factor of 3.

    Meanwhile, you and your fellow “enlightenment” dumbasses use out-of-context quotes and facts to argue that getting a needle poked in your arm is an egregious violation of your sacred fucking rights while pretending that there is no such thing as the common good. You choose to reject the greatest challenges of our time—the pandemic, climate change, inequality of wealth and opportunity, racial justice, etc.–precisely because your pathetic excuse for a philosophy has nothing to offer toward their solution.
    You are a prime example of the dicutum that a libertarian is just a Republican who smokes dope and wears facial hair ironically.

  72. PaulBC says

    raven@77

    In point of fact, organ transplant recipients and other immunosuppressed groups (autoimmunes) can and should get the vaccines. They are at very high risks of flat out dying from the Covid-19 virus. The problem isn’t getting the vaccines but getting the vaccines to work in these patient populations.

    This bears repeating, and I have a front row seat to such things.

    Trezza’s entire screed sets off the bullshit alarms right out of the gate with the the Pfizer quote.

  73. Tethys says

    Whatabouttransplantpatients is an excellent reason to get vaccinated.

    My Uncle was at Mayo just a couple weeks ago for his annual series of testing after his heart transplant. He got an extra booster while in clinic.

    In a Brief Communication, published July 29, 2021 in the journal Transplant Infectious Disease , a team of physician-scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that solid organ transplant recipients who were vaccinated experienced an almost 80 percent reduction in the incidence of symptomatic COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated counterparts during the same time.

    https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases

  74. blf says

    PaulBC@81, “Trezza’s entire screed sets off the bullshit alarms right out of the gate with the the Pfizer quote.”

    It should because whilst the quote is genuine, it’s out-of-context. From the BBC, Did Pfizer’s boss cast doubt on his own vaccine?:

    Albert Bourla could be seen saying: “We know that the two doses of the vaccine offer very limited protection, if any.”

    [… T]he clip had been taken out of context from a longer interview, with Yahoo Finance, in which Mr Bourla had been discussing high infection rates with Omicron.

    A Pfizer representative clarified he had been referring to research suggesting while “two doses of {Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine} may not be sufficient to protect against infection with the Omicron variant”, vaccinated people were thought to still be protected against severe disease.

    Several studies suggest vaccines, even when they do not protect against infection, lessen the impact of the Omicron variant […] and significantly reduce the chances of ending up in hospital or dying.

    Most of that BBC article is about a gentleman who, like Trezza, initially took the out-of-context comment at face value. That gentleman, however, apparently unlike Trezza, then looked into the matter further and quickly noted the quote was out-of-context.

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