Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
“If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” – Anatole France
While busily combing the Interwebs for tonight’s piece, I came across this puff piece at Belief.net – it’s your general “oh-why-oh-why-can’t-these-effin’-atheists-just-shut-up?” generalizations. And guess who it’s about? Why, your pal and mine, the presidential wannabe I belittled last week. So of course, some outraged Christian is defending some politician’s ass-grabbing voter-pandering rubbish (that is, until he gets caught doing some not-so-Christian behavior, then it’s “we don’t know this guy, Rick WHO?”).
First, the general disclaimer:
OK. First off, let’s be clear: I take a philosophical back seat to no one in promoting the right of any American to worship — or not — the God or gods or Force or assorted plants, celestial bodies, etc., of their choice.
And if they don’t believe in any of those things, I don’t have a problem with them putting up billboards, carrying signs or shouting from the public square their convictions as atheists or agnostics, either.
The fact that there needs to be a qualifier for this, bespeaks a sad state of affairs for this country.
This is America. Within our Constitution and the Bill of Rights are guarantees for both the practice and energetic espousal of religion, and freedom from religious persecution — whether against a particular group of believers, or those who do not believe.
Can I get a hallelujah? I can’t? Oh well…
Here’s where it gets really sticky:
But the pendulum has swung crazily too far when it comes to cries of “separation of church and state” and every American’s right — even those running for elective offices — to live by their religious principles and express them.
No way. As the title of this piece indicates: if your faith comes first, you should NOT be in office. Because if swearing an oath to the constitution is superseded by your religious affiliation, how can you be trusted to make objective decisions that affect millions of people who are not of your faith? You can’t be trusted with that. History proves that maxim correct. We have mountains of historical evidence that states that, in no uncertain terms, religious fanatics are inherently untrustworthy. Then the author goes out on a limb here:
Case in point: This weekend’s stadium prayer event spearheaded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He had, apparently, the audacity to look at the nation’s dismal state — a black hole of rising debt that led to an historic loss of the country’s top credit rating, deep unemployment, wars that continue to bleed us of lives and treasure, and a seeming crisis of morals and morale — and call for believers to fast, repent and pray for America.
It’s risible. Fasting, repenting, prayer? When has any of this had any other effect, other than to stroke the egos of co-dependent sheeple who have inherited inferiority complexes from their superstitious mumbo-jumbo about original sin? They might as well take the advice of some joker on Pope-rah about the ‘Secret’ or ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’. Or order a self-help book.
And, as if throwing gasoline on the already self-immolating critics that arose, he and others had the gall to close their prayers with mention of Jesus. That is what Christians, do, you know – invoke the name of the founder and namesake of their faith. People of other faiths were invited, too. Perhaps there was a conspicuous absence by non-Christians, but that was a choice, too.
Now the author is simply indulging in hyperbolic rhetoric. The actual fact is, if it was an event on anyone but the taxpayer’s dime, who really cares? Not a whole lot.
But I wonder: would that be any less “offensive” had a Muslim taken the stage to open a public prayer with “In the name of Allah, the most beneficent” and closing them with “O Allah! Accept our invocation”? Or, for that matter, a Rastafarian’s “Blessed is the name of Our Lord God Jah Ras Tafari,” a Hindu’s “We worship the three-eyed One, Lord Shiva,” a Buddhist proclaiming “I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the supreme Sangha,” a Native American punctuating ritual smoke with “O Great Spirit of our ancestors, I raise my pipe to you,” or a Wiccan chanting “Holy Earth Mother, flesh of the world. . . .”
Personally, I take offense at all of the above. Because it’s all crap. Which makes an excessive display of that thing called ‘faith’ more disgusting. But hey…I usually keep my mouth shut on the topic until addressed, or when I happen to overhear something especially stupid. That’s when I chirp up. But that’s just me.
Smooth as gravel, the author then declaims:
A chief executive — of a state or of our nation –bringing 30,000 fellow believers to pray in an arena may seem over-the-top today, but leaders calling willing citizens to prayer is hardly new.
A., hell yes it’s way over the top. B., in America, leaders calling willing citizens to prayer is indicative of a distinct bias, and chances are very strong said leader isn’t going to be leading Muslims or Jews in prayer. C., that was a violation of SOCAS, whether it happens now or in the past. Argument from tradition is an argument from shit.
In our increasingly secularized age, though, anyone who believes in moral absolutes, supports traditional marriage or abhors the millions of potential lives lost to abortion (both interfaith issues, by the way) gets labeled “hater.”
Newsflash: NO. These are not ‘interfaith’ issues, these are human issues. And again – if your duty as an objective officer of the constitution takes a backseat to your ‘faith’ (or whatever you want to call your rigmarole), then no, you shouldn’t be in office.
Disagree with those stands? No problem, speak out. But it seems when it comes to sharing faith and its values, well, that justifies a tsunami of hyperbole and calls for repression from a vocal minority.
So, wait…what exactly is he talking about? You mean THESE crazy lefties?
Despite the warm greeting Perry received inside Reliant Stadium, not everyone was pleased.
Brandy Deason was among a group of protesters outside who chanted and waved signs in opposition to what they called an unconstitutional mixing of church and state.
“I am happy to let people know it’s not OK for a government official to hold a religious meeting to try to solve our problems,” said Deason, an atheist. “Logic and problem-solving is the only way to go with this, not by prayer.”
What a hypocritical asshole. He tells people it’s okay to do this, and then he vilifies them for doing it? It’s not a surprising pattern: people (especially when they’re religious) practice double-standards, and recite the selective highlights, and how dare anyone criticize anything when belief is involved? And belief doesn’t move mountains; Mohammed has to walk to it despite his declamations. It’s all traditional pop-psychobabble nonsense with some poetic shared soliloquies to make the ineffective feel effective.
So in monosyllabic content: faith bad, facts good. No more monotheistic mollycoddling. Prayer doesn’t work, repenting is just a slab of that old time religious guilt, and fasting is simply self-deprivation.
And Perry saying, “It’s time to hand this thing over to God, and say ‘God, you’re just gonna have to fix this” is just another way of saying “I’m not going to do jack shit, and hide behind religion while I’m not doing anything.”
And those people, my friends, are a dime a dozen in this country. We have enough helpless folks struggling, we don’t need another one in a high political office. We need someone who will actually do something besides pander.
Till the next post, then.