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Christmas Wars: And Now, the Rest of the Story

9:23 am in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Disclaimer: I’m an atheist who has nothing major against non-secularists. But sometimes this whole Christmas War nonsense is more tiring than Black Friday sales. Sigh.

Christmas in Regional Command-East [Image 2 of 3]

Christmas in Regional Command-East

“…and now, the reeesstt of the story,” as newscaster Paul Harvey used to say. For the past few years Paul’s pithy prose describes something we should all remember when it comes to the infamous Christmas Wars – look at the other side.

The latest battle has been fought before, yet it never seems to die. Christian organizations in Santa Monica, CA won’t be able to place their annual 14-scene Christmas nativity decorations in the city park and they’re miffed.  The Washington Post headlined the story this way, Atheists’ move halts Christmas tradition in Santa Monica, churches go to court to get it back.

The problem is the atheists didn’t kill anything. They simply applied for slots in a lottery the town set up to allow equal access to the city park. Not surprisingly, city officials grew tired of being accused of being “anti-Christian” for following the law, so they killed it.

Of the 21 available slots, atheists won 18 draws, Christians won 2, and Jews won 1. Since the drawings were blind, I’m not sure how to account for the imbalance, but my guess is atheists put in more applications and Christians fewer. In other words, they played by the rules and won fair and square. Yet, the atheists are a vast anti-Christian plot.

I won’t argue that atheists put up some displays that Christians found offensive and I won’t defend them for it. However, they are as entitled to do that as Christians are to say just as bad or worse things about atheists. The Constitution protects speech, it says nothing about friendly or agreeable speech.

Understandably, there are bad feelings all around – from both sides of the story. Although I follow the “logic” of some of the Christian backlash, it seems pretty lame, and frankly contradictory, to me. Cynthia Dermody offered “10 Reasons Atheists Can Go to Hell Over Holiday Decorations Fight” on Cafemom. Here are her “reasons” (with much of her snark removed): Read the rest of this entry →

Is This Really Necessary?

2:57 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

God Fearing Guy
IN GOD WE TRUST – This religious display is quite appropriate and didn’t need an act of Congress to do.

I’m an Atheist, but I like most Theists. Really, I do. Admittedly I don’t agree with them, but I’m also strongly for the idea of to each his own. But, sometimes some of them can be real pains in the tuckus.

Fundamentalist Christians complain incessantly about how the 10-15% of the non-Christian naysayers of this nation have them on the ground with the jackboot of oppression on their necks, poised to prevent them from saying Merry Christmas or some other form of “oppression”. Having overwhelmingly fewer jackboots than God-fearing necks is mathematically impossible. Perhaps it’s a modern-day expression of the Loaves and Fishes School of Math Theory.

But oppression? Really? Syria is oppressed. Most of Africa is oppressed. A good number of Americans are oppressed. Hell, China is so oppressed they almost stamp out all religion. In some places on Earth oppression comes at the point of a gun. Asking to simply let government be government and religion be religion isn’t oppression, even if people scream it in frustration over the unending need to label everything on God’s (their opinion, not mine) green earth with a religious creed. Read the rest of this entry →

A Hell of a Way to Rally People to Your Cause

6:22 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

One man’s immorality is another man’s religion, even if the immorality of that religion is pointed out by atheists. It’s common for religious adherents to sometimes act immorally – and sometimes hypocritical – despite what their religions supposedly teach. The same is true for atheists and what they believe. People are what they are, sometimes inconsistent, narrow-minded, and  disagreeable.

But, there’s the message and then there’s the way you deliver the message.

Backyard Skeptics, an organization that bills itself as, “Where humanists, rational thinkers, atheists and agnostics have a place to explore the world without religious dogma,” plans this weekend to rip pages out of the Bible they believe portray immoral biblical law.

The message that the Bible has passages that are immoral is a valid topic for discussion. Some reasoned discourse on biblical questions like these would be welcome in an era when understanding one another is limited to how loudly you yell at your opponents.

Non-Desecration By Destruction
But Backyard Skeptics Director Bruce Gleason says, “We’re not there to burn the Bible or desecrate. There are plenty [of] verses in the Bible that if you did any of those things today, you’d be thrown in jail immediately.”

True, some of those things would get you arrested, convicted, and maybe even sent to death row. But, Gleason’s claim that he isn’t there to “desecrate” the Bible rings hollow. Most Christians would beg to differ that ripping pages out of their holy book isn’t desecration and they aren’t the only ones.

Muslims understandably weren’t so pleased when renown nutcase and “clergyman” Terry Jones thought toasting marshmallows over an open fire of burning Korans would be a fine thing. In fact, Jones’ justifications weren’t all that different from Gleason’s. “Jesus would not run around burning books,” Jones said last year, “but I think he would burn this one [because He disagrees with it].”

And interestingly, Gleason’s protest engages in what Christians might call evangelism, but with a secular twist. “We want to make this a better world for secular and humanistic values,” Gleason said. “We don’t believe prayer works. We don’t believe religion adds anything except a sense of false hope.”

I believe Christians often rely too heavily on martyrdom. It’s their constant screed they’re an endangered species being systematically rubbed out by the forked-tailed devils around them. That’s an outrageous debating point for a group that makes up 75-80% of the American population. It’s nothing more than needless antagonism toward people who don’t believe what they believe…just as atheists ripping pages out of a Bible make their motives suspect.

Jugheads Doomed to Hell

And it’s not that theists don’t engage in their own intolerance. Atheists are probably one of the groups most singled out by theists. At least Muslims believe in some God, even if many Christians believe Allah is a mere pretender to the throne of higher power. Believe in yourself and you’re some sort of jughead doomed to Hell and sucking the faithful right along with you – a sort of reverse Rapture.

This isn’t a Constitutional issue. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that desecrating books or flags, or almost anything else is free speech and on that I agree with them (as long as that freedom is doled out equally for all). After all, they only ruled the speech free, not that it wasn’t ill-advised or provocative.

No, this is a matter of communicating beliefs. Dueling billboards that promote God or atheism? OK. Handing out information about your beliefs? OK, as long as you don’t tag along trying to convert me when all I want is a nice walk in the park. Ripping, burning, pissing on, or otherwise disrespecting someone’s belief symbols is intrusive, insulting, provocative, and needless.

In other words, it’s a hell of a way to rally people to your cause.

The Omnipotent Poobah, aka Jack Koeneman, is an atheist.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Pastor Mike is a Back Seat Driver

4:18 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Disclaimer: I’m a former Christian who is now an atheist. I have nothing against most theists and respect their beliefs – up to the point where they step on mine. However, even in my Christian days I would’ve been appalled by the hubris of this plan.

Bash atheistI’m overjoyed so many religious people are so protective of my soul that they insist upon preaching to me at every chance, attempting to nail the 10 Commandments to every flat surface in America, and being generally pesky with their anti-sharia laws and Defense of Marriage hogswallop.

Pastor Michael Stahl – or “Pastor Mike” – of the Living Water eChurch especially wants to help by entering me in a database called, The Christian National Registry of Atheists, a database to identify heathen atheists, skinheads, cross-burners, etc. No word yet on if he plans a similar Christian National Registry of Muslims.

Of course, I’m sure in his pious and peaceful heart he doesn’t mean to equate me with a sex offender. He just wants to hate the sin, but love the sinner.

Oops! I spoke too soon.

“I mean, think about it,” Pastor Mike says, “There are already National Registrys [sic] for convicted sex offenders, ex-convicts, terrorist cells, hate groups like the KKK, skinheads, radical Islamists, etc..” (But) this type of ‘National Registry’ would merely be for information purposes.”

P-Mikey is All About the Information
Information purposes? Yo P-Mikey, one man’s “information” is another’s unwelcome intrusion into something that is none of your business (I was going to say “Goddamn” business, but I didn’t want to blaspheme your delicate sensibilities).

Christian basherLet’s let the ePastor explain. “Why do this, what’s the purpose? Duhhh, Mr. Atheist for the same purpose many States put the names and photos of convicted sex offenders and other ex-felons on the I-Net – to INFORM the public!”

Read the rest of this entry →