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Muslim or Mormon, What’s the Difference?

9:32 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Large and increasing numbers of Republicans, particularly conservative Republicans, believe Barack Obama is a Muslim. This fiction has been helped along by goobs conflating Islam with terrorism, or in Michele Bachmann’s fevered imagination, traitorous unamericanism. Many Christian zealots believe Muslims, and by extension the “Master Muslim” Obama, are filthy devils incarnate chiefly because they aren’t Christian. But aside from Atheists, they inexplicably don’t make such a big deal over Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or any number of other non-Christian beliefs. Even child-abusing priests are somewhat OK as long as they are conservative child-abusing priests.

Among a group of people that wouldn’t believe Obama was born in Hawaii if the delivery doctor showed up and took a polygraph to the contrary, falsely believing Obama is a Muslim isn’t much of a stretch. ‘I want to see the long-form baptismal certificate, dammit!’

By comparison, everyone correctly believes Romney is Mormon. However, despite believing Mormonism is an unchristian cult and those clean cut fellows on bicycles wearing black tie and white shirts are vaguely evil because voters know zip about them (including that their church is called the Church of Latter Day Saints and not The Church of Mormon), they don’t seem much bothered.

Despite all that, the larger and more interesting question here is, “why does it matter”?

Except for the fringiest of the fringy, no one accuses Obama of terrorism against Americans. Hating the commie bastard for Obamacare and the fact he can’t create jobs isn’t a Muslim thing it’s a Democratic thing and no one, even the Muslim conspiracies, suggest otherwise. Conversely, cult member Mittens is the good, though not particularly well-liked, guy. Perhaps Romneylans believe the angel Moroni or God can both create jobs and repeal Obamacare equally well and Mitts is just the vessel for creating burger-flipping serfs. Who knows? We are not talking rational logic here.

Come on conservatives, hate him because you hate him, and don’t cower behind a false belief like some Democrat wussy. You’re supposed to be the party of hard-edge authoritarianism, not some gaggle of bleeding heart socialists. You are the self-professed, iron-willed masters of the universe. Hating him for being a Muslim is like you bowing to the Queen despite that special Anglo-Saxon relationship. Hate him for something real like being black or singing Motown passably well or being a taxing taxer of the over taxed taxpayer. Be genuine. Be real. Fess up and admit Obama being a Muslim and Mitt being a Mormon are about the same thing.

The answer to the question, “why does it matter” is this. It doesn’t. Not by a Muslim longshot.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor

John Hagee Doesn’t Like Pat Tillman…Or Me Either

7:36 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Pastor John Hagee doesn’t like me. I know this because I’m an Atheist. He told me I don’t belong here. America is a Christian-only nation he says. He says if I don’t pray to the Big Guy, read the Bible, and dismiss all other religions I should just get the hell out, go back where I came from. Although, America is where I came from. He says I have no right to live in my own country which seems a downright uneighborly thing for a Christian to say.

But, it’s OK. I don’t care much for John either. His spittle gets in my eyes. And his Christian brimstone breath? Wooo, give that man an ecumenical Tums®!

John’s making a big hubbub on his website this week. It’s D-Day and he’s effusively thanking all those people who have defended this country. He should thank them. They’ve defended his contemptible ass’s right to launch hateful, bigoted screeds at the top of his lungs. God Bless America! Or in the case of we Atheists and other religious vermin…USA…USA…USA!

I know John is a little weak on American history, so I’d like to fill in some of his blanks. John, there were Atheists at Normandy and Salerno, Guadalcanal and Saipan. Atheists were in the skies over Germany and on the field with General Washington. They served in Korea, Viet Nam, the War of Error and the followup Wars of Even Bigger Errors that still dog us. So were Muslims and Catholics and Jews and probably even some Wiccans and Satanists. I hear you’re none to fond of those folks either, but they were there. So were gay soldiers, sailors, and airmen, but that’s another of your screeds and another of my posts.

I served John. I was a Cold Warrior. Got a medal to prove it and everything. I’m one of those guys who helped St. Ronnie of Reagan personally and single-handedly knock down the Berlin Wall. You remember Ronnie. Tall guy. Prayed a lot. But no need to thank me, being as how I’m an Atheist and all.

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The Story of King James and Richard Dawkins

5:39 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Uber-Atheist Richard Dawkins recently did something quite unexpected – he came out in support of British education secretary Michael Gove’s plan to send free King James Bibles to every English school. Of course, his unconventional position has, not unexpectedly, exposed him to ridicule from both Atheists and Christians – to the detriment of both.

Dawkins, like many Atheists who know the Bible better than its adherents, is a serious Biblical scholar who believes the King James Bible is world-class literature. As he puts it, “A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian.” I’m an Atheist and heartily agree. If for no other reason than its overwhelming literary value it should be taught, along with a wide variety of secular and non-secular literature, in schools.

How Many Moralities Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?

However, Dawkins goes on to say, “Whatever else the Bible might be…it is not a moral book and young people need to learn that important fact because they are very frequently told the opposite.” I don’t completely agree here and that position sometimes attracts the wrath of my Atheist friends.

On the contrary, the Bible is moral book in many ways, it just doesn’t always reflect the moral positions of Dawkins, me, or millions of others. I see it as one of a great number of books and philosophies that can provide moral guidance and I don’t have believe in a God to see that or be moral. It is easy to find inconsistencies in the Bible and support for positions that were more suitable in Jesus’s day, but aren’t so great for the world circa 2012. I recognize some people would say that’s exactly the reason the world is in such a pickle, but that’s an entirely different post.

The Bible is an important book and it provides some useful moral guidance along with many other sources. It just doesn’t provide all THE moral guidance everyone needs or agrees with. That is where I see a great need to teach about the Bible, which is distinctly different than teaching the Bible. There is an equal need to teach about non-Christian sources as well.

You may believe the Bible is a crock of stale communion crackers, but you can’t deny its power as a shaper of history. To fully understand the history, literature, and social mores of the world it is indispensable – just as other religious texts and secular philosophies provide context for the advance of mankind.

Religious texts could, and sometimes are, perfectly at home in an academic environment providing there is sufficient context. We need more study of diverse forms of literature, sociology, and history to heal the fractures that vex us all.

But in the end, Dawkins hits the nail on the head while revealing the hole in his otherwise very thoughtful logic.  He seems to want to emphasize only the bad of the Bible as something dangerous to be taught and to reveal the awfulness of the book. I happen to believe that teaching the bad as well as the good provides a better balanced and complete picture. The devil, if you’ll excuse the biblical reference, is in the details.

Tenterhooks Need to Become More Tender

Atheists and members of other belief systems are rightfully touchy about the overwhelming influence of Christianity, particularly in the US. All the whimpering about Christianity being under siege is nonsensical. The tiny numbers of non-Christians that live in the US are about as able to slay Goliath without the slingshot or the rock and with all his arms and legs tied behind him as they are to lay siege to one of the world’s most powerful religions. You want to see a siege, trying walking in our shoes. Heck, try even keeping your shoes.

For their part, Christians are often offended by non-Christians and are not shy of offending them, to defend their faith. They often see open theocracy as a way to circle the wagons against all the devils out there who they believe would undo their faith in a heartbeat given half the chance. However, Christians also do incredibly important work helping the poor and wretched of the world, advancing the commonly agreed upon moral tenets of society, and providing alternative views of sometimes misunderstood non-Christian morality.

Everyone is on tenterhooks about religion these days and that seeps into governmental actions and personal morality and behavior. We do this because neither side is willing or able to entertain the notion that the other isn’t wholly evil and that maybe we all have a vested interest in doing things together. That doesn’t happen without understanding and compassion, exactly the unbiased understanding and compassion students should learn about in school.

In the end, Dawkins is under no illusion that something so rational will happen and neither do I. He thinks the availability of Bibles will create Atheists. Except for the exceptionally weak of mind, I don’t think that alone will change anyone’s opinion. Knowledge will help people make an informed choice and that is where the chips should fall.

Perhaps too much blood has flowed under the bridge of humanity to allow it. But, wouldn’t the world be a better place we did.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture