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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 →

Pulpit Freedom Sunday: For When Special Exemptions Aren’t Special Enough

4:17 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Another Christian organization is howling at the moon because their special tax exemption, which non-religious groups don’t get, isn’t special enough. The right wing Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) organization is urging pastors into the pulpit to preach politics instead of God. Pulpit Freedom Sunday is an effort to force the IRS to take the pastors to court for breaking the law so they can sue and argue the prohibition against taking a perk and making political endorsements too is a violation of the First Amendment.

“We’re hoping the IRS will respond by doing what they have threatened,” Erik Stanley, ADF’s Sr. Legal Counsel said. “We have to wait for it to be applied to a particular church or pastor so that we can challenge it [the Johnson Act] in court. We don’t think it’s going to take long for a judge to strike this down as unconstitutional.”

But, some aren’t so sure.

Constitutionality might be a practical moot point anyway. The IRS rarely enforces the law now and when it does, they write warning letters rather than prosecute. “The IRS will send out notices from time to time and say you crossed the line,” Jim Garlow, Sr. Pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego said. “But when it’s time to go to court, they close the case.” Religious persecution is a hard sell when the worst thing that happens is a not-so-strongly worded letter telling you to follow the law. ADF may say the law is “blatantly unconstitutional”, but it is still the law.

In fact, the entire idea the IRS is somehow depriving pastors of free speech is laughable. Surely, the opposite is true. Under the First Amendment, preachers can say anything they want. They can lead demonstrations. They can picket abortion clinics. They can wave God Hates Fags signs at military funerals. They can pray in any location they desire, without restriction. The entire point of the First Amendment is to allow even repugnant speech a place in the public square and terrorizing families of dead troops is about as repugnant as you can get – yet, Westboro Baptist doesn’t chip in a dime to maintain a country where they can act like ass hats. What clerics aren’t allowed to do is use their First Amendment right to freedom of religion and speech as an unequal fig leaf to avoid paying taxes.

The solution is simple. Start paying taxes like everyone else and every other organization in the country. The Johnson Act says religious speech is untaxed, it says nothing about political speech – or it getting the same treatment. Churches already “double-dip” by accepting charitable contributions to fund untaxed, religious activities and commercial enterprises. That’s a sweet deal, especially considering the huge benefit of getting the dough, saying what you want, and constantly pushing for even more unequal treatment under the law. Exxon should be so lucky.

Christians, even while making up 77% of the population, constantly complain they are victims of persecution. If they are victims, sign me up. I pay a significantly higher tax rate than Mitt Romney (before and after charitable contributions) and I could use the write off. Even though I’m a member of the 53%, I feel victimized that I can’t throw some money at the Mormon church or the Archdiocese of the Cayman Islands and reduce my tax burden by half.

And, the 41% “victims” have it even worse. When they go to church, the church wants their money to pay for the privilege of being told how to vote.

That’s like having your cake and eating it too while telling people they should buy the cake from your untaxed bakery with a 10% tithe they can’t afford.

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

God Particle: Science vs. Creationism

8:44 am in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland think they may have found the holy grail of science, the footprint of the Higgs boson or so-called “God Particle”. The particle is the theoretical model for what gives matter mass and, in turn, explains how the universe formed. It will be a world changing scientific discovery if the theory pans out. It will also stiffen the resistance of many Christians to the tenants of science.

The basic rub between modern science and creationist design believers is that modern science is simply wrong on many fronts. Scientific tools and conclusions, like carbon dating, are ignored because the Bible says otherwise. Biblical scientists criticize modern science as a bunch of unproved “theories”, a position that is a basic misunderstanding of how modern science works.

In modern science knowledge is theory repeatedly tested and reviewed before it is accepted as fact. Biblical science holds that the Bible is the font of all knowledge and must not be challenged, reviewed, or even questioned in any way. If something appears in the Bible, it is automatically correct – and they have their own “scientists” to testify to it.

But the Higgs boson discovery is one in which the two sides might not be so far apart. Many, probably most, modern American scientists are Christian and believe in the Bible and God. However, they can reconcile the apparent contradictions between the Bible and what modern science and experiments show by not taking either source as absolute. For them, there is room for interpretation and scientific ways to explain many of the “miracles” and other events in the Bible. In their minds, science and religion do not necessarily cancel each other, but compliment each other to form theories that, to them, make religion and science stronger.

The ultimate “proof” of God is to explain how He created the universe. Science and religion are both a little light in the proof department. Both suggest there was a time before, well, time and something happened. Science posits there was a Big Bang; Biblical scientists suggest God got things started.

But what if the God particle and God are actually the same? Or what if God used the particle as a tool to “create the heavens and Earth”? Is this truly anti-Biblical? And even if modern science finds the particle, the next logical question would be, “where did the particle come from” And neither source seems to suggest an answer to that. It is the classic chicken and egg question – a question that neither side can definitively prove because it is inherently unprovable. At the end of the day, you either try to prove the provable by constantly challenging accepted wisdom or accept there are some things for which there is no answer other than possibly God.

We’d all be better off trying a grand experiment, perhaps one with more impact on daily life than any other. How about we stop arguing? Let’s prove answerable theories and concepts through science and leave the answer to the ultimate unanswerable question a choice. Is there a God or simply the mother of all bangs?

The end result is surely the same.

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.

Read the rest of this entry →

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

Anne Graham Lotz Helping to Create a Boston Bible Party

3:18 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

The First Bible Lesson

(Photo from Boston Public Library via flickr)

 

Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, took time out from her swim in the shallow end of the Graham family gene pool this weekend to assure everyone that she would NEVER vote for an Atheist.

This isn’t particularly unusual. The Graham family has a long-held antipathy toward Atheists and other minorities. Son Franklin Graham entertains rather birther-like suspicions that maybe Barack Obama isn’t a Christian.

“You have to ask him,” Graham said in a February interview. “I cannot answer that question for anybody. You have to ask every person. He has said he’s a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is.”

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich: Holy Men?However, he gave Rick Santorum more benefit of any doubt. “Do you believe Rick Santorum is a Christian,” Frank was asked.  “I think so,” responded Graham. Why? “Well, because his values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it. I just appreciate the moral stances he takes on things. He comes from a Catholic faith… I think he’s a man of faith,” he said.

Ditto for serial thou shalt <del>not covet thy neighbor’s wifer</del> Newt Gingrich. “I think Newt Gingrich is a Christian, at least he told me he is.” Newt’s decidedly unchristian behavior to the contrary.

Frank isn’t so open to other faiths either. On Mitt Romney and the Mormons, “Most Christians would not recognize Mormons as part of the Christian faith,” Graham said. On Muslims and Obama? “Under President Obama…the Muslims of the world, [sic] he seems to be more concerned, than Christians who are being murdered in Muslim countries,” said Graham.

Even Big Daddy Graham had a Romney-like semi-commitment to racial equality and antisemitism in the closet. He kept his “eye on public opinion, and the shifting winds of American culture”  before finally settling down and denouncing his previous, less tolerant, positions. Plus, Billy tried to sue me once, but that was another story.

But back to Anne. Read the rest of this entry →

Peace Talks in the War on Christianity

12:53 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

It does not take much for many Christians to throw down the Christian Card and declare war on themselves. They loudly point out the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment. But, many of them read “religion” as synonymous with “Christian” and “freedom” to abridge all other religions and non-theists. The War on Christmas, laws against sharia, and dismissal of rights for non-theists or atheists run hot and are but a few examples of their self-declared “War on Religion (or alternately, Christianity)” . They take the whole Onward Christian Soldiers thing very seriously in the same way the blitzkrieg was serious.

The latest skirmish is the one aledgedly waged by evil secular humanists  – or future candidates for hell as some would say – over compelling Christian hospitals to offer abortion services against their beliefs.

In this particular war, however, Christians have a point. It’s obvious that if a religion were compelled to offer the offending services it would violate the freedom of religion clause whether the majority of followers – for instance, Catholics – follow church teachings or not. But, that’s a narrow view. It excludes the beliefs of others to benefit to narrow, but powerful, Christian beliefs. The First Amendment applies to them too.

But, there is a compromise.

Many secular people don’t argue so much about religion as they do imposing religious beliefs on others. They object to the government giving religious enterprises special rights by exempting them from taxes and providing funding for some of their enterprises.

The compromise here is easily evident. If religions want to offer services to the public, but not offend their own beliefs, forsaking government funding for religion-owned businesses should be on the table. If a religion wants to operate secular businesses – like schools or hospitals – they have two choices. Stop asking the rest of the nation to pay your businesses in support of your specific religious teachings. Or,  stop providing services to those who do not share your beliefs.

There are positives in this compromise. Religions would no longer be required to provide services against their beliefs. They could provide any service they want to any person they want. The secular community would get relief for their complaints about government policies that are against their beliefs. Both sides get a sturdier wall between church and state to resist the evils of theocracy, which isn’t good for anyone, even the Christians.

However, there are some problems too. People living in areas where religion-affiliated health care is the only practical choice will have to find their care in between different church decisions that conflict with their ability to get dogmatically unfettered care or travel far to find it. However, there are ways to mitigate that issue.

There might also be some degradation of education and charitable services through reduced government funding, but again, there are mitigation solutions for this as well.

Given the religious and political trench warfare of our times, these solutions will never be mentioned, much less adopted. Both sides will agitate for solutions that require total capitulation from their ideological foes. These ideas may make things fairer, but neither side will buy into them.

After all, compromises are “one size fits all” and so, by definition, fit no one perfectly.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Jerusalem on Edge of War on New Year

11:25 am in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Jerusalem – Sectarian tensions rose yesterday as the UN International Dateline Commission convened its 2012 session. At issue was determining how to move the tiny Pacific Island nations of Samoa and Tokelau to the opposite side of the International Dateline.

Minor skirmishes broke out when Christian, Jewish, and Muslim supporters fought for hours over which calendar – GregorianHariji, or Hebrew – to use in planning the move. Chinese representatives remain neutral on the calendar question and the Romans voted in absentia for the Julian Calendar.

The fighting broke out after the Christian delegation charged the Muslim and Jewish delegations of declaring a War on New Year.

“They declared a War on Christmas and now they’re trying to steal the entire year from us,” said Hank Hucklebuck, Chairman of the God Says We’re Right and You’re Wrong Alliance. “Like Christmas, New Year has been part of a Christian tradition leading all the way back to 1582 when St. Greg of the Equinox threw out that evil Julian calendar.”

“Look, Christians are a fair-minded lot and we would never want to deprive others of their right to celebrate the New Year as they wish. However, we’re right, they’re wrong and only God can change that. We have already contacted his representative, Pat Robertson, to negotiate when our calendar will be chosen. We are looking forward to resolving this issue peacefully,” Hucklebuck said.

Muslim representatives had a different point of view.

“Those Christians are always going around shoving Jesus into our faces. To me this has nothing to do with the calendar. Mohamed is clearly the most important of any prophet in any religion and he chose the Hariji. Of that, there is no question,” said Isaiah Mustafa.

Israel’s Hebrew Calendar Defense League threatened violence if the Gregorian or Hariji calendars were adopted.

“We may have nuclear weapons. We have a very capable fighting force. We have the might of the last remaining global superpower behind us. We will prevail,” said Bibi Badder, Chief of Israel’s Time Continuum Militia. “If our calendar is not chosen, as as God directs, we will bomb the US Congressional Prayer Caucus, Iran, and both Michele Bachmann and that other fool…Richard Santorum.”

Fighting calmed only slightly after several unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a cease fire. Sources say that negotiations broke down when representatives could not agree on a calendar to use in setting up the ceasefire timing. A small group of Atheists tried to enter the meeting and offer a compromise based on a scientific calendar, but Islamic, Christian, and Jewish members threw stones at them until they drove them from the Temple on the Mount.

“We may not be able to agree on a calendar,” Hucklebuck said, “but we can all agree that whatever the atheists propose is complete scientific mumbo-jumbo.”

When it appeared the chance for an agreement was unlikely the Christian delegation decided to gear up their grassroots War on Christmas organization for a War on New Year. They’ve called on Fox News to launch the crusade immediately. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity have already come aboard.

“People will call things by their proper Christian names or they will be hanged as enemy combatants for their violations of our family values. If we do not win this war – though that’s impossible because God is on our side – homosexualist indoctrinators will tell our kids they can’t pray in school and a massive outbreak of man-on-horse sex could rage,” said GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

“Mark my words.”

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Mitt Romney Doesn’t Have a Friend in the Angel Moroni

2:06 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Not long ago most Americans thought Mormons were an odd band of people who all lived in Salt Lake City, worshiped seagulls, and had a rockin’ choir. They knew nothing of Joseph Smith and the Laminites, that gold dude on the temple roof, or that SF 49er Steve Young is a direct descendant of Brigham Young. In fact, even today not many people know that Mormons aren’t Mormons at all, but members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or LDS for the “in-crowd”.

Despite regular visits from the white-shirted, tie-wearing, missionaries on bicycles, most people don’t know much more about them today. They’re a cult. They’re not a cult. They wear underwear with holes. They dress in good old Fruit of the Looms.

Mormon MittThe Republican 2012 field has way too many candidates and they fall with the regularity of old-growth trees in a clear-cut forest. Each struggles for a hook to rope in GOP rubes. Michele went for the wacky vote, Ricky Goodhair had his moment before stumbling around like Dubya, while the Godfather of Pizza cranks out Meat Lover’s Supremes for the conservative masses.

He’ll no doubt be gone next week, just like the others.

Meanwhile, the Mittster smiles and tries not to say anything. On paper at least, Mitt is a perfect candidate. He has the same fidelity to his positions as John McThusela. He’s as moderate as Richard Nixon and has nice hair. In fact, if you ignore the fact he’s a complete goob, the only thing wrong is that he’s a Mormon.

People invoke the parallels with the Kennedy election and they have a point. Kennedy was a squeaker because he was Catholic. But that’s where the similarity ends.

There were far more Catholics then, than Mormons now. Conventional wisdom says the Mormon can’t win, even though no one would bat an eye if another Catholic was behind the Holy Teleprompter. The Mormon take on votes would be a far smaller percentage than Catholics in the days of Camelot. There is also what I like to call The Hate Factor®. 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!