Tag Archives: christians

Godless Americans and Bigotry In the U.S.

Christians throughout the United States claim that their faith is under attack and that their religious freedom is in jeopardy. They believe they are being persecuted and discriminated against from all sides, a claim which we see on TV, hear on the radio and read on forums across the internet. Explaining that atheists in America are marginalized and one of the last remaining groups that it is socially acceptable to discriminate against has, in my experience so far, proven to be an exercise in futility.

Many of you may already be aware of the controversy surrounding Elizabeth Dole‘s “attack ad” against Kay Hagan.

In the ad, Hagan is accused of associating with Godless Americans, taking “Godless money” and even being Godless, herself.

Campbell Brown of CNN
reports:

Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican of North Carolina is trying to hold onto her seat in an extremely close race, and to that end, she is attacking the religious faith of her opponent, Kay Hagan.[…]

Yeah, you heard that right: “There is no God.” The only problem is Kay Hagan never said it. Never. Just a picture of her face over someone else’s audio. Kay Hagan is a member of the Presbyterian Church. She is a former Sunday school teacher.

The fundraiser the ad mentions was not hosted by the Godless American Political Action Committee. A member was one of 40 different co-hosts. Sen. John Kerry was at this fundraiser. […]

Elizabeth Dole is hardly alone here. Her ad is just one of the most egregious.

Good for you, Campbell Brown, for calling Dole out on this lie. Except… not only do you fail to recognize the implicit bigotry of the ad but you also express it yourself, calling the ad “one of the most egregious” of the campaign.

Would it be just as evil to accuse Hagan of associating with Blacks, Hispanics or Jews, for instance? Would it even be a point of discussion, much less worthy of attack, if Hagan had taken money from an organization representing the civil rights of one of these minorities?

But you’re hardly alone, Campbell Brown; your article is just one of the more bigoted.

From the Fayetteville Observer:

During a town hall meeting, a McCain supporter said she was afraid of Obama because he was an Arab. Taking the microphone from the frightened woman, McCain said her fears were unfounded, Obama is not an Arab. He’s a decent American, a family man, with whom McCain just happens to have differences.

Honesty like that has earned McCain respect from both sides of the aisles. Sen. Elizabeth Dole should take a lesson from McCain. A broadcast ad targeting her opponent, Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan, shows Dole ratcheting up her rhetoric, and probably winning the honor, so far, of fielding the nastiest, most misleading, negative ad of the campaign. Here’s part of the ad that portrays Hagan as a godless liberal:

Leaving aside for the moment that McCain’s defense of Obama was bigoted, implying that “decent” and “family man” are the opposite of “Arab”, this article goes on to call Dole’s ad “the nastiest […] negative ad of the campaign”.

I think it’s time we stop and ask ourselves why godlessness or atheism can even be used as slurs. Why is it among the nastiest, most egregious things that can be said about a person?

Something Colin Powell recently said comes to mind. In response to accusations that Barack Obama is a Muslim, Powell said this:

Well the correct answer is, ‘He’s not a Muslim, he’s a Christian, he’s always been a Christian’. But the really right answer is, “What if he is?’ Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is ‘No’, that’s not America.

The same principle applies here. The factually correct answer is that Kay Hagan is not “godless”; the ethically correct answer is, “So what if she is?”.

Alex Castellano says to Wolf Blitzer of CNN:

There’s a way to make this attack. There’s a way to say, “Look, this lady goes to church, believes in god but look who she’s taking money from.” This is a question of judgment. There’s a fair way to bring up who you’re associated with. This seems to cross a line.

So it’s an act of poor judgment to associate with atheists and take money from them? You’d think we were all terrorists or something.

It’s come to a sad state of affairs in the United States of America when a particular religion or lack of religion can be used as ammunition to make an attack on someone’s character.

To any Christian in America who thinks his faith is under attack or that he is being persecuted or discriminated against, ask yourself how egregious, nasty, malicious or negative the ad would have been had it read like this:

SEN. ELIZABETH DOLE (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I’m Elizabeth Dole and I approve this message.

NARRATOR: A leader of Focus on the Family recently held a secret fund-raiser in Kay Hagan’s honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can only rely on God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jesus saves!

BILL O’REILLY, HOST, “THE O’REILLY FACTOR”: The Pledge of Allegiance says “one nation under God”, you’re down with that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’re down with that.

O’REILLY: Our money says “In God we trust”, you’re OK with that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we are!

Focus on the Family and Kay Hagan. She hid from cameras, took Christian money. What did Hagan promise in return?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God bless America!

It wouldn’t hurt at all, would it? In fact, it might even give the impression that Dole was campaigning for Hagan. Why? Because being a Christian in America is seen as virtuous and respectable. Dole’s ad has the desired effect only because atheism is perceived in the United States as something to be hated and feared; something evil, immoral and repugnant.

The prejudice and bigotry toward atheists in America is so commonplace and accepted that a politician running for elected office uses and exploits it without apology as a smear against an opponent.

Most of those decrying the ad are doing so because “Kay Hagan is so a Christian!”, while remaining oblivious to just how wrong the ad really is, and why. Not only does this go unnoticed by the media, they actually play into the idea and reinforce it; as of last night, even Keith Olbermann didn’t seem to catch on.

So, Christians, please don’t ever complain to me about how your rights and freedoms are being trodden on, or whine that you are being discriminated against, because you will get no sympathy from me.

You are extremely well represented in the United States, and I hope that Elizabeth Dole’s “egregious, nasty, negative attack ad” and all the media responses to it will help put that into perspective for you.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Christianity: U R Doin It Rong

Is Christianity a natural state of being? Most Christians I have ever known would answer with a hearty yes! I’ve heard it preached from the pulpit, discussed amongst Christians in Bible study groups or over pie and coffee. It’s also been the topic of many lively debates I’ve taken part in on internet discussion forums.

Christians often argue that humans are naturally inclined toward Christianity; that we have an innate desire to worship God. It’s what we were made for. It is the sole purpose of our existence. Just as naturally as our bodies need oxygen and thirst for water, so do our souls crave God.

Even when we don’t know it, we are drawn to and seek out God. The compassion you feel for others is really God. Your conscience is really God. The love you feel for your spouse and even your children is only possible because of God. Every decent thing about you, every good quality you possess, every good deed or act of kindness you perform is not even you, but God working through you.

I’ve heard it said from the pulpit that God has no grandchildren. That is, people are not Christians because they are born to Christian parents, they are Christians because they are born and God is their father. It is only later in life that people lose their “natural” way and begin following a different (false) god or no god at all.

The usual and most reasonable rebuttal to this is to point out that Christianity isn’t practiced all over the world. What about places where the majority of people are Muslim or Hindu, for example? What about cultures that embrace Buddhism or Islam? One need only glance casually at the many cultures of the world to see that Christianity clearly is not natural to all humans. Christianity is as cultural and learned as the language you speak or the food you eat, just like every other religion in the world.

The assertion that Christianity is natural to humans also calls into question the need for missionaries. According to the Bible, Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. But why is this necessary if humans are natural-born Christians? And why do missionaries still travel the world to teach people this inborn trait?

As an atheist who was once a Christian, I am often told that I couldn’t possibly have been a “real” Christian. A true Christian would never abandon Christianity, after all. I’m often told that I just didn’t try hard enough, I didn’t pray enough or read the Bible enough. That’s why it stopped making sense; that’s why I stopped believing.

Bottom line: I was just doin’ it wrong.

But how can that be? If Christianity is inherent in humans, why does it require so much work to get right? If a newborn baby can latch onto its mother’s breast and drink her milk within minutes of being born, surely a grown person who has spent more than half her life rooting around in the bosom of Christianity could find some source of nourishment to keep her faith alive.

Perhaps Christianity doesn’t come as naturally as some claim.

I don’t have to work at being 5’4′. I don’t have to try to keep my eyes green. I don’t have to practice having brown hair. I don’t struggle to maintain my shoe size of 8 1/2. These are natural characteristics. There is no way I can get any of that wrong. And if Christianity were a natural characteristic, no-one would get that wrong either.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


My Husband Is Better Than God

Dswerling, author of One Christian’s Journey, wrote a post back in May entitled What Atheists Really Want. When I saw that title, I thought, “Oh great! Another Christian who thinks s/he knows my mind better than I do”. They’re not exactly in short supply.

But this one actually nailed it:

What they want is one thing: good old fashioned proof. […] They want academic, reasoned, logical study with as much empirical proof as possible […]

Bingo! What more can I say?

Of course, Dswerling goes on to admit that we’ll never likely get that kind of proof because, well, Christians simply don’t have it. It’s a matter of faith or trust, if you will, which brings me to the reason I felt the need to write this post:

Faith is a form of trust; trust in God or Jesus or Allah or Zeus or Ra or any other deity you pick, but at its heart all faith is trust that somehow things are going to work out just fine in the end, in one way or another. I think even a lot of Atheists certainly have this trust, they just can’t reconcile it to trust in something greater, a reality above the reality that we observe in the physical world. However, this is a personal issue for everyone. After all, how would you ever find scientific proof that say, your mother or girlfriend or wife or father or boyfriend or husband loved you? How would you ever truly know another person was trustworthy? You simply cannot know, you are left with an act of faith on some level, and no one ever talks of finding scientific reasoning for these trust issues. So if we aren’t trying to scientifically prove why we can trust our mother or father or any other humble human, why would we bother trying to scientifically prove why we can trust the infinite creator of the universe?

[emphasis mine]

What Atheists Really Want

I would like to begin by addressing the last sentence there.
Continue reading


Lazy Sunday Round-up

This week, The Sensuous Curmudgeon responds to an article written by Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute. The article is entitled The Proper Rebuttal to the Flying Spaghetti Monster: Cartoon Satire on South Park. In it, Luskin refers to the almighty FSM as “arbitrary, silly and unscientific”. The blasphemer! Check out The Curmudgeon’s response!

Vjack, author of Atheist Revolution has written about a group of Christians in a small town in Indiana who are recording license plates and taking photos of people coming and going from a local porn shop. They then post the photos to a website in an effort to scare off customers and force the shop to close.

You have got to watch the video linked to from this post at “Why, That’s Delightful!” with Graham Linehan. It’s a video of a woman freaking out over a rainbow in her water sprinkler. Apparently, this is evidence of a government conspiracy to poison us. Or something. Bless her heart. But damn, it’s funny!

In Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless, Christine Tarbet writes about her struggle to find affordable health insurance. She currently pays more than $475 per month for COBRA and still had to pay $50 for ear drops last week! She’s having a hard time getting new coverage because, after all, she’s actually been sick a few times in the last ten years. None of this would be an issue if we had national health care.

Is the end of the world approaching? Will we all be gobbled up by black holes, or something? Read Tenth of September 2008 — The End of the World?, by Gary Murning to find out (I hope he doesn’t think I’m Annie Wilkes in disguise).

That’s all for this week. If I keep sitting here, I’ll drink more coffee. If I drink more coffee, I’ll be impersonating a pinball for the rest of the day.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Lazy Sunday Round-up

Sundays are my lazy days, and I tend more to browse other people’s blogs than to write anything for my own. I find all kinds of interesting (and occasionally disturbing) things along the way, and have decided to start sharing some of them here. I will call these entries my Lazy Sunday Round-ups, as Sundays find me too lazy to even come up with a different title once a week.

So here is what I do while drinking too much coffee and eating breakfast tacos on Sunday mornings:

My friend, Gary Murning, has posted an excellent short story he wrote a few years ago. He also posted a very thought-provoking piece about consciousness. You really must check out both of these.

Ed Darrell, author of Millard Filmore’s Bathtub, has written a post about bloggers’ rights. Anyone who owns a blog or simply enjoys reading other people’s blogs should be interested in this particular post. Millard Filmore’s Bathtub focuses on “striving for accuracy in history, economics, geography, education, and a little science”. Great blog!

Mike, author of The Odd Blog and darling husband of Yours Truly, wrote a very heart-warming post last week. This morning he wrote about how his wife is trying to killing him. It’s actually a right fine fisking entitled Fools, damned fools and Christians. Very entertaining!

Was the US founded on Christian principles? Soulbiscuit, author of Allusions of Grandeur provides a succinct, yet thorough response to this question. You should also check out this comic while you’re there.

Truthwalker wrote a very nice post about the Christian doctrine: Love the sinner; hate the sin. He explains quite well, in my opinion, how hating what some call sin can create real barriers to actually loving the “sinner”. While you’re there, you’ll definitely want to read Gothic (Goth) Manifesto, where Truthwalker describes the experience of having his “arms and legs sawn off to fit the [Christian] suit”. Excellent piece that I can personally relate to.

That’s all I have time for if I’m going to catch the next bus to McDonald’s.


Dr. Zhivago’s Strawman Atheist

I would have posted a comment on Dr. Zhivago’s blog, but for some reason comments have been disabled for the post I most wanted to comment on. People who deny existence of God is the title of the post, and it struck a chord with me because Dr. Zhivago paints a grossly inaccurate picture of atheists and atheism – the same strawman frequently presented by Christians. And it irritates me tremendously.

So, it is with great pleasure that I share with you the disassembling of Dr. Zhivago’s strawman atheist:

Continue reading


The Powers That Be

After reading Let There Be Gas at Gary William Murning Online, I became intrigued and decided to follow up on Prayer at the Pump. I thought that with the way things have been going, if gas prices started to go down, I might give this whole God thing a bit more consideration. Well… not really, but that was kind of funny, huh?

Anyway, I’m interested in knowing what Twyman and Co. have to say about this:

Gasoline prices have soared to levels never seen before as even the inflation-adjusted price for a gallon of unleaded topped the 1981 record spike in price that had stood for 26 years.

CNNMoney.com

Continue reading