"If I cannot smoke cigars in Heaven, I shall not go." - Mark Twain

Saturday, September 11, 2010


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens.  Nor should they be considered as patriots.  This is one nation under God."  -- George Bush

Friday, September 10, 2010

Westboro Baptist Church Feels, Like, Totally Left Out

Dear Pastor Terry, We here at the Westboro Baptist Church feel that you are stealing our media spotlight and endangering our reputation as the craziest Christian extremist organization in America. We raise you three Qurans and two American flags:

Westboro Baptist Church:  Open Letter to Burn the Koran and American Flag 

(Of course, I for one am excited about the prospect of "Beast Obama" becoming "King of the World."  James Cameron has held that post for far too long.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Tennessee Mosque Burnings: Christian Extremism versus the Gospel of Niceness (Part 1)

I’m traveling in Tennessee this week, and in my time here I have been overwhelmed by a couple of issues in the media.  The first has been this article, “Author:  More Teens Becoming ‘Fake’ Christians,” published by CNN.com, about a Methodist minister, Kenda Creasy Dean, who has written a book entitled, Almost Christian.  In it she argues that young people today have adopted a “mutant” or “imposter” Christianity.  According to Dean, teens are “inarticulate about their faith” and many seem to believe little more than that God wants them to “feel good and do good.”  Espousing a simplistic “gospel of niceness,” they believe that “faith is simply doing good and not ruffling feathers.”

Dean believes teen faith is “spineless”:  “The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice for others is muted.”  I assume Dean believes the teens aren’t spending enough time "witnessing," or proselytizing to strangers in public places as I was taught to do as an adolescent by my own (Methodist) church leaders.  We would walk up to people in a mall or on a beach, tap them on the shoulder, and ask them if they knew Jesus.  If they said, “yes,” we didn’t bother them anymore.  If they said, “no,” then we were supposed to talk them into accepting Christ.  Often I was too shy to push too hard, and I guess this is what Dean means by calling teen faith “spineless.”  But I just didn’t want to annoy people.  Maybe that’s what Dean means by saying that young people want to avoid “ruffling feathers” -- yet this also seems like simple politeness.  Even back when I was a born-again Christian, my Southern upbringing wouldn’t allow me to obnoxiously harass strangers while they were trying to do their shopping.

What really put me into a huff when I read this article were the words “mutant” and “imposter” to describe the faith of these young people who were not actively bothering anybody.  In response, I posted these comments to the CNN article’s comments thread:

“As a teen, I was one of those kids passionate and articulate about Christianity. Then I read the Bible all the way through for the first time and found it to be filled with hatred against women and gay people. And what is wrong with a "gospel of niceness"?  It's so much better than what the Bible has to offer, which is a gospel that tells us to ABANDON our family members who don't believe in the Christian god. I grew up watching conservative, born-again Christians do just that.  And what on earth is a "mutant" Christianity? Catholics think Protestants developed a "mutant" Christianity and Protestants think Mormons developed a "mutant" Christianity. What right do these people have to tell others what kind of Christianity is THE authentic one? If that lady eats shrimp, then I say she is the one who has adopted a mutant Christianity. See http://www.godhatesshrimp.com to see just how far you have strayed from God's laws, you Red Lobster loving heathens!”

As you can see, as a former born-again Christian, when I get my own feathers ruffled I have a tendency to threaten people with hell, even though as an atheist, I no longer believe in it. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Amy Goodman's Democracy Now, full show on the NY Islamic Community Center

This is such a great discussion of the "mosque" issue.  Goodman interviews a mother of a Muslim EMT who was a 9/11 victim at Twin Towers.  Another interviewee reminds us that the entire premise of the question of whether the community center should be built is bigoted because it asserts that all Muslims are guilty of the actions of the 9/11 attackers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Introductory Post, Part One: A Born-Again Christian Questions Her Faith

I grew up in a Southern small town, where the churches were filled with people who never missed an opportunity to tell you what God thought of things.  My parents were not excessively religious, but going to church every Sunday was just what decent people did.  It is called Southern Protestantism, and it’s kind of hard to explain to outsiders.  To be decent, to be well-respected in your town, you had to go to church every Sunday.  If you did not, you were looked down on, like the parents of the kids who lived in the run-down duplexes in the poor part of town, whose fathers were not married to their mothers and whose teachers did not know their names.  My father came from that side of the tracks, and he had no intention of returning, and so we went to church.  In the South, going to church is as much a class thing as a religious one.

I remember one Sunday morning, sitting in a packed church service at age ten wondering to myself, “Do all these adults around me really believe this shit?  That an invisible being controls everything and tells us what to do?”  I was ten!  But even then all that getting up at 6 a.m. and singing hymns about a preggo girl who told everybody she was a virgin (yeah, right!) just seemed dumb. 

But hell, I thought, these are grown-ups.  They must know something I don’t know.  I will trust them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The "Mosque" and Real Conservatism

This New Yorker essay is incredibly helpful in understanding the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" issue.  Apparently it is not even on Ground Zero and instead of a mosque it's a Muslim YMCA.  The thing that jumps out at me when reading Hendrik Hertzberg's essay is that conservatives are so obsessed with local governance -- states' rights, shrinking government, etc. -- until it comes to New York City.  Then suddenly, the opinions of those who actually live in and govern the Lower Manhattan area don't matter.  If Community Board No. 1, the city council that represents the area, endorsed the Muslim center 29 to 1, then it seems that this is all a moot argument.  IT'S THEIR CITY, isn't it?  So I guess they can do whatever they want with it.  Or at least, this is the point of view a real conservative would take.
Here's my question:  Should we ban all Christian churches within a certain distance of the Holocaust Memorial because Christians killed 6 million Jews?  I mean, what would happen if someone proposed that?  I don't see how it would be any different from saying that mosques can't be built because the 9/11 attackers were Muslim.  What's the difference?

Monday, August 16, 2010

CNN article on how the GOP is using the Ground Zero mosque issue to get ahead.  Be sure to look at the comments section at the end.  With all the argument over which religion's followers have killed more people, I feel it's a really good day to be an atheist.