Friday, August 12, 2016

You know what, fuckers? We're everywhere.

The Friendly Atheist posted this blog about some firefighters in Bowling Green, KY who harassed a fellow firefighter for being an atheist.

This is a good example of why so many atheists are closeted, and why events like the Reason Rally can give non-believers a breather in a country so full of hate for anyone who's not white and Christian. The rally, as well as many atheist bloggers and activists encourage acceptance so that heathens don't feel the need to hide who they are.

Such acceptance is unsurprisingly not very present in places like Kentucky (I'm fine with blaming Ken Ham's "Ark Encounter" if you are), though bit by bit, more people come out, which essentially forces the public to either get over it or die mad.

But to these firefighters - I promise you that you deal with atheists on a regular basis. You've saved their lives when their houses have caught fire (probably due to God's wrath). They've scanned your groceries. They've held the door open for you. They've given you physicals, and medicine when you're ill. They've waited on you at restaurants. They are, quite literally, everywhere. They also may be someone you love dearly, but they haven't told you that they don't believe in God because they know you're a bigoted piece of shit asshole fucktard waste of star dust.

Fucking hell.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Third Eye Blind lost tens of fans yesterday

Everyone's favorite "doo do do doo" 90's band was supposed to play their hits to the sea of privileged white people at a charity event near the RNC last night, but instead managed to get the entire crowd to "boo" the concept of science. Awesome.

Twitter is all a flutter with tweets both condoning and condemning the band's behavior, and the band's response to it all (in the article linked above) added yet another layer of epicness to this story. It's true that it can be irritating when entertainers are political during performances, but when you have a Republican National Convention open with a speech from one of the Duck Dynasty guys, you're already knee deep in the shit show that is Trump's presidential campaign. There's an "anything goes" attitude this election cycle, so why not express your love for science and equal rights to a crowd of angry people who feel that if God wanted people to have equal rights, He would have made them the 11th commandment.

Below is a sampling of tweets by people who were mad enough about this to tweet about it.

 Yes. They are EXACTLY like Wall Street. I just checked my 401k, and the "Third Eye Blind Plays Their Hits" fund has already lost 30 zillion dollars. I am SCREWED.

I don't really have a comment for this because it makes no sense but it's ALL IN CAPS SO I KNOW THEY'RE SUPER SERIOUS.

 I will acknowledge that Al Gore isn't a scientist, but I also suspect that "real" astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson is probably on the same page as Bill Nye with most things.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I'll never know how it feels like to be a persecuted Christian

It's true that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) contacted the police department and asked them to remove the decal as it violated separation of church and state laws. It's true that the city agreed and has the decal removed. It didn't occur to me how deeply effected the commentator above would be by this decision, and as a humanist who respects those with faith, I tried to put myself in their shoes.

Imagine that you believe in God. You believe in the bible. You believe that bible-era violence belongs in our modern world and is a system of punishment that we should strive for. You're driving in Harper, KS and see a bible verse on the back of a police car that promotes punishment called forth from God's wrath, rather than the current system of laws that govern our nation.



One brave police officer looked at our system of checks and balances and said "No". "No longer will I sit idly by and let our court systems determine what the best punishment is for criminals that I detain. God, who definitely exists, is the only one who can make decisions like this, and since he tends to be suspiciously quiet, I will take it upon myself to act in his name. Surely if he disagrees, he'll send me a sign."

You drive along thinking "Thanks to this officer, Christians are finally getting a voice. I feel safer already.".

But then, an organization that surely worships Satan complained because the decal violated the VERY SAME laws that the officer so bravely gave the middle finger to when he made that decision to be a hero. Unfortunately, this organization works tirelessly to stop courageous acts like this and appears to be rather good at it, so the decal was removed. 

There were two victims in this tragic story. First, the police officer who tried to imply that he would be receiving his orders from God rather than his supervisor while on the job, and second, the God-fearing Christian who saw that decal and thought ever so briefly that at long last, God and the bible would become the law of land. 

It's sad, and I hope that the officer doesn't get too discouraged and that he didn't throw away the decal since he could put it on his own personal car, mailbox, front door, refrigerator, cat, and LITERALLY ANYTHING HE OWNS. He's still being SUPER persecuted against though, and as an atheist (who is universally loved), I can only imagine how hard this is for him.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, who have been so grievously harmed by this senseless act of aggression against all Christians, (who are, without exception, the best people in the world). :(

Monday, June 6, 2016

To the woman who accosted my son at the Reason Rally

We got to the rally about 40 minutes before it was set to start, and my 12 old son used that time to go see the Lincoln Memorial. When he came back, he showed us a card someone had given him. This was the card:

Ok, so we're at an event for atheists and it was to be expected that people would be handing out literature about atheist-related things. My son also told me that the person who handed him this card had on a tshirt that said "atheist", so my first thought is "ok, it's an org for gay atheists".

Orrrrrr, not.

It was really sneaky of you to use rainbow lettering on the front of your card. It was also really sneaky of you to wear a shirt that suggested you were part of the rally, because for my son, that made you "safe". That meant you weren't a stranger. We later discovered that you and your crazy friends were wearing shirts to advertise a movie about how atheism is wrong. My son told me that when you handed him this card, he told you that he was here for the rally, and you replied "maybe you can do this afterwards".

1. I know that in your version of the world, you're doing God's work by trying to convert people into thinking like you. Your self-righteousness allows you to do things that for other people would be considered inappropriate. For example, approaching a child without his parents present with the sole purpose of changing his worldview, his mind, and who he is as a person. How dare you. How fucking dare you. I also assume that you would not have approached my son had I been with him, which makes you seem even creepier and most definitely, a coward. 

2. This point is easy and will be short. 

How would you feel if I approached your 12 year old son and handed him literature on atheism and encouraged him to read it? Glad? Grateful that someone was around to show him that he has other options?

I didn't think so.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why we need the Reason Rally

Four years ago, Madscutter and I attended the first Reason Rally in Washington D.C, as well as the American Atheists convention that followed. It was an amazing weekend, and a bit surreal to be surrounded by literally thousands of atheists. I had this feeling of kinship and belonging that made me realize just how "taboo" atheism still is in normal life. Though most of my family is generally accepting of my lack of belief, and most of my friends are also atheists, it can still be difficult to navigate society as a non-believer.

A non-practicing lapsed Catholic is still perceived as "good" because you know, at least they believe in god. Atheists, until very recently, have sat at the bottom of the list of various identities that the general public would be willing to vote for in a presidential election. We now rank above Muslims (thanks, Trump), and Socialists (thanks, Bernie), but should an openly atheist candidate ever attempt a run at being president, discrimination against non-believers would reach a new high (and the candidate wouldn't win).

So stubborn are the faithful who attach morals and values directly to a belief in god, and attempts to convince them otherwise is not something I've ever seen succeed. Conversations about this can be interesting though, because if a person close to an atheist truly believes that faith is needed in order to be a good person, but they think said atheist is good, that means that they're either wrong or they don't believe this person is an actual atheist. Generally, it's the latter because people really hate being wrong.

The second Reason Rally is this Saturday, and though I wanted to go, I had decided not to for various reasons. Then, a few weeks ago I happened upon an article on a religious site about plans an evangelical group has to come to the rally to protest, try to convert atheists, and of course, to evangelize. This effort is being led by Ray Comfort (of banana fame), and the article treated this as a bigger deal than it merited. It also contained false information that wasn't major, but I have no patience for shitty news reporting, so I commented on the article, and this is what happened:

Note: the blacked out text is my real name - my Discus account was using my information from Facebook. I have obviously since changed this, and it's probably not particularly hard to figure out my real identity, but you know...I have to pretend.

So, that's the response I got just for correcting facts in an article. I didn't attack Christians, faith, or say anything that merited such an insane reply. It didn't piss me off  - it was too perplexing to get mad about, but it did highlight how much events like the Reason Rally are needed. We need to continue to work on changing the public's misconceptions about what atheism is (and isn't), and to combat the persistent hate and discrimination many atheists experience.

So, tl;dr - we'll see you at the Reason Rally!

P.S. I'm going to bring a banana with me to try and get Ray Comfort to sign it. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Boy Scouts does not impress me

Xander was a boy scout for approximately 2 days before we found out how anti-gay and anti-atheist they are.  It was definitely a parenting fail on our part since we didn't do the research on this until after he joined, but at least our relationship with the Bigot Scouts was fleeting.

It was big news recently that the BSA is considering allowing gay members.  Great!  Kind of!  Unfortunately, they will still not allow gay adults to be scout leaders, since of course all gay people are pedophiles.  It's clear that their attitude about homosexuality hasn't changed at all, and that this BIG STEP they're taking is an attempt to appease their critics.  So yeah, not impressed.  I do like that people are fighting back though, as evidenced in this (local, yay!) story:

Even if they completely lifted their ban on gays, there would still be that pesky intolerance they have towards non-believers.  I wonder what the chances are that they'll eventually lift that ban as well, considering the pope is totes cool with us now.  I think that if they happened to become completely inclusive, I would still have trouble supporting them.  Open homosexuality and atheism has been around way too long for me to be able to believe that any lifted bans would be done because of a true change of heart, rather than grudgingly "getting with the times".

Of course, one common argument that supports the BSA is that they're a private organization and can do whatever they want - but it's a really shitty argument.  Country clubs could still ban Jews and blacks if they want (as was the custom in the 50's and 60's), but the public simply won't tolerate that kind of bigotry anymore, so it makes little business sense. 

So whatever, BSA - I don't need your stupid organization anyway.  We can just have Xander join Satan's Youth Army or something.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Did the pope really just become our greatest defense?

So.  APPARENTLY, the Catlicks new pope is demonstrating a rarely seen tolerance towards non-Catholics.  And not just non-Catholics, but dirty evil atheists as well.

Pope Francis said in a recent homily:
"The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can... "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!".. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

 Also from the HuffPo article:

Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis said on Wednesday in his latest urging that people of all religions - or no religion - work together.

Honestly, this is a bit mind blowing for me.  The Catholic church's tendency to be exclusionary and bigoted makes me wonder if pot recently became legal in Rome.  One of the biggest challenges an atheist faces is the assumption by believers that we can't be "good" people.  The idea that morality and ethics is directly tied to a belief in a higher power is so prevalent that atheists deal with a healthy amount of discrimination.  The last time the Pew folks ran a poll asking people whether they'd be willing to vote for blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, etc., atheist came in dead last.  Because you know, if you don't believe in god, you can't be trusted.

So I think this is my new defense against this kind of bigotry.  "Oh, I need god?  Are you SURE I can't be an ok person without him?  Guess what, shithead - the fucking president of Cathol says otherwise."