Monday, February 25, 2008

Let us bow our heads in thanks for atheists

I have been thinking about writing something like this for a few weeks now. However, this lady did a much better job that I could ever have done. Here is the article, copied verbatim from
I do not try to claim any authorship nor any rights for this article. I own some debt and a beat-up car. If you want to have either of them, don't go through the trouble of suing me, just email me at and we can talk about a trade or something... (This article is property of The Kansas City Star originally written by Linda Staten.)

MIDWEST VOICES: Let us bow our heads in thanks for atheists

The re-awakening of atheism in America is going to make for some very interesting times. Leaders of the Christian Right have spent years trying to cast themselves as the voiceless victims in a secular society, but the scapegoating is over. (Want to talk marginalized? How many atheists have there ever been in Congress or the White House?)
Nonbelievers know a lot about Christianity and Judaism, most having been raised in religious families. Believers, however, are somewhat less clued-in about atheists. Here are a few simple truths about who they are, and aren’t.
Atheists are well-behaved. Atheists seem to play well with others overall. They’re not in the news for getting caught doing things they tell others not to do. Most co-exist peacefully with believing family and friends. They pay taxes.
Atheists don’t start wars on behalf of atheism. They do join the military, however, and contrary to the cliché, they are found in foxholes. In fact, there is a lawsuit now against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a major who harassed a group of “foxhole atheists” who simply wished to exercise their freedom of/from religion while serving their country in the Middle East.
Atheists have a thing for the American Constitution, particularly the First Amendment that separates church and state. They are secularists who support a government free from influence by any religion. They’re not anti-religious but nonreligious.
So when people like Mike Huckabee announce they want to “take this nation back for Christ” and make the Constitution fit the word of God, atheists worry, and feel that everyone else would be wise to worry along with them.
Atheists don’t take up much space. In fact, they only comprise 0.4 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, conducted through the Graduate Center at CUNY. (Agnostics would add 0.5 percent, the nonreligious 14.1 percent more.)
A total of 900,000 people isn’t even enough to fill 10 football stadiums, but evangelical leaders insist the godless are behind the decline of a whole nation. Uh, okay.
Atheists make good neighbors. Chances are, if you lived next door to an atheist, you might never know it. Atheists aren’t known for going door-to-door or shore-to-shore to un-convert people. They will help you even though there’s no heavenly reward in it for them.
Atheists will not infringe upon your life uninvited. On the other hand, you have to wonder about the neighborliness of certain believers when you see, for example, the miracle of the multiplying churches and neighborhood-munching mega-churches.
Thanks to the Religious Land Use law, passed in 2000, it’s lots easier now for religious groups to build more tax-exempt houses of worship, often against the wishes of neighborhoods which they burden financially and environmentally.
Atheists are lousy fundraisers. If you really want to raise a ton of money, oh, say on a weekly basis, don’t ask an atheist. Go to the folks with the know-how.
Televangelists raise almost $100 billion a year. In fact, they are so good at talking money out of people’s purses and bank accounts that six major Christian ministries are under investigation by the Senate Finance Committee.
These prosperity preachers tell their followers that God wants all of them to be well and be rich. (Serendipitously, God wants the preachers to have fancy cars, huge houses and the occasional Learjet.)
Atheists are the quiet type. Religionists have counted on atheists’ need for self-protection, but things are changing. Witness the popularity of Christopher Hitchens’ insightful book, god is not Great, the movie version of “The Golden Compass,” the mainstream media interest in the nonbelievers’ demographic.
There’s a new dialogue beginning between mainline believers and atheists, and among atheists themselves. While militant New Atheists fight on intellectual turf to replace dogma with rational thinking, humanists encourage believers and nonbelievers to get the moral work of peace, social justice and saving the environment done together.
Right-wing Christianity shook the atheist community out of its complacency with its relentless rhetorical badgering and attempts to co-opt the country. A missing piece of the real picture of America is finally being restored. Amen to that.
Linda Staten of Kansas City is a professional writer and former college instructor of ethics and comparative religion. To reach Midwest Voices columnists, write to the author c/o Editorial Page, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 6410

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blogswarm ~ Five Years of An Illegal War

I'll type a little introduction about this. Basically, the idea behind this is that we are five years into an illegal war. I will be posting on the five-year anniversary (March 19th) of the beginning of Bush's vendetta. I might do more posts about the War between now and then, but I will be posting an outraged "letter" to those in charge about how the war is illegal.

Please urge your friends who blog to do this also. Please urge them to help bring an end to this heinous crime.

Of Religion and Faith

Apart from our use of fire and our own consciousness, Religion is the only thing that separates us as humans from other animals. I have never heard of an animal that sops what it is doing five distinct and separate times a day so that it can talk (telepathically, no less) to a city that is several thousand miles away. I have never heard of any animal who is circumcised by its birth-parents, without a say in the matter. Nor have I ever heard of an animal who tells another animal all that it did wrong that week in an effort to please an invisible man in the sky.

All three of these are religious activities. All of these are activities participated in by the three monotheistic religions. All three of these are a waste of otherwise valuable time.

Now, while having your own personal faith might be good for you, it is no the only way to do things. And while your way might work for you, nobody is more qualified than another person to tell whether or not it will work for said other person.

In short, I am "pro-Private-Faith", but "Anti-Religion". While faith might give people the social and moral stability that they need and crave, religion propogates stagnation. If some people wish to meet once a week, twice a week, or once a day then it does no harm to me. But when these meetings start to encourage people to convert others, to actively try and convert people, then these meetings are harmful to me.

I am all for Freedom of Religion, but in the end, when one person infringes upon the rights of another, the first person's rights end where the second person's begin.

I do, however, feel that nothing should presently be done to end religion. I feel this way because of two reasons. The first is that doing so would be bringing an injustice against theists.

The second reason is that the current trend in the world is for atheism to spread. This is happening because atheists are going out and spreading rationality, it is also because rational thinking is starting to spread. (On the notes of atheists "converting" people, I've never heard of an atheist doing anything more than a persuasive argument to try and "convert" someone.)

People are not tied to racks and stretched until they admit that they are fools and that they should start thinking rationally. Wars have never been waged for rational reasons. A society has never been hurt because its citizens became too rational. Nobody has ever disowned his or her child because he or she was not an atheist.

As said before, atheism is the next, logical step in an evolving society. The more dependent on science a society is, the more prone to atheism it is.

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why Won't They Let Me Say What I Wanna Say (in a Meaningful Manner)?

Poor Mike Gravel. Poor Ron Paul and poor Alan Keyes. Poor Kucinich and poor Edwards.

I was looking through the Sunday paper in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and I noticed in the politics section (Page F3) that they did this lovely little chart that puts, succinctly, in black and white, the candidates and their views. And it's all very nice, it helped me better understand some of the stances on the issues, because I unfortunately missed some of the debates.

Except, Mike Gravel and Ron Paul, both of whom are still very much in the race were not represented on that page. Neither was Alan Keyes. In fact, on the entirety of the page, Paul, Gravel and Keyes were not mentioned.

It is a shame when people who are running for the most prestigious office in the country are not given fair time and not given fair representation for that race because they do not have the same amount of money as everyone else!!

Here it is Super Tuesday, and here in Georgia everybody that I ask (with very few exceptions) knows all about Mitt Romney and his many wives (a joke people I know that he doesn't practice polygamy). They know all about Mike Huckabee and Senator Clinton and Barrack Obama (well, they think they do.... They believe he's a Muslim). But almost no one that I talk to knows who Mike Gravel is. They've heard of Ron Paul, but do not really know his stance. And until today, I did know who Alan Keyes is.

Today is the vote for the party in twenty-four states. Today is the caucus and the primary for almost half of the nation. And the media still has not given fair representation to these men. Does anybody remember taking history in school? Anybody remember the main reason why America revolted against the British regime? Because of unfair and unequal representation!

Why have Mike Gravel, Ron Paul and Alan Keyes not been given the same time as the other "major" candidates? The answer, I fear, is the same as it always has been. This is not a race for the best candidate. This is a race for the rich candidate who happens to be best.

The media's disinclusion of these distinguished and outstanding men is an outrage to the very principles that this nation was founded upon. Our school-children are taught that this is a free nation, that people can be whatever they wish to be in this nation. But this apparently is not true if the media will not include somebody in a debate or in an article in the paper solely on the grounds that he or she does not have the same amount of funds that the other candidates do. Are we going to continue to allow school-children to grow up in a fairy-tale of "do whatever you want" only to have to face the cold, hard truth of "money is king"?

(In the beginning, I mentioned both Dennis Kucinich who, until he dropped out of the race, suffered the same problems as Mike Gravel, as well as John Edwards who, among other reasons, suffered the same fate. I felt that these two men, although they are out of the race, still deserve mentioning in a blog of this nature.)

UPDATE: I was informed by a commentor (thank you BradFinAtl) that Ron Paul actually raised more funds than any other candidate on the Republican side.(Source) This shocks me, because he is not allowed to show his opinion near as often as Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani (before he dropped out), Mitt Romney, or John McCain are.

In some ways, this dispproves me saying that the media will only allow someone to participate in debates and will only give "equal-time" if they have enough money. However I agree very much with the commentor. I believe that not only do you need the money to be able to support a campaign, you need to be liked by the mainstream media. Even though Ron Paul raised the money, he did not make the cut in saying what the media wanted him to. He is too far away from the center of the political map to be liked enough by the mainstream media, even if several citizens like him.

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Media, Conservatives and Terrorists ! Oh My!

I'll start this post with the note that my grandmother is a die-hard conservative. She knows that I am liberal, but not that I am an atheist. She knows how I feel about a good number of issues because we frequently discuss them. She and I recently went out to lunch together. We got into a discussion about the presidential election, as is bound to happen these days. The Primary is Tuesday here in Georgia, so she is really coming down to whom she wishes to go and vote for. I, unfortunately, will be too young to vote in both the primary and the real race this year. Next year, I will be old enough to vote in local elections, and I will definitely be old enough to vote in the next presidential election. She is backing Mike Huckabee because she agrees with him because he is a "moral and honest man" and because "he's a Baptist preacher". I really do not like him because he wishes to shred the Constitution for his own ideals.

But she said something about Mitt Romney that amused me quite a bit. We were talking, and she was giving her short synopsis of all of the different candidates. She said, "And Romney, well he's strong on the military issue. We need a president who will be strong on the military issue like he is. I mean, we have all these terrorists running around."

And that struck me as a little odd. How is it that the conservatives have so swallowed the media that poor old grandmothers can be convinced that there are terrorists lurking in the shadows of everywhere that they go? Or, as my grandmother would say, how have the terrorists so swallowed the media that their deeds run rampant on every channel you turn to?

It is just a little odd, I think, that the conservatives are running out of methods to make people support their war. They have had to resort to two methods that I've seen. The first is the "Well, if you don't support the war, you're not patriotic" method. This method is a mud-slinging and uninformed method. (How is killing people patriotic?)

The second method that I have seen them use is to grapple with the media and to resort to scaring people about the war. If people are convinced that terrorists are everywhere, they are more likely to support the War Against Terror. Well I'm not convinced of either.

I believe that terrorists have existed since pretty much the beginning of the human race. We just called them priests to begin with. As long as someone is willing to die to further his or her cause, there will be terrorists. ("Imagine.... nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too.") Since terrorism has always existed and likely will always exist, it seems foolish to declare a war against it, doesn't it? I personally think that the War on Terror will be just as successful as the War on Drugs and Abstinence-Only Sex-Education.

A country cannot declare war against a material object. The object firstly has no will to fight back, but secondly has no means to fight back. You can declare war against the users of drugs, but I agree with Mike Gravel in his saying that drug-addicts are not criminals, they are people with problems. They should be treated as people with problems, not as criminals.

If you declare a war against terror and then the media uses terror to rally support against the terrorism, do we still call it hypocrisy? Not in America, we call it the “American Dream”. (And like George Carlin said, they call it the American Dream only because you have to be asleep to believe it.)

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.