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It's Answers in Genesis, so don't act surprised.

Answers in Genesis is a generally horrible place, but their main focus is combating the teaching of the theory of evolution. However, the site occasionally engages in fear mongering on other issues such as embryonic stem cell research, religious freedom, and of course, Godlessness, as seen above.

The image of the kid was taken from a video advertisement they released in 2007:

SPEAKER: If you don't matter to God, you don't matter to anyone.

I'll definitely be donating to an atheist bus & billboard campaign today.

Originally posted to The Erratic Synapse on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hope that people other than atheists (19+ / 0-)

    speak out against this.

    Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
    A yam.
    What a Yam!
    And that's all that - A yam.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:06:40 PM PDT

    •  Talk about a failed argument (not yours) (27+ / 0-)

      Atheism doesn't mean not having any values.  It means you see accountability for the human condition in the hands of your fellow people and not in the hands of some mystical being.  An atheist would recognise that killing someone is their own personal responsibility for another's existence, and that there is no existence afterword, no relief in heaven.  As long as one believes that there is a supreme being who can judge the dying's life and grant them entrance to heaven, than it is easy to dismiss one's personal responsibility for your own actions.

    •  Well, I'm not an atheist (12+ / 0-)

      but I watched the video and I'm pretty stunned.  Please don't confuse this with Christianity, it's nothing other than a perversion and a particularly evil one at that.  

      I'm an old fashioned judge not lest ye be judged sort of a Christian, I guess we're a dying breed.

      •  It's amazing... (8+ / 0-)

        ...how many times Christianity gets perverted.

      •  Well I've had this discussion a lot recently here (10+ / 0-)

        and if it's a perversion of Christianity, then most of Christian history contains a lot of such perversion. In fact, I would not be who I am today were it not for such perversion. My ancestors were kicked out of Spain and were accepted into the Islamic Ottoman Empire, where my father's family comes from.

        Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
        A yam.
        What a Yam!
        And that's all that - A yam.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:36:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can you bring other Christians to this diary? (6+ / 0-)

        Where are all the progressives crying about "Christian bashing" now?

        Can you invite them to comment here?

        It's hard not to come to conclusions when we are left standing all alone to fight this kind of thing.

        When Tom Brokaw, twice, repeated the smear, "There are no atheists in foxholes", atheist organizations held protests at NBC. They invited every major religious organization under the sun, as well as theist members of Congress (that would be all of them) to join the rallies.

        Not a single freaking Christian showed up.

        Now, we are subject to the kind of billboard messaging that echoes the whipping up of hysteria against blacks, who would come in the dark of the night and rape your daughters and kill you in your sleep.

        And where are all those outraged at the mythical War on Christianity now?

        8 recs, nearly all from atheists. Where is pastordan and fish on the water and all the rest?

        If you really are stunned, then don't let this diary vanish without a trace. Do something about it. Tell others on Daily Kos to come here and rec this diary and express solidarity and support in the comments - and then to do something about it!

        Show us what you consider the real face of progressive Christianity. I've been hoping to see a glimpse all my life.

        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

        by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:40:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure, man (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Front Toward Enemy

          I'll speak for the Christians.  Why not?

          They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

          by yet another liberal on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:48:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Speak *to* them (3+ / 0-)

            Bring them here. I'm not interested in a sole, self-appointed spokesperson, whether ironic or serious. No offense, but I'm not sure you get this.

            Whatever you are, whatever identity you hold, try to imagine a billboard like this targeting you specifically.

            It's no laughing matter when you are the target. When people are told that they are your target.

            And it's no fun when you are left on your own to oppose it.

            I'm not looking for anyone to speak for anybody but themselves.

            Those who claims there are hordes of progressive Christians who don't stand for hate - let's see them spring into action on this issue. Work with us to fight this billboard - or even take the lead on fighting it.

            Atheists stood side by side with Dr. King in his fight for civil rights.

            Who fights with or for us?

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:06:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Talking to them is hopeless (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Front Toward Enemy

              I just packed my bags and moved away like 20 years ago.

              I'm not surprised at all to see a billboard like that somewhere in Texas.

              But this shit's not really religious.  It's all political.

              I think the Billboard's kind of stupid myself.  Maybe their fear of God is the only thing that keeps them from being murderers ... well, I guess that's a good thing.

              They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

              by yet another liberal on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:19:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm talking about progressive Christians here (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Front Toward Enemy, thaddeus74

                not fundamentalists in Texas.

                I'm talking right here on dailykos, where this diary is being ignored.

                I guarantee you if it targeted blacks, or Jews, or gays, or women - let alone Christians! - this place would be all over it.

                There have been folks over the past few days, since the moments after the Tiller murder, who have been monitoring every freaking diary for comments about Christians and Christianity, and every comment in every diary on the topic, pro or con.

                Where are they now? I know they see this diary. Does anyone actually care about hate, or only about protecting their tribe?

                One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:23:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Man (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronInSanDiego

                  I bet about any Christian on dkos opposes idiots like genesis.fricking.org.

                  I just don't know why you're pinning this on them.

                  The idiots at genesis.org don't know anything about the world or history or fricking anything.

                  And the billboard doesn't really mean what you're saying it does.

                  These dopes are really trying to say ... "Save that innocent young blonde James Dean shirt looking kid, he's beautful, don't let him be a godless heathen."

                  It isn't saying kill atheist.  I don't think many people will interpret it that way.

                  I'm an atheist, I guess, I'm pretty "blasphemous" about dogmatic shit, anyway, and I've never felt scared for my safety because of it.

                  I mean I can do worse than being an atheist, I can say ... "Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you're an asshole."  And I still have not received a death threat for it.

                  They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

                  by yet another liberal on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:34:56 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not "pinning it" on anyone here (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Calamity Jean, elusive muse, yaque

                    I'm asking for support.

                    I bet about any atheist on dkos opposes idiots like (insert atheist counterpart to this billboard campaign, I don't know of one like it and can think of one like it with anything like its violent imagery and hateful message)

                    But, if we never do anything about it, if we just silently oppose it in our heads, that is not helping, is it?

                    This site isn't about expressing silent solidarity, it is about activism to support progressive culture and politics and oppose conservative culture and politics.

                    I have heard a lot of atheists here speaking out against the murder of Dr. Tiller. Loudly and unequivocably. I haven't heard a single atheist say the opposite. I also know a lot of atheists fighting actively to protect abortion rights for women.

                    But where are the progressive Christians fighting against this hate campaign? Where are the Christians on dkos expressing outrage in this diary and offering to fight this?

                    The only ones that have come here so far have made fun of it, attacked people personally, or defended Christianity.

                    You are lucky to have lived in a sheltered environment and not in the kind of place these billboards are posted, and not had to live in fear of being beaten, or losing your job, or having your kids humiliated by their teachers in front of their class in elementary school, or been discriminated against in housing, or received inferior service and support from your local businesses, because word got around that you were an atheist.

                    Not everyone is so lucky. Atheists are held in poorer esteem in this country than any other minority group. And billboard campaigns like this are designed to foster hate and fear among those most vulnerable to those kind of emotions.

                    I did not, am not, would not "pin" this billboard campaign on anyone other than Answers in Genesis. I simply don't understand the logic that would equate an appeal for progressive Christians to rec this diary, with "pinning this on them". That is absolutely absurd. I'm not blaming them, I'm asking for their help in combating these bigots - and expressing dismay that they do not come, and the few that do make fun of the whole thing or use this diary as an excuse to pursue personal attacks.

                    Can we stop "pinning" this on atheists, and just focus, as progressives, on fighting hate campaigns, no matter which minority they target?

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:51:37 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I don't understand (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AaronInSanDiego, Ahianne

                      Why if somebody is a Christian, that they have to fight this particular battle for you?

                      It's not a reasonable thing for you to request of other people.

                      I know you say you just want people to stand with you, but it doesn't work this way.

                      It's not respectful to tell other people that they should show up at this diary and do and/or say this or that.

                      Who's going to stand with you if you do that?

                      I used to live in the Bible belt.  They surrounded me.

                      They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

                      by yet another liberal on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:07:12 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It is not because they are Christians (6+ / 0-)

                        it is because they are progressive, that they should fight this battle - not for me, but for justice.

                        Do you tell gays they are on their own, that they shouldn't expect straight people to fight for their rights?

                        Do you think blacks won their civil rights all on their own, rejecting support from whites?

                        Your argument makes no sense from a moral or progressive political standpoint.

                        Furthermore, from a purely practical standpoint, when Christians publicly oppose this, when they write a letter to the editor or speak to a TV reporter or organize a petition or demonstrate on site, that carries a lot more weight, gains more media attention, and has the potential to reach this billboard's target audience, far more than if an atheist does the same. Atheists are held in very low esteem and credibility in America in general, much lower than average in states like Texas, and lowest of all in the communities where billboards like this are erected.

                        That is the point of the campaign, it is directed to people who are predisposed to believe atheists are amoral, violent, dangerous and subverting innocent children.

                        When someone speaks out and says, "I am a Christian and I reject this billboard", that is more effective than when only atheists speak out. It is a basic principle of successful organizing.

                        I am really amazed that this is at all controversial. What does "progressive" stand for, if it doesn't mean standing up against hate campaigns like this, and supporting minorities targeted by them no matter what your own color, creed, gender or sexual preference?

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:14:58 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I am a Christian, and I reject this bill board. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          RunawayRose, RandomActsOfReason

                          It's stupid, and false, and hatemongering. Howerver, I almost didn't even read this diary. I have my list set to 50, but this was still almost scrolled off. Demanding that some list of posters read and rec this is arrogant and unrealistic. You want specific people's attention, find recent comments and leave them messages.

                          I rec diaries that I think more people should see and read. I will tip the author because I think it was worth my time reading this, but it has around 200 comments so I think it's had a fair amount of attention already. You haven't persuaded me that your desire to see it on the rec list gives me a reason to rec it.

                          Veni, vidi, farinuxi.

                          by Ahianne on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 07:21:55 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You don't think a diary about a billboard that (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RandomActsOfReason

                            clearly and unequivocally uses the same imagery and "reasoning" as that used to scare whites about and rile up hatred for blacks is worthy of a recommendation to bring attention to the matter?

                            Just to recap:

                            1. A diarist implores people in his diary to not lump all Christians in with a Christian man who murdered another Christian man in the name of his religious beliefs, because said diarist believes the murderer isn't a true Christian, and his diary is on the rec list practically instantaneously.
                            1. Another diarist posts a diary pointing out that the first diarist is wrong about two points--that the murderer isn't a Christian and that he didn't kill in part because of his religious beliefs--and right about the other--that it doesn't mean all, most, or even necessarily any other Christian alive today is a murderer. His diary takes a long, long time to get on the rec list and out of the gate is seen as "Christian bashing."
                            1. This diarist posts a diary where there is incontrovertible, stark, and dangerous evidence that atheists are being persecuted by an extremist Christian religious group, and he calls on the people who have spent the last couple of days wringing their hands every time somebody dares to counter their argument that the murderer isn't a Christian and claims it's "Christian bashing" to lend their help to the effort to counter this billboard's rhetorical, political, and social purposes and what happens: a few who even bother to read it do so and still insist on claiming they are the ones being mistreated?!?

                            Unbelievable! How arrogant! How galling! How intellectually and morally bankrupt!

                          •  How hyperbolic. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RunawayRose

                            Oh, did I claim I was being mistreated? Hint - the answer starts with an "n" and ends with an "o".

                            Veni, vidi, farinuxi.

                            by Ahianne on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:37:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's a good thing I didn't point you out, then (0+ / 0-)

                            isn't it?

                            Look around the comments; it's pretty obvious who they are.

                            And how, exactly, is my response hyperbolic, hmm? The fact that you even describe it as such is just as telling about the parameters of this debate as the lack of response from the self-described "bashed Christians" around here.

                            There's a Christian group advertising that atheists are more likely to murder somebody than a believer in god (particularly, their god), you think my pointing out how absurd, arrogant, and reprehensible the hand-wringing is among the aforementioned Christians in light of their lack of interest in this issue is hyperbolic? Wow.

                          •  Thank you for your support (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RunawayRose, Ahianne

                            When I made the request, it didn't have 200 comments.

                            And it only had 8 recs.

                            You might be missing a lot of important diaries with that setting, by the way. I'm not aware of a single Rec List diary that ever got there with less than 50 comments.

                            When diaries exceed a certain number of comments, they are automatically hidden when you first visit the diary.

                            However, you can choose to have comment hidden by default when you first visit all diaries by clicking the "Hidden" option at the top of any diary page and checking the "Always" box.

                            Then, you can choose to expand and view the comments as you wish.

                            Thank you again for your words of support.

                            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:37:43 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not the number of comments. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RunawayRose, Rustbelt Dem

                            It's the number of diaries I can see on the "Recent Diary" list, and I think it's the max that will accept. I rarely open anything with more than 300 comments, but that is because I'm on diallup and they take too long to load. If it's a subject I'm very interested in, I will sometimes read it without comments via the permalink.

                            Veni, vidi, farinuxi.

                            by Ahianne on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:43:55 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Apologies, I misunderstood (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RunawayRose, Ahianne

                            Considering you are on dialup, participating here at all, with the photos and videos and annoying ads and long comment pages, shows your commitment to progressive issues.

                            I wish I had the gift of brevity, I'm sure my comments contribute to the scarcity of bandwidth all by themselves ;-)

                            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:48:33 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Random (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RandomActsOfReason

                            I really want to thank you for the effort you put into this.  You are spot on, and please don't get discouraged by the dismissive nature of some of these posts.  We will win this fight (in the larger sense) eventually and it will be in part due to people like you.

                            Peace.

                          •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            thaddeus74

                            It's a bit discouraging that Ahianne rec'd a comment in this diary, http://www.dailykos.com/... , that called me a bigot and supported the notion that atheists like me don't deserve to be helped in the fight against this kind of hate campaign, essentially because we aren't "nice" enough.

                            It somewhat undermines Ahianne's claim of support here.

                            And it is a very dangerous sentiment to express - the notion that progressives should only fight for the rights of "nice" people or "nice" groups of people. That is not consistent with progressive principles about equality, civil rights, tolerance and respect.

                            It fits too neatly in the common attitude that atheists are "tolerated" only if we shut the fuck up.

                            I hope the rec of that other comment was a mistake and will be corrected.

                            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:45:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  agreed (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RandomActsOfReason

                            and, btw, I put a donut on that 'bigot' comment this morning.  It was absolutely unwarranted name calling.

        •  random, i guess you are not really serious about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne

          wanting comment from Christians.  at least that is how your comment comes across.

          so, was it genuine or just an invitation to argue more about how horrible we are as a collective of people?

          Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

          by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:12:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This diary is about billboards that incite hate (3+ / 0-)

            and fear, targeting atheists. The images are deliberate echoes of racist depictions of "murderous blacks" in the 60's.

            Why do you think this is a joke?

            I am asking for help, for people of conscience to fight against this.

            This is not perceived hurt, this is tangible, public campaigns of hate.

            Isn't it reasonable to expect people who get all worked up about supposed "Christian-bashing" here to be concerned about this?

            You choose to argue with me. Why not choose to express outrage at this billboard campaign, and take leadership on organizing against it? Protests against it will carry a great deal more weight if they come from Christians, than if they come from atheists alone.

            Is this not a reasonable request? I know that if such a billboard campaign were targeted against any other disempowered minority, I would be the first in line to fight against it - just as my atheist white male Jewish father from the North fought for civil rights along side black Christian church leaders and their congregations in the South.

            I fail to see what is funny about this. Imagine a billboard like this targeting gays. Would you choose to make an argument about it and attack the messenger?

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:21:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Let me ask you a question, Random... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              yet another liberal

              If you came to this thread, as a Christian, and read down the comments could you honestly say you felt welcomed?

              Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

              by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:40:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let me ask you a question, cany (7+ / 0-)

                does that matter?

                Would you refuse to fight bigotry against blacks if you read comments by blacks that were anti-white?

                Have you never read comments by feminists that were hostile to men? If you are a man, did that cause you not to care about, or fight for, women's rights?

                Have you never heard a gay activist diss straights?

                Are you incapable of separating your own ego and your own personal vendettas from a fundamental progressive cause?

                I don't know how much more fundamental you can get than fighting a hate campaign like this.

                I am frankly stunned that you are making this such an issue.

                People here are hurt and angry. Why are they hurt and angry? Because we are a tiny minority in this country that is the most hated minority of all. We have no representation, a majority even of progressive Christians would not elect an atheist president - never mind a majority of the country.

                We are tired of hearing how a majority of over 70% - Christians, in both this country and among progressives - who control over 90% of all elected offices in this country (the rest being taken up by other theists), over 90% of the judiciary (same thing), accusing us of persecuting them - and then vanishing into the woodwork whenever we are under attack.

                This isn't the first time. Not a single Christian leader protested when Tom Brokaw said, twice, on prime time TV, "there are no atheists in foxholes". Not a single Christian leader showed up to join the demonstrations in Times Square.

                Imagine if Brokaw had said, "there are no Jews in foxholes".

                Even if you are 100% right about there being a hostile atmosphere towards Christians on daily kos (which is an absurdly gross generalization), there is a huge difference between people being unpleasant in an online forum, and a public billboard hate campaign like this.

                There ARE no similar anti-Christian billboards in America, not anywhere. There ARE no reported cases of people losing their jobs because they are Christians, of atheist families disowning their children if they "come out" as Christians, of people being beaten for being Christian, of their children being mocking in the front of their public school class because they are Christian.

                There simply is no campaign against Christians in this 77% Christian nation.

                There is, however, this campaign against atheists. The picture of the billboard is right at the top of this diary. I suggest you look at it again and imagine an America where you were 5% and we held all the power, and the billboard targeted you.

                Does it really matter who it targets? This is wrong, and I ask you to fight it, not as a Christian, but as a progressive who happens to be a Christian (assuming you are, I don't know and don't particularly care, I don't keep track of people's religions any more than anything else about them, I respond to what they say).

                One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:07:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I understand, Random. I was an atheist most of (0+ / 0-)

                  my life thought quite honestly I never had to deal with persecution, at least none I was aware of.  I was really probably too busy at that time to notice and probably would have just blown it off anyway.  I've been a controversial figure in my particular corner of the world for most of my adult life, so I tended to tune things out.  Just turns into a personal noise machine if you don't.  

                  I was unaware of the Brokaw statement.  Jeez.  That really is bad.  Christ, what was he thinking when he said that?

                  Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                  by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:19:05 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Once, it could have been a slip of the tongue (6+ / 0-)

                    but he repeated it night after night, and never withdrew or corrected it. Particularly after 9/11, when atheists were defending this country in equal proportion to theists, it was particularly heinous. And not a single faith group came to hold signs and march with us in New York.

                    I flew to DC after 9/11, at a time I really could not afford to, to attend a rally of atheist veterans on the Mall, just to show that we exist. We couldn't fit all of us on the stage, and people were afraid it would collapse.

                    There wasn't a single faith group represented in the audience at that event. The organizers invited All the major ones. ALL of them.

                    There wasn't a single member of Congress who could bring themselves to be seen in public speaking to us - even to a group of veterans! All were invited, not a single one showed up.

                    My children, when they were in elementary school, were each made to stand at the front of their classroom in elementary school (different schools at different ages with different teachers), and explain to the class why they "didn't believe in anything" and why they didn't celebrate "anything".

                    After 9/11, the public school in my town used the taxpayer funded school billboard on our public street to post "God Bless America" in big letters.

                    I wrote a polite (yes, me, polite) letter to the editor, suggesting instead a more inclusive message, E Pluribus Unum. I used the opportunity to educate the readers about the history of E Pluribus Unum and how it was our national motto and still appears on the presidential seal, how it was selected by the Great Seal Committee including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison.

                    In response, the superintendent told the press he'd rather use "Semper Fi", if we were going to insist on Latin, and then proceeded to mock me on television and in print as someone who probably did not support the troops, either.

                    I asked on more than one occasion, if atheists could be included in interfaith diversity events. We were told we were not welcome, because we had no faith. Nothing personal, you understand, we just wouldn't be comfortable.

                    The local VFW rep in our town commemorates each Veteran's Day with a Christian prayer spoken in front of our memorial to the fallen, which everyone attending is encouraged to join in on. I know of at least a few names on the monuments who were atheists. Yet a suggestion that perhaps it would be more appropriate and inclusive to read a poem or find some non-religious form of expression is met with hostility and accusations of desecrating the memory of veterans who died for their country.

                    Oh, by the way, all this happened in the "liberal" state of Massachusetts, in a Boston suburb. I'm thankful to have moved to Portland, Oregon, where I am part of a larger minority and a much more tolerant society.

                    That's just a small sampling.

                    By the way, when George H. W. Bush was sitting vice president and running for president, he said, in the Chicago airport, in response to a reporter's question, that

                    "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

                    , atheists sent a petition to every single member of Congress, asking them to publicly disassociate themselves from that remark. Not a single Rep or Senator responded. Same with leaders of all faith groups. The reporter asked for a clarification, and Bush stood by the remark. He asked the White House later for a clarification, and they said the president stood by his remarks.

                    For many years, religious apologists dismissed this as a hateful story made up by an atheist reporter - until, under a freedom of information act, documentation straight from the White House corroborated the story.

                    Imagine a president saying that about Jews. Not only did G HW Bush not suffer any repercussions from it, he has stood by it to this day (he was asked about it in an interview just a couple years ago).

                    This is the America many people live in. I am active on atheist forums where teenagers in the South post fearful, sometimes suicidal testimony about what it is like to "come" out in the deep South, how parents kick them out of the house, friends ostracize them, thugs beat them. And, it's not just in the South. My kids dealt with it in Massachusetts. There is still a law on the books in Massachusetts that bans atheist from public office. Sure, it's unconstitutional and never enforced. But, can you imagine a law still on the books in that state which barred blacks or women from serving? Every effort to repeal the law against atheists is laughed at and never gets any votes.

                    Go to any ballgame with a quote from the Bible on your tshirt. Then, try going with an atheist statement on it. You'll find out how atheists are treated. Try it in any ballpark in America.

                    My father had to fight to get atheist dogtags in WWII, and we had to fight to get him an atheist tombstone.

                    There still are exactly zero - none - no atheist chaplains in the US military, no one trained to or assigned to minister to the needs of soldiers in combat who happen not to believe in a god or belong to a religion. We're expected to talk to Jewish chaplains, because they'll talk to anybody.

                    There was a discussion just a few weeks ago on The View, where the participants expressed discomfort with the notion of atheists marrying their children - or even babysitting them.

                    There continue to be local campaigns to fire atheist teachers from schools (I just watched Milk, and it reminded me how there were campaigns to fire gay teachers just 30 years ago), and to ban atheist literature.

                    And now, this billboard campaign.

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:57:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Meant John Adams, not Edison, of course (0+ / 0-)

                      It was 2:00am my time when I posted this, please ignore the "Thomas Edison" absurdity, he was not a member of the Great Seal Committee, which chose E Pluribus Unum as our motto.

                      The Committee comprised Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.

                      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                      by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:43:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  wow, Random. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RandomActsOfReason

                      I know the atomic vets and other peace or anti-nuke vet groups have had the same problem over the years.  i don't get why.

                      i think politicians are too afraid to support things like this because of their perceived image, which is a very chicken shit way of looking at equality and justice.

                      it's NOT about them.

                      Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                      by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:33:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Any politician that overtly supports (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        cany

                        the right of atheists commits political suicide, that's why.

                        Even Pete Stark, the only atheist member of Congress, was only able to come out after two decades of service in one of the safest districts in the country.

                        Before the last election, there were at least 13 closeted atheists in Congress, who expressed fear that if they came out - or were outed - their political careers were over. They begged not to be exposed.

                        I don't know how many,if any, are in Congress today, since the names of those 13 have never been revealed, and possibly never will.

                        You and I both know that Barack Obama opposes discrimination against atheists, and doesn't have a shred of hate towards us. But even he, even with his current popularity, has to be extremely careful how he couches even the most modest and reasonable statements on equal rights.

                        He's done more than any president since John F Kennedy to promote the notion that we are just like other Americans. But his ability to help us was deliberately hamstrung by a smear campaign during his run for office accusing him of being an atheist himself.

                        There was a lot of press about the "he's a secret Muslim" campaign, very little about the "he's the son of atheists and himself an atheist" campaign, which continues to this day.

                        In fact, the "communist" codeword is a dog whistle to the religious far right on this exact issue.

                        I am more hopeful now than I have been in many years that being an atheist will be seen by more and more Americans as just another choice in the belief marketplace, but we have a long way to go to gain real acceptance as members of the American family.

                        For any politically aware atheist, the period since 9/11 has been a painful reminder that we are, at best, tolerated, never truly accepted.

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:13:54 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I completely concur. Yet that leaves us (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          RandomActsOfReason

                          with the problem we all struggle with, but worse for ANY legitimate group that falls into the minority category of acceptance.  I use the term legitimate broadly.  I don't think NAMBLA, for instance, is legitimate.

                          A politician has to be careful, and as you point out, there are good reasons for this.

                          This is where my thinking and yours may come so close together... that change happens from the bottom up.

                          If people like you and I--with respect to our differences on God/no God/not sure--stand together on social/political/hate/other issues, we coalesce in VERY important ways.

                          BTW, I got those early Obama/Muslim e-mails like everyone else.  I was shocked where a few came from, and believe me, they were probably equally shocked at the vehemence of my reply.

                          Yeah, you have reason to be more optomistic in terms of being accepted in the belief marketplace.  And I will tell you something else:  If we Christians don't get our act together and stop the hate on the right and the perception that non-believers are lessors, there won't be much Christianity around in 200 years.  

                          Through the force of their own stupidity, stubbornness, anti-science, anti-reality positions, Falwell/Dobson et al types will ensure that Christianity is dead.

                          Live 200 years and I guarantee you will see it.  Many of the younger gen isn't buying all the hate/hell/difference crap that so many of my gen bought into and thrust upon them.  And one more reason to be sure that in EVERYTHING we do, we include them not as followers, but as leaders.

                          Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                          by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:51:55 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Yes. (1+ / 1-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ahianne
                  Hidden by:
                  thaddeus74

                  It does matter.

                  If you spit in their faces while demanding their help, you're much less likely to get it, which can only have the goal of relieving you of the obligaton to be grateful for the help you've asked for.

                  Yes, when I hear a bigot demand my help, I tend to withhold it.

                  Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                  by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:53:28 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That is unfortunate. The ACLU would disagree with (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Malumaureus

                    you. I supported them in their fight to support the right of Nazis to march through Skokie. As did my parents - my mother, who was a Holocaust survivor, and my father, who fought in WWII and patched up torn soldiers on hospital ships.

                    I support the right of all people to equality, respect, safety and opportunity.

                    Not only people who are good looking, or friendly, or progressive.

                    YMMV, but, if it does, you might want to reconsider what party you belong to.

                    Democrats don't stand for "equal right for nice people only".

                    I'm sure your attitude will be great comfort to a young atheist in Texas who has to walk past that billboard every morning on the way to school.

                    Truly, you compassion is exemplary of whatever your faith happens to be.

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:59:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So how that works? (0+ / 0-)

                      It's all about what you want, and you have no idea how to enlist the help of others without insulting them.

                      That's going to be a hell of a handicap.

                      Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                      by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:12:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I shouldn't have to "enlist" anyone (0+ / 0-)

                        I didn't write this diary. I don't live in Texas. I don't have billboards like this where I live.

                        I asked folks in open thread and other diaries about related issues to come here and read the diary and rec it. Again, it's not my diary.

                        The diary should speak for itself. The photo should speak for itself, to anyone who calls themselves a progressive.

                        This really shouldn't be a hard decision. I has absolutely nothing to do with me, and if the billboard had targeted any other group, the diary would have shot to the top of the rec list very quickly.

                        Continuing to make me the issue looks more and more like a pretext to avoid the real issue.

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:31:29 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  I just realized you called me a bigot (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cany

                    I'd like you to point to a single comment by me, ever, that negatively characterized an entire class of people based solely on their affiliation with a particular group - based on anything - skin color, gender, sexual preference, religion, political affiliation, height, weight, taste in baseball team, anything.

                    If you cannot point to a single one, then I expect you to apologize and withdraw your ugly smear.

                    Bigotry is hatred expressed towards a group of people based on an externality. I defy you to point to even a hint of bigotry in any of the thousands of comments I have made on Daily Kos.

                    On the contrary, I have pushed back against stereotyping of many groups I disagree with - just yesterday pointing out that not all people who oppose abortion are politically monolithic.

                    I have also gone out of my way over the past several days (and in the past, when similar issues arose), to assert, forcefully, that the identity of a criminal does not implicate others who share their identity. That holds for whether they are a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, an atheist, or anything else.

                    Calling someone here a bigot is a big deal. You should defend that accusation or withdraw it.

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 11:43:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If you respond substantively, I'll remove the HR. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      cany

                      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                      by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:40:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  No, I didn't call you a bigot. I was summarizing (0+ / 0-)

                      your several examples of hateful people that you felt I should nonetheless help despite how much they hate me.

                      Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                      by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:13:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  K... please... read below... please.nt (0+ / 0-)

                        Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                        by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:15:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  People's rights are not dependent upon gaining (0+ / 0-)

                        your approval, khreva. People inherently deserve respect, and freedom from hate campaigns and fearmongering directed towards them.

                        I really don't give a flying fuck whether you think I am Mother Theresa or the Antichrist. This has nothing to do with me, and you surely know it.

                        The teenager in Texas who has to live with the culture that this kind of campaign fosters is not my kid.

                        Following your "logic," I shouldn't give a damn about the Tiller killing, because some Christians on Daily Kos aren't nice to me.

                        That is the mentality and ethics of freerepublic.com, not anything I feel comfortable seeing on a progressive blog.

                        You are so incredibly out of line here, it is hard to even see which direction to point you in. Your hate is so overwhelming, you can't see straight.

                        Get over yourself, get over me, and find some of that compassion you should have as a simple decent human being, for people who do not deserve to live under the shadow of this billboard.

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:35:48 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Khereva and recommender Ahianne... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    khereva

                    can I talk to YOU two just for a moment?

                    I interpret from your post, khereva, that you may be one that believes in God in some fashion and the fact that you are here at dKos tells me you are on the side of dems/progressives politically.  I could be wrong about the first one and/or the second.

                    When I came across this thread VERY early this morning (in the wee dark hours), I had exactly the same reaction you did.  If you read through the thread, and look at the times of my posts, you will see that.

                    If, like me, you were offended by some of the several days of posts on Tiller which involved, for me, some VERY hurtful and inappropriate things said to me in frame of reference of my beliefs, personally and not, I understand.  I really felt kicked, misread, etc and was feeling pretty upset and depressed.  I had NEVER seen a discussion like that which so forcefully seemed to attack not only who I am, but painted me as who I am not and framed ME, of all people, in the context as somehow excusing, sympathizing with, or not calling out Tiller's assassin because I was of the same (Christian) belief.  

                    We have a right to feel that way and anyone that says we do not may not have read some of the comments I read.  

                    But, today is a new day.  Tempers go amuck not all are rational, it can generally turn into one big cluster-fuck (I apologize if that term of art offends you).

                    When I read this diary in the WEE hours of this morning--I had the same response you did.  And there were posts on this thread that just increased my pissed-offness:) given the last several days and how bruised I felt.

                    But, despite the fact I should have been in bed, I tried to understand and cull from the diary author, Random, what he really needed and wanted and get past my own hurt feelings.  It's hard for me to be entirely rational at 1AM but I tried.

                    Random's diary was actually right on the mark reread today when more awake, less bruised, and after actually having a civil conversation with him and finally understanding where he was coming from.

                    DKos doesn't lend itself well to big ideas in early formation sometimes (just my observation).  And certainly this diary, which is actually quite good, didn't get the respect it should have given the time it was posted (about 10PM PST--I saw it much later).  But that doesn't mean that big ideas aren't good.

                    Anti-hate is good.  It's a big idea.  Justice is good.  It's a big idea.  Civil rights for all is good.  It's a big idea.  Standing together to support these big ideas is what we are supposed to be doing which is Random's point, and he is right.

                    Sometimes having both feet in the fire while someone else tells you to cool it or tells you that it really isn't that hot isn't helpful.  I think that is what happened to me, and I guess that is what happened to you.

                    As you know, the torture issue and the issue of Israel/Palestine are flammable issues here pretty regularly.  They are absolutely mind bending sometimes (well, in these cases, always).  They are made more flammable by single related events like the recent Israel/Palestine conflict, the continual new torture information revealed and, in this case, the horrid Tiller assassination which seems to defy ANY accepted combination of nouns, adjectives and verbs when applied to the whole event except the words murder and assassination.

                    Tillers assassination and the diaries associated with it may reflect a battle in which almost all involved on the left died both directly from ideological assassination but friendly fire.  There is NO ONE at this site that could not be hurt and shocked by Tiller's assassination.  But many of us were very shocked to see how it was framed.

                    Please, tomorrow, take a venture back here and re-read.  Yes, you will come across some direct insults.  Ignore them.  You will also come across some very thoughtful posts from many sides.

                    This is about hate, the culture and nature of it, how we deal with it, how we allow ourselves to be split by words, and how we demean or build up the strengths of one another in collectively attacking it.

                    While our side is having a war of "words", the other side is killing actual humans.

                    All of us need to recognize this and get past it and stop the flame throwing.  And sometimes we have to count to ten or 100 and then post.

                    If you are a Christian, you are also called to forgive.

                    (read troll-types) just hit and run.

                    Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                    by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:07:01 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Actually, I agree and disagree. (0+ / 0-)

                      Random wants the right to both insult people and demand their help. Random seems to believe that the importance of the cause obliges us to help him no matter how many times he chooses to spit in my face, or the faces of those I care about. Hint: he doesn't really want help. He wants, rather, to feel justified in hating people of faith, and still to be able to think of himself as a good person. Solution: enlist aid in a worthy cause in a manner guaranteed to fail.

                      He has the right to want that, but he doesn't have the right to get it (or as the author of the Gita says, "You have a right to the work, but not to the outcome").

                      I read the diary. I read the comments. The cause is a reasonable one, and the billboard, if real (yes, I've read the claim, which is not the same as evidence; it's an allegation, nothing more), is deplorable.

                      And if Random wants help, he needs desperately to learn how to request it.

                      Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                      by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:20:12 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  actually, if you read down and actually SEE the (0+ / 0-)

                        facts on the billboard, it is real.  I had the same thought as you... needed to be sure.

                        Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                        by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:22:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I did read down. I also visited the site. (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm skeptical of someone who took the picture but isn't sure what town it's in.

                          As I say, it may be real. The cause of opposing it is a worthy one. Me, I'm skeptical.

                          Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                          by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:25:49 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  did you actually visit the threaded links veryt (0+ / 0-)

                            near the end of this diary?  If you didn't please do.  I think it may change you mind about that.

                            Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                            by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:29:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There are only three links total in the diary. (0+ / 0-)

                            The AIG front page didn't have anything on this that I could see, and the atheist billboard/bus sign site didn't mention it either.

                            Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                            by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:58:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  well, i don't disagree with you on how the (0+ / 0-)

                        request was framed.  but realize, as we were assaulted by words, he was too.

                        none of us is perfect.

                        how about if I ask you to help and support the issue?

                        Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                        by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:25:00 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Sorry, I don't see that he was assaulted. (0+ / 0-)

                          When he picks a fight and the people he attacks hit back, he is not being "assaulted." He ordered that pizza, I believe, deliberately.

                          I'm willing to help, already was.

                          Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                          by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:27:58 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  well, can we just agree that we need to move on (0+ / 0-)

                            HRs or not and get on with fighting hate, because that is what killed Tiller, that is what killed Matt Shepherd etc.

                            We really must, you, me and Random stop attacking one another and start attacking the real enemy.

                            AND people have to stop using fighting words against one another.  

                            Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                            by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:31:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That would be nice. (0+ / 0-)

                            Understand that I am not a good enough Christian to always turn the other cheek with a smile.

                            And understand that Random desired above all things visible and invisible the 'attack' he pretends he receieved.

                            Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                            by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:34:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well... none of us is, eh-hem, perfect:) nt (0+ / 0-)

                            Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                            by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:37:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Please stop (0+ / 0-)

                            your personal attacks are so over the top they deserve serial HRs from everyone who cares about this community.

                            Stop obsessing about evil atheists like me and open up your eyes and your hearts to the subject of this diary, which I did not write, and which I did not "set up" in order to lure naive Christians to 'attack' them.

                            You really are a troubled person, and I am losing patience with being the random target of your gratuitous pathological hate.

                            Enough. If you think I just lured you here to make you the focus of attention, then the best remedy you have is to simply GO AWAY.

                            There are plenty of other diaries for you to hate on.

                            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:58:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  btw... the assault of words was the billboard... (0+ / 0-)

                            so not only was Random attacked, all of those who either ARE atheists/agnostics or are merely perceived as such (and all other inbetween categories) are constantly attacked because of what they believe, not WHO they are.

                            Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                            by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:36:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you meant the billboard, then all people were (0+ / 0-)

                            "attacked" equally by it, if at all. The billboard as presented actually attacks God as uncaring, not any person.

                            Nearly all people are attacked, and often, for what they believe, and for who they are, more's the pity.

                            Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                            by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:48:55 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  I have never spit in your face (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't know what your issues are, or who they are wish, but they clearly have little to do with me.

                        The fundamental issue is that you don't care about the rights of others who you don't like.

                        It's not my diary, I don't live in Texas, I don't have a personal stake in this. I'm here because I am a progressive, and an activist, and I want to join with others in changing the world for the better.

                        Yes, I even want to join with you, as hateful, selfish, inconsiderate, rude and unprogressive as you are. If your rights were threatened, I would fight to the death to defend them. I don't judge justice based on the appeal of the subject of injustice.

                        No true progressive would. It is interesting how venomous you are towards atheists who practice what, as an outside layperson, seems to me what Jesus preached.

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:54:08 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  It's not my diary (0+ / 0-)

                      I thank you for your words. I just wanted to point out that this is not my diary. I did not write it. I did not suggest it nor contribute to it. Nor do I live nor have I ever lived in Texas. Nor do I have family or friends in Texas.

                      I tried to draw attention to this because I think the issue it exposes is important, even urgent.

                      None of this is about me, at all. If this diary were about a billboard targeting any other minority, the response would have been quite different, and no one would have had to run around posting requests in different diaries, in a vain attempt to get the critical mass necessary to get this on the rec list.

                      BTW, I in no way, shape or form judge all Christians by the behavior of khrena. Khrena's actions are his or her alone. It is clear that his or her faith has not made him or her any less of a jerk, but it also is not responsible for his or her behavior.

                      As a progressive, I believe both that each and every individual is responsible for their behavior - AND that people are strongly influenced and even manipulated by their cultural, social, political, economic and religious environments.

                      I believe SIMULTANEOUSLY that we all share a responsibility as members of a society towards one another, AND that we can't effectively combat injustice unless we address the root environmental causes which foster hate, AND that human beings are still capable of, and are culpable for, the individual choices they make.

                      None of this seems to me particularly controversial or out of the mainstream of what a "progressive " or "liberal" philosophy espouses.

                      None of this seems to me particularly weird or foreign to what Daily Kos is all about.

                      I have made the same argument consistently in every discussion on related topics.

                      I do not understand the reason for khrena's overt hate toward me, but I've learned that, online, you can't expect to understand how or why people behave the way they do. You can only be responsible for your own behavior, try to learn from your mistakes, and do better next time.

                      Same as offline.

                      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                      by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:50:33 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  HR abuse noted and reported. (0+ / 0-)

                    Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                    by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:13:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  It would be immensely helpful to ... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ahianne, khereva, RandomActsOfReason

                    ...both the person who receives HRs and to other readers if those who issue them provide some rationale in a reply to the comment that they HRed.

                    "Oh. Who's being naive, Kay?" - Michael Corleone

                    by Meteor Blades on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:38:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  yeah, it would be. that really should be (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      khereva, RandomActsOfReason

                      an accepted protocol and I often see that some do that.

                      It IS really helpful.

                      Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                      by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:43:50 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And I should say, I violated my own thinking (0+ / 0-)

                        on this the last couple of days and did not do it.  There were posts I should have Hr'd and didn't.  Only so many doughnuts...

                        But the reason for each really should be spelled out and I for one didn't do that.

                        I will in the future.

                        Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                        by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:46:04 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  The reason (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RandomActsOfReason

                      Is I saw no insults from Random directed to the offending poster AT ALL.  He was simply asking for progressive Christians to help a minority under assault and giving reasons why that is a reasonable request, as well as pointing out how liberal Christians have in the past (and currently) come to the aid of minorities under attack by hateful groups(as long as the minorities in question are not atheists).

                      He is then called a 'bigot' which is out of bounds, IMO.

                      •  Random was *not* called a bigot. (0+ / 0-)

                        I was referring, as I said above, to all the groups Random mentioned, when he asked (he thought rhetorically) if it was all right not to help three different exempla of hateful bigots: man-hating women, white-hating blacks, and straight-hating gays.

                        Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                        by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 04:51:16 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  ok, so you say (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          RandomActsOfReason

                          As far as I read this thread, the topic was about why there was such reluctance to come and help a minority under attack.  A speculation was made that it may be due to some people feeling insulted or not being asked nicely enough.

                          Random asked if the manner in which something is asked is really that important.  You jumped in and said yes, it does matter... you don't help bigots.

                          It's not a stretch to conclude that you meant Random (or atheists in general) along with the groups Random specifically mentioned.  Plus, the paragraph before the insult, you say:

                          If you spit in their faces while demanding their help, you're much less likely to get it, which can only have the goal of relieving you of the obligaton to be grateful for the help you've asked for.

                          It's clear you are talking to Random, or people like Random.  If you were talking about another group, you would have said THEY instead of YOU.

                          I come to this conclusion reading your other comments wherein you keep repeating the idea that Random insulted you, that you are not the type of Christian to turn the other cheek, that Random desperately needs to learn how to ask for your (or others help), ie, that he is demonstrating the behavior that causes you to refuse help( that you label as bigots), and that Random 'picked a fight' with you.  You said:

                          When he picks a fight and the people he attacks hit back, he is not being "assaulted." He ordered that pizza, I believe, deliberately.

                          So he deserved to be hit, but then you deny you hit him with the 'bigot' line?

                          If it was a simple misunderstanding, why not just say, hey, man, sorry, I wasn't referring to you, sorry for the misunderstanding, instead of continuing to rail against him and how he insulted you and needs to learn this and that and deserved to be hit?

                          Seems like a simple, humble, ''sorry for the confusion" would have cleared the whole thing up.  Instead what I see is an unrepentant, aggressive and incendiary commenter who likes to argue.  Why not take your own advice and use a little honey for your position exactly as you admonish others for not doing?

                          In the end, it is a judgement call, and I stand by it, despite your protestations and complaints to management.  You say you didn't call him a bigot.  I think you at least strongly intimated it, so I think I'll let you keep my donut.

                          •  No, I was not specifying Random. (0+ / 0-)

                            For the third time, I never referred to Random as a bigot. I do not apologize for a pretended attack which never occurred.

                            The "you" in your block quote is known as the "second person general." As in the phrase "If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas." It is well understood that the speaker does not refer specifically to the person wo whom he is speaking in such a phrase, that the speaker does not believe that the person to whom he is speaking in fact is lying down with dogs, nor that he has fleas.

                            To specify you, however, you know you're wrong here, you know your HR is unjustified, and you've decided to continue abusing the ratings system anyway.

                            Good luck with that.

                            Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                            by khereva on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 06:42:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  sorry (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RandomActsOfReason

                            I don't 'know I'm wrong'. I took a lot of care to read the entire thread and to note the argumentative, arrogant, and dismissive behavior that you address people with and came to a logical, reasonable conclusion based on facts and substantiating evidence. It's a conclusion that I can stand behind, and that you reinforce with every post.

                            I'm well aware of the 'second person general', and am quite sure that's not how you were using it.  For the record, I did consider that, but since you used the same type of language to say essentially the same thing directly about Random in other posts, it didn't seem likely that it was an aberration.

                          •  Check the mirror. You are projecting. (0+ / 0-)

                            Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

                            by khereva on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:42:13 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Thank you for explaining. ... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...For the record, while I personally think HRs are overused, my role is not to intervene in every case when someone objects to being HRed. If I did that, I'd be dead before the Solstice.

                        I do, however, think it is important for commenters to explain why they HRed unless it is obvious, such as the use of a racial slur.

                        In this case, your explanation has generated a back and forth with which readers other than you  principals can better make up their own minds about who has the better case.

                        "Oh. Who's being naive, Kay?" - Michael Corleone

                        by Meteor Blades on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 08:02:33 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I explained my HR. I got an answer. Not the one I (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Meteor Blades

                          was hoping for, unfortunately, but I said that if I received a substantive answer, I would remove the HR, and I have.

                          For the record: I am not the diarist.

                          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                          by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:24:25 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

        •  answers in genesis isn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          khereva
          progressive christianity!  They are fundies.
          •  Um, that is why I didn't post my request on their (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Malumaureus, cany

            blog.

            What part about asking progressive Christians on daily kos to join us and come to this diary, rec it, comment on it, and then take action publicly against this billboard, didn't you understand?

            As a practical matter, a letter to the editor or call in to a talk show condemning this billboard has much more power coming from a Christian than from an atheist, or just from atheists. Frankly, it has much more of a chance to even get on the air or in print.

            As a moral matter, all progressives should work together to combat public hate/fearmongering campaigns like this one.

            Thankfully, others here don't seem to hasty to see every comment asking for help as an attack on Christianity.

            We should be together on this. You have my word that I have stood up against hate campaigns targeting many people who were not at all like me - a white, male heterosexual atheist of Jewish extraction with a relatively high income with 2 kids and a dog. I've done so even in places and at times where much was at risk, even my safety.

            I follow in the tradition of my father, who fought for civil rights in the US, and for Arab Israeli and Palestinian rights in Israel.

            I really do not understand how anyone can call themselves a "progressive", and then see everything solely through the lens of how it affects their affiliation.

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:55:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I will never trust Christians to have my back (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quotemstr

          ...if I'm being persecuted.

          I've had theirs many a time, because, even though I think religion is a sickness, I do believe that people get into it with good intentions, and that there are many, many great and wonderful people who practice religion.

          Sadly, though, in my experience Christians very seldom stand up for athiests when it comes to a conflict with their own.  And I've been in lots of situations where that's come up.

          "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

          by Front Toward Enemy on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 06:33:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Doesn't hurt to ask (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quotemstr, Malumaureus, cany

            People surprise you, sometimes. History, unfortunately, supports your disappointment, but times are changing. Atheists are beginning to be recognized as a not completely irrelevant voting group, with the advent of the Secular Coalition and a president extraordinarily tolerant of people who think differently than he does.

            I know it is hard to keep hearing those in the overwhelming majority, with all the power and all the political representation, constantly complain about how oppressed they are, about how the Left (which is majority Christian) is "out to get" Christians.

            I don't quite understand the psychology that gives so many Christians the kind of persecution complex that Jews justifiably have. Christians have not been on the short end of the stick in the West for 2 thousand years, and they comprise 77% of Americans (and 70% of Democrats, btw), not to mention virtually 100% of public office holders, yet they still attack us as if they were the disadvantaged minority.

            And then, when there is real, tangible evidence of a hate campaign targeting us, they are nowhere to be found.

            Atheists have always been a central part of the civil rights movement in America - fighting for the rights of people of color, gays, women, the disabled. Way disproportionate to our numbers.

            We are erased from the history books. Our contribution is never taught.

            Why? Because the notion that someone can choose, entirely of their own volition, an utterly moral life, without any need for a god or a religion whatsoever, is profoundly threatening to organized religious institutions. It undermines their very reason to exist. If people can be moral without the church, if they don't need an organization to make them behave, then theists might not need a church, either. And then, where would the organization be?

            It is sad, but we must not give up. Atheists can't win this fight alone. We are too few, too disempowered, and even those sympathetic to our grievances in Congress are afraid to speak out in public, because atheists are held in the lowest esteem in the US public of any minority group in the country.

            We need the help of Christian progressives to speak out against this hate campaign.

            This isn't about Christian vs atheist. This is about progressives vs hate.

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 11:09:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I'm an atheist and I have never even owned (15+ / 0-)

    a friggin' gun.

    I'm a vegetarian and have thus led to far less death in the world than most.

    And the irony of this crap in light of the violence imposed on this country by the religious right over the last eight years.

    Blindness.

    The business of Nations is never morality. Moral stories live only through people.

    by tecampbell on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:11:42 PM PDT

  •  I guess those Christianist terrorists are really (12+ / 0-)

    atheists.

    pre-emptive war · collective punishment · torture | 21st century values you won't get prosecuted for

    by The Dead Man on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:12:58 PM PDT

  •  Only atheists kill people (10+ / 0-)

    All the mass murderers in our history were athei...oh wait, they weren't.

  •  What about the saying (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timoteo, Big Tex, tecampbell, Amayi, m00finsan

    "Kill em all, let God sort them out."

    The image of the kid with the gun could just as easily carry this quote.

    •  The ad, being translated-- (5+ / 0-)

      If you do not believe in our version of God, you have no value as a human.

      Or:

      Believe as we do, or your worthless ass will be shot. We're just sayin'.

      If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.

      by Amayi on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:33:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd be up for a little vandalism... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m00finsan

      ...well, actually, I probably wouldn't. I was definitely quite tickled at the billboard in Fight Club reading "ANTIFREEZE MAKES GREAT FERTILIZER," and your suggestion would be much funnier.

      "I set up a stage, put up a few banners, stuck a podium up there, and started shouting 'Yes we can.' Next thing you know there's 150,000 people here." -Joe

      by Geiiga on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:35:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (6+ / 0-)

    If you don't matter to God, you don't matter to anyone.

    Wow. That's something I would expect to hear from an abusive figure in someone's life.

    "...this country has never succeeded in moving forward without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past." -Keith Olbermann

    by m00finsan on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:19:28 PM PDT

  •  It is called morality (13+ / 0-)

    I find it odd that some religious folks, and Christians in particular, think they corner the market on morality.  As if human kindness, ethical behavior, and morals didn't exist until some Tuesday afternoon when Jesus was born (hey, it could have been a Tuesday).  The bulk of human history existed before Christianity and many other religions were codified and written down.  

    Rome is burning and they do not even smell the smoke.

    by Mote Dai on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:20:05 PM PDT

    •  An argument can be made that atheists... (9+ / 0-)

      ... are MORE "moral" than religious people. Atheists who do "good", at least. Religious people believe in a "supreme being" and an "afterlife". They believe, in general, that what happens to them in the afterlife will be determined by how the supreme being feels about what they did here on earth. And so, again in general, if these people treat other people well while here on earth, they do so at least partly to please their "god" and to get rewarded in an afterlife.

      Atheists, on the other hand don't believe in any kind of supreme being sitting there in judgement. They may, in some cases, think there's something to an afterlife (maybe?)... but they DON'T believe any "god" is gonna punish or reward them in any way. Therefore, if an atheist treats other people well, they won't be doing it in the hopes of later rewards, or the fear of later punishments.

      "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

      by ratmach on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:33:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The more a state goes to church (7+ / 0-)

    the higher the murder rate.

    If not believing in gods caused immorality and crime, as they always claim, then secular states would have a higher crime rate than religious ones.

    Not only is that not true, but actually the OPPOSITE is true.

    If he thinks he's going to be forgiven and go to heaven, why shouldn't he blow your head off ?

    Meet the New Boss - same as the Old Boss - the Who

    by tiponeill on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:21:13 PM PDT

    •  Also, the more religious a state, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      waiting for lefty

      the more porn they consume.  Just saw (on yahoo, I believe) an article about religion and porn.  Very interesting, but not really surprising.  The most repressed are often the dirtiest.  In the closet, anyhow (so to speak).

      When enough people take enough baby steps, pretty soon we will be able to turn around and see just how far we have truly come.

      by Spudnic on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:22:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Post it at Infidels.org in the forums there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex, Nulwee
    •  Why are we preaching to the choir? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MadEye, HiKa

      This should be front-page posted on every progressive Christian and/or theist blog around.

      Why isn't this on the front-page at StreetProphets?

      For that matter, where are all the progressive Christians who complained about Christian bashing around here the past couple of days? Why has this diary received only a handful of recs?

      Can you imagine a billboard like this targeting Jews, or gays, or Latinos, for example, that would not hit the top of the rec list in seconds flat?

      Where is the outrage now?

      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:43:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think after the last few days, a wall (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        khereva

        has divided many of us.  I know I will not be commenting on non-secular things in the future much, and I know some others won't either.

        It was a nasty last few days and I'm really not terribly interested, at this point, in reliving it any time soon.

        Having a discussion is one thing, but a shit fight is quite another.

        I think it was made pretty damn clear that Christians of almost any ilk are not wanted here.

        Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

        by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:24:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're making THIS diary about You? Or, Me? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HiKa

          Incredible is all I can say.

          You only fight for civil rights causes when people are nice to you?

          Hate billboards against a minority group, inciting fear and violence, is not a non-secular progressive issue for you?

          Did you actually read this diary, and look at the picture of the billboard?

          I'm asking for your help, not for me personally - I live in the tolerant city of Portland, Oregon, with more atheists per square mile than anywhere outside of Vermont.

          Are you a progressive? Do you care about hate and civil rights? I assume you do, which is why I ask for your help.

          Hate me if you must. But don't support a billboard hate campaign against atheists out of spite.

          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

          by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:30:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  BTW, I note you comment extensively below (0+ / 0-)

            on non-secular things, contrary to your claim in your comment. But, not a word of concern about this billboard campaign, not a word of support for those it targets, not an iota of activist language.

            It is hard to avoid the conclusion that you genuinely don't care, and only came here to make fun of us and insult me.

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:38:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Random... just take a breath for a minute (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ahianne, khereva

            would you?

            I don't really understand your points, actually.

            Clearly the sign is idiotic.  Clearly it was meant to piss people off, set people up as outsiders, and to try to convince people that being an atheist or agnostic is untenable and a horrible thing!  I get it!  I get it!

            But if you are sincere in wondering why no one has spoken out about it, how would I even know about it?  I just saw it!

            I don't even know who this creepy bunch is... I don't hang in those kinds of places:)

            But you don't kick sand in the faces of people you believe should help.  It just doesn't work that way.  If you change positions, you can see that!

            What is it, exactly, you want?

             

            Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

            by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:49:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I made a simple request: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean, yaque

              promote this diary. Help to draw attention to it. Ask others to read it and rec it. Rec if yourself, for starters (I note you haven't as of this moment).

              Follow-up request: I'd like to see progressive Christians take the lead, or at least partner in leadership, in combating this hate campaign.

              Public opposition will have much more resonance, a more sympathetic ear, and gain more media attention if it comes from Christians opposing this hate campaign by other Christians, than if it only comes from "whiny atheists".

              That is my request. I look forward to your response.

              One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

              by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:55:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, that's all very legit and reasonable. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                khereva, RandomActsOfReason

                I understand.  And actually, I think your argument makes good sense.

                Asking people of all ilks for support is a good thing, and especially when it comes to fighting hate.

                I'll make you a deal.  I'll blog about it tomorrow sometime at my site.  I actually get a lot of hits there, but not a lot of comments, which is fine.

                And okay, I will rec it up.  But just know that others won't understand what you are seeking until they get to your above post... too bad it didn't come sooner.  If it did, I certainly did not understand it.

                Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:02:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think the intent of this billboard (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ahianne, khereva

                is to attack atheists. It's more to state the importance of making god "matter" in your life, when god matters people will too. Not saying i agree it's just how I interpret its meaning.

                Obama/Biden, Shift Happens!

                by New Earth on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:14:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Then you should have no objection to promoting (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calamity Jean, HiKa

                  this diary, so that more people can come here and review it and decide for themselves.

                  I suppose the same logic could be applied to say that "God hates fags" is not meant to attack homosexuals, it is more to state the importance to god of heterosexual marriage in your life.

                  One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:18:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  new earth, i think it does. it just doesn't use (2+ / 0-)

                  the word atheist in it.  and i also think it's damn vicious.

                  it's so creepy I don't even like looking at it which is exactly what they intended.

                  doesn't it seem to you that they are implying that this Godless child is somehow violent and out to get you... because he is Godless?  That's what it says to me.  It sure frames an entire group of people in that light.

                  Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

                  by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:39:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Cany, I'm not an atheist (0+ / 0-)

                    I'll qualify my comment by saying that I do not belong to any religion. I believe in a supreme presence whose essence is also my essence. So maybe that's why I just don't see this billboard with the primary purpose of attacking atheists, i just don't see it that way. If I were an atheist I may feel differently.

                    I see it more as saying that if God doesn't matter in an individual's life, then neither will you. Not that I agree with this billboard in any way, but I don't see it as solely attacking atheists mainly because it wouldn't make sense - atheists are really a minority and I don't think they consider them a threat...I could be wrong ....just how I see it.

                    Obama/Biden, Shift Happens!

                    by New Earth on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:57:42 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  oh please (2+ / 0-)

          most of you saw bashing where there was none. Most people were trying to wrap their heads around the death of a Christian doctor at the hands of a deranged Christian....there was no need for any of you to identify yourselves as being personally to blame. Nor was there any reason to become reactionary about a fair critique of religious extremism.

          Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

          by valadon on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:41:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A few observations: (10+ / 0-)
    1. Atheists are underrepresented in prisons compared to Christians.  But hey, why would the Christianists let the truth get in the way of a good talking point.
    1. Any answers you get out of the book of Genesis are likely to be of the same quality as its answer to the question of universal origin, which has been laughed out of every credible university on the face of the earth.
    1. Not all of us in Texas are bible-toting Christianists.  Can we please stop pushing that bigoted meme?
    •  Heck, with the Republican attacks on Hispanics (7+ / 0-)

      Texas might soon become the newest Democratic outpost in the South.

      Fight the good fight.

      The business of Nations is never morality. Moral stories live only through people.

      by tecampbell on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:33:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I used to live in Texas (6+ / 0-)

      but you'd be more likely to find me toting the Book of Common Prayer rather than the Bible, and that only to church.

      I've said this many times, but I am truly dismayed that the face of Christianity (or Judaism, or Islam or fill-in-the-blank) has been defined by the vast minority of fundamentalist wingnuts. So many who describe themselves as atheists make the same mistakes the media makes: all Christians are evangelical, or fundamentalists, or biblical literalists.

      Can we separate these wingnutty billboards and the people who pay for them from those of us who practice liberal religion? The intolerance of some in the progressive community for anyone who is a Christian reminds me of the original settlers of my fair Commonwealth: fled England's established church's tyranny so that they could come over here and establish their own.

      "No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people"--H.L.Mencken

      by commonmass on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:39:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An addendum (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Urizen, Timoteo, valadon, m00finsan

        So that it is clear that I am not trolling here, I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who, at the Continental Congress suggested that they begin with a prayer was met with the rejoinder "I don't think we need any foreign interference".

        "No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people"--H.L.Mencken

        by commonmass on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:46:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't confuse... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        valadon, Big Tex, RandomActsOfReason

        ...religious liberals with fundamentalists.  But religious liberals still constitute a distinct minority, in America and globally.  

        If atheist "intolerance" was a major issue, I'd expect to see proposals for atheistic indoctrination. Since there are no such proposals, or if there are only minimally, you're dealing with a solution in search of a problem.  

        What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

        by Alec82 on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:58:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can you spend more energy (7+ / 0-)

        and outrage at those fundamentalist wingnuts who constitute a significant proportion of this country, have access to power at all levels, and are represented - even over-represented in elected office, than you and others spend bemoaning 'intolerance in the progressive community for anyone who is a Christian" - remembering that,

        A) atheists are a tiny minority in the country, have no access to power and have virtually zero representation in government at all levels;

        B) Math is your friend. A strong majority of people in the progressive community ARE Christians. Just like everywhere else in America.

        Comparing the "plight" of Christians here to the plight of Puritans under England is more than a bit like Rush Limbaugh complaining that white males are the "oppressed group" in America.

        Give me a fucking break. A majority of progressive Christians polled would not even vote for a progressive atheist for President. Tend to your own house, if you find it too challenging to tend to those fundie nuts who live in the neighborhood. Leave the one lone atheist guy in the tent in the forest the hell alone.

        We are used to you not inviting us to your cookouts, or your ceremonies and commemorations, not wanting us to babysit your kids or marry your children. We get that your idea of "interfaith diversity" is a Muslim, a Jew and a Buddhist sharing cookies in church, patting each other on the back for being virtuous, while we're not even invited to look in through the window.

        You don't have to rub it in our faces every day, and then run around talking about how we are being mean to you.

        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

        by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:22:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not at all sure this is true. Do you (0+ / 0-)

          have some stats to support this?

          I know it would not matter to me.  I care about a  candidate's views, not their religion.

          Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

          by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:43:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  NO (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Big Tex, Calamity Jean

        Because it is not a small minority of christianity - it is the vast majority.

        The small minority of christians who are NOT hate-mongers but who cover up for their fellow religionsists is the true "intolerance".

        I know a lot of christians who are good people, and I jurge them as such.

        But I also consider them as working under a handicap - they have to struggle harder than the rest of us to be good.

        Meet the New Boss - same as the Old Boss - the Who

        by tiponeill on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:23:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is a murder in Genesis, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, waiting for lefty

    done by Cain shortly after God spoke to him.

    So looking at Genesis for answers, the answer is that having conservations with God causes people to murder.

    Genesis 4
    Cain and Abel
    1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
         Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
    6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

    8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

    From http://www.biblegateway.com/...

    The FOX is a common carrier of rabies, a virus that leaves its victims foaming at the mouth and causes paranoia and hallucinations.

    by Calouste on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:34:55 PM PDT

  •  Statistically, I believe it's been shown (7+ / 0-)

    that atheists are less likely to commit crimes than those that profess religious beliefs.  Atheists are also more likely to be college-educated.

    So... Fail.

    I finally put in a signature!

    by Boris Godunov on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:41:04 PM PDT

  •  This brings to mind a concept I've toyed with+ (8+ / 0-)

    in the past.

    I am an atheist myself.  I view other people who identify themselves as atheists as 'honest' atheists.  By admitting to our lack of faith, there is a very strong implication that we have thought deeply about matters of morality, and a similar implication that we accept responsibility for our own actions.

    And yet, we live in a world in which we are constantly reminded that most heinous acts of violence, including murder, are committed by people who express strong religious faith, and may even commit those acts specifically out of faith.

    This is strange, because most major religions stress non-violence as a key component of their morality.  And in religions, morality is based on a punitive concept.  In religions such as Christianity or Islam, the idea is that if you behave according to the dictates of your god, you are rewarded with eternal bliss.  If you fail to obey the dictates of your god, you are punished with eternal torture.

    I can only conclude that these violence or crime-prone members of various faiths don't actually take their proclaimed religion very seriously.

    Which leads to my point, and that is my fear that AIG may have a point.  People who fail to believe in the concept of divine wrath are at least potentially capable of committing violent crimes more than people who do take their religion seriously.

    The flaw in the argument, though, is that these... let us call them 'effective' atheists, are not honest atheists.  It seems to me that they are the very people who promote their own faith.

    I've read that the population with the highest percentage of self-proclaimed religious faithful is in prisons.  I would also note that the percentage of self-proclaimed religious faithful is probably as high or higher in, say, the U.S. Congress.  

    I doubt this is a coincidence.

    •  I've often wondered (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David R

      about the hate and fear mongering coming from the right wingers, and why they feel it is a necessity.  

      I guess maybe when you've had it hammered in to your head as a religious fundamentalist from the time you could first understand the concept that

      ...if you behave according to the dictates of your god, you are rewarded with eternal bliss.  If you fail to obey the dictates of your god, you are punished with eternal torture.

      it kind of makes sense....

      "Follow our way or everything is doom and destruction."

      •  i think it is about control. what is clear is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David R

        that many of the fundamentalist sects and certainly the dominionist sects clearly control the women among them by describing a different role not only in the church, but in life for women, let alone the fact that they cannot be church leaders.  Which is why, of course, we have women like Phyllis Schlafly still around promoting all that women submitting balogna.

        Hard to believe any woman really buys that, but then again, I guess if the indoctrination starts young enough, and exposure to others is limited, it works.  Something obviously works.

        Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

        by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:50:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  David, I think that IS a common belief (4+ / 0-)

      and a common perception, this:

      And in religions, morality is based on a punitive concept.  In religions such as Christianity or Islam, the idea is that if you behave according to the dictates of your god, you are rewarded with eternal bliss.  If you fail to obey the dictates of your god, you are punished with eternal torture.

       
      Many, though, myself included, don't parse it that way.  I happen to be of the opinion that a) there is NO hell and NO purgatory, b)i don't know what heaven is, but the concept of being a soul saved applies to all whether they do or do not believe.

      This thinking is not that rare in Progressive Christian circles, but extremely rare in others.  

      Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

      by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:31:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well said (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, valadon, David R, cany

      I would add to this:

      I can only conclude that these violence or crime-prone members of various faiths don't actually take their proclaimed religion very seriously.

      People who fail to believe in the concept of divine wrath are at least potentially capable of committing violent crimes more than people who do take their religion seriously

      The others who act out violently and/or deadly are not just those who don't take their religions seriously but those who take it TOO seriously and deem themselves justified and empowered by their religious beliefs.

      Obama/Biden, Shift Happens!

      by New Earth on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:30:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you have hit it on the head here. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TracieLynn, David R, New Earth, yaque

        I know there has been a lot of discussion around about the "new Christian" which is viewed as being far more flexible (even in evangelical circles) than whatever they care to call our current bunch.  It's late and the term is escaping me.

        In the case of some previous killings, the killers involved the "necessity" defense saying that because the fetus could not defend itself, they had to...  and that one thought is seen through and through Terry Randall's diatribe, for instance.

        What is interesting to me about that, from an ideological viewpoint, is that they don't look at ALL to secular law, but only to religious law, and we know all too well where that leads.  This is the same bunch that would rule the US, under theocracy, according to Biblical law.  I have never been worried about that happening because the shit-fight over whose Biblical legal interpretations are right would take centuries to resolve!  Each leader has perfected their own thoughts on it.  

        That said, we have to watch for it constantly as they consistently try to color every piece of legislation--and outright author legislation--to inject it whenever, and wherever they can.

        Thus the hate of science, logic and free thought.  It's about domination... control... power.  Getting it and keeping it and applying its tenets to everyone.

        It takes the entire concept of freedom and crushes it.

        Scary stuff.

        Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

        by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:06:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Love this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David R

          This is the same bunch that would rule the US, under theocracy, according to Biblical law.  I have never been worried about that happening because the shit-fight over whose Biblical legal interpretations are right would take centuries to resolve!

          Great insights...thanks

          Obama/Biden, Shift Happens!

          by New Earth on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:18:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Really, atheists are just as faithful as theists. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, David R, Hopeful Monster

      I think it's more in line for some - maybe even most - here to be called agnostics.  At least that's what I call them.  I'm an agnostic though a nominal Christian.

      The difference, my excellent philosophy instructor made crystal clear, is "faith."  No one can prove the existence of any god.  Yet, no one can disprove it either.  Atheists, like theists, have faith; faith in NO god and faith that there is no god.

      But since a god's existence can't be proved or disproved both a theist and an atheist make "a leap of faith" in a belief.  That's why I know I'm not an atheist.  Until god's existence is proved or disproved I shall, based on reason, remain an agnostic.

      Atheism, like theism, requires too much faith in what isn't known or even provable.

      The human spirit beats religion everytime.

      by waiting for lefty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:42:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't have faith in no god (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David R, Front Toward Enemy

        I have belief. There is a difference. I won't get into the other arguments that have been engaged in repeatedly in many places regarding the burden of proof.

        Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
        A yam.
        What a Yam!
        And that's all that - A yam.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:56:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And you're welcome to your belief. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AaronInSanDiego

          First off, let me say that atheists have gotten a horrifically unfair rap, not just in America today but everywhere throughout history.  I believe they (and many others) ARE being targeted for violence by "Christian" terrorists.  And I appreciate this diary; recommended it.

          That said, I don't - and didn't - criticise anyone's beliefs.  Quite the contrary.  I'm supporting your belief that there is no god. Or your belief that there isn't a spirit who oversees your destiny or who judges you in an afterlife or any incarnation that you wish to envision about your beliefs.

          And at the unavoidable risk of leaving some point unaddressed when discussing this complex topic:

          I'm agnostic because I question the existence of any god.

          My comments are food for thought.  Nothing more.  I'm contributing to the conversation.  Don't take it personally.  My former philosophy instructor, Dr. John Eskridge, is one of the smartest men I've ever known.  And devout theists and staunch atheists - and the many of us in between - in his classrooms appreciated his teachings WITHOUT feeling discomfitted.  That's an accomplishment, and it's only a failure of mine to not live up to his clear, rasor-sharp insights.  Then again, he had hours of lectures to flesh out his instruction.  By the way, he told me he's an agnostic (which I believed, but he covered all 3 - atheism, agnosticism, theism - so fairly, that I couldn't really be sure until I asked him - in private, not in the classroom).

           Agnostics, he says, generally require proof or at least good evidence.

           Theists and Atheists, he said, "believe."

          Shocking?  Not at all.  You said it yourself:

          I don't have faith in no god.  I have belief.  There is a difference.

          Well, what IS the difference?  And what is it you have belief in?  Or about?  Actually, based on what you've written, it seems you have NON-belief in a god.  Nothing wrong with that.  But NON-belief can't exist by itself; one has to have an opposing belief.  And you said you do, sans explanation.

          If there is a difference between "faith" and "belief," it is only a semantical one.  Those words are often used interchangeably, and not without merit.  After all, "faith" IS belief despite the absence of proof.  And it's helpful that, like me, you won't get into burdens of proof, because it's UNPROVABLE one way or the other - or, as Dr. Eskridge might say, no person has yet been able to devise a way to prove or disprove the existence of any god. "God" love him.

          My belief is that there is no meaningful difference between "faith" and "belief."  Whatever difference might exist between them is insignificant.  And based upon a highly-cherished legal axiom:

          "A difference that makes no difference IS NO DIFFERENCE."

          That's all I'm sayin.'

          The human spirit beats religion everytime.

          by waiting for lefty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 06:48:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I appreciate that you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waiting for lefty

            are thoughtful and aren't trying to be critical. I just think that there are a lot of people who have educated disagreements with both you and your professor, and I am one of them. Not just in our conclusions but in our choice of terminology.

            My basic definitions of atheist and agnostic are, an atheist says "I do not believe there is a god", whereas an agnostic says "I do not know if there is a god". Many other people use these definitions as well. In addition to not believing that there is a god, I also have the affirmative belief, based on the evidence I perceive, that there is no god. This is what some refer to as "strong atheism." I am not absolutely convinced of this belief and my mind could be possibly changed with further evidence, but as of now I am confident in this belief.

            The problem I have is when I say, "I am an atheist", and I intend one meaning and people who read that interpret a different meaning, and draw conclusions from that interpretation which I then feel the need to correct. However, "atheist" is a politically charged term, and if I avoid saying "I am an atheist", then it feels as if I am giving in to those who would oppress me for my beliefs. I realize you aren't one of those, so for you it makes no difference. But I also don't quite understand the desire that some people have to make atheists into something else.

            Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
            A yam.
            What a Yam!
            And that's all that - A yam.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 07:24:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wholeheartedly agree. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AaronInSanDiego

              Thanks for the reply.  Based on the available evidence, I, too, believe there is no god.  And I'm glad you mentioned "strong atheism."

              I thoroughly detest what many do in the name of "faith."  And I did not mean that those who have spiritual fervor are in any way comparable to atheist beliefs.

              My instructor was (and remains) unsparingly indicting of theists in general (both historically and today) and what many of them did and do in the name of "god" (Note the small "g") and the horrific injustices wrought by all forms of "fundamentalism."

              As an example of many similar statements in his lectures he would ask:

              "Is it LIKELY that a man [Jonah] could spend many days amongst the digestive juices of a whale?  Is it LIKELY that he could emerge from inside a whale not only whole but alive?   Is it LIKELY that he could have made it back to shore.  And is it LIKELY that even one person would believe such a story?"

              He was equally critical of the so-called immaculate conception, and of Joseph's initial reaction to the news that his girlfriend who refused him is suddenly pregnant.

              And Dr. Eskridge drew very clear and entirely favorable portraits of atheist belief, and that generally atheists tend to have very high codes of conduct and ethics far in excess of your average theist.  And I'm in total agreement with him.

              I meant no disrespect.  And I regret any misunderstanding.

              Go safely, and good fortune be yours, AaronIn SanDiego (and the rest of us).

              The human spirit beats religion everytime.

              by waiting for lefty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 09:58:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Aaron: Interesting position. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AaronInSanDiego

              I took four years of classes on religious history, and other issues in a class offered at my church called EFM and did a huge amount of outside reading from a variety of sources, many not recommended reading, but I really wanted a diverse set of views.

              I was very out front about my thoughts because the point of the class is not to shape a point of view, but to bring history, perception etc. to the table and provide ways of dissecting and understanding it.

              Everyone knew I was a former atheist bounding back and forth between this and agnosticism prior to returning to the Christian faith because I was open about it.  Some used to chide me as "their little atheist". I freely spoke about my life experiences and what led me to returning to the church at 49 years of age.  I was not really treated differently than anyone and, in fact, I think many appreciated my perspective because it was often so different, given my background.  BTW, there was not a professed creationist in the bunch that was TEC, though we did have a Baptist that joined us in the classes.  On second thought, there was one, but she dropped out.

              What was SO interesting was to watch was this Baptist struggle so hard given the beliefs he held and understandings he had--four years of learning history and Biblical theology he had never thought existed.

              Believe me, there are days I really have to work on my faith AND my belief, so I do appreciate the distinction.

              Those classes changed me greatly.  It also helped me to be able to distinguish between intellectual honesty and belief.  Those can be hard jumps.

              I guess my point is that often I see atheists and agnostics make the same mistakes as the Biblical literalist because, for many, they have had little to no exposure to current theological scholarship or thought.  Understand, I am not being critical about this.  But it is a reason, in my opinion, that we frequently talk past one another and get mired in conversations, myself included, where we don't even START with the same frame of reference.  The same can be said about two Christians discussing one Chapter or Book of the Bible.  10 people, a million opinions.

              Now this doesn't always apply, and, in fact, it was a Pagan that first suggested I read some John Spong, which I did (in fact everything he has ever written).  It was VERY clear to me that this Pagan knew WAY more about my belief than I did, which set me on the quest to better educate myself.  That path changed my perspective in NO small way.  Were I to study the Torah with experts of different minds, I am sure I would be astounded by my own level of sheer stupidity.  It is, in fact, something I hope to do.

              There are great minds in the atheist/agnostic tent, but not all.  There are great minds in the Christian tent, but (and I can say this being one), clearly not all.  The difference between Falwell and Spong, for instance, is not even describable!  

              I took the time today to read through this entire post and comment thread again.  What I saw was some of us talking past each other.  We really need to stop that, myself included.  As Random points out, this is NOT about A religion, but about hate.  And we as progressives, no matter who we are or what we believe, need to point to it when we see it, vocalize rationally about it, stand together to say it is wrong and take some kind of action to stop it.  That is precisely what civil rights and justice movements have always done.

              We ALSO have to stop throwing barbs at one another.  That divides us.  A thoughtful discussion is fine, but a shit-fight kills off everyone.  That requires listening, asking real and thoughtful questions, and taking the time (when not angry!) to really think things through.

              What I read last night, compared to what I read this morning, was distinctly different.

              As progressives, and I completely agree with Random here, is that we HAVE to stand together as we do on politics.  But to do that, we have to learn to talk to each other.

              Sorry this is so long...

               

               

               

              Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

              by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 01:25:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Interesting, thoughtful comments (0+ / 0-)

                I agree there is a lot of talking past each other, and I'm probably as guilty as anyone. What bothered me about the discussion the other night was people accusing me of bigotry for things I didn't say. I also thought it was important to make clear why I thought it was important not to deny the Christianity of many professed Christians who espouse violence. Unfortunately there were a lot of insults and accusations hurled from various sides.

                Anyway I appreciate your thoughtful response. I want to reiterate that while I don't share the religious views of others, I don't bear any ill-will or disrespect toward good people who are religious.

                Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
                A yam.
                What a Yam!
                And that's all that - A yam.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 08:59:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  It's not my job to have faith in "no god"; (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David R, Front Toward Enemy

        it's not even my job to believe in "no god".

        Burden of proof lies on the positive existential claimant. Would be nice to start with a consistent definition that doesn't suffer from the "moving goalposts" problem too.

        Saying atheists have "faith" is like saying someone who declines to believe in invisible pink unicorns and sequined leprechaun starfleets have faith in their non-existence too.

        •  That's not "like" what I'm saying,... (0+ / 0-)

          ...that's exactly what I'm saying.  Until I see proof of invisible pink unicorns, etc., I'm comfortable with my faith that they don't exist, just as you seem comfortable with your beliefs.

          Yes, like your hypothetical someone, I "have faith in [the] non-existence [of invisible pink unicorns, etc.], too."  This shouldn't be problematic for anyone here.  Though I'm an agnostic, I still take leaps of faith.  I never said I didn't.  And I'm not afraid of them.

          Because of my extensive background in law, I, too, abhor tactics where "moving goalposts" are utilised.  I'm fairly confident that I didn't move any.

          Perhaps I should have put "faithful" in quotation marks in my original comment.

          You, like the previous responder, mentions a "burden of proof."  But I never called for any proof; I said there isn't any, one way or the other.  I have faith that it's UNPROVABLE.

          The only evidence I or anyone (yet) has on the existence or nonexistence of a god, is that we need more evidence.

          That's all.  That's not so troubling, really.  Is it?

          The human spirit beats religion everytime.

          by waiting for lefty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 07:45:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Extrapolating from past events to future ones is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            waiting for lefty

            not "taking of faith". It is not a matter of faith to presume that the sun will rise tomorrow - even if I don't understand the physical mechanisms behind it, it is a reasonable expectation and an operating assumption.

            You take the phrase "burden of proof" too literally; proofs are for mathematics - the burden is for affirmative evidence. There is no burden on me to provide evidence that there are no such things as gods.

            And it takes zero faith, in the absence of credible affirmative evidence, to fail to hold a proposition as true, and to act operationally as if it were false. Indeed, it would be madness to do otherwise, as there are an infinite number of varied unevidenced hypotheses imaginable.

            •  I agree with you. (0+ / 0-)

              That's why I never said "burden of proof," or asked for any proof (or even evidence) from anyone, cause there isn't any.  I said it's unprovable.  And it is.  In one of those absurd ironies, though, society is placing on atheists the burden to prove a negative, while theists - who are claiming a positive - have the exact same absence of evidence.  Yet theists are more often regarded as "better."  Your right, it IS madness.

              However, I don't believe I even implied - let alone said - that anyone who disbelieves something should behave as if they did believe.  That kind of infamy goes to people like Dick Cheney and all the other righties who pretend that evidence that's kicking all of us in the balls isn't there.

              One quick suggestion.  Maddening though these types of philosophical questions can be, if I may play one last devil's advocate:

              Citing the rising sun tomorrow, in this context, is invalid because your reasonable expectation that it will rise is a repeated and observable phenomenon.  That's why it's proved and the realm of belief - by itself - never is.

              Go carefully, and a bonnie future, Robobagpiper.

              The human spirit beats religion everytime.

              by waiting for lefty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:34:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, don't open this can of worms. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Front Toward Enemy

        Thank you for the reply, but I have to forcefully disagree with you on this.

        I have studied many forms of religious belief.  While I don't claim to have an encyclopedic knowledge of faith, I have read the classical mythologies, both Greek and Norse.  I've read the Kalevala and the Mabinogion.  I've studied Buddhism, Shintoism, and Hinduism.  And of course, I have read the Bible and listened to different interpretations of Christianity.  I even know who Xenu is.

        None of these religious views present a worldview that is congruent with the actual world.  Most of these religions depict an 'active' divine force, an entity or entities which respond to prayer, which physically punish sin, which go out and create miracles that are indubitably miraculous.  But in reality, we don't see this at all.  For event which is claimed to be a miracle, for every disaster that a person of faith survives, there are a hundred disasters which persons of faith do not survive.

        Prayer just doesn't seem to work.  In fact, faith seems irrelevant in determining what happens to you on a day-to-day basis.  There seem to be no lepers cured, no blind men regaining sight, no cripples walking again, due to the intervention of divine beings.  When these things do happen, they happen because of human endeavor... science, technology, or simple hard work.

        There are so many internal contradictions in religious faith as well.

        Well, I'm running out of time, so I'll cut it off here.  What I have is not 'faith in no god' but an observation that faith in gods is irrelevant.  And I for one am not about to take Pascal's Wager for the sake of a bunch of hooey.

        Don't just listen to your philosophy instructor.  I doubt his excellence.  Get the real story from the people you are having your opinions about.

        •  What "can of worms" HAS'NT been opened here? (0+ / 0-)

          And what can of worms would that be?

          I never said a thing about organised religion nor religion at all.  I too have read a lot of philosophy and am well aware of the wretched and blood-soaked history of so-called "faith in God."

          You (and others) seem to think I'm making some kind of value judgment against atheists.  I'm not, and never would (I would hope).

          And I would much more likely trust the word of a random atheist before any generic theist.  Certainly there's much more rationality in atheism than in the  often demented views of too many theists.

          What I have is not 'faith in no god' but an observation that faith in gods is irrelevant.  And I for one am not about to take Pascal's Wager for the sake of a bunch of hooey.

          Me neither (I'd use an exclamation point if that key worked on my keyboard - need a new one).  To you it's irrelevant.  That's fine by me.  And I used to be an athiest.  Not anymore.  But I'm not an theist either, thank God (intended).

          Don't just listen to your philosophy instructor.  I doubt his excellence.  Get the real story from the people you are having your opinions about.

          Those last 3 statements, David R, are wholly without justification.  For someone whose telling me to "get the real story," you're assuming quite a lot.  I might say you took a leap of faith that I'm some vacant automaton holding poor knowledge of history and philosophical thought from a single subpar Philosophy instructor who earned his doctorate in that discipline.  I would think you might have checked my Dkos homepage and also perhaps wondered about my age or my holding a liberal arts degree, careers in law and journalism, and now history education plus extensive knowledge of politics and public policy. That would have been wise.

          But I'm confident that I don't have to defend Dr. John Eskridge's almost 40 years of high-caliber college instruction to students who throughout the years even today still strive to enter his more than seven courses on Philosophy, Existentialism, Religion, and other philosophical thoughts at two separate colleges and universities in Pittsburgh during the same terms as well as countless for-credit independent studies with individual students in both institutions, while  often serving as guest lecturer in prestigious discipline associations, holding numerous degrees and the man is STILL taking classes because, as he said, he's still "seeking."  He's an affirmed agnostic and proud of it. And I'm grateful for every moment I spent in his classroom, every minute absorbed in informal private discussions in his office, and in his friendship today.

          In fact, he'd probably agree with virtually everything you said in your comment (as do I).  But those last remarks of yours are entirely without merit, and could only have been made by one who is not the slightest bit acquainted with the towering intellect of Dr. John Eskridge.

          And my one regret is that I wasn't perhaps as thorough in explaining what I meant in my original post.  Perhaps I should have put "faithful" in quotation marks.  Certainly among many theists are religious nutjobs and terrorists, which is why I didn't mention religion at all.  I would never equate religion with atheism.  I hope I have made up for any shortcomings in my posts above, and here now.

          As the Talosian said to Captain Pike:

          "May you find your way as pleasant."

          The human spirit beats religion everytime.

          by waiting for lefty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 09:09:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  atheism is a faith... (0+ / 0-)

        ...like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

        "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

        by Front Toward Enemy on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 06:46:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your changing the terms. (0+ / 0-)

          I never said - and would never say - "atheism is a faith."

          I said atheists are "faithful."  And perhaps I should have put that in quotation marks in my original comment.  Read my above responses to other comments for more details.

          Atheists are "faithful" about what?  Or in what?

          In their beliefs.  Beliefs that any person is perfectly welcome to hold.

          Is this really so shocking?

          The human spirit beats religion everytime.

          by waiting for lefty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 07:58:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not entirely honest (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David R, Malumaureus

      because in circumstances where I'm uncomfortable coming out as an atheist I fall back on my Jewish identity, which is also real but not the full story.

      Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
      A yam.
      What a Yam!
      And that's all that - A yam.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:52:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hope some atheist in Texas climbs up (4+ / 0-)

    on that billboard and paints "YES!" after the question.

    To change ideas about what land is for is to change ideas about what anything is for. - Aldo Leopold

    by Mother Mags on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 10:49:27 PM PDT

  •  If i was a detective investigating a murder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judgment at Nuremberg

    And the only thing i knew about the suspects is that one suspect was a christian and the other was an atheist I would.......

  •  Who directed their video? (0+ / 0-)

    Bruce Weber?

  •  Why isn't THIS front-paged? (7+ / 0-)

    Where are the rec's from all those expressing outrage at the alleged demonization of Christians, the "anti-Christian" sentiment, the "War on Christmas Christianity", that get hundreds of rec's and get to the top of the rec list?

    Where are the demonstrations, marches of solidarity, letters to the editor, the candle-light vigils of progressive Christians expressing outrage at this bigotry against atheists?

    Where are the Christian leaders on TV expressing their conviction that atheists are as moral as Christians?

    Where are all the voices here on Daily Kos? Where is pastordan and all the rest?

    Can you imagine a billboard like this directed against Jews? The outrage here?

    Hello? Anyone out there? Where are you progressive Christians now?

    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:28:35 PM PDT

  •  *ring* . . . *ring* . . . (8+ / 0-)

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:32:12 PM PDT

  •  Pretty amazing, isn't it? (5+ / 0-)

    Atheists make up between 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population.

    Atheists make up about 0.25% of the U.S. prison population.

    Christians are about proportionally represented in society and prison (~80%ish in each)

    This means that an atheist is about ten times less likely to end up in prison compared to a Christian.

    Does Answers in Genesis know this? Of course they do. It's an intentional ignorance on their part. What happened to "Thou shalt not bear false witness"?

    Ending thought: What kind of misanthropist really believes that without a God holding their afterlife hostage, they would run around murdering and raping freely? Just how moral is a person who is only not murdering because they're afraid of divine punishment?

    •  What about jailhouse conversions? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      khereva, Malumaureus

      I understand the point here, and I'm not calling the 80ish% figure into question really (others up-thread have made similar statements), but exactly how was this data gathered?

      People who go to jail tend to "find religion."  How many supposedly had this alleged religion when they went in?  I've been acquainted with lots of people who go to church often, bible-studies and so forth, who shoplift, commit burglary, deal drugs, beat up people, steal from their jobs, friends, families and others to support their drug habit.

      Are they really "faithful," or do they choose to claim to be, so that others will have a less harsh opinion of them and maybe hope their sins will be washed away through faith?

      The human spirit beats religion everytime.

      by waiting for lefty on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:58:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People "finding religion" almost inevitably (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waiting for lefty

        simply find fervor in the religion they were raised with, or some variety thereof.

        Backslidism isn't atheism; no matter how many newly zealous backsliders like to describe their former indifference to their religion's structures that way.

        Hell, the whole cycle of being a drugging, drinking, swearing, fornicating, shit-kicking sinner in one's youth; "discovering" Jesus again in one's late 20s, and sneering down on the sinning youth just doing what you did is essential to the religious life of the semi-rural South (including Texas).

  •  Wait, I don't get it.... (0+ / 0-)

    so if you don't matter to god you don't matter to anyone?

    I guess they mean atheists are people who don't fear a "higher power" and therefore are more agreeable to committing homicide, according to the ad.

    However, I would argue that the video showed nobody need worry about this atheist who might use their free will to go out and kill you with a revolver .

    If your first thought of a location in which to go on a shooting spree is the middle of a deserted road with no sidewalks or anything that would even suggest people might be there then you're probably not that much of a threat.

  •  Save that kid! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blackjackal

    Teach him that God loves him and sign him up for the military where he can properly defend God.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

    by yet another liberal on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 11:52:47 PM PDT

  •  weren't they going to secede? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mokou

    oh well, no such luck. Seriously though, where does free speech end and harrassment of a group of people begin? (granted we are not a unified bunch, but that's irrelevant). I don't suppose we could have an ad in Texas that says the same about a particular branch of religious faith and get away with our lives.

    Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

    by valadon on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:06:29 AM PDT

  •  The more I think about it (3+ / 0-)

    I think his Mama didn't love him.  That's why he's angry.  Plus, it's easy to get guns, because good folks, like the ones that run genesis.org like guns because God loves guns too.  They really need to recruit this kid before he gets rounded up into one of those Fema internment camps for people that love God and guns and hate gays.

    Save that boy!  Save his soul.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

    by yet another liberal on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 12:07:30 AM PDT

  •  A silver lining in all this. (8+ / 0-)

    Looking through the YouTube comments, this gem was in there:

    fawlty70 (1 month ago)
    Great video, it hits all the elements that American [Fundie] Christianists love: God, guns and young boys.

  •  A good test for all those of you who were (3+ / 0-)

    outraged, outraged I tell ya, about the allegedly widespread Christian-bashing here. Show us that you are against anti-atheistic bigotry too.

  •  Hmmm, where ARE all the "stop bashing us" (4+ / 0-)

    Christians here at Daily Kos? I hope they took a look at this diary and are engaging in a bit of introspection. Maybe seeing it helps them to realize how ridiculous, absurd, and frankly childish it is to claim to be some persecuted minority anywhere in America, or maybe it helps them consider that the persecution of atheists, subtle and not subtle, is quite strong in this country.

    That billboard is the worst I've seen. That's saying something: having lived in Florida for almost 15 years, I've seen a lot of Christian themed billboards that collectively effectively advertise, "Not a Christian? Then you don't belong, you are immoral, and you need to be re-educated" (not direct quotes from any billboards; just a statement of the general theme).

    •  Ok maybe you missed the point of the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, cany, Front Toward Enemy

      "stop bashing us" diaries.  That is ok because everyone is guilty of stereotyping here.  Christians aren't the only ones guilty of it.  The point was that the religion is very large and there are sects across the spectrum from left to right.  The Christo-radicals don't speak for me and I don't speak for them.

      I'm curious how many people at this site were ourtaged when conservatives were asking Moderate Muslims to speak out against radical Muslims or when Obama was asked to speak out against fellow African American Danny Glover going to Venezuela to visit Chavez?  I've been here awhile and I've seen the outrage.

      You want a dialogue?  Lets make this a dialogue but stop with the broad brush blanket statements.

  •  If divine commandment is all that's keeping (0+ / 0-)

    someone from murdering, then they're a psychopath.

    But there have been plenty of prison surveys of religion. Non-believers are underrepresented in prisons by approximately a factor of ten vis a vis their numbers in the general population.

    Or, put another way, "there are no atheists in the hole".

  •  Anyone notice how they put him in a (0+ / 0-)

    white A-shirt (aka wife-beater)?

    Looks like they're trying to achieve some sort of James Dean motif here.

  •  "A good person will do good things. (0+ / 0-)

    A bad person will do bad things.
    But for a good person to do bad things,
    takes religion."

    A saying I once heard.
    All you intertubes mavens can probably find out who said it.

  •  Photoshopped billboard? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    khereva

    If you zoom in on the photo, it really looks like the text has been photoshopped on.  Anyone else notice that?  

    Download it and look at it in 2x or 3x.  You'll see pixelation artifacts around all of the text.  And you don't see it around the gun or kid.  Could just be the low quality of the picture and the hard border between the text and picture, but I've seen far too many faked bulletin boards over the year.

    The video is on their web page here:  http://www.answersingenesis.org/... but no mention of the bulletin board.

    The sentiment is the same and it isn't misrepresenting their position, I just thought it looked faked.

  •  Atheists are more likely to commit murder. (0+ / 0-)

    We're just more likely to be more discerning in our victims.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 05:32:09 AM PDT

  •  I wonder if they feel silly given the recent... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy, skeptiq

    Christian terrorist activity in this country.

    I doubt it, though.  They'd have to think to do that, and we know they don't think much.

  •  this is a job for Laci Green! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, skeptiq

    Whenever there's an atheism topic, I like to post one of my favorite YouTube vids:

    Other than that, all I can say is, I live in the South in the midst of the Baptist Taliban, and I can definitely tell you that athiests and Christians alike face a far bigger threat from fundamentalist Christians than they do from any non-believer.  I'm an atheist and I don't plan on killing anyone, but nonetheless I've have plenty of violence done to me at the hands of Christians who were pissed that I don't go to church.  It hasn't happened much lately since I'm an adult and have legal recourse, but when I was a teen I had knives pulled on me for it, got threatened with guns, got in a few fist-fights... all non-provoked by me.  Just not going to church was enough to enrage the Baptist Taliban.

    It's pretty hard to inspire somebody to commit an atrocity from non-belief.  You need a religion or cultist political ideology or cause to inspire wholesale murder.

    And it looks like this Texas group has targeted atheists, trying to enforce conformity to their religion.  The Nazis used to put up posters like that about the Jews...

    "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 06:23:44 AM PDT

    •  Front: (0+ / 0-)

      "...I can definitely tell you that athiests and Christians alike face a far bigger threat from fundamentalist Christians than they do from any non-believer."

      Now, I KNOW not all fundamentalists advocate violence, nor would ALL fundamentalists do something like this... something so personal and frightening, but I often see the serious difference in political and social policy.

      I live a few doors down, in a very small community, of 350 homes, from a fundamentalist family.  They are devout and VERY Biblically literalistic.  They home schooled their kids using Bob Jones texts *(argh!)*. We disagree on just about EVERYTHING Christian, believe me. And don't EVEN get me started on science!  

      We have had long conversations on topical issues.  

      What you experienced, in the 12 years I have known this family, I have NEVER experienced.  There is none of this between us, in fact, the husband of the family frequently helps me out (without EVER being asked) if he sees me in need of something.  He would NEVER, EVER think of doing something as was done to you.  NEVER.

      I have to wonder if this is a collective group mindset in areas that are, perhaps, almost 100% of one faith?  Is that the case where you grew up?

      In the running up to Prop 8, he had a few bumper stickers advocating his "pro" position, and I had a few advocating my No. This is where I see huge, important differences: In our views on what government, the constitution, legislative policy and social policy mean and do.  I am for LOTS of freedom.  LOTS.  Don't you dare misinterpret the constitution, even if what someone is doing is legal under it and you don't like it! (e.g. ACLU defending KKK's right to free speech, marching, etc.).

      My neighbor is more restricted and believes strongly in the (faux) fact that the US was born a Christian nation... you know the rhetoric well.  He does not believe the country should be a theocracy where secular law is nixed and replaced by Biblical law, but he DOES believe in school prayer, criminalizing all abortion and... well you know the list.

      Even when it comes to more fundamentalist beliefs, the pew sitters are not of one mind.  Nor are the Baptists or Southern Baptists or Roman Catholics or Lutherans etc.  Their leadership may be, but not the pew sitters.  There are fundamentalists in EVERY religious sect/denomination.  Thus the problem with the term.

      There are very wild variations in my church, The Episcopal Church.  I have come to understand that many Episcopalians really aren't.  They are far too Calvanist, for instance, and believe in vertical structure which is clearly not TEC.  And as you know, our church has been in a major internal battle for a number of years now, egged on by some external forces (such as the IRD) over the church's social witness.

      What I do know is that the problem seems to be coming from the religious right generally thought of as Falwell, Dobbs, etc. (but Randall Terry, for instance, is a Roman Catholic which historically has been a VERY socially progressive church on many fronts).

      The problem I am having is developing a term that really fits.  I cannot use terrorist to describe all right wing anti-choice (or pro-fetus if you will) groups.  It doesn't fit.  I can't use fundamentalist any more than I can rightfully use liberal or progressive.  

      Right now the term I am using is radical (fill in the blank) to generalize, or anti-American terrorist (fill in the blank) for people like Randall (given all his views which are real whoppers on every front), or violent radical terrorist Christian if describing the Army of God or people/groups that suscribe or support the kinds of actions that ended in the assassination of Dr. Tiller.

      I am having to literally piece together verbiage because each group is so damn different and I don't want to harm the good by mixing in the bad (the wheat/tares idea).

      I wish we DID have a broad-brush term that would fit.  I can't find one.  It would be sooooo much easier.

      Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

      by cany on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:29:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the same guy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy

    who built the "Creation Museum." Wackos.

    Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by MA Liberal on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 06:46:08 AM PDT

  •  Let the Billboard Wars Begin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, skeptiq

    The caption in those ads could just as easily read...

    "God sanctioned many murders in the Bible, has He sanctioned yours?"

    A paranthetical (Good thing the Bible is mythological) in small print just below it, would be the cat's meow.

    "Consider what calamities that engine of grief [the Cross] has produced!" - John Adams

    by Klaatu Paine on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 08:57:26 AM PDT

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