No Being Nice Is Not Enough

I’ve penciled in some time to be angry.

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So have I told you that I’m on G+? No one cares, that isn’t the point, but I use social media. The problem with social media these days is that it is always trying to read you, find out what you want to see, and usually it is well off the mark. Especially if your posts usually include talking about religious gods, but not in a positive light.

G+, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, they see the word ‘god’ in a post you responded to, or a video you watched, and they think ‘this guy wants to hear about jesus’. So when I go to the internet, I’m inundated with sponsored posts with quotes about loving the lord. You can imagine how that makes me feel (the answer is: meh).

The worst of these come from what I think is a vital misunderstanding between atheists and theists of different sorts. These are the ‘We love you too, atheists’ posts. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of love to give, and I’m not one to turn away positive feelings. It is just hard to accept. 

You know how in recent years churches have been loud and proud about their acceptance of gays? Then we realized most of it was just the terrible ‘hate the sin not the sinner’ bull that has probably driven countless gay people to self-hated and possibly suicide? Yeah, this feels a lot like that. 

I don’t need your acceptance, I don’t want your internet faith hugs if you are only paying lip service. There are reasons that theists aren’t atheists, and for a lot of them it is a genuine faith in their religion. There are reasons that atheists aren’t theists, and usually it is the opposite of the previous. Being nice is not going to make everything magically fall together. Christians, I’m sorry, but that dream of spreading the word to everyone just ain’t going to happen, please, cut it out. We’re not just pretending to not like it, it is turning into psychological molestation. 

Even worse, and don’t mind me as I go down this dark metaphorical road for a second, some people have been or still are abused by religion. Whether that abuse is the relatively rare physical case, or the common psychological abuse, religions are on the global sex offender list. Excuse me if I keep my metaphorical psychic babies clear of your creepy smile and beckoning fingers.

No, I’m not saying that all christians, or all religions are full of abuse. I’m just saying, the ball is in your court religion. Let me spell out the passing of the ball, because I know not everyone has experience with the handling of said balls.

Atheism had the ball, and was like, ‘If you keep your odd rituals and archaic beliefs as laws for your life only, we will let you come to the neighborhood barbecue.’

Then atheism handed the ball over, physically put it into the hands of religion. 

Then the religious dropped the ball, and put their arms out for a hug. Which is great, except you haven’t accepted the deal. We can see right behind you the countless attempts to enshrine religious beliefs into law, the shaming of homosexuals, the regulation of sex, all of it is right over your shoulder and you’re looking at us with this stupid grin on your face as if a hug is going to make it all go away.

We can eat hot dogs without you, more for the rest of us.

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The Curse of the Moderate Christian

The Curse of the Moderate Christian

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This is a perfect storm of things that enrage me. Take LGBT issues, cross it with Christian oppression, and sprinkle censorship on top. The only way this could get worse is if someone kicked a puppy on their way out the door.

For those who aren’t here for deep reading, let me summarize the story for you. This guy here, David King, works together with another author, a Michael Jensen, to create a book. Blam, done, book finished, for all I know it is the next great American novel. Fast forward to a publisher finally signing on with them, except they edit the final sentence of Michael’s biography. Three guesses what was in that final sentence, and it wasn’t heil hitler! He mentions his partner, as in he is one of those gays you’re always hearing about. After bringing up the unfortunate bit of censorship, their contract gets dropped altogether.

This is all happening in Utah, of course.

Nothing against Utah (this clause means I’m lying), but it would take a healthy bit of cash to ever get me there. Though I guarantee you it is one of the nicest places in the United States, because Mormons all act like that guy from the Enzyte commercials.

Now this is all bad enough, and David has done (most of) the right thing in standing behind his friend, colleague, and fighting against bigotry. It doesn’t make sense that in this day and age, a publisher would block a writer from telling the truth about who they are. Worse, the reason for the censorship was that it was believed it would hurt sales in particular markets.

Sometimes I call myself a New Atheist, which means now and again I like to look at another human being and describe to them why the things they just said to me are utterly ridiculous. So when I see something like this, my imagination pulls up some Mormon nanny state, where everyone can quietly believe that Jesus is waiting around the corner to make his big return, the big horns are just about the blow, and all those Muslim people they see on TV are just a little confused, and can’t wait to join the Mormon church. No one is really gay, and the only people who have sex before finishing their mission definitely imploded and were never heard from again.

This is me exaggerating, some of the best people I’ve ever known, Mormons. That said, the way they and other Christians act, allows stupid incidents like this to happen.

You may have heard this said before, the silence of the moderates gives permission to the radicals. You may have heard it said about Islamic extremists. The same concept applies.

In the linked blog post, David talks about how this isn’t an act of the LDS church, and that is true. Unfortunately this did happen in the middle of Mormon-ville, and the odds that this wasn’t religiously motivated are slim to none. So when David King goes on to say that not all Mormons think this way, and that some believe theirs is a religion of love, that doesn’t mean much in the face of acts performed in the name of his religion. Cool, you think everything is hunky-dory, and we’ll all go flying into M-space and enjoy our own planets with green alien babes for all (note, this is not what Mormons believe, so don’t comment on it), but when your views are moderate/liberal compared to the central platform of your faith, I have to ask why you still subscribe to that faith at all.

And lets face it, with Mormon tithing, it is a subscription. It is a lot like a gym, but your knees hurt more in the end.

Yes, I understand that every movement will have radicals. Feminists do not have to answer for those who call to kill all men. Atheists do not have to answer for those who want to burn churches (Is this even a thing? I bet). Mormons and Christians alike do not have to answer for the worst among Christianity. Unless, the radicals are using central tenets of that faith or group.

How do you condemn rape and pillaging when your own bible has your god commanding the same? How do you condemn homophobes when your bible says gays are an abomination? It isn’t radicals you are fighting, it is your own faith.

But that is the curse of the moderate; they love the greater faith, and have to take the rape with loving embrace.

Do I have to say why this isn’t impressive?

Do I have to say why this isn’t impressive?

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Slow clap for Francis for saying out loud what anyone could tell you.

Many people applauded this stance, I’ve heard it called progress, and I’ve seen posts crying out in favor of the new pope, again. Of course he hasn’t actually done anything. Pope for 5 months and the most he can do is talk, and not even a good talk.

At the end of the day he can only reiterate what the church has already said many times before. Gay people are fine, as long as they don’t act gay. Genius work, I’m sure gay people will jump on that hook and ride it off to divine acceptance.

Lets not ignore the other little detail in here.

“We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more.

But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says no… That door is closed.”

Well then, glad we could have this talk Pope Francis.

Be sure to call me when you move beyond faux progress.

Why I Just Don’t Like Pope Francis

Say No To Jorge

Pretty Cool Guy

I have to hand it to old Jorge, as far as popes go, he seems like a pretty stand up guy. If you’ve seen recent news, he has urged catholic priests to ponder ‘WWJBuy’ when contemplating cars. That is to say, he doesn’t think priests should be driving the fanciest new automobile when they should be living in humility. If you grew up around plenty of Southern Baptists like I did, you’ve heard a similar sentiment, “The preacher condemned money as the root of all evil, then jumped in his personal helicopter to do his next sermon up the road.”

This isn’t the first time Jorge has said something smart, the guy is full of good news, and I think a lot of people who are fed up with the Church are quite hopeful with him. He washed the feet of women and non-christians during that one little ritual where a man wearing a magnificent robe washes the feet of criminals (one of my favorites). He has urged world governments to help with poverty, and considers our cult of money the root of our problems. He even briefly said that you don’t need to be Catholic or even Christian to go to heaven, before the official Vatican said that the head of their whole religion was flat-out-wrong.

Sure, Jorge is doing a bang up job as Pope. I still don’t like him, not one lick. Why? Doesn’t he feel a lot like a giant smoke screen?

Now mind you, anyone who isn’t a Catholic does not and should not care one bit what the pope says. But for the same reason people hang on the every word of the Dalai Lama, hearing what the leader of one of the world’s largest faiths has to say can be impactful even to those who aren’t in his religion. People, the faithful in particular, want to hear from this instrument of god that the poor are worth saving, that even sinners are worth saving, and that the Church has been naughty in the past. It confirms their feeling that the Church is pretty balls. More than actually changing the Church, this helps their public image.

I think that’s what I just don’t like. I don’t feel like Jorge is trying to actually do anything, he feels more like a wonderful PR campaign for a fractured and wheeling Vatican. Not that Catholic numbers are dropping, they are just falling (relatively) in Europe. After stories of corruption, crime, pedophilia and abuse, you can imagine that the reputation of Catholicism hasn’t been too good in the Western World.

So what better way to solve that than to make the man in a big hat go out and dance for the people. Compared to my good friend and yours, Ratzinger, Jorge seems like a saint (even though I hear Ratzinger will be the actual saint soon enough).

So what is there to hate? Even if he is just a man in a penis shaped hat, he is still saying good things right? I agree, except he is pretty selective about what he says good things about.

I mean, the real matters that the Catholic Church has had issues with, the things that make my blood boil, he hasn’t spoken up about those (except child abuse, credit where it is due).

I mean, such a progressive Pope, Jorge, surely he has figured out that the Church’s strict campaign against the use of condoms leads to needless population growth, the spread of STDs, and lackluster sexual education. Well, no, he is actually strictly against the use of contraception in a way that would make even Santorum proud.

What about women? The Catholic Church is pretty okay with women. There was a recent problem where women wanted more power within the Church, but Ratzinger sort of told them to screw off. Well hope abound, as Jorge comes in. Except he has echoed the same stance, Come on Catholic women, obedience is more important than having any sort of say.

Pope Francis is a nice guy though, he thinks that homosexuals should be treated with kindness. Hate the sin, not the sinner, that all important phrase to help cover the tracks of bigotry. Of course, he thinks their hopes for equal marriage are a plot by the devil:

“Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

He also thinks that gay adoption is equal to child abuse. So I’m starting to wonder if he didn’t have that old sinner motto a little flipped.

Look, Catholics are supposed to be the ‘smart’ Christians. These are the guys that sort of accept evolution, the guys who study the stars. If it wasn’t for that whole telling me I’ll burn for eternity if I don’t accept their magical sky-dad thing, I would love Catholicism. It is so delightfully occult, with men in runic robes who speak secret words over the bones of their long-dead leaders. But if you think the Catholic Church has suddenly become some progressive organization, you might need to double check a few things.

As for Pope Francis, my good pal Jorge, I think he is taking good steps to relieve a lot of the worlds problems. I just don’t like him.

How I see the importance of the DOMA decision

Because I am no one important, I decided to be fashionably late to posting about the death of DOMA.

As an armchair activist, I woke up this morning and knew the day would be special. I checked facebook, G+, twitter, and the social media storm was sweeping across the intertubes. It was (pretty much) over, DOMA was dead. Of course I saw a few posts that phrased it in different ways, and I started to understand exactly what this really meant.

See there is one small fact about gay marriage in the US that doesn’t come up in common conversation. As a guy from Washington with a fair share of gay and bisexual friends, I had this spelled out to me a few times.

I should specify that I live in Washington State (since some people don’t seem to understand that Washington D.C. is the one with a different name), where we have voted in gay marriage three times. Once with the ‘everything but marriage’ act that gave gay couples all the rights of marriage except kept calling it a partnership. A second time our senate voted it in, hoping that would be the end of it. Then one last time when the local conservatives got the signatures to try to have gay marriage struck down, and we told them to take their bigotry to Arizona.

None of that mattered though, because whether gay people could get married in Washington did nothing about the federal law in that other lesser Washington. DOMA, that ‘defense’ of marriage act, effectively said that no matter what state laws said about the issue, gay marriage was a lot like anal, it just didn’t count. So you can imagine why our citizens of the LGBT variety were less than happy when President Obama pushed the issue off as a matter of states rights.

It couldn’t be a matter of states rights, not when the Whitehouse was sitting on a law that invalidated any progress made in states across the country.

So today, when the supreme court of the United States (I will never call it the SCOTUS) made their ruling, it is my understanding that DOMA will no longer sit there as a giant snorlax in the path of progress. We took our time (mostly because we can’t waste our master ball now), but the job got done, and now we can get back to trying our hardest to be happy.