If you’re blogger Joseph Harris of The Rant.us then you can fit in quite a lot. In an entry titled Thanks for the Validation of Christianity Joseph manages to hit on just about every single bit of bullshit the so-called Christian Right likes to harp on endlessly about and then claims it’s a validation of his religious belief:
There is little doubt that enmity exists between the church and the world. God is mocked, churches are belittled and individual believers are cast as backward and intolerant. The ACLU is at the forefront leading the attack under the guise of protecting the civil liberties of Americans (and illegal aliens, Muslim terrorists, etc). In reality, civil liberties in this country are not in danger, but religious liberties are constantly challenged. Pseudo science has waged war against God through an unproven theory on the origin of man, stating the existence of God cannot be proven, while demonstrating it’s inability to prove the theory of macro-evolution through empirical evidence. God, the Bible and morality have been kicked out of public schools and the public forum under the so-called myth of “separation of church and state” which is nothing more than a manifestation of hatred for God, facilitated by liberal politicians, educators and eager members of the media.
That’s pretty impressive and I think it covers just about every ridiculous claim they’ve ever made. There’s some irony about the complaint that individual believers are cast as backward and intolerant considering how the rest of the entry goes on to reveal how backwards Joseph may actually be. He makes a lot of claims just in this first paragraph, most of which are serious distortions if not outright falsehoods. Here we have another True Believer™ who is apparently ignorant of the fact that the ACLU has on many occasions gone to court to fight on behalf of Christians whose civil liberties had been violated. I tend to follow the activities of the ACLU pretty closely being that I am a member myself and I can’t recall the last time they’ve ever sued a church, a place of business, or an individual over a religious issue. By and large the cases the ACLU gets involved with are directly related to the separation of church and state, a concept that Joseph obviously doesn’t believe in despite the fact that the idea was written about extensively by several of the Founding Fathers in trying to explain the First Amendment.
That he’s ignorant of his history is no surprise considering that it’s clear from his essay that there’s little room for facts in Joseph’s world when they get in the way of his opinions. Trying to tar Evolution as pseudo-science not only reveals his ignorance of the theory, but also of what constitutes science. Besides it’s so much easier to paint those folks who disagree with you as “God-haters” than it is to come up with a reasonable argument that isn’t built on fantasies and half-truths. Naturally, having established he’s a nut case in his opening paragraph, Joseph goes on to explain how this validates his God-belief:
So for all the hatred, attacks and lawsuits against God and that which is Christian and moral, I say thanks for the validation. I appreciate the validation given by this ungodly world to the God of the universe and His followers. Jews and Christians have been attacked more than anyone in history. The Jews have endured more attempts of genocide throughout their history than any ancient people on the face of the earth and true Bible believing Christians have been targeted throughout church history (See “Trail of Blood” by J.M. Carroll and “Foxes Book of Martyrs” by John Fox).
It’s the always popular “we’re the most persecuted people ever” argument. Poor baby. It really must be tough being a part of the majority in this country and having all the power and influence only to have that pesky Bill of Rights getting in the way all the time. I also love how he’s joining forces with the Jews to help increase the perceived martyrdom because they both supposedly worship the same God, don’cha know. As long as we’re going to dig up the ancient past in trying to show how persecuted we are we should probably mention the thousands of folks that the good Christians of old put to death in various wars and Crusades over the years because they wouldn’t convert.
Say here’s an idea: Perhaps if the Christians would stop trying to foist their bullshit off on everyone else either through force or subversion then they might find themselves a little less under attack by everyone else! You know, that whole “do unto others” thing that Jesus talked about once? Nah, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Not when folks like Joseph carry around delusions like the following:
Now look at some modern day feeble attacks against God and His people:
(1)It was a representation of Jesus and not Mohammed that was placed in a jar of urine, some years back, as an “art” exhibit. In a more recent display, the mother of Jesus was associated with elephant dung. I hope the mothers of Mohammed, and Confucius and the mother earth goddess of the Wiccans weren’t offended since they were ignored and not thought worthy of this honor.
I’m surprised at how many folks still get all pissed off over these art displays—and I use that term in the loosest possible sense as I didn’t see anything all that artistic about them myself—especially considering that it was pretty obvious the artists were trying to be offensive in the first place. Contrary to the implication in that paragraph, however, there have been plenty of other religious icons that have been the focus of offensive artworks over the years. The above two examples made big headlines here in the States mainly because this country is majority Christian. Chances are Joseph wouldn’t have given a shit if Buddha had been the victim of offensive artwork someplace else in the world even if he had heard of it. Have we forgotten about Salmon Rushdie and The Satanic Verses already? Granted that was a book rather than a sculpture or a painting, but the point remains that Christians have no lock on having others making offensive statements about their beliefs. My advice is to grow a thick skin and get over yourselves.
(2)Notice, also the commotion caused at the mention of the name Jesus in public Christian prayers. Apparently there’s just something about that name (with apologies to Bill Gaither). Besides, what other name could a Christian use in prayer, but the name Jesus? The problem is this: God hating, Christ rejecters have a problem with God. Period. That is the answer, simply put. Franklin Graham and Bailey Smith are not afraid to use the name Jesus on national television. See Acts 4:12.
Wow, the above argument is idiotic on so many levels that it’s hard not to be impressed with it. There’s nothing about the name of Jesus that’s a problem in public prayers unless said prayers are part of a government function and then it wouldn’t matter whose name was in the prayer be it Jesus, Allah, Brahman, Zeus, Ralph or what have you. The fact that Franklin Graham and Bailey Smith aren’t afraid to use Jesus’ name on television shouldn’t be a big fucking surprise considering they’re not representatives of the Government, but TV preachers. You are free to walk around your town praying out loud to Jesus all you want and neither I nor any other atheist or the ACLU is going to raise a finger in protest (though we may laugh at you or roll our eyes in a bemused fashion as we pass on by). I don’t hate God nor do I reject Christ because I don’t believe either exists in the first place. There’s nothing to hate or reject. The fact that Joseph likes to make bold claims about the motivations of those of us who want state and religion to remain as separated as possible only gives folks more reason to ridicule and belittle True Believers™ such as himself.
(3)Any attempt to take the name of God in vain is aimed at the God of the Bible, not Allah or any other wannabe deity. Allah (who is actually an ancient Mesopotamian moon god, hence the crescent moon on the flag of Islam) is not in danger of being blasphemed. We too often hear “gd” but who has ever heard anyone say “ad”? (Some would say that Allah is God, but make no mistake. The God referred to in “gd” is the God of the Bible.
Hey, it’s not our fault you guys decided to latch onto the word “God” as a proper noun for your deity nor is it our fault that you presume we’re making reference to your particular God when we say “God damn.” We could just as easily be thinking of Zeus or Aten or Haile Selassie or any of a number of different gods who commonly go by the nickname of “God” among their followers. It doesn’t help that according to Judaic tradition it’s improper to use the Tetragrammaton as a reference to the Judaic God or the fact that it’s really downright difficult to figure out the pronunciation of “YHWH”—which some Christians have claimed should be pronounced Yehovah—otherwise when we’re specifically thinking of your God when we swear we’d use his proper name.
In short, when folks say “God damn” there’s plenty enough reason for believers of any faith to be upset and not just you Christian lot. For all you know we could be talking about one of their Gods.
(4)And now we come to that special time of the year when we must stuff everything religious looking (of a Christian nature) into the closet. The baby Jesus in the manger and every vestige of anything smelling of Christianity must be burned on the altar of sensitivity to the religions of others and the atheism of a few. As usual, the so-called American Civil Liberties Union, possibly allied with some Muslims, will lead the charge this season, taking America to new heights of freedom from the shackles of the medieval Christianity that binds the civil liberties of everyone. I admit there are some pagan connections with what is now called Christmas, so I don’t fully endorse all the trappings that come with this holiday. The main focus of this season at our home is not Santa. However, extremists who hate God, attack that which they perceive to be Christian, then Christians get offended, so then the offendees become the offenders. This may be America, but we are not guaranteed immunity from offense.
Again Joseph decides to go with a distorted version of the facts rather than reality. No one is forcing you, Joseph, to stuff your baby Jesus and his manager into your closet. You’re perfectly free to set them up on your front lawn and light them up with bright lights for all the world to see. I’ll even volunteer to come over and help you put them into place cheerfully and with nary a sarcastic or disrespectful comment the entire time. I’d be happy to lend a hand, assuming of course that you live within a reasonable driving distance. You have every right to put a manger or angels or even a big sign that says “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON” on it—despite the fact that it’s patently false—anywhere in your yard or home that you feel is appropriate. Hell, put it in front of your Church or your Moose Lodge or your small business for all I care.
It’s not a problem until the place you want to put it is City Hall’s lawn or next to the steps to the Courthouse, which is where you really want it to be, right? There’s a subtle inference of government preference when such displays are put in places such as that and that’s exactly the goal of folks, such as yourself, who wish to place them there. Admittedly I find the display of a nativity less of a problem than the Ten Commandments on the court house wall, but it’s still a violation of the Establishment Clause. Why is it such a burden on Christians for the rest of us to ask that they don’t try to get government to subtly endorse your religion above all others? Is your religion so poor as to fail without the support of the state to prop it up? Have you not seen what has become of religious belief in countries that have official state churches such as England and much of Europe?
I love the attempt to link the ACLU with the current popular bogeyman of the right these days: Muslims! Oh no! If the ACLU is willing to stand up for the rights of Muslims than they’d probably stand up for the rights of Satan HIMSELF!
I also love the statement at the end of this paragraph in which you rightly say that no one is guaranteed immunity from offense, though I find it very ironic considering how your first example up above was your indignation over offensive artworks involving Christian icons.
Why is such outrage expressed and such intolerance exhibited toward God and especially Christianity? I think the answer is found in the words of Jesus to his disciples. “In the world ye shall have tribulation….” So just expect it. Attacks against God and that which is perceived to be of God are normal. However, we don’t have to like or accept it. And the same civil liberties used by the few to voice their opinion against God, are also afforded to the majority, and we should express our opposition to their opposition with zeal. If atheism and Islam had a majority, there would be no opportunity for second opinions. The quilt of freedom which covers this country was sewn on the framework of Christianity, which is the mother religion of this nation.
I was with you on this final paragraph all the way until the last two sentences. Though I think the examples you provided are pretty low on the ‘tribulations’ scale it’s entirely possible that you’re just a much more sensitive guy than I am so you get your feelings hurt more easily which would make those particular tribulations more epic in scale.
As for the claim that if atheists and Islam were in the majority there were be no opportunity for second opinions, well, that may be true of Islam given the various governments that are based on it, but I disagree that would be the case if atheists were in the majority. There are a few countries out there where atheism is rapidly gaining ground and where the majority of the population is secular if not outright atheist. Several of them are progressive democracies that have traditionally had a state supported church such as England. Despite the fact that the Anglican church is hardly the voice of authority it once was in England that hasn’t stopped them from making a lot of noise and getting a lot of stupid legislation into the system over the years. I’m sure some of the SEB regulars in Europe can elaborate further on that topic, but the point remains that most atheists don’t really give a shit if you want to run around believing in whatever imaginary playmates you prefer so long as you don’t try to drag everyone else into it against their will. Still, there’s no way to know this for certain until we get a country that is majority atheist. I recommend we make America that nation and see what happens. If it doesn’t work then at least we’ll know for sure.
Also the claim that the “quilt of freedom which covers this country was sewn on the framework of Christianity” is quite simply bullshit. It is a popular canard among True Believers™ though. Were there Christians involved in the foundation of this country? Absolutely, but by no means singularly or even in majority. It doesn’t take much study of history to learn that this nation was intended to be secular from the very beginning and a lot of the ideals were based on the Enlightenment thinking of the time. Lest we forget, the fact that this nation is not founded on Christianity is not only an issue of historical fact, but also U.S. Federal Law via the Treaty of Tripoli which unequivocally states that the U.S. is not founded on the Christian religion.
But then I’m sure Joseph doesn’t let pesky things like facts get in the way of a good rant.