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Archive for the ‘Freedom from Faith’ Category

Laurel County School Board Gets Giddy for Gideons

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 08/18/2010

Good news for all 5th-graders contemplating suicide in Laurel County, Kentucky.

That’s right, boys and girls. The Laurel County School Board has decided to allow Gideons International to set up tables in public schools and distribute copies of the New Testament  to any students who want them.  Not the whole bible, mind you, but just the Jesus-y parts.

However, don’t worry, Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and all of you other cultists. Even you goddamned, confrontational, constantly rude heathens don’t need to get your dander up. The Crucifocracy will not be establishing religion; they will not foist their beliefs on children. As the Gideons’ lawyer, Terry Beckner, pointed out about the bibles: “These are not forced on anyone.”  So your kids are free to say “no,” even in the face of official encouragement and peer pressure. Most youngsters are resistant to those kinds of things anyway, aren’t they? I’ve never heard of any 10- and 11-year-olds who succumbed to the wishes of their principals and the urgings of their friends. Have you?

One school board member wondered why all grades weren’t going to be in on the divine bonanza.  Beckner explained: “We always have done 5th-graders.” (I assume he was quoting from a Roman Catholic priestly document.)

The school board’s attorney, Larry Bryson, said that there was another good reason to limit the freebies to 5th-graders: “That is the age of accountability.”

Really, that should have been obvious, right? Fifth-graders are famous for their accountability. That’s why so many of our elected officials strive to limit themselves to a 4th-grade mentality, so they don’t have to be accountable. Duh!

If you wish, you can read the full story, but I’d urge you not to do so right after you’ve eaten.

By the way, I do have a suggestion to the ACLU and all of those other misguided folks like me who believe in the Constitution: We should apply to the Laurel County School Board to pass out copies of David Adams Leeming’s The World of Myth, , which compares stories from many global mythologies (including the bible) in a number of categories. The excerpts are no more difficult for accountable kids to read than the Jacobean English of the gospels; in fact, the stories in Leeming’s anthology are much easier to understand.

And, obviously, we wouldn’t force any child to take that book. It’s not our fault if they tease one another for stubbornly refusing. Nor should we be blamed if they beat each other up for not believing in the universal Earth goddess. But I do think it’s fair for us to withhold lollipops and approval from any student who doesn’t accept our kind offer. After all, they can’t be accountable if they don’t have manners.

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Posted in First Amendment, Freedom from Faith | 19 Comments »

Am I My Godless Brother’s Keeper?

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 08/16/2010

OK, gang. I’m going to throw a few philosophical questions out there into the ether, and I’m hoping that some of you will weigh in.

Please bear with me while I give you the background.

This past Saturday, for the fourth fucking time, our local silly atheist submitted an answer to a “Question of Faith” on the “Life + Faith” page of Lexington’s Daily Rag. His softball drivel appeared along with six responses by “representatives” of various Christian churches hereabouts. The editor’s poser was fraught with Christian assumptions: “Why does our society ignore our day of rest?” In other words: Watch for the Ten Commandments to be appearing soon in a courthouse or public school near you.

The LSA’s printed answer was kinda dumb, but that’s not the point. The fact that he began by saying, ‘As an atheist …” (thereby inplying that atheists had an official position on “the day of rest”) was really infuriating, but that’s not the point either.

The point is: What the fuck is he doing on the “Faith” page?

I wrote him a harsh email suggesting, among other things, that he tell the editor to take her slanted questions and shove them up her ass (although, I recommended that he not use my specific phraseology). I said that he was hurting Lexington’s freethinking community with his responses.

Today, he wrote back, telling me that I had made a “wildly unfounded accusation.” Wasn’t my reaction, he asked, based merely on a “dislike” of what he’d written?

I replied:

[T]o answer your question: The reason I think you’re doing harm to the freethinking community is that you’re inadvertently giving the newspaper an out as being “balanced.” Every time your responses appear on the “Faith” page, you give the editors a further opportunity to claim how “fair” they are to non-theists. Maybe we — all of us atheists, Humanists, skeptics, doubters, secularists, call us what you’d like — ought to make a concerted effort toward being given an occasional opportunity to state our views in a journal that’s heavily weighted toward religion, Christianity in particular. Many of the writers there push a Christian agenda: [I named a few columnists who are frequent cheerleaders for Jesus]. And if there’s any excuse whatsoever to include a church event on the front page as news, some reporter will jump at it. I think we should all get together to lobby for a “Reason” feature once in a while, or, at very least, a chance to appear on the Op/Ed page semi-regularly. Not on the “Faith” page. Maybe the H-L could start a monthly column called “Voices of Reason” (fat chance!) or something that gives a genuine nod to those of us who don’t believe in any gods. Then, you could write about whatever you choose to discuss, rather than answering questions that, essentially, push a religious agenda. That’s my main complaint: When you respond to [the editor’s] highly slanted questions, you appear to be buying into her assumptions. It doesn’t really matter what you write, because her smug “truth” is already contained in the way she couches each topic. It’s a lose-lose situation for an atheist.

You and I are part of a small community of reason here. Whether we like it or not, we do speak, somewhat, for one another. Since we’re vastly outnumbered, each of us has some responsibility to all the others. The majority tends to view a minority — particularly one it fears — as an entirety, judged through the words and actions of any member of that group. When you write for the “Faith” page, not only do we as a community gain nothing, but we are all genuinely hurt by appearing to sanction the Herald-Leader’s constant clarion call to espouse religion. That’s not your fault, because you’re only one person, as you do point out. But you’ve been thrown a poisoned bone by [the editor]. You don’t get to have any input in the topics under discussion; you’re always forced to react to her set of nonsensical “givens”. And you’ve been placed in the unenviable position of speaking for all of us.

Because there’s no other public atheist writing at that newspaper, you’ re its personification of Lexington atheism. And, as such, you’re giving a thumb’s-up to the perpetuation of the “Faith” page and, indirectly, the rest of the Herald-Leader’s superstition-soaked reporting.

Please don’t take this personally, because I’d write exactly the same note to any self-identified atheist who chose to write for a “Faith” page. Atheism isn’t a faith. It’s freedom from faith. Let’s not put ourselves into the position of seeming to agree that faith should be given any credence, whatsoever.

After I sent and reread (yeah, I did them in that order) what I’d written, I wondered if my opinions were really indicative of any godless consensus. So, I’d like to find out. Since you readers are clearly representatives of the best and the brightest among heathens, I’d like toask you:

1. Is there any circumstance under which it would be a good idea for an atheist to respond to a tendentious question on a newspaper’s “Faith” page? If so, what might that circumstance be?


2. Do you agree or disagree that the vast majority of religionists generally judge all atheists by the words and actions of any publicly recognized atheist? If you agree: Do we have some kind of responsibility to one another not to say or do things that make us look like idiots? Or is that too much of a burden for us individualists to place on ourselves?

3. In an area dominated by crypto-Christian newspapers, radio stations, and television channels, how can we atheists get ourselves a booth in the marketplace of ideas? Do we have to wait for the freethinkers’ equivalent of the Stonewall raids before we’re given an opportunity to state our case in the mainstream media, or is there some more reasonable way to coax news publishers and broadcasters into granting coverage to our ideas?

Posted in Freedom from Faith | 29 Comments »

Sing Along with Auntie Diluvian

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 08/15/2010

This isn’t intended to be an earworm post. But if you do happen to find yourself humming the tune involuntarily, just be thankful it’s not “Kumbaya.”

Posted in Freedom from Faith, Music | 11 Comments »

Homesite Puzzler #6: Who Says My Readers Are Backwards?

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 08/11/2010

Ugh! I hate the dog days of summer. All that heat and humidity addles my mind.

Maybe that’s why I’ve mixed up the names of the authors of these great quotes. Not only have I written them backwards, but I’ve separated each last name from the rest of the name. And to make matters even worse, neither the last name nor the rest of the name are attached to the right saying.

There’s also something very strange about each quote, although the weirdness fits a single pattern.

My challenge to you readers is to find the full name of the correct author of each of the gems below. Most of the names will be familiar; perhaps one or two will not. (Hint: One was a Polish satirist; another, a French playwright). Extra credit for those of you who can explain the odd quirk about the quotes in general. Please don’t ruin the puzzle for others by posting your solutions as comments; send your answers to elwallberg at gmail.com. (As usual, those who get anything right will be thrown a bone at the bottom of the post.)

Obviously, you can feel free — and are even encouraged — to leave other comments, like, for instances, UOY KCUF or Llubtip damn you, Yrral Grebllaw.

Kcul doog!

1. [T]hese Christians believe they are acting in the name of Eldoop, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them. — Yebba Ydoow

2. Reliewttor is a sound people make when they’re too tired to think anymore. — Mahguam C.W.

3. I cannot believe in a Dnuohdoolb that has neither honor nor common sense. — Cel Ohcuorg

4. I distrust those people who know so well what Teppihw wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. — Retawdlog Naej

5. Good Ffitsam, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in his divine system of creation? — Nilrac EessenneT

6. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy Ztipshsinnif in vain. Unless you’ve used up all the other four-letter words. — Nekcnem Yrrab

7. Sometimes the devil tempts me to believe in Enadtaerg. — Nella Kram

8. I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to Auhauhihc, and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answered at about the same fifty percent rate. — Xram   L.H.

9. If we assume that man actually does resemble Ijnesab, then we are forced into the impossible theory that Ijnesab is a coward, an idiot, and a bounder. — Smailliw Tesremos Mailliw

10. With Gup what is terrible is that one never knows whether it’s not just a trick of the devil. — Niawt B. NasuS

11. If you want to know where Wohc Wohc is, ask a drunk. — Ynohtna Yzrej Walsinats

12. I do not believe in Esetlam because I do not believe in Mother Goose. — Sdleif  Egroeg

13. All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of Rezuanhcstniag as a senile delinquent. —
Hliuona Ecneralc

14. In the first place, Yksuhnaksala made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards. — Relleh Drawde

15. If only Reveirterrodarbal would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank. — Worrad Hpesoj

Top dogs:
Chappy (15 + extra credit)
Srsny (15 + extra credit)
[If you’d like to see all the answers, drop me an email and I’ll send them to you.]

Posted in Freedom from Faith, Puzzles and Games | 11 Comments »

I Blame Kevin Costner

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 08/04/2010

Most of my readers take a dim view of blind faith. However, you may not have thought about this: It doesn’t always manifest itself as religious expression. There’s that whole Field of Pipedreams business about “if you build it, they will come.”

Yesterday, I was thinking about how stupid that phrase is when I was reading this article in the local rag. Let me give you the background.

In a little bit more than a month, Lexington will play host to the World Equestrian Games. The city is going nuts with excitement. For more than a year, hoteliers and restauranteurs and souvenir vendors have been counting their soon-to-be-made money.

If you have no idea what the WEG is (are?), you’re probably not alone. I’d never heard of it (them?) until I moved here last October. To put it simply: they’re a kind of Olympics for horses, a series of effete competitions that only equino-manes can enjoy: jumping and vaulting (fuck knows what the difference is), reining (horses, not cats and dogs), eventing (huh?), and endurance (although mostly of P.R. pros). And of course, there’s everyone’s favorite, dressage (playing with paper-doll ponies) and para dressage (playing with paper-doll parasites). If you’re really interested — but why would you be unless your name is Flicka? —you can find all the relevant information on Google; I’m not paid to advertise here.

Lexington is one of the horse capitals of the world, and hosting the WEG seemed like a good fit. The expectation around these parts was that the area would be overrun with furriners just dying to toss their funny-looking cash around. Downtown streets have been torn up, and are being rebuilt in preparation for the expected influx of alien tender, legal or illegal. Concerts have been arranged, because as everyone knows, Europeans and Asians need to experience our native culture: country music and Christian rock. High school bands will march and play (but not necessarily both at the same time), Kentucky’s Junior Leaguers will hold meet-‘n’-greets, and local eateries will offer special horsemeat buffets. Just kidding. (They’ll be serving the same plain ol’ horsemeat and grits that they always do.)

Unfortunately, the horses have been preceded by the horseshitters. Greedy hotel owners were fed plenty of fodder by the hucksters who swore that Lexington would be teeming with international currency just dying to be spent — literally jumping out of the sissy wallets carried by those crazy-talking strangers. But the story in yesterday’s Herald-Leader reveals that nearly one-third of all the hotel rooms in town, some of which have been marked up to nearly four times their regular price, are still unspoken for. As the saying goes: Foals rush in, but wise men save their bread. The town’s hotel-owners were clearly eager to make hay while the sun shines, but the globe’s horsey set hasn’t saddled up for the ride. So there’s plenty of hay, but not enough hayseeds.

As it turns out, The WEG buzz is just a variant on “if you build it, they will come.” Like all offshoots of that “plucky” but dumb saying, it’s as American as applesauce. It springs from the same mindless sensibility in which a 13-year-old appearing as a contestant on a televised talent competition can say, with perfect seriousness, “It’s always been my dream to play Vegas.” It’s a product of the same empty-headedness that gives celebrities the idea that they’re political pundits. “If you build it …” goes hand in hand with those bumper stickers in which parents express their irrational pride in their backward children.

Here in Lexington, the myth has taken a familiar form: “If you hype it, they will come.” But maybe not, particularly if you try to gouge visitors by charging inexcusably high prices during a worldwide financial slump.

I must admit that as a skeptic, I’m amused by the if-you-build-it mentality. Because, really: it makes no more sense than putting one’s faith in the existence of Mr. Ed. Only horses’ asses believe that kind of stuff.

Posted in Freedom from Faith, New to Kentucky | 29 Comments »

Why Some Atheists Get Agitated

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 07/25/2010

My last post received a comment from Catch, whom I consider a bright and clever woman. Her comment isn’t unique; it poses the very same kind of question I get asked frequently. She wondered why some of us atheists get “as agitated about religion” as we do. She doesn’t understand why we don’t have more of a laissez faire attitude toward theists.

Personally, I rarely give any of them a second thought. If they are so weak that they need a god for strength to deal with life, so be it. If they want to pray for me, let them waste their time. I’ve better things to do, including creating my own nonsense, than to rally against stupidity of religious zealots.

Here’s my response to her:

Your ideas would be fine … if everyone lived in a vacuum. But we don’t. It’s the theists who are making it harder and harder for women to get abortions, the theists who demonize homosexuals, the theists who seek to prevent America’s public school children from receiving a decent education in both the sciences and the humanities, the theists who nourish racial prejudice and xenophobic discrimination, the theists whose perverse idea of Christianity perpetuates environmental and economic disasters. On top of which, it’s the theists whose zealotry leads to the international sanction of child abuse, to the bombing of buildings, to the worldwide subservience of women, and to repeated calls for “holy” war in just about every country on the globe.

So that’s why — even though you may not give any of them a second thought — you ought to do so. Yes, if they want to pray for you, fine. Who gives a shit? If they want to knock on your door at seven o’clock on a Sunday morning, big deal. You can say something snide and go back to sleep.

But if they want to blow you up, or gun you down, or rape your children, or prevent women from having the same freedom as men, or obstruct medical research, or curtail anyone’s Constitutional rights because his or her liberty doesn’t accord with the “teachings” of their primitive “sacred” text, that’s not so fine. It’s a threat to everyone on the planet.

So that’s why some of us atheists get so agitated. How could any decent person not?

Posted in Freedom from Faith | 33 Comments »

Who Wants to Join Me in a Sing-Along?

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 07/22/2010

I’ve always hated the summer. It’s too goddamned hot, f’cryinoutloud. So I get particularly cranky about bullshit when July and August roll around.

I  get so tired of hearing the same stupid arguments over and over again from theists. Their proofs of the existence of a god are beneath contempt, and don’t even deserve a reply.

I also get tired of reading philosophical claptrap written ad nauseam by some atheist bloggers.

A_Blogger: I’m addressing this to the Christians who read my blog.
Me: Nice one! You’re about to make some devastating argument against religion that absolutely no one has thought of yet, right?
A_Blogger: Well, maybe somebody has thought of it. But my Christian readers may not have seen it before.
Me: And the millions of religonists who read your blog regularly will suddenly have their eyes opened here by your brilliant insights on Nobody_Gives_A_Shit_What_I_Write.com?
A_Blogger: Not millions. But a few lurkers, maybe.
Me: What, like a thousand? A hundred? Ten?
A_Blogger: Every person counts.
Me: Toward what? Are you an evangelical?

A_Blogger: We atheists have to show that you can be good without any gods.
Me: Just like theists show that their god makes them good?
A_Blogger: Well, one of religion’s biggest arguments is that morality comes from their god.
Me: Then ask them to prove it. And have them give examples from history. And don’t let them get away with defining morality to include their silly precepts against dancing or drinking or gambling or any other biblically disapproved activities. Make them tell you what actions are and aren’t moral, and how they know which is which.
A_Blogger: Still, we ought …
Me: And who’s this “we” you keep talking about?

A_Blogger: Atheists in America have to organize.
Me: I agree. We shouldn’t vote for anyone who doesn’t believe 100% in separation of church and state.
A_Blogger: Yes!
Me: So we shouldn’t support any candidate or elected official who refers to “God” or who panders to the religious zealots in the country, as Obama did when he expanded the Office of Faith-Based and “Neighborhood” — ha!— Partnerships?
A_Blogger: Well, sometimes we have to take the lesser of two evils.
Me: I thought you said we have to organize.
A_Blogger: Yeah, we do. But we can’t accomplish all our goals at once.
Me: What goals do we have besides promoting separation of church and state?
A_Blogger: We need to advocate for reason.
Me: So we shouldn’t ally ourselves with any public figure who perpetuates unreason? Like, say, telling the public how good prayer is, as Obama did in his speech about the oil crisis?
A_Blogger: Obama doesn’t really believe that stuff. He only says it to …
Me: … to pander to the religious zealots in the country? And to perpetuate unreason?

A_Blogger: The world would be a better place if religion were to disappear.
Me: So people would miraculously change from being the assholes that they are if they had no gods to pray to?
A_Blogger: Well, at least they wouldn’t have any nonsense to believe in.
Me: So you’re saying that there’s no nonsense aside from religion?
A_Blogger: No, I’m not saying that. Don’t put words in my mouth. But religion is a worse kind of nonsense than …
Me: Than political nonsense? Than legal nonsense? Than economic nonsense? Than literary nonsense? Than artistic …
A_Blogger: Look, if religion were gone, that would be just one less kind of nonsense for us to have to deal with.
Me: Who’s “us”?

You can come up with variations of those conversations, but they always boil down to the same ol’ thing.

By the way, I’m also bored with Republicans and Democrats, all media commentators, and basically anyone who tries to sell me on his or her opinion about anything. I’m enervated daily by fans of the U.K. Wildcats, Lexington “boosters,” and genteel Southerners. I’m sick of folks who buy lite beer. And I’ve had it up to here with people who tweet (except birders trying to attract rare species).

So I’ve adopted, as a personal anthem, this little ditty by one of my favorite singers.

By the way: I may feel slightly less curmudgeonly when mid-September finally arrives.

Posted in Freedom from Faith, Music, Random Rants | 26 Comments »

The Creationist Art Gallery

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 07/17/2010

[Note: My best friend is coming to visit me here in the Blew Gas State, and we were discussing what kinds of uniquely Kentucky things we might do and see during her stay: a tour of a bourbon distillery, an afternoon at the Horse Park, a stop at Henry Clay’s house, perhaps even a journey to the local mall to watch how Southerners genteelly elbow one another at a sale. We also discussed renting some movies and having a film festival featuring the works of Lexington native George Clooney. Oddly, I neglected to mention the Creation Museum, even though it’s less than 90 miles away, and one of the reasons I’m proud to be a Jeezuckian. My wife and I keep talking about what a hoot it would be to spend some time surrounded by Christians oohing and ahhing at nonsense, but we’ve yet to make the trip; my friend’s visit might be just the push we need to get off our asses and go mingle with our dinosaur-riding ancestors. Or perhaps we could pass a few pleasant hours at the Creationist Art Gallery, described below in this revised old post.]

Everyone knows about the Creation Museum of Faux Science, which celebrated its third anniversary recently. Less well publicized, however, is its sister house of learning, the Creationist Art Gallery. Fortunately, though, I have a copy of the gallery’s catalog, and I can assure you that the displays there demonstrate the same kind of careful attention to scientific and historical truth as the ones at the more well-known venue. Below, I’ve reproduced twelve pages from the catalog, just to give you an idea of the high quality of the exhibits. (Note: I’ve taken the liberty of correcting the many spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors in the published text. The content, however, is reproduced verbatim.)

ITEMS FROM THE CATALOG

Unknown Pagan Egyptian Artist: Dawkinubis, the God of Evolution (circa 1500 B.C.)

The ancient Egyptians had many weird beliefs, unlike modern-day Evangelical Christians. Here, their god of Evolution is depicted with the head of a lying jackal and the body of Tom Cruise. The long staff-like object in his left hand is known as a Dennett, the symbol for a dangerous idea. Notice, however, that his right hand grasps an Egyptian cross, representing the sacrifice of our Lord. Art historians believe that the anonymous Egyptian sculptor was attempting to depict a “compromise” between science and Christianity, an endeavor we now know to be impossible.

Edgar Degas: Degenerate Scientists (1876)

Like most enlightened persons of his day, Degas realized that the pursuit of science, at the expense of religion, leads one into a life of immorality. In this frightening portrait of two evolutionists, Degas perfectly captures the spiritual emptiness of his subjects.

John Trumbull: The Beginnings of a Christian Nation (1817)

This famous painting shows the Continental Congress of 1776, as the draft of the Declaration of Independence is being presented. The tall red-headed Christian in the middle is Thomas Jefferson, flanked by Christian John Adams on his right, Christian Benjamin Franklin on his left, and a couple of Christian guys you never heard of. If you look closely at all the faces, you’ll notice that everyone present is contemplating God.

Francisco Goya: Darwin Eating His Child (1821-23)

It’s a little-known fact, fortunately documented for posterity by Goya, that Charles Darwin once ate one of his children. Darwin and the child were both completely undressed at the time.

Edvard Munch: Don’t Let This Happen to Your Kid! (1893)

In the early 1890s, Munch visited a number of high school biology classes in Norway. He was much moved by the reactions of students while they were being taught evolutionary theory. In this painting, the artist captures perfectly the emotions of one of the children, who has just heard the evil propaganda that his parents were monkeys. It is not known for sure whether the boy jumped over the bridge or not, but wouldn’t you?

Vincent Van Gogh: Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889)

A few days before painting this masterpiece, Van Gogh recorded in his journal: Today, I attended a lecture on the origin of species. I couldn’t stand what I was hearing. I never want to have to listen to that kind of nonsense again! Art historians agree that the artist cut off his ear a few minutes after lowering his pen. While the curators of the Creationist Art Gallery do not necessarily condone Van Gogh’s extreme response, we do applaud his faith, and are comforted by the knowledge that his ear was reattached when he arrived in heaven.

Edouard Manet: Picnic with Godless Yankee Commie Homo-supporting Baby-killing Bastards (1863)

Here we see a quartet of secularists despoiling the lovely Kentucky landscape with their atheistic food and ideas. The particular spot they’ve chosen is on a mountaintop scheduled to be removed to make way for some glorious Christian coal-mining.  In the background, a member of the eternally damned party is examining a dinosaur dropping, while nearby, unbeknownst to her, is a remnant of Noah’s ark. If you look very closely, you may notice that one of the women is naked! (Note: For a nominal fee, smelling salts are available to revive swooning ladies.)

Auguste Rodin: Nude Supreme Court Justice (1880)

As everyone knows, Rodin predicted — and deplored — the Roe v. Wade opinion nearly 100 years before it was handed down by the Supreme Court. In this famous work, the artist depicts an unidentified Supreme Court Justice (many art historians believe that it’s Antonin Scalia), as he struggles to come up with a rationale for overturning legal precedent. Although this sculpture is not directly related to creationism, we thought you should see it before signing the petition in the gift shop.

Jacques Louis David: Dover, December 2005 (2006)

The figure in the center of the canvas is the world’s most respected scientist and pre-eminent Intelligent Design proponent, Michael Behe. The agonized disciples surrounding him are various upstanding Christian members of the Dover, Pennsylvania School Board. After a ridiculously biased and completely unscientific decision rendered by United States District Judge John E. Jones III, the citizens of Dover have been forbidden to teach Creationism in their public schools. In this painting, however, the artist shows Behe pointing upward at Christ in Heaven, promising his faithful followers that God will soon reveal his Truth to all. The scroll on the ground near the foot of the bed is an original copy of Of Pandas and People. Off to the left, you might be able to spot a group of villainous biologists, chuckling in the background as they climb the stairs.

Pablo Picasso: Woman Without Intelligent Design (1937)

For Picasso, who loved the female form, it was a sin of the highest magnitude to deny that woman had been created expressly for man’s pleasure by God. Over the course of his long life, the artist depicted, over and over again, his nightmarish visions of what women would look like if the Divine Intelligence had not been involved in their design. The subject of the painting is crying because she happened to catch a glimpse, in a heathen-crafted mirror, of what her non-created self would look like. Art historians believe that the model for this particular portrait was Picasso’s ninth-grade science teacher.

Salvador Dali: Nothing Gets Made by Accident (1931)

It should be evident to even the smallest child that someone created those watches in the painting. Therefore, God must have made the world, although it’s not quite as droopy as the items shown. If you add up the times on the faces of the watches, you’ll easily see that they total 6,000 years — the exact age of the universe!

G. Beck: Huge-Penised Flying Devil Monkey (2010)

The artist created this work to show the danger of Darwinism. In this beautifully Photoshopped illustration, noted scholar Beck depicts the Satanic creature from whom evil-utionists would like to teach your children that they’re descended. Is this the kind of socialist propaganda you want your sons and daughters to learn?

Posted in Freedom from Faith, New to Kentucky, Seriously Silly | 22 Comments »

Beck’s Third Principle: Not for Newspaper Editors?

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 07/13/2010

Very early in my blogging career, I decided that I wasn’t going to act as a clearing-house for stories covered by national newspapers. The only kinds of readers I was interested in attracting were people who didn’t need me to tell them about the day’s events. I’m not a goddamned anchorman.

And so I won’t bother to comment on the The New York Times’s story that David Berkowitz (the “Son of Sam”) has apparently been “born again.” I’ll only ask: Is that good news for everybody who didn’t get shot during his first life? Anyway, he’s now apparently having conversations with the voice of a god instead of a dog. Does he speak to it backwards?

However, I will tell you about a story covered locally here in Jesus-yucky. I don’t really object to the story being run; it’s a national first, so maybe it is news. What pisses me off is the headline: Liberty School teaches country’s beginnings. That’s a blatant falsehood, and the editors responsible should be fired immediately.

Vacation Liberty School is a money-raising, power-grabbing scheme by Glenn Beck. Naturally, its debut incarnation appeared miraculously here in the BlewGas state. Under the guise of “teaching” about the early days of America, Beck and his minions are stressing nine principles.

  1. America is good.
  2. I believe in God and He is the center of my life.
  3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
  4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
  5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
  6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
  7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
  8. It is not un-American to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
  9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

I happen to agree heartily with a few of those points, particularly numbers 6 and 8. I have no philosophical problem with number 5 — although it should definitely apply to big corporations, too — or number 7 (except for its grammar), even though it’s merely a pose aimed at avoiding societal responsibility. (It should apply when taxpayers fund faith-based initiatives, but, of course, its proponents won’t, or can’t, make that connection.) Number 9 sounds nice, but the government doesn’t actually work for any one person; it works for the collective public. To do so effectively, it might actually have to work against certain specific individuals, like murderers, child molesters, and would-be theocrats.

Number 3 is silly, but not bad, even though it assumes that there are gradations of honesty (there aren’t). The attendees of Liberty School wouldn’t need such a principle unless they’d started off on the lying end of the spectrum, so it doesn’t hurt to ask them to try to be more truthful. Of course, the text is ironic, because Glenn Beck has made a name for himself by misrepresenting everything he discusses. He ought to be forced to read that sentence aloud every waking minute of his day, and it should be piped into his head when he’s sleeping.

The other numbers are pure bullshit. For example: The belief that one’s country is good merely because it’s one’s country is a recipe for disaster. And it contradicts number 8. Of course, the people likely to go to Vacation Liberty School don’t understand self-contradicting principles, or they wouldn’t be so gung-ho about the appropriately ordered “number 2.” The third item is non-historical; except in the case of John Adams, I don’t think there’s any indication that the rest of the Founding Fathers gave a rat’s ass what their spouses thought. (Of course, it is possible that Madison kowtowed to his wife when he had a hankering for ice cream.)

In case you’re wondering, Georgetown’s Vacation Liberty School was held at a – oh, you’ll never guess! – a Baptist church. Surprised?

Posted in Freedom from Faith, It's History, Playing Politics | 11 Comments »

If I Only Had a God

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 07/06/2010

Some of my readers – all right, just Chappy – have been urging me to record my as yet unwritten version of “Onward, Godless Soldiers.” But I couldn’t get any further than the first verse:

Onward, Godless Soldiers, lurching as to war.
Those Jehovah’s Witless knock upon the door.
“Christ, it’s Sunday morning! We were still in bed!
Do we give a shit what happens when we’re dead?”

Onward, Godless Soldiers, marching back to snooze.
Screw their cross of Jesus and their damned good news.

Still, maybe I owe you guys something singable. So I’m reviving a set of lyrics I wrote a few years ago, and reposting them here. In case you’d like to sing along, you can click this link for the accompaniment.

If I Only Had a God

I could while away the day in
A fit of fancy prayin’,
And never think it’s odd.
I’d condemn Richard Dawkins
And his atheistic squawkin’s
If I only had a god.

I would be like all the fundies,
My head inside my undies:
My brain, a giant wad!
Though my thoughts no cigar win,
Still, I’d have no need for Darwin
If I only had a god.

J.C., be good to me,
And clean out from my head
All the science and the history I’ve read.
Then make your face appear on bread.

In a public school position,
I’d foster superstition,
Ignoring what is mod,
Teach the Bible as true, no
Problem with Amendment Uno
If I only had a god.

[Update: 07/08/10 at 3:20 a.m.: Roz asked me to supply her with some more verses, and I was happy to oblige. Little did she know what a sour mood I’m in, so this second go-round is a bit darker than the first. Although, I suppose it’s the natural extension of the song’s logic.]

I’d teach Africans and Asians,
The needy of all nasions,
The hungry and unshod.
Even though I’d despise ‘em,
I would go evangelize ‘em
If I only had a god.

I would smite the heathen cynics,
And bomb abortion clinics,
As Cath-o-lics hurrahed.
It would pay me no penny,
But I’m sure I’d please Pope Benny
If I only had a god.

Oh why, should I be shy
‘Bout doin’ my lord’s work?
Each atrocity will earn another perk,
Because my god’s a vicious jerk.

I could make the sinners cower,
And fly into a tower,
Pursuin’ my jihad.
I’d obey heaven’s urgin’s
Just to earn myself some virgins
If I only had a god.

Posted in Freedom from Faith, Music | 22 Comments »