MySpace Discriminates Against Atheists

According to the Secular Student Alliance, social networking site MySpace, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Coporation, has deleted the Atheist and Agnostic Group from that site.  This is apparently not the first time MySpace has deleted this particular group, and not the only atheist group to be targeted.  Some godless bloggers have decided to tie this event to the previously declared International Delete Your MySpace Account Day on January 30.  I’m not a MySpace member, but if I was, you could be damn sure I wouldn’t be a user anymore.

Guess this puts a recently spotted piece of Christian flotsam into perspective:

 myspace

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Huckabee: “Amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards”

The Almighty, who inspired a book so perfectly drafted it contradicts itself on who Jesus’s granddad was, apparently has some issues with the wording of our Constitution. That according to presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who had this to say in Michigan:

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

Note that in Huckabee’s America, the Constitution, the bedrock and foundation of our nation, is “some contemporary view.” Just a fad. Some new-fangled nonsense cooked up by a bunch of wig-and-panty-hose-wearing hippies in the 1780s. These kids and their “separation of powers” and “due process.”

This kind of talk should set all freedom-loving Americans on alert level “Holy Shit!”  Huckleberry is proposing, in no uncertain terms, a theocracy, specifically, a Christian theocracy.  It is unfathomable to me that someone running for President of the freaking United States could so blatantly disregard (nay, actively oppose) the First Amendment, upon which so much of our progress and identity as a people depends.

There is one interpretation of these remarks that lowers the threat level to “Gigantic Douchebag,” but just barely.  The allusion to amending the Constitution to meet “God’s standards” and the references to opponents who are unwilling to do so could very well be a “dog whistle”to Christians on one specific issue — gay marriage.  Huckabee may essentially have been saying, “I’ll amend the Constitution to keep the queers from getting hitched, and my opponents won’t.”  I’m just speculating here, but that’s the first thing that came to my mind. 

 lolHuckabee

You are not alone!

This is so spot-on brilliant, I’m beside myself.  A relatively new organization calling itself FreeThoughtAction has erected a billboard outside New York City on the New Jersey Turnpike:

FreeThoughtAction Billboard

I love the message — “Don’t Believe In God?  You are not alone.”  It’s a positive message that many unbelievers need to hear.  And it’s difficult for the religious to assail with any semblance of credibility – it’s not “angry”, “mean”, or any of the other epithets the oh-so-sensitive purveyors of religious bigotry and hatred like to sling at freethinkers.  Ah, but that assumes the religious argue only when they have a valid argument.  Silly atheist…

(BTW, FreeThoughtAction has an awesome fundraising slogan: “Every God-damned dollar goes to advertising!”) 

This joins the other billboards placed into rotation around the country by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which read “Beware of Dogma” and “Imagine No Religion.”

Public billboards promoting freethinking and atheism are a huge step forward for unbelievers in America.  We’re constantly bombarded with Christian advertising (a billboard near my home declares “Jesus Christ is the ONLY Lord and Savior”), but it’s difficult to get a freethought message out into the public.  By placing high-profile, visible messages of unbelief on the highways, I hope these organizations will help more individuals feel comfortable enough in their unbelief to “come out” and get involved.

But do they “lighten up”? Get it?!

Chill Out

I saw this in Danville, MD on my way home from a business trip yesterday.  Makes me think the pastor’s kid got mouthy one too many times.

I find stuff

Found stuck in the front of a newspaper box in downtown Philadelphia:

Darwin flyer

At least I agree with the title.

A Good Life With No Regrets

My grandmother is dying.  Fifteen years after suffering two heart attacks, congestive heart failure is finally going to take her life.  It’s a matter of days at this point, perhaps a few weeks at most.  Sooner rather than later the fluid collecting around her heart and in her lungs will overwhelm her, and she will die.

This is the first family death I’ve confronted in a very long time, and the first ever since I concluded that god does not exist.  At first I thought this would be a test of my convictions, a time when I would feel that “god-shaped hole” in my heart that Christians speak of and long for the comfort of a supernatural counselor.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Although certainly sad, I am more at peace with my grandmother’s imminent passing than I possibly could have been when religion twisted my perception of death and dying.

Two weeks ago, I flew back to my hometown to have an early Christmas with Grandma and my extended family, one last time.  The night before everyone got together, Grandma and I sat and talked for a couple of hours, just the two of us.  Our conversation ranged far and wide, touching on the presidential race, various developments in my hometown, the impending birth of my wife’s and my first child.  In the course of talking, Grandma declared to me that she was ready to die, that “I’ve had a good life and I have no regrets.” 

That struck me as the best possible statement and frame of mind any of us mortal mammals could have when facing death.  It says and contains so much – so many births, weddings, childhoods, family meals, holidays, times tending the garden, hot summers swimming in the lake.  It encompasses all of our lovers, friends, relatives, coworkers, acquaintances, even strangers with whom we had one memorable conversation.  Nights under the stars, days on the porch swing, exciting trips to new places, the comfort of returning home.  A good life with no regrets.  What a wonderful way to spend 82 years.

I contrast this with the torment religion inflicted on me in connection with my grandfather’s death 17 years ago.  Shortly after his death, I became heavily involved in a fundamentalist evangelical church.  Hellfire and damnation haunted my consciousness, as I struggled vainly to fight every “evil” impulse of my hormone-soaked teenage body.  I trembled that I might die in sin, some fleeting thought or passionate moment with a girlfriend dooming me to an eternity of torment.  The lure of paradise was never so potent to me as the fear of perdition.

My grandparents having never been overtly religious people, I realized with horror that I had no idea what Grandpa believed before he died.  I remember broaching the subject with my mother, telling her of my conversion to that cult and questioning whether she knew what Grandpa believed.  In her continuing grief, she lashed out at me, demanding, “So what, you think your Grandpa’s in hell?!”  I was devastated, and the torture of being unable to answer her with an emphatic “NO!” remained with me for years.  This was the supposed “comfort” of religion – death as an object of profoundest fear, even reluctant judgment on a loved one.

If someone should attempt to comfort me regarding my grandmother’s death with words promising peace in god’s presence, I believe I’ll politely answer, “thank you, but she deserved much better than that.  And she had it.”

Cheeseheads for Jesus!

They’re having quite a row in Green Bay, WI over the City Council’s decision this week to permit a creche to remain displayed above the entrance to city hall, but to prohibit all other religious displays until the council can “create guidelines.” The Green Bay Press-Gazette rightly took the Council and mayor to task for this blatent First Amendment violation.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city’s actions. The complaint can be read here. Stay tuned, as I’ll follow this story.