Now that that's taken care of... I read this article in today's Kansas City newspaper.
Let us bow our heads in thanks for atheists
"The re-awakening of atheism in America is going to make for some very
interesting times. Leaders of the Christian Right have spent years trying to
cast themselves as the voiceless victims in a secular society, but the
scapegoating is over. (Want to talk marginalized? How many atheists have there
ever been in Congress or the White House?)
Nonbelievers know a lot about Christianity and Judaism, most having been
raised in religious families. Believers, however, are somewhat less clued-in
about atheists. Here are a few simple truths about who they are, and
Atheists are well-behaved. Atheists seem to play well with others overall.
They’re not in the news for getting caught doing things they tell others not to
do. Most co-exist peacefully with believing family and friends. They pay
Atheists don’t start wars on behalf of atheism. They do join the military,
however, and contrary to the cliché, they are found in foxholes. In fact, there
is a lawsuit now against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a major who harassed
a group of “foxhole atheists” who simply wished to exercise their freedom
of/from religion while serving their country in the Middle East.
Atheists have a thing for the American Constitution, particularly the First
Amendment that separates church and state. They are secularists who support a
government free from influence by any religion. They’re not anti-religious but
So when people like Mike Huckabee announce they want to “take this
nation back for Christ” and make the Constitution fit the word of God, atheists
worry, and feel that everyone else would be wise to worry along with
Atheists don’t take up much space. In fact, they only comprise 0.4
percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2001 American Religious
Identification Survey, conducted through the Graduate Center at CUNY. (Agnostics
would add 0.5 percent, the nonreligious 14.1 percent more.)
A total of
900,000 people isn’t even enough to fill 10 football stadiums, but evangelical
leaders insist the godless are behind the decline of a whole nation. Uh,
Atheists make good neighbors. Chances are, if you lived next door to an
atheist, you might never know it. Atheists aren’t known for going door-to-door
or shore-to-shore to un-convert people. They will help you even though there’s
no heavenly reward in it for them.
Atheists will not infringe upon your life
uninvited. On the other hand, you have to wonder about the neighborliness of
certain believers when you see, for example, the miracle of the multiplying
churches and neighborhood-munching mega-churches.
Thanks to the Religious
Land Use law, passed in 2000, it’s lots easier now for religious groups to build
more tax-exempt houses of worship, often against the wishes of neighborhoods
which they burden financially and environmentally.
Atheists are lousy
fundraisers. If you really want to raise a ton of money, oh, say on a weekly
basis, don’t ask an atheist. Go to the folks with the
Televangelists raise almost $100 billion a year. In fact, they are
so good at talking money out of people’s purses and bank accounts that six major
Christian ministries are under investigation by the Senate Finance
These prosperity preachers tell their followers that God wants all
of them to be well and be rich. (Serendipitously, God wants the preachers to
have fancy cars, huge houses and the occasional Learjet.)
Atheists are the
quiet type. Religionists have counted on atheists’ need for self-protection, but
things are changing. Witness the popularity of Christopher Hitchens’ insightful
book, god is not Great, the movie version of “The Golden Compass,” the
mainstream media interest in the nonbelievers’ demographic.
There’s a new
dialogue beginning between mainline believers and atheists, and among atheists
themselves. While militant New Atheists fight on intellectual turf to replace
dogma with rational thinking, humanists encourage believers and nonbelievers to
get the moral work of peace, social justice and saving the environment done
Right-wing Christianity shook the atheist community out of its
complacency with its relentless rhetorical badgering and attempts to co-opt the
country. A missing piece of the real picture of America is finally being
restored. Amen to that."
Any thoughts? I like it. I don't know that I'd categorize most atheists as "the quiet type". But, I heartily agree with her assessment that we no longer seem to be concerned with hiding our atheism in fear.
Ok. The wind is gusting 50moh right now and I think it's time to push the basketball hoop over as a proactive step before it causes some reactive behavior when it hits the house. Mr. Possum is out, but we need to get the van in before it gets sandblasted. It's horrible out. It looks like the time that we got sands from the Mojave blowing over the Tehachapis and into the valley. If Vamp is reading this...how are things on your side of town? Ok?
ETA: We didn't get to the basketball hoop in time. It almost hit the car. And, the fence just gave up the good fight. These winds are jacked up. "The National Weather Service at Hanford predicts winds of 35-50mph with potential for 70-80mph gusts in the southwest portion of Bakersfield. Gusts of this size can knock down small trees and unsecured structures." --- Um. That's an understatement.