Saturday, February 23, 2008

O-oooooooooooooooooooo-klahoma! Where the wind comes sweepin' down the planes.

It's official. Mr. Possum makes better coconut rice than I do. Mmmmmmm.

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 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.


Janet said...

It's days like today I'm proud of my local newspaper!

wineymomma said...

Of all types of weather i think windy is the one i hate the most. 4 years in north dakota and 3+in new mexico will do that to a girl. you have my sympathies

Lawrence said...

I read this first thing this morning and I found it to be quite good. The comments leave something to be desired because, as usual, someone decided to pull out the atrocities committed by "atheists." The rest of it is decent though.
On another note, we don't notice wind much in Wyoming, it just keeps blowing here and winds that are up to 50+ can last for days on the flats.

keelyellenmarie said...

This article made me very happy, but as is usually the case with such articles, the comments section was disheartening. Lots of people who obviously didn't even bother to consider the points of the article for two seconds before having lots of "but atheists are evil because stalin was an atheist/because no god=no morals" and a few "you're a whiny liberal beating up on conservative values" fits. On the bright side, I think I counted three Christians who appreciated the article, so it could be worse.

Chris said...

I love wind storms, but mostly because we only get them occasionally and I don't have a house to worry about. I remember one storm around '95, give or take a year. I was in 6th grade and since I was small for my age I thought it would be fun to go out in the windstorm, jump up in the air and open up my jacket. It worked. At the top of my jump my jacket acted as a sail and I flew back nearly 10 feet, landing a few feet into a thick evergreen. It was extremely fun. I tried it again a few years later when we had another windstorm, only this time with a tarp tied to my arms and legs. Unfortunately this time we lived in a valley, the wind somebody passed us by. I think it was either that windstorm or the one a few years later that I saw the rear of a Corvette get picked up off the ground about 3 feet in the Crown Point parking lot, in the Columbia River Gorge...a few mins later I saw somebody get caught by a gust and, due to the ice, get flung towards the edge. The small (waist height) rock wall is all that stopped him from falling off. Google Crown Point to know how bad that would have been.

The article was pretty good. I wish we'd get something that good in our local paper. The only article I've seen that mentioned atheists was one I actually read last night. It was a lengthy discussion on Ken Ham's book and his creation museum. There were a couple quotes from the required skeptic, but they were quickly dismissed, allowing the article to continue talking about Ham's ideas and "facts" without challenge...

Anonymous said...

Total change of subject, but how about an update on the 3M film? Are you able to go to and fro with no difficulties? Also, how did P1 like her video montage? :)

vamp said...

It's blowing like a mutha. The lights are a flickerin', and the kids are scared. We've got out the flashlights and candles. The gusts are spooky strong. I've got branches breaking off my just trimmed trees, so it could've been a lot worse.

We're on a high wind advisory until 10a tomorrow.

Back to your post...hmmm, I like the KC article. I'd also like to think there's a lot more atheists than what has been stated in '01. C'mon it's 7 years later, those numbers have to have grown some, KWIM?

Anonymous said...

Good article, it's heartening to see a newspaper prepared to defend the atheists. Quite an interesting take on theist/atheist debate.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Hear hear! Great article.

Carlie said...

Wow, it was in the Kansas City Star? My in-laws probably had a fit if they saw it. :) Glad to see that reason is making inroads everywhere.

Brigit said...

I haven't even finished reading, I got caught in the coconut rice.
Could you please give me a recipe for that? I've been dying to try out coconut rice, ever since I 'discovered' that coconut is not only for dessert recipes.

Katie said...

Its a very nice article and something a bit better to read first thing in the morning then the usual trash I come across in my own paper.

Oy! Don't remind me of wind storms. We had a very nasty time of tornadoes just a few weeks ago which left a lot of power lines down.

shaun said...

I liked the article! Good read! I think by 'quiet type,' they may have meant 'not as vocal as Dawkins, Hitchens, or Harris.' That's my interpretation, anyway.

I didn't read the comments, but from the comments on THIS blog, it seems like the same pathetic arguments used against atheists. It's a shame because this article wasn't an attack on Christianity - it was more of a 'lets get some things straight about your typical atheist' article. I mean, the writer didn't bring up all of the atrocities commited by Christians - so what's with the Stalin/Hilter/Mao stuff?

Country Wife said...

I'll second the 'please post the recipe'!

That's one of the best articles I've read in a while.

You have my sympathy on the wind issue. We've had some major windstorms here lately. We live in the middle of the woods, the south side of the house is all glass, and wind is scary.