An Entire Cable Channel About GOLF?!

Today I learned that there is an entire cable channel devoted to golf. A whole channel, with golf competitions, Golf Talk, Golf News, and, for all I know, golf ”fashion” shows, golf course tours and travel shows, and golfing sitcoms set at country clubs. Maybe there are even golf movies played every week, with ”Caddyshack” and that Adam Sandler movie I forgot the name of being featured prominently.

I can’t imagine how appealing the Golf Talk shows must be. ”Here’s an old white dude putting a small dimpled ball into a hole. Here’s another old white dude not quite managing to putt a ball into a hole. Here’s a rare minority person, also attempting to hit a ball with a stick so that it goes into a hole.”.

Fascinating stuff.

The most exciting things about golf:

1. Tiger Woods being a jerk, though that forced us all to endure lame jokes like “Tiger is a lion cheetah.”

2. Phil Mickleson being a jerk, whining about paying his fair share of taxes when he earns in a single year about 400x what you or I will earn in our entire lives.

3. The Masters being collectively a bunch of jerks, denying membership to women, and having a weird fixation on boxy jackets in a shade of green not ordinarily seen anywhere unless it is St. Patrick’s Day.

A whole channel about golf. I can’t even.

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Republicans Think Unemployed Women Need Ladylike Manners and Charm School Lessons

New York State Senator Marty Golden wants unemployed women to take “Posture, Deportment and the Feminine Presence” classes. Yes, he is a Republican. This is what he is promoting, rather than “equal pay for equal work” or job-creating legislation. I am guessing that this is because he is a big misogynistic idiot, but maybe I am just not in touch enough with my Feminine Presence to understand his manly wisdom and brilliance.

 

 So. Is this the new Republican “thing”? Thinking that ladies need to know how to walk around with books on their heads more than they need equal pay for equal work, the right as adults to make their own healthcare and reproductive choices, or not to be deemed a “pre-existing medical condition” because they have vaginas?

As a PROTIP, Republicans, I WAS brought up with “deportment classes” because I was supposed to be a debutante. I never mastered the “book on head” thing, but I know how to properly comport myself at a formal dinner and which arcane bit of silverware to use when, how to introduce two dignitaries to each other properly, how to cross my ankles and get into and out of cars in a lady-like fashion, ballroom dancing, all those old fashioned rules about what not to wear when, how to curtsey, when to remove your white gloves and when not to, and all those so-called “lady skills”. I own several etiquette books and I read them all. Guess what? THIS STUFF DOES NOT GET YOU A JOB, and, in fact, will often make your bosses and co-workers uncomfortable if you behave like an old-fashioned, mannerly, etiquette-knowledgeable lady these days.

Look, guys, “Lady Skills”–much like insisting upon speaking correctly and using proper spelling and grammar–often make your bosses and co-workers feel uncomfortable. It is sad but true. Consider these skills to be nice “cherry on top” life skills, but don’t pretend that people are going to understand or appreciate your new “Proper Lady Graces”, because they are going to think you are fucking weird. Trust me on this. I have gotten more shit from my peers for behaving properly and with respect towards others and following etiquette and deportment rules than I have doing anything else in life. THEY DO NOT GET IT. THEY THINK YOU ARE A NUTBAR. THEY DO NOT APPRECIATE IT. Sometimes it even makes them feel bad about themselves. How does this help you get a job, really? Do you think balancing a textbook on your head is a life skill someone is willing to pay for? It isn’t.

About the debutante thing: I told the Cotillion / “debutante mill” people to go fuck themselves and refused to make my debut because they did not allow non-white or non-Christian debutantes. If my friends weren’t allowed the same privileges and Society didn’t deem them presentable or want to meet them, then I had no time to waste on being presented to that Society. It was and is not a Society I want to be a part of. Fuck them.

Look. It is an accident of birth that I qualify to belong to Colonial Dames or Daughters of the American Revolution, and I don’t meant to disparage those groups at all. Truly, I am not. I’m just saying that it doesn’t make me “better” than anyone that my ancestors got here earlier than someone else’s, or that they did so as wealthy landowners or businesspeople and not as someone’s “property.” It is an accident of birth that my ancestors made a mark on history (for instance, my nieces are going to grow up knowing they are related to Meriwether Lewis and John and Abigail Adams and people that several counties in Arkansas and Georgia were named after, just as a small sampling, and maybe it will inspire them to be excited by history, as a bonus), and I am proud of them too, but I can’t take credit for their accomplishments, if you know what I mean.

I do not consider it my greatest accomplishment in life to have the accidental fortune to be born white and upper-middle class. I can take no credit for those things.

Anyway, fuck these people and their Feminine Presence classes bullshit. I’m living proof that it is just a distraction and something that will NOT help you get employed, especially if there are NO JOBS. It won’t help women get fair pay. It won’t do anything but annoy and insult a bunch of unemployed women and teach them skills of dubious value in this day and age who would be better served using that time applying to more jobs instead.

Thus endeth my rant.

 

Atlanta Sheriff Roger Garrison Upset He Got Caught Wearing KKK Robes

Ain’t THIS some shit. Racist gets caught being racist, complains that discussing his racist past now hurts his family’s feelings.

Georgia Sheriff Who Dressed Up As KKK: Criticism Of Me Is ‘Sickening And Hurts My Family’:

Sheriff Roger Garrison dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit when he was 22 years old — and now he wants people to stop talking about it.

A photo obtained by local TV station WSBshows Garrison and a friend in KKK attire, drinking beer.

The Atlanta sheriff insists that the outfit was meant to imitate a scene from the movie Blazing Saddles, and says that any criticism is not fair game. Garrison considers it a stupid move but says that the fury over the picture is “sickening”: “I don’t deny it was stupid, looking back now,” Garrison told the station, “but there again I say what 21 or 22 year-old in this world hasn’t made some stupid mistakes?”[…]

“I don’t espouse any of that. It’s just insane that politics digresses to this state,” he said.

The release of the photos comes at a bad time for the sheriff, who is facing a fight for re-election next month.

“I don’t think anyone who knows me is going to think anything of this,” Garrison told Atlanta’s CBS affiliate. “But it’s just sickening and it hurts my family.”

To the many black families living in Georgia, the outfit is far from a joke; the Ku Klux Klan are still a functioning white supremacist group with the aim of keeping white people separate from other races.

Garrison’s opponent is staying out of the debate, but did say, “it’s a statement that the suit makes and to call that a joke is – I don’t think a lot of people would laugh.”

 

RAEG! RAEG RAEG RAEG!

I am having a Samuel L. Jackson heat-inspired meltdown, clearly.

I have had it with all these motherfucking racists in my motherfucking state. GTFO.

Seriously. Do NONE of these people know how to say “I am sorry, I fucked up, I feel bad, I won’t do it again”? Hello? Any of them?

No, it’s all about how butthurt they are that they are being outed as racist motherfuckers in public because that might make their families feel all bummed and stuff, bu hu hu. Here’s an easy way to avoid shaming and embarrassing your family because you are caught being a racist asshole: Do not be a racist asshole.

I mean, how difficult is this concept? As the folks around here might say: don’t start none, won’t BE none. Don’t act the fool and you won’t get called a fool.

I take an extra measure of offense when people in my state reinforce these stereotypes. Like I don’t have to coexist with enough of these knobheads as it is.

HEY SHERIFF GARRISON: STOP MAKING GEORGIA LOOK WORSE THAN IT IS. WE STILL HAVE TO LIVE DOWN “DELIVERANCE,” YOU FUCKHEAD. YOU ARE NOT HELPING.

The KKK hate everyone who isn’t a white asshole. I am not down with people who celebrate white assholes.

Any “good” the Klan did was public relations bullshit to make their racist crap go down easier. It’s like loading up a spoonful of sugar to chase that slug of poison you were just forced to eat.

You can’t waltz into Wal*Mart and buy yourself a hood and robe off the rack. That shit is expensive. I saw a documentary about it. Some little old redneck racist granny in a trailer takes your measurements and all the badges and frills and colors and bullshit you want on your Omniscient Chameleon Battlegown and procedes to hand-sew a custom Racist Snuggie for you, with matching Racist Duncehood. These things cost hundreds of dollars. So, my question is: WHERE DID GARRISON AND HIS BUDDY FIND A PAIR OF THESE KLAN SUITS? You know what I think the answer is? I think that even if Garrison and his buddy were not actually in the Klan themselves, someone in one of their familes (or both) WAS and had Superlative Gecko and Extraordinary Snaildarter robes available to borrow. What do YOU think?

FUCK the Klan.

They are also the reason protest groups like Anonymous are not allowed to wear masks in public in some jurisdictions.

 

You know what? I was once 21-22 years old; here are some things I did not do and then blame it on being a dumb kid:

1. Dress up like a Klansman, ROGER GARRISON

2. Dress up like a highway patrolman, MITT ROMNEY

3. Get too drunk to behave myself

4. Drive drunk

5. Call someone a racist, sexist, homophobic or misogynist slur

6. “Forget” to use contraception

7. Vandalize shit that does not belong to me

8. Draft dodge (though I am a girl), MITT ROMNEY

9. Lie on my resume

10. Steal shit. No, I have never even lifted a tube of Chapstick from Walgreen’s.

11. Not pay my taxes (… *cough*)

12. Drunk dial

13. Forget where I parked my car / drive like an asshole

14. Blow off work (unless I was vomiting or contagious)

15. Mistreat pets or other animals

16. Wear offensive slogans on my t-shirts

17. Listen to shitty music

18. Hang out with idiots (if my friends were constantly idiotic, I got new friends)

19. Watch shitty television; life is too short and there are too many good books and non-shitty shows to watch (actually I went without watching TV at all for about 7 years)

20. Cheat on my significant other

21. Vote Republican

 

I could go on, but I get really sick of people trying to excuse stupidity on their youth. I managed to be a responsible adult human being and make good decisions, and I am far from perfect. It’s called considering other people and thinking of potential consequences.

And not being a damn racist.

 

 

Christianity Is Not Under Attack or Endangered, So You Can Relax

One of my favorite Facebook friends is Christian and (not to put words in his mouth) apparently feels a little bit uncomfortable when atheists discuss atheism and/or criticize Christianity. (Again, this is a nice person who seems to grok what Jesus said in the Bible about being decent to other human beings and I am not trying to say otherwise.)

I posted a slightly snarky someecards image to my Wall, and my friend was inspired to comment on it.

He recently said (among other things): “I don’t feel “threatened”, per se….sometimes, though, I feel like atheists and agnostics are downright angry when a person presents as a Christian…and it’s interesting that they won’t act like that with a Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu. I kinda feel like Christianity is under attack…likely because so many “Christians” have acted badly and with hypocrisy.”

And:  

“I just wondered… I don’t put down atheists. Why do they keep putting me down? Does cynicism make up for old persecutions? I guess it’s okay then. As a believer, I do apologize for the Christians who act crappy and superior and repressive. But I don’t do that… I wish people would stop inferring I’m stupid for being Christian. But, I’ll live. ‎…and I’m not really expecting an answer…not sure there is one… We humans are consciously or subconsciously motivated by 1,000 forms of fear. Religious people are frightened of atheists. Atheists are frightened of religious people….and NEITHER ONE can PROVE their positions….or disprove them. I think fear is generated by the unknown and our desire not to be foolish. I don’t mind if someone doesn’t believe in God. I wish THEY didn’t mind that I do. And I promise, personally, to NEVER inflict or impose my beliefs on anyone. That’s why I jealously guard America’s freedom OF religion….AND…freedom FROM religion.”

See? He’s a pretty awesome guy. The problem here is that he’s also feeling some hurt and offense, which is not cool.

My response:

I’m going to say some stuff in a nice tone of voice, which may be hard to “hear” online, but I swear I am saying this all very kindly, and with the intention of responding to your apparent bepuzzlement re: why some atheists / agnostics / other faiths might get a wee bit cranky at Christians when they claim they feel “attacked.”

If you are not currently living in an oppressive Muslim theocracy, you are most likely NOT being “attacked” for being a Christian.

Atheists are generally “live and let live” kind of folks but when theists (believers) make a point of dominating the political and cultural landscape, some atheists do get a wee bit cranky about it. Here’s a thought exercise to try: Compare this to having a neighbor with shitty musical taste. When he (for the sake of argument, it will be a he) plays his music at a reasonable decibel level in his own home, you don’t give a crap WHAT he listens to. When, conversely, he opens every window and blasts it to the whole neighborhood from car or house, the fact that you don’t like Juggalo music or Justin Bieber is suddenly going to become relevant to the amount of irritation you feel being stuck living next door to someone with shitty musical taste. You are likely to be moved to express your opinion about it or to blast your own non-shitty music right back.

When you are an atheist in the United States, it is like your entire neighborhood has the WORST musical taste EVER and also like they simply can’t enjoy their music quietly in their own home but instead have to throw open all their windows and doors and “share” their terrible music with you whether you like it or not and they do so at all hours of the day or night. There is no escape from it, ever. If you move away to a neighborhood with fewer neighbors with crappy musical taste (and this is not something you can know for sure in advance), it only takes ONE GUY playing Slipknot loud enough to drown out jet planes landing to irritate you.

What’s worse? You have no recourse. If you call the cops on your loud neighbor who won’t stop it with the Kenny G and the klezmer bands, and won’t turn it down or shut his windows, you’ll find that the cop is a huge Kenny G fan and won’t understand why you can’t just deal with it.

And that is what it feels like to be atheist in a predominantly theist society. If you choose to blast your own music back, at the same volume, you are seen as the bad guy. You’re the abrasive, obnoxious, argumentative, bad person. All because you were sharing YOUR music just as freely as your neighbor was sharing his. It turns out that this is equally annoying to the other neighbors who hate your neighbor’s shitty musical taste and don’t like the atheist’s taste, either. You are both seen as irritating. Worse, because atheists are a minority and fewer people like their musical taste (lack of belief), they have less support when doing the exact same thing their theist neighbors do all the time (loudly broadcasting their taste publicly). Not fair, but that’s how it goes.

Anyway, in the US, it is the theists who are free to entertain the entire country with their horrible musical taste, and it turns out that since the majority of the population happens to like the same stuff, you’re kind of stuck if you don’t.

If everyone kept their music to a reasonable volume in their own house, or gathered together at the same concerts but refrained from inflicting their musical taste on everyone else at all times, I doubt anyone would complain at all. But that’s not how it works.

Most theists DO keep their music (their beliefs) personal and confined within their own homes or at concert halls (religious gathering sites like churches and temples and mosques). It’s the loud minority of theists who do not, and insist that everyone else tolerate music (beliefs) they don’t like that get atheists upset. And, again, most atheists quietly go about their business and tolerate the aural assault of inescapable bad music (religious beliefs they do not share), but there is also a vocal minority who have just HAD IT and are now insisting on blasting their own music (lack of religious belief) just as loudly.

At any rate, that’s one way to look at it. But, really, theists have no reason to worry.

You can rest easy about your Christianity supposedly being under “attack”  (it isn’t) when: 

  •  the dominant religion in the United States is Christian. (From Wikipedia: “”The majority of Americans (60% to 76%) identify themselves as Christians, mostly within Protestant and Catholic denominations, accounting for 51% and 25% of the population respectively. Non-Christian religions (including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc.), collectively make up about 3.9% to 5.5% of the adult population. Another 15% of the adult population identifies as having no religious belief or no religious affiliation. When asked, about 5.2% said they did not know, or refused to reply. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, religious belief varies considerably across the country: 59% of Americans living in Western states (the “Unchurched Belt”) report a belief in God, yet in the South (the “Bible Belt”) the figure is as high as 86%. However, despite this seemingly high level of religiosity, only 9% of Americans in a 2008 poll said religion was the most important thing in their life, compared with 45% who said family was paramount in their life and 17% who said money and their career was paramount.“)
  • Christianity is so well-established in the US that we actually call a huge section of the US “the Bible Belt” (and another section “The Unchurched Belt”–which was news to me).
  • some Christians are busily trying to tear down the wall of Separation between Church and State to enact legislation based on Christian beliefs. This would not fly at all if any other religious group attempted to impose specific tenets of their faith on Americans as a whole. (In fact, some conservative politicians have proposed laws prohibiting adoption of “Sharia Law” in their jurisdictions, even though there is and was no possibility of any such thing happening.) And, yes, some Christians seem to believe that resistance to Biblical rules being turned into laws is somehow an “attack” on their beliefs.

Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1: No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

Maryland, Article 37: That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

Mississippi, Article 14, Section 265: No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8 The following persons shall be disqualified for office: Any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4: No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

Tennessee, Article 9, Section 2: No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

Texas, Article 1, Section 4: No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

  • you can’t go more than a few miles without finding a Christian place of worship (there are at LEAST eleven places of worship within a one mile radius of my home and each and every one is Christian and probably 8-9 of these are Southern Baptist).
  •  US currency since the 1950s has had Christian sentiments on it (“In God We Trust” replacing “E Pluribus Unum” which means “Out Of Many, One”). People got very angry when it was (falsely) claimed that “In God We Trust” would not appear on new dollar coins. Because people are stupid.

  • the Pledge of Allegiance added “under God” in 1954 during the McCarthy era to try to weed out non-Christians and Communists. The message is that the non-religious are suspect or unpatriotic or immoral in some way.

Article 6, section 3 of the Constitution states: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” The Founders clearly wanted the United States government to be a separate entity away from the church and all organized religion. While Christianity dominated the personal lives of many Americans, the Founders didn’t base their government on Christianity, religion, the Bible or the church.

Treaty of Tripoli:

In the 1796 Treaty with Tripoli, written under the George Washington presidency and signed under the John Adam’s presidency, the treaty states that the United States was: “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” Christian extremists often point to the fact that some of the Founders were Deists and [some were] Christians; while that is true, it didn’t have any effect on how they governed or their ability to create a “Christian nation,” which the United States is not.

  • Christians claim that we were founded as a “Christian” nation (when it is untrue and, more important, provably untrue if you actually look at the relevant documents): “The primary leaders of the so-called founding fathers of our nation were not Bible-believing Christians; they were deists. Deism was a philosophical belief that was widely accepted by the colonial intelligentsia at the time of the American Revolution. Its major tenets included belief in human reason as a reliable means of solving social and political problems and belief in a supreme deity who created the universe to operate solely by natural laws. The supreme God of the Deists removed himself entirely from the universe after creating it. They believed that he assumed no control over it, exerted no influence on natural phenomena, and gave no supernatural revelation to man. A necessary consequence of these beliefs was a rejection of many doctrines central to the Christian religion. Deists did not believe in the virgin birth, divinity, or resurrection of Jesus, the efficacy of prayer, the miracles of the Bible, or even the divine inspiration of the Bible.”

  • our elected officials have national prayer breakfasts and ask God to bless us constantly.
  • The White House has an Easter egg roll event and displays a Christmas tree.
  • we swear on Bibles (by default) when testifying in court. You can “affirm,” rather than “swear,” but imagine, if you can, what the reaction to your choice might be in some areas.
  • our elected officials swear on the Bible (by default) to uphold The Constitution.
  • hundreds, if not thousands, of words, phrases and quotes from the Bible are used frequently by all English-speaking people in the world. A SMALL sampling follows (“KJV” stands for “King James Version” of the Bible):

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
A broken heart: KJV, Psalms 34:18 – The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
A cross to bear: KJV, Luke 14:27 – And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
A drop in the bucket
A fly in the ointment
A graven image: KJV, Deuteronomy 5:8 – Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth.
A house divided against itself cannot stand
A labour of love
A law unto themselves: KJV, Romans 2:14 – For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.
A leopard cannot change its spots
A man after his own heart
A multitude of sins
A nest of vipers
A peace offering: KJV, Leviticus 3:6 – And if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering unto the LORD be of the flock; male or female, he shall offer it without blemish.
A sign of the times: KJV, Matthew 16:3 – And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
A soft answer turns away wrath: KJV, Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
A thorn in the flesh
A two-edged sword: KJV, Proverbs 5:4 – But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
A voice crying in the wilderness: KJV John 1:23 – He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing
All things must pass
All things to all men
Am I my brother’s keeper?
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
As old as Methuselah
As old as the hills
As white as snow
As you sow so shall you reap
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
At his wits end
Baptism of fire: KJV, Matthew 3:11 – I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
Be fruitful and multiply: KJV, Genesis 1:22 – And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Beat swords into ploughshares
Bite the dust
Blessed are the peacemakers
Born again: KJV, John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Breath of life: KJV, Genesis 2:7 – And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
By the skin of your teeth
By the sweat of your brow: KJV, Genesis 3:19 – In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Can a leopard change its spots?
Cast bread upon the waters: KJV, Ecclesiastes 11:1 – Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
Cast the first stone
Coat of many colours
Don’t cast your pearls before swine
Dust to dust: KJV, Genesis 3:19 – In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Eat drink and be merry
Eye to eye: KJV, Isaiah 52:8 – Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
Faith will move mountains
Fall from grace
Fat of the land: KJV, Genesis 45:18 – And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land.
Feet of clay: KJV, Daniel 2: 31-33 – His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
Fight the good fight
Fire and brimstone: KJV, Genesis 19: 24-26 – Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.
Flesh and blood
For everything there is a season
Forbidden fruit
Forgive them for they know not what they do
From strength to strength
Get thee behind me Satan
Gird your loins…

  • Biblical stories are often retold and used as themes in non-Christian literature / art / film / music*; we also borrow heavily from Greco-Roman and (to a lesser extent, once you get past the five days of the week named after Norse deities) Norse mythology, but nowhere nearly as often as we draw from Christian story arcs and symbolism.
  • Christianity is the dominant religious culture world-wide even though, percentage-wise, Christians are a minority globally.

World religions, by percentage of world population.

Christianity:  33.32%.

Muslim:  21.01%

Hindu: 13.26%.

Buddhist:  5.84%.

Jewish:  0.23%

Other:  12.25%

Non-religious:  11.77%.

Atheist:  2.32%.

  • Christian holidays are celebrated globally even in countries where Christianity is NOT the dominant religion.
  • people of all faiths are inundated with Christmas music for about three months straight every winter (and most of it sucks, especially the so-called “secular” Christmas music) and Christian holiday decor every winter and spring.
  • there are several cable TV channels devoted entirely to religious Christian broadcasting. There are also several Christian TV shows that are not aired on religious cable channels but major networks (such as “Touched By An Angel”). You can also choose a service provider that offers over 50 24-hour Christian networks.

“Sky Angel is your premier source for Christian and family-friendly entertainment – taking the guesswork out of channel surfing. Unlike Christian cable TV providers, Sky Angel’s primary focus is providing the widest variety of faith-based TV and radio available anywhere. Sky Angel also provides over 20 of the most family-friendly, educational mainstream channels – all brought to you exclusively through our affordable subscription packages. 

Although Christian cable TV providers may offer one or two quality Christian channels, Sky Angel delivers over 50 faith-based 24-hour networks that keep your values and budget in mind. Sky Angel sets itself apart from Christian cable TV providers by offering you three reasonably priced programming packages. The Faith Package is $14.99 per month and the Family Package is $19.99 per month. Combining both packages together for the best value, called the Family Values Pak, is only $24.99 per month.” 

  • there are far more Christian-themed holiday movies and TV special episodes than any other religion (though I hear that The Rugrats celebrated Channukkah at least once. See also Seinfeld‘s discussion of “Festivus.”)
  • there are active Christian groups which attempt to censor content in all popular entertainment media based on their Christian beliefs.
  • Christian groups regularly attempt to boycott or ban popular books, such as the Harry Potter series, and keep them out of schools and public libraries, rather than just not reading them.
  • there are active Christian groups which attempt to censor or boycott various companies and institutions which embrace diversity and tolerance. For example, One Million Moms regularly tries to keep retailers like JC Penney from recognizing homosexual people in their advertising.

  • there are Christian parochial and private schools available for parents who want them and they currently can manipulate a “voucher system” in many areas to get taxpayer money to help fund them in defiance of, again, the Separation of Church and State.
  • there are Christian groups like The Good News Club that attempt to recruit public school children in some schools, and which teach genocide is a positive thing (not an exaggeration) based on Bible verses
  • Christians try on a depressingly regular basis to make textbooks include Christian ideas like creationism / intelligent design (but never bother to demand that any other religions’ creation myth stories be included as well).
  • Louisiana private schools that accept taxpayer-funded vouchers are teaching students that the Loch Ness monster is real (this has been debunked repeatedly) and thus disproves evolution.
  • This is not the only stunt Louisiana Republicans have pulled while trying to push a Christian-only agenda in schools. Louisiana was cool with subverting Separation of Church and State by using taxpayer-funded vouchers for private Christian schools, but balked at including any Muslim schools:

It’s an honest mistake, assuming that the Constitution only protects your own personal megachurch faith. But one Louisiana Republican is learning the hard way that religious school vouchers can be used to fund education at all sorts of religious schools, even Muslim ones. And while she’s totally in favor of taxpayer money being used to pay for kids to go to Christian schools, she’s willing to put a stop to the entire program if Muslim schools are going to be involved.

Valarie Hodges admitted that when she supported Governor Bobby Jindal’s school voucher program, she only did so because she assumed the religious school vouchers could only be used for Christian schools. Religious freedom means that everyone’s free to follow Valarie Hodges’ religion!”

  • Christians regularly get butthurt when told that no, they can not tell the students to pray nor can they lead Christian prayers in secular / public schools; these same people get upset or angry if devout Muslim public school students request private time to pray or atheist students ask to be excused from group prayers.
  • Christian religious leaders regularly skirt the line when discussing politics, though they are not supposed to do so if they wish to retain tax-exempt status; to my knowledge not one Christian church has ever lost its tax exempt status no matter how often its leaders discuss politics or openly support one political party or politician.
  • you can easily find symbols of Christianity on car bumpers, in places of business, on clothing, on shoes, on jewelry, on the vast majority of greeting cards, on housewares, in commercial art, in fine art, on pet supplies, on billboards (etc.) It is likely, if you wish to purchase such items, that you can walk into any “big box retailer” and find items with Christian sentiments or symbols on them. If you wish to buy non-Christian merchandise with your faith’s sentiments or symbols on it, or if you want atheist merchandise, you will probably have to go online to order it.
  •  celebrities, politicians, (some) musicians and (especially) athletes make a point of praying Christian prayers publicly; Tim Tebow actually writes Bible verses on top of his patches of eye black.
  • when it is more common than unusual to spot “JOHN 3:16” signs at sporting events, parades and other large gatherings. Rollen Stewart is in jail now, but there are many others ready and willing to carry on in his footsteps.

  • people in jail cynically profess to have “come to Jesus” at parole hearings to get (and often receive) leniency on their sentences or early releases; studies appear to show that the vast majority of people in prison profess to be Christians (however, this sort of assertion relies on statistics which in some cases can be manipulated a bit, so you should look at the stats yourself and draw your own conclusions).
  • some sects of Christianity (Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses in particular) actually make a point to come to your house on weekends to tell you that–even though they don’t know you or what you might or might not believe–they are making the assumption that not only is your personal and private religious belief system their business (it isn’t) but it is also unacceptable compared to theirs. In every neighborhood I have lived in that had “NO SOLICITING” rules, religious people would ignore the signs and proselytize weekly anyway.

  •  some Christians bash people of color, women and homosexuals loudly and proudly and are not tarred and feathered for being hateful and divisive.
  • there’s an entire genre of music (with several sub-genres) called Christian music; this in addition to religious music like religious classical music / hymns which, being public domain, are often used to score content which is not even religious in nature.
  • there are entire bookstores and literary genres devoted to Christian-themed subjects; there are probably fewer than two dozen bookstores nation-wide that feature ONLY religious content for sale that is not Judeo-Christian, Jewish, or Christian.
  • Pope Benedict XVI, aka Cardinal Ratzinger, got caught covering up for pedophile priests abusing children. Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned in disgrace as Boston’s archbishop in 2002 after the priest sex abuse scandal exploded in the United States, was promptly given a huge promotion as head of a major Roman basilica. (He has since resigned, but he got a promotion, folks, after he was chased out of Boston for protecting pedophile priests.)
  • a group of Christians (The Gideons) leave Bibles in hotel rooms everywhere; I only know of ONE other group that does anything similar: The cult of Scientology regularly bombards libraries with unsolicited and unwanted Scientology-related literature. An occasional small-scale and short-lived response by individuals leaving Buddhist books (and so on) can not in any way compare.

“I cannot say enough about how horrible a thing it is for you to leave something like this in place of a tip. You can’t imagine how it feels to work your ass off for an hour or more, providing excellent service, only to find a tract sitting on the table – surreptitiously folded up to trick you into thinking you actually got a decent tip, or a tip at all. Christians are known for being notoriously bad tippers to start with. If you doubt me, ask any server. There’s a reason they dread working the Sunday lunch shift.

I have a bit of enlightenment for you,tract-tippers. This is not clever. You are screwing with the livelihoods of the servers on whom you inflict your evangelism. Oh, and that smirk on your face as you walk away from your table after leaving only makes you more of a pretentious dick. 

You want to know what else is not clever? Writing “Jesus Loves You” or some other bogus Christianese slogan to the line on your bill where you are supposed to add your tip.

Oh, and while we are at it, your “let’s eat most of our meal then send it back saying it sucked so we don’t have to pay for it or leave a tip” is a bunch of crap. It’s cheating [and theft], you are a douche for doing it, and the entire staff sees right through you.” ~ Al Stefanelli

  • when orgasming, having a bad day, experiencing misfortune or sneezing, someone is going to mention God 99% of the time. Pretty sure they are not talking about Ganesha, Odin, Ra or Papa Xangô, god of fire, lightning and thunder.
  • some Christians get mad over the use of “Xtian” and “Xtianity” but often can’t spell “Muslim,” “Buddhist” or “atheist” (or “Christian”, come to think of it!) correctly themselves; it is apparently OK to butcher the spelling of other faiths but it is NOT okay to use an X (a perfectly respectable symbolic relacement for “Christ” since around the time dirt was invented) because that somehow manages to threaten the cultural stranglehold Christianity has on the United States or diss Jesus or something.
  • there are museums devoted to promoting creationism that claim that dinosaurs and humans coexisted.

  • one of the most popular artists in the US was Thomas Kinkaid, the “painter of light,” whose insipid and pseudo-spiritual art gets far more exposure and attention than similar artists who did / do not deliberately cater to the Christian market. (I admit that my dislike of Kincaid’s art is a personal opinion, and actually has nothing to do with the messages in his art but entirely to do with his style.)
  • many states have Christianity-inspired “blue laws” that restrict business / commerce on Sunday; Christians can’t just NOT SHOP or NOT WORK on Sunday, they have to force everyone else, including non-Christians, to follow the same rules they do.
  • the work week is also structured around the needs of Christians to (supposedly) worship on Sundays; before unions negotiated for a five day work week, people often worked on Saturday, too.
  • we vote on Tuesdays because we had to accomodate Christian farmers who had to travel to vote and would not travel on weekends (not entirely their fault: Sunday church attendance was mandatory in colonial times and people could be and were convicted of working on Sunday or, apparently worse, not being Christians).
  • Atheists filed a lawsuit pointing out that a 9/11 memorial should acknowledge that people of other faiths and non-religious people died, too, not just Christians, and that the proposed memorial should reflect that fact as a matter of fairness, prompted over 8,000 death threats from angry Christians.

“According to the lawsuit, among the 2,792 people killed in the twin towers 31 were Muslim Americans, approximately 400 to 500 were Jewish Americans, approximately 500 were non-religious Americans, and an unknown number were Americans of other faiths. (So, about half of the people who died were not Christian.) Additionally, no other religious or non-religious group has been permitted a memorial.”

More on this:

“American Atheists filed a lawsuit to prevent a cross from being erected at the World Trade Center Memorial site. 

The cross in question is actually two broken girders from the original tower that were found in the rubble and roughly make the shape of the Christian cross.

The Atheists’ argument is that people of many religions died in the towers on Sept 11 and should be represented in the memorial.

Last week Blair Scott, the Communications Director for the American Atheists, appeared on Fox News show America Live to discuss the lawsuit.  It went as you might imagine.

However, it’s the online aftermath that’s getting much of the attention.  Following Scott’s appearance, Fox News’ FaceBook page received more that 8,000 death threats against atheists.”

  • The Boy Scouts make no bones about aggressively promoting a Christian agenda and discriminating against gays and non-Christians. (The Girl Scouts, by way of contrast, are notably more progressive (and have been inclusive of homosexual and transgender Scouts), and, as such, are often complained about or protested by Christians.)
  • our elected officials are all Judeo-Christian (mostly just plain Christian) with THREE exceptions (that I know of) out of over 550 upper-level politicians: We have TWO Muslims (only) and ONE atheist. That is IT. Again, Christians are in no danger whatsoever of being under-represented in our country any time soon.
  • the vast majority of the heroes schoolchildren are taught to revere and admire are not only white and male, but also Christian (and usually Protestant Christian, too).
  • school calendars and schedules are arranged to allow students time off for Christian holiday celebrations; if you are, for example, Jewish, well, good luck getting time off for your high holy days of Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. If you are Muslim, no time off for Ramadan (your high holy day) for you, buddy.
  • everyone has nationwide days off to celebrate the Christian holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas because, other than secular celebrations, all holidays celebrated nationally are Christian: there are no other faith’s holidays that are celebrated nationwide. To be clear, as Wikipedia puts it: “The United States does not have national holidays in the sense of days on which all employees in the U.S. receive mandatory a day free from work and all business is halted by law.” But what days did YOU get off from work*? Sometimes, when the calendar cooperates, we get Passover and Easter bundled together if our schools or workplaces chose to let us have those holidays, but if Passover (a Jewish holiday) and Easter are not conveniently close together, then the default is to have Easter off. Also, for what it is worth, the now-mostly-secular holidays of SAINT Valentine’s Day and SAINT Patrick’s Day offer a hint about how secular they originally were (clue: they weren’t).
  • Christians are not happy with this and also want to turn Hallowe’en into a religious celebration (“Jesusween” being one alternative that some knobhead actually seriously proposed). That it was originally just All Hallows Even(ing) and that it precedes All Saints Day is apparently forgotten. (And yes, that means that these people do not understand that the “w” in “ween” is the last letter in “Hallow,” as in “All Hallow’s Even” or that “een” is the shortened form of “even”, which is itself the shortened form of “evening”.)

  • though there is supposed to be no religious test required for taking office, Christians opposed to Barack Obama not only deny his Christian faith but also insist that he is a Muslim, which is supposed to, in some way, make him unfit to be President. (Please note that Muslims do not eat hot dogs, smoke, or drink beer.) Message: Be Christian or else. Remember also that JFK’s Catholicism was seen as too “radical” for other (Protestant) Christians at the time.

A Muslim explains: “Basically all food is halal and allowed for Muslims to eat except what is forbidden explicitly in Quran and what is forbidden by prophet Muhammad[‘s] saying[s] (Ahadith) or practices. In Islam, alcoholic beverages–or any intoxicants–[are] generally forbidden. Intoxicants were forbidden in the Qur’an, through several separate verses revealed at different times over a period of years. [It] is forbidden to eat (except in cases of severe hunger)…dead animals, pork, blood, and what is not slaughtered under name of God. Smoking is considered also forbidden as…smoking is harmful to health and Quran commands us not to harm our health.”

  • The use of “BC” and “AD” (“Before Christ” and “Anno Domini”– meaning “year of our Lord”) denote vast periods of time; though there has been an effort to popularize “BCE” and CE” (“Before Common Era” and “Common Era”), this has not caught on and it still uses “year zero” which is associated with Christ’s reported date of birth (and which might even be historically inaccurate, but that’s another rant for another day).
  • religious leaders (usually conservative) are frequent guests on news channels and political news programs; the one liberal equivalent to balance all those conservative religious folk that I know of would be the REVEREND Al Sharpton on MSNBC.
  • communities which display public holiday decorations do so at taxpayer expense more often than not and, unsurprisingly, those decorations are usually for Christian holidays AND sometimes even include specifically religious displays like Nativity scenes and not just boughs of holly and pretty lights.
  • Christians have tried to place the Ten Commandments into government buildings and courthouses. Actually, Christians have SUCCEEDED in placing the Ten Commandments in government buildings, and most of them are really pissed off that they were told they could not DO that. (Please name one U.S. government building or courthouse that has a monument depicting tenets of a faith other than Christianity. Public libraries with documents and books about non-Christian religions or atheism do not count.)

  • it is illegal to discriminate against someone or to fire them on the basis of their religious faith (or lack thereof), but try announcing you are anything other than Christian to some employers and see how that works out.
  • it is not uncommon for workplaces to encourage employee-managed “Secret Santa” celebrations and it is even less uncommon for workplaces to have holiday parties that will almost always feature a Christmas tree and Christmas decor and Christmas music.
  •  it is not uncommon for co-workers to announce what they are “giving up for Lent” or to try to form a Bible Study Group with other coworkers or to display Christian inspirational art and quotes prominently in their work areas.
  • some Christians also get all bent out of shape when told “Happy Holidays” (which is inclusive and does not assume you are of any particular faith while intending to be something pleasant and friendly to say) instead of “Merry Christmas” and think nothing of throwing a public tantrum and often do so in a store covered in Christian holiday decor and piping in Christian holiday music. (…Because non-Christians should not be acknowledged at all and should not also have a pleasant winter holiday season? I don’t understand this sort of thing.)

A letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News from a Christian who is “sad and angry” that some people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”:

 “This article made me both sad and angry; sad because we have become a nation that must be so politically correct that we think we cannot celebrate the most blessed holiday of the year by saying “Merry Christmas,” having Christmas trees and parties at school, and celebrating the birth of our Savior with nativity scenes on courthouse lawns. It made me angry because we do not have the wherewithal to stand up for our beliefs.

 The spokesperson for the Allen ISD stated, “times are changing,” and, “there’s more focus on diversity and less assumption that everyone comes from the same background.” Is that a reason to do away with the traditions that this country was built upon? What do you suppose would happen if we, as Americans, immigrated to another country whose culture had different beliefs and celebrations?”

Now substitute any other faith (or lack of faith) for “Christian” and see if ANY OTHER GROUP ON THE PLANET is anywhere near as “oppressed” and “attacked” (or “threatened” or “endangered” or “marginalized”) as Christians claim to be. 

You might discover that Christians are more likely to oppress than be oppressed; at the very least, you are likely to be assimilated, like the Borg, into a monotheistic culture based almost entirely on Christianity.

DID YOU KNOW? An estimated 35% of born-again Christians do not read the Bible at all, writes the Center for Bible Engagement, quoting Ron Rhodes, President of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries.

Studies by The Barna Group and Gallup indicate that Americans are “illiterate” when it comes to the Bible and understanding the Christian faith: Issues such as teaching creationism in public schools, national days of prayer, gay marriage, women’s reproductive rights and placing the Ten Commandments in the public square are often fueled by “Bible believing” Christians in an atmosphere where the majority of people have not read the Bible.

When Christians feel singled out by atheists for criticism, they forget that many atheists live in Western countries where Christianity has dominated culture, politics, and society for over 1,500 years. Atheists are most familiar with Christianity and have to contend with Christianity on a daily basis in their lives, and perhaps even were raised as Christians.

Some atheists raised Christian were discouraged from doubting and questioning but did so anyway and some discovered that they had been misled, deceived and/or lied to by religious parents or religious leaders. This can easily result in a lingering resentment of a belief system that allowed and continues to allow such deception to occur. Experiences like this can cause anger or resentment towards religion in general and Christianity in particular.

Many atheists suffer from discrimination and abuse from family, friends, or colleagues IF they even feel comfortable enough to express their lack of religious belief at all: They can fear reprisals and ostracization. Some atheists are simply not going to have warm, fuzzy feelings about Christianity when it is misused to foster hatred and repression towards them simply because they are not Christian.Eliminating the institutionalized persecution and hatred atheists endure in the name of Christianity is going to be far more effective than attempting to convert atheists. 

All of these are valid and understandable reasons why Christianity is more of a focus for atheist critiques than other religions.

Historically, Christianity was used to excuse:

  • appropriating other religions’ mythology and pagan holiday celebrations and revising them to be Christian traditions instead
  • slavery (it’s in the Bible!)
  • The Holocaust
  • The Crusades
  • The Inquisition
  • cultural appropriation in third-world countries by (well-meaning) Christian missionaries
  • homophobia
  • subjugation of women
  • subjugation of minorities
  • subjugation of children
  • domestic violence
  • more than a few wars
  • more than a few land grabs, globally
  • disenfranchising indigenous peoples
  • torturing / murdering / forcibly converting / hanging people suspected (right or wrong) of not being a particular flavor of Christianity (Puritans hanged Quakers, for instance)
  • passing laws that punish or discriminate against non-Christians
  • antisemitism
  • panics over the Apocalypse
  • baptizing the dead who were not of your faith in life (often multiple times)
  • circumcision (whether you are for or against it, this is why)
  • social oppression
  • science denial
  • denying necessary medical care to the physically or mentally ill
  • using exorcisms to treat the mentally ill

…and much more! There are few, if any, other religions that can claim a list as impressive (and depressing). I’m not saying there aren’t ANY (hello, Islam) but there aren’t as MANY with a similar history of cultural domination.

So Christianity is top dog, and that leads to Christian Privilege. What’s that? As Wikipedia puts it, “Christian privilege” is the overarching system of advantages bestowed on Christians. It is the institutionalization of a Christian norm or standard that establishes and perpetuates the notion that all people are or should be Christian. The privileging of Christians and Christianity excludes the needs, concerns, religious cultural practices, and life experiences of people who are not Christian. At times overt and at other times subtle, Christian privilege is oppression by purpose and design, as well as by neglect, omission, erasure, and distortion. U.S. Christians in general and predominantly Protestants, successfully disseminate dominant social constructions as being common sense, as normative, or as universal, even though an estimated 70% of the world’s inhabitants are not Christian.

Here’s where we should reiterate that fact: SEVENTY PERCENT of the world’s population is NOT Christian, but, hey, no worries, the dominant culture world-wide certainly seems to be Christian anyway.

Nice Christians who sense some frustration directed their way by non-Christians are definitely on to something when they (maybe you!) say that it might be because SOME (not all, by any means, and certainly not YOU personally) Christians DO behave badly and make up bullshit like “The War on Christmas” (when people just want other faiths to be acknowledged as simply EXISTING, because GOSH, that takes something away from exactly no one to say, hey, there are people who do not believe exactly the same unprovable faith-based things I believe).

Nice Christians are correct when they notice that SOME atheists get a little cranky at claims that it is Not Okay to get a little exasperated with the FEW (I hope!) misbehaving Christians who refuse to show Jesus-like compassion, love, tolerance and acceptance towards other people IF they are not openly Christian, too.

SOME atheists get grumpy when it is clear that it is Not Okay to resist faith-based initiatives that erode the separation of church and state (it’s a big deal, which is why I have said it more than once), or that it is Totally Okay to force people who do not believe as you do (in Christianity) to follow rules, laws and social conventions based on YOUR (Christian) beliefs. (Also, are there any non-Christian groups that act like Westboro Baptist out there? Look around, and if you find any, let me know.)

Hey, guys…is it making a little more sense now?

What gets really fun (for the uninvolved observer) is when one of the more than THIRTY THOUSAND different flavors of Christianity starts bitching about a different flavor of Christianity. Protestants and Catholics have historically been at odds. Mormons / LDS, Christian Scientists and Jehovah’s Witnesses are called cultists by other Christians. That’s when people who aren’t Christian (or into religion stuff in general) REALLY shake their heads at Christians.

Supposedly a bunch of people who revere the same book (The Bible), and supposedly have read the same stuff in the same book (including a lot of contradictions and scientifically impossible / improbable assertions and a lot of rules and laws that most people only follow when it suits their agenda), still manage to find a hell of a lot of ways to butt heads and scream at each other while arguing about who is correctly interpreting the writings of some desert-dwelling, wandering goat herders who were writing down Jewish myths and stories to share, and who didn’t get around to writing about Jesus until long, long after he was dead (if he lived at all–and there’s some reasons to question that–but I am DEFINITELY not going to open that can of worms). Even more cool is that the standard Bible is missing a heck of a lot of relevant contemporary gospels and writings that have been omitted for…well, um, I don’t know why some made the grade and some didn’t. I’m not a Comparative Religions expert.

Again, find a religious group that acts like this that isn’t Christian, and you would discover that a lot of people get annoyed with THEM, too. (Here’s where you would be right to point out that SOME Muslims are just as pushy about their holy book and religious beliefs. You might also ponder the entertaining fact that it appears to be the most devout Christians who really, really have the most serious issues when attempting to interact with or relate to Muslims.)

What’s worst, in my mind, is how many of my friends and family are Christian and also NICE and not hypocritical, and they are lumped in with the louder and more obnoxious and more offensive Christians (in name only, most of the time) who make them look ignorant or intolerant or mean-spirited. Christians’ worst enemy out there are OTHER CHRISTIANS who, I suspect, have mostly not even read the Bible they like to wave around / thump at other people.

There need to be more people willing to say “you do not speak for ME, even if we supposedly share a common faith” when “bad” Christians act out.

Here’s something else to consider: Some atheists may just have trouble dealing with some of the things they have read directly from The Holy Bible.

Some cool things you can learn from the Bible:

  • The very first two stories in Genesis contradict each other
  • Slavery is a-OK in the Bible
  • Getting your dad (Noah) drunk and having sex with him is OK
  • Throwing your female family members to an unruly mob to rape and murder is better than being a bad host to two total strangers
  • Bats are actually birds
  • There are unicorns and dragons mentioned (A LOT) in the Bible–but not dinosaurs. I’m pretty sure kangaroos aren’t mentioned either, though.
  • Playing football is a no-no…if you play with a pigskin football. You should probably also double-check any suede and leather goods you might own to make sure they are not pigskin.
  • Leviticus, which is often used by the homophobic and self-righteous to justify condemning homosexuals, also spends several chapters (NINE!) detailing how to properly prepare burnt offerings (wow, some churches don’t even bother with incense burners these days) and, in addition to prohibiting The Gays, also prohibits eating pork, clams, oysters, crabs, lobsters and shrimp; getting tattoos; wearing cotton-polyester clothes, etc.) If you’re going to ignore the sections of Leviticus that ban tattoos, pork, shellfish, round haircuts, mixed-fiber clothing and football, how can you possibly turn around and quote Leviticus 18:22 (“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination”) as irrefutable law? Here is a situation where supposedly devout Christians (who should know their Bible) apparently either ignore what Jesus said about Mosaic Laws or treat the Bible like a Quality Street pick-a-mix chocolate candy assortment box and discard the inconvenient laws (like no eating any delicious pork chops) in order to cling to an equally outdated rule about hating non-hetero people.
  • Mules, ligers and non-purebred cats and dogs are a no-no; you shouldn’t crossbreed animals because God hates that stuff. Your labradoodle, cockapoo or Jack Shi’tzu are abominations in the eyes of the Lord your God.
  • Growing more than one crop per field is a no-no, so your Victory Garden is also an abomination unto the Lord. (By this logic, God probably also hates broccoli, which was horticulturally created by by some creative Italians who combined cauliflower with rabe (it’s a vegetable closely related to the turnip; it also called rapini).
  • Divorce is verboten, so choose your life partner very wisely!
  • It’s totally OK to rape someone if you marry them afterwards.
  • Adam and Eve were never married.
  • It’s also OK to have multiple wives and to impregnate multiple servant women (slaves) if your wives aren’t multiplying fruitfully enough for you.
  • Being illegitimate is verboten (even though it is totally not your fault!)
  • Being the great-great-great-great-ad infinitum-grandchild of an illegitimate person is also no good (and, again, it’s not even your fault!)
  • Women and men without testicles (even if it is totally not your fault, and, dude, we are SO sorry for your loss) are not supposed to pray inside a church or temple
  • Wearing gold, pearls, costly (designer?) clothing is–you guessed it!–forbidden
  • “Rounding” the edges of your haircut (no bowl cuts for you) and braided hair are verboten

…There’s so much more!

Man, this book full of ancient advice passed down to us by illiterate Bronze Age wandering desert-dwelling goat-herders is relevant to the 21st century, inerrant, totally internally consistent and everything in it should be followed to the letter…unless it is somehow inconvenient (I mean, bacon-wrapped shrimp is so tasty).

(This is not to say there is nothing good in it, of course; there are some good things in the Bible.)

Fun stuff, amirite? The term for the omnipresence of Christianity in our culture is called “Christian hegemony“:

 “Christian hegemony operates on several levels. At one level is the internalization of dominant western Christian beliefs and values by individuals in our society. Another level is the power that individual preachers, ministers and priests have on people’s lives. Particular churches and some Christian denominations wield very significant political and economic power in our country. There is a vast network of parachurch organizations, general tax-supported non-profits such as hospitals, broadcasting networks, publishing houses, lobbying groups, and organizations like Focus on the Family, Prison Fellowship, The Family, World Mission, and thousands of others which wield influence in particular spheres of U.S. society and throughout the world.

Another level of Christian dominance is within the power elite, the network of 7-10,000 predominantly white Christian men who control the largest and most powerful social, political, economic, and cultural institutions in the country. And finally there is the level which provides the foundation for all the others–the long and deep legacy of Christian ideas, values, practices, policies, icons, and texts that have been produced within dominant western Christianity over the centuries. That legacy continues to shape our language, culture, beliefs, and values and to frame public and foreign policy decisions.

Christian dominance has become so invisible that its manifestations appear to be secular, i.e. not religious. In this context, the phrase “secular Christian dominance” might be most appropriate, Christian hegemony under the guise of secularism. Of course, there are many forms of Christian fundamentalism which are anything but secular. Often fundamentalists want to create some kind of theocratic state. But the more mainstream, everyday way that dominant Christian values and institutions influence our lives and communities is less evident, although no less significant and certainly not limited to fundamentalists.”

Honestly, guys, Christianity is NOT under any threat or in danger of going away any time soon. REALLY.

I think you can rest easy if someone is disinterested in accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. It happens, sometimes, and Christianity is not diminished or in danger at all.

I hope this has proven comforting and enlightening. Some people (atheists) may get a little cranky with some Christians, but you Christian guys are going to be just fine. I promise.

Besides, a faith that can’t withstand a little introspection, examination, debate, and / or thoughtful challenge is not a truly strong faith to begin with.

Lastly, if you are an awesome Christian, please continue to be awesome and please feel free to accept this high five from me. 

NOTES:

More on the subject of Christian Privilege.

A critical, skeptical examination of The Bible.

 

 

The Fake Will Smith Account Needs to SFTU with the Stupid Platitudes

I’ve shared this before, and it annoys me each time I see it. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea: Don’t spend a lot of time thinking or feeling negatively about unworthy people. Okay, cool, I can try that out.

 

Fake Fresh Prince is Fake.

 

Once you start thinking about what that quote is actually saying, though, it becomes more problematic.

1. Will Smith and his wife have been dabbling in Scientology, going so far as to be involved in a Scientology tech-based school. Scientology is ALL ABOUT doing nothing without getting something in return (that is “out-exchange”, so charity and being a Good Samaritan is not part of their creed) and, further, Scientology is all about controlling customers’ minds through Training Routines which teach its customers how to obey orders and give orders without questioning them, and Auditing which encourages its customers to reveal deeply personal (blackmail) material and then unburden themselves to an auditor who functions as a psychology-averse pseudo-therapist, Knowledge Reports (grass forms / tattletale sheets), diktats from Source (4th-rate sci-fi author and cult leader, L. Ron Hubbard) on every conceivable area of one’s life that must be adhered to without deviation or question, bans on non-Scientology media, websites, books and unapproved entertainments (they used to go as far as to install “Net Nannies” on customers’ computers which would block access to “entheta” (negative data) websites), thought-stopping use of a special language rife with acronyms and what used to be perfectly good words in English (like “ethics”) which are twisted into unrecognizable Hubbardese, and mistrust of any competing technological advances or information (psychology is supposedly evil, medications are supposedly unnecessary because all you need is touch assisting or auditing or medically unsound concoctions like CalMag (a special Hubbard brew) or barley water instead of baby formula and any number of similar idiocies).

So, the idea of (real) Will Smith–who has AT THE VERY LEAST, chosen not to investigate Scientology before supporting a Scientology tech-based school–speaking about people wanting to “control your mind” is laughably disingenuous.

Clearly, Fake Will Smith shouldn’t pick quotes like this one. Bad form, Fake Will Smith.

2. You will also notice that Fake Will Smith’s advice depends on you carefully keeping some kind of scoresheet in your head, and making sure that “people who do so little for you” receive no thoughtful contemplation or emotional feeling from you unless they pass the “what have you done for me lately?” test.

This kind of attitude about relationships is infantile and self-centered, and the opposite of being genuinely kind and charitable towards everyone without regard for whether they “do” anything for you first.

This is not to say that people who are abusive or selfish deserve to be forgiven endlessly. Far from it. It is not a bad thing to examine a problematic relationship and determine whether it is healthy for you to remain in it. It is OK to say “no” to people. If you are dealing with an abusive, manipulative or passive aggressive person in a relationship, then thinking about the one-sided-ness and negative emotional impact of that relationship is healthy and a good idea.

If you are, however, keeping some kind of tabs on whether every person you are in some kind of relationship with, in your opinion, has done enough for you to “deserve” basic kindness or thoughtful consideration, then you are an asshole. Healthy relationships do not require scorekeeping.

Just my humble opinion.

 

On Honor and Kindness

Republican Marty Golden wants unemployed women to take etiquette and deportment classes. Just another example of the complete disregard some of these conservative men have for women and the poor.

What’s more important, to me, than having an expert grasp of the ins and outs of etiquette rules, is being honorable and kind and having self-respect for yourself.

Want to know some things that will get you labeled as “weird” by your peers? Having an old-fashioned sense of honor and fair play and graciousness. Consider trying to always do the right thing, even though it will be misunderstood, and even when it does not benefit you at all (and, in fact, will inconvenience you) to do the right thing, or admit you were at fault, or to be scrupulously honest, or to always tell the truth when you can. People will look at what you do, compare it to what they would do (and, sadly, a lot of people don’t really understand what “honor” means), and judge you on that basis rather than figuring out that you simply don’t act or think like they do or that you are OK with that and that you don’t think you are “right” and they are “wrong” (or vice versa)–they fail to realize that you are just DIFFERENT. We all come from different backgrounds and do things in our own ways. But you’ll be misunderstood if your way is too foreign; you have to just roll with it. Be friendly to all, be kind to all, be close friends with only a few, avoid the “poison pill personalities” that make you feel shitty more than once or those people who persist in filtering your behaviors through some kind of warped dysfunctional lens in their heads and interpreting it in the worst and most offensive way possible…just carry on doing your best to do your best.

What is “behaving honorably” anyway? Well, you know it when you see it or live it, I guess, and I regret to inform you that you WILL be misunderstood or have your actions interpreted less than generously by some people. Sad but true. But be honorable and kind anyway.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you drive a male acquaintance home after a night out (if you are both straight and if you are female). Your peers might only do it if they had some ulterior motive, like wanting to get laid or something. You do it because you can, and it is the right thing to do if you don’t want to risk having your acquaintance get into an accident or get a ticket or hurt innocent people by crashing into them because your acquaintance was driving impaired. You’re going to be surprised when your acquaintance’s friends give him a hard time about it (but probably not very surprised that none of them offered to drive him home). Consider it a life lesson about what kind of folks they must be, and marvel that they consider his business and your business to be their business.

Solution: Be responsible and concerned about others anyway. If anyone has a problem with it or misunderstands? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you remain friends with your ex-boyfriends. They didn’t suddenly turn into bad people because the relationship failed to work out, right? You still like the same things about them you did before, it’s just that you guys just don’t want to date anymore. It doesn’t matter who made the decision, really. Eventually that detail is no big deal. While you are still heartbroken, behave with dignity and basic, platonic friendliness until you get over it. It is hard, but not THAT hard. You are an adult. Act like one. (Holy cow, you mean you also like their new girlfriends and wives? What is wrong with you? You must be carrying a torch for them. There is no other explanation. It can’t be that you just LIKE them as human beings! What’s wrong with you, you are supposed to have hate and resentment towards your exes and be jealous of their new partners. Get with the program!)

Solution: Continue to treat them as platonic friends…if they can handle it. (If not; well, you tried. Move on.) Continue to like and appreciate their new partners, because those women happen to be awesome (and clearly they have good taste in men, amirite?) and carry on. If anyone has a problem with it or misunderstands? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being considered stupid or unobservant because you don’t talk about or reveal everything you know about what your peers are up to, and because you don’t share what has been told to you in confidence, so they think you don’t know when, in truth, you just don’t judge them or care. (It is knowing enough about the skeletons in the closet of every single person you hang out with to utterly destroy them with a single sentence, but never, ever doing so, no matter how awfully they behave towards you, because it would be wrong to swat a fly with an H-bomb.)

Solution: Be trustworthy and discreet anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being treated like a token aunt or parent by people only 3-4 years younger than yourself because you already made the mistakes they are making or learned from watching other people fuck up, and being nagged for advice you don’t feel like it is your place to give, and then being avoided or mocked if you do fall for it and offer advice or because someone bared their soul to you and they think you’re going to act like everyone else and betray them, so they better make you look foolish instead.

Solution: Be helpful anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you treat what other people say with interest, and they interpret your interest in what they say as interest in them “romantically” or a desire to “be their best friend” or a desire to be a “part of their gang.” No, you do it because you generally find what other people have to say interesting because you can learn from different points of view, and because it is polite to hear people out, and you could give a rat’s about being part of any groups, “in” or not.

Solution: Be interested anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you buy someone’s lunch for them because you can, and they are struggling. Again, you don’t want anything from them, you are just treating them with the same kindness you would like to be treated with.

Solution: Be generous anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being misunderstood when you decline to join in when someone is being teased and it starts to feel a little mean-spirited. It’s not that you have no sense of humor, you just think the best jokes are inclusive and positive, and not designed to make the target feel like shit and then have to sit and take it or be accused of being a poor sport.

Solution: Be thoughtful (and choose not to tease others in a mean way) anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being given a hard time when you pick up your trash when you are ready to leave at the movie theatre and being told to “leave it, that’s what the employees are paid for” or being given a hard time when you clean up your mess at a restaurant and being told “leave it, that’s what the servers are paid for”…but doing it anyway.

Solution: Think of other people’s feelings anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means talking to the homeless guy who likes to sell homemade incense outside the dance club you like to go to regularly, becoming a friendly acquaintance with him because he is funny and smart and a decent dude who fell on hard times, and regularly getting the stink eye for it. (Anyone want some incense? I still have pounds of it.)

Solution: Care about people anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means being responsible enough not to ever drink so much you get impaired, and then having to always be the designated driver because everyone else knows you’re going to be the responsible party. It is then being considered a bit of a drag who should “let her hair down” because you choose not to get stinking drunk and act out and force your friends and acquaintances to babysit your ass.

Solution: Be responsible anyway. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means talking about what interests you and sharing information, and risking being called a big ol’ nerd for it.

Solution: Stupidity is not cute. Ignorance is not cool. Books are awesome. People don’t understand that? Fornicate them right in the earhole.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means keeping your mouth shut more often than not, and not just being a chatterbox to fill the air with the sound of your own voice unless you think you have something productive to say. People are probably going to think you are aloof or superior or unfriendly or stupid.

Solution: Don’t give a shit about other people’s opinions about you, because what they think about you actually isn’t any of your business. Who gives a shit? Not you! Also, fuck ’em.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means giving an acquaintance something nice that you don’t need anymore as a gift without strings, and having to deal with other people who wonder why you didn’t just sell it to make a buck, and who decide you must have had an ulterior motive.

Solution: Give gifts if you want to and give them to whomever you want, it’s your stuff. People don’t understand that? Just say fuck ’em, because giving feels good.

Sometimes having honor or being kind means liking almost everyone despite or because of their human flaws, and enjoying their company, and then having to deal with other people in your social circles getting butthurt because you are not shunning the same people they have some boring and irrelevant-to-you interpersonal conflicts with.

Solution: Choose your own acquaintances and friends without concern for other people’s opinions. People don’t understand that? Fuck ’em.

In other words, your kindness is going to be filtered through the “what would I be doing or thinking in the same situation” lens by people who find basic kindness or honor a bit confusing, and you’re likely to wind up being deemed “weird.” Again. So, some people don’t understand your behavior?

Fffffffffuck ’em.

This sort of crap is, of course, your cue to hang out with kinder and more mature people if you find the people you are hanging around with always seem to have difficulty understanding decency and thoughtfulness.

Not giving a shit about other people’s opinions about me and just carrying on means I’m pretty content with life most of the time. If you like me, great; if you don’t, great. I can’t be bothered to have angst over it. I have plenty of friends. I don’t need “friends” who don’t understand me or respect me. Be kind or begone.

Being honorable or kind is not something that can be taught in “Lady Skills” classes. It is probably also not something that a Republican man like Marty Golden–who is prehistoric enough to suggest “Lady Classes” for the unemployed–is going to understand.

To be fair, “being honorable and kind” doesn’t get you employed, either, but you feel a hell of a lot better about yourself on a day to day basis, which makes it worth it.

How To Be an Awesome Person on Social Networks

After spending a little time scouring “I’m Not A Racist But” and “I’m Not A Sexist But“, I came to the conclusion that I have excellent online friends. I wrote them a little love note to explain why.

Stuff My Online Friends Do Not Do:

  1. Whine about Black History Month and wonder when White History Month is (that would be ALL the months, dicks)
  2. Whine about International Women’s Day and wonder when International Men’s Day is (that would be ALL the days, dicks)
  3. Whine about Women’s Studies courses in universities while wondering why there are no Men’s Studies courses (those are called History courses, dicks)
  4. Tell “sandwich” and “kitchen” jokes about women
  5. Tell sexist jokes in general (and yes, that would include “dumb guy” jokes)
  6. Tell jokes making fun of people from particular countries (i.e. Polish jokes) or religions (i.e., Jewish jokes) or races (i.e., jokes about Asian people)
  7. Fail to notice sexism in advertising (i.e., more than one FB friend has griped that while Axe commercials are bad and sexist towards both women and men, commercials that depict dads who can’t handle diapers or make healthy adult dietary choices or which show men making foolish financial choices while being scolded by women are also bad, and adverts using women as nothing more than props or sex objects are gross as well)
  8. Complain about a bad driver while making sure to specify that the driver is (pick one): black, Asian, or female.
  9. Complain about women in traditionally male-dominated fields; in fact, many of you ARE women in male-dominated fields
  10. Blame someone’s stupid behavior on their sex or race. Sometimes people are just not smart.
  11. Get grossed out by non-traditional partnerships or parents or people who express their sex or gender in non-traditional ways or people who define their sex or gender in non-traditional ways or people who choose not to define their sex or gender at all
  12. Try to explain your distaste for something by explaining it is due to someone’s race or sex / gender (e.g., “all women’s sports suck, because…women!” or “all rap music sucks, because…black people!” or, when pointing out a particular male acting badly, saying “all men suck!”)
  13. Get bent out of shape when someone expresses a lack of interest in having children. Instead, you guys are accepting of other people’s choices to have or not have children.
  14. Comment that “all” people of a certain religion are in some way the same.
  15. Comment that “all” people who are not religious are in some way the same.
  16. Show a lack of compassion for people with mental illness or disabilities.
  17. Show disdain for people in a lower social class than yourself. If anyone pokes fun of anyone in a particular social class, you can bet that they poke fun of people in other social classes as well (I’m thinking of certain folks who enjoy “People of Wal*Mart” videos as much as they enjoy “Bizarre Rich WASP people” news stories). It is not specifically their social class that is being mocked or shamed.
  18. Express a belief that being able to afford certain material goods makes someone better than someone else.
  19. Make comments about how “all” people of a certain race or sex / gender / orientation are the same, in a negative way. On “I’m Not A Racist But” and “I’m Not A Sexist But” you will find comments about how all X people “smell bad,” “talk too loudly,” “steal stuff,” “are criminals,” “are stupid,” “can’t drive,” “don’t belong in academia,” “are lazy,” “dress badly,” “can’t play sports,” “can’t operate electronic technology,” “have bad taste,” “eat gross things,” and so on. I would quickly get annoyed if my FB friends were making stupid comments like those.
  20. Use sexist insults towards female politicians you disagree with. In fact, whether you have agreed with a particular female politician or not, I have noted that you are typically quick to be outraged on their behalf when they are disparaged with sexist insults.
  21. Express xenophobia or a lack of curiosity and interest in other countries and cultures.
  22. Try to excuse attachment to a symbol (like the Confederate flag) that upsets and offends others.
  23. Use the nonsense phrases “reverse racism” or “reverse sexism.”
  24.  Get butthurt when you realize you have been harboring a racist or sexist or cisgendered assumption and it is challenged; rather, this tends to lead to reflection and discussion and a vow to address and work on it
  25. Pass around images that show the female body as an object or decoration (often headless / dehumanized). At least this doesn’t happen often, I should say.
  26. Assume, when a story about a crime is circulated, that the culprit, if race is not specified, is non-white.
  27. Ignore institutional and societal biases that unfairly target the less privileged folks out there
  28. Slut shame
  29. Casually use language that is traditionally racist, sexist or otherwise generally offensive (i.e., someone “gyped” you, “nude” used to denote a shade of Caucasian skin only, “whore,” etc.)
  30. Act like raging arseholes when you disagree with each other on my Wall threads

I could go on, but reading through “I’m Not A Racist But” and “I’m Not A Sexist But” really brought it home how fortunate I am to have connected online with some truly exceptional human beings. In short, you may not like what someone has done or said, but you restrict your criticism to that specific individual. You may not like someone’s political or religious beliefs, but you do not make the mistake of damning an entire religion or political party thanks to stupid people or stupid groups of people.

We could still do a little better about not lumping all cops and all military personnel (etc) into the same category when a single LEO or service member does something awful, but, on the whole, we do pretty darn well. We’re also pretty good about not using sexually shaming epithets, too. We’re still learning a language that includes people of all genders and sexual orientations (or lack thereof) but are not deliberately ignoring or dismissing others.

It’s just a shame that it is such a rare thing that I had to notice a general LACK of assholery–because it is so uncommon and unusual–at all. It’s true, however, that I become acutely aware of this when I branch out and, for example, read the comments sections under YouTube videos or news articles. What’s “normal” for my Wall or news feed is not “normal” for the Internet as a whole.

So, we’re not perfect, but we’re trying, and we’re avoiding most of the really obviously offensive behaviors while not becoming so “offensensitive” that we can’t discuss anything at all. I’m glad about that.