Bill Maher showed up on Scarborough Country yesterday to explain his problems with organized religion. Since I can’t improve on his eloquent and spot-on comments, I will simply reproduce them beneath the fold. Enjoy!
BILL MAHER, HOST, “REAL TIME”: I’ve always had it out for religion, for very good reasons. It’s mostly destructive. I don’t know what happens after you die, but to believe what another person tells me just makes me want to say to that person, “How do you know?” So that’s what I would ask you. How do you know what happens after you die?
It’s only, Joe, because somebody in this long game of telephone from 2000 years ago told you what it was. But if some person hadn’t told you, and a person just came up to you on the street and says, “Yes, there’s a God, and he had a son, and he sent him on a suicide mission to Earth. And then, on Easter, he flies bodily up to Heaven.” I mean, what would you think of a person in the 21st century who believed that somebody could fly bodily up to Heaven?
SCARBOROUGH: But Mr. Maher wasn’t finished with that. He went on to talk about religion’s effect on politics in America and around the world.
MAHER: It’s extremely dangerous. It warps people’s thinking. The Bush administration has 150 graduates of Pat Robertson’s law school. That’s right, Pat Robertson, the man who believes that hurricanes are caused by gay people.
Monica Goodling, who was a very high official in the Justice Department, she was 33 years old, and she was given the job of evaluating all of the U.S. attorneys, all people who are older than her, with more experience, who really know what they’re doing. She graduates from Pat Robertson’s law school and, at the age of 33, is given this job. Why? Because she and her boss, Alberto Gonzales, and his boss, George Bush, belong to the same cult.
Yes, it’s the same cult, but basically what qualified her for this was that they all believe that this space God flew up bodily to Heaven and that’s going to save their ass, OK? These are not qualifications for high government office, and that’s just one example. Religion warps…
SCARBOROUGH: So are you saying that Christians that believe, as I believe, that there was a Jesus, that he was born, that he died, and he rose again, should we be disqualified from public service because we belong to this cult?
MAHER: You shouldn’t be disqualified from public service, but it shouldn’t be the most important qualification. And it is, apparently, in the Bush administration.
SCARBOROUGH: Of course not. But that’s about George Bush; that’s not about Jesus Christ.
MAHER: OK, but George Bush…
SCARBOROUGH: Come on. You and I both know it’s not about Jesus. It’s about loyalty to George Bush. That’s the number-one qualification for working in the Bush administration.
MAHER: You asked me what I had against religion. I’m telling you. It warps the opinions of people who run the world and the people who believe it enable those people to run the world so badly. Why is it going so badly in Iraq? Basically, because there are two sects, the Shiites and the Sunnis, and they have a quarrel over who succeeded Muhammad in the seventh century. That’s why…
SCARBOROUGH: Take that up with Shiites and Sunnis. You don’t see Christians going around shooting each other in America, do you?
MAHER: I’m just making the point, Joe, that religion warps people’s thinking. Until we get over these, I’m sorry, yes, childhood myths, we can’t think straight and we can’t solve our problems in a functional way, in a way that involves rational thinking. We are steering the ship of state by cutting open a chicken and reading the entrails, like the Romans did, instead of using a compass, which would be science.