Pharyngula

We have a problem

The archbishop of Wales thinks one of the greatest problems facing the world is “atheist fundamentalism”. The only problems he seems to be able to ascribe to it, though, are a dearth of school nativity plays and stewardesses failing to drape themselves with religious paraphernalia, neither of which seem to be exactly pressing crises, especially since it is quite clear that there is no worldwide shortage of public piety. If all outspoken atheism has done is offend a few sanctimonious old bishops, it sounds to me like a virtue that we ought to encourage.

I’d say that this is a much more serious problem:

There are demented fuckwits running for the office of president in the most militarily powerful nation in the world. They think they can have conversations with an all-powerful cosmic being who instructs them in the right things to do, and that they have the approval of that being, no matter what they do: they can initiate an unjust and futile war that kills and maims our soldiers and slaughters the civilians of another country; they can endorse torture; they can deprive people of their civil rights; they can treat loving couples as pariahs if they don’t meet their abstract notions of who is allowed to fall in love; they can poison the planet; they can oppress the poor; they can enrich their corrupt cronies; they can pretty much run roughshod over any notion of justice, liberty, and equality. And what does their imaginary god do? He gives them a phantasmal thumbs-up and an ethereal “Good job!” and assures them that he is on their side. That’s all he can do, since all he is is a projection of a mob of venal bluenoses’ sense of entitlement.

And of course, archbishops and other such foolish figureheads will support their delusions, pointing their bony claws at a woman who isn’t wearing a crucifix around her neck as the great problem of the world. Wouldn’t it be better to point to men with armies who get marching orders from hate-filled apocalyptic holy books as a slightly more plangent concern?

Comments

  1. #1 Tatarize
    December 23, 2007

    I wonder how many people actually believe God was on the phone. I mean seriously, there has to be some. We know there’s no God so clearly he’s being an ass-clown, however some people totally think God is as real as people you talk to on the phone.

  2. #2 Hank Fox
    December 23, 2007

    … it is quite clear that there is no worldwide shortage of public piety.

    GREAT statement!

    As to that Huckabee video, it was like being 6 years old again, and having to turn away when The Blob was about to force its way into the diner and eat Steve McQueen and his girlfriend.

    I just couldn’t watch it.

  3. #3 Andrés
    December 23, 2007

    And what does their imaginary god do? He gives them a phantasmal thumbs-up and an ethereal “Good job!” and assures them that he is on their side.

    It’s more like an ethereal “Georgie, you’re doing a heck of a job!”

  4. #4 Andrés
    December 23, 2007

    And what does their imaginary god do? He gives them a phantasmal thumbs-up and an ethereal “Good job!” and assures them that he is on their side.

    It’s more like an ethereal “Georgie, you’re doing a heck of a job!”

  5. #5 alex
    December 23, 2007

    alas, if only all elections were hinged on the candidates’ ability to perform a bad panto/stand-up routine.

    o, wait.

  6. #6 Robert
    December 23, 2007

    That was one of the most impressive rants I have ever read.

  7. #7 Gene Goldring
    December 23, 2007

    This kind of religious pandering doesn’t fly up here in Canada thank FSM. He’d be laughed off the stage and ridiculed in the mainstream press.

    Being a Canadian living next door to this lunacy, I’m nervous.

  8. #8 Phoenix Woman
    December 23, 2007

    If it’s any consolation to you PZ, Huckabee scares the GOP bigwigs and corporate funders even more than he scares us, and for two reasons:

    1) They think that he’ll not only lose, but he’ll drag down the rest of the ticket, and

    2) The parts of Huckabee that we might see as his good parts — namely, his willingness to RAISE TAXES ON EVEN THE RICH in order to keep his state’s infrastructure from utter collapse — freaks them out big-time.

    So don’t be surprised if something bad happens to Huckabee’s campaign in the next few weeks.

  9. #9 noncarborundum
    December 23, 2007

    Archbishop of Wales:

    All of this is what I would call the new “fundamentalism” of our age. It allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion.

    It leads to the language of expulsion and exclusivity, of extremism and polarisation, and the claim that, because God is on our side, he is not on yours.

    I’m nost sure I’m what the Archbishop would call an “atheist fundamentalist”, but I can assure him I don’t think God is on my side. Maybe he knows different atheists than I do.

  10. #10 Sigmund
    December 23, 2007

    I see they have edited that piece following complaints from atheists.
    The original finished with the following:

    “Dr Morgan’s Christmas message comes after the general director of the Evangelical Alliance, the Rev Joel Edwards, compared militant atheists to King Herod in their intolerance of religious faith.
    Their remarks follow the rise of militant atheists such as Oxford University scientist Richard Dawkins, whose book The God Delusion, has been a bestseller.”

  11. #11 PZ Myers
    December 23, 2007

    I’m pretty sure no one in the audience believed god was literally on the phone (but you never know — you can’t underestimate the gullibility of some of these people). What he was doing was sending a clear message that he believes in the literal reality of god, and that god is personally communicating with him, and that god has a personal interest in “family” and “children” and such. Oh, and that god does love him those good ol’ Republican values.

  12. #12 waterrocks
    December 23, 2007

    Maybe it’s because I come from a saner continent (in this respect at least), but if I didn’t know he was a politician, I’d have put money on that being the comedy act of a satirical atheist. A fairly good one, too. I laughed. It’s obvious he’s making fun of Bush and his cohorts, because no one’s that ridiculous in real life, right? Right…? *smile fading*

  13. #13 True Bob
    December 23, 2007

    Well thanks, that was disturbing. Not like I would ever vote for him, but the fact that the audience eats it up gives me the shivers.

  14. #14 Jack Krebs
    December 23, 2007

    I agree with Robert in #5.

  15. #15 Reginald Selkirk
    December 23, 2007

    Dr Morgan said it was “perfectly natural” to have a “coherent and
    rational debate about the tenets of the Christianity”.
    But he said “virulent, almost irrational” attacks on it were
    “dangerous” because they refused to allow any contrary viewpoint and
    also affected the public perception of religion.

    Um, so it’s OK to criticise religion so long as your criticisms don’t actually have any effect? What a maroon. I think “Dr.” Morgan should have someone proofread his inanity before he vomits it in public.

  16. #16 Reginald Selkirk
    December 23, 2007

    Can someone tell me what Dr. Morgan is a doctor of? How many patients does he see a week?

  17. #17 Chris Bell
    December 23, 2007

    Do you think it bothered Huckabee that no one was one the line….?

  18. #18 Hank Fox
    December 23, 2007

    You have to believe the GOP insiders are shitting themselves right now to think that Huckabee will get the nomination. It’s like hearing that you’re getting a free watchdog for your yard, whether you want one or not, knowing ahead of time it has rabies.

    In the same way the Dover trial spelled the beginning of the end for the Intelligent Design crowd trying to force their crap into biology classes in public schools, I think Huckabee is going to go down hard and smash the political power of the Religious Right AND the GOP, for years. And good riddance.

    Both the godders and the wingers are obviously frantic to have a candidate, but it’s revealing that all they could get was Huckabee. Of course, the hard-core 25% who still think Bush is honest and honorable will never listen to anything other than what the Right Wing Radio shoves past their slack jaws. But THINKING voters will see Huckabee’s name on the ballot and gag.

    The GOPvangelical parasites helped divide Americans against each other over the past decade or so, and after these years of fear-mongering and hate, they’re paying the price for their signature short-sighted, mean-spirited, anti-American, power-at-any-price strategy.

    In the best of all possible worlds – and yeah, I know it won’t happen – I imagine a Democratic president and Congress sweeping into office with their first order of business a series of investigations, prosecutions, convictions … and then a few very public firing squads. No way should these bastards retire to lecture tours and book writing.

    I still say the next White House administration should sell Bush to Iraq in return for a decade or so of low-price oil.

  19. #19 MyaR
    December 23, 2007

    I think what scares me the most is that there HAD to be some appalled people in the audience, but they were completely silent. There didn’t even seem to be any uncomfortable rustling.

  20. #20 observer
    December 23, 2007

    It is particulary pathetic that a representative of his government’s established church would complain so. In its heyday, his church put real muscle into the punishing of dissenters. If you didn’t tow the line, what? Torture. Imprisonment. Banishment. Fines. All at the taxpayers expense. All the atheists are doing is using arguments. Ooh, reason and logic! Scary!!

    The good news is that reason and logic are having an impact. There wouldn’t be a backlash if the religionists didn’t feel threatened. Here’s hoping we can make similar inroads on our side of the pond.

  21. #21 bernarda
    December 23, 2007

    Pharyngula and its objective ally the Pastafarians have struck again in Florida.

    “The story quoted Fields as opposing the evolution portion of the new standards and looking for state Superintendent Gail McKinzie to say whether there was anything to be done about them locally.

    “There needs to be intelligent design as well,” Fields said in the story. “You need to show both sides.”

    Fields said later, via e-mail, she didn’t realize there would be a story “on the front page of the Ledger indicating that I opposed evolution.”

    The newspaper followed up with a second story polling the entire board.

    “And the rest is history,” Fields said.

    Enter the Pastafarians. And Wired Magazine. And national science blog Pharyngula. And local bloggers.

    This network is now armed with more than just biting humor and active readership. It has a 2005 federal court ruling from Dover, Pa., barring the teaching of intelligent design in public schools there.”

    http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec/22/na-polk-needled-noodled-in-evolution-flap/

  22. #22 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 23, 2007

    Morgan revived that old lie about ‘Winterval’ as a secular replacement of Xmas in his rant. That has been thoroughly debunked, here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/christmas2006/story/0,,1967367,00.html

    I may have to write a sternly-worded letter to the Archbish. His e-mail address is:

    archbishop@churchinwales.org.uk

  23. #23 DiscoveredJoys
    December 23, 2007

    “I have a call on line one for you from God”

    “Thank you Marcie, which god?”

  24. #24 DLC
    December 23, 2007

    Uh. No. Not voting for Huckabee, with or without his imaginary friend.

  25. #25 Andrew
    December 23, 2007

    Well that video was incredibly disturbing… I’m waiting for the day when these people are carted off to homes and asylums.

  26. #26 Reginald Selkirk
    December 23, 2007

    I see “Dr.” Morgan’s mention of “fundamental atheism” is already mentioned on Wikipedia. They don’t mention what he’s a doctor of, but they do mention he was once a lecturer in theology.

  27. #27 Science Goddess
    December 23, 2007

    Christopher Hitchens calls Huckabee a “smirking hick” and I agree.

    SG

  28. #28 danley
    December 23, 2007

    I fucking long for the days of Perseus at this point. Hell, throw in Medusa too.

  29. #29 Lago
    December 23, 2007

    What an amazing piece of self-delusional arrogance.

  30. #30 386sx (reindeer)
    December 23, 2007

    That was one of the most impressive rants I have ever read.

    I agree. I think Hank Fox is probably the greatest commenter of all time. Good call.

  31. #31 Onkel Bob
    December 23, 2007

    Re: #6

    Being a Canadian living next door to this lunacy, I’m nervous.

    As an historian and geographer, I can tell you, the barbarians always invade from the north. Goths, Turks, Mongols, and Vikings all came from the north. To this, all I can say Gene is:
    What’s taking you so long?!

  32. #32 arensb
    December 23, 2007

    the archbishop said “virulent, almost irrational” attacks on Christianity…

    Oh, noes! Teh athiests are making rational attacks on Christianity!

  33. #33 Moses
    December 23, 2007

    Atheist Fundamentalism? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    fundamentalism(f?n’d?-m?n’tl-?z’?m)

    n.
    1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

    2. a. An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.

    b. Adherence to the theology of this movement.

  34. #34 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 23, 2007

    My letter to the Archbish is as follows:

    ====

    Dear Doctor Morgan,

    I write to take exception to your comments regarding so-called ‘atheistic fundamentalism’ in your recent Christmas message. Though it is true that we atheists advocate that religion has no substance and that faith is superstitious nonsense, to call this behaviour ‘fundamentalist’ is a calumny. The last I saw, Richard Dawkins was not launching a secular inquisition against the faithful, nor were gangs of atheists were roaming the land pronouncing fatwas on churchgoers.

    No, we atheists simply call the godly out on their superstitious belief in an invisible friend. Fundamentalism is more often than not characterised by its actions. It frequently uses force and coercion and fear to ensure orthodoxy. Instead, we atheists use words, argument, persuasion and occasional mockery. We may be vocal and argumentative, but this hardly makes us fundamentalist, and to lump us together with geniune fundies such as jihadists and creationist end-timers is disingenuous.

    I was horrified to hear you wheel out that old fib about the Birmingham ‘Winterval’, a canard which has been thoroughly debunked here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/christmas2006/story/0,,1967367,00.html . I’m afraid I’m going to discount your other horror stories about the secularisation of Britain. In peddling one lie, even in good faith, you lack credibility on your other claims. Please, in future, present the facts and not regurgitated tabloid headlines.

    In lashing out at ‘fundamentalist atheists’ I feel you reveal your weakness. Your only recourse to the onslaught of reason is to lash out at the reasonable. Is this the best the Anglican Church can do? To whine about how those mean atheists keep laughing at your fairy stories? I thought Christians were made of sterner stuff than that.

    Yours,

    Lee Brimmicombe-Wood

  35. #35 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 23, 2007

    The full text of Morgan’s Christmas message can be found here:

    http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/press/display_press_release.php?prid=4542

  36. #36 noncarborundum
    December 23, 2007

    But THINKING voters will see Huckabee’s name on the ballot and gag.

    True, but will it be enough? As Adlai Stevenson once said when told he had “the vote of every thinking person”:

    That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority.

  37. #37 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 23, 2007

    Atheist Fundamentalism? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Oddly enough, if you read his message, it starts out with a dictionary definition of fundamentalism that explictly mentions religion.

  38. #38 Sam the Centipede
    December 23, 2007

    Well said Lee Brimmicombe-Wood: I was annoyed to read the Archbish rolling out the old “Winterval” nonsense, showing what a vacuous drivelmeister he is. Yes indeed, Winterval was a winter festival (hey! the clue’s in the name! – it was much longer than the Crimbo break), and we’ve had winter in Britain long before Augustine and his ilk inflicted their dull brand of killjoy Christianity on us.

    But one must take into account the fact that the Archbish’s profession is untruths, so it’s no big thing to trot out a little fib to pile on top of the heap of mendacity he spouts every time he stands in a pulpit in his clown suit.

  39. #39 Peter McGrath
    December 23, 2007

    If Dr Morgan’s protestantism is so good [green ink] why are there still catholics?[/green ink]

    The internet has suddenly given atheists a voice and us a community: the botters are found out and confronted on matters that before would go unnoticed, and they’re being called by an intelligent, articulate, disrespectful and often very funny rabble. They’ve never had it up ’em like this before, and I think they’re finding it uncomfortable.

    We (rightly) point at fundamentalists and yodel like Donald Sutherland in that pod people film, and they are only using our tactic back on us.

  40. #40 raven
    December 23, 2007

    What makes y’all think Huckabee won’t be the next president? Look at the trends. They’ve been getting steadily worse for decades. Look at the competition. The Dems haven’t been able to field anyone with any genuine support. Hillary is the lesser of evils and that is about it.

    The usual choice. Who is least likely to wreck the country and send it to the bottom?

    I don’t know what the straw polls show but a contest between Hillary and Huckabee might be very close.

  41. #41 bernarda
    December 23, 2007

    McGrath, I rather think of the Donald Sutherland character in M.A.S.H. who needles jesus freak Frank Burns.

  42. #42 AllanW
    December 23, 2007

    bernarda

    I like that character but giggle uncontrollably about the Donald Sutherland character in ‘Kellys Heroes';

    “Stop with the negative vibes, man!”

  43. #43 Bruce Breece FCD
    December 23, 2007

    Nice call on the “venal bluenoses’ sense of entitlement”. Pat Robertson, son of a senator, Ben Stein, son of a prominent conservative economist, Chris Wallace, son of nationally known broadcaster. The list is much longer but I’m to depressed about this not so subtle form of class warfare that passes for public conversation in this country. Great post PZ. Merry Christmas to all.

  44. #44 Bruce
    December 23, 2007

    Bravo PZ, Bravo. That has to be one of the greatest rants I have ever read. I’m printing that out, framing it and hanging it on my office wall.

  45. #45 Kevin Hardisty
    December 23, 2007

    I have never heard the problem with religion stated so clearly. Maybe we can yet get through to those who just haven’t thought about yet. How can it not make sense?
    I watched some of a CNN show called “What would Jesus Do?”.
    It was painful. Liberal religionist vs Conservative religionist. This is news? The interviewees were only granted 20 seconds to make their cases. There is no hope for discussion, or education, if that is the new format for discourse. Our country is becoming truly frightening.

  46. #46 poke
    December 23, 2007

    I wish the secularisation of Christmas and the banning of religious symbols from dress codes had something to do with atheism. It doesn’t; those things are all a response to the demands of non-Christian religions. They go hand in hand with allowing Muslims to refuse to sell alcohol and contraceptives and wear headscarfs contrary to dress codes. Multiculturalism, being essentially pluralist conservatism, doesn’t give a second thought to non-believers.

  47. #47 CalGeorge
    December 23, 2007

    I watched Huckabee on Face the Nation this morning. He has the populist spiel down pat. He has borrowed Reagan’s pro-small-business message. He pretends to be against the eastern elites.

    He’s very smooth.

    Throw in the religion thing and this guy becomes very scary.

  48. #48 Don
    December 23, 2007

    The Winterval thing is actually quite useful. If someone brings it up then we have established that they are either;

    a. uninformed and blathering through ignorance, and therefore unworthy of debate.
    or,
    b. informed and choosing to misrepresent facts in the hope that enough of your audience are uninformed enough to buy it. And therefore unworthy of debate.

    Seriously though, this Huckabee person,what? We are far from perfect, but that would have been a career ending moment in the UK.

    Compare with Nick Clegg, it’s a pity that his straight answer ‘No’ to ‘Do you believe in God?’ was so quickly spun into ‘…much respect…open mind…important values…’ placating. It’s a start, but apparently, even within the LibDems, atheism is still a position that needs to be ‘framed’.

    This Huckabee, he’s not really a serious contender, is he? Please?

  49. #49 Just Sayin'
    December 23, 2007

    I hope God called collect. If this deity is truly omnipotent, he really wouldn’t need a phone now would he?

  50. #50 cwnidog
    December 23, 2007

    This Huckabee, he’s not really a serious contender, is he? Please?

    Sorry Don, but unfortunately, he’s one of the leading contenders.

    It seems that God’s Own Party is what we might consider to be an unholy alliance of corporate interests and Xtian fundies. The corporate-types don’t really give a rat’s ass about any religion but making money and extending their power and used the fundies for years as shills at the ballot boxes. Recently, the fundies have wised up and that “smirking hick” is their boy.

    I doubt that he’ll make it to the finals though – unless the corporate types can cut a deal.

  51. #51 Janine
    December 23, 2007

    The phone bit was much funnier forty five years ago when Bob Newhart did it.

    It would have been much more impressive if god spoke to the entire audience as opposed to relaying his message through Huckabee.

    Wait! The phone was not on? There was no one on the other end? You mean Huckabee was making shit up?

  52. #52 has
    December 23, 2007

    Ugh. Response to Huckabee:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNeq2Utm0nU

  53. #53 Duvelman
    December 23, 2007

    Long time lurker here. “I know you can’t intervene in the election”. What kind of deity do people like Huckabee think they worship? It can create universes in 7 days, make a 6000 year old universe look like it’s billions of years old, it can magic up a y chromosome inside a young virgin. Yet for some reason it can’t take sides in a simple election (presumably turning a deaf ear to the millions of prayers asking it to intervene in some way).

    Of course despite not being able to intervene, it can still find time to phone up and pass a message on that Bush is doing a great job. Oh and furthermore to stand up for all those things Republicans claim to stand up for.

    This deity seems to be a bit of a hypocrite and fairly untrustworthy. That’s more than likely also true for anybody that venerates it as well. (Of course it could be Huckabee was just making stuff up badly, but the lack of a thunderbolt kind of rules that out). 😉

  54. #54 dave
    December 23, 2007

    It’s true about them banning Christmas in Scotland!!! For centuries!!!!! John Knox and the Kirk dunnit in the sixteenth century, and it was still regarded as something for the kids, before the real celebration at Hogmanay, in the mid 20th century. Alas, the god of consumerism has won out now, but nevertheless, a merry Winter Solstice to all!

  55. #55 Carol Potter
    December 23, 2007

    Being a Canadian living next door to this lunacy, I’m nervous.
    Posted by: Gene Goldring | December 23, 2007 11:11 AM

    Being a Canadian living in Georgia, I’m extremely nervous, but nice and warm.

  56. #56 Ichthyic
    December 23, 2007

    but he’ll drag down the rest of the ticket

    oops. too late, GW already did the groundwork for that one.

    Huckleberry is just “standing on the shoulders of greatness”.

  57. #57 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 23, 2007

    Dave’s not wrong. Those bishopless nerks, the Scots, even managed to get Xmas banned in England for a number of years. Their reasoning was that it was an ungodly debauch, pagan and, above all, Catholic. The clerics of the Counter-Reformation had given the festival a big boost as they associated it with the cult of the Virgin and the Holy Family, so Christmas smacked of Romish heresy for the Presbyterians and their bluenosed counterparts in England. After all, it even had ‘mass’ in the title! Historian Ronald Hutton reckons that had Cromwell’s republic had lasted another ten years it may well have eradicated Christmas from the calendar of the English speaking world.

    Even after the Restoration Xmas remained a minor festival in England. It was the London Society of Antiquaries that helped revive the holiday in the early 19th Century. They began to manufacture a new tradition from a patchwork of old folk traditions. This gradual process culminated with Dickens’s Christmas Carol and his Xmas editions of magazines. The both captured and helped shape the Victorian Zeitgeist, creating the modern Christmas, a Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from rusticated ‘traditions’.

    But here’s an interesting detail for folks. The ‘tradition’ of Xmas as a holiday is a very new one. As Dickens notes in his Christmas Carol, Bob Cratchit is expected to work on the holiday, and not just because Scrooge is a taskmaster. And even when Scrooge has his Damascene Conversion on Christmas morning, he fully expects there to be a butchers shop open so that he can buy his clerk the present of a turkey. It goes to show that though the Bill O’Reilly’s of the world wish to imagine a Platonic and perfect festival of the past, it has always been a shifting, changing thing. Hell, Diane Purkiss’s history of the Civil Wars shows that there were even Tudor writers who harped on about Christmasses past. Every generation appears to invent and reinvent what Christmas is supposed to be, as a reaction to what it really is.

  58. #58 Adam S
    December 23, 2007

    I didn’t know he was from Alaska and Arkansas.

  59. #59 karl roenfanz ( rosey )
    December 23, 2007

    in the bible i read, christ said closet yourself away,be not like the hypocrat standing upon the street corner. much like the wearing of symbols,my religion is my bisiness-not yours. mine is a way of life, not flashing idolitry.

  60. #60 Steve_C
    December 23, 2007

    wow. that made no sense.

    Thanks!

  61. #61 me
    December 23, 2007

    I’m nost sure I’m what the Archbishop would call an “atheist fundamentalist”

    Someone who sees merit in the “fundamental” principles of science (physics, biology, chemistry, etc.), and who seeks “revelation” from things like empirical evidence.

  62. #62 Kimpatsu
    December 23, 2007

    The thing about the BA crucifix issue was that the woman in question wasn’t cabin crew, she worked on the check-in desk. She was told not that she couldn’t wear her crucifix, but that she couldn’t wear it OUTSIDE her uniform, in case it got caught in the baggage carousel. In other words, this was a helath and safety issue. She refused, sayingthat she “wanted passengers to know that god loves them”. IOW, she wanted to use her position as a BA attendant to proselytise passengers. That’s what she was suspended. All else is smoke and mirrors.

  63. #63 foldedpath
    December 23, 2007

    I watched Huckabee on Face the Nation this morning. He has the populist spiel down pat. He has borrowed Reagan’s pro-small-business message. He pretends to be against the eastern elites.

    He’s very smooth.

    Throw in the religion thing and this guy becomes very scary.

    He’s refusing to let anyone have access to the text or recordings of his old sermons at the church he used to lead. I’ll bet there’s some real dynamite there.

    Also, at taxpayer expense, he crushed the hard drives containing info on his governorship in Arkansas when he left office. More dirt there too, probably. He has the backup tapes but he’s not releasing them.

    How do you get to run for the highest public office in the land, and still be able to withhold information like that? We’re not allowed to know the true depth of his religious pronouncements in the past, and yet he wants to run on a religion-centric platform? The media seems to be totally asleep on those two issues.

    He may win Iowa, but I’m still betting that the more mainstream neocon side of the party will crank up the attack machine and shoot him down in the later primaries, in order to prop up Romney as their Reagan zombie clone. This guy scares everybody except the most hardcore religious nuts, and that’s not enough to win the election. They know that. Bush won because he gave lip-service to the fundies, while winking at the core interests in the party.

  64. #64 Yog-Sothoth's secretary- (can you hear me now?)
    December 23, 2007

    Cthulhu called. Said he heard your ritual last night, but is running a bit late. He needs to make some stops in Washington to visit some relatives and then he’ll be right over.

  65. #65 Sophist, FCD
    December 23, 2007

    But [Archbishop Morgan] said “virulent, almost irrational” attacks on it were “dangerous” because they refused to allow any contrary viewpoint and also affected the public perception of religion.

    Translation: if people stop buying into our nonsense we might all have to get real jobs!

  66. #66 bassmanpete
    December 23, 2007

    They don’t mention what he’s a doctor of, but they do mention he was once a lecturer in theology.

    He’s probably a DD, Doctor of Divinity. I think they’re the guys who walk around fields with a Y-shaped stick trying to find water :)

  67. #67 Steve_C
    December 23, 2007

    Apparently McCain is surging back a bit.

  68. #68 Bride of Shrek, FCD
    December 24, 2007

    He’s got a PhD from the University of Wales, not exactly sure what in, but his BA and MA are in Theology so we’ll presume he ran with that and got further edjoocashun in the field.

    Which means he’s essentially a prime contender for the “World’s Most Fucking Useless Degree” Award.

  69. #69 Kat
    December 24, 2007

    Weapons: Death Ray Replaced By The Voice of God

    excerpt:

    “… the system was sold to the navy for a much gentler application. LRAD can also broadcast speech for up to 300 meters. The navy planned to use LRAD to warn ships to get out of the way. This was needed in places like the crowded coastal waters of the northern Persian Gulf, where the navy patrols. Many small fishing and cargo boats ply these waters, and it’s often hard to get the attention of the crews. With LRAD, you just aim it at a member of the crew, and have an interpreter “speak” to the sailor. It was noted that the guy on the receiving end was sometimes terrified, even after he realized it was that large American destroyer that was talking to him. This apparently gave the army guys some ideas, for there are now rumors in Iraq of a devilish American weapon that makes people believe they are hearing voices in their heads.”

    Obviously they’ve been using this on the Dub for some time now.

  70. #70 Eric Paulsen
    December 24, 2007

    As a lifelong Liberal Democrat who has become disgusted with what passes for the Democratic party these days, I have decided that the best way to spend my Primary vote this election is on Huckabee. I would have voted for Kucinich or Dodd because they are the only Dems I can trust at this point but remembering how the Rethugs fucked us by voting in Holy Joe Lieberman in CT I think it is time to return the favor. If the Democratic nominee can’t beat a rabid Theocon like Huckabutt then we deserve the four years of hell on earth his election will bring.

    I say that everyone in a state that allows you to vote in either primary should vote for Huckabee. Our party betters are going to annoint Hillary or Obama anyhow so why waste your vote on a foregone conclusion? It’s payback time for the Lieberman debacle!

  71. #71 Al
    December 24, 2007

    Folks, this was a slam at Rudy for his phone-call-from-the-little-woman at the NRA meeting; taking it as seriously as some of you seem to be doing is silly. A Huckabee nomination would be the best thing that could happen as the Dems would carry something north of 40 states and would approach 60 seats in the Senate. All the while the split between the money-cons, neo-cons, immigration nuts, and fundies would seriously damage the Republican Party for a generation.

    The really sad thing is that Republicans have to choose between a fascist, a Christianist, a flip-flopping empty suit, and a couple of tired, old dudes. When Ron Paul sounds like the sane one, I guess it’s about over.

  72. #72 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    December 24, 2007

    Here is Kat’s URL for the Long Range Acoustic Device:

    http://tinyurl.com/29cz7t

    More for the tinfoil hat types to worry about.

  73. #73 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    December 24, 2007

    Clearly the Archbishop of Wales has a problem with telling the truth.

    Dr Morgan said: “All of this is what I would call the new “fundamentalism” of our age. It allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion.

    But that is exactly what the atheists that he is focussing on are doing. They express disagreement and doubt about religious claims. They do so in debates and discussions using various media. It would seem that his objection is that they do it so well that they leave the religious spokespeople speechless, with no viable response.

    This is a curious twist on that old martyrdom ploy, but I suppose when it is all you’ve got that’s what you have to go with.

    On the other hand…

    Sorry folks, I doubt the Canadian Armed Forces will be able to assist you with your christian theocracy problems. Their hands are kind of full dealing with the Islamic equivalent in Afganistan. Maybe if things ever settle down over there, we can send you a some ‘advisers’. Probably, no more than a few hundred, though.

  74. #74 Logician
    December 24, 2007

    RE#24 by Andrew/Dec 23, 07 12:07 Pm:

    I work in an ER here in Minneapolis. By MN State Law I am REQUIRED to place a patient in my ER on an involuntary 72hr hold for psychiatric evaluation if that patient claims to hear god. If I do not, I will GO TO PRISON.

    Think of that, now. What you just watched would net that nutjob a 72hr guest spot in our rubber rooms. Yet, he walks free, gets gifts and money from even crazier idiots, and I have to work for a living.

    Shakespeare’s Henry the VI was wrong. The first thing we must do is kill all the priests.

    Diderot did get it right: Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

  75. #75 mayhempix
    December 24, 2007

    Those pesky “Wales” refuse to evolve in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

  76. #76 Ichthyic
    December 24, 2007

    what are “Wales”?

    if you meant people from Wales, IOW, Welsh, yeah, they do have a tendency to not evolve much, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    :p

    OTOH, if you meant the other sea-going mammals…

    oh fuckit, nobody has a clue what yer on about, not even you, and I can’t even make a good joke out of your nonsense.

    come back so I can make proper fun of you, damnit.

  77. #77 TW
    December 24, 2007

    It is embarrassing that we have buffoons like the Archbishop of Wales in the UK, I had hoped that all the nutters lived in the US.

    Lee Brimmicombe-Wood – excellent summation of the idiocy that surrounds the idea the idea Christmas has existed in its current form since the dawn of time.

  78. #78 Tulse
    December 24, 2007

    Al:

    Folks, this was a slam at Rudy for his phone-call-from-the-little-woman at the NRA meeting

    The opening title for the video claims that it is from a Republican fundraiser held in 2004, well before Rudy’s incident.

  79. #79 mayhempix
    December 24, 2007

    Ichthyic #75

    Your obtuse arrogance is really not my problem.

    But if you sincerely seek an honest explanation, here you go…

    On a previous thread about the recent discovery of a fossil adding to the evolutionary lineage of whales, I posted a fake Fundie rant with an obscure Led Zeppelin pun/reference and deliberate capitalization/misspellings including “WALES” for “whales”. It appears that my parody was a bit too close and was mistaken as the real thing. One disparaging reply also included a reference to “Brains” that went by me as I had no previous knowledge of a bar in Wales by that name. I responded some are too quick to ridicule and risk becoming those they malign. Another poster jumped in and things quickly devolved as I attempted, futiley as it turned out, to explain my original and apparently failed parody.

    But here I am again…

    The post that you so quickly jumped on to ridicule was a self-deprecating inside to that previous dust up based on the topic of this thread.

    So if you still feel the need “to make proper fun of” me “damnit”, have at it, but don’t expect me to take the whale bait.

    I leave you with this question:

    Do the residents of Wales (the Welsh in case its not perfectly clear) have ichthyic tendencies?

  80. #80 Marion Delgado
    December 24, 2007

    Let me contribute an anecdote from my own experience:

    I went to a Jerry Falwell “I Love America” rally.

    After the very odd quasifascist marching antics of the America IS! singers (picture Up with People but maxed out on the flag and military apparel – sample song lyrics – “I want the whole world to be {beat, beat} Just like AMERICA!”), they said Brother Jerry would deliver a sermon. Silly me. I really expected “Brothers and Sisters” and “in the Scriptures book X it says ..” nope. His very first words were that there was still an ongoing Russian missile gap with the US (nothing about China) and how we needed to write our Congressman to support building more and a bigger variety of nuclear weapons. Then on to rants against the litany of official enemies domestic and foreign. Hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance abounded. For instance, they’d obviously seated some Zionist supporters of Jerry near the front row – signs and lapel pins. But when Falwell made his pitch for unconditional support for Israel, he also said God protects the Jewish people EVEN IF THEY DO CLIP YOU A LITTLE BIT WHEN YOU DO BUSINESS WITH THEM! I saw a lot of sullen squirming.

    But it was interrupted by a puppet show carried out in the upper corners of the auditorium – with two spotlights. One puppet said “I get tickled by a feather, I get tickled by a sneeze, I get tickled by a bumble, I get tickled by a bee” in a very deep voice. It ended by staccato fake laughter – Ha. Ha. Ha. The audience started chanting “Ha. ha. ha. ha.” and clapping. slowly. in unison. The auditorium rumbled.

    The friend i was there with was as mystified as I was. If I were a Christian, I would have thought that rather demonic sounding puppet interrupting Falwell and taking over the crowd with chanting was .. well … not something I expected. Or maybe it would be.

    Why bring up this weirdness? Only to say that when you’re actually AT one of these things, they’re even weirder and more frightening than they are on video.

  81. #81 mayhempix
    December 24, 2007

    The Republican establishment deserves Huckabee.

    Their revulsion at his ascendency is laughable because they stoked the “unholy” alliance between the Fundie Capitalists and the Fundie Christians and Jews. The “Big Tent” is collapsing.

    Merry Squidmas to them all.

  82. #82 Dylan Llyr
    December 24, 2007

    As a Welshman, let me apologise on behalf of my country. For what it’s worth, in the space of a century we’ve gone from a tremendously pious nononformist lot to possibly one of the most religiously apathetic nations in western Europe, so it’s not all bad.

    The Archbish’s comments frustrate and irritate me greatly. I’d always thought he was one of those fuzzy liberal Church types who professed that pseudo-sophisticated fluffy meaningless theology so beloved of godly academics, so I’m fairly surprised to see him come out with this shit. I’ll have a word.

  83. #83 Steve LaBonne
    December 24, 2007

    As a Welshman, let me apologise on behalf of my country.

    Welcome to the club- we Americans get to do a lot of that these days…

  84. #84 Augie
    December 24, 2007

    “Take care of all the people in America…yes, Lord we will” -so not only are they breaking US laws, and violating the US Constitution, they are also defying their own god’s will.

    “Lord, there’s a whole army of us here”… yup, and it’s as close to being in the military as they’re ever going to get.

  85. #85 Chris
    December 24, 2007

    “Christopher Hitchens calls Huckabee a “smirking hick” and I agree.”

    Hitchens and Huckabee actually agree on a lot of the things PZ mentioned as being negatives (unprovoked mass killing, massive roll-backs of civil rights, indefinite detention, etc).

  86. #86 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 24, 2007

    Do the residents of Wales (the Welsh in case its not perfectly clear) have ichthyic tendencies?

    ‘Course they have. Haven’t you seen Torchwood?

    My family live there now and as I’m travelling down there on Boxing Day, I’ll ask. My sister is a Justice of the Peace in Cardiff, so she might know.

    I’m told the Doctor’s TARDIS has been seen there several times recently. Who knows what he’s dug up from the past?

  87. #87 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    December 24, 2007

    As a Welshman, let me apologise on behalf of my country.

    [sings]

    Lloyd George knew my father,
    Father knew Lloyd George…

  88. #88 BK
    December 24, 2007

    Thank you.

    “Demented Fuckwits” is the name of my next band.

  89. #89 Dave Eaton
    December 24, 2007

    I think what scares me the most is that there HAD to be some appalled people in the audience, but they were completely silent. There didn’t even seem to be any uncomfortable rustling.

    Unfortunately, I have heard nary a groan when Hillary! wheels out her Sunday school teacher carrying her confirmation picture. I’m wary of Huck because he believes all this stuff. I’m wary of Hill because either she believes all this stuff, or she believes it’s OK to pretend she does.

    To our Canadian friends- take heart in knowing that even if we were to get riled up at you, there’s no reason to think we could find Canada on a map, and since many of you speak Gawd’s own English, most of us probably believe Canada is like, North Dakota or something.

  90. #90 LP
    December 25, 2007

    Janine, thanks for the Bob Newhart reference. Ironically, Huckabee is even more directly ripping off an Ellen DeGeneres routine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt6txLTJYDw). I wonder if he realizes he’s relying on a lesbian to appear accessible.

  91. #91 Azkyroth
    December 25, 2007

    You know, every time I hear religious people complain about “intolerant,” “dogmatic,” “fundamentalist” atheists, I think of this comic (Questionably SFW).

  92. #92 Kristine
    December 26, 2007

    “Yes, Lord. Yes, sir.”

    Yes sir?

    Says it all!

  93. #93 ??????
    December 26, 2007

    goodbig

  94. #94 ??????
    December 26, 2007

    goodbig

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