Pharyngula

Get out of here, atheists!

The governor of Illinois has been playing some games with state money, shuffling a million dollars to benefit a Baptist church, and an atheist dared to testify to the legislature against this. The response from one legislator was unsurprising: she shrieked at the atheist to get out.

Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) interrupted atheist activist Rob Sherman during his testimony Wednesday afternoon before the House State Government Administration Committee in Springfield and told him, “What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous . . . it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!

“This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God,” Davis said. “Get out of that seat . . . You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

Disbelief in religion means you have “no right” to speak to members of government? Wow. And note the “D” after her name — she’s a member of the party most (but definitely not all!) American atheists lean towards.

There’s more on this exchange: it looks like Sherman kept his cool, while Davis spewed her hate.

Chicago atheists, you know what to do: next election, campaign against Monique Davis. Get someone who is not a raving nutbag to run. Right now, her district needs to flood her mailbox with letters of protest. You can find her contact information online; let her know that you do not appreciate her efforts to disenfranchise and discriminate against you.

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    April 7, 2008

    And why can’t you damned atheists ever appreciate our Christian love?

    Burn in hell for not appreciating my concern and love, atheist dog. And don’t mention that filthy atheist rag, the Constitution, which dictates that there be no religious test for office.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  2. #2 Jim RL
    April 7, 2008

    I hadn’t previously seen the D after her name. It’s pretty sad in a liberal area of a blue state we get reps like this. I’d be pissed to hear that from a Republican goon from backwoods Alabama, but from a Democrat in Chicago? I thought urban living led to some level of tolerance for differing ideas. She needs to be primaried, and thrown out on her butt. I’m sure there are more than a few atheists in Chicago that don’t like being told to shut up because their very existence is dangerous to children.

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    April 7, 2008

    Now, now — I definitely remember being told that “ATHEISM IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE”.

  4. #4 socpsych11
    April 7, 2008

    As a resident of Chicago this is very disturbing. This has always seemed to be a very tolerant town to me. I guess I’ll have to hold my Portable Atheist up a little higher on the train ride home tonight.

  5. #5 Sigmund
    April 7, 2008

    Come on, she wasn’t really attacking atheists.
    She was just ‘framing’ them.

  6. #6 craig
    April 7, 2008

    But wait… clearly what we have to do in the face of this is to calmly and politely ask permission to be allowed to have a different opinion. That will win her over for sure.

  7. #7 Lilly de Lure
    April 7, 2008

    Well, if Atheism ever wasn’t a Civil Rights issue in the US, it sure is now!

    Utterly outrageous behaviour from an elected official – also, isn’t it illegal behaviour under the Constitution?

  8. #8 randy
    April 7, 2008

    clearly, she didn’t frame the issue very well :)

    I couldn’t get the link to work to her contact info.

  9. #9 Physicalist
    April 7, 2008

    Does anyone have an e-mail address for Rep. Davis? I didn’t see it on the contact info page (which isn’t even coming up for me now), and I do so hate to have to print and find an envelope and stamp.

  10. #10 Bob L
    April 7, 2008

    So the obvious question is how much of this grant money Rep. Monique Davis is getting?

  11. #11 386sx
    April 7, 2008

    I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him.

    Oh, I don’t know, how about throwing children into hell? I presume that’s what is so “dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists.” Why doesn’t she complain to God about that?

    “I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him.”

    As if no matter what God does, people are supposed to not have much against it, and wonder why in the world anybody else would have a problem with throwing children into hell for eternity for being aware of someone else’s beliefs.

    “I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him.”

    Oh okay Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), glad to know you don’t have much against throwing children into hell for eternity. Okay thanks!

  12. #12 Brian
    April 7, 2008

    Unbelievable. This is my backyard! She’s getting an earful (or an email-ful) from me!

  13. #13 craig
    April 7, 2008

    “…isn’t it illegal behaviour under the Constitution?”

    That quaint old piece of paper? It’s nothing more than a historical artifact at this point. Ask a few Guantanimo detainees.

  14. #14 Physicalist
    April 7, 2008

    Had to resort to the telephone, dang it! Strange to actually be speaking to a real live person (an aide) rather than a voice-mailbox or an e-mail in-box when making comparisons to the Taliban . . .

  15. #15 JStein
    April 7, 2008

    What a raving nutbag. Has someone explained the “no religious tests” and “separation of church and state” clauses to this woman.

  16. #16 Ryan F Stello
    April 7, 2008

    Physicalist asked,

    Does anyone have an e-mail address for Rep. Davis?

    Here you go:
    http://www.votesmart.org/bio.php?can_id=6317

    Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that much of this info, being a matter of public record, wasn’t on her official bio.

  17. #17 UprightAlice
    April 7, 2008

    Perhaps if Mr. Sherman hadn’t worn his brimstone cologne and had worn his “I’m Not an Atheist” hat to cover his horns, then maybe he would have received some respect by the honorable Ms. Davis. He’s lucky Davis was in a good mood that day, otherwise he would have been forced to eat the Emergency Atheist Poisoned Apple or thrown into her oven and baked into a cookie.

  18. #18 Bureaucratus Minimis
    April 7, 2008

    Her official Illinois General Assembly webpage is here. She’s described as an educational administrator. Disappointing.

  19. #19 Kyra
    April 7, 2008

    I thought her deity of choice was supposed to be the forgiving sort? They keep saying so . . . and yet she’s yammering about it being dangerous for children to know atheism exists . . . why? If her God is threatening to throw innocent children into hell for the consequences of encountering atheists . . . well, come on, credit where credit is due, lady. Not the atheists’ fault your god is an asshole.

  20. #20 Ray M
    April 7, 2008

    I note that her strong religious views have not prevented her from being divorced.

  21. #21 Ryan F Stello
    April 7, 2008

    Ray M said,

    I note that her strong religious views have not prevented her from being divorced.

    …nor was it a dangerous thing for her 2 children to know about.

  22. #22 Drew
    April 7, 2008

    This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God
    Didn’t Lincoln’s best friend Herndon write in his Biography of Lincoln that Lincoln had no belief in God? Didn’t Lincoln while he was alive make no effort to contradict people when they “accused” him of not being Christian?

  23. #23 Dave
    April 7, 2008

    The ‘lady’ in question is nucking futz, and it is very depressing that I read this on several blogs, not in the national news. If such comments were directed at an adherent of *any* religion, David would be kicked about on the nightly news across the nation, but apparently atheists are fair game.

    While I know there are a bunch of Obama supporters here and am sure you are all tired of hearing about Rev. Wright, there are several mentions across the web that Rep. Davis is a frequent attendee of Rev. Wright’s sermons. Whatever you all wish to make of that.

  24. #24 Reginald Selkirk
    April 7, 2008

    This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God”

    With the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, who throughout his political career was known as “The Infidel.”
    Lincoln, the Freethinker

    Robert Ingersoll, “The Great Agnostic,” spent part of his life in Illinois, and even served as Attorney General of the state.

  25. #25 Todd
    April 7, 2008

    I listened to the mp3 recording of the event and it is appalling to hear the responses from other people in the room when she made her comments. After she began raising her voice and telling him he didn’t belong you can clearly hear a “That’s right” from someone else. Then, when Sherman tries to respond to this hatred he’s shut down and told to only focus on the issue; so Davis gets her say but the evil atheist doesn’t.

    Perhaps we atheists need a “get in the chair” campaign.

  26. #26 JimC
    April 7, 2008

    I note that her strong religious views have not prevented her from being divorced.

    This is a bullshit attack on her on many levels. Many, many religious people divorce. It doesn’t make their beliefs less strong any more than someone who lies, thinks an impure thought, etc.

    She is fair game because of her absurd statements but saying divorce is some huge failing of her religious beliefs is silly. No two religions/denominations agree on it from a religious perspective in any event.

  27. #27 Physicalist
    April 7, 2008

    Thanks for the e-mail address Ryan. Guess it doesn’t hurt to send the message as text as well. Give those people something to think about.

  28. #28 G in INdiana
    April 7, 2008

    Wrong JimC, especially if her religion prohibits man from tearing asunder what God has joined.
    It’s one thing to pick and choose your vegetables, but I was always under the impression that you took the WHOLE religion to your heart, not just the parts you find convenient. She’s doing the latter in a BIG way.

  29. #29 impiri
    April 7, 2008

    #32 Todd: That’s the most sickening thing about the recording, IMO.

  30. #30 nicole
    April 7, 2008

    37 et al: She belongs to the United Church of Christ, which is not fundamentalist and does not have a problem with divorce. Post 29 is right, she is a member of the same church as Senator Obama. Right now I’m finding her remarks about a thousand times as offensive as anything Rev. Wright said.

  31. #31 Kyle W.
    April 7, 2008

    I’m sure he was engaging in some God-forsaken atheist activity like trying to engage in a rational debate and, therefore, deserved the reprimand.

  32. #32 Theodore
    April 7, 2008

    My email to her:

    To: davismd@ilga.gov; mdavis2147@aol.com
    Subject: Kudos

    Thank so much for standing up to those god-hating atheists.

    On a side note, don’t you think you’re being hypocritical when you criticize atheist for not standing up against guns in school and at the same time you send $1 million to a church? Wouldn’t that money be better spent making our schools safe? Children not being murdered in school is more important to you than a church building right?

    I’m sure your hypocrisy simply slipped your mind. I fully expect you to send that money to our schools instead.

    Thank You
    Theodore xxxxxx
    A Voter

  33. #33 jmd
    April 7, 2008

    Oh, the Illinois governor has been doing a whole lot more than that with state money. (Nevermind that there isn’t any.) I have a sneaking suspicion there’s more to this story than just god or the lack thereof.

  34. #34 JimC
    April 7, 2008

    G in Indiana-

    especially if her religion prohibits man from tearing asunder what God has joined.

    It also would say the same thing about any number of concepts. Again divorce isn’t something special. And it doesn’t say man can’t tear it asunder but shouldn’t.

    It’s one thing to pick and choose your vegetables, but I was always under the impression that you took the WHOLE religion to your heart, not just the parts you find convenient. She’s doing the latter in a BIG way.

    She didn’t pick and choose. No Christian is perfect. They have flaws as all atheists do. It doesn’t mean she is less religious.

    Gosh I can’t believe I am defending the goofy woman.

  35. #35 DaveX
    April 7, 2008

    I called up her Springfield office, and let them know what I thought of Davis’ ridiculous attitude. I also told them that I’m both an Illinois resident AND an atheist, and that I didn’t appreciate her remarks. They said they would “let her know.”

  36. #36 jumco
    April 7, 2008

    I wonder how god feels about her divorce:

    Vote Smart

  37. #37 DaveX
    April 7, 2008

    Just got off the phone with her OTHER office. Let them know more or less the same thing– got the same response. Hopefully, the rest of you will invest a dime and offer your two cents as well.

  38. #38 MH
    April 7, 2008

    JimC is right about divorce not being a problem for the religious. I definitely remember that the marriage ceremony has in it the line: “’til death do you part, or you get bored, or you begin to dislike each other, or, y’know, whatever”.

    Why else would it contain such a line if divorce wasn’t an option that you could later take?

  39. #39 Physicalist
    April 7, 2008

    @ Theodore (#43): I’d think one might want be wary of using irony in these situation for a few reasons:

    (1) She’s going to get a pile of e-mails, and at best she (or an aide) is likely to just quickly skim the content. It’s scary, but I’m sure she is going to get several “Right on! Keep the Faith!” e-mails. Yours might end up in that pile.

    (2) In my opinion, irony often detracts from the gravity of the message. This government official needs to be told in no uncertain terms that she is violating the rights of Americans, spreading intolerance, and undermining the foundation of our democratic principles.

  40. #40 the Pale Scot
    April 7, 2008

    guess we know who going to be the next replacement host on the View

  41. #41 the Pale Scot
    April 7, 2008

    guess we know who going to be the next replacement host on the View

  42. #42 jumco
    April 7, 2008

    I know this isn’t a political blog, but maybe we should investigate her other dealings with this and other churches. All joking about her religious dumbditude aside, there is something that doesn’t smell right about the church / legislator / money connection, and I bet this isn’t new relationship for her.

  43. #43 Scrofulum
    April 7, 2008

    I was just trying to imagine a politician making an outbirst like that here in the UK. It would be a funny ending to a political career, and rightly so.

  44. #44 SteveM
    April 7, 2008

    Why else would it contain such a line if divorce wasn’t an option that you could later take?

    “Well, they’re really more like guidelines than actual rules“.
    — Capt. Barbosa

  45. #45 Doug
    April 7, 2008

    Someday Atheists will have the same influence in government as the poor persecuted Christian minority. Until then we will have to demonstrate our tyranny and repression of the Christians by appearing to be mocked and eschewed from legislative affairs.

    Remember, meeting at 8pm tonight under the Washington Monument where will will plan to demonstrate our control of the education system by eradicating the word “evolution” from school textbooks in Georgia.

  46. #46 JimC
    April 7, 2008

    Good grief #51, #52, #54.

    I am not putting forth the opinion that divorce is often considered bad by some religous groups just that by getting a divorce she is no more hypocritical than someone who lies or commits a variety of other ‘sins’ and singling her out as such is an unfair critisism when there is so much to fairly be critical of in her transcript.

    #54. You should be aware that those verse are taken 1000 different ways with each branch coming to their own conclusion. The scholars seem to have reached consensus however that Jesus was not attempting to prohibit divorce but place a value on it.

  47. #47 Physicalist
    April 7, 2008

    I too think that focusing on her divorce is off the mark. It looks like she belongs to United Church of Christ, which (if I recall correctly) is also Obama’s church? My understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) is that these folks are about as liberal as Christians typically get: supporting (e.g.) marriage equality for gays. As such, I take it that she’s not a fundamentalist literalist about the bible — so there’s no issue of her divorce being in conflict with her religious beliefs.

    That said, clearly her religious beliefs are a very real problem. But the problem is one of intolerance, failure to recognize the evils of state-sponsored religion, etc.

  48. #48 Patricia C.
    April 7, 2008

    Davis’s email address is:
    mdavis@hdsmail.state.il.us

  49. #49 MH
    April 7, 2008

    #58 “I was just trying to imagine a politician making an outburst like that here in the UK. It would be a funny ending to a political career, and rightly so.”

    Yes, I suspect that if an MP said that in the House of Commons, after a collective gasp of astonishment, they would be laughed out of the building.

  50. #50 Nick Gotts
    April 7, 2008

    Hmm, do you think right-wing commentators will be demanding that Obama repudiate Rep. Davis? What a dilemma – another chance to bash Obama, but doing so would mean supporting the constitutional rights of atheists!

  51. #51 Brownian, OM
    April 7, 2008

    Words cannot express how much reading this kind of stuff makes me glad to be Canadian. Not because we don’t have politicians who are religiously intolerant: we do. Not because we don’t have politicians who are assholes: we do. Not because we don’t have politicians who are stupid: we most certainly–can I get a Hallelujah?!–do.

    What we don’t have is a mythologised ‘Birth of a Nation’ creation story full of gods and heroes that any jingoist politician can invoke to draw attention away from the vacuity of their position.

  52. #52 Quidam
    April 7, 2008

    Not too surprising for someone who sponsored the resolution

    RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE

    HR0171 – 5 – LRB095 11482 KXB 32538 r

    1 NINETY-FIFTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we
    2 congratulate Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., as he celebrates
    3 his 35th year in the ministry at Trinity United Church of
    4 Christ, serving the needs of his congregation and people around
    5 the globe; and be it further

    6 RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
    7 presented to Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., as a symbol of
    8 our esteem.

  53. #53 Joshua Arnold
    April 7, 2008

    As an Illinois resident (all my life), I have to say this is sad but not too surprising. IL is a blue state, yes, but almost exclusively because of Chicago. Most of the rest of the state is decidedly red (being mostly corn and soy bean farmers). And wherever I go in this state, I’m amazed just how many churches I see.

  54. #54 Mikewot
    April 7, 2008

    #68 “Yes, I suspect that if an MP said that in the House of Commons, after a collective gasp of astonishment, they would be laughed out of the building.”

    Hhhhmmm, or they wait, like Bliar, until they finish with politics before declaring their allegiance to the lord god.

  55. #55 MH
    April 7, 2008

    @#74, a round of applause!

  56. #56 nicole
    April 7, 2008

    78: No, in fact, that’s the opposite of what she has in mind. The money that was supposed to go to a church was instead “mistakenly” (?) sent to a (private) school (that rented space in the church), and she is pissed about it. Meanwhile, Sherman doesn’t think it should have gone to the church at all. The guns in schools thing is a complete red herring and only has to do with the fact that there are a lot of Chicago schoolchildren that are victims of gun violence. Of course, handguns are already completely banned in Chicago and have been since 1983.

  57. #57 Colugo
    April 7, 2008

    Joshua Arnold: “IL is a blue state, yes, but almost exclusively because of Chicago. Most of the rest of the state is decidedly red (being mostly corn and soy bean farmers).”

    But this is not about rural peckerwood churches. The elephant in the room is the African-American religious community’s cultural conservatism, and Chicago is a stronghold of the African American church. The African-American church (using “church” to refer to traditional religious communities) tends to be economically progressive and support the Democratic party, but it even more strongly tends to be very culturally conservative. Republican strategies to attract more African Americans to the GOP tend to refer to the conservatism of the African American church. Jeremiah Wright is an outlier within the African-American clergy, not because of his conspiracy theories (Pearl Harbor, AIDS etc), but because of his pro-gay stance.

    So an anti-atheist rant by a Democratic politician is hardly puzzling in this context.

    African American journal Debra Dickerson, Mother Jones Blog, 10/12/07:

    “it seems clear that it black religiosity and cultural conservatism have everything to do with the AIDS problem. We can’t fight one without fighting the other, and on multiple battle grounds.

    At 2006′s high profile right wing Values Voter Summit, Rev. Dwight McKissic attacked as “insulting, offensive, demeaning, and racist” any consonance between gay rights and civil rights. He derided homosexuals as “comparing their sin to my skin” … Black ministers like McKissic aver that the fight against homosexuality is the most pressing issue facing blacks, seconded even by liberal black ministers like civil rights activist Rev. Willie Wilson of Union Temple Baptist Church in southeast D.C. who sermonized in 2005…

    Whether the black church is conservative and gay-panicked because its community is, or vice versa, the result is the same: an AIDS epidemic.”

  58. #58 funknjunk
    April 7, 2008

    dunno if anyone else has posted this. the email given at Project Vote Smart is mdavis2147@aol.com

  59. #59 MH
    April 7, 2008

    @#79, so she arranged for public funds to be donated to a church? Isn’t that unconstitutional?

  60. #60 Lowell
    April 7, 2008

    If you live in Illinois outside of Ms. Davis’s district (as I do), it might be helpful to e-mail you representative in the Illinois House (Davis’s colleagues).

    Maybe they can talk some sense into her.

    You can search for your Rep by zip code here: http://votesmart.org/

  61. #61 Kseniya
    April 7, 2008

    I see that Mr. Lincoln’s religious beliefs (and lack thereof) have been mentioned. He may not have been an atheist per se, but he never belonged to a church and was no more a Christian than Jefferson was.

    The irony, it burns.

  62. #62 Bill Anderson
    April 7, 2008

    For a black woman state representative, Unique Depravis certainly is trying to keep atheists in their place. The civil rights issue is not over…

  63. #63 BlueIndependent
    April 7, 2008

    What a disgraceful thing for my home state. I would have stood up and thrown an index finger in her face and shot back at her. She’s either getting paid off or actually believes that garbage.

    Time to primary her ass out.

  64. #64 E in MD
    April 7, 2008

    Utterly outrageous behaviour from an elected official – also, isn’t it illegal behaviour under the Constitution?

    Posted by: Lilly de Lure | April 7, 2008 11:23 AM

    So is wiretapping and waterboarding and sneak and peek and defrauding the US Government and a lot of other stuff. What’s your point?

  65. #65 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 7, 2008

    There’s more on this exchange: it looks like Sherman kept his cool, while Davis spewed her hate.

    That’s hate? I’d say it’s fear. Naked, trembling, insane fear. Unspeakable dread. Lovecraftian horror.

    No, not Lovecraftian horror actually. That would come from knowledge — Davis’s comes from ignorance.

    It’s always the same. Ignorance produces fear, and fear produces conservativism.

    I suggest a shock therapy, like for people who are afraid of standing on tall buildings, but under carefully controlled circumstances to prevent her head from exploding.

    Words cannot express how much reading this kind of stuff makes me glad to be Canadian. Not because we don’t have politicians who are religiously intolerant: we do. Not because we don’t have politicians who are assholes: we do. Not because we don’t have politicians who are stupid: we most certainly–can I get a Hallelujah?!–do.

    What we don’t have is a mythologised ‘Birth of a Nation’ creation story full of gods and heroes that any jingoist politician can invoke to draw attention away from the vacuity of their position.

    R?men.

  66. #66 nicole
    April 7, 2008

    82: Actually, it was the governor who pledged to give the church money, because it has alleged historic value and was gutted by fire. Wikipedia article here.

    I am not super knowledgeable on the subject, but my understanding is that it’s the outside of the building that’s architecturally significant, and the exterior remains intact and structurally sound. I also have no idea why this place didn’t have insurance, or why its insurance didn’t pay out or whatever. I don’t know enough details to say, but Sherman and others think the grant would have been unconstitutional. In any event, since Illinois is so corrupt when it comes to handing out money, it looks like somehow the million dollars ended up somewhere else and no one knows why.

    She also makes reference in her tirade to keeping God or prayer out of schools. This is because last year IL passed a “moment of silence” law to sneak prayer into schools, and Sherman has been campaigning against it. He managed to catch state legislators admitting that they wanted time for prayer in schools, not just generic silence.

  67. #67 DwarfPygmy
    April 7, 2008

    Does god throw PYGMIES + DWARFS into hell too?

  68. #68 Kelly
    April 7, 2008

    I wish I lived in this woman’s district so I could vote against her. She is a disgrace.

  69. #69 Todd
    April 7, 2008

    Of course you all realize that Davis’ outburst was all Richard Dawkins fault. If he hadn’t been so stridently negative and militant in that awful book he wrote, Monique Davis would be Rob Sherman’s new bestest buddy ever.

  70. #70 Tulse
    April 7, 2008

    What we don’t have is a mythologised ‘Birth of a Nation’ creation story full of gods and heroes that any jingoist politician can invoke to draw attention away from the vacuity of their position.

    You get a similar mythologizing in Quebec. But yes, for the most part we Canadians don’t do “civic religion”, which to outsiders may make us seem unpatriotic, but which we recognize as rational society.

  71. #71 thelogos
    April 7, 2008

    I thought this was rather telling from the “Vote Smart” page:
    Representative Monique D. Davis repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on the issues through the 2008 Political Courage Test when asked to do so by national leaders of the political parties, prominent members of the media, Project Vote Smart President Richard Kimball, and Project Vote Smart staff.

    This candidate will be asked again to provide responses during the general election.

    Seems like she’s part of the corrupt “Chicago Machine”.

  72. #72 craig
    April 7, 2008

    “That’s hate? I’d say it’s fear.”
    Most hate comes from fear.

  73. #73 aiabx
    April 7, 2008

    What we don’t have is a mythologised ‘Birth of a Nation’ creation story full of gods and heroes that any jingoist politician can invoke to draw attention away from the vacuity of their position.

    We do have “Sir John A. was a drunk”, which speaks to all Canadians’ right to get hammered on the May 2-4 weekend.

  74. #74 Alex
    April 7, 2008

    Is Moniquie Davis black? How else can you explain a Democrat who is so religious?

  75. #75 True Bob
    April 7, 2008

    Not only is a poll tax unconstitutional, so is a pole tax:

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iJ4AegAKobAE-MXhOqkO6HLtPhgQD8VT2MQ80

  76. #76 Sastra
    April 7, 2008

    This incident only reinforces my belief that atheists will never be accepted into the mainstream as normal citizens until our arguments are heard, and our reasons for not believing that there is a God understood. As long as the existence of God is assumed to be a “fact” which everyone knows and believes, then we will always be consigned to the margin as perverse kooks who just don’t get it, and who want to destroy what everyone else has.

    Gay people who show that they are nice, ordinary people are not going to be accepted as part of the mainstream if homosexual behavior is seen as the moral equivalent to theft or raping corpses. And atheists being nice and quiet and polite are not going to be mainstreamed if atheism is also seen as a moral perversion in itself. You have to strike at the heart of the problem.

    Atheists and gays are not allowed in the Boy Scouts. The fear isn’t that they won’t be good scouts, so all we have to do is show them we can be nice. No, the fear is that they WILL be good scouts, and “our children should not know that that philosophy even exists.” Or have friends who are atheist or gay.

    Sorry, but God is not a self-evident, undeniable truth. You don’t get to separate it from religion and claim that talking about God isn’t “religious” because religion is how people worship God, but God itself is a FACT which no reasonable person disputes.

    Sure they do. Whether God exists or not is debatable. You don’t get to shut down the debate by claiming there is none. And here it is. Listen to us. This is why we think your religion is wrong, right here. Here’s a book, here’s an article, here’s a movie, here’s an interview, here’s a response to your ignorant remark. And if you don’t choose to listen, then you can’t pretend to yourself that it’s because we had nothing to say. And we’ll even be nice when we say it, if you want.

    At some level, I think they suspect that the only reason they believe so firmly in God is that they think everyone else believes in God, so it must be true.

  77. #77 Paul Lundgren
    April 7, 2008

    Might not be a bad idea to hit up House Speaker Michael Madigan. I’m sure he’ll be delighted to know that one of his people is stooping to using Republican tactics.

  78. #78 hans
    April 7, 2008

    Good to see the red-scare era of brainwashing to be still alive and kicking ! Actually, it’s kinda sad that W hasn’t continued with the sentiment of his daddy and hasn’t revoked US citizenchip from all american atheists! Now we still have to deal with these pesky commies! ;)

  79. #79 Moses
    April 7, 2008

    My e-mail:

    So, as a former UCC, current Unitarian-Universalist who is interested in social justice for all humans, even those that don’t share my particular views, I have some questions about your rant at the recent legislative meeting:

    1. Is “atheist” the new “nigger?”
    2. What is next, poll taxes on atheists?
    3. Loyalty oaths?
    4. Maybe they should die?
    5. Do we burn the Constitution? And pretend “the wall of separation between Church and State” never exited in your revisionist history?
    6. In our revisionist way of thinking do we pretend hundreds of years of slavery and butchery of blacks and native Americans were specifically sanctioned by Christianity?
    7. Do we forget the Colombian exchange that killed and enslaved as many as 200 million native Americans and blacks, all modeled on Columbus and his killing nearly 10 million Arawak Indians in Haiti? Once again, all sanctioned by the Catholic church and most Protestant variations?
    8. Do we forget that virtually every Christian church in early America held as gospel that blacks and Indians were “beasts of the field?” Literally sub-human animals…
    9. Do they wear “A”‘s on their clothing so we can readily identify them?

    And, btw, what the hell is wrong with the UCC church you attend? When I went there, this kind of radical intolerance and hatred of others was not preached or tolerated.

  80. #80 Janine, ID
    April 7, 2008

    Emma Goldman also lived for a while in Chicago, and it’s where she is now buried.

    Posted by: Nullifidian

    I guess I am being very nit picky here but Emma Goldman is not buried in Chicago. She is buried in Forest Park which is located on Chicago’s western boarder. The reason why she is buried there is because it is close to the Haymarket Martyrs Monument. It was the extralegal murder of Chicago anarchists in the aftermath of the Haymarket Riot that convinced her to become an anarchist.

    There are a few other interesting people buried at Forest Home Cemetery. There are Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Lingg, Samuel Fielden, and Michael Schwab; the Haymarket Martyrs. Voltairine de Cleyre, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Lucy Parsons and Ben Reitman.

  81. #81 Janine, ID
    April 7, 2008

    Is Moniquie Davis black? How else can you explain a Democrat who is so religious?

    Posted by: Alex

    Because the Democratic Party is such a great haven for atheists. Why, wait a second. There has not been an outspoken atheist in the Democratic Party as powerful as Robert Ingersoll in the Republican Party in the late 19th Century.

  82. #82 Rey Fox
    April 7, 2008

    Fortunately, since Davis is an urban Democrat, then maybe this whole incident will be shaming for her. Unlike Sally Kern, who could just surround herself in supporters and claim that she’s being attacked for being Christian.

    Hell, maybe Davis will do that anyway.

  83. #83 Atomicmutant
    April 7, 2008

    #109…regarding my post, it was made by a user at the site “LibraryThing” (which is a GREAT place to catalog and cross-reference your books, by the way..not spam, I’m just a happy user). I frequently post Pharyngula headlines into the user group “Happy Heathens”. :)

    He calls himself “Arctic-Stranger”. That’s not attribution, per se, but if you seek him out on librarything, tell him I sent ya. :)

    It really is a great letter. I hope she reads it.

  84. #84 Michael X
    April 7, 2008

    My two e-mailed cents:

    Representative Davis,
    I’ve just had the sad fortune to read about your behavior towards Rob Sherman in the Tribune. Such rants are perfectly unacceptable for any representative of mine. No less in a major, pluralistic, metropolitan city such as Chicago. I would also question where you came to the belief that this state or nation was founded on anything even resembling the christian religion, as we are guided by a constitution that has no mention of any concept of god, and a bill of rights that first and foremost rejects a national religion. As for beliefs about the devoutness of Lincoln, a man who stated: “The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma” is certainly not on your side of this debate.

    Yet, it is your vitriolic smearing of atheists that is the most damning in my eyes. As an atheist, I hold the view that all of my actions have consequences in the here and now, and no other being will fix things for me or save me from my own mistakes. It is a position of maturity, dignity, and responsibility. As a resident of Chicago, I’m here to remind you that your actions also have consequences. For in your next election my vote will be going to the challenger.

  85. #85 Ray M
    April 7, 2008

    Speaking of Sally Kern, isn’t this just too precious?

  86. #86 Kseniya
    April 7, 2008

    Unfortuantely, we know she’s not the only one. in 1987, former President Bush, who at the time was incumbent VP and campaigning for the top job, said:

    I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

    How poorly these people understand the foundational principles of the country they purport to lead.

  87. #87 Alex
    April 7, 2008

    Someone needs to come up with an innovative method for keeping track of all current anti-science / anti-thought / pro-religion politicians so that we know whom to vote out.

  88. #88 nicole
    April 7, 2008

    124: What quote are you referring to?

  89. #89 Inoculated Mind
    April 7, 2008

    Someone needs to come up with an innovative method for keeping track of all current anti-science / anti-thought / pro-religion politicians so that we know whom to vote out.

    It should be called “No Politician Left Behind.”

  90. #90 1984
    April 7, 2008

    Monique Davis would most likely be a hindu if she had been born in India :D

  91. #91 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 7, 2008

    Columbus and his killing nearly 10 million Arawak Indians in Haiti

    Cannot be. Has got a few zeroes too many.

  92. #92 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 7, 2008

    Columbus and his killing nearly 10 million Arawak Indians in Haiti

    Cannot be. Has got a few zeroes too many.

  93. #93 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 7, 2008

    It should be called “No Politician Left Behind.”

    LOL!

  94. #94 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 7, 2008

    It should be called “No Politician Left Behind.”

    LOL!

  95. #95 kopolee11
    April 7, 2008

    I believe the best way to treat this woman, and many other people who are scared of atheist, is to try to ease them into understanding our position. I think the “militant atheist” response is largely ineffective as it merely makes atheist an easy target. (They’ll just say, look at what these vicious and crazy atheist say!)

    For example, here is my $0.02, an e-mail that I just sent her:

    ***
    Representative Monique Davis:

    I e-mail you to inform you that I strongly disapprove of your outburst last Wednesday on April 2, 2008. What you said was truly chilling, and I, alongside countless other citizens, demand an apology to both Mr. Rob Sherman and atheists across the state of Illinois who may have been hurt by your words of intolerance.

    As a representative, you obviously know that you hold a very sacred responsibility. You represent all of your constituencies, not just the Christian/Jew/Muslim/Hindu, but also the Non-Believer/Skeptic/Agnostic/Atheist. Our founding fathers found it very important for there to be a clear distinction between matters of state and religion. Last Wednesday you crossed that line.

    If you could, please show some understanding of what you said. If Mr. Sherman went on a tirade about Christianity or theism it would be national news. I see no difference between what you said last Wednesday (“Get out of that seat!”) and what countless white politicians said to many brave African-Americans who fought for their fundamental rights. It saddens me greatly, that forty years after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr people are still telling others that “You have no right to be here.”

    Atheist, Agnostics, and non-believers have been among America’s most productive, kind-hearted, and loyal citizens since the beginning. In fact, even Lincoln, who you constantly cited as a reason to denounce atheism, was a skeptical deist, and he even wrote against orthodox Christianity. Does that make him a holder of a “dangerous philosophy?” Should we not let our children hear about this “dangerous man”? And, more importantly, if President Lincoln was an atheist would it lessen any of his phenomenal accomplishments? Would it diminish all the good he did?

    Representative Davis, I write this letter not to spew hate, but merely to show the light. I was myself hurt by what you said, and I hope you could find it in your heart to realize why what you said was hateful, and offer a heart-felt apology. If you do so, I know I, and many others, will be happy to forgive you.

    Sincerely,
    A concerned citizen
    ***
    Hopefully, she’ll respond positively to responses like this, and she can come to a greater understanding of the atheist position. (Or she’ll just ignore me, and I’ll look like a silly hippie. ;))

  96. #96 Greg Peterson
    April 7, 2008

    Sometimes I get tempted to be nice to the religious on the old notion that one can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and so forth. But I just don’t think it works, accept probably with people who are already one’s longterm friends and family members. For example: I like watching Jack Van Impe presents on Sunday nights because it’s a comical way to end my Sunday, and I think he and his ghastly-but-possibly-once-hot wife are clowns. But they were decidedly unfunny last night, telling two “jokes” about atheists, one in which we were called “fools” (April Fool’s Day is our national holiday, you see), and one where an atheist got his nose bloodied. What a fucking hoot! So now I don’t think of them as clowns, except in the classical John Wayne Gacey sense.

  97. #97 Holbach
    April 7, 2008

    Have been away, but returned in time to catch moron
    Davis’s insane outburst.

    my e-mail to the deranged moron:

    It’s a good thing all Americans are not afflicted with the
    insane religious outburst you exhibited in the Illinois
    State House and which is now known throughout the country
    both on audio and in print. Our country is great because
    sound minded people have prevented your demented type from inflicting insane and dangerous religions on the rational populational. Why don’t you get your imaginary god to smite all those rational people who consider your kind the most deranged minds that are reducing our great country to an insane religious cesspool. Let’s see your freaking god, you religious moron.

  98. #98 Divorce Is A Problem
    April 7, 2008

    Poster: I note that her strong religious views have not prevented her from being divorced.

    *****************************************

    JimC: This is a bullshit attack on her on many levels. Many, many religious people divorce. It doesn’t make their beliefs less strong any more than someone who lies, thinks an impure thought, etc.

    She is fair game because of her absurd statements but saying divorce is some huge failing of her religious beliefs is silly. No two religions/denominations agree on it from a religious perspective in any event.

    The irony of her being divorced (and as an ex-counselor she should know better) is that divorce has a much more dangerous and known effect on children than her saying atheism does, which hasn’t been established in any concrete studies. You can start here among many studies and books that discuss divorce and its effect on children.

    She also claims that Sherman should be caring about the children in regards to guns and school. Again, and this she should know as well, the rate of single black mothers and absent fathers is a problem. But yet it is ATHEISM that is so dangerous, which doesn’t yet have the concrete evidence that absent fathers have on children and the community. She’s throwing out whatever she can and I do suspect there’s more hidden behind the money business.

    She’s not fit to be a representative of government besides. As far as I’ve read she has not yet responded to this. Wonder if Obama will criticize a fellow Chicago Dem and churchmember for her stupid outburst.

  99. #99 Aaron Baker
    April 7, 2008

    Yes, Davis is a wackjob, but the back story is more complex than some might think. The Pilgrim Baptist Church, orignally Kehilath Anshe Ma’ariv Synagogue, was a masterpiece of modern architecture, designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. Gutted by a fire a few years ago, it deserves to be rebuilt, and I have no problem at all with public funds being spent for that purpose. Far too many of Sullivan’s buildings have already been destroyed. This is an impressive human (not divine) achievement, and I’m disappointed that Sherman doesn’t get this.

    It’s also worth stating that Pilgrim Baptist Church is one of the places where Gospel music had its beginnings. Again, you can appreciate the achievement without sharing the faith.

  100. #100 Holbach
    April 7, 2008

    I’m willing to bet that Dumbski, Behe, and all the other
    insane morons are by now aware of the demented outburst by
    jeebus freak and are lauding her and canvassing for her
    freaking sainthood for lashing out at her betters! Heck,
    a doctorate from the Deranged Institute is just about to
    be conferred on the demented ghost de-buster!
    Every time they think, they weaken the nation.

  101. #101 Loren Petrich
    April 7, 2008

    She’s a black woman in public office, and yet she thinks that atheism much worse than:

    Belief that black people have the curse of Ham (Gen 9:18-28) on them, and therefore must be the slaves and servants of white people.

    Belief that women ought to shut up about religion and ask their husbands about it (1 Cor 14:33-35), and that women should never have authority over men (1 Tim 2:10-11).

    Leaders should either be absolute monarchs or theocrats (Moses, Peter, etc.), without there being anything like Congress or elections.

  102. #102 Vitis01
    April 7, 2008

    @136

    Public funding for repair would be fine as long as it was no longer a church. An architectural exhibit, gospel music landmark, historical place open to the public would be fine though.

  103. #103 pedlar
    April 7, 2008

    Aaron, you say you’re disappointed Sherman doesn’t “get this”. (#136)
    Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t, but he’s doing his job – and it’s a valuable job. I’m sure your right about this restoration but this is a million dollars of public money and he is making them justify their spending in detail and in public. Somebody has to stand up and argue for the other side.

    Devil’s advocate, you know. Valuable concept.

    I’ll give you a classic example. You know who I blame for the Iraq Invasion. The British Opposition party, the Conservatives. It goes like this:
    Without the moral/military backing of his key ally GWB would – at least – have let the UN negotiators keep trying.
    In Britain, the Lib Dems opposed invasion, the Conservatives supported it, and Blair’s lot were split with a noticeable minority rebelling.
    If the Conservatives had opposed it the war vote would have failed.
    No Blair support. No Bush Invasion.
    The point? The Conservatives were the Opposition. IT WAS THEIR JOB TO OPPOSE IT. Over in Britain no-one was standing up for the other side.
    That is how democracy works. You have to fight your position, in detail and in public.

    Of course, bigots like Monique just make it that much more fun.

    Hey Sastra (#106)

    Sure they do. Whether God exists or not is debatable. You don’t get to shut down the debate by claiming there is none. And here it is. Listen to us.

    Teach the Controversy!!!!

  104. #104 decrepitoldfool
    April 7, 2008

    Dog, she’s from my state. (hides head in shame) I would suggest sending letters to her associated state senator, Emil Jones, Jr., and CC to her. And if they’re short and printable, to the editor of the Chicago Tribune. If you are registered on their site, you can leave comments here

    Unfortunately in her mind the hate mail she receives will “prove that she was right” and you can bet she is receiving all kinds of props in her church right now. It won’t be clear to her that what she said was as clear an example of hate speech as could be.

  105. #105 Mark
    April 7, 2008

    She probably thinks Lincoln was a Democrat too, LOL.

    BTW, that quote of Lincoln’s: “The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.” really shows that our modern soundbite system of mass media coverage keeps anyone of substance from ever being elected to office. If any politician would say something that definitive today, they would be destroyed.

  106. #106 Marcus Ranum
    April 7, 2008

    New American Standard Bible ©

    Has that been peer reviewed?

  107. #107 Holbach
    April 7, 2008

    Bostonian @ # 141 Cannot agree with your suggestion to
    be nice in our e-mails to the moron. Have you not read and heard her pathetic, insane and vitriolic outburst to her
    better? Oh no; blast back and even harder, and let the
    moron know we will not take her insane crap without
    punching back. After all, we have sound reason on our side;
    she has, er,what?

  108. #108 Justin
    April 7, 2008

    Please, please, please. Let’s not compare this to racism. It makes us just as bad as Jonah Goldberg. Comparing the inconvenience of being an atheist to the way African-Americans have been oppressed throughout our country’s history is just embarrassing.

    What Davis did was wrong, and she’s clearly an idiot for holding the beliefs she does. What she did was intolerant, ignorant, and anti-democratic. Certainly she should not be allowed to sustain her political career. But this is not equal to the way Blacks have been treated not very long ago. Sherman was allowed to come to the meeting in the first place. He was not lynched for standing up to Christians. No one burned an effigy of Nietzsche (or his favorite atheist thinker) in his front yard. And even if violent acts were committed against him for his actions, he could realistically expect recourse to the law.

    Attack her actions for what they are. Don’t compare a paper cut to a severed arm.

  109. #109 Chris
    April 7, 2008

    There has not been an outspoken atheist in the Democratic Party as powerful as Robert Ingersoll in the Republican Party in the late 19th Century.

    The Republican Party of the late 19th Century doesn’t exist anymore. Hell, the Republican Party of the mid 20th Century doesn’t even exist anymore. The party of the same name that exists today is very substantially different.

    I know politics makes strange bedfellows, but do the Democrats really have to stay in bed with *this*? It’s as bad as what Virgil Goode said about Muslims, if not worse, and Goode’s a Republican.

  110. #110 Richard
    April 7, 2008

    Well, if any of you have good contacts with mass media, I hope you are forwarding this story.

  111. #111 Pierce R. Butler
    April 7, 2008

    JimC: Has there ever been a more destructive thought in the history of mankind than ‘damnation’?

    How about a creation story which states that the Father of Everything and Everybody hates his offspring for behaving as he set them up to do, and in his omnipotent wrath has cursed every subsequent generation, without exception?

    Seriously: has anyone here encountered a more pathological origin myth?

  112. #112 defectiverobot
    April 7, 2008

    “Might not be a bad idea to hit up House Speaker Michael Madigan. I’m sure he’ll be delighted to know that one of his people is stooping to using Republican tactics.”

    That would be the pot calling the kettle black. I hate to break it to you folks, but an Illinois Democrat = a Texas Republican, at least in terms of self-serving political machinations.

  113. #113 Lurking in Illinois
    April 7, 2008

    For the other Illinois residents writing to their state representative about Rep. Davis, the method to initiate disciplinary proceedings are covered by Illinois House Rule 91. Wouldn’t hurt to point that out to your representative.

  114. #114 dcb
    April 7, 2008

    Re. the danger to children.

    Please remember that in the mind of the fundamentalist Christian, the real harm to children from say, divorce or gun violence is less pressing than the potential spiritual harm that an atheist could cause.

    In their philosophy a traumatized, injured or dead child is better off than a child who has lost faith and whose immortal soul is thus consigned to damnation.

    These people are delusional.

  115. #115 Yvette
    April 7, 2008

    As a black woman and an atheist, I am appalled by Ms. Davis’s comments. I was hoping that there was an email address so that I could email her; unfortunately, I will have to write a letter (and I will) and pay the postage to let her know precisely what I think about her comments: profoundly ignorant and ill-informed.

  116. #116 bybelknap, FCD
    April 7, 2008

    Here is my letter to the fine lady in question. I hope that I have framed my concerns well:

    Dear Ms Davis,
    I was appalled, but not surprised to see your bigoted and ignorant rantings against an atheist citizen of these United States. vis:

    “This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God,” Davis said. “Get out of that seat . . . You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

    Ahem. Perhaps you might have mis-read Article VI of the Constitution which says something about “no religious test” to hold office? Perhaps you do not understand the writings of one Thomas Jefferson, an old, dead, white dude, who scribbled a few things about a “wall of separation” between church and state?

    I don’t happen to have any gods, and I find your baseless accusation that because I do not that I believe in destroying the Constitution. It is you, Ms Davis, with your ignorant, ill conceived delusional thought processes that are destroying what the US was built on, which is the freedom to believe in cosmic space muffins or not. You enjoy the ability to worship in the way that you please at your United Church of Christ precisely because of that wall of separation, not in spite of it.

    So, kindly stuff your pig-ignorant, bigoted opinions in a sack. Feel free to worship a hairy thunderer, a gentle lamb, a wombat on steroids – whatever floats your boat, but keep your delusional, magical thinking out of public policy decisions. Contrary to your pathetic ideas of what atheists may or may not believe, I believe very strongly in something – Our Constitution – apparently you do not. Other wise you wouldn’t have said that a non-believer doesn’t have any rights. I think that this was an instance when you should have taken the advice of a very fine atheist – a Mr Samuel Clemens, who said, “It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought an idiot, than to open it and remove all doubt.” I have no doubt, Ms Davis, that you are, in fact, an idiot.

    Have a nice day,

  117. #117 Tom Marking
    April 7, 2008

    “As if no matter what God does, people are supposed to not have much against it, and wonder why in the world anybody else would have a problem with throwing children into hell for eternity for being aware of someone else’s beliefs.”

    Man, what are you talking about? We Catholics don’t throw unbaptized children into Hell with all those fiery demons. Instead, we send them to a much better place – Limbo. Limbo is a much higher tax-bracket than Hell. The roads are neatly paved, the crime rate is much reduced, and I hear that the schools in Limbo are just wonderful. So stop your whining!

  118. #118 MAJeff, OM
    April 7, 2008

    The irony of her being divorced (and as an ex-counselor she should know better) is that divorce has a much more dangerous and known effect on children than her saying atheism does, which hasn’t been established in any concrete studies. You can start here among many studies and books that discuss divorce and its effect on children.

    The effects of divorce on children are varied. In general, however, we primarily know that the more divorcing spouses “act like grown-ups.” When they can arrive at accommodations about child custody and when they don’t trash each other and use kids as weapons, divorce tends to be less disruptive and have fewer negative consequences.

    And, it’s also preferable for a lot of families to break up. The kids will end up better off in two happy homes than if the parents end up staying in one miserable one.

  119. #119 Kseniya
    April 7, 2008

    MAJeff: Bingo. In the simplest possible terms, if mom and dad are ok – even if they’re splitting up – the kids will be ok. Bitterness and acrimony infect everything, regardless of the status of the union.

    Are we hijacking the thread yet? I’d better not mention anything controversial, like say, circumcision.

    Oops.

  120. #120 bybelknap, FCD
    April 7, 2008

    @ # 163

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=3060955

    Where have you been man? Limbo is soooo JP II.

  121. #121 Cobalt
    April 7, 2008

    In light of recent inclusions of the letters people wrote, I figured I’d go ahead and include mine. My letter focused not on how profoundly un-American her behavior was, but how profoundly un-Christian. This is a very poor reflection on the moderate Christians of this nation, and someone needed to grab Monique Davis and punch her in the Bible for it.

    Representative Davis,

    I wanted to express to you just how saddened I am by the statements you made to Rob Sherman, by your unhesitating and unapologetic denunciation of atheism as inherently destructive and essentially un-American. I have always respected and valued the contributions of Christians to our history, and in the name of that history I am asking you to seriously rethink the impression you are sending of what it means to live in Christ.

    As was written by the apostle Paul: “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)” Romans 2:12

    This means that you are a subject of Christ, and subject to the judgement of God. You know this. What you may not know is that Paul never asserted that gentiles (read: non-Jews, since Christianity wasn’t its own sect yet) were not capable of pleasing God. In fact, if you read Romans carefully, you can see reflected in it Paul’s deep commitment to embracing those of different ways and beliefs. He would never have tried so hard to initiate dialogue with gentiles if he did not believe they had nothing to offer Christ’s church. That’s why his contribution to the Bible is not in the form of a formalized written book. They’re letters. One part of the conversation. Paul engaged in respectful dialogue with those of other faiths.

    Are you wiser than Paul? Are you more able than an apostle of God to judge who is and is not pleasing God in America?

    Remember also that it is not for you to judge Rob Sherman, publicly or in private, or even in your own heart. The right of discernment does not belong to you or to any mortal. You have heard the law, and you have heard the message of Christ. But those who are declared righteous are those who OBEY the law. You are a mortal, an individual human. Let Rob Sherman’s conscience bear witness for him. Do not presume judgement, which belongs only to God. That is the foulest sort of idolatry, the worship of one’s own self.

    I sincerely hope that you think long and hard about what this means for you, and for the people who applauded you in that room. I sincerely hope for the sake of your continued participation in Christ’s church that you ask yourself what is really expected of you, and what is forbidden to you. May these considerations temper your public rantings in the future.

    Respectfully yours.

  122. #122 Susan
    April 7, 2008

    What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

    Well, perhaps she divorced him? It doesn’t appear the All-Knowing Lord of Everything addressed that scenario.

  123. #123 MrTwiddle
    April 7, 2008

    I sent her my 2 cents worth:
    —————————
    Ms Davis,

    This missive is in regards to your rant of religious intollerance towards athiests.

    How can a government official, such as yourself, be so ignorant of the First Amendment to the US Constitution that not only guarantees your freedom of religion but also guarantees my freedom from religion? I thought that you were elected to represent all of the people in your district, not just those that share your ideology.

    Silence those that don’t agree with your religious beliefs!
    Now where have I heard that before? Oh yes, the Islamic jihads against infidels. Americans are dying in Iraq fighting to establish democracy while back home bigots are trying to stifle free thought.

    You have certainly embarrassed all of the citizens of Illinois and cast Christianity in a bad light. While this behavior may be acceptable in your church, it cannot be tolerated in the public forum. Hopefully the voters of Illinois will remember your intollerance come election day.

  124. #124 Susan
    April 7, 2008

    She just survived a primary challenge:

    Rep. Monique Davis keeps her seat in the South Side’s 27th District, after a challenge by Illinois Department of Transportation Deputy Director Stanley Moore.

    http://cbs2chicago.com/politics/steans.elder.state.2.646968.html

    Too bad the blogosphere didn’t know her opinions on democratic inclusion about two months ago.

  125. #125 Josh
    April 7, 2008

    Cross-posted from the Richard Dawkins forum (I hope it doesn’t come across as a text dump):

    To all:

    My letter to Ms. Davis, with cc’s. I don’t expect this will change her mind, and that wasn’t my point in sending it. I do hope enough blunt critiques and expressions of justified outrage will induce other public figures to think twice about their actions. I hope you’ll join me in publicly denouncing Ms. Davis’ bigotry, using your real name. We can’t afford to merely complain to each other here – the “real world” needs to hear from us. Stand up and be counted!

    Also, here’s the list of email addresses I tediously culled for the members of Ms. Davis’ committee, if they’re useful to you:

    jack@jackfranks.org, lisadugan@sbcglobal.net, 70thdist@pritchardstaterep.com, repjohnbradley@mychoice.net, annazettec@aol.com,statereppaul@sbcglobal.net,staterepgordon@sbcglobal.net,repkrause@aol.com, repmyers@macomb.com, poer@housegopmail.state.il.us, statereprramey55@aol.com, jimwatson@localnetco.com,

    If you want to write to any of the organizations I cc’ed below, I’m afraid you’ll have to use their infernal “contact us through this web form” functions because they don’t list email addresses.

    ******************************************************************

    Dear Representative Davis:

    I must express my shock at the tirade you unleashed against activist and atheist Rob Sherman at the April 2, 2008 meeting of your committee. I could barely believe my ears when I heard you say – nay scream – that Mr. Sherman was spreading a “dangerous” “philosophy” that children shouldn’t even know exist. There were so many malicious strawmen stereotypes about nonbelievers in your disquisition it would take pages to correct them all.

    Most appalling of all was to hear you tell Mr. Sherman,

    “I am fed up! Get out of that seat!”

    and,

    “You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in
    destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

    I can hardly credit that an elected representative to a United States legislature – sworn to uphold the Constitution – would have the gall to order a citizen out of the legislature, and to state his lack of religious belief stripped him of his rights guaranteed under that Constitution. Have you read the Constitution, Ms. Davis? That document guarantees all citizens – those who adhere to a religious belief and those who don’t – the same rights. Our
    secular – yes, secular – Constitution is unique among the founding documents of the nations of the world in separating religion from government so that everyone, believer and non-believer, may freely exercise the right to participate fully in society.

    By far the most disturbing facet of this sad affair: As a black woman who doubtless knows the history of the African-American struggle for full enfranchisement, I’m stunned it would even occur to you to tell another American citizen he had “no right” to participate in government, and to “Get out of that seat.” Those who
    have experienced discrimination and persecution (and I am among them) have a special moral responsibility to stand in solidarity with others whose voices are oppressed because they aren’t the “right” skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or any other attribute. To instead turn on a representative of an unpopular minority is ethically perverse.

    Sincerely yours,

    Joshua Slocum (a citizen, a taxpayer, a member of a family, a community
    activist, and an atheist)

    P.S. – Since I’m disseminating this letter to as many people as possible in the hope of waking them up to the danger of lawmakers who wrap themselves up in a godly cloak in order to insult and disenfranchise non-believers, I’m including a link to the audio of your remarks for background:

    http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/files/DAVIS.mp3

    P.P.S. -I do want to thank you for reminding me to get around to the charitable donations I’ve been planning to make to secular organizations that work for the separation of religion and government. I’ll be making my gifts in your honor.

    cc: Illinois House State Government Administration Committee Members
    Senator Barack Obama
    Governor Howard Dean, Chairman, Democratic National Committee
    Margaret Downey, President, Atheist Alliance International
    Ellen Johnson, President, American Atheists
    Dan Barker and Annie-Laurie Gaylor, Co-Presidents, Freedom From Religion
    Foundation
    Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
    Lori Lipman Brown, Secular Coalition

  126. #126 PaulR
    April 7, 2008

    #43, thanks for posting the email addresses. Here’s my letter to her:

    Representative Davis,

    I am not a resident of Chicago, nor of the state of Illinois. However as an American and an Atheist, I am compelled to inform you of my opinion regarding your appalling behavior.

    I would like to express my chagrin and outrage with you for telling a citizen of this country that they do not deserve to participate in the democratic process because of their religious affiliation (or lack thereof). You have no right, no room, no logic nor any basis in the Constitution (or indeed, in reality) upon which to base such an assertion. It may be your opinion, but it is an opinion that runs contrary to the philosophy of the first amendment and of the religious freedom that this country was founded upon. Atheism does not seek to destroy! (nor to allow guns in schools. Also, President Lincoln was an atheist in case you did not know). It is only your sadly uninformed and hateful prejudices that cause you to believe these things to be so. I am an Atheist. I do not try to push for guns in school, as you would have others believe. I believe a moment of silence in school is a fair concession so that people of all religions may begin their day in accord with their own faith. Despite the fact that I do not believe in god, I believe in freedom of religion.

    How sad, that you, while painting yourself as a pious American have displayed such galling hypocrisy and brutally incompetent judgment in lambasting a person whose opinion and faith do not comport to your own. How dare you call yourself an American? You are nothing more than a dogmatic, tinplated theocrat, who should take her own admonishment to heart and “GET OUT OF THAT SEAT” – you should resign your office after this disgusting and frankly, moronic display, for it abundantly displays your gross incompetence, misjudgment, intolerance and hate. If you do not resign, I sincerely hope the voters throw you out of office at the next election. “Dangerous” indeed. Your intolerance is the dangerous philosophy here, madam. In the meantime, I hope it pleases you no end that you have made a national spectacle of yourself in this display of hate. Martin Luther King would not be proud of you.

    Thank you for your time,

  127. #127 Sinclair Lewis
    April 7, 2008

    When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.

  128. #128 386sx
    April 7, 2008

    Tom Marking: Man, what are you talking about? We Catholics don’t throw unbaptized children into Hell with all those fiery demons. Instead, we send them to a much better place – Limbo. Limbo is a much higher tax-bracket than Hell. The roads are neatly paved, the crime rate is much reduced, and I hear that the schools in Limbo are just wonderful. So stop your whining!

    Okay but I still don’t see why you guys don’t pray for the abolishment of hell. You pray for everything else in the universe except for that!! I don’t get it. (Definitely sign me up for the Limbo thingy though.)

  129. #129 386sx
    April 7, 2008

    “I am fed up! Get out of that seat!”

    How come she isn’t fed up with her god throwing people into hell? That’s infinitely a lot worse than anything Rob Sherman could ever do! Why isn’t she fed up with it? Thanks a lot Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago). Yeah thanks a lot.

  130. #130 Matt
    April 7, 2008

    Hats off to Mr. Sherman for his restraint…it makes that jackass rep. look that much more hateful and intolerant.

  131. #131 Popgun
    April 7, 2008

    That militant atheism is what it is called and you thought religious people are bad. Look at this blog for more proof.

    Why does militant atheism even exist?

    It doesn’t exactly make you look good when you have to go to such extremes. If you are going to judge someone then at least be better than they are. I am not impressed thus far.

    If you are an Athiest, then act like one instead of doing the same thing that those so called “religious people” are doing. It doesn’t matter if you have a backing of science or not, science moves on and thus it changes.

  132. #132 DanioPhD
    April 8, 2008

    Quite the ‘athier than thou’ attitude you’ve got there, Popgun. Perhaps you would care to enlighten us on how atheists should act. Oh, wait, let me guess: silent and invisible.

  133. #133 bradley
    April 8, 2008

    This is my email to her:

    Last I heard, Lincoln wanted all men free. Free to live where they wanted,
    free to do as they wanted, free to work where they wanted, and free to
    BELIEVE what they wanted.
    Do you not believe in true freedom, or do you believe in an authoritarian
    state where freedom of thought should be suppressed?

  134. #134 bradley
    April 8, 2008

    This is my email to her:

    Last I heard, Lincoln wanted all men free. Free to live where they wanted, free to do as they wanted, free to work where they wanted, and free to BELIEVE what they wanted.
    Do you not believe in true freedom, or do you believe in an authoritarian state where freedom of thought should be suppressed?

  135. #135 Pyre
    April 8, 2008

    The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and State.”
    — Justice Hugo Black for the Supreme Court, Everson v. Board of Education (1947)

  136. #136 Zeno
    April 8, 2008

    Monique Davis fears that children will discover the existence of atheism. Interesting. I presume, therefore, that she is staunchly against exposing youngsters to the Bible, which clearly alludes to nonbelief. While it does so in a disparaging manner (“The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”), it nevertheless has the potential of planting seeds of doubts in the minds of young readers (“Hmm. Why is that supposed to be foolish?”). An obvious headline for an article would be

    Monique Davis condemns Bible reading for children.

    I wonder how she would rationalize it away.

  137. #137 Ichthyic
    April 8, 2008

    Why does militant atheism even exist?

    *looks around*

    what the hell are you talking about?

    remind me to come to your house, and nail a red letter “A” to your forehead, so you might have some clue as to what the word “militant” means.

  138. #138 Divorce Is A Problem
    April 8, 2008

    MA Jeff said: And, it’s also preferable for a lot of families to break up. The kids will end up better off in two happy homes than if the parents end up staying in one miserable one.

    That wasn’t what what found in Wallerstein’s study, nor others (Google divorce effects on children), unless there’s physical abuse. The long-term effect on the children’s future relationships is also noted. I love how people defend divorce – oh, if it’s amicable all is OK. I have yet to meet someone who deals with divorce as an occupation who feels that way, especially if one parent becomes more absent, which is often the case. A lot of feelings are buried only to resurface later in life. It’s not a pleasant experience, shuffling kids around, moving, the instability, the favoritism. It’s not a good thing, though some kids may adjust better than others depending on their age. Often the divorce is merely unhappy but kids would prefer their parents to stay together regardless. Remarriages add a whole other ballgame that can be as worse as their parent’s relationship. The downplay of divorce’s effects are often to relieve many divorced people of guilt.

    And I’d definitely say it’s much worse than exposing atheism to kids, which was the main point of stating that. Davis could have pointed out worse things as I mentioned that have quantifiable results than kids exposed to atheism as a “dangerous” thing. What her exact thinking is, I don’t know, but the last time someone brought up that point to me was that kids would not turn into moral adults and be prone to drugs, etc. He couldn’t cite any studies on this.

  139. #139 Kseniya
    April 8, 2008

    remind me to come to your house, and nail a red letter “A” to your forehead

    I’d never accuse Ichthyic of being one of those George de Mestral atheists.

  140. #140 Ichthyic
    April 8, 2008

    I have yet to meet someone who deals with divorce as an occupation who feels that way

    and that would be a sample size of?

    and inclusive of…

    church pastors, perchance?

    It’s not a good thing, though some kids may adjust better than others depending on their age.

    nobody ever said it was. If you read for comprehension, the comparison was to divorce being better than a situation where there is potential domestic violence issues, or at least continual verbal abuse present.

    are you really trying to say that divorce is NOT the better solution under those circumstances?

    what a joke.

    The downplay of divorce’s effects are often to relieve many divorced people of guilt.

    false guilt SHOULD be gotten rid of. it’s demonstrably destructive to healthy relationships.

    funny, that if you were such an expert on the subject, you wouldn’t already know this.

  141. #141 Kseniya
    April 8, 2008

    aren’t you so weary of the “militant atheist” firebrand?

    Yes. It’s an adjective that implies attitudes and actions that simply aren’t there. Not yet, anyway.

  142. #142 Can even boast the highest average emperature in the United Kingdom, at 18 celsius.
    April 8, 2008

    Is that the same Springfield Homer lives in?

  143. #143 learning
    April 8, 2008

    Why isn’t this “Representative’s” insulting, unconstitutional and fervent “beliefs” regarding Sherman’s (lack of) rights to address the legislature BECAUSE HE LACKS FAITH making national headline news??? The fact that journalists aren’t running to expose this outrageous, UNAMERICAN behavior on the part of one of our elected officials is much more shocking to me than the ignorance and bigotry that is Rep. Davis.

  144. #144 What the?
    April 8, 2008

    Do you not believe in true freedom, or do you believe in an authoritarian state where freedom of thought should be suppressed?

    I find this ironic on a website that doesn’t want ID presented in the public schools… guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

  145. #145 wazza
    April 8, 2008

    Christians are getting killed for their beliefs? In the states?

    Where?

    And what were they doing when it happened?

    You guys have such a persecution complex, particularly for a religion which almost controls the country.

  146. #146 Kseniya
    April 8, 2008

    *mutter*

    I find this ironic on a website that doesn’t want ID presented in the public schools… guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

    *mutter*

    Ironic? No, not really. You misunderstand the situation. Presenting pseudo-science as science isn’t a good educational move. Do you support teaching Astrology as a science under the aegis of “freedom of thought”?

    People should not be treated this way…

    Then I remembered the hundreds of Christians…

    *mutter*

    So you concluded that Davis’s rant was ok?

    Yes, Christians in some parts of the world are in dangerous situations, but that has nothing to do with this. The only person who’s equating one with the other is YOU.

    *mutter*

  147. #147 Ichthyic
    April 8, 2008

    Christians are getting killed for their beliefs? In the states?

    how ’bout ANYWHERE.

    xians haven’t been persecuted as a group (by non xians) for quite a while, not since the Romans were around, in fact.

    xians have persecuted each other frequently enough, though.

    like the word “militant” most xians don’t appear to really understand what the word “persecuted” means either.

  148. #148 Kseniya
    April 8, 2008

    I love how people defend divorce – oh, if it’s amicable all is OK.

    Nice strawman. Nobody’s defending divorce except as an alternative to something worse. Nobody’s saying that if the post-divorce relationship is amicable then “all is OK.” Well, ok, I said that, LOL, (“in the simplest possible terms”, I believe I said) but what I meant was:

    A bitter and acrimonious divorce (or marriage, though in that case it depends very much on the depth of the acrimony – does it really hinge solely on the presence of physical abuse? I find that hard to believe) is tougher on the kids than a cooperative co-parenting arrangement, in which the childrens’ welfare is the top priority, practiced in a conscientious and mature manner by the divorced parents. (Big gap, there, eh?) In the latter case, the kids will be as ok as they’re able to be under the circumstances. That’s all I was getting at.

    Anyway, you raise many interesting points, and there’s quite a bit of literature on the subject. I don’t know if Wallerstein is the last word on this, and it’s clear that divorce doesn’t necessarily spell doom in every case, but I doubt anyone would argue that divorce doesn’t present problems that don’t exist in a stable (if mediocre) marriage.

    All that aside, of course I completely agree with your assessment of the relative “danger” of atheism as opposed to divorce. It’s a ludicrous equivalence, but one we’ve come to expect from a rabid theist like whats-her-name.

  149. #149 Janine, ID
    April 8, 2008

    Alright, I have to admit something. I am not a militant atheist. I am a backwoods, fire and brimstone atheist.

    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    It was good enough for Voltaire!
    It is good enough for me!

    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    It was good enough for Robert Ingersoll!
    It is good enough for me!

    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    Give me that Old Time Atheism!
    It was good enough for Emma Goldman!
    It is good enough for me!

    Nothing like my rowdy group of unbelievers bringing down the wrath of nothing on the uncouth believers.

  150. #150 uriel
    April 8, 2008

    Not only a D but in a supposedly blue state. Good grief…

    This may have been mentioned before, but the idea that Illinois is blue is largely due to a single outlier- the Chicago area.

    Move even the littlest bit south of that region, and, except for the few college towns scattered around, and there’s not much difference between Illinois and Kentucky. Even the accents are similar. I live in one of the southern college towns, and, frankly, it’s less than a ten minute drive before people start mispronouncing the word ‘creek’ and mangling the phrase “kitty-corner.”

    Add to that the fact that I can drive a further 10 minutes and find my self in a town that not only has one of the highest per-capita ratios of churches in the country but also proudly marketed itself as being one of the last, completely white communities in the region. (Unfortunately for its citizens, that unparalleled purity has diminished in recent years- it’s now only 98% white. Having worked there, I can testify to the fact that this situation is the cause of much head shaking and cognitive dissonance.)

    Granted, we’re not as bad as Kansas, because there’s at least some cultural back-and-forth- but that’s a blade that cuts both ways. For every slightly liberal idea that weasels its way into the gestalt of the farmlands, there’s a terrified reactionary meame trying to worm its way into the common discourse of the big city- usually somewhat successfully.

    Which is a long winded way of saying: I’m not surprised at all.

  151. #151 Nick Gotts
    April 8, 2008

    #142 “No Blair support. No Bush Invasion.
    The point? The Conservatives were the Opposition. IT WAS THEIR JOB TO OPPOSE IT. Over in Britain no-one was standing up for the other side.”

    Well, there were the majority of the population opposed to it, the 1.5 million of us who joined by far the largest ever demonstration in the UK, and many who took more direct action. But we were certainly treated like we were no-one.

  152. #152 Nick Gotts
    April 8, 2008

    #172 “Americans are dying in Iraq fighting to establish democracy” – MrTwiddle

    I don’t know whether you believe this or not. If you don’t, I think it was wrong to put in in your letter merely for tactical reasons. If you do, your beliefs are at least as harmful and irrational as those of Rep. Davis.

  153. #153 John Morales
    April 8, 2008

    Cuttlefish, OM (#50), should be BOM – Bard of the Order of the Molly.

  154. #154 Tom Morris
    April 8, 2008

    @#201

    Google is your friend.

    1, 2, 3.

    Ignorance begone.

  155. #155 Dutch Delight
    April 8, 2008

    Wow, I never knew that from all groups of people, only Christians encounter religious intolerance. Hundreds of times a day worldwide no less.

    “Let’s talk about this breaking news with one of the countless homeless widows in Bagdad who has never encountered religious intolerance in her life. After that, we’ll switch to Iran where a spokesperson of a minority Muslim sect will react on this breaking news story. When we return, we have an interview with a high-school biology teacher in the US who has never had to deal with intolerance from religious groups ever before.”

    I suppose thats what CNN would be like of the C in CNN ment Christian.

  156. #156 Nick Gotts
    April 8, 2008

    Re #201 “xians haven’t been persecuted as a group (by non xians) for quite a while, not since the Romans were around, in fact.”

    Not true. Even today, in some Islamic states (Pakistan, I think Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia), it is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity, and in Pakistan at least, this is punishable by death; in some other places (Iraq, Nigeria), unofficial persecution by Muslims is common; some states of India have laws against religious proselytisation of Hindus; in China non-registered denominations are persecuted by the state; not sure about North Korea – might be difficult to tell given how just about everyone is treated. There are many other post-Roman examples (e.g. early USSR, Tokugawa Japan); though ironically, given popular belief, there was far more persecution by Christians of non-Christians under the Roman Empire, than persecution of Christians by non-Christians, which occurred to a significant extent only under Diocletian and (possibly) Nero.

  157. #157 amk
    April 8, 2008

    it is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity That’s persecution of apostates rather than persecution of Christians. Someone born into a Christian family would be treated differently, but someone converting from Islam to Buddhism would not.

  158. #158 amk
    April 8, 2008

    ^^Persecution of apostates rather than Christians. Being born into a Christian family would be better tolerated, converting from Islam to Buddhism would not be. Also, persecution of poor HTML formatting.

  159. #159 Lilly de Lure
    April 8, 2008

    Re #220 Nick Gotts:

    I assumed you did, I was just getting a bit worried that the valid point originally being made was getting lost in the to-ing and fro-ing about persecution of Christians in other countries so I thought it might be a good idea to point it out.

    I’m sorry if my post came across as criticising yours, this wasn’t my intention at all.

  160. #160 Nick Gotts
    April 8, 2008

    Re #221 Lilly de Lure – No problem. I’m still waiting for the original “persecuted Christian” to post his US examples. Do you think he meant the Texas raid on the FLDS?

  161. #161 wazza
    April 8, 2008

    I think he was probably talking about abortions

  162. #162 Bob Russell
    April 8, 2008

    How dare she speak to a MAN that way…as a “good” christian lady she should obey the bible

    1 Timothy 2:11-15
    Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.

    1 Corinthians 14:34-36
    Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

  163. #163 Bob Russell
    April 8, 2008

    I am thinking of sending this email to Davis…any feedback? Is she likely too stupid to get the point.

    As a “good” Christian lady you should be ashamed of the way you ranted and spewed your hatred towards a “man.” Your bible is quite clear on your role. Obey men and have babies. Get with your own program…biblically have no right to be seated or heard in any democratic forum.

    1 Timothy 2:11-15
    Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.

  164. #164 Ranson
    April 8, 2008

    John @ #209:

    I’ll second that. How about it, folks — a permanent, unique title for Cuttlefish?

  165. #165 Tulse
    April 8, 2008

    I also would happily support a permanent title for Cuttlefish — how about Official Pharyngula Poet Laureate?

  166. #166 Dana Hunter
    April 8, 2008

    Incredible that this could happen in this country. And the response has been no less astonishing. For what it’s worth, my take is here.

    I carry the motion for naming Cuttlefish the Official Pharyngula Poet Laureate.

  167. #167 True Bob
    April 8, 2008

    Well when will Cuttlefish’s coronation take place? Cuttlefish continues to impress. Quick, beautiful, and apropos, every time.

  168. #168 Kyle W.
    April 8, 2008

    Has the Democratic Party made any comments about this?

    Has anyone besides the Chicago Tribune covered it?

    Why is America so tolerant of this intolerance?

    I’m a sad panda.

  169. #169 Holbach
    April 8, 2008

    Yelper(!) @ # 197 If as you claimed, christians are being
    attacked, beaten, harrassed, tortured, imprisoned and killed, why doesn’t tour imaginary god come down and
    prevent these designed outrages? Are you insane? How can you make such deranged comments and not make note of the absence of your freaking creeping god to prove your insane and deranged beliefs. Come on, get the crap out of your imbecilic brain and wake up to the fact that there is no
    gods to come to your pathetic aid.
    I hope you like, or rather dislike the name of “Yelper”.

  170. #171 James
    April 8, 2008

    The land of Lincoln? As if he were a God-fearing Christian.

    “The Bible is not my Book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma.”

  171. #173 Janine, ID
    April 8, 2008

    Bad idea there. The force it takes to actually ban religions will make us the monsters that some of the religious believe us to already be.

  172. #174 Holbach
    April 8, 2008

    Has anyone seen the current video posted on the internet
    of a bunch of savage females severely beating another female? The parents, from Lakeland, Florida are being interviewed by CBS News with a police officer next to them.
    To get to one of the reasons why this has occurred, the
    father gives as one of the causes, because “they have taken god out of the schools!” Incredible! Oh yeah, I am sure that the girls, as they are beating this young girl are yelling that we are doing this to you because our god is not allowed in our schools anymore and we have to let our true nature take hold. Incredible! The posted video is disturbing enough, but to have the father blame the removal of his god from the schools as one of the results of his daughter being severely injured is beyond reason to fathom.

  173. #175 Will E.
    April 8, 2008

    –I’m only glad that the unstable
    mythologist Joseph Campbell is dead; otherwise we would have to contend with him also as he most assuredly will attach his ideas to another deranged cuase.–

    I doubt that. Having read most of his works and his biography, I think I can safely say Campbell was vocally contemptuous of creationism/literalism in any form and had nothing but complete respect for, and acceptance of, the scientific method.

  174. #176 Slightly
    April 8, 2008

    Here’s my contribution, via YouTube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi5iH6pCQJw

  175. #177 Will E.
    April 8, 2008

    Having read most of his works and his biography, I think I can safely say Joseph Campbell had nothing but contempt for creationism/literalism in any form and had nothing but complete respect for, and acceptance of, the scientific method.

  176. #178 Holbach
    April 8, 2008

    Tom Marking: Come on, let’s try to keep this post oa a
    somewhat rational level and not let silliness intrude to
    an extent that will only tempt others to follow. There are
    serious issues that must be addressed and they should not be compromised by posts such as yours.

  177. #179 Tom Marking
    April 8, 2008

    O.K. On a serious note, if I was Sherman this is what I would have said to Davis after she yelled at him to get out of his seat:

    “Lady, you’d better pray to your god I remain in my seat because if I have to leave it I am likely to smack you into next week.”

    That’s what I would have said. But Sherman, you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din. I wonder what P.Z. would have said?

  178. #180 JimC
    April 8, 2008

    #189

    That wasn’t what what found in Wallerstein’s study, nor others (Google divorce effects on children), unless there’s physical abuse

    Not really true, he found in his limited study that some families should in fact divorce. Your arguing 2 ways here. One is an ideal that rarely exists and the other is the reality that some marriages are simply toxic.

    Remarriages add a whole other ballgame that can be as worse as their parent’s relationship. The downplay of divorce’s effects are often to relieve many divorced people of guilt

    This is just abjectly silly. The new marriages can also be alot better. I work with children all day and see many scenarios. Some are not so good with both parents together, some are good. Some step families are really great, some average, some poor. It all depends on the people involved the new marriage works when good and dedicated people are involved.

    In short marriage or divorce is only as good as the people involved and divorce in and of itself need not be terrible.

    And frankly divorced people shouldn’t feel guilty. Marriages end and not all are meant to go the distance. As often as not many people will spend their lives in a loveless existence after the kids are gone. It appears to me your not making an argument to prevent divorce but to prevent it for only a time. When the kids are gone the objections you raise are eliminated.

  179. #181 RamblinDude
    April 8, 2008

    So that’s how it went down. And it was all there, too; she has the routine down pat. The slow buildup to a self-righteous crescendo of pious platitudes that culminates in searing condemnation of the moral depravity of the unbeliever! Very theatrical, very Christian.

    Christians evangelicals aren’t going to be happy until all of our legislators become ordained ministers with government mandated organ music and a choir in the background.

  180. #182 RamblinDude
    April 8, 2008

    My comment refers to Slightly’s YouTube.

  181. #183 True Bob
    April 8, 2008

    Actually I’m a touch disappointed that she didn’t fall to the floor, foaming at the mouth, speaking in tongues.

  182. #184 snead
    April 8, 2008

    Can we pleeeeeeeeze retire the word “spew”? At least a moratorium, say, five years?

  183. #185 Divorce Is A Problem
    April 8, 2008

    Posted by: Ichthyic | April 8, 2008 1:38 AM : I have yet to meet someone who deals with divorce as an occupation who feels that way

    and that would be a sample size of?

    and inclusive of…

    church pastors, perchance?

    Cripes! Talk about belaboring a subject when it was originally to state that divorce has a much more profound effect on children than atheism, which is dubious to begin with. Church pastors? How about a huge number of psychologists and counselors? Read away. Who gives a shit what pastors have to say, certainly not me. There are many cases where there was no abuse and the parents could have tried harder or did not seek help. Infidelity is one example.

    It’s not a good thing, though some kids may adjust better than others depending on their age.

    nobody ever said it was. If you read for comprehension, the comparison was to divorce being better than a situation where there is potential domestic violence issues, or at least continual verbal abuse present.

    are you really trying to say that divorce is NOT the better solution under those circumstances?

    what a joke.

    I already acknowledged that abuse would cause divorce to be preferable. Verbal abuse is hazy – don’t know what you consider verbal abuse exactly. But regardless, divorce has immediate and long-term effects on children – there’s little doubt about that. Whether the parents do as good as a job as possible, it doesn’t change the effects. The problem is that a lot of parents don’t do as good as a job as possible, but even so kids’ lives are disrupted whether by what preceded the divorce and the divorce.

    The downplay of divorce’s effects are often to relieve many divorced people of guilt.

    false guilt SHOULD be gotten rid of. it’s demonstrably destructive to healthy relationships.

    funny, that if you were such an expert on the subject, you wouldn’t already know this.

    I don’t understand the snide tone, I never claimed to be an expert, I do claim to have read much over the decades about the matter besides a lot of anecdotal evidence. In an article in Salon here where Wallerstein’s lack of a control group is criticized, the author refers to her “chip on my shoulder.” But Wallerstein is but one voice. Her book displays feelings of divorced children over years that can be heard by many divorced children, even older ones, and online too. The issue of guilt is all over the place.

    I’m not sure why you or anyone is trying to argue against the effects of divorce in relation to Monique Davis’s claim that atheism is so dangerous. It’s obvious that divorce is better than an abusive relationship, which I said. Davis, like many other religious people, see atheism as a lack of morality, which you know. The black community has a high rate of single mothers and absent fathers as well as non-payment of child support. In light of this and her community, her “dangerous” claim is even more preposterous. Religion doesn’t seem to be a marked factor in solving these problems.

    Davis has still not apologized. I’m with the feeling that although we atheists are a minority, we are still millions of votes. Next election I’d like a third-party candidate who is an atheist; if their policies are sound, my vote will go to him/her. Most atheists are politically involved, no?

  184. #186 moon_grrl
    April 8, 2008

    As a lifelong resident of Illinois I have to say: you get used to the elected officials making asses of themselves. I think that’s all they DO in Springfield. Well, that and fail to pass budgets while quickly passing a bill to make sex with animals illegal.

    Yeah, not funding the state pension plans takes a back seat to making sure it’s ON THE BOOKS not to make love to your pets. *eyes roll*

  185. #187 JImC
    April 8, 2008

    #254

    There are many cases where there was no abuse and the parents could have tried harder or did not seek help. Infidelity is one example

    So your saying someone with an unfaithful spouse should remain in a marriage and that would be superior to starting over?

    Whether the parents do as good as a job as possible, it doesn’t change the effects.

    Actually thats not what other studies have shown.

    The problem is that a lot of parents don’t do as good as a job as possible, but even so kids’ lives are disrupted whether by what preceded the divorce and the divorce.

    Exactly the point. It’s bad parenting that is the problem. The divorce can cause problems for certain but more important is how it is handled.

    Secondly it is better for children to see productive relationships and happy parents than an unhappy together marriage. I was just on a discussion board the other day and was stunned by the number of adults who where happy their parents divorced as children. Ancedotal I know but it was eye opening and I hear it quite abit in my line of work also.

    Kids are aware when mom and dad don’t love each other but it takes maturity absent in younger children to emphathize with them. People who get a divorce feel guilt because they have not lived up to some fantasy ideal. But thats all it is a fantasy. Even long lasting marriages may have been dead for decades and many if not most people who suffer a divorce end up in better scenarios being somewhat wiser. The guilt is a false guilt simply because life and marriage is never ideal.

  186. #188 Paul Flocken
    April 8, 2008

    @Alex in #101:
    Is Moniquie Davis black? How else can you explain a Democrat who is so religious?

    This group is largely white.
    http://www.bluedogdemocrats.us/
    Scroll down to #7.

    Your slip is showing.

  187. #189 Xanthippa
    April 8, 2008

    Land of Lincoln, eh?

    ‘My earlier views on the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation have become clearer and stronger with advancing years.’
    - Abraham Lincoln

    Did she not know that Lincoln rejected all religion, and died an awoved anti-theist?

  188. #190 Ichthyic
    April 8, 2008

    @Tom Morris
    None of the links you provide shows christians being the specific target of persecution.

    thankyou for noticing what the ever-bearing-a-persecution-complex “xians” seem to be oblivious to.

  189. #191 Ichthyic
    April 8, 2008

    There are many cases where there was no abuse and the parents could have tried harder or did not seek help.

    irrelevant to the point you initially made.

    which, in itself, was irrelevant to the point which i and others have reiterated for you:

    we were entirely speaking of divorce being better in cases where NOT divorcing would result in MORE domestic abuse.

    If I am belaboring the point, it is only because your obtuse responses force me to.

  190. #192 Simon
    April 8, 2008

    Well I have to admit this is the first time I have responded to a ‘call for action’
    I have emailed the democratic party asking how they plan to censure Ms Davis. Lets see if I even get a response.

  191. #193 Nemo
    April 8, 2008

    My parents are one of those pairs that stayed together “for the kids”. (They did finally divorce when we were grown up.) I feel very strongly that I did not benefit from this, and I wish they’d divorced about twenty years sooner. So I have no sympathy whatsoever for anti-divorcers.

  192. #194 Rob
    April 8, 2008

    He’s talking about a violation of one of the basic tenants of the American Constitution; the separation of Church and State. By what right does she have to try to censure him for trying to defend the Constitution from abuse. She needs to be put out on her ass. If she wants to be a Christian, then she should keep her faith in her own heart and home, not in government chambers.

  193. #195 Janine, ID
    April 8, 2008

    My parents are one of those pairs that stayed together “for the kids”. (They did finally divorce when we were grown up.) I feel very strongly that I did not benefit from this, and I wish they’d divorced about twenty years sooner. So I have no sympathy whatsoever for anti-divorcers.

    Posted by: Nemo

    This is only anecdotal evidence but my opinion is similar. I am greatly relieved that my parents got divorced when I was still a child. The last few years of my parents being together was stressful. I felt under a great weight when I was in the same room with both of them. It was a great relief for my brothers and sisters as well as for me when my parents split.

    While I agree it is best for parents and children to have two parents,(Please note, I am not saying one man and one woman.) one has to go buy what is best for each family. And I think it is better to have one functioning parent than to have two parents when one cannot handle the responsibility.

  194. #196 Craig Crosby
    April 8, 2008

    Omigawd – I was born and raised in Illinois. I always thought that the US Constitution was in effect there. How did I miss the “except if you disagree with Monique” part?

    “This is the Land of Lincoln, where people believe in God.” I guess, then, that I am not a person?

    Perhaps we need to set up Atheist ‘Churches’ where we can socialize and mentally assign those who disagree with us to the lower levels of the Chicago sewers? Or, more seriously, we should become active, teaching awareness, kindness, goodness, and the value of our fellow men. Ethics comes from within, not from without. We do not need an invisible man watching us to do the right thing.

    Would an atheist gathering be considered a church for the purpose of the Internal Revenue Code? If so, we need to start doing this… and make it very public so that everyone can see that “God” is not a given! Even in Illinois.

  195. #197 jjberg
    April 8, 2008

    Media Coverage!!!!!

    Keith Olberman is covering this on Countdown tonight in worst person!!

  196. #198 jjberg
    April 8, 2008

    *persons* with an ‘s’ rather

  197. #199 tiberius
    April 8, 2008

    WORST…PERSON…in the WORLD..!!!!!

  198. #200 jjberg
    April 8, 2008

    that was so gratifying

  199. #201 True Bob
    April 8, 2008

    Sigh, I didn’t really want to go there…

    My parents divorced when I was 17. I had no clue, I found out when my sis was driving home from the airport (nice timing, sis). I was apparently oblivious. Since (almost 30 years) my Dad made his peace, but my Mom, not so much. It had a negative effect on me, and took many years to come to grips with. So summarizing, no abuse, an apparently amicable divorce, and years and years of damage.

    Now here’s an amusing part it reminded me of. My Mom decided to go back to the church (cat lick). At one point she pondered becoming a nun (OY!), so she got her marriage annulled! So I had to ask if she was making me a bastard. Of course, churches are all about numbers, so I suppose the primate thinks I’m OK (my $ are green, eh?).

  200. #202 Sastra
    April 8, 2008

    tacobell #277 wrote:

    This is the same thing with Christians and the Bible. It’s pretty sad that you can’t understand that.

    I think the point behind our secular explanations for our morals is not that Christian morals are so different, but that we are usually both so similar. Many religious people believe that what God establishes about right and wrong, and good and evil, makes sense. And if it makes sense, then Christians and non-Christians are on the same page. We can both look to see what makes sense. Atheists can have the same basic morals as people who believe in God, because morals really have to do with how people treat other people — and we all believe there are other people. We are accountable to each other, God or no God.

    That said, keep in mind that Christians do not always agree on morals, or on what makes sense. There is no such thing as Christianity as such — there are lots of lots of ChristianitIES. And they have different takes on “what the Bible is all about.” If we are confused on what believers believe, we may simply be reflecting the confusion among the believers themselves.

    I don’t know what you mean by “radical” atheism. Angry atheism? Angry atheists, certainly. We’re responding to being told we are not citizens — and the person who said this has a lot of popular support.

  201. #203 keith
    April 8, 2008

    You know, having lived in central Illinois for 30 years, I’m not surprised at all. Most downstaters would LOVE to totally disavow Chicago is a part of Illinois, and force them to break off and support their own quasi-welfare state, funded with their deep suburban coffers.

    Although, as an apparently abominant non-Christian in a rural area, I’m kind of surprised that the big city folks are as crazy as the Baptist preachers who assaulted me at every opportunity.

    Additionally, I LOVE how good ol’ Rod Bologna-bitch moved half of the state government to Chicago as a “cost-cutting measure”. Yeah, re-read that. Apparently he knows something I don’t; he somehow knows of municipal buildings with rent LOWER in Chicago than in downstate. Rumor has it that he also discovered flying pigs that nest on the Sears Tower, as well as the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

    I’m not terribly sad that I moved to Tennessee… in fact, this seems to suggest that we (my wife and I) made the right choice.

  202. #204 Ichthyic
    April 8, 2008

    Yes, yes, I know you say it’s not a religion, but it is.

    why, because you say so? Please show your work as to how “science” can be a deity. Moreover, what about atheists that have nothing to do with science. Are they NOT atheists?

    finally, did you intend to come off as an ignorant, condescending moron, or is what you regurgitate consistently unconscious in nature?

  203. #205 MrTwiddle
    April 8, 2008

    #172 MrTwiddle: “Americans are dying in Iraq fighting to establish democracy”

    #208 Nick Gotts: “I don’t know whether you believe this or not…. I think it was wrong to put in in your letter….”

    Nick, Regardless of what reason(s) you may ascribe to our invasion of Iraq, in fact, the official mission statement issued by the state department declares that “the United States will work side-by-side with the Iraqi people to build a free, democratic, and stable Iraq….”.

    While I, personally, don’t buy it, I believe that the irony of Americans dying to “promote freedom of speech, conscience, and religion” juxtaposed against Representative Davis’ assault on free speech painted a strong picture and strengthened my attack on Ms Davis.

  204. #206 Ichthyic
    April 8, 2008

    but this militant Athiesm on this forum scares me a lot.

    it’s hardly militant (look up the word in a dictionary sometime), but you’re right to be scared.

    We represent the death of irrationality you cling to so fervently.

    obviously, you wouldn’t BE scared if that actually represented anything close to the “faith” you religionuts claim to have.

    so, yes, be scared. Show the world how your irrational fears drive all your decisions.

    It just makes it that much easier for us to show how fear drives your religion.

  205. #207 Steve_C
    April 8, 2008

    Tacohell.

    Yeah, we’re SO militant… talking amongst ourselves primarily, and getting pissed of when an elected politician feels it ok to tell an atheist to shut up and that they have no right to an opinion.

    We’re outspoken and not shy about our non-belief, that our lack of respect for religion offends you, is not our problem, it’s yours. We’ve heard your type of bullshit concern over and over.

    Oh, and we don’t care.

  206. #208 Kseniya
    April 8, 2008

    Shorter tacobell:

    One from column A.

    One from column B.

  207. #209 E in MD
    April 8, 2008

    I’ve been posting about this and contacting bloggers who’s blogs I frequent. I’d actually planned to send it to Olbermann but I can’t believe it would have gotten on the show so quickly.

    I also emailed that woman and gave her a piece of my mind. With luck all the bad publicity will cause her to appologize, if not recant. She has a right to her oppinions but she has no right at all to tell someone else to shut up or that they have no right to a seat ‘at the table’.

    I really don’t care what her opinions of Atheists or Atheism are. As an American I am fracking outrage that some over inflated egomaniac crossing guard with a persecution complex would say that to any person at any time let alone during a legislative session. The Democratic party has no need of people like this and I told her so. Perhaps she’d feel more at home with the Republicans. They seem to get the lion’s share of intolerant bigots.

  208. #210 Lowell
    April 9, 2008

    I’ve seen a few posts suggesting that Ms. Davis’s actions were not surprising considering the fact that most of Illinois, unlike Chicago, is rural.

    There’s no connection there. She’s not from rural Illinois, and that’s not her constituency.

    Davis was born and, as far as I can tell, raised in Chicago. She went to Roosevelt University in the city. She represents the 27th legislative district of Illinois, which is on the south and southwest side of Chicago.

    http://www.ilga.gov/house/Rep.asp?MemberID=909

    She’s not a rube, she’s just an intolerant fool.

  209. #211 Allison
    April 9, 2008

    I was SO pleased to see Olberman talk about the Davis dust-up.

    Here’s a link to the clip from tonight’s show.

  210. #212 Josh Hayes
    April 9, 2008

    Yes, 286, you have to be impressed by someone who can bump O’Reilly down to number 2 on the WPITW segment. I thought Olberman’s explanation for placing her number 1 was pretty articulate (as usual).

    Today’s segment is here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2pala50zho

  211. #213 Colugo
    April 9, 2008

    I hate to be an appeaser atheist (OK, I don’t hate it all that much), but however heinous Davis’ religious bigotry, I think Sherman is being a knee-jerk here. As others have said, Pilgrim Baptist Church does appear to be a building worthy of historical preservation. I don’t know what the precise amount of money invested should be, but in principle I have no problem with it. I don’t think that the Constitution will go be incinerated if a state government gives money to preserve a building that is still used as a church.

    But others are right in that there might be more going on than it appears, Illinois politics are steeped in bipartisan corrupt. Old fashioned machine politics.

  212. #214 Grammar RWA
    April 9, 2008

    Holbach, are you reading this?

    Please fuck off.

  213. #215 Janine, ID
    April 9, 2008

    The ignorance in here just blows my mind. People making statements left and right and not understanding what the Bible is all about and has no idea what Christians believe, they just blow anything out these days and believe it.

    Posted by: tacobell

    You are sadly mistaken here. Most of us have been brought up as christians. Most of us at some point in our lives thought of ourselves as christians. Most of us here have a pretty good grasp of what the various types of believers believe.

    In fact, it is because of what we know christianity, or any other religion, to be and how it contradicts how we know existence to be that we left our old beliefs behind.

    Speaking for myself, life can be so much more grand than clinging to an all powerful creator, existing to offer needless praises. How dare you lecture us on how we do not know or understand what you believe.

    But let us try this little though experiment. Suppose anyone one of us was in a position of power. And we started berating you, yelling at you that your mere existence is dangerous. How would you react? You would be questioning our motives, sanity and intelligence. That is all we are doing, questioning the motives of this person. And calling her out for her bigotry and stupidity.

    One last note, how appropriate you call yourself you name yourself after a fast food chain; bland and bad for you. Sorry about the insult but you gave yourself an insult for a name.

  214. #216 DanioPhD
    April 9, 2008

    Wow, Monique Davis is a worse person than Ann Coulter (today, anyway). What a truly auspicious achievment.

  215. #217 Ichthyic
    April 9, 2008

    Sorry about the insult

    I’d be sorry if you left it out, frankly.

    :p

  216. #218 Ichthyic
    April 9, 2008

    Sometimes, I like to be a bit more subtle about it.

    heh, i love comparing the approach of your post to the one just above it.

    directed at different posters… they essentially say the same thing.

    One of the reasons I keep coming back here.

    wit and banality so often juxtaposed, and so often in agreement!

    …and nothing is censored.

    so refreshing.

  217. #219 Grammar RWA
    April 9, 2008

    I find enjoyment in using both censored and uncensored blogs. I think most people are happier when both are out there.

  218. #220 Copache
    April 9, 2008

    http://copache.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/2008/

    Blogged on it, figure the issue is still hot and I haven’t had much to cover in the past few days.

    Hope I’m not intruding here =P

  219. #221 386sx
    April 9, 2008

    The ignorance in here just blows my mind. People making statements left and right and not understanding what the Bible is all about and has no idea what Christians believe, they just blow anything out these days and believe it.

    The Bible is all about whatever you want, and you guys believe whatever you want too. I’m sure the people making statements left and right understand that.

    The woman is wrong though and you need to have your right to practice your religion even if it is Athiesm.

    People get thrown into hell for not worshiping her god don’t they? She’s doing her best to keep folks out of there. Or maybe she doesn’t believe that. Or maybe she does but you don’t. Hard to tell. Let us know what Christians believe!! Thanks!

    Yes, yes, I know you say it’s not a religion, but it is. Your Philosophy is just based off of Science being your god.

    Okay thanks. Sounds more like an analogy than literality, but thanks. I know literality and analogy can be a little confusing for the Real Christians (C) 2008 Registered Trademark (R) Somethin Somethin!! Especially with figuring out what that Bible is all about. Lots of confusion in there. Sometimes literal, sometimes not. I don’t blame you one bit. Thanks!!

  220. #222 Shenonymous
    April 9, 2008

    As posted elsewhere: The difference between a moral atheist and a moral theist is that the moral atheist chooses to be moral and the moral theist is moral out of fear.

  221. #223 Nick Gotts
    April 9, 2008

    Re #281 MrTwiddle Your call of course, but it looks very like framing to me – a big no-no for many round here! I wouldn’t be comfortable putting something I didn’t believe in such a letter, in a way that invited the assumption that I did believe it – but of course I can imagine circumstances in which I would do so.

  222. #224 True Bob
    April 9, 2008

    RWA – Right Wing A**hole? Really Wild Animal? Regularly Wrong Assumptions?

  223. #225 negentropyeater
    April 9, 2008

    It’s interesting to compare with a parrallel story, that of Sally Kern’s hate speech on homosexuals.
    Because let’s face it, what this Davis is saying is also hate speech, now against atheists.

    And I think the response of the gay community has been much more virulent and well organised in denouncing this and demanding the resignation of the politician who goes in that direction.

    It seems to me, that the community of non believers, in the USA, is not as well organised and efficient, as the Gay community. Maybe there is something to learn from that.

  224. #226 wazza
    April 9, 2008

    Maybe we should reclaim the word heathen…

  225. #227 True Bob
    April 9, 2008

    wazza, I don’t see myself as a heathen. More like an infidel to all (of course “infidel” has negative connotations as well – I am “faithful” to my wife).

    Etymology:

    heathen

    O.E. hęšen “not Christian or Jewish,” merged with O.N. heišinn. Historically assumed to be from Goth. haižno “gentile, heathen woman,” used by Ulfilas in the first translation of the Bible into a Gmc. language (cf. Mark 7:26, for “Greek”); if so it could be a derivative of Goth. haiži “dwelling on the heath,” but this sense is not recorded. It may have been chosen on model of L. paganus (see pagan), or for resemblance to Gk. ethne (see gentile), or may in fact be a borrowing of that word, perhaps via Armenian hethanos. Like other words for exclusively Christian ideas (e.g. church)

    infidel

    1460 (adj., n.), from M.Fr. infidčle, from L. infidelis “unfaithful,” later “unbelieving,” from in- “not” + fidelis “faithful” (see fidelity). In 15c. “a non-Christian” (especially a Saracen); later “one who does not believe in religion” (1526). Also used to translate Ar. kafir, from a root meaning “to disbelieve, to deny,” strictly referring to all non-Muslims but virtually synonymous with “Christian;” hence, from a Muslim or Jewish point of view, “a Christian” (1534).

  226. #228 Holbach
    April 9, 2008

    True Bob @ #305 Good descriptions of RWA, but I bet the
    true meanings will forever rest with “Remaining With Ambiguity”

  227. #229 JimC
    April 9, 2008

    True Bob,

    You certainly are not a bastard. Thanks for sharing. It seems to me they had some pretty big issues well before the divorce.

    I really do appreciate you off topic reply.

    I wish you the best in all you do.

  228. #230 Kseniya
    April 9, 2008

    I was the first born, and wrongly assumed a responsibility role

    Ooh. I know what that’s like. It’s common, yes. (I’m the responsible Big Sis and that role went into hyperdrive when my mother fell ill. I’m still working that out…)

    [Aside, is it just the wimmen I know, or do they all hint at what they want, and try to manuever you into guessing? Or just catlicks? Or is that just my mysoginy showing?]

    That’s a good question. Do you think your view of women might have been shaped, and is sustained, by your ongoing relationship with your mother? *innocent look*

    Do we all do that? No, of course not. I’ll give you a comprehensive answer if you’re nice to me.

    Seriously, though – are you misogynistic? I haven’t noticed. From waaaay over here, you appear to have “I’m one of the good guys” written all over you, True Bob.

  229. #231 True Bob
    April 9, 2008

    Kseniya, thanks. I try to be egalitarian with everyone. Really, I was just playing off my experience with the 2 most important women in my life – my Mom (who I rarely see or communicate with – mutual and amicable) and my wife 8-| (also catlick). How Freudian for me.

  230. #232 Jorg Aadahl
    April 9, 2008

    Dear Rep. Davis:
    Thanks to a friend who kept me and my sense of humor in mind, I was made aware of your skit last Wednesday afternoon before the House State Government Administration Committee in Springfield ! Very well done, I’d say! You played the role of a deranged preacher better than any street-corner lunatic I have ever heard! You have obvious talents as an actor. Since you played it so well, I think you should be forgiven for using the House as your stage.

    A word of caution, though! Even today, and even in a relatively enlightened country like the US, there are still people so uneducated and so superstitious that they don’t get a joke like yours. They take it as gospel, word for word, without understanding that you are pretending to talk on behalf of a non-existent ghost, on background of a hoax that brighter people exposed centuries ago. I’m all for a good joke, and I can laugh heartily when I here one delivered well, like yours. But again, it feeds the imagination of gullible, feeble-minded people, who gobble it all up, convinced that you are one of them! That’s a shame, and it is dangerous, considering all the damage still done by people infected with the disease called “religion”. They don’t need encouragement from politicians with acting ambition.
    Sincerely,
    Natural Atheist
    San Mateo, California

  231. #233 Xanthippa
    April 9, 2008

    So, if this person is from Obama’s church….what are Obama’s views on atheism?

    They have been shaped by the same people as this woman’s – from a spiritual side, anyway. Yet, this ‘devout’ Christian claims not to listen to what his preacher said about 9/11….so how about the right of Atheists?

    Bush Sr. thinks atheists should not be allowed to hold American citizenship…so how about Obama?

  232. #234 MrTwiddle
    April 9, 2008

    #303 “it looks very like framing to me – a big no-no for many round here! ”

    Framing you say? I think I need to learn more about this. Thanks Nick

  233. #235 Sash
    April 10, 2008

    Perfect example of uneducated, uninformed, broken logic, angry persona, which usually dwells in believers and religion.
    Congrats welcome back to the 15th century, are we going to hunt witches next? I hope she gets kicked off that chair.

  234. #236 Tom Morris
    April 10, 2008

    @218

    Plenty of intolerance for religions and for having the wrong religion, but no persecution for being a believer of a specific religion.

    The first article mentions Christians who are not part of the ‘state approved’ forms of Christianity in China are being persecuted.

    The second article states, “Dobbs gleaned one estimate that the [North Korean] regime kills 300 people a year for their faith.”

    The third article mentions Christians and people of other faiths being killed simply for not being Muslim. While Christians are not specifically targeted, they certainly are targeted.

    And this all counteracts what post #201 claimed.

    Fact: Christians are being persecuted and even killed because of their chosen religion.

    @265

    There is no persecution ‘complex’ when persecution really does exist. Christians in America are not persecuted, but there are definitely those outside the Western hemisphere who are.

  235. #237 Kseniya
    April 11, 2008

    Christians in America are not persecuted, but there are definitely those outside the Western hemisphere who are.

    That is correct. Are we really debating this easily discerned fact? Why? Because this kind of religiously-motivated violence against Christians is under-reported in the USA?

  236. #238 Clair
    April 11, 2008

    She would have been better off if her friends hadn’t made that stupid excuse for her. It’s tragic that a student was killed, but it has nothing to do with Rob Sherman, or atheists in general, and it does not excuse her attitude in any way.

    I agree. She would’ve been better off. I think that was not only insulting to Mr. Sherman, but to the student and his/her family. I also think the “excuse” by her “friends” trivializes the student’s death.

  237. #239 Brian Macker
    April 13, 2008

    Illinois seems to be jam packed with politicians and religious leaders who are black and also racist bigots. Jeremiah Wright, Otis Moss, James Meeks (both preacher and politician), and now Davis. Obama’s in the thick of this and he seems not to be able to control his bigotry either, with his assumptions about Pennsylvanians. To see the members of their churches openly cheer at racist rants gives one pause.

    People like Davis are what results when people preach bigotry from the pulpit. Obama has been immersed in this for years. I wonder what he actually thinks.

  238. #240 Nick Gotts
    April 13, 2008

    Re #321 I heard (online) what was apparently the worst of Wright’s “rants”, and while I can’t say I was favourably impressed, it did not appear obviously racist – there were certainly no calls for violence against or legal disabilities for whites. The claim that Obama’s recent statements were bigotry is absurd. It is simply fact that people thrown out of work are generally bitter about it, and bitterness can often lead to seeking scapegoats. Of course Obama wasn’t wise politically to say it, but that’s another matter.

  239. #241 Lorre
    April 15, 2008

    It’s sad that the woman violates basic tenets of her religion in the passion of spewing her vitriol, including the nice little cussing she added in for measure.
    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
    …the lord looketh on the heart.

    I was raised in a deeply Christian family, and have read the Bible many times from cover-to-cover. This woman shames Christians. She does not respect Christ and why he sacrified his life. According to her own religion she will rot in hell unless and until she removes that hatred from her heart. And that, in my book, is the perfect ending for a “Christian” of her caliber.

    Christians, by definition, should find her behavior even more appalling than atheists.

  240. #242 rocket science
    April 15, 2008

    When you write your elected representative, encouraging them to be more tolerant, be sure to also write Richard Dawkins who claims raising a child with a religious belief is child abuse. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48252

    As a believer I have a lot in common atheists, we both are concerned about God, and looking for the truth (God). It is the agnostic which has a harder time finding God. Often enough the atheist believes in God, he is just not happy about it.

  241. #243 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    also write Richard Dawkins who claims raising a child with a religious belief is child abuse.

    way to take things out of context, moron.

    He mentioned the idea right after talking about religious cults, which force indoctrination on their children, and THEN asked if we should not extend the idea to religious families that force their religious beliefs onto their kids.

    He has seen things that would make your fucking hair stand on end, and it’s commonplace here in the good ‘ol US.

    suggest you watch the documentary “Jesus Camp” sometime. That might provide you with at least some idea of the proper context of his commentary.

    sorry, but there is a very good argument to be made that it is indeed a form of mental abuse.

    Often enough the atheist believes in God, he is just not happy about it.

    *yawn*

    more BS.

    one too many cocktails for lunch, perhaps?

  242. #244 Steve_C
    April 15, 2008

    Yeah… that makes sense…

    he links to worldnutdaily! too funny.

    Idiot.

  243. #245 Ichthyic
    April 15, 2008

    heh. I expect “rocket science” probably tells his friends it’s the “atheists fault” that this woman spewed such an idiotic and unconstitutional litany.

    If we can get blamed for the Westboroites, why not?

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/04/were_getting_blamed_for_everyt.php#c836115