Pharyngula

The American Humanist Association is running an ad, congratulating Obama on his presidency…with a nice twist.

i-5b42917ec960bd9d701c401dda262f64-obama.jpeg

Let’s all hope he lives up to those values.

Comments

  1. #1 Ben
    January 20, 2009

    nicely done

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 20, 2009

    I thought his speech was good.

    I wish we could have thrown out the damn Rick Warren Lord’s Prayer.

    I actually liked the benediction despite it obviously being religious.

  3. #3 June
    January 20, 2009

    And kudos to him for finally listing “unbelievers” among the religious diversity of this nation.

  4. #4 Voting Present
    January 20, 2009

    Non-believers exist, too!

    “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

    I’m especially happy about “the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve” bit, too.
    .

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    January 20, 2009

    It was all because god was working through her, even though she had rejected him.

    Or something like that.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  6. #6 chocolatepie
    January 20, 2009

    Yes we can has yay!

    Although I’m not sure I like “nonbelievers.”

  7. #7 Jason Failes
    January 20, 2009

    Who has ever been raised secular and then becomes religious later?

    I’m calling Presidential Poe on Obama.

  8. #8 Michelle
    January 20, 2009

    Kudos for the non-believers part… but he still swore on the bible during a big religious display. You are not a secular nation.

  9. #9 Hauntedchippy
    January 20, 2009

    All of us here at the physics dept in St Andrews were gathered round the office TV. It was an excellent speech aimed at the entire globe not just America.

    Well done America.

  10. #10 colluvial
    January 20, 2009

    You wouldn’t know it by the inauguration ceremony this past hour. But after the beginning and ending mumbo-jumbo (and plentiful god references in between) where it felt more like a mass than an inauguration, I was very pleased to see that they didn’t sacrifice a goat.

  11. #11 Steve Jeffers
    January 20, 2009

    “I’m not sure I like “nonbelievers.”

    Neither do I … but it’s as efficient a way as any to say ‘atheists, agnostics and the like’. And we got a namecheck in the inaugural address, not the ‘they don’t count as Americans’ of the Bush eras.

    And science and universities are to be ‘restored’ and global warming exists. I don’t like the word ‘non-believer’ … I do like the words ‘we won’ and ‘former President Bush’.

  12. #12 Quiet Desperation
    January 20, 2009

    Although I’m not sure I like “nonbelievers.”

    Personally, I wear the label “Infidel” with pride.

    “Blasphemer” is fun, too.

  13. #13 schism
    January 20, 2009

    In case this poll hasn’t yet been posted here:

    http://forums.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=302

    “Do you think we should pray for Obama’s failure as president?”

    Options include:

    “No, we should always pray for our elected leaders to succeed

    No, God is allowing Obama to be president, so we might as well pray for his success

    No, Farah has finally gone bonkers to suggest that, if he had not gone bonkers already

    Yes, if Hitler were president, we obviously would not pray for his success

    Yes, Americans need to wake up to the need for a leader of true godly values”

  14. #14 Dean Malandris
    January 20, 2009

    Well, just finished watching him get in. Now we’ll see if he can turn America back into a country I’d like to visit again. When he mentioned about science getting back into its rightful place, I let out a big “YES!”… but geez, all that religious blathering during the event. If they mentioned their imaginary friend one more time, I was going to dry-heave.

  15. #15 culmastadm
    January 20, 2009

    I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m still getting over Warren getting that kind of coverage.

  16. #16 Quiet Desperation
    January 20, 2009

    Blasphidel?

    Inphemer?

  17. #17 James F
    January 20, 2009

    Shun the nonbeliever! Shunnnnnnnnnnn!

    But seriously….

    “We will restore science to its rightful place….”

    Now we’re talkin’!

  18. #18 efp
    January 20, 2009

    I was pleased to see “nonbelievers” got a nod in the inauguration speech, along with “restore[ing] science to its rightful place.”

    Sure, it’s a small token; but it is progress. Practically unthinkable twenty years ago.

  19. #19 LoewLife
    January 20, 2009

    I was glad that he mentioned us unbelievers in his inaugural speech. feels great just to be recognized

  20. #20 DaveX
    January 20, 2009

    That Saddleback preacher was terrible, absolutely terrible. He had no business being up there, as poorly-written as his speech was. If you have to get a preacher, at least find someone who doesn’t sound like they’re improvising their lines.

  21. #21 Quiet Desperation
    January 20, 2009

    Now we’ll see if he can turn America back into a country I’d like to visit again.

    Please to explain? The tourist spots here will be pretty much the same as they were under Bush or anyone else. Does politics have to color *everything*? I’m not enthused about China’s current regime, but I’d happily visit if I had that sort of time.

  22. #22 SEF
    January 20, 2009

    For a moment or two, I wondered if Obama was going to be cheeky enough to say “I will execute … George W.Bush and his evil cronies”. It was such a long pause during that section after the false start of him thinking he was only having to repeat short segments and going ahead too soon at the beginning of the swearing in.

  23. #23 SteveM
    January 20, 2009

    I also appreciated “we will lead by example…” in contrast to Bush’s “we will take democracy to them (whether they want it or not)”

  24. #24 Katkinkate
    January 20, 2009

    Posted by: Jason Failes @ 7 “Who has ever been raised secular and then becomes religious later?”

    I did. I got better eventually though. Scared the hell out of my parents. My dad’s side of the family thought I’d joined the Hari Kryshnas (they were Catholics). That was funny for a while.

  25. #25 Endor
    January 20, 2009

    “I was pleased to see “nonbelievers” got a nod in the inauguration speech, along with “restore[ing] science to its rightful place.”

    Agreed. Esp after Warren’s nonsense*. For some reason I can’t identify, i like that he mentioned his father’s little village too.

    * I couldn’t listen to it. I knew he would pretend he isn’t the rabid bigot he is for the cameras.

  26. #26 The Dancing Kid
    January 20, 2009

    In the Constitution it would appear that an allowance is made for a president-elect who does not wish to swear (to God) in taking the oath of office. One may instead choose to affirm (under threat of perjury).

    Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

  27. #27 Steve_C
    January 20, 2009

    Yeah, shout outs to nonbelievers and to science.

    Change has come.

  28. #28 DaveH
    January 20, 2009

    Also, restoring “curiosity” as an American virtue. Another score for Pharyngulite values!!

  29. #29 James F
    January 20, 2009

    It’s too bad Bishop Gene Robinson didn’t deliver the invocation. Here is his prayer from yesterday – it wasn’t even aired as part of the broadcast.

  30. #30 Reginald Selkirk
    January 20, 2009

    Amy Sullivan in Time magazine notices:
    Missing from the Inaugural Dais: Rabbis and Priests
    Oddly, there is no mention of the exclusion of atheists, and the possibility of an entirely secular inauguration does not seem to occur to her.

  31. #31 Jason Failes
    January 20, 2009

    Katkinkate @ 25:

    I know it does happen occasionally, especially as secular parents rarely indoctrinate their kids in their beliefs (I didn’t even know my parents were atheists until I came to them with some cosmological/philosophical questions in my teen years).

    I’m just saying that, in this case, Obama’s religion is probably just for show.

    Which I’m fine with, because if he had been honest with it, he wouldn’t be President now (or even Democratic Nominee).

  32. #32 Reginald Selkirk
    January 20, 2009

    I was very pleased to see that they didn’t sacrifice a goat.
    The goat-sacrificers have been snubbed. Alert the media!

  33. #33 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    I listened to Warren babbling about his lord. It was disgusting. I was hoping an atheist in the crowd would have stood up and told Warren to grow up.

    President Obama said “I was not raised in a religious household.” So his mother was not religious. I also noticed his father, who was born in Kenya, was an atheist. In his speech today he talked about non-believers. He also said “We will restore science to its rightful place”. I think it’s possible Obama is an atheist who kept his atheism a secret to get elected.

    Whether or not Obama is an atheist, I think America is the most lucky nation in the world right now. Imagine a President McCain and a Vice-president Palin. What a disaster that would have been.

  34. #34 Matt Heath
    January 20, 2009

    Just so you all know I checked with the other Europeans and we are totally cool with the Americans now. You don’t even have to pretend that you are Canadians if you come here.

  35. #35 Kraid
    January 20, 2009

    As a scientist-in-training and nonbeliever, I’ll echo the sentiment that it felt good for nonbelievers and the importance of science to be recognized.

    Warren’s invocation was tripe, naturally, but one step at a time I guess. And what was up with the “Sa-SHAA!” Everyone watching with me cracked up at that bit.

  36. #36 Sili
    January 20, 2009

    Congratulations! Please make this work.

    Warren wasn’t as bad as I had feared, but, damn, did he ever come across as sectarian. Sadly, I fear that’s an impression lost on most people.

    But I really liked Obama’s speech. He pretty much stood up there and called Bush and his hangers-on crybabies. “Now is the time to put aside childish things.” I hope his damn party listens.

    Also, YAY! for science. Facts and statistics were the first to be praised. I like this guy.

    Aujourd’hui tous le monde sont Americaine encore.
    No guaranties for the morrow. You squandered the goodwill last time.

  37. #37 ggab
    January 20, 2009

    Fantastic speech!
    Loved the “shout outs” to science and unbelief.

  38. #38 Dutch Delight
    January 20, 2009

    So, was it just me who noticed that the judge said “So help you gawd” in the form of a question?

    Something about religious tests for public office…

  39. #39 Quiet Desperation
    January 20, 2009

    statistics were the first to be praised

    “Lies, damned lies and statistics.” — Benjamin Disraeli and/or Mark Twain

    I’m just sayin’ ;-)

  40. #40 Sili
    January 20, 2009

    Would everyone please stop this “I’m sure Obama is really an atheist” bollocks.

    You sound as bad as the “That’s very Christian of you” people.

    Do you really think he’s that insincere? Remember there’s none as zealous as the convert. He’s the real deal. I’ll wager my balls on it.

    Hell, I’ll wager something of value. I’ll buy Jinxlets to all the Mollificatories if I’m wrong.

  41. #41 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    I lost count of the number of times the Establishment Clause was violated. Will America ever grow up?

  42. #42 kermit
    January 20, 2009

    Sarcastic Observer@17 – You can rest assured that the white race [sic] will never be forgotten as long as you are around to keep reminding The Others® of their shortcomings.

    I’m afraid I’ve never spent much time thinking of my heritage as a White; I’ve spent too much time indulging in the pastimes available to me from my human heritage – burritos, kung fu, jazz, bonsai, and the like. Not to mention a love of the language of my Viking, Teutonic, Celtic, Moorish, Norman, and Mongol ancestors – English.

  43. #43 recovering catholic
    January 20, 2009

    Rick Warren’s gobbledygook was useful, as I needed a potty break and didn’t want to miss anything important.

  44. #44 Watchman
    January 20, 2009

    You squandered the goodwill last time.

    Indeed. However, it was hardly a unanimous decision.

  45. #45 katkinkate
    January 20, 2009

    Posted by: Jason Failes @ 31 “I’m just saying that, in this case, Obama’s religion is probably just for show. Which I’m fine with, because if he had been honest with it, he wouldn’t be President now (or even Democratic Nominee).”

    Oh I agree, it’s certainly a strong probability. And you’re right, he wouldn’t have been elected at all if he didn’t put on a show of religiosity.

  46. #46 French Nitpicker
    January 20, 2009

    Aujourd’hui tous le monde sont Americaine encore.

    Aujourd’hui tout le monde est américain encore une fois. ;)

    (Although I’m not native, so I’m sure I’ve screwed something up and will be embarrassed).

  47. #47 ggab
    January 20, 2009

    I think we’re a little too jaded at some points.
    As strange as it can seem to us, it is possible that Obama is a kind, intelligent, open minded man AND a christian.
    I’ll take his word for it.
    Everyone cool doesn’t have to be an atheist.

    But it helps.lol

  48. #48 SteveM
    January 20, 2009

    #38

    oh, puhleese, it is not a religious test. It is not part of the oath, just a tradition.

  49. #49 LisaJ
    January 20, 2009

    Great ad, very smart. I didn’t get to listen to Obama’s speech this morning, but it sounds like he’s onto a great start… especially with the ‘nonbelievers’ sentiment. I am excited for hopefully many positive changes to come.

  50. #50 Nerd of Redhead
    January 20, 2009

    Aahh, the sounds of a President who can actually think. Very refreshing after these last eight years. Let’s see where this adventure leads.

  51. #51 G. Tingey
    January 20, 2009

    @ 21
    COME ON!
    Visiting the USA – yest the scenery is the same, but there are these Immigration / Patriot Act / “Anti-terrorist” / Dept. of Homeland Security checks to go through, and forms to fill in, and complete paranoia.

    Or didn’t anyone tell you about those?

  52. #52 ggab
    January 20, 2009

    Sili
    Amen!!
    You beat me to it.

  53. #53 SteveM
    January 20, 2009

    I lost count of the number of times the Establishment Clause was violated.

    Wow, Congress was making laws during the inauguration? How rude of them not to attend. Presidents saying “so help me god” or “with god’s grace” or “god bless you” do not violate the establishment clause. People are allowed to have a faith and express it. He is not writing laws when using those expressions.

  54. #54 Hammurabi
    January 20, 2009

    Posted by: recovering catholic @43 “Rick Warren’s gobbledygook was useful, as I needed a potty break and didn’t want to miss anything important.”

    I agree, I needed some bathroom time and I didn’t want to miss anything interesting or important.

  55. #55 Desert Son
    January 20, 2009

    Quiet Desperation at #16:

    Blasphidel?

    That’s excellent!

    Aside, said in the other thread since this one hadn’t been created yet, but thought it was a great speech, totally could have done without all the Jesus talk, Aretha still has awesome awesome pipes, and I loved how his speech was more about “We all need to be in on this, and it’s gonna be lotsa damn work, so roll up the sleeves.” Good speech, I’m hopeful.

    Hope you all are well.

    No kings,

    Robert

  56. #56 Logicel
    January 20, 2009

    I also would rather regard Obama as being sincere in his expressed religious beliefs rather than he is feigning them. What an insult to him! Since he was not brainwashed as a child religion-wise, he chose the cherry-picked version that clashed the least with his formidable intellect. His version is not sectarian, and his ability to compartmentalize and his focus in encouraging others to do likewise, i.e., to present evidence for decisions made in the tax-paying public sphere will prove to be a valuable bridge over the politicized religious crap flowing from the previous administration.

    I consider Obama’s religious beliefs to be like the not-to-be-squelched B.O. that some wonderful, intelligent, creative, dynamic people have. You just have to turn your nose away from time to time so you don’t miss their wonderful achievements, inspiration, and success.

  57. #57 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    In this doonesbury cartoon after Obama was elected, a white soldier in Iraq said “Son of a gun! What a great, great day! We did it!” and then he said “He’s half-white, you know!” Then his black friend said “You must be so proud.”

  58. #58 Robin
    January 20, 2009

    Glad he mentioned ‘unbelievers’, but I agree with those who find the word a bit insulting. “Those of no religion” would have been just as easy to say.

  59. #59 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    Just so you all know I checked with the other Europeans and we are totally cool with the Americans now. You don’t even have to pretend that you are Canadians if you come here.

    It’s wonderful that I no longer have to be ashamed to be an American.

  60. #60 Liberal Atheist
    January 20, 2009

    Can you believe that these eight years are over? :)

  61. #61 Marcus
    January 20, 2009

    Too bad the words used in the ad are excerpted from a book Barry decided to title in honor of that racist Wright buffoon.

  62. #62 Pauline in UK
    January 20, 2009

    I agree with DaveX, Rick Warren was dreadful. He came over to me as an ugly personality, apart from his terrible delivery, although I can’t tell if that view’s coloured by what I’ve read and heard of him. I did spot two stupid mistakes in his speech; one was that he said there had been 44 transitions (F in arithmetic!), but I can’t remember now what the other was, and I don’t feel like listening to him again. So encouraging, though, to hear President Obama (how good that sounds!) speaking about education the way he did.

    Enough of that distraction, it’s back to Open University studies now, for this pensioner :-)

  63. #63 Rowan
    January 20, 2009

    obama is definitely an orator. i listened with rapt attention to his speech. i never listened to any of the speeches given by the prior nine presidents. i would generally turn them off or wander away to do other more interesting things. i think with obama it will be different. i want to hear what he has to say.

    his recognition of “non-believers” and of restoring science to its rightful place made me smile.

    to me he is a consummate politician. he has proven that by having rick warren and jim wallis participate in the inauguration. it truly wouldn’t matter who the invocation and benediction were given by. he recognises that this country considers itself christian.

    i believe he will be instrumental in gradually moving the country towards truly being secular. i hope he will bring people to realise there are those who have different religious beliefs and those who have none. all should be respected. there has been a lot of damage done in the last eight years with the conservative christian movement. too much change too soon would not be good as focus is taken away from them and their ideas.

  64. #64 Norman Doering
    January 20, 2009

    He may not have been raised in a religious household, but he seems to have picked religion up later. Did any Hindus, atheists or Muslims get a chance to speak like Rick Warren did? (Seriously, I don’t know, I gave up watching the days long celebration.)

    He may be a good president (I hope) but he’s a pretty weak advocate for secularism and humanism.

  65. #65 Richbank
    January 20, 2009

    I also thought the “Sa-shhhha!” was really creepy – everyone with me burst out laughing as well.

  66. #66 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    People are allowed to have a faith and express it.

    They should not use an official government ceremony to promote their belief in a magic fairy. We have a secular government. America is not a theocracy.

  67. #67 Nerd of Redhead
    January 20, 2009

    Pauline, any day you learn something new is a good day. Enjoy your day. I’m enjoying mine.

  68. #68 SteveM
    January 20, 2009

    Glad he mentioned ‘unbelievers’, but I agree with those who find the word a bit insulting.

    He said,”We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus ? and non-believers.”

    While essentially synonymous, I don’t think “non-believer” carries the same baggage as “unbeliever”.

    Although, I was a little peturbed by the pause, as though “non-believers” was an after-thought.

  69. #69 Tim H
    January 20, 2009

    Even taking into account all the religious garbage that was included, we just witnessed what was probably the most secular inauguration in the last 75 years. Eight years ago, Bush’s was staffed with evangelical protestants that dedicated the inauguation to jebus, thereby excluding every non-christian in the country. George W. Bush declared right then and there that he wasn’t MY president, I never considered him mine. Obama may be a faith-head, but his reference to nonbelievers was probably a first for an inaugural address. (Can anyone look that up?) For the time being, I’ll take it.

  70. #70 cactusren
    January 20, 2009

    My friend’s comment while watching the speech: “Wow…this is so weird. The President is giving a good speech. I can’t remember the last time that happened.” I agree, and I am positively giddy.

    I also appreciate the recognition of science, statistics, and non-believers. And I actually think non-believers is a good catch-all for atheists, humanists, agnostics, etc. For those of you who don’t like the term: what is it that you find offensive, and what would you prefer him to say?

  71. #71 Donnie B.
    January 20, 2009

    “Sa-shhhhhaa!”

    OMFFSM… Warren is a Parselmouth!

  72. #72 Chiroptera
    January 20, 2009

    Marcus, #61: Too bad the words used in the ad are excerpted from a book Barry decided to title in honor of that racist Wright buffoon.

    No, it’s not a bad thing at all. It is too bad, though, when people feel that have to show their disrespect by not referring to a person by his correct name.

  73. #73 Sili
    January 20, 2009

    Thank you, French Nitpicker. I know I shoulda looked it up (I did realise once I’d posted that with “sont” it shoulda been “americain(e?)s”), but I wanted to be among the first thousand comments.

    I was – feebly – trying to channel the frontpage of … ‘that French paper whose name escapes me’ from 12/9 2001.

  74. #74 cactusren
    January 20, 2009

    Oh, yeah, and all my friends and I laughed when Warren said SAA-SHAAAA! That was truly creepy.

  75. #75 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    I think the most important sentence in President Obama’s speech was “We will restore science to its rightful place”.

    It was one of many well deserved insults to the previous administration.

  76. #76 Josh
    January 20, 2009

    At the World War II Memorial, there was some very audible grumbling from some around me when Warren got announced, and there were a good number of cheers in the vicinity during the science statement and the non-believers “shout-out.” It was gratifying.

  77. #77 abb3w
    January 20, 2009

    We could be fairly certain even beforehand that Warren was going to say something to irritate the Atheists out there (and thus in here); no surprise. On the bright side, the transcript doesn’t look to have anything to immediately piss off the bulk of the LGBT community.

    I’m more curious about the reaction from the American Muslim and Jewish communities about Warren’s inclusion of the Christian traditional Lord’s Prayer.

  78. #78 Don
    January 20, 2009

    Yes, I did notice the question form of “so help me God?”. I don’t think it can be construed as relegious test but it does make me wonder what the hell Roberts was thinking. And no, it is not a part of the Oath as delineated by Article II, Section 1, Clause 8. I personally don’t think it should have been added by Roberts and I would have preferred Obama not to add it though I think it is arguably his right to add it.

  79. #79 Alverant
    January 20, 2009

    I’m not to crazy about “nonbelievers” either, but I guess it’s still more socially acceptable than saying “Atheist”. (plus no risk of the “Atheist” or “atheist” debate)

  80. #80 Flex
    January 20, 2009

    Michelle at #8 wrote, “Kudos for the non-believers part… but he still swore on the bible during a big religious display. You are not a secular nation.”

    No, we are not a secular nation, yet. But there is a symbolism to that particular copy of the bible which goes beyond religion.

    It was the bible that President Lincoln took his 2nd term oath of office on.

  81. #81 Finch
    January 20, 2009

    #47 –Well, just to be a stickler, I’d probably say:

    Aujourd’hui, une fois de plus, tout le monde est américain.

    Other francophones can dispute this, but I’m sticking to my guns :P

    I was watching the inauguration in a restaurant. When Obama started saying “…a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus…” I whispered to myself: “atheists, atheists, say atheists”. When he said “non-believers”, I yelped a “WOOHOO!”. Everyone was staring!

    Granted, it’s not “atheists” but I still feel very good about it.

    Warren was pretty boring, all things considered.

  82. #82 Robin
    January 20, 2009

    I sit corrected; he said ‘non-believer’ not ‘unbeliever’. Probably less bad, but it still seems to feed the “They don’t believe anything” line (I know it was in the context of religious belief, but it will gratify those who ignore context.) I’m very impressed that he mentioned us at all – when he started listing religions I was getting all ready to whine about being missed out.

  83. #83 Andrés Diplotti
    January 20, 2009

    Congratulations, ‘merkins! It’s still to be seen if you have a good president, but at least you have a presentable president now.

  84. #84 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    I’m more curious about the reaction from the American Muslim and Jewish communities about Warren’s inclusion of the Christian traditional Lord’s Prayer.

    This was an obvious violation of the Establishment Clause.

  85. #85 aratina
    January 20, 2009

    I’m glad I have no idea what any of you are talking about when you say “SAA-SHAAAA!” because I was refreshing my browser at that moment :D But I did catch the end of Warren’s swill (*Obama used the word ‘swill’ in his speech!) and couldn’t help but think that Warren has never looked in a mirror. If anything, he should take heed to the words he himself spoke.

    Has anyone seen the new White House website? DailyKos is reporting that it validates per validator.w3.org. Competency has returned to our government. I particularly like our nation’s new civil rights agenda.

    O Happy Day!

    Because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

  86. #86 tomh
    January 20, 2009

    For anyone interested, this is a well-done article on how inaugural prayers, (which have only been around since 1937), have gone from being pluralistic to exclusively Protestant.

  87. #87 JohnG
    January 20, 2009

    On the ‘family values’ theme, it is interesting to note that two of our last three presidents were not products of the much balli-hooed ‘traditional’ family.

  88. #88 Menyambal
    January 20, 2009

    That Warren guy was creepy and offensive. Jebus! I howled when he said that Jesus taught us to pray the Lord’s prayer. If you look a few paragraphs before that prayer in the bible, you’ll read that Jesus was saying to NOT repeat rote prayers, but to pray with an attitude “kinda like this”. Anybody that thinks Jesus meant us to repeat that prayer over and over should not be allowed on a podium. Jebus!

    The other white meat, the poetess, was a fail.

    Aretha made me cry, the benediction made me smile. The music was good.

    President Obama was marvelous. Science, non-believers, curiosity and inspiration. And some damn fine insults for George W.

  89. #89 Becca Stareyes
    January 20, 2009

    Steve M. @68

    It’s funny. I parsed that differently than you — that the pause was one to draw attention to ‘non-believers’, to remind people that there are not just many, many types of theists, but also the set of atheists/agnostics/secularist/etc., and that they should not be forgotten just because they don’t have priests or rabbis or special buildings in the community or whatever.

  90. #90 Romeo Vitelli
    January 20, 2009

    I thought Joseph Lowery’s benediction at the end was kind of fun, rap and all. Why the hell couldn’t he have taken Rick Warren’s spot? Less controversy, anyway.

  91. #91 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 20, 2009

    Too bad the words used in the ad are excerpted from a book Barry decided to title in honor of that racist Wright buffoon.

    Barry?

    Manilow?

  92. #92 CG
    January 20, 2009

    I’m in agreement with Logicel@56, he’s allowed to have whatever beliefs he likes and he’s allowed to express them. I’d personally much rather think that he is honest about his faith than he’s been lying this entire time just because he wanted to get elected. If he’s willing to make that kind of lie to get elected he’s willing to make others, and has no integrity to speak of.

    In addition, one of the strengths of our stance as atheists is that we don’t need to attack people because of their beliefs in order to legitimize ours; leave that to the theists and let them fight among themselves.

  93. #93 Rey Fox
    January 20, 2009

    “Oh, yeah, and all my friends and I laughed when Warren said SAA-SHAAAA! That was truly creepy.”

    Please explain. I slept through the whole thing because I’m unemployed and sleep in.

  94. #94 Gishin
    January 20, 2009

    “Although, I was a little peturbed by the pause, as though “non-believers” was an after-thought.”
    I saw it more as a deliberate act of inclusion.

  95. #95 ThirdMonkey
    January 20, 2009

    Josh @76:
    You were there! You lucky SOB!

    I’m glad that I’m working from home today. I’m so giddy that I don’t I’m going to be very productive today.

    Warren’s inclusion was clearly for no other reason then to appease the christian right. Obama is sincere in wanting to accomplish everything that he says and he knows that the only way he can do it is if everyone is behind him. That will mean providing a lot of lip service to the religious nuts. Warren is a very well recognized figure in the Christion Coalition and with other fundy groups and if simply allowing that fucktard a few minutes to spew his nonsense will help placate them then so be it. Obama is doing what all politians (and church leaders) do: manipulate the religous for their own ends. The difference is that unlike Bush, Obama never drank the cool-aid.
    Expect a lot of religous lip service from Obama but pay far more attention to his actions.

  96. #96 Stephen Wells
    January 20, 2009

    I think having Warren there was actually a clever way of neutering him. He couldn’t say anything inflammatory; his more rabid supporters will think he’s been coopted by the evil liberals; and Obama’s speech was reality-based and called Bush a whining crybaby and a failure, in a very elegant fashion.

    BTW it was the Chief Justice that messed up the oath.

  97. #97 jimmiraybob
    January 20, 2009

    …I was very pleased to see that they didn’t sacrifice a goat.

    Obviously this overt nod to PETA is proof final that he is a godless, socialist-commie and is a signal to Darwinists everywhere to rise up and eat our nation’s babies. /poe

    Oh come on, you know some wingnut somewhere thought/is thinking this.

  98. #98 speedwell
    January 20, 2009

    Didn’t his voice rise on “…so help you God” because it was the end of a question beginning “Do you…”?

    And as someone who goes by the nickname Sasha, I know I will NEVER hear the end of this when I go back to the office. If I ever do. :)

  99. #99 JHB
    January 20, 2009

    Speaking of arithmetic, did Barry say that “Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.”? Shouldn’t that be 43, as Cleveland was two of them? Or is it my math that sucks?

  100. #100 SteveM
    January 20, 2009

    I personally don’t think it [“so help me God”] should have been added by Roberts and I would have preferred Obama not to add it though I think it is arguably his right to add it.

    I agree. I think the Chief Justice should only recite the oath as written. If the President wants to append “so help me God”, he should do so without prompting. Of course I’d prefer him/her to not append it at all, but if he/she must…

    BobC, re Warren’s prayer:
    This was an obvious violation of the Establishment Clause.

    No it isn’t. read the damn clause, “Congress shall make no law…”. Warren’s prayer was not required by law, did not create a law. No matter how offended you and I may be by it, it does not violate the establishment clause.

  101. #101 tomh
    January 20, 2009

    @ #78 I personally don’t think it should have been added by Roberts

    “So help me God” was added to the oath by Roberts because of a formal request from Obama that he add it.

  102. #102 Psychodigger
    January 20, 2009

    Congratulations from the Netherlands with your new president. I let out a whoop when he mentioned the ´non believers´. Who cares whether ´atheists´ would have been better, at least there was acknowledgement and acceptance of the existence of people who do not believe in gods. And he promised to put science back in it´s rightful place, which is good after eight years of unadulterated bigotry an lunacy. It´s difficult to believe the Bush-era is really over, although there is still a lot of shit to shovel for the new administration.

    As half a (francophone) Belgian, from a linguistic point of view I´m going to have to go with this version of: Aujourd’hui tout le monde est Américain encore une fois, although the message itself is perhaps a little premature. Yes, you have a new administration which is a hell of an improvement from the old one (would be hard pressed to do worse, but hey), but as far as us ´Old Europeans´ are concerned, ´vous etes encore´ on probation.

  103. #103 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    I said “I think it’s possible Obama is an atheist who kept his atheism a secret to get elected.” That was wishful thinking and I have no evidence for it. I just think it’s possible. Am I insulting Obama’s integrity? That was not my intention. If he is an atheist and only pretends to be a Christian, he is just doing what he has to do and I’m grateful for it. Also, I think calling somebody an atheist is the highest possible compliment. Whatever he really believes or doesn’t believe, I think he was the best possible choice for president Americans could have made.

  104. #104 Lowell
    January 20, 2009

    I don’t think it can be construed as relegious test but it does make me wonder what the hell Roberts was thinking.

    What the hell was up with Roberts? He totally fucked up the oath of office. That’s pretty much the only time anybody sees him publicly, and he forgets where the “faithfully” goes?

    It was pretty funny watching Obama’s expresion, though. He knew Roberts messed it up.

    If I’m not mistaken, Obama actually said it the way Roberts did initially (i.e., by putting “faithfully” at the end of the phrase rather than the beginning), didn’t he?

    If that’s the case, how long until some dumbass argues that he’s not really president? Will Phil Berg be adding that allegation to one of his many lawsuits?

  105. #105 me2
    January 20, 2009

    I think President Obama’s speech was good; like most of you here I was pleased that he wants to “…. restore science to its rightful place”. I don’t have any problem with him referring to atheists as non – believers.
    I’m sure many of you are experiencing the same emotions we felt here in South Africa, *waves* , when Nelson Mandela was inaugurated – a sense of being part of an important moment in history.

    I especially liked that he didn’t make the next four years sound they’re going to be wonderful; he’s under no illusions that your country has a lot of hard work ahead of it. I find him so inspiring that I’d be more than willing to roll up my sleeves and work towards making America great again.

    Like someone said earlier, his speech was aimed at the entire globe, not just America.

    Best of luck to all of you….

  106. #106 teammarty
    January 20, 2009

    RE # 30

    The idea of a secular Democratic Party is too much for her. She was the one calling for an Atheist purge from the party.

    I guess I’m a little happy O patted us on the head. It’s better that the kick in the teeth we’ve been getting from them lately. I was expecting worse.

  107. #107 SteveM
    January 20, 2009

    Didn’t his voice rise on “…so help you God” because it was the end of a question beginning “Do you…”?

    the oath is not a question. the Chief Justice is not asking the president a question, he is simply prompting him through it, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Roberts did ask him, “Are you ready to take the oath?” But the oath is not a question to be answered with an “I do”.

  108. #108 Pierce R. Butler
    January 20, 2009

    I was not raised in a religious household…

    And that’s what the continuing slow-mo trainwreck of the US/world economy will be blamed on – and not just by Ben Stein.

  109. #109 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    SteveM, you’re right but you’re nitpicking. The Establishment Clause was written so that government wouldn’t be in the business of favoring any religion. Then we have Warren at a government ceremony praying to Jeebus. It ain’t right.

  110. #110 Breakfast
    January 20, 2009

    Haha. The roomful I was with also laughed at SAA-SHHHAA. Yikes.

  111. #111 Kate
    January 20, 2009

    I’ve been stuck at work all day and unable to tune in to any coverage… Boo-urns!

    As a Canadian who saw “Obama” signs pop up in her nieghbourhood like beautiful red, white and blue mushrooms of hope for a better relationship with our neighbours to the south, I just want to say:

    Congratulations, America. You have elected a man who appears, at this time, to embrace the values on which your country was actually founded. Good for you!

  112. #112 Slugsie
    January 20, 2009

    I was quite impressed with Obamas speech, etc., nice that he actually specifically mentioned non-believers.

    Also, during Warrens ‘prayer’ it seemed to me that Obama wasn’t really holding a usual prayer like pose, he certainly wasn’t bowing his head as would be normally expected. Almost as if he was paying lip-service to the believers.

    Also, was nice to see that Bush was basically being grumpy, and obviously not enjoying seeing his power moving on.

  113. #113 RickD
    January 20, 2009

    Huzzah to Obama for legitimizing non-belief!

  114. #114 SteveM
    January 20, 2009

    BobC, call it nitpicking if you want. I do agree with you for the most part and I too would prefer that all the religious crap be excluded from this ceremony; but it is just ceremony and pomp and circumstance with no official impact (except for the oath itself, of course). So I am willing to let it slide as long as it stays out of the law itself.

  115. #115 Tulse
    January 20, 2009

    Barry?

    I usually associate the use of that term with the wackaloon birthers, who argue that Obama is not actually a “natural born” citizen (and think his legal name is actually “Barry Soetoro”) and thus can’t legally be president. It’s an attempt to belittle the name of the man duly elected as the 44th President of the United States.

    Some folks just Can’t. Let. Go.

  116. #116 cactusren
    January 20, 2009

    For those of you who missed Warren’s prayer and are wondering about the Saa-shaaa thing: he was asking for blessings on the entire Obama family, but he said Sasha in a very drawn-out way, which came off as creepy. To be fair, I doubt that’s what he intended, but it was still weird.

  117. #117 Quiet_Desperation
    January 20, 2009

    #52

    OK. It was a simple question. No need to get confrontational. The way you worded your original statement sounded like you had something else in mind. I’m on your side. I think a lot of folks around the world hold a lot of destructive stereotypes about the USA, so I’m a big advocate of tourism.

    #83 It’s still to be seen if you have a good president, but at least you have a presentable president now.

    Well, Biden *said* he was a clean cut, articulate and bright fellow. :-D

  118. #118 Josh
    January 20, 2009

    Josh @76: You were there! You lucky SOB!

    I walked from my pad at about 11, getting to the mall at about 11:25. 18th Street was a SEA of people, all walking in the same direction. It was nuts (although I didn’t feel like the crowd was pulling me or driving me along, which surprised me). I walked directly to the WWII Memorial without passing a single security checkpoint (interesting…), and even at 11:20 or whatever, found a good spot right in front of a jumbotron (I gave up trying to link up with my friends the second I crossed Constitution and got onto the “mall”…).

    I can’t describe the mood properly. It’s cliche, but words really are failing me. To say it was jovial simply doesn’t cut it. It seemed to be this collective understanding that our long national nightmare is over, if only for a while, and that we can really start stepping forward again, rather than continually sliding back away from the leading edge of human progress. It was the first time in a long time that I was in a large crowd of my fellow countrypeeps and actually felt like we are all on the same team. I have missed that.

  119. #119 Quiet_Desperation
    January 20, 2009

    Kate: beautiful red, white and blue mushrooms of hope

    I’m totally stealing that. Do you mind? :-)

  120. #120 SteveM
    January 20, 2009

    Has there ever been a president that the whole world was so happy to see leave office (including Nixon)?

    I just started realizing what a sad commentary that the whole world is congratulating us on replacing our president. Has that ever happened before? How did we ever end up sinking so low?

  121. #121 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 20, 2009

    Some folks just Can’t. Let. Go.

    Totally

  122. #122 speedwell
    January 20, 2009

    SteveM @ 107: Thanks for the explanation! I couldn’t watch it… I’m monitoring the help desk at work and the streaming media hits the nanny filter on our computers.

  123. #123 Don
    January 20, 2009

    “So help me God” was added to the oath by Roberts because of a formal request from Obama that he add it.

    If Obama requested the “so help me God” part that does make some difference I suppose. Still Roberts was acting as the state and I think it should have been ommitted by him and added by Obama if he wanted it there.

  124. #124 Jello
    January 20, 2009

    #83

    “Congratulations, ‘merkins! It’s still to be seen if you have a good president, but at least you have a presentable president now.”

    Thank you, and yes, it will be very nice not screaming, “It’s pronounced New-Cle-ar!” at the president of my country anymore. A superficial improvment for now but I hope that it is a sign of good things to come.

  125. #125 French Nitpicker
    January 20, 2009

    Sili: Since tout le monde is a singular pronoun (like “everyone”), the verb is present singular (“est”). It reminded me of the common phrase among francophiles, “Tout le monde parle français!”

    As for “non-believers,” I second “those without religion,” but I cut him a little slack; he looked so nervous walking through the halls that I thought he might throw up. Who knows how much of the speech was changed in his mouth as he spoke.

  126. #126 nanahuatzin
    January 20, 2009

    As a mexican, I still find strange all those references to god, the swearing in the bible etc.

    While we have suffer to conservative presidents, the press is very tough on the politicians that dare to use the word god on their spechees.

    Not that the catholic church like it.. Today a representative of the vatican claimed that the mexican laicism is obsolite and that the church must be allowed to own masive comunication media and have influence in the goverment arghhhh…

    Sorry.. probably have nothing to do with you… is just that i have read our local news…

  127. #127 ThirdMonkey
    January 20, 2009

    Josh @118:
    Thanks for that description. I’m really quite jealous.

    The news is saying that there were over a million people there. Like you say, it must have been indescribeable.

  128. #128 Watchman
    January 20, 2009

    “…there has been a lot of damage done in the last eight twenty-eight years with the conservative christian movement.”

    There. Fixed.

  129. #129 Shell Goddamnit
    January 20, 2009

    Reginal Selkirk Numbah 32:

    “The goat-sacrificers have been snubbed. Alert the media!”

    I think this should be posted in comments to Amy Sullivan’s drivel, if possible.

  130. #130 jimmiraybob
    January 20, 2009

    Huzzah to Obama for legitimizing non-belief!

    I don’t think that Obama legitimized non-belief as much as he affirmed it to the world. As a country, our founding spirit and documents legitimize non-belief by including ALL American citizens, religious and non-believer alike, as moral agents capable of upholding the necessary public virtue.

  131. #131 Jadehawk
    January 20, 2009

    Although, I was a little peturbed by the pause, as though “non-believers” was an after-thought.

    I chose to believe it was for emphasis ;-)

    I’ve caught a couple of… uh…”almost-lies” in his speech though: saying that the nations production capacity is the same as last week, month, or year is correct, but not actually a positive, even though it was supposed to sound like it! :-p

  132. #132 actuator
    January 20, 2009

    As a conservative/libertarian atheist my preference was that Colin Powell be the first American of African descent to become president. That being said, I hope President Obama is able to successfully walk the tightrope he is on to lead this country to enhanced economic growth and stability. My concern is that despite his best intentions, actions carried out as promised in his campaign will substantially harm the private sector that drives the production of wealth for everyone in this country and to at least some extent the entire world.

    As president he gave an innaugural speech that was intentionally inclusive of as many Americans as possible. After all, he is president of all of us. The problem he had to deal with was not stepping (too hard) on anyone’s toes, including us “non-believers”, and since that is impossible some of you were offended. At least we were included. Get a life. He’s a politician and he has already begun his reelection campaign. It’s not a big deal.

  133. #133 Kate
    January 20, 2009

    @ Quiet_Desperation:

    No need to steal, my good man. I give it freely, and with joy. :)

    What can I say… I’m suddenly in a very good mood. :)

  134. #134 ctygesen (Canadien)
    January 20, 2009

    Aujourd’hui tous le monde sont Americaine encore.

    Merci, mais non merci.

  135. #135 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 20, 2009

    Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

    It was clearly Robert botching the oath.

  136. #136 Menyambal
    January 20, 2009

    Josh, my sister and her husband also walked 18th to the WWII memorial and watched from there. They also report a good feeling in the crowd, and enthusiasm for many things that were said.

    I watched the parade 4 years ago, but avoided the whole damn inauguration. This feels so much different, even on TV.

    “long national nightmare is over” Amen to that.

  137. #137 John M.
    January 20, 2009

    So many comments here worrying about Obama’s Xtianity, hoping against hope that he will turn out to be non-theist.

    Here’s what I do to settle my own mind when good friends, and even family, embrace the claptrap of religion. I remind myself that I am eccentric (very), and now it becomes quite simple. I just need to recognise that my believing friends and relatives are also being eccentric – very, very eccentric.

    Problem solved. Your new President is an eccentric.

  138. #138 Dark Matter
    January 20, 2009

    I tuned in just as John Roberts was introduced to the podium, so I successfully missed Rick Warren’s blathering. And I cheered out loud when he mentioned nonbelievers; it seemed the most efficient way to name non-theists and it was something. After having been treated as a non-citizen for eight years under the Bush regime I’m pretty psyched to get that much.

    I enjoyed his speech, for the most part. And was it just me, or did he entirely avoid using the words “terrorist” and “terrorism”? I was settling in for a post-class, pre-work nap at the time, but that would be pretty mindblowingly fucking amazing.

  139. #139 Watchman
    January 20, 2009

    Barry?

    President Obama was known as “Barry” through most of his pre-adult life. I think he started going by his full given name, Barack, when he was in college – in part, to properly acknowledge his background rather than hide it behind an Anglicized nickname. At least, that’s what a friend of mine who knew him at Occidental told me.

  140. #140 Josh
    January 20, 2009

    The news is saying that there were over a million people there. Like you say, it must have been indescribeable.

    You probably saw this on tv, but that collective waving of those hundreds of thousands of little American flags at those various moments of punctuated emotion? It turned the crowd pink.

    I was at a very slightly elevated position, but from my vantage point I could also clearly observe the area around the base of the Washington Monument (~350 meters away), the whole of which slopes up toward the paths which circle the base of the tower.

    The crowd was of course dressed in multitude of styles and colors, and there was a lot of dark. But at those times when everyone collectively threw their arms up and waved the little flags about (which half of the assembled seemed to be carrying), the assembled mass of people became this uniform pink for a second. And then it went away a second later when the moment passed and they dropped their arms back down–until the next time. It was nuts.

  141. #141 michel
    January 20, 2009

    i guess what makes obama so great is that he left a lot of commenters here happy with his speech, albeit with some reservations.

    you betcha christians felt exactly the same about the speech, and muslims too. there was something good and bad for most people.

  142. #142 Moses
    January 20, 2009

    Posted by: kermit | January 20, 2009 1:32 PM

    Sarcastic Observer@17 – You can rest assured that the white race [sic] will never be forgotten as long as you are around to keep reminding The Others® of their shortcomings.

    I’m afraid I’ve never spent much time thinking of my heritage as a White; I’ve spent too much time indulging in the pastimes available to me from my human heritage – burritos, kung fu, jazz, bonsai, and the like. Not to mention a love of the language of my Viking, Teutonic, Celtic, Moorish, Norman, and Mongol ancestors – English.

    I used to put “African-American” on my college forms when they’d ask “race.” Of course I’m as white as sour cream being descended from northern and western Europeans…

    They didn’t take kindly to my escapades.But I pointed out that I put a note on the form that I believed in evolution and that humans are all, by my understanding of science, we’re all out of Africa. Plus I don’t believe in this “Race” crap as you’re doing it; and, at best, I recognize that there are minor differences between various ethnic sub-populations but that humans are, in fact, just one “race.”

    I’m sure if I did it now they’d call homeland security and send me to Gitmo. Back then they just told me to stop it and check “decline to state” if it bothers you.

  143. #143 Interrobang
    January 20, 2009

    Quiet_Desperation: Some of us just really don’t want to go through Customs with Bush’s version of it intact. I tried it a few times, and didn’t like being asked “When was the last time you were in jail?” or getting the once-over at Detroit by a dipshit who wouldn’t stop cracking his gum long enough to spit out an unmangled sentence, or being endlessly questioned by a Customs goon, who, when I confronted him and said, “I’m about to miss my connection; are you going to let me through or not?” said, “I’m just playing with you, go on ahead…” (!!) I also didn’t appreciate always being the one pulled out of line at the airport for “special security attention,” which usually meant some drooling pithecanthropoid in a uniform checking with meticulous attention to detail (and other things) to make sure I didn’t have any deadly weapons in my 38D bra!

    As near as I can tell, it had only gotten worse since I stopped going. I don’t intend to go back until I’m sure some substantive progress has happened in terms of fixing it.

    And I say this as someone who used to spend 2.5 weeks every summer in Pennsylvania, not to mention lots of other trips. I think, all things considered, between 1998 and 2001, I spent a total of about three or four months in the US…

  144. #144 strangest brew
    January 20, 2009

    Warren was a wasted space…completely barkin’…ya can tell that from the eyes cos they gets all shiny ‘n’ hysterical like when jeebus praisin!

    If the new pres is religious at least he gives it the balance that such a belief deserves…quite personal and understated…not overtly ending up as sickly cloying!

    Obama is a politician above all…a very good one apparently…well good enough to get elected pres of the United States of America anyways…politicians have been known to spin little untruths when prudent…

    It appears that in order to actually function as a president in a fairly hefty Christian dominated society he is out to use religion to that end… not impose it because of insanity or an inflated sense of pompousness…

    Whatever the truth of it no serious jeebus pervert recognises non-believers they are all to full of their delusion to actually admit that jeebus missed a few invitations to the rapture!

    And seemingly endorsing science so publicly is very odd behaviour for the hard of thinking…

    Methinks the States has got itself a real hope…and religion does not seem to be his personal crusade,

    Best of British luck to the first dude and first dudess….
    seems America’s salvation is at hand!

  145. #145 BobC
    January 20, 2009

    And was it just me, or did he entirely avoid using the words “terrorist” and “terrorism”?

    I searched his speech and I couldn’t find terrorist and terrorism but he did use the word terror.

    And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, “Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

  146. #146 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 20, 2009

    President Obama was known as “Barry” through most of his pre-adult life. I think he started going by his full given name, Barack, when he was in college – in part, to properly acknowledge his background rather than hide it behind an Anglicized nickname. At least, that’s what a friend of mine who knew him at Occidental told me.

    Yes I know. My point was people who use that do so for a reason. They also frequently like to make a point of using Hussein.

  147. #147 Charles Minus
    January 20, 2009

    FWIW Re Rick Warren,

    It should be noted that Warren has gotten a big ration of s*** from his congregants and other fundies for participating in this ceremony.

    I think that is a good thing and may be the beginning of the breakup of the somewhat monlithic fundie movement.

    I remember a time when fundies and other religious nuts were ignored by the media and general public as being part of the lunatic fringe. Maybe they will go back under that rock now.

  148. #148 Josh
    January 20, 2009

    Josh, my sister and her husband also walked 18th to the WWII memorial and watched from there.

    No kidding. That’s funny.

    “long national nightmare is over” Amen to that.

    Yeah. I finally have another CinC I’m not unhappy about saluting. The non-belief; the science; the reason. As a scientist and as a citizen-soldier, I’m feeling pretty cautiously optimistic about the next few years.

  149. #149 Interrobang
    January 20, 2009

    Moses: You ever heard of Walter Francis White? He looked like an accountant from Minnesota, but “[f]ive of his great-great-great-grandparents were black and the other 27 were white,” so under Jim Crow, he was a legal Negro. He served as a high-ranking NAACP officer for years and years. You too could be a blonde, blue-eyed African-American, if only you defined “African-American” the right way…

  150. #150 Steve_C
    January 20, 2009

    Rick Warren was silly. He’s obviously loves to hear himself talk… no matter what he says he thinks it’s profound. It was just goofy. Cringe inducing.

  151. #151 Longtime Lurker
    January 20, 2009

    Barack HUSSEIN (I love to say that) Obama is the first president of the twenty-first century- the Bush years were an eight-year nightmare, a weird psuedo-historical interlude in which the U.S.A. had been abducted, and a changeling Amerika had been left in its stead.

    Unfortunately, now that the U.S.A. has been restored, there’s a lot of work needed to repair the damage.

    “…a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus…”

    Did this line remind anyone else of this little Cultural Artifact?

  152. #152 AJ Milne
    January 20, 2009

    Can you believe that these eight years are over?

    ^^^This.

    I’m no Obamaniac, by any means. But he seems reasonably bright, and we’ve no particular reason as yet to suspect he may, in fact, be a vicious little sociopath with no ethical sense whatsoever, no real capacity for reflection nor self-criticism, and a dangerously limited ability to grasp the significance of the suffering of others…

    I’m therefore cautiously considering this an improvement.

    Bush seriously scared me from day one. I remember in 1999, first I really noticed him, looking into those dead, glassy eyes of his and thinking, holy fuck, they can’t be serious, they can’t honestly be considering this dangerous, nasty, unreflective little bastard… You might as well put a diagnosed sociopath in charge…

    And then they did. Or the supreme court did, depending on how you look at it…

    And then I left and went home.

    (Okay, seriously, I probably would have anyway… my daughter had just been born… But still, I was kinda glad to be out of the DC area prior to the inauguration… It just seemed… safer.)

    But anyway, again, like I said: improvement. He’s bright, he looks like he may actually grasp that people dying for no good reason is probably a bad thing. On balance, I’ll take it. And will say goodbye with great relief to a really, really scary eight years.

  153. #153 Jens Hegg
    January 20, 2009

    I liked that he actually mentioned unbelievers in his address. I think that’s a start.

    And I actually applauded the TV when he mentioned that science needed to be put back in its rightful place. (i.e.-taken out of the oval office closet and dusted off for display)

    Did anyone else’s PBS channel run “God on Trial” on Masterpiece Theater last night. Great show. I posted Akiba’s excellent monologue to my blog from YouTube if you haven’t seen it.

  154. #154 Elastic Planet
    January 20, 2009

    The “non-believers” part did kind of bother me a bit, even though I think he meant it in a positive light. I guess it bothers me more since he & his speach-writing team are usually so careful a crafting their words that they would know that negative-sounding words and phrases always have some negative connotation to it no matter how you use it. It’s basic persuasive argument crafting.

    For example, I’m trying to get out of the habit of saying “not bad” when I really mean “good” since “not bad” has a slightly negative tinge to it even though I don’t necessarily mean it to.

  155. #155 Gishin
    January 20, 2009

    “If that’s the case, how long until some dumbass argues that he’s not really president? Will Phil Berg be adding that allegation to one of his many lawsuits?”

    Conservapedia is already on it on Obama’s talk page.

  156. #156 Helioprogenus
    January 20, 2009

    The speech in terms of optimism and name checking science, stats, data, as well as the momentary pause before saying non-believers was wonderful, yet, let?s not forget that the idiot pastor with the sky fairy prayer left a bitter distaste for everything aftewards. Dude, if you want to make your sky fairy relevant to you, or use him for every gap in your understanding of the universe, it?s fine by me, but keep it to yourself. We can?t let up on these bastards, even with the increased hope and optimism. Anger and hope, optimism and skepticism, frustration and triumph go hand-in-hand as part of our human condition. To assume that now we have to be happy monkeys is naive and ignorant. It is now that we have to sharper our tools the greatest, it is in this context, of a new day, a new President that we must push even harder to expunge this country of illogical reasoning, and the authority bestowed upon those who?ve spent their useless lives on studying books of mythology, and praising a sky fairy (fairies) that is only useful to console those who see the universe as too harsh and uncaring. Please President Obama, do not allow any more of these idiots to droll endlessly on something that I know you don?t truly believe in. Let?s all face rationality, skepticism, and the embrace of science as emblems of our unity, not an imaginary set of edicts bestowed upon us by imaginary fairies with purportedly accurate books that do nothing but foment greater bloodshed and distrust.

  157. #157 Graculus
    January 20, 2009

    Please to explain?

    Well, for starters, those who are not US citizens haven’t had habeus corpus in the US for a couple of years, nor any right to call their emabsssy. It’s been kind of dangerous for tourists.

  158. #158 daanvanrijswijk
    January 20, 2009

    Ah showbizz..
    Did you notice the slight hesitation before his “nation of nonbelievers”?

  159. #159 BobC
    January 20, 2009
  160. #160 mayhempix
    January 20, 2009

    I was so pleased he acknowledged “non-believers” and made a point about science.
    Warren was a lead balloon. The audience was clearly not impressed.
    The poem was so much better than any prayer.
    The John Williams piece was surprisingly restrained and had nods to several great American composers.
    I teared up when Aretha sang…
    Obama just got of the limo and is walking to the White House.
    The “Rosa Parks Bus” is a nice touch.

  161. #161 Jadehawk
    January 20, 2009

    The “non-believers” part did kind of bother me a bit, even though I think he meant it in a positive light. I guess it bothers me more since he & his speach-writing team are usually so careful a crafting their words that they would know that negative-sounding words and phrases always have some negative connotation to it no matter how you use it. It’s basic persuasive argument crafting. well, the problem here is that there isn’t really a way to address this particular group, in that context, without using a negative; whether it’s a-theist, non-believer, those of no religion etc, it’s always a negative.

    I suppose he could have said “rationalists”, but I really doubt that would have gone over well

  162. #162 Jadehawk
    January 20, 2009

    blockquote fail, so once more:

    The “non-believers” part did kind of bother me a bit, even though I think he meant it in a positive light. I guess it bothers me more since he & his speech-writing team are usually so careful a crafting their words that they would know that negative-sounding words and phrases always have some negative connotation to it no matter how you use it. It’s basic persuasive argument crafting.

    well, the problem here is that there isn’t really a way to address this particular group, in that context, without using a negative; whether it’s a-theist, non-believer, those of no religion etc, it’s always a negative.

    I suppose he could have said “rationalists”, but I really doubt that would have gone over well

  163. #163 varlo
    January 20, 2009

    “Who has been raised secularly and then become religious?”

    Sadly, my elder daughter. She is not than dumb, so I still have hopes, but she was infected by a friend around 17 or so and became a raging fundie. Both my other children are sane and (perhaps with good reason) only believe that I MAY end up in hell.

  164. #164 JBlilie
    January 20, 2009

    PRESIDENT OBAMA, BABY!

    Some choice bits from his speech:

    “For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act ? not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. *** We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.*** And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.”

    “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus ? *** and non-believers. *** We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

    [I’ve never seen us non-believers acknowledged in this way before. This is a good, intelligent, and capable man. No other of the choices for President in 2008 would have made this acknowledgement.]

    “As for our common defense, *** we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. *** Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. *** Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. *** And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

    Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. *** They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. *** Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

    We are the keepers of this legacy. *** Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort ? even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. *** We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and *** roll back the specter of a warming planet. *** We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

  165. #165 Cath the Canberra Cook
    January 20, 2009

    Oh, so I can’t call him Barry without being seen as a nutter? Aussies like to use diminutives, so I’ll try to remember to stick with “Bazza”. Go Bazza!

    I was going to comment on the dangers of US immigration for foreigners these days, but I see that’s been done already.

  166. #166 mayhempix
    January 20, 2009

    Posted by: Marcus | January 20, 2009 1:52 PM
    “…that racist Wright buffoon.”

    Wright is not a racist but we clearly know who the buffoon is.

  167. #167 Lowell
    January 20, 2009

    Conservapedia is already on it on Obama’s talk page.

    Exactly where you’d expect it. So mind-bogglingly stupid. I can’t even go look. (Okay, I will anyway.)

  168. #168 Quiet Desperation
    January 20, 2009

    The news is saying that there were over a million people there. Like you say, it must have been indescribeable.

    Sounds like hell to me. I hate crowds. I can’t even watch the Times Square countdown on New Year’s Eve. My skin crawls at all those packed together people. Oy, the stench must be indescribable as well.

    Well… H.P. Lovecraft could probably have a go at it. :-) I have a powerful sense of smell thanks to what I really like to think is werewolf somewhere in my ancestry.

  169. #169 Tualha
    January 20, 2009

    Who has ever been raised secular and then becomes religious later?

    Someone who wants to be elected president in early-20th-century America, Tualha observes cynically.

    Let’s all hope he lives up to those values.

    What can one say to that but…amen :)

  170. #170 Tualha
    January 20, 2009

    20th 21st. Sigh.

  171. #171 Kemist
    January 20, 2009

    #47

    Native here. No, that’s pretty good. No mistakes in synthax or accents. As an alternative, you could use :

    Aujourd’hui, tout le monde redevient américain.

    We have these nice little prefixes or suffixes in french which allow endless variations on common verbs. One of the (arguably) rare features of the language ;)

  172. #172 Nominal Egg
    January 20, 2009

    Josh @ 140:
    “…that collective waving of those hundreds of thousands of little American flags…turned the crowd pink.”

    Buncha pinkos!

    My favorite moment was when Bush came out, and the crowd started singing “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”!
    How fitting was that?

  173. #173 Vidar
    January 20, 2009

    Let’s hope the religious right won’t frustrate Obama’s plans to put science back in it’s right place enough to effectively render his efforts moot.
    Religious nuts still have far too much influence, and Obama is going to have to work with them, or around them.

  174. #174 Lana
    January 20, 2009

    I have a friend who was on the mall during the speech and she said when he mentioned “nonbelievers” there was a cheer. That’s something.

  175. #175 Josh
    January 20, 2009

    Buncha pinkos!

    Ha!

    My favorite moment was when Bush came out, and the crowd started singing “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”!
    How fitting was that?

    VERY. I also love that the Dark Lord spent his last day in office in a wheel chair. Seems a fitting “end” to the son-of-a-bitch, eh?

  176. #176 SEF
    January 20, 2009

    President Obama was known as “Barry” through most of his pre-adult life. … an Anglicized nickname.

    In the UK (ie properly Anglicized!) at a public (ie private) school, I think he would have been more likely to be known as Barmy (from his surname, Obama).

  177. #177 Sauceress
    January 20, 2009

    schism #12 posted a link to a World Nut Daily poll back up the thread

    Do you think we should pray for Obama’s failure as president? http://forums.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=302

    I’ve just subjected myself to reading the related story.

    “Pray Obama fails”
    http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=86469

    I don’t think buybull quote-mining, prayer junkie Joseph Farah is ever going to get that bottom lip back up off the ground….he’s bound to trip over it and break his neck or something.

  178. #178 Qwerty
    January 20, 2009

    Since I don’t believe in an afterlife, I am not so sure about buying into “delayed gratification.”

  179. #179 joojooluv
    January 20, 2009

    I wondered if Obama picked Warren just to show how small and petty and ridiculous he is.

    I loved non-believers! FINALLY, I thought, and I thumped my chest with pride.

  180. #180 Alex
    January 20, 2009

    I didn’t learn honesty, empathy, discipline, delayed gratification, or hard work in Sunday School. I did learn about the Christian Creation myths, though.

  181. #181 Tom Foss
    January 20, 2009

    I thought it took some gall for Warren to talk about treating our fellow humans with the respect they deserve. Beam in your own eye, Rick. The Sa-shaaa thing got a laugh out of me, too.

  182. #182 Fernando
    January 20, 2009

    Much people seem happy when Obama talks about “put science in its right place”.
    I think that is a very dubious afirmation.
    what place?
    The true place of science, totally separated fro mreligion and dogmas, working for the progress of Humanity?
    Or, has much religious persons want, has a subordinate to religion, like in the Midle Ages?
    And with so much prayers and religious talk, im not very confident about the true intents of this president regarding science…
    BTW: sorry my poor english, its not my language! :)

  183. #183 Twin-Skies
    January 20, 2009

    @joojooluv #179

    I thought he picked Warren as a token evangelist so Obama’s camp can say “Hey, look – we didn’t forget about the Christian demographic!” Kinda like Alan Colmes over at Fox.

    Warren’s got far less substance though

  184. #184 Crudely Wrott
    January 20, 2009

    The ad is cool and succinct and some other good stuff. Reason to hope, to imagine rational progress.

    But a cautionary reminder might be in order. Remember to allow for the Unspeakable Law.

    The Unspeakable Law dictates that its not a good idea to mention something before it happens. This is based upon the observation that if you mention something bad before it happens, it happens. If you mention something good before it happens, it goes away.

  185. #185 Cujo359
    January 21, 2009

    I love the irony in that poster, particularly given the President’s attitudes concerning the Pledge of Allegiance.

  186. #186 sara
    January 21, 2009

    Then what was with all of the praying and “scripture” allusions? And “Hope” is not really atheist for me, especially since it is not a strategy of any kind.

  187. #187 jenli1
    January 21, 2009

    Congratualtions for you and your new President!

    America, let us love you again after some grey years, we would like to do!

    Best wishes from Germany (still grateful that you defeated nazism and brought democracy to us).

  188. #188 Jenli
    January 21, 2009

    I hope Barack Obama will do it with the world leaders like Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, the clever nephew of Aunt Polly.

    Polly ordered Tom to paint the fence and he was afraid of the painful work so all alone.

    The boys of the little village mocked Tom but he was clever. Tom painted the fence like it would be the very best matter you ever can do, and suddenly the first boy asked him for permission to paint the fence a little, too, Tom refused first and after a while reluctantly agreed.

    At last a lot of boys came and asked for permission and Tom even could ask for money to allow them to paint the fence.

    Mr. President, that’s the schedule! Do it right!

    Jenli, a friend from Germany

    Die Jungen des Ortes verspotteten ihn, bis, ja bis er das Anstreichen als etwas ganz Besonderes ausgab. “Kannst Du vielleicht jeden Tag einen Zaun streichen?” fragte er. Und als der erste um den Pinsel bat, zierte er sich noch. Da strömte plötzlich ein Bube nach dem anderen herbei, um den Zaun streichen zu dürfen. Tom Sawyer verlangte nun sogar Bezahlung. Am Ende des Tages glänzte der Zaun und der Junge besaß Murmeln, Äpfel, ein paar Kaulquappen und Zinnsoldaten.

    Wenn die Welt einst über Obama urteilt, wie Mark Twain über seinen Romanhelden Tom Sawyer, wäre schon viel gewonnen. Für den nämlich, schrieb er, war nach der Anstreichaktion “die Welt nicht mehr ganz so uneben”.

  189. #189 Stephen Wells
    January 21, 2009

    @182: relax; check Obama’s policy positions at whitehouse.gov, and you’ll see that when he talks about “putting science in its proper place”, he means actually listening to the facts before making decisions. it’s a novel plan but it might just work.

  190. #190 Robin Brown
    January 21, 2009

    I noticed one of the biggest cheers was when he pledged to the rest of the world that “America was ready to lead once more” as though we are all crying out for American “leadership”.

    It reminds me of that scene in Independence Day when all the world’s armies are sitting around until they finally get the word from the good ole US of A.

    A bit more humility and pledging to cooperate as one nation among many would sit better than unilateral assumptions of leadership.

  191. #191 Suedoh
    January 21, 2009

    The post about the crowd turning pink as a result of their flag waving made me smile. In many Canadian schools we adopted wearing of pink as part of our anti-bullying campaign mostly due to two students at Central Kings High School here in the Annapolis Valley area of Nova Scotia who rallied fellow students to wear pink in support of a student who had been bullied after wearing a pink shirt to school. Pink is quickly becoming the color of empowerment. Kind of appropriate for this day. :)

  192. #192 Elwood Herring
    January 21, 2009

    I’ve just heard on TV that apparently Obama has ten balls.

    It’s go to be said – it makes a change from a president with none.

  193. #193 charley
    January 21, 2009

    “…my mother worked mightily to instill in me the values that many Americans learn in Sunday school, honest, empathy, discipline, delayed gratification and hard work.”

    I used to teach Sunday school before I deconverted, and it was nothing like that. It was all about faith, “walking with God,” the sovereignty of God, the importance of witnessing, sin and salvation, prayer and other boring, worthless nonsense. I have found it much easier to promote positive character traits to my children without the religious baggage.

  194. #194 Nerd of Redhead
    January 21, 2009

    Garrison Keillor had an op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune this morning. He attended the inauguration. He said the three biggest cheers of the day were first when Obama was introduced. The second was when he completed the oath of office. The third was when everybody was leaving, and a picture of the Bushes getting into the helicoptor for their trip to the airport appeared on a jumbotron. The helicoptor lifted from the ground, and the crowd could see appear over the Capitol. Then the crowd gave the third biggest cheer of the day.

  195. #195 dean cameron
    January 21, 2009

    If Bush had said the same things you would be screaming bloody murder.

    Talk about mass delusion of crowds…

  196. #196 Steve_C
    January 21, 2009

    Had said what? Clarify. Can already tell you’re probably wrong though.

  197. #197 Renee
    January 21, 2009

    I’m glad Obama went with “non-believers”; unbelievers is what the Baptists call anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their particular dogma (yes, I was raised Baptist, but I got better.)

  198. #198 TheThomas
    January 23, 2009

    Woot!

  199. #199 emily
    January 25, 2009

    another fake story to hit the front pages of sm sites. living in a big mistake, living around that mistake… a big mistake…

  200. #200 Jadehawk
    January 25, 2009

    dude in #195 is at least right insofar as, if Bush had said “putting science in its proper place”, my blood would have run cold for the reasons mentioned by Fernando in #182

    if the rest of the speech would have come out of Bush mouth, I’d have suspected a prank by his speech-writer, though…

  201. #201 leok
    January 25, 2009

    wow #12 after looking at that POLL i was astonished, i cannot believe americans are so freakin stupid and ignorant and self absorbed. The majority on that site actually prays or hopes for our country to fail rather be successful. Maybe having the “people” decide and rule the country is a terrible idea, the majority only proves to be completely wrong and dangerous. Maybe communism and tyranny is the best way to go, as long as your king/leader really cares about human life and his people.

    Its just so sad seeing our country decade after decade be offensive and all about wars and aggression. The facts and statistics show that we are one of if not THE most war-oriented country. And our society is more destructive than any other civilization prior. It is scary and sad how out of control we are, and how people have no respect or love for one another, and by people i mean all races, and citizenships, not just americans. But americans feel they are better than other nations… so sad that we are so shallow and pathetic. That poll is just one of the examples of what i am saying. And ofcourse as long as we bring GOD into it then we are not responsible for our decision, it is GODs decision to dislike obama, not ours, we are just following his wishes. Pathetic.

  202. #202 John Beater
    January 25, 2009

    Say what you will, Obama is da man yo!

    RT
    http://www.privacy-tools.net.tc

  203. #203 jenli
    January 28, 2009

    After some days of watching Obamas work I got the feeling, that probably his biggest advantage compared to Bush is a different style. Looks like he is more able to listen to the opinions of other countries and people and more respectful. This behaviour will improve the credit of the USA in the world, especially in the muslim world.

    And he’s obviously quite busy.

    So go on, brother, you’ll get it.

    Jenli from Germany

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