Category Archives: Politics

Post Hurricane Sandy: FEMA Not Providing Aid to Churches

Christians Claim FEMA Discrimination

Pic From: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-1AyG-dsbxhE/UNjAx2L2wvI/AAAAAAAALLM/_0_nmGL2LZM/s0/

Pic From: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-1AyG-dsbxhE/UNjAx2L2wvI/AAAAAAAALLM/_0_nmGL2LZM/s0/

I came across an article by Paul de Vries in the Christian Post.  Before proceeding, it would only be honest if I point out how loathsome I find de Vries.  For those of you who do not recall he wrote a passionate piece in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting that blamed the entire event on the secularization of society—in short, he doubled down on Mike Huckabee’s nonsensical statement.  I wrote a post on that topic at the time with you can read here.

As a member of the Board of the National Association of Evangelicals, de Vries is not interested in promoting anything resembling the truth.  Rather, his goal is the preservation of Christianity—at all costs.  Today, we shall once again see his dishonest nature.

de Vries is upset that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, FEMA is withholding federal relief aid from Churches.  He is correct in pointing out that this is occurring.  FEMA is not providing federal money to rebuild churches or any other house of worship.  de Vries acknowledges that it is not just Christian churches that are the being excluded.

He goes on to write another very passionate piece about all of the good things that many churches do and did in the aftermath of Sandy type natural disasters.  He describes how, in times like this, churches (Pastors and members) are often among the first responders.  They provide shelter, food, and other sorts of relief that are desperately needed.  In this he is correct.  It is one of the good things that many churches do.  de Vries then lists four reasons why the exclusion of churches from FEMA aid is an “injustice”.

de Vries writes”

“FEMA’s policy is ugly because it treats churches as outsiders individuals, families, retail stores, family businesses, manufacturing companies, government agencies, schools, clubs, restaurants, charities – everyone but churches!”

This is where we see the fundamental mistake that he makes throughout his piece.  de Vries never mentions that churches do not pay taxes.  He never mentions that churches contribute exactly zero dollars to the pool of money from which FEMA is funded.  He fails to notice that, “individuals, families, retail stores, family businesses, manufacturing companies, government agencies, schools, clubs, restaurants, (and some) charities” all pay into the system!  Each of those groups is entitled to federal money in times like this because they pay for the privilege!  FEMA is not a charity.  Receiving federal money is not a right.  It is, in a way, something like insurance.  We all pay in, and when disaster strikes, receive some aid back.  Churches do not do this and therefore should NOT receive one cent of the money that the rest of us worked hard to contribute!

de Vries’ second point is pure rhetoric.  He writes that this exclusion creates a “slippery slope” for excluding Churches from other things such as “fire department aid, police protection, and other long-established government services”.  There are two things to note here.  First, he actually uses the term “slippery slope”.  He is assuming that his reader is unaware that such arguments are, by their nature, logically fallacious.  This is not an argument at all, it is just rhetoric.  However, let’s pretend that it is a legitimate point.  First, he does not describe what “long-established government services” are, so we can ignore that part.  Second, fire department and police aid are emergent services.  We call the fire and police departments in times of imminent danger.  People’s lives may be at stake.  Rebuilding from a disaster does not fit this description.  No one’s life is in danger if a church is not rebuilt.  We see two major logical fallacies in this one point alone: a) slippery slope arguments are fallacious by nature and are not arguments and b) his comparison to police and fire department aid is a red herring argument at best.

By the time he gets around to his third argument, it is clear that de Vries really does not have a solid argument at all, and is just trying to play on the emotions of his reader.  His third point is really just a reiteration of his opening statement.  He writes that by not providing aid to Churches, FEMA (and the federal government) do not value all the “immensely positive roles the churches have already played after Superstorm Sandy”.  Again, this is not even an argument, nor is it true.  One can certainly acknowledge the good work that many Churches did post-Sandy—President Obama was falling all over himself doing just that in his speech in Newtown.  de Vries feels that this exclusion is in effect stating that we do not care if the Churches are up and running prior to the next disaster.

This is an absurd argument.  The only way that de Vries could possibly be seen to be correct is if the only way that we expressed appreciation for “good deeds” was with financial rewards.  No one is denying that many churches played (and play) a positive role post Sandy (and other storms).  This does not entitle them to federal money raised through taxation that they do not participate in.  In fact, and correct me if I am wrong, providing aid in times like this is often a huge part of the mission of many churches.  They were just doing what they were supposed to be doing, according to their own words!  Truthfully, it is hard to argue against this point of de Vries, because his point isn’t really an argument at all.  It is just emotional rhetoric that is easily dismissed.

His fourth point is not much better than his last two.  de Vries writes, “blocking FEMA grants to churches is to pretend to be ignorant of the continuing soul care needed by the many and various victims of Superstorm Sandy.”  There is no plainer way to say this:  Our government is not in the business of “soul care”.  That is the business of religions not governments (at least in this country).  Second, de Vries posits the existence of a “soul” as if it were a real thing.  This is not the time or place for that argument, but prior to any federal money being doled out to “soul care” that conversation must happen.

Once again we find that this point is not really an argument at all.  Once again, we find it to be nothing more than religious rhetoric designed to pull on the heartstrings of his reader.  This will not do.

Tax_The_Churches

In truth, de Vries does not make even one valid point.  His failure to even discuss the tax exemptions of churches makes his article nothing more than religious rhetoric.

The problem that I have with articles like this is the sense of religious privilege.  So many religious leaders, like de Vries, feel that their religions are entitled to a privileged place in society simply because they are religions.  Why in the world should a group (in this case a church) be entitled to federal money—money that we all contribute towards except for them, simply because they are religious?  What gives them that right?  No matter how hard we look for answers to that question, we continuously will find only one.  There is no reason that they should be receiving FEMA money.  It is for this reason, that de Vries cannot levy one serious argument in his entire article.  The notion of Christian privilege must end in this country.  Christianity and its various organizations have every right to exist.  However, it is time that they play on the same field as the rest of us.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments.

—-John

If you have a blog please feel free to promote it on my “Promote Your Blog” page above.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter @logicalbeing

If you would like to share your story of how you became an atheist, please do that on my “Share your Atheism Story” forum.  Our stories may help to encourage others with similar feelings to know that life is more than just okay without god(s).

If you have not yet checked out Alltop.com’s Atheism Blogs….what are you waiting for?

Atheists: It is Time to Speak Up

Why Religion is “Fair Game” for Criticism

Pic From: http://www.atheistrev.com/2012/03/criticism-dishing-it-out-and-taking-it.html

Pic From: http://www.atheistrev.com/2012/03/criticism-dishing-it-out-and-taking-it.html

I have recently seen many theists and atheists rail against “vocal atheists”.  I can’t help but wonder if the so called “New Atheism” really is morphing into something else–though that is a topic for a different day.  I often see statements along the lines of “live and let live”, “why do you care what I believe?”, “respect other’s beliefs”, etc.  This I expect from theists.  I find that it bothers me more when I hear it coming from other atheists.  I want to briefly discuss why it is important to care what other people think, why it is sometimes important to criticize those beliefs, and why it is important to speak about your beliefs. I have written some angry style rant post on this topic before, which you can read here and here.  I aso want to highlight a post by Cephus from the blog Bitchspot that is well worth a read on this topic.  Today, there will be no ranting.

Let me begin by stating that I fully support your right to believe whatever you choose.  If you want to believe the universe is run by little green men living in your closet—feel free.  Problems arise when two things happen: a) when one’s beliefs start affecting other people and b) when people feel their beliefs are beyond criticism.

Theists, as I am sure you are fully aware, your religious beliefs help to form your worldview.  They, at least in part, play a large role in how you think.  They play a large role in how you view our society should be shaped.  They play a large role in how you vote.  They play a large role in how you think others should live their lives.  All of these things extend beyond you.  They affect your co-workers, neighbors, friends, and they affect me.  When we find ourselves in situations like this, we are usually discussing politics.  “Should the school board raise taxes?”  “I like Candidate Smith for Governor!”  “I support gun control!” etc.  However, sometimes we find that this situation extends to religion.

The three most glaring examples of this, that should be plain for all to see, are same-sex marriage, abortion, and the fact that atheists cannot hold public office in seven states (PA, MD, AR, TX, MS, SC, TN).  Each of these are propped up solely by the religious views of Christians.  If we were to magically remove all religious language from these debates, these things would not be issues.  Homosexuals would be able to marry, women would have control over their reproductive systems, and I could run for office should I choose to live in one of those states.  That is not our reality.

Theists, like it or not, your religious beliefs have the very real potential to affect all of us in society—and those beliefs often do.  Like it or not, although you have the right to believe whatever you wish, once it starts to affect my life, I now have the right to criticize that belief.

It is also important to note that beliefs are not entitled to respect.  There is a huge difference between respecting a person and respecting a belief.   There are many people that I respect who hold some beliefs that I do not.  There are also some beliefs that are just not respectable, like racist beliefs, for example.  No belief is entitled to respect.

This brings us to point “b” from above.  When it comes to the marketplace of ideas, no idea is sacred.  When your ideas/beliefs can affect my life, I have the right to comment on that idea/belief.  Religion is not exempt from this.  A small example:  I have two great friends who happen to be a gay couple.  They would love to marry, but living in MN, they cannot.  When they walk through downtown and see a protester holding a sign that stays “homosexuality is a sin” or some other religiously based anti-homosexual rhetoric, they have the right to comment on that, just as the person holding the sign has the right to hold the sign.

The problem that I see is that many theists do not recognize this fact.  They are quite willing to criticize the beliefs or practices of others, but often, do not wish to receive criticism in return.  In fact, I find that they often claim persecution or violations of “religious freedom” when faced with criticisms of this nature.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The fact is, if you think I should not be able to run for office because I am an atheist, be prepared to have a discussion about it.  Be prepared for that conversation to turn towards your religion, even if that makes you uncomfortable.  It is not persecution to have a discussion.  Nor is it persecution to point out errors in your belief system.  Nor is your belief system exempt from discussions of this nature.

Religion has, for far too long, received a “free pass” from criticism in the public sphere.  The problem with this scenario is that religion is a dominant actor in the public arena.  There can be no more “free pass” so long as your religion has the potential to affect my life.

There are a few final things that I would like to note.  First, many theists reading this will point out that my beliefs are also then on the table for critique.  Correct.  Feel free to criticize away.

The second thing I wanted to call attention to are other atheists who get upset when some of us criticize religion.  To them, I want to say, “Get in the game!”  I find it very frustrating to see things like, “I’m an atheist, but I have no problem with Christianity”.   Please realize that Christianity has a huge problem with you!  Look, I’m not saying start a blog, write a book, stand on a street corner, be offensive or anything like that.  There are many ways you can get “in the game”.  What I am saying is this: please open your eyes and realize what is happening around you.  To be honest, it is for these people that I chose to include the seven states that they cannot run for office as an example in this post.  By railing against atheists who speak out against the many disagreeable ideas of religion, you are enabling that religion to discriminate against you!  In fact, I encourage you to speak up against those who wish to discriminate against you or against those who are trying to enact policy that goes against your interests.  If speaking up isn’t your thing, fine.  But stop trying to silence those of us who are.  Like it or not, we have at least some of your interests at heart.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments.

—-John

If you have a blog please feel free to promote it on my “Promote Your Blog” page above.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter @logicalbeing

If you would like to share your story of how you became an atheist, please do that on my “Share your Atheism Story” forum.  Our stories may help to encourage others with similar feelings to know that life is more than just okay without god(s).

If you have not yet checked out Alltop.com’s Atheism Blogs….what are you waiting for?

 

Free Albaz and Abedini

Two Men Imprisoned for Thoughts

I want to share two related stories today.  These stories are about men named Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz and Saeed Abedini.  The first of these men is an atheist, the latter a Christian Pastor.  Yet they both have something in common right now—they are both in jail for their religious/lack of religious views, Albaz in Kuwait and Abedini in Iran.

Picture from: www.change.org

Picture from: www.change.org

Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz is an Egyptian secular blogger.  He has been in a Kuwaiti jail for the last two weeks on charges of blasphemy.  Mr. Albaz has not committed any crime.  He has not killed anyone, he has not stolen anything, he hasn’t done anything that any reasonable person would consider a criminal offense.  The only thing that he has done is blog about secular issues.  We do not yet know how his story will end and have little information about the greater details of his plight.

Picture from: http://aclj.org/

Picture from: http://aclj.org/

Saeed Abedini has a somewhat different story.  He has been in an Iranian prison for the last three months.  He has been beaten.  He has a trial set for Jan.21 and faces execution for his crime of “converting to Christianity”—in the year 2000.  Abedini is a U.S. citizen who was in Iran to work with orphanages.  He did get in some trouble in 2009 while in Iran for trying to set up some “underground churches”. However, that is not mentioned in the charges filed against him.  In fact, it would seem that “trouble” has nothing at all to do with what is happening to him now.  Also shocking is that his lawyer only received the court documents and official charges this week–for a death penalty trial!  The short version is that he is on trial for his life because he is a Christian.  This is absurd.

The story of Abedini has received significant press on various Christian websites.  As he is a U.S. citizen, the State Department has even offered a statement.  The American Center for Law and Justice has a petition on it site as well updated information on this story.  The only good news for Abedini is that it seems that there is some high level government acknowledgement on his plight.  Though let’s be honest, “acknowledgment” is a far cry from “action”.

The same cannot be said for Albaz.  If you Google his name, most of the sites that come up are other atheist blogs, a Facebook page, and a petition.  There is currently almost no pressure from anywhere to help him out.  As of now, his Facebook page has only 41 likes.  The petition has only 770 signees.  It is great to see the outpouring of support for Mr. Abedini.  We need to do a whole heck of lot more for Mr. Albaz.

Both men need help.  No one should imprisoned for their thoughts.  Certainly, no one should face death.

Blasphemy laws are the taking away of a basic human right—free thought.  These men are both imprisoned—and one is about to start a trial where his life is on the line—for what they believe.  This is not acceptable.  Sadly, this type of thing occurs in many places across the Islamic world.  It is stories like these that illustrate why so many atheists are also anti-theists.  When religion—regardless of the religion– is a dominant player in a State, history has shown us that the outcome is often terrible for non-believers.

There is no place in the 21st century for behavior that apes the 13th century.

Please take action to help these two men.

Visit the pages listed above and sign them.

Please call your local Congressperson and Senator and ask them to help.  This only takes a few minutes.  Andy Hall at Laughing in Purgatory has a video up on his site of him making all three phone calls…the video is less than ten minutes long.  Please find 10 minutes today to make those calls.

Please (and I never ask this) if you agree, please share this story on every social media outlet that you use.  Tweet it, reddit it, Facebook it, Stumble it, etc.  Please help me to get the word out.

No one should be imprisoned for their religious or lack of religious beliefs.  Certainly no one’s life should be on the line starting this Monday.

You can find your U.S. Senators’ contact info here

You can find your U.S. Congressperson’s contact info here

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments.

—-John

If you have a blog please feel free to promote it on my “Promote Your Blog” page above.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter @logicalbeing

If you would like to share your story of how you became an atheist, please do that on my “Share your Atheism Story” forum.  Our stories may help to encourage others with similar feelings to know that life is more than just okay without god(s).

If you have not yet checked out Alltop.com’s Atheism Blogs….what are you waiting for?

 

Blaming Secularism and Atheism for Newtown

God in Schools Is NOT The Answer, Secularism Is NOT to Blame

Most of you are probably familiar with Mike Huckabee’s nonsensical comment last week.  Sadly, he is not the only person spreading such messages. I came across a story that is a monstrosity of stupidity by Paul de Vries in Today’s Christian Post.  His post is titled, “Godlessness Fails, Again” .  He basically doubles down on Huckabee’s idiotic comment.   De Vries, who is the President of New York Divinity School, illustrates that he is certainly not a historian or political philosopher, either that, or he demonstrates tremendous dishonesty.  The entire first half of column details the evils of the former Soviet Union.  Naturally all of the blame for its failures, according to de Vries, were due to “godlessness”.

This is the most asinine argument against atheism that anyone can make.  Yet, we see it all the time.  Any student of history or political science will inform you that the Soviet Union’s failures and mass killings were largely the result of two things, a) Stalin’s insanity and b) economic failure.  Atheism has nothing to do with it.  History is chock-full of madmen taking control of governments and slaughtering people.  Here is a key point…we all acknowledge that they were madmen.  What allowed Stalin to massacre more people than say Nero?  Better weaponry.  Period.  Further, how many people did Stalin kill in the name of atheism?  The answer is zero.  Stalin killed in the name of power.  Oh, and de Vries slides Hitler into the mix briefly as well.  This of course is asinine as Hitler wasn’t an atheist.  People like de Vries make two errors.  They mix up or omit facts (like Hitler’s being Catholic and not atheist), so either they are ignorant or liars.  Second, they have no understanding of causality and correlation.  While communist ideology has an atheist component, that is not the cause of the mass murders.  No serious scholarship would ever conclude that it was.

De Vries makes his fundamental mistake in the first paragraph.  He assumes and writes that atheism has an ideology and mentions something called “official atheism”.  These are grievous errors, which are propagated by Christian groups all of the time.  Let me clear this up.  Atheism has no ideology.  Atheism is nothing more than a “no” answer to the question, “Do you believe a god exists?”  That is ALL it is.  Nothing more.  From that starting point, the ideologies of atheists are all over the map.  There are liberal atheists and conservative atheists.  There are equal rights atheists and racist, sexist, homophobic atheists.  There are capitalist atheists and there are socialist atheists.  To try to fit atheism into an ideology that they disagree with, theists such as de Vries only succeed in creating straw men.

The second error can be found in the notion of “official atheism”.  I have no comment to make on that other than there is no such thing.  Perhaps de Vries can define us atheists what that would be.

Communism had an atheist component to it, to be sure.  Yet, that is not why it failed.  Let us assume that a madman never took control of the Soviet Union.  That there were no mass killings.  Would communism have worked then?  The answer is no, it fails economically.  Look at China for a modern example.  (Yes I know China had mass killings, but they are not relevant to this point).  China has been forced to slowly abandon a communist economic system to remain viable in the world today.  If it had not done so, it would not be where it is today.  Communism fails for many reasons—not one of which is atheism.

After blaming atheists for the slaughter of millions of people in the 20th Century, de Vries has no problem making the leap to Newtown.   This is an easy leap for him to make after writing several paragraphs detailing, completely incorrectly, why and how atheism leads to mass murder.  He apes Huckabee’s comments that these types of tragedies occur because we do not have enough god in our societies and in our schools.  This is pure rubbish—a pile of “hot garbage”.  There are naturally many reasons why events like this occur.  We could blame any one of or all of the following: guns, gun laws, mental health, poor school security, and violence in our culture, etc—none of these things has anything to do with not believing in deities.  Much like de Vries failure with communism, he fails here, as none of those reasons have anything to do with atheism.  Not one.  He has created and torn down a straw man.

De Vries complete lack of historical knowledge becomes evident to anyone who spends a few moment contemplating the behaviors of society that have A LOT of “god” as part of their cultures.  Let’s think on this a bit….in the modern world we can look at Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Uganda—just for a short list.  How are things working out for the majority of citizens in those countries?  Looking good?  Most certainly not, I am sure you all agree.  Why?  Unlike de Vries failures with communism, we can point to directly to religion and Yahweh for things like honor killings, war, lack of plurality, lack of freedom, and lack of equality for all citizens in those countries.  None of this has anything to do with their specific leaders.  These things are proclaimed from pulpits and holy books.

Let us go back a bit and look at Christian history…we find the Crusades, the Inquisition, witch hunts (which still happen in large parts of the word by the way), and countless European wars.  I am sure that de Vries would argue… “that isn’t Christianity, it was politics or political leaders”.  He would only be partially correct.  Those leaders used his precious Christianity induce the slaughter of an untold number of people.  Many people were motivated to support those events because of their belief a particular sect of Christianity.  Further, a tremendous amount of support from the pulpit was present in each case.  Were the individual leaders perhaps motivated by politics and power and not religion?  Perhaps, yes (though not in all cases).  However, this does not remove all responsibility from Christianity.  The fact remains, and I will paraphrase the late Christopher Hitchens here, “we know what societies look like when Christianity is strong”.  Mr. de Vries….I’ll pass thanks.

De Vries is doing nothing more than spreading anti-atheist propaganda.  He is either not qualified to write such a piece or is being dishonest.  Either way, nonsense like this must be called out.  It cannot be tolerated.  Ah, yes there is that word… “tolerated”…no doubt some will now accuse me of an being of those “intolerant atheists”.  To that I say, “thank you”.  You are correct.   I will not tolerate the slander of an entire group of people (atheists).  I will not tolerate the absurd notion that things like Newton occur because of “atheist ideologies” whatever the heck those are.  I will not sit here at my desk and tolerate people like de Vries blame people like me for that shooting.  Would you?  Will you?

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments.

—-John

If you have a blog please feel free to promote it on my “Promote Your Blog” page above.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter @logicalbeing

If you would like to share your story of how you became an atheist, please do that on my “Share your Atheism Story” forum.  Our stories may help to encourage others with similar feelings to know that life is more than just okay without god(s).

If you have not yet checked out Alltop.com’s Atheism Blogs….what are you waiting for?

Newtown, CT and The Gun Control Discussion

A Conversation that Needs To Happen

Over the past few months I have not posted on weekends.  I generally have other things I would rather do.  I catch up on some of my favorite blogs that I didn’t get a chance to read during the week, hang out with my wife and friends, hike, bike, ski, etc.  I am going to make an exception to that today as a consequence of the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  Like many people, I am still trying to process this situation.  That said, I have noted several trends that I want to point out.

Let me be clear about one thing up front…I am not anti-gun, nor am I pro-gun, I am somewhere in the middle.  I think that we need to review some of our gun laws and would support bans on things like assault weapons.  However, I do not think we need to ban all guns.  People have the right to own guns in this country.  People on both sides of the political aisle use guns to hunt, target shoot, etc.  I honestly think that there is a middle ground that can be found here that would reduce the episodes of mass murder and still allow responsible people to participate in their recreational activities.  I hope this is clear.

The first trend I have been seeing regards the “politicization” of the event.   There are many people out there saying that now is not the time to introduce bills on gun laws.  That politicizing this event is an abhorrent thing to do.  They want to wait a few days (or some amount of time) and that we should be respecting the families in Newtown who are in so much pain.  I have yet to see one person who is not heartbroken over this tragedy, but I can’t help but notice that most of the people I have seen who are looking to put off this conversation are “pro-gun”, Tea Party supporters, Libertarians, etc—i.e.—all  of the people who would not support changing our gun laws.  (Of course there are exceptions to this).  Can I please ask you to “STOP”?  Be honest.  Look, I know you are devastated by the tragedy in CT, we all are…but that is NOT why you don’t want to have this discussion today.  You don’t want to have it today because you will lose.  Do not use the death of these children as a shield to protect you from the conversation this nation MUST have.  Also, do not ask others not to “politicize” this event, while you are “politicizing” the deceased in your attempt to stall the conversation.

The second trend I see is from the anti-gun folks.  Many of these people wanted to see legislation introduced on Friday afternoon.  On my personal Facebook page and on Twitter I saw quite a bit of that.  Can I please ask those of you who fall into this camp to take a deep breath?  I agree with you; we NEED to have this conversation as a country.  I also believe that we need to reform some of our gun laws.  I do not think we need to have assault weapons, clips with over 10 bullets, the Gun-Show loophole also needs to be looked at.  However, all of this can wait until Monday.  Let’s give the families involved, and in fact all of us a chance to catch our breath.  Your anger will still be present on Monday, as will mine.  Let us use it then.

The third trend I see is one of what I can only classify as insanity.  These are the people who think the solution to this problem is more guns.  Many of these people can be found in places like #tcot on Twitter.  They are fervently pro-gun, and to be honest, are not even close to thinking rationally on this topic.  FOX news reported today that the Harrold Independent School District in Texas  just passed a law (this weekend) allowing teachers to carry a concealed weapon into school if they have the proper license.  Really?  Here is a little FYI for the gun nuts…(these people are very different from those discussed in my “first trend”)…you are a part of the problem that needs to be, and will be corrected.  Let me inform you…your life and gun ownership rights are likely to change in the very near future, but don’t worry, come down from the ledge; you will get to keep some of your guns.  The people discussed in my second trend are really mad, the people discussed in my first trend are likely willing to compromise….neither is good news for you.  If you are unwilling to compromise on this issue, then expect people to dismiss you and not take you seriously.  This conversation will happen, the question that remains is: Will you be a part of it?

The fourth trend I have been seeing was kicked off by the second largest douchebag in the country on Friday…Mike Huckabee.  Huckabee stated that this tragedy started forty years ago when we took prayer out of schools.  This has unleashed a decent sized backlash against secular people.  This backlash is absurd.  Religion has no place in this controversy.  The fact of the matter is that there are religious pro-gun and anti-gun people.  There are also atheist pro-gun and anti-gun people.  There are both atheist and religious people who may be mentally unstable and able to commit a tragedy like this.  One thing is clear; religion is silent on this issue.  I have little interest in bringing religion into this debate.  However, I will not hesitate to do so in defense of secular Americans.  With that in mind, here is my question for Mike Huckabee and his supporters:  “If you really believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent god, please explain where he was on Friday morning…was he out for brunch?”  It is events like this that completely disprove the Christian notion of a deity—your supposed god cannot possibly be what you think and claim he is.  The four characteristics I mentioned above cannot possibly exist in one being.  Please do not leave a comment here about “free will”.  That is a fabricated cop-out that is full of fallacies and will easily be shot down by most atheists.  Google why before using it as an excuse for your god’s absence.

The next trend I want to discuss is the 2nd Amendment.  It is a fact that we, as Americans, have the right to own guns.  It is unrealistic to think that will ever change.  However, can we all admit that the 2nd Amendment is completely useless in the 21st century?  The purpose of the Amendment was to raise a militia to fight off tyranny.  I hope I am not the first to break this to anyone…but that is not going to happen.  Further, if we find ourselves in the position that we need to do that, we are going to fail.  Perhaps you have not noticed the military technology of modern governments.  Unless you think the 2nd Amendment gives you the right to own a fighter plane, Naval Warship, Tank, anti-aircraft gun, drones, etc…the Amendment is useless.  In all honesty, it shouldn’t even enter this conversation.   The U.S. will never outlaw all guns.  We don’t need to pretend the 2nd Amendment has meaning to recognize that.

The last trend I want to talk about regards courage.  Many pundits and politicians are talking about needing courage to take on the gun lobbies.  This must happen.  We are seeing far too many mass murders occurring…isn’t this the fourth one this year?  What about regular murder rates?  It is not uncommon for someone to be gunned down a daily basis in the major cities all across this country.  We can and we need to do better.  This is not a zero-sum game.  It would a logical fallacy of false dichotomy to assume our choices are “no guns” or “all guns”.  There are many options in the middle.  We NEED to agree on one or some of those options.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments.

—-John

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