John McChrist

I used to have a decent amount of respect for John McCain. Back in 2000, he was a Republican I could have actually considered voting for. Of course, he was pushed out of the race by the kind of dirty tricks that would later be used against quite a few Democrats.

I lost a lot of respect for him when he strongly backed Bush in ’04. This was the guy whose people had used the religious right and ugly rumors to push him out of the way four years earlier. This time around, the Democratic nominee was one of his closest friends in the Senate. There was even talk of McCain as Kerry’s running mate. But McCain stuck with Bush, Bush’s war and Bush’s alliances, clearly hoping the party would view 2008 as McCain’s turn.

Since then he’s brown nosed the right, started talking nonsense in support of a nonsensical war, cozied up to the religious fanatics he’d previously attacked, and in general tried his damnest to be just like the jack-off who cheated him out of the nomination before. And now this.

Clearly, there’s a lot of editing in there, so maybe the context of what he’s saying here might allow one to see it in another light, but I kind of doubt it. Fuck him.

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Bill Maher on Religion and Politics

Have you seen this yet? Skip to about 2:30 (around 3:55 on the countdown timer) for the relevant part.

Maher makes some great points, one of which I pointed out early this year when Mitt Romney responded to someone saying he’d never vote for a Mormon.

One of the great things about this great land is we have people of different faiths and different persuasions, and I’m convinced that the nation does need to have people of different faiths, but we need to have a person of faith lead the country.

Translation: you may not like my religion, but at least I’m not an atheist.

A few of Maher’s points don’t quite work for me, however. I don’t know where he got his data, but I don’t think nonbelievers (atheists and agnostics combined) make up 20% of the voting public in the US — or to be more precise, I don’t think enough nonbelievers would admit they are to bring our numbers up to 20%.

But the main problem is that, if as he points out 70% of Americans believe it’s important to have a president with strong religious beliefs, then you simply can’t compare nonbelievers (or “rationalists,” as he prefers to call us) to other minority groups. If a politician makes a point of telling the African American community that s/he’s on their side, that does not automatically equate to not being on the side of white people. You can support women without losing the male vote. There are enough straights who support gay rights that you can come out in favor of at least some semblance of equal rights for the GLBT community without losing the support of everyone else.

But about as close as you can come to supporting nonbelievers is one of those namby pamby statements about how the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion includes the freedom not to have one. You can’t say that there’s nothing wrong with the idea of an atheist president, although we’ve undoubtedly had some. If a candidate dared say they weren’t religious they’d be dead. It was only this year that a single member of the House, Pete Stark of California came out as a nontheist, and that’s after being in office for some 34 years.

Sorry Bill, but supporting us means losing support from the majority. That’s just the way it is.

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CNN Bashes Atheists

I’ve written before about a story on that implied that atheists aren’t repulsed by extremist religious views. It was the sort of badly-worded statement that clearly wasn’t intended as an attack on atheists, but that showed a general lack of consideration:

His extremist views may be repugnant to the vast majority of muslims — in fact, anyone who believes in God.

Well, that was nothing. How about some overt atheist bashing?

This is just astonishing to me. They run a story that clearly shows that this family was discriminated against, and follow it up with a panel discussion that backs up just about everything that town did to the family. Where was the atheist on the panel, or at the very least, where was somebody who actually has an understanding of the first amendment? Freedom of religion doesn’t include freedom from religion? Yes, it fucking well does. Or at least it’s supposed to.

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