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Then again, he was great in Hawaii 5-0
January 12, 2005 1:10 PM   Subscribe

"I don't see how you can be president at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a relationship with the Lord," said George W. Bush yesterday. (Really? I do.) While giant crosses are banned from next Thursday's inauguration, Jesus likely won't be, despite Michael Newdow's protestations. By the way, the benediction is scheduled to be delivered by The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, who also got the honor in 2001. Back then, he said to millions of bowed heads gathered to mark the beginning of the Bush presidency: "We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that's above all other names, Jesus, the Christ. Let all who agree say, 'Amen.'" After gay rights, is discrimination against atheists the next great civil rights battle of our time? Or should we just shut up and move to France?
posted by Saucy Intruder (90 comments total)

 
Some background. Bush said this in the interview linked above: "I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."

This may be a little bit of a backpedaling. In 1987, Bush's father, then Vice President, and not normally one you'd associate with the Christian right, said this in a confrontation with an American Atheists member:
Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:19 PM on January 12, 2005


Vive la France!
posted by butternut at 1:22 PM on January 12, 2005


This atheist thinks you made some good points, but responding to W's statement with a reference to the constitution is a strawman. He wasn't saying he believes it should be legally required, he was saying that as a practical matter he believes faith is an asset for someone in such a high-powered position. I don't agree (and neither do you), but George Bush, like any other citizen, is still entitled to the personal religious beliefs of his choosing, and just as the Constitution doesn't require him to believe in God, it doesn't require him to act as if he doesn't, either. Freedom of religion goes both ways.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:25 PM on January 12, 2005


"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."

What exactly does this mean? The way it's phrased makes it sound like he's saying he hasn't ever said you're not as patriotic if you're an athetist, but that's "how it is". I'm pretty sure that's not what he means, but it sure reads that way.
posted by The God Complex at 1:25 PM on January 12, 2005


I don't think France wants me, that's a pretty safe bet.

And truly, I hate those people that tell me to leave my home if I have the audacity to disagree with the administration. Its an incredibly stupid response. Don't like it? Tough, leave. How unutterably stupid and childish.

Michael Newdow is pursuing a principle that I support, God has no place in schools or courts, not unless all Gods are represented equally and that ain't gonna happen because the Xtians would have a friggin' conniption fit of national proportions.

I hate the Bush administration for creating this Jesus Nation bullshit. How dare anyone impose their religious beliefs on me when I don't try to impose mine on anyone else.

And I despise whoever came up with that unbelievable stupid "America Bless God" bumper sticker.

saucy intruder, a very nice addition and more proof that the shrub doesn't fall far from the Bush it came from. (Man, that was a munged metaphor, sorry.)
posted by fenriq at 1:25 PM on January 12, 2005


I'm as atheist as a person can get...and I really was pissed off at Bush 41s comments years ago. But GW Bush is the President, and he finds strength (comfort, fortitude, whatever) in his Christianity. I don't hold it against him -- or at least, no more than I hold anyone else's irrational beliefs in supreme beings against them. It's not something that I (or anyone) can change...so I just accept it. And I'm certainly not thrilled about a benediction or prayer or anything religious-based in any official, government-sanctioned ceremony.

But. I deal in reality. Will the prayer service convert me? Or anyone else? No. Will it alter our nation? No. Is it a threat to my liberty or beliefs or freedoms? Not as far as I can see.

But they damn well better keep those 10 Commandment things out of my courthouses. Now THAT is a battle worth fighting and winning.
posted by davidmsc at 1:27 PM on January 12, 2005


"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."

By saying the last sentence, he's really can't say that he's "never said that".

"No no no, you're getting me all wrong, I never said that the non-religious are less patriotic. I just said that I think that non-religious are less patriotic."
posted by 23skidoo at 1:27 PM on January 12, 2005


Dislcaimer: I think Bush is a snake in the grass with his own agenda.

Statement:
I'm just curious, it didn't seem to me that "W" was saying "kill all but Christians" in that article. I'm sure it was cleverly said and rehearsed, but it didn't strike utter doom and fear in my heart like some things he's done.
posted by Hands of Manos at 1:29 PM on January 12, 2005


As someone who has, since roughly the age of ten, recited the Pledge of Allegiance as "One nation, -------, indivisible..." it's pretty obvious where I stand on this issue. Atheists are increasingly marginalized and discriminated against in this country and it makes me mad as hell. Considering the fact that "Under God" wasn't added to the pledge until, what, the 40's (? not sure on the date) AND the fact that almost all of our founding fathers were deists, not Christians, this imagined attack on Christians in this country, and the claim that our country was founded on Christianity, is so totally off-base. I especially like the description of the ACLU as "a fanatical anti-American organization." Last time I checked the ACLU was more like a fanatical pro-Constitution organization...

I hate Bill O'Reilly.
posted by salad spork at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2005


I hate you Middle America, you blind prom whore bent over the '83 camaro as Bush fucks you in the ass.
posted by orange clock at 1:36 PM on January 12, 2005


I agree that it didn't really seem that bad, but if I was an American I think I'd be pretty uncomfortable with the idea of a Reverand up there on inauguration day preaching about jesus. But I'd also be pissed about the 40 million+ they're spending.
posted by The God Complex at 1:36 PM on January 12, 2005


Newdow's a choad who can't accept the fact that his wife divorced him for the fact that he's a choad. And therefore, he feels the need to take it out on the Constitution.
posted by DonnieSticks at 1:38 PM on January 12, 2005


"I fully understand that the job of the president is and must always be protecting the great right of people to worship or not worship as they see fit," Mr. Bush said. "That's what distinguishes us from the Taliban.

I knew there was something that distinguished him from the Taliban and now I know what it is! Thanks for clearing that up, George.
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:39 PM on January 12, 2005


fenriq - Nobody is saying that. Quit with the persecution complex. Dissent is good. The fact that each and every MeFi member hasn't been "disappeared" suggests that the administration tolerates dissent.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:39 PM on January 12, 2005


Reverend was capitalized intentionally while jesus was not for specific reasons, but the misspelling wasn't as intentional ;P

this is a watershed moment. i'm now going to use the spellchecker instead of inflating my comment count with these ridiculous corrections that i can't stand not to make...

*checks spelling*

posted by The God Complex at 1:39 PM on January 12, 2005



fenriq - Nobody is saying that. Quit with the persecution complex. Dissent is good. The fact that each and every MeFi member hasn't been "disappeared" suggests that the administration tolerates dissent.


Yeah, they tolerate it. They just ignore all criticism and forge ahead, creating their new reality with every (mis)step.
posted by The God Complex at 1:41 PM on January 12, 2005


"I hate those people that tell me to leave my home if I have the audacity to disagree with the administration. Its an incredibly stupid response. Don't like it? Tough, leave. How unutterably stupid and childish."

Right on, fenriq. Remember the old Tareyton commercials?
posted by davy at 1:42 PM on January 12, 2005


A couple of responses: Bush absolutely has a right as a private citizen to express his points of view. I don't care if he goes to church or not. I don't even care whether or not he advertises that he's a Christian. But you can't hide behind the banner of free speech when the effect of your words is to chill others' exercise of constitutional protections. That doubly applies to those whose political power is such that they have the ability, whether through law or influence, to turn these private views into public realities. That's why I don't understand your distinction, davidmsc, between the prayer at the inaugural and the ten commandments monument in the courthouse. They're morally equivalent to me.

BTW, I was at Bush's inauguration ceremony in 2001, and remember this incident with deep sadness and regret. It was really tantamount to someone saying, "Hey, nice that you're here, but this doesn't really apply to you." Every time that I hear a politician validate this sentiment, I get angrier and angrier.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:43 PM on January 12, 2005


I hate you, Middle America, you blind prom whore bent over the '83 camaro as Bush fucks you in the ass.

I'm going to circulate a petition to have this etched in gigantic letters up and down the sides of the St. Louis Arch.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:48 PM on January 12, 2005


davy, I don't remember the commercials, care to refresh me a little?

thedeveildancedlightly, nobody is saying leave? Are you kidding? Go and read some of the GOP sites and you'll see nothing but Leave Liberal on some of them, especially in the first few weeks after the election (hell there were people on MeFi advocating leaving). They seem to equate disagreement with the government as a form of treason when its the exact opposite that's true, blind obedience to whatever the government says is ignorant treason in my book.

If you are not against the current administration then you are for it. There is no middle ground.
posted by fenriq at 1:54 PM on January 12, 2005


Is there, in fact, an effort being made to create a civil war mentality?

some background... I was raised in a pretty conservative Lutheran environment... I wondered about the reality of the Christian beliefs for a number of years, but remained connected to the church for a number of reasons.... When my son died at the age of 20 I quietly acknowledged that god either didn't exist or didn't give a fuck, either way I sort of wrote off the whole christian thing.. (and changed it to a lower case "c")...

I'm not a violent person, and since then I've allowed others to believe as they wish and worship whatever, they have a right to that.

But..... over the past few years, and especially during the past year, I've started to become very angry at the christians that I have contact with and those in government that have the power to legislate and administer MY life , they are becoming more and more intrusive.

How angry can I get? I don't know yet. But it has gotten to the point that not only do THEY scare me, but I scare myself once in a while.... it reminds me of that road rage feeling you get when someone cuts you off (anger management issues?perhaps, no lectures please!)

It seems that we are all being pushed, a little harder and a little further each time. Being around christians, especially fundamentalist types, is feeling like being around the school yard bully who has discovered that the teacher thinks he's cute.

I don't think that any good will come of this.... the division is getting deeper and is being encouraged by those that should lead us to more peaceful ways to be in the same space.

the question is... is it intentional???

and, all above is IMHO.
posted by HuronBob at 2:04 PM on January 12, 2005


Anyone seen skallas lately?
posted by trharlan at 2:04 PM on January 12, 2005


orange clock: I hate you Middle America, you blind prom whore bent over the '83 camaro as Bush fucks you in the ass.

That's no way to talk about Nicaragua.
posted by theFlyingSquirrel at 2:10 PM on January 12, 2005


"There is no prohibition on crosses, symbols or messages based on content" -- from the 'banned crosses' article.

that is such utter bushit. you can't even wear buttons that question the King. i hope the "Christian Defense Coalition" does file suit. and wins. then the secret service won't be able to keep the paper maiche bushs out either...at least not without yet another hypocritical stab at the basis of free speech.
posted by danOstuporStar at 2:12 PM on January 12, 2005


The fact that each and every MeFi member hasn't been "disappeared" suggests that the administration tolerates dissent.

Sheesh. Talk about a minimal standard.

I hope you really don't believe that, until the death squads start marching, it's all the same.
posted by argybarg at 2:14 PM on January 12, 2005


See also: (concentration) Camp X-Ray.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:21 PM on January 12, 2005


Spork, a good history of the pledge, which originally read "I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."

"Under god" was added in 1954 after a crusade by the Knights of Columbus -- interesting, since they're a catholic group, and not the southern evangelicals most people would imagine responsible for the change to the pledge.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:21 PM on January 12, 2005


fenriq - Of course there are nutjobs on LGF telling liberals to get out. And there are whackos on MeFi telling all of middle america that they are bent over the back of an '83 camero. Clearly not all of middle america voted for Bush, and I think a lot of people would take a lot of offense at that.

Argybang - No, there are intermediate levels. But, jesus christ, how is your right to argue being reduced? I can write "JESUS FUCKS MEN UP THE ASS" in big letters on a sign and walk around my town with it without a problem. I'll even do it and take pictures if you would accept that as proof. Or, write "BUSH FUCKED ME UP THE ASS" on a big sign and carry that. I'm sure you'll see more creative things at the innauguration.

I'm not saying that our 1st amendment is perfect, but the sky has not fallen.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:26 PM on January 12, 2005


I really want to say "Shut up and move to France" but I'm not gonna. It would be un-Christian.
posted by Carbolic at 2:27 PM on January 12, 2005


I don't want to throw water on the fire here; but I would like to see the day when the streets are not potholed and the lights are timed right.
Many schools in central TX are running at 50% over capacity; and folks choose to consume resources over the pledge, a cross on the wall, or some other diversion.
Bush is a front man, not unlike Reagan. Bush just happens to suck at it.
posted by buzzman at 2:28 PM on January 12, 2005


HuronBob - I would point a finger more at the nature of technology these days (ie, the Internet). Because people can find their own little echo chambers (be it Indymedia or LGF) they start to get more and more skewed into that way of thinking, and construct HUGE strawmen about the other side (eg, not all of middle america is actually a blind prom queen getting fucked over the back of an 83 Camero). Since we all have our own confirmation bias, it feels good to have our feelings validated. Thus, we flock to web-based circlejerks of rage and indignation at whatever the latest affront to our moral righteousness happens to be.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:33 PM on January 12, 2005


No, the sky has not fallen. There's also not much to gain by pointing out that it hasn't. It is, in fact, a non sequitur.

Yes, extremists on both sides see imminent apocalypse at the hands of their enemies. But why bother addressing extremists?

I don't even know that our current mode of discourse, with all its narrow traps and shouting and grandiose piety on both sides, really does travel in a straight line to death squads. But it doesn't have to for me to dislike it.

This administration has, under its thin thin veneer of geniality, a very nasty, partisan, divisive core, and it's resonating with the same qualities that were already coming to the surface of the American psyche. We are becoming a nation of Christian patriots vs. deviant sissies, and I partly blame Bush.

You may disagree with me on that. But please don't remind me -- again -- that uttery tyranny and ruin are not on my doorstep.
posted by argybarg at 2:35 PM on January 12, 2005


I can write "JESUS FUCKS MEN UP THE ASS" in big letters on a sign and walk around my town with it without a problem. I'll even do it and take pictures if you would accept that as proof.

I will PayPal you a dollar if you do that and send me the pictures.
posted by majcher at 2:39 PM on January 12, 2005


fenriq - Nobody is saying that. Quit with the persecution complex. Dissent is good. The fact that each and every MeFi member hasn't been "disappeared" suggests that the administration tolerates dissent.

Back in the very early 90s, I worked at a college radio station populated mostly by politically active students. They were always attending protests and talking smack about the administration all of the time. I didn't participate, as I was willfully ignorant of politics and, in retrospect, an idiot.

The more politically active students often repeated something around the station to each other, to the effect that "we're so brave because we broadcast dissent on the air, and sooner or later they're going to shut us down." I always had the same reply: "If you were truly concerned about getting shut down, you wouldn't play songs with the word ---- in them five times a day."

Looking back, though, I realize that neither they nor I were looking at the situation correctly. The fact that the station was still broadcasting its arguably seditious messages was not a sign that the administration was tolerant of dissent (as I believed) nor a sign that the dissenters were too powerful a voice to be shut down (as they believed), but instead was a sign that the dissent was not viewed by the administration as effective.

I now have no doubt that had they used the radio station to rally people together for actual political change, the constant broadcasting of swear words would have been used as an excuse (and a good one, at that) to shut the station down. That's why Howard Stern gets fined for indecency when he criticizes the administration, and we did not; he is actually reaching an audience, and making a difference.

Which means, when you get right down to it, that MeFi isn't having any real impact. If this surprises you, you should get out more. ;)

On preview: argybarq, I'll paypal you $10, but it has to be you by yourself (with the picture-taker hidden) in the parking lot of a Target during business hours, and for at least 1/2 hour. So you'd better make that a video tape. ;)
posted by davejay at 2:42 PM on January 12, 2005


...the American Civil Liberties Union, a fanatical anti-American organization that is as dangerous to our way of life as any of the groups that support Muslim terrorists...

The kind of person who could... I don't even know. I'm speechless. Sweet Lord Jesus preserve us.
posted by rustcellar at 2:42 PM on January 12, 2005


The fact that each and every MeFi member hasn't been "disappeared" suggests that the administration tolerates dissent.

Ha. They'd have to find us on the Internets first.
posted by RockCorpse at 2:42 PM on January 12, 2005


Plus, ParisParamus is our human shield.
posted by RockCorpse at 2:43 PM on January 12, 2005


Whoops. Sorry, argybarq, you don't get $10. I MEANT thedevildancedlightly. Duh.
posted by davejay at 2:44 PM on January 12, 2005


"This is a country that is a value-based country," he said. "Whether they voted for you or not, there's a lot of values in this country, for which I'm real proud."

The implication here is of course atheist don't have values. We just run around naked all day fucking whatever gets in our way and killing anything that runs from us. It's hard work.

From the invocation:
Wealth and honor come from you. [speaking to the Christian god, I'm assuming.]

Ah, yes. That old schtick. Sooner a rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven than a camel fit through the eye of a needle. I guess they all think since they don't take any of it with them when they die, technically they enter heaven poor.

This also implies, of course, that if you're poor, their god doesn't favor you. Assholes.

How can anyone trust a religion that has been hand-waving about the end times since its inception. How many more thousands of years will it take before they are convinced that their Jesus isn't coming back?

And seriously if any aliens do come back to this planet claiming to be Yahweh or Jesus or whatever, the last thing I think we should do is genuflect.

Aside from all of this, this Newdow guy is like the worst for atheists everywhere. Though that ban on crosses is pretty funny. Of course it's a weapon, you crucify people with those things.

And I was thinking the same exact thing The God Complex.
posted by effwerd at 2:44 PM on January 12, 2005


Bush has the right to wear his so-called religion on his sleeve, and I have the right to think him a fool for it. If he were willing to leave it at that, all would be well, but of course he isn't, as his comments and actions have shown.
posted by rushmc at 2:45 PM on January 12, 2005


thedevildancedlightly: I can write "JESUS FUCKS MEN UP THE ASS" in big letters on a sign and walk around my town with it without a problem. I'll even do it and take pictures if you would accept that as proof.

OK. You got a deal. Yes, I do want to see proof of that. Where and for how long will you offer to do it? Will make an interesting blog: JESUSFUCKSMENUPTHEASS.com
posted by a_day_late at 2:50 PM on January 12, 2005


Well, some people are saying get out:

Personally, I think they should allow the giant crosses at the event. Then everyone can see what they're really voting for.

Question: Do people really have to say this pledge of allegiance thing? I'm from Canada, so this is rather foreign to me.
posted by showmethecalvino at 3:01 PM on January 12, 2005


Hey, quick question: is it common for those of a spiritual bent to believe that making someone swear fealty to a country with the words "under God" doesn't force them to believe in God, but removing those words from a country's fealty pledge forces others to abandon their faith in God?

I ask, because that's what I got out of one of the poster's links, and that seems like a difficult contradiction to keep under one's hat.
posted by davejay at 3:03 PM on January 12, 2005


Showme, it's largely tradition, but in some places it's a legislated requirement. A couple of years ago, Texas passed a law requiring students to recite the US and the Texas pledges in the morning. (Yes, there's a Texas pledge of allegiance.)
posted by mudpuppie at 3:03 PM on January 12, 2005


showmethecalvino: are you required to say the pledge? Well, if schools today are the same as when I was a kid, then yes -- the whole room gets up at the beginning, puts their hand over their heart, looks toward the flag and states the pledge in unison.

Could a child say the pledge, but not believe the "under God" part? Sure. They could also not believe the rest of it, either. Heck, as a kid, I had no idea why we were saying it.

On the other hand, can a single kid in the room NOT say the pledge? Technically, yes, but in my school at least, you'd be in for quite a beating at recess or after school.

The idea of this and just about any other institutionalized pledge (not just the "under God" part) is to get kids doing it at a young enough age that they don't consider it optional, and at an old enough age where the children self-correct (i.e., one doesn't do it, the rest beat or mock him/her until they do again).

After all, it's much harder to question something you've been doing since the age of five than something you're asked to do when you turn seventeen.
posted by davejay at 3:07 PM on January 12, 2005


Here's something that gets painfully little attention:
* 1892 to 1923: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."
* 1923 to 1954: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."
* 1954 to Present: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."
And another one...
"In God We Trust" is a national motto of the United States of America. It was so designated by an act of Congress in 1956, but did not supersede "E Pluribus Unum".
The fundies would have you believe that these were created by the founding fathers themselves, and that whole "wall of separation" thing Jefferson was talking about was pure fiction.
Both these items were changed in the heat of the cold war, another non-war that eroded civil liberties and was used as an excuse to erode the separation of church and state. I find it very troubling when FUD is used for things like this. It's almost like they're planning a new scheme to generate electricity by harnessing the power of the founding father spinning in their graves.
I can totally respect the superstitions of any number of people, but it's very scary when they get into positions of power.
posted by mullingitover at 3:09 PM on January 12, 2005


The implication here is of course atheist don't have values. We just run around naked all day fucking whatever gets in our way and killing anything that runs from us. It's hard work.

Damn! I've gotta get to one of the meetings again because they seem to have become one heck of a lot more fun!

Then again, the couch got in my way this morning and the dog ran from me so.........
posted by fenriq at 3:11 PM on January 12, 2005


Andrew Sullivan had a great take on this:

"ATHEISTS NEED NOT APPLY: What was Bush thinking with this statement: "President Bush said yesterday that he doesn't 'see how you can be president without a relationship with the Lord,' but that he is always mindful to protect the right of others to worship or not worship." So, out of his beneficence, he won't trample on others' religious freedom. But the White House? That's for Christians only. No Jews? Or atheists? Notice also the evangelical notion of a personal "relationship" with the Lord. That also indicates suspicion of those Christians with different approaches to the divine. I must say this is a new level of religio-political fusion in this administration. To restrict the presidency to a particular religious faith is anathema to this country's traditions and to the task of toleration. The president surely needs to retract the statement."
posted by xammerboy at 3:22 PM on January 12, 2005


I take Bush's reference to a "personal god" to be code-word for biblical God. Just as in his debate he used "Dred-Scott case" as a code word to imply he would only submit judges that were pro-life.

Personal God usually means a God who is a person who will judge human's on an individual basis. Allah, for instance, is not a personal God. Like a lot of Bush's statements, he's saying more, and more radically, than he lets on.

With Bush there's always the tendency amongst a lot of people, not his hard-core supporters, to believe he is saying less than he is.
posted by xammerboy at 3:40 PM on January 12, 2005


Sullivan's such an amazing fucknitwit that I find myself taking W's side against him. Good work, Sully.

The President was clearly just saying that the pressures of the job are so strong (it's hard work) that he can't imagine working without some sort of spiritual crutch. The fact that Christianity is the only crutch he can imagine doesn't tell us something we didn't already know.

He could have said "I can't imagine being President without the support of a good wife" and we'd sorta know he wasn't making a statement that only heterosexual married men could ever be President. (Though of course he believes that. And of course we already know he believes that. And of course he's probably right from a practical, who-could-get-elected point of view which is really how he's talking about atheists, too).

Same story of deliberate or negligent misreading with the idiotic controversy over crosses at the inauguration. The Secret Service ban was clearly using "crosses" as an example of a type of large display that would not be allowed. It's the people who didn't get their religious symbols mentioned as possible large displays that should feel excluded from the American mainstream.
posted by fleacircus at 3:46 PM on January 12, 2005


Last time : "We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that's above all other names, Jesus, the Christ"

This time : "We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that's above all other names, Jesus, the Christ .... yeah, that's right, I said Jesus. Gonna make something of it? Up yours, Jews! Bite me, atheists! And fuck you too, Muslims! You can't get rid of our boy now, he's gonna have y'all squealing like piggies for four more years! Four more years!"

Well, OK, maybe Caldwell won't say it.But he'll be thinking it.
posted by kaemaril at 3:55 PM on January 12, 2005


"davy, I don't remember the commercials, care to refresh me a little?"

Tareytons were these long cigarettes that were shown getting broken on revolving doors or squished by elevator doors, etc. One ad campaign, I can't remember if it was used with the previous "hook" or not, had people (men and women of various ages and colors) with painted-on black eyes and the slogan "I'd rather fight than switch." (Brands of cigarettes naturally, but in reform school it meant something else.)
posted by davy at 4:01 PM on January 12, 2005


Because people can find their own little echo chambers (be it Indymedia or LGF) they start to get more and more skewed into that way of thinking, and construct HUGE strawmen about the other side

So very true, though it seems it's only us 2 in that particular echo chamber today.
posted by iain at 4:07 PM on January 12, 2005


"Personal God usually means a God who is a person who will judge human's on an individual basis. Allah, for instance, is not a personal God."

I thought it meant a god you can have a personal relationship with, as if the god were a person. You know, like YHWH, Jesus, Allah, Krishna, various bodhisattvas, etc. As opposed to say the Great Watchmaker of the Deists who was unapproachable or the impersonal All-is-One of the pantheists. (I'm not sure about Gnosticism: I know you can have a personal relationship with the Demiurge, but I don't about their real God.)
posted by davy at 4:08 PM on January 12, 2005


The implication here is of course atheist don't have values. We just run around naked all day fucking whatever gets in our way

I know I do!

That "personal God" is code for "I am a superior person: I will get into heaven, I will enjoy God's favors and I will know best what is right and proper." To be fair there are many Christians of quiet faith who take comfort and strength from worship of God. But it is the Born Again (such as our Dear President) who flout their Christianity with all the zeal of new vegans or new non-smokers-- with an intolerance for those who do not share their new-found religion.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:10 PM on January 12, 2005


I've never in my life heard so much religious talk and direct bible quotes (new testament only, of course) and seen so few Christian actions taken before in my life.

Enough with him--we know what Bush believes and if he still has to throw bones to fundamentalists in his speeches, the more fools they are for believing him. His actions certainly haven't matched his words.
posted by amberglow at 4:13 PM on January 12, 2005


I can write "JESUS FUCKS MEN UP THE ASS" in big letters on a sign and walk around my town with it without a problem.

Which town do YOU live in? The closest I saw to that was a kid in Berkeley, CA, with a T-shirt reading "Satan is MY motherfucking co-pilot." If I wanted a dose of physical abuse "JESUS FUCKS MEN UP THE ASS" would get my wish fulfilled here, that's for sure. Not being actually masochistic I'd hesitate to wear even "Fuck the USA."
posted by davy at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2005


He could have said "I can't imagine being President without the support of a good wife" and we'd sorta know he wasn't making a statement that only heterosexual married men could ever be President.

Well, that statement is inward-looking, commenting on the way that he views his own presidency. What he in fact said, was that he doesn't see how anyone can do the job of President without a relationship with the Lord.

"I don't know how I could function as President without a relationship with the Lord" is something I can kind of understand, even as a non-religious person, as opposed to "I don't know how YOU could be President without a relationship with the Lord", which just makes him seem ignorant to the fact that not everyone is just like him.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:16 PM on January 12, 2005


a Texas pledge of allegiance

A pledge of allegiance to Texas, I assume. Isn't it the state that's always got a sort of simmering movement toward independence?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:22 PM on January 12, 2005


I don't know about anyone else but the ACLU my gets my $10.
posted by Space Kitty at 4:35 PM on January 12, 2005


"That's what distinguishes us from the Taliban."
"That's what distinguishes us from the enemy."

Anyone else find these statements very strange?
Especially coming from a head of state?
I mean, say you're hitchhiking, and the driver says, "That's what distinguishes me from a homicidal maniac," wouldn't you immediately reach for the door handle?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:38 PM on January 12, 2005


A pledge of allegiance to Texas, I assume.

"Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible."

Isn't it the state that's always got a sort of simmering movement toward independence?

That's mostly a joke/myth. There's one group that calls themselves the Republic of Texas that actually tried it a few years ago, but I think everyone recognizes them as wackos. I think.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:40 PM on January 12, 2005


If you want a JESUS FUCKS MEN UP THE ASS - lite, you could order one from threadless.com...
posted by anthill at 4:50 PM on January 12, 2005


Or, write "BUSH FUCKED ME UP THE ASS" on a big sign and carry that

Where and when exactly my dear ? Read the following article

The city dropped a public obscenity citation Tuesday against a man who erected an anti-war sign in a public square that mixed President Bush's name with a profanity. The profanity being ''This war is Bushit''.

Whoa !! Imagine the day somebody declares "Bush is a liar" to be a profanity...Bush or Kerry or Clinton or who cares who. The fact that the city dropped the citation is probably a sign that they figured it wouldn't fly in the court..and that it would generate negative talking about Bush, while the citation was probably made to show that "the city" backed the big clown...probably some attempt to lick ass.

Also regarding the Bush father statement Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God. I think the then Vice President has no business defining what should be considered as a citizen..but I'm glad he did express his opinion, so that I know have an idea of what kind of President I don't want.

That's all perfectly fine with me that he can express his opinion...as long as you can actually express it and nobody silences you.
posted by elpapacito at 4:51 PM on January 12, 2005


Holy crap, a "rense" reference. I thought I was the only one weeding through that stuff and occasionally finding little informational gems.

It is frightful that this nation of underdogs, built on the principle of fighting for the freedom of religion and speech............. ah, who am I kidding. Guess I better start going to church. Amen.
posted by snsranch at 6:38 PM on January 12, 2005


I sort of feel that the whole Atheist Beliefs thing is too much trouble and sounds like a Belief System. I'm ambivalent to religion but think that if others need something to help them tell right from wrong than that is great. For them. So President Bush, like many fellow Americans, subscribes to a pretty mainstream beliefs system. Why the surprise, people? I think the statement made by President Bush is a statement that only four other living men, (who incidentally share his view if not his voice), could understand given the enormous pressure of a very unique position. Yes, he is the President for all Americans and people who wish that would change really need to get over it and channel their energies towards the mid-term elections in 2006 or some other positive way to make their voice heard.

I look forward to the Starship Troopers model.

Also, as much as I like The God Complex, (he knows I'm serious), I prefer that non-domestics stay out of domestic issues. You would be uncomfortable with a Reverend? I would be uncomfortable with Ministers and The Ministry in charge. Does the Prime Minister not get sworn in? The cost of the inauguration is not a burden of the taxpayers so until the taxpayers want to make it one then it is not really under the control of the taxpayers although they are given considerations. An interesting situation but one that is overall probably for the best.
posted by geekyguy at 7:23 PM on January 12, 2005


I'm ambivalent to religion but think that if others need something to help them tell right from wrong than that is great. For them. So President Bush, like many fellow Americans, subscribes to a pretty mainstream beliefs system. Why the surprise, people? I think the statement made by President Bush is a statement that only four other living men, (who incidentally share his view if not his voice), could understand given the enormous pressure of a very unique position. Yes, he is the President for all Americans and people who wish that would change really need to get over it and channel their energies towards the mid-term elections in 2006 or some other positive way to make their voice heard.

Yes, it is fine, as long as their subscription to that belief isn't so outdated and, frankly, hateful and exclusionary that its underhanded application to the political machine in Washington acts as a removal for the barrier between church and state. I'm not sure if Bush's comments in this thread indicate that--as I said earlier--but that business with the Reverend preaching exclusionary nonsense seems like an egregious offense (at least to me).

While I agree it would probably be helpful if people got over him being President, I'm not sure if that's going to happen. I spent four years wondering how America let itself slide into that position, but I chalked it up to having the wool pulled over their eyes. Now, after four years of that mind-numbing idiocy, they have re-elected "god's choice" to the white house pulpit, and I can't help but cringe a little every time I think about that.

Also, as much as I like The God Complex, (he knows I'm serious), I prefer that non-domestics stay out of domestic issues. You would be uncomfortable with a Reverend? I would be uncomfortable with Ministers and The Ministry in charge. Does the Prime Minister not get sworn in? The cost of the inauguration is not a burden of the taxpayers so until the taxpayers want to make it one then it is not really under the control of the taxpayers although they are given considerations. An interesting situation but one that is overall probably for the best.

That's fine. I prefer if America stays out of the lives of everyone else in the world, but they're clearly incapable of spreading their disease all over. As such, I'll continue to disagree with the country--and it's morally bankrupt leadership--until a day when it is no longer necessary. Also, I have something of a vested interest, since there are a lot of things I love about America. The letter Margaret Atwood wrote to America on the eve of the impending Iraq invasion sums it up nicely.

Oh, and as far as I know, we don't have anybody preaching about jesus when the PM gets sworn in. We did have Bono preaching at us about AIDS money for Africa, but I'm cool with that. Besides, I'm on record as saying that I think our democracy is somewhat flawed (the voting structure especially), but I still think it's leagues better than the one in America. So I respect your opinion but do not in any way agree with it, so you're stuck with my opinions in these threads ;)
posted by The God Complex at 8:04 PM on January 12, 2005


It's actually the fact now that you guys outside of here are the only ones heard nowadays--god knows we're not--so keep on talking, if only for the 49%? percent of us.
posted by amberglow at 8:15 PM on January 12, 2005


Incapable of not spreading their disease...

Even spell check couldn't save me there; )
posted by The God Complex at 8:22 PM on January 12, 2005


I think the sign/t-shirt should say, "JESUS FUCKS ME UP THE ASS." It's a personal relationship, see?
posted by wobh at 8:42 PM on January 12, 2005


To start up an ill-advised war in the middle east, and show that you obviously had no plan except "expect the rapture", you have to have a relationship with the lord.
posted by telstar at 8:47 PM on January 12, 2005


Guess "the Lord" was just fooling about all those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that He or She or It told Our Prayerful Dear Leader about....and which we just officially stopped looking for....concluding they just weren't there.

That's the fuckin' problem with Deities: weird sense of humor.

But don't blame George or any of his Prayerful Followers. Who needs evidence and rationality when prayer will suffice?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:57 PM on January 12, 2005


To start up an ill-advised war in the middle east, and show that you obviously had no plan except "expect the rapture", you have to have a relationship with the lord.

But probably not the one you think you have....
posted by rushmc at 9:10 PM on January 12, 2005


Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:14 PM on January 12, 2005


You go to war with the god you have, not the god you want.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:07 PM on January 12, 2005


Yeah, but my thunder god can totally kick your wind god's ass.
posted by mullingitover at 11:17 PM on January 12, 2005


The God Complex: Oh, and as far as I know, we don't have anybody preaching about jesus when the PM gets sworn in.

That's because the Prime Minister is not the head of state of the United Kingdom: the monarch is the head of state, and her coronation is conducted at Westminster Abbey because she is also the head of the established Christian religon. Her coronation oath includes assent to the following: Members of Parliament, such as the Prime Minister, must instead swear the Oath of Allegience to the Queen. If monotheistic they can swear on the Old Testament, New Testament or Koran. If not they can make a solemn Affirmation, same wording but replacing a reference to God with a reference to the law (useful for atheists and fundamentalists who believe in the Gospel strictures against oaths). The Affirmation dates from 1888: Charles Bradlaugh, an atheist, was elected in 1880 but could not take his seat until the rules were changed. There is still the problem of Irish Republican MPs, who refuse to recognise the authority of the British monarch and state and therefore cannot take their seats. House of Commons paper on the Oath and Affirmation [PDF].
posted by alasdair at 12:42 AM on January 13, 2005


Minor pet peeve:

Why do some atheists insist on refusing to capitalize 'God' when it is used as a proper noun (or, in this thread, even 'Jesus', or 'Christianity')? Capitalizing 'Santa Claus', 'Puff the Magic Dragon' or 'Bokonon' doesn't imply a nonfiction existence of the entities. Not capitalizing them appears uneducated and/or juvenile. Of course, it's not a big enough deal to really merit a post - but that is the definition of a pet peeve I guess.
posted by Bokononist at 1:36 AM on January 13, 2005


Why do some atheists insist on refusing to capitalize 'God' when it is used as a proper noun (or, in this thread, even 'Jesus', or 'Christianity')? Capitalizing 'Santa Claus', 'Puff the Magic Dragon' or 'Bokonon' doesn't imply a nonfiction existence of the entities. Not capitalizing them appears uneducated and/or juvenile. Of course, it's not a big enough deal to really merit a post - but that is the definition of a pet peeve I guess.

Because it bothers people and is juvenile.

alasdair: I'm Canadian, hence my comment about Bono... unless you had Bono at your swearing in as well.
posted by The God Complex at 1:50 AM on January 13, 2005


Bokononist, how is old bokonon doing?
posted by telstar at 2:25 AM on January 13, 2005


Hands of Manos, that is a tasty burger.
posted by veedubya at 2:49 AM on January 13, 2005


the US is clearly a cult
posted by canned polar bear at 3:53 AM on January 13, 2005


I have no trust in someone who can't get by without an imaginary friend.

Your country is a fucking mess, but then, so is mine.
posted by jackiemcghee at 3:58 AM on January 13, 2005


The God Complex: Please accept my grovelling apologies. And me with a Canadian mother.

So, your head of state (the Governor-General) is nominally the representative of my head of state (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth). Your MPs appear to have a similar Oath or Affirmation option. Very cosy. However, I notice you have a swearing-in ceremony with the Queen's representative, the Governor-General. Is this all big and glitzy?

Our Prime Minister just pops along to Buckingham Palace for a quick word. I would have thought this silly and anachronistic, but after a few years of election coverage from our American cousins it suddenly seems the height of efficiency and fairness.
posted by alasdair at 4:06 AM on January 13, 2005


HuronBob, I hear what you're sayin'. It's very upsetting to experience rage motivated by the comments of someone you know to be a halfwit. Still, you're right, a lot of neocons are touting Bush's victory as though their team won the Super Bowl (and in some ways, that's true). The sports analogy is disturbingly accurate though. There appears to be a growing demographic of vindicated intolerants who are proud to display their xenophobic, homophobic and (on topic) religious exclusionism. Witnessing the emergence and growth of this group, just in the past year, has really made me question the future stability of this country. Certainly there is no singular agenda amongst them, but there's evidence of each element all over the place.

People like Ann Coulter are a prime example of the "America's sports team" fan network. Just look at the unapologetic, bigoted eruptions she recently spewed out: "Bill Clinton was a very good rapist." She must be growing in popularity for some reason... and it sure as hell ain't her "good looks".

I think these people who view Bush as the quarterback of the #1 team in the world tend to observe and participate in politics on a very superficial, elementary level... yet their votes count as much as any of ours. That's the real danger; people getting involved solely to cheer on their side and smite those that disagree.
posted by r3tr0 at 7:17 AM on January 13, 2005


This is just like the 60's! Civil rights workers are being killed and the police won't investigate! Churches are being torched with people inside, voters are beaten in the streets, and the National Guard is being set against college students and local law enforcement! There is no rule of law! It's crazy!

Wow!

I only hope that our nation can survive it! So that we can move on to the early seventies with a scandal so enormous that it will take the nation more than 40 years to recover! Yes! I'm talking about the resignation of a President to avoid being removed from office because of his direct personal efforts to corrupt the democratic process! And money laundering! And conspiracy!

Wow!

This is just as bad as that! We are falling apart! We'll probably be having states succeeding left and right any day now!

(p.s. the biggest tragedy is that Americans no longer recognize that getting along is part of their patriotic duty. They no longer recognize that they have to respect each other's right to vote, no matter what idiot they vote for. They no longer remember the sacrifices of the veterans of foreign wars, including those who fight and die today, regardless of corrupt politicians and talk shows and conspiracy theories, to bring the Dream of America to the desperate parts of the world.)

Wow! Fantastic!
posted by ewkpates at 7:45 AM on January 13, 2005


So, your head of state (the Governor-General) is nominally the representative of my head of state (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth). Your MPs appear to have a similar Oath or Affirmation option. Very cosy. However, I notice you have a swearing-in ceremony with the Queen's representative, the Governor-General. Is this all big and glitzy?

Our Prime Minister just pops along to Buckingham Palace for a quick word. I would have thought this silly and anachronistic, but after a few years of election coverage from our American cousins it suddenly seems the height of efficiency and fairness.


I think all of the ceremonies with such things are rather silly, as is the post of Governor-General itself. I do feel the need to point out, however, that although I'm generally not a fan of all the "under God" type nonsense within the various constitutions and charters (ours has it as well for some ungodly reason), my actual protestation in regards to the first Bush inauguration was actually having a Reverend up there preaching at the audience. That seems like taking it a step further, past the quasi-quaint phrasing of old texts into proselytizing.

Also, before reading this thread I confess I wasn't aware of the storied history of the "under god" in the U.S. pledge (or if I was I forgot it). So that was good.

-----

*looks at comment above his, takes deep breath, leaves quietly*
posted by The God Complex at 12:10 PM on January 13, 2005


Bokononist -

I do not capitalize god because I do not consider it a proper noun. It is a general word which can refer to any deity. Apollo is a god. So is Coatlicue. I will capitalize, say, Jehovah.
posted by kyrademon at 2:09 PM on January 13, 2005


I do not capitalize god because I do not consider it a proper noun. It is a general word which can refer to any deity. Apollo is a god. So is Coatlicue. I will capitalize, say, Jehovah.

kyrademon, I don't think my comment was directed at you, though I haven't reread the thread. If you're not using "god" as a proper noun, then of course don't capitalize it, but then you should almost always put an article in front of it - "Apollo is a god" is correct, as is "I believe in a god". If you're using God as a name, then it should be capitalized, as in "I don't believe in God" or "Ares, God of War, has left the building".

It wasn't my intent to start a patronizing grammar lesson (thank goodness, I'm sure I just broke about fourteen rules involving the use of quotation marks, and now I get a chance at parenthesis). My irritation was more directed to the likes of this :

Reverend was capitalized intentionally while jesus was not for specific reasons,

or other such sentiments whose authors believe that non-capitalization is a clever way to indicate their non-belief. It probably has as much to do with anyone going out of their way to wear their beliefs on their sleeves as anything else. People who follow the biblical practice of capitalizing any reference to God (i.e. 'and He said I should vote for Bush') in everyday dialog bother me just as much.

Jesus Christ, I hate even reading anal posts like this. Now I've gone and spent seven minutes writing one. I should have known was getting into when I brought the whole thing up. Thus is the curse of a pet peeve.

Busy, busy, busy.
posted by Bokononist at 3:40 PM on January 13, 2005



or other such sentiments whose authors believe that non-capitalization is a clever way to indicate their non-belief. It probably has as much to do with anyone going out of their way to wear their beliefs on their sleeves as anything else. People who follow the biblical practice of capitalizing any reference to God (i.e. 'and He said I should vote for Bush') in everyday dialog bother me just as much.


1) It's far easier shorthand for "I don't believe in god and thus believe the term 'god' can refer to any deity" than explaining that all the time. Also, the specific example (of mine) that you refer to was actually more a poke at the church itself, not my lack of faith in god.'

2) I also do it specifically because religious types make such a concerted effort to capitalize everything to do with god: "He did this and when He said to us that He was going..." and so on and so forth. It's archaic and unnecessary, just as most capitalization rules are. I actually capitalize Jesus if I think about it, but most of the time I don't give it much thought.
posted by The God Complex at 5:48 PM on January 13, 2005


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