Brent Rasmussen's picture

Small Town Reality Check

I was recently in a neighboring town, about 15 miles away from my little town, doing some business with the local irrigation collective. I decided to stop and eat at one of the lunch cafes instead of driving all the way back. [Hey, I was hungry! :)]

In any case, I chose a small coffee shop/cafe, and entered. It was pretty full, but seemed OK, and there was one table open in the back where I could set up my laptop and work while I waited for my meal. So, I sat down and opened the menu and was surprised to see not food on the first page of the menu, but bible verses. There was also a bible verse collage in one of those plastic table-stand deals that they usually display the lunch special in.

I was a little uncomfortable, but decided I'd stay and eat anyway. The sandwiches looked pretty good.

So, about ten minutes go by and no waitress. I mean, she's there, flying around between all the tables, but she has yet to stop and even ask me if I wanted coffee. I take another look at the multitude of bible verses staring me in the face, then at the waitress who is now obviously trying NOT to even make eye contact with me, and decide that I'll walk next door to the calzone place and try that instead.

I close my laptop -- and realize that I've got a red Out Campaign 'A' sticker dead-center where a computer logo should be. I had forgotten all about it.

Shaking my head and smiling a bit, I walked out through the front. The girl behind the register, who had not seen me yet since I came in through the side entrance, said brightly, "Hope you enjoyed your lunch!".

"Never got one," I said, and walked through the door, across the little parking lot, and into the restaurant next door where a delightfully profane Italian chef made me the best calzone I've had in a long, long while.

My point? We can indeed "formally" fight for our civil rights all we want. However, like the "whites only" lunch counters of the last century, it'll take a long, long time before regular religious folks accept us without us having to pretend to be something we're not.

(Tip of the ballcap to VJack at Atheist Revolution.)

Jim Downey's picture

This DART missed the mark.

Gee, this is *so* surprising:

DART: Controversial Bus Ads Pulled

Atheist advertising signs on Des Moines Area Regional Transit buses that created a storm of controversy when they first went up on Aug. 1 have been taken down.

And what did these offensive, despicable, inflammatory advertisements say? Did they mock the absurdity of Zombie Jesus, or point out that the Mormon magical underwear was just silly? Did they cite conflicting verses of the Bible, or run a tally of how many people God killed in the Old Testament? Maybe show chanting kooks at soldier's funerals or members of the Taliban beheading some infidel?

Of course not.

What they did was say this: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

And then give the name of the group sponsoring the ads: Iowa Atheist and Free Thinkers. Here's their comment on the whole absurd thing:

Jim Downey's picture

It's the Christian Crusader!

Time now for another great episode of the Christian Crusader in "Huntin' Ragheads!":

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince's executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince's employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis."

OK, what the hell am I talking about? That the founder of The-mercenary-army-formerly-known-as-Blackwater (now called "Xe") was more 'dirty' than you may have suspected. From The Nation:

Jim Downey's picture

Let us all now praise the Power of The Lord!

I'm sure you all remember this case:

Wis. man testifies he expected God to heal child

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) -- A central Wisconsin man charged with killing his daughter by praying instead of taking her to a doctor read from the Bible while testifying Thursday that he couldn't seek medical help without disobeying God.

"I can't do that because Biblically, I cannot find that is the way people are healed," Dale Neumann told the jury. "If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God. I am not believing what he said he would do."

So, either the bible is wrong, God lied, or He doesn't exist.

But your daughter is still dead.

From the same article:

Jim Downey's picture

Let's all join hands and sing around the pile of burning books . . .

Ah, nothing like a good ol' "ban & burn them EVIL books" news item to get the blood flowing in the morning. From CNN:

Library fight riles up city, leads to book-burning demand

(CNN) -- A fight over books depicting sex and homosexuality has riled up a small Wisconsin city, cost some library board members their positions and prompted a call for a public book burning.

The battle has stirred much of West Bend, a city of roughly 30,000 people about 35 miles north of Milwaukee. Residents have sparred for months on blogs, airwaves and at meetings, including one where a man told the city's library director he should be tarred and feathered.

Jim Downey's picture

They just didn't pray *hard* enough.

This is what happens when you let religion determine health policy:

Teen pregnancy and disease rates rose sharply during Bush years, agency finds

Teenage pregnancies and syphilis have risen sharply among a generation of American school girls who were urged to avoid sex before marriage under George Bush's evangelically-driven education policy, according to a new report by the US's major public health body.

Jim Downey's picture

Sad, but really not surprising.

In a discussion with a friend today, I got this comment:

At least I'm not one of those youth pastors running around hitting on kids. No kidding - google "Youth Pastor Watch" sometime.

Just a bit ago, out of curiosity, I did.

592 hits.

I don't know whether this was something that Dan Savage started, or just a term/tag that he picked up and has popularized, but most of the hits lead to stuff he's written. Not that it matters, because either way it is a real problem. Sadly, it comes as no real surprise that this is so much a problem that it supports such ongoing attention.

Now, I don't have kids. And in spite of what it may seem from my posting here, I don't really give that much attention to religion (I've found it is better for my blood pressure that way). So it's not like I follow this particular pathology. Maybe you don't either. But can you honestly say that you are in the slightest bit surprised that the situation is what it is?

That's the problem with religion: good in theory, problematic at best in practice. Except even the theory isn't good.

Jim Downey

Hat tip to the Doc Dude.

Jim Downey's picture

And I am sure . . .

. . . that all the good Christians who read this piece were just shaking their heads:

Nigerian car thief turns into goat!

Abuja, Nigeria – In Nigeria recently, an angry mob demanded that police jail a goat. Vigilantes insisted the animal was a human car thief who transmogrified upon being apprehended. Nigerian law doesn't recognize magic, witchcraft, or voodoo. Yet, faced with an angry mob, police acquiesced, arresting the goat.

* * *

Not infrequently, police hear reports that a man claims someone cast a spell to capture his spirit. Tradition here holds that if you sleep in bed with your feet at the headboard, you are communing with witches. Criminals buy charms from witch doctors to become invisible and escape arrest. A hairdresser tells of a client of another customer who reported a snake in her house that turned into a young woman. When the girl was taken to a Pentecostal church service she turned back into a snake. The journalistic canon of having two independent sources to confirm a news story becomes irrelevant when an entire congregation insists "it really happened."

Jim Downey's picture

Talk about "Fantasy Island" . . .

Turkish TV gameshow looks to convert atheists

STANBUL (Reuters) – What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists?

Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers.

The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists.

Hmm . . . no, I can't see where someone would lie about being either an atheist to begin with, or about their "conversion", just to get a free trip out of the deal (not to mention the fame from being on TV). Nope, can't see that happening at all.

Jim Downey

HT to ML for the story.

Jim Downey's picture

GOD Hates The World.

You know, this *almost* seems like a parody, but I recognize enough of the Westboro crowd in it to know that it is serious:

Jim Downey's picture

Aw, hell.


Murdered Doctor’s Abortion Clinic Shuttered

The Wichita abortion clinic run by a doctor who was shot and killed will remain closed permanently, his family said on Tuesday.

Dr. George R. Tiller’s clinic was one of the few in the country to provide abortions to women late in their pregnancies, and for decades, women had traveled there from all over the nation and from overseas. It was also the only remaining abortion clinic, even for first trimester abortions, in the Wichita region.

* * *

Even some abortion opponents, who had long devoted their efforts to closing down Dr. Tiller’s clinic, said they did not wish to see it happen under these circumstances. Last week, Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue, had said that closing the clinic now would send a worrisome message. “Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “Every kook in the world will get some notion.”

Jim Downey's picture

Religion at work.


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed Sunday at a church in Wichita where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir, his attorney said.

Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church, attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said a manhunt was under way for the shooter, who fled in a car registered to a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away.

National anti-abortion groups had long focused on Tiller, whose Women's Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

Someone has been arrested. Who wants to bet that they did it "in the name of Jesus!"? To "save the little babies!"? To "stop the holocaust!"?

Jim Downey's picture

Got web-feet on the brain?

In response to this.

Found here. (Warning, last link may cause head to explode.)

Jim Downey

BrainArmor's picture

It's not proselytizing, it's evangelism

Apparently there is a new bit of drivel being propagated via email:

BREAKING NEWS: Pentagon Burns Soldiers Bibles - Military Chaplains Attacked

The Pentagon under the Obama Administration has just acknowledged seizing and burning the privately owned Bibles of American soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The Bibles had been printed in the local Pashto and Dari languages, and sent by private donors to American Christian soldiers and chaplains, for distribution to American troops on overseas military bases during optionally-attended Christian worship services. Had the Bibles not been seized and destroyed, they could have legally been given as gifts during off-duty time to Afghani citizens who welcome our troops in their homes, as an expression of American gratitude for Afghani hospitality, promoting the democratic ideals of freedom of religion and freedom of the press.

Jim Downey's picture

It just ain't fair!

Poor Alan Keyes, he is just so misunderstood and abused:

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Not long after I received the forwarded link, I got a phone call from the lady who helps me keep my schedule. She reported that the controversial nature of my efforts at Notre Dame is already adversely affecting requests for speaking engagements, which is my main source of income for my family. It wouldn't be the first time that my commitment to the pro-life cause has had this effect. Some time ago, as a result of my efforts to promote better understanding of the importance of US support for Israel's existence, I was often invited to speak at fundraising events for Jewish organizations. But in my political efforts I gave unstinting priority to the defense of innocent life. Thanks to strong support for so-called abortion rights from some quarters in the Jewish community, as this priority became known it virtually eliminated such requests for speaking engagements.

Jim Downey's picture

Oh, for cryin' out loud . . .

You've probably heard about the 'Mancow Torture Video' by now - in which the talk show host has himself subjected to a little waterboarding experiment. It was covered on most of the political blogs I check, and even NPR did a piece on it Saturday. It struck me as mostly a publicity stunt (but then, I'm a cynical bastard), but it was at least noteworthy for the fact that Mancow, who had previously supported the use of waterboarding and considered it little more than splashing water on someone's face, was forced to admit that he considered it "absolute torture".

Anyway, here's an excerpt from a message sent to Andrew Sullivan, which he posted on his blog yesterday:

Jim Downey's picture

"We should have the right to kill our children in this country."

Via PZ, news that the woman who prayed over her daughter while she was dieing from a treatable condition, rather than seeking basic medical care, has been found guilty of reckless homicide. From the news report:

Mother found guilty in Wausau prayer death case

Wausau - A jury Friday found a central Wisconsin mother guilty of killing her 11-year-old daughter by praying for her to heal instead of rushing her to a doctor.

A Marathon County jury deliberated about four hours before convicting Leilani Neumann, 41, of rural Weston of second-degree reckless homicide. No sentencing date was set. Neumann remains free on bond.

But of course the kooks who were behind this are still certain that they did the right thing in letting an 11 year old girl die:

Leilani Neumann's stepfather, Brian Gordon of San Diego, said he was disappointed by the verdict and the jury was mistaken. He said his stepdaughter did nothing wrong in trusting in God to heal her daughter.

Jim Downey's picture

Damn, I am one sick puppy.

Saw a good item posted by Darksyde over on dKos this morning (which you should go check out), and in reading the comments came across this old Edward Current vid:

I must really be one sick puppy, I laughed so hard . . .

Jim Downey

Jim Downey's picture

Here be dragons.*

Man, this is what happens when religious kooks try to understand technology:


Subtitle: The Illuminati now claims to have the technical capability to stage the Rapture, they might just carry it out in order to throw extreme panic, confusion, and despair into the hearts of genuine Christians just before their beloved Antichrist arises.

Would you be ready?

The New World Order is coming! Are you ready? Once you understand what this New World Order really is, and how it is being gradually implemented, you will be able to see it progressing in your daily news!!

The crazy! It BURNS!!!

Blue Beam Project and the Fake Rapture

There has been something “revealed” called the Blue Beam Project, which is reputed to be a governmental conspiracy to promote the New World Order. So, if still true, how successful would it be?

These are the essentials:

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