Ask an Atheist: Pastor Jones and the Burning Book

What are your thoughts on Pastor Jones and his wanting to burn the Koran?

There are two sides to this, I guess.

I’d like to believe that this Pastor Jones would still be supporting freedom of speech if people were burning Bibles, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’m all for “desecrating” things that are “sacred,” for the simple reason that there is no such thing as “sanctity.”

We should not and must not hold things to be sacred. Once people start to hold a particular book as sacred, it usually follows that they’ll demand that others hold them sacred as well.

I’ve already explored this idea in a previous post, so I won’t go into that again. The main point is, burning a Quran is not a crime. Nor should it be.

Bottom line: I support free speech. Even the free speech of assholes. Even though I’m pretty positive that Pastor Jones isn’t burning Qurans for any noble or useful reasons, and that he merely sees his own book of fairy tales as much more worthy of reverence than theirs, I see no reason for the government to step in and stop them from exercising the same freedom of speech that everyone else enjoys.

The threats being made by those in Islamic countries over this event are the very definition of terrorism. They’re using the threat of violence to try to get us to abandon our most important principles. If you ask me, that’s much more deplorable than burning holy books.

Let’s not forget that the real problem here is the culture that is quick to make threats toward anyone that doesn’t adhere to their antiquated worldview; not the nonviolent protest of some insignificant Florida pastor.

To sum up: I DO agree with what Pastor Jones is doing; I DON’T agree with why he’s doing it; but I especially feel that the government has no business encouraging him to stop. Doing so would be nothing short of giving in to terrorism.

What the hell is the big deal with the Ground Zero mosque?

I’m pretty sure I’ve already talked about the Ground Zero mosque on this blog, but I’m too tired to go back over my archives and find out where.

It’s just sad that some Americans insist on showing that they’re only okay with religious freedom, provided that the religion in question is Christianity (or some version of it).

Recently, some good people put up a bunch of signs near the proposed site of the Muslim community center (which would contain a mosque), declaring “Islam is Welcome Here.”

Then someone stole it.

A sign that said “Islam is welcome here” has mysteriously disappeared from the planned site of the Muslim mosque and cultural center near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

It went missing on Tuesday morning, a short time after Fox 5 News crews videotaped the sign. It is unclear who had erected the sign and who removed it.

The green and white sign was on a pole in front of the building that the nonprofit Cordoba Initiative plans to use.

That’s right. A sign that says “Islam is welcome here” is not welcome there.

Words fail me.

Help! I’m drowning in irony!

(The relevant parts begin at about 3:09)

This is Ron Ramsey of Tennessee, a Republican gubernatorial candidate. And a Methodist.

Here’s what he said about the “threat” of Islam in the United States:

“Now, you know, I’m all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on,” he said. “But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee — to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution.

Interestingly enough, the part in bold I actually agree with. Sharia courts have popped up in several Western countries (including the UK), and that’s one thing I as an American would not tolerate.

Just like I wouldn’t tolerate anyone who believes that religious laws should be forced onto those who aren’t of their religion. People like… oh, I don’t know, Ron Ramsey? The guy who believes that women should not be allowed to terminate their pregnancies and that two people shouldn’t be allowed to get married if they’re the same sex, because Jesus hates queers and thinks a clump of cells with no consciousness is the same as a baby?

I guess by “freedom of religion,” they mean “freedom to worship Jesus however they please.”

He also calls the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing religion more of a “cult” or “nationality” than a true religion. (And therefore, perhaps it’s exempt from the Establishment Clause?)

Ramsey proclaimed his support for the Constitution and the whole “Congress shall make no law” thing when it comes to religion. But he also said that Islam, arguably, is less a faith than it is a “cult.”

“Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it,” Ramsey said. “Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face.”

Christ. What an asshole.

It shouldn’t surprise you that he, like most of his GOP colleagues, is against the opening of a new Muslim community center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (even though Murfreesboro already has a mosque) over these same irrelevant and paranoid concerns about Sharia law.

Muslims have every right to build places of worship and community centers, just like Christians do. A Muslim community center is not a Sharia court. And if you have a problem with that community center, or with the Cordoba House near Ground Zero, then you quite frankly have a problem with religious freedom.

Sharia law isn’t coming to America, people. Sorry to disappoint you.

And if you’re a conservative Christian concerned that it is, then I’d like to politely suggest that you keep your own religious dogma out of public policy before you start worrying that some other religion might do the same.

Muslim Bus Drivers Refuse to Let Seeing-Eye Dog on Board

This week in Crazy Muslim Superstitions:

Blind passengers are being ordered off buses or refused taxi rides because Muslim drivers or passengers object to their ‘unclean’ guide dogs.

One pensioner, a cancer sufferer, told how had twice been confronted by drivers and asked to get off the bus because of his guide dog, and had also faced hostility at a hospital and in a supermarket over the animal.

The problem to carry guide dogs on religious grounds has become so widespread that the matter was raised in the House of Lords last week, prompting transport minister Norman Baker to warn that a religious objection was not a reason to eject a passenger with a well-behaved guide dog.

Okay, I know Muslims aren’t stupid. I happen to know personally several practicing Muslims that are very smart and perfectly capable of making rational decisions (as “rational” as religious people can be, that is).

So perhaps it’s just the few Muslims who happened to accept a job with the UK public transportation system that were too stupid to realize that the rules of their career would require them to allow “unclean animals” into their workspaces. Seriously, how do you accept a job and then have the gall to try to make your own rules?

Sorry, assholes. I feel no sympathy for you. No one forced you to drive public buses. A blind man being able to get around safely is much more important than your silly superstitions, and since we wouldn’t expect you to do anything crazy, like… oh, I don’t know, quit living your lives based on ridiculous antiquated rules that Mohammed heard from his invisible friend… either quit your job, or quit being a prick.

What Do Muslims and Masons Have in Common?

This is a masonic ring.

According to the rules of the Society of Freemasons, only a Freemason is allowed to wear the ring.

But if I wanted to, I could wear one. Because I’m not a Freemason.

Make sense?

Well, yea. It does. If you’re the member of Group X, you have to follow the rules of Group X. However, if you’re not in Group X, you don’t have to adhere to the rules of Group X, because they do not apply to you. So because I’m not a Freemason, the rule “only a Freemason can wear a masonic ring” doesn’t apply to me, and I’m in no way morally obligated to follow it.

Are you with me so far?

This is Mohammed, the prophet of the Islamic religion.

Islam has a rule that says you are not allowed to draw the prophet Mohammed. Fine. They can have whatever silly fucking rules they want. However, since I am not a Muslim, that rule doesn’t apply to me.

Only people who are Muslims are obligated to follow Muslim rules. Non-Muslims are not. In any way.

That’s the way it works, folks. It’s not intolerance. It’s not racism. It’s not cultural insensitivity. It’s purely a matter of liberty and consent. If I agree to join a group, then I also agree to adhere to that group’s code… but only then.

If you think the Qur’an is sacred and that a depiction of Mohammed is blasphemous, you have every right to believe that. But you do not have the right to demand that other people believe it as well.

This is Anwar al-Awlaki, an Islamic cleric. (He calls himself an imam, but I’m not Islamic, so I don’t have to call him that.)

He’s making headlines recently for placing Molly Norris, the woman responsible for “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” on an execution hit list. Which is a bit gauche. Execution hit lists are so 80s.

Anyway, the point is, this crazy mother fucker believes that this woman should be killed for not following a rule that only applies to members of a religion that she isn’t a part of. This is beyond disrespectful. This is a complete disgrace to freedom.

Why do we allow these crazy assholes to even act like they have the right to tell us what to do, say or think? Why do we give in to the unsubstantiated whims of a culture that hasn’t even progressed past the Renaissance? Why do we let them waltz into the marketplace of ideas and demand that we bend over backwards to respect and adhere to their archaic code under the guise of “cultural sensitivity” or “tolerance,” only to threaten and intimidate anyone who disagrees?

I’ve got news for you Bronze-age bastards. You do not get to use your freedom of speech to threaten others for exercising theirs. Your violent, antiquated belief system is an insult to human intelligence and to humanity itself, and if you don’t like it, you can kiss my black ass.

Because any religion, cult, creed or philosophy that demands compliance and threatens dissidents and critics with death isn’t worthy of even an iota of my respect.