Don’t let them forget, don’t let them lie

To quote my brother:

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is going down. I’d like to express a big “fuck you” to all the bigots out there who can’t handle it, and a hearty “fuck yes” for the concept that “All men are created equal.”

My father and I just watched the senate successfully vote for cloture on the DADT measure, preventing John McCain and the Republicans from filibustering.  Tomorrow they will vote a simple majority to repeal it, and that will be a slam dunk.

Gays will receive equal rights, it’s only a matter of time.  Eventually the idea of gays being unable to marry will be just as synonymous with bigotry as the idea that blacks couldn’t marry whites or that women couldn’t vote.  And when that time comes, Christians will lie.  They will say that their religion was not the force demanding we legislate bigotry.  They will even contrapose reality in spectacular fashion and say that religious people led the charge for equal rights.  We’ve watched them do it with slavery, with equal rights for women, and a litany of other equal rights issues throughout the centuries.  The unchanging moral standards of the church will once again change, and once again they will attempt to emancipate themselves from the historical record on the subject.

Don’t let them.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    Yay! I really hope it gets repealed. Thanks for writing. You just made my day.

  • Robbie

    The repeal of DADT is going to have a cascading effect to lower the level of religiousity in this country and watering down the domatic hold of religion on this society.

    Congratuations to the gays and lesbians!

    Straight brother Robbie

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    Grady,

    There is no consistency to Christian behavior, so there will always be exceptions. But the historical record is clear on where the majority stood, just as it is clear where the majority stands on gay rights presently.

    In the future, after gays have their rights, people like you will no doubt point to the minority of believers who think gay rights should be able to openly exist and credit them while trying to forget the majority who fought against basic rights in the name of supposedly the most loving of gods.

    I hope it doesn't work. Christianity deserves the blame as the pulpit has produced all the resistance to this measure.

    JT

  • Vincent

    It's going to be a really easy trick of mental gymnastics to stop pointing to the "old" testament and start pointing to the "new" testament.

    I imagine that Christians in 5 – 10 years will simply begin citing the lack of Jesus ever openly condemning homosexuality, rather than the Yahweh's obsessive disgust for anal stimulation and girl on girl action.

    This continues to be the problem with such a versatile/contradictory text – it says EVERYTHING and NOTHING, depending on where you look, which gives those who wish to cite it infinite ammunition for their bullshit cannons.

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    Grady,

    Could you please name one person who killed millions because they were motivated by conclusions reached via atheism.

    I mean, we need look no further than Torquemada, Urban the II, Augustine (who laid out, on multiple occasions, why Christianity demanded that non-believers be killed), Thomas Aquinas (who laid out, on multiple occasions, why Christianity demanded that non-believers be tortured), etc. Sure, there are Christians who deplore their actions – but their reasons for believing they are privy to the will of god are no better.

    I'm unaware of anybody who mass-murdered because they were too reasonable.

    JT

  • Q

    Just because someone is atheist doesn't mean they committed harmful acts in the "name of" atheism. Atheism doesn't have a contract that motivates someone to kill religious people. For example, Vladimir Lenin likely killed for other reasons, not because his lack of faith instructed him to.

    Atheism doesn't cause murder – it's almost always the other way around.

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    Morrison,

    Just read his wikipedia page. Didn't see anything about how atheism informed his murderous nature. Did a ctrl+f search for 'atheis' and found no matches for 'atheist' or 'atheism' in the article.

    Perhaps you could explain how his atheism rationally informed his actions.

    JT

  • Adam

    @ Morrison: As I have discussed with Grady, Lenin was an atheist but unlike Christianity who claims their dogmas as the motivating factor for their evil crimes throughout history, Lenin (as all atheists) had no specific dogma derived from his lack of belief in god. Atheists don't have a shared belief system other than the fact that there is no god. We may have similar beliefs, but no dogma.

    Even if you could somehow prove his actions were solely due to his lack of belief in god, those deaths don't even come close to the number of deaths attributed to religion. It's like Christianity stole the whole cookie jar and you try to get our of it by saying atheists ate one cookie and are just as guilty of the crime. That's stupid.

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    Grady,

    Isn't it a bit odd to trash wikipedia for being edited by biased people (atheists, as you asserted), and then use it as a source? All the same, there was an anti-religion campaign during Stalin's rule, but it was not informed by reason or his atheism but rather by politics.

    Stalin was a paranoid who killed millions to consolidate his power. Totalitarianism, not atheism, was the driving force or causal link. Those who claim he was killing because of atheism conveniently ignore facts that show their claim to be bogus.

    One of the facts they ignore is that he killed lots of different folks, not just Christians. This makes no sense if atheism is the causal link, but perfect sense if potential political foes is the reason. He killed factions within his own Communist party (anyone not unquestioningly loyal to him, and many hundreds of thousands who were, had to be "weeded out"). He killed Finns, Karelians, Ukrainians, 35,000 military officers shot or imprisoned, almost all of the Bolsheviks who had played prominent roles during the Russian Revolution of 1917, thousands of writers, intellectuals, and artists, 141 American Communists, at least 436,000 people were sentenced to death by NKVD troikas as part of the Kulak (relatively affluent peasants, regardless of religion) operation, and so on. The theists always include the 7 million Ukrainians who died in the famine, but the famine was engineered to break the will of the Ukrainians politically and as a source of revolt, not to wipe out whatever Christians happened to be Ukrainian.

    Something those using 'atheism' as an excuse are typically unaware of is that the Orthodox Church in Russia was heavily involved in the politics of the time. Anyone who doesn't recognize the power of the church in politics has only to glance at all of the anti-gay legislation in this country fomented from the pulpit. Quite simply, the Russian Orthodox Church backed the wrong horse politically, and suffered political consequences for it. In short, Stalin didn't go after them because they were Christians, he went after them because they were a political player. Theists want to pretend that all the various elements of communist totalitarianism were irrelevant to what happened, which is utter nonsense.

    Another conveniently ignored fact is that between 1945 and 1959 under Stalin's leadership the official organization of the church was greatly expanded, although individual members of the clergy were occasionally arrested and exiled. The number of open churches went from about 500 to 25,000. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become active. How is this explicable if Stalin was motivated by some sort of perverted atheistic drive to eliminate religion?

    After Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox Church. On September 4, 1943, Metropolitans Sergius, Alexy and Nikolay had a meeting with Stalin and received a permission to convene a council on September 8, 1943, which elected Sergius Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. This is considered by some violation of the XXX Apostolic canon, as no church hierarchy could be consecrated by secular authorities. A new patriarch was elected, theological schools were opened, and thousands of churches began to function. The Moscow Theological Academy Seminary, which had been closed since 1918, was re-opened.

    What this shows is that religion was a political football for Stalin. If atheism, and not totalitarianism, were the driving force, why ever would he have revived the church from 500 units to 22,000 units? How can you possibly explain this if atheism were the driving force behind any of his purges? This is probably why the sentence in the wikipedia entry you linked which says Stalin intended to disseminate atheism lacks a source.

    Atheism itself isn't a principle, cause, philosophy, or belief system which people fight, die, or kill for. Being killed by an atheist is no more being killed in the name of atheism than being killed by a person who doesn't believe in unicorns in the name of a-unicornism. The simple fact of the matter is that people act upon what the believe: not what the do not believe. The nub is what motivates particular actions: otherwise you may as well blame Stalin's appreciation for Impressionistic art for his actions. This is how even atheists can join you in saying that Joseph Stalin, even in not believing in god, was acting unreasonably.

    Communism (or at least certain forms of it) can be blamed for communist violence; Christianity (or at least certain forms of it) can also be blamed for Christian violence. As a belief system with specific doctrines that were openly held up as justifying or sanctioning violence, religion must be held responsible for the violence committed in its name, such as the examples I listed.

    JT

  • http://skepticon.org JT Eberhard

    GRADY,

    If you have facts that counter my arguments, please present them. Your last response did nothing to address my arguments. You cite Solzhenitsyn, but if he has facts in his work that counters my points, use them. I'm not going to go read a three volume set, I'm busy. Solzhenitsyn should work on getting his position into collegiate history books, so people like me can learn it rather than the myriad of facts I listed above.

    The rest is just you saying that everybody knows you're right (which is clearly untrue) and your personal anecdote of speaking with atheists, which is meaningless in an objective conversation.

    And atheism is meaningless as a force for good – you're spot on. So is a-unicornism and a-leprechaunism, but it doesn't make them wrong. People don't organize or act based on what they don't believe, but rather on what they do believe. So while your assertion about atheism not being a force for good is correct, it also means that atheism cannot be a source for malice. So…thanks?

    However, there are plenty of non-religious reasons to be good, and they all make more sense (and are a damn sight more noble) than being good because you fear punishment from some manner of divine principle.

    JT

  • Robbie

    @Grady

    Atheism as a force for good or evil? Hmmmmm, how about if you are not playing golf (a-golfer) it is a force for good or evil? Sure, you abuse golf balls by the dozens at the golf range, therefore being a-golfer is good. I understand every word you say, just not the meaning of what you say.

    Grady, are you a Christian, deist, pantheist or some sort of a new age Christian using your morally relativistic views to come up with your own version of Christianity

  • 23cal

    Anyone who doesn't recognize or cannot admit that the rampant anti-homosexual movement in this country isn't coming directly out of the pulpit is willfully delusional. Google up the list of financial backers for prop 8; google up "anti-gay groups" and see if there any…repeat, ANY….that don't have strong Christian roots and ties.

  • Robbie

    @23cal

    Speaking of Christian connection to anti-gay agenda, it is an interesting fact that Muslims and Jews in America are very quiet about gay rights. It is hardly surprising with the Jews as they have a strong secular background and also leave it between god and the person individually to figure out all the sins. Only ultra orthodox Jews would speak up on homosexuality but in the free market of ideas their voices will be quickly drowned down by moderate Jews and gays and moderate Christians.

    Muslims in America in my opinion are along the same lines as Jews – moderation and alienation of Muslims (on their own) from American political process and religious debate assures that only the loudest mouths of the Fundamental cult of Jesus will be bitching and moaning about basic human rights, all men created equal (even by their Creator/God) or pursuit of liberty and happiness as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

    Fortunately, the non stop talking about freedom of speech and worship by the Extreme right brings up the “equality” of all and everyone – including the gays. The Extreme right is shooting itself in the foot with the Creator they quote non stop.

    They will fail, they have failed already with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Everyone realizes that this is the first step to equality, though non spoken for now by the elite politicians. But even VP Biden the other day said that attitudes of Americans are changing, Obama indicated in Q&A after signing of DADT that his notions are evolving.

    The right wingers like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is the only one who is still fighting and not accepting defeat, Concern Women of America (Wendy Wright) is still in the lala land like FRC.

    However, Focus on the Family (Dobson admitted when he retired that they have lost the cultural war) and also Ken Ham of the Answers in Genesis (in his book “Already Gone”) admit that the train has left the station with the “moral wars” and young people and society in general are dismissive of religion as practiced to day. Ham admits and accepts that it is education and not just that – young people lose faith while going to Sunday school and those who do do it at higher rates than those who don’t attend Sunday schools but just go to church with their parents.

    Liberal (atheistic/evolutionist) education in colleges used to be blamed along with the atheistic professors, but seems like the “elites” are now just driving the final nail in the coffin of religion – so, admits Ham. He blames the church for not promoting proper values in church and Sunday school and of course parents.

    The human “sin” of curiosity and open mindedness and comparing the facts are not registering on their screens. Good for them I say. They deserve to stew in their own soup of illusions. For some reason, this just happens on its own.

    God who is not there must have a plan for Christians. I am glad that plan involves smartening up and ditching organized religion. This is the kind of god I can believe in.