For the latest edition of "Religious Right Winger Says and Thinks Stupid Shit about Atheists and Other Secularists," I present the Rev. Michael Faulkner. The reverend is a former Republican congressional candidate and pastor of the New Horizon Church who recently appeared on Fox News to protest a legal effort to remove the phrase "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
"This is so silly," Faulkner said in his opening statement. "It's not just that the atheists are angry at God, but they hate the nation." Faulkner then added some more religious fundamentalist balderdash before informing viewers that the purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance is to acknowledge that "it is a deity that guarantees our rights and keeps our country in order."
First of all, if you're going to dismiss an argument as being "silly," the least you can do is not employ even sillier arguments than the argument you deemed as silly, silly. I mean, c'mon, atheists are "angry at God"? Is the reverend unaware of the definition of atheism? Because you can't be angry at God if you don't believe in God.
Then there was his silly comment that atheists "hate the nation" because we don't want theistic references in the Pledge of Allegiance. That's like saying I hate Mexico because I don't want any limes in my Corona beer.
And how about the comment that it's a deity that guarantees our rights? Begging pardon for the digression, but one of my most cherished DVDs is the 1976 triple-X-rated, musical-comedy version of Alice in Wonderland. It's about a prudish young librarian named Alice who finds a portal to Wonderland, where she encounters, and is seduced by, all sorts of goofy people, animals and inanimate objects that break into song before they have graphic, orgiastic sex. Make no mistake, it's as pornographic as it is hilarious as Alice fornicates with such fantasyland characters as the Mad Hatter (who boasts the most ample genitalia in all of Wonderland), the White Rabbit (think Ron Jeremy in a rabbit suit), a talking rock (that convinces Alice to rub it to orgasm), Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Humpty Dumpty, The Queen of Hearts and a smokin'-hot handmaiden undulating on top of a knight lying in an open field, which, of course, causes Alice and friends to break into a song called—wait for it—"What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing on a Knight Like This?"
This is a movie that's so preposterous, you can't help but wonder if it wasn't produced by the Lollipop Guild after a three-day opium binge. Yet it still isn't as ridiculous as Faulkner's last comment. "God guarantees our rights"? You must be huffing Silly String, Reverend! If God were a guarantor of rights, then why are there so many people and countries around the world trudging through such miserable existences without them? Don't even try to say it's because God only guarantees rights to Americans or I'll stab my eardrums and mail you the brain bits. If there were truly a deity, it would give everyone in the world the same rights. But even if he did prefer Americans, well, I can think of several thousand Japanese-Americans who didn't receive their God-guaranteed rights when they were rounded up and tossed in internment camps. What about the millions of African-Americans who didn't get their God-guaranteed rights until recently. Lord knows the gay community is doing what it can to acquire the rights that God guaranteed but didn't deliver. I mean, honestly, if I had to choose between buying a television that came with a one-year guarantee from The Lord Almighty, or a TV guaranteed by some random bozo on Craigslist, I would buy from Random Bozo— because God's record on guarantees is godawful.
Near the end of the interview, Faulkner regurgitated a famous, though quite silly, quote from John Adams, who said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Let's take a moment to absorb what's being said here. Adams (and, by extension, Faulkner) is claiming that the Constitution cannot adequately govern anyone but religious and moral people, which is so silly that it's wrong twice: It's wrong because it assumes Americans are moral. To that I say: Oh yeah? How moral was slavery? How moral was the Salem and McCarthy witch hunts? How moral were the scumbag financiers who bankrolled the 2008 market collapse or the politicians who were in bed with them? The Constitution is not "made" to govern a moral people! It was made to guide immoral people toward morality.
Secondly, that the Constitution is unable to govern non-religious persons is also flat-out wrong. According to a 2008 Pew Research poll, 20 percent of Americans—roughly 60 million people—do not identify with any religion. If these 60 million people were ungovernable, where are the atheist riots? Where are the agnostic-fundamentalist acts of terror? Saying atheists are ungovernable would be highly offensive if atheists were the type of people to get offended by stupid shit that religious right wingers say and think. To most of us, they're just silly: very, very—slightly frustratingly—hilariously silly.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.
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