I don't know if it's because it's just after the new moon, because we're having a carnival, or because God told 'em to, but the religious freaks seem to have been out in abundance, making atheists apoplectic and annoying the bugshit out of moderate Christians everywhere. I'm busier than a cat herder at a dog show trying to round 'em all up.
We'll begin with boycotts. Those are always fun, this one especially so:
Lately, I've seen some changes at the two Starbucks that live less than a block away from the Mother Jones office. Last month, they both started pushing a new blend called "Pike Place Roast" as their regular drip coffee, as part of a campaign to compete with brisk coffee sales at Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's. As part of the campaign, Starbucks re-introduced its 1971 brown-and-white logo featuring a two-tailed mermaid. Okay, technically it's a siren, but regardless, the image of a female figure brazenly spreading its tails has made a few Christians vow to boycott the company.
"The Starbucks logo has a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute," explains alarmist Mark Dice, of a Christian group called The Resistance. "Need I say more? It's extremely poor taste, and the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks."
While I'm curious what the value of a Slutbuck is relative to a Schrutebuck, I'm worried that Dice doesn't seem to understand the Starbucks siren is half-fish. She doesn't have legs to spread, much less a vagina to go between them. The fact that Dice doesn't get the difference between a fin and a foot may be an example of what abstinence-only funding does to education, but it's certainly not the first time spunky Christians have boycotted the multinational company.
No, it's not. After all, Starbucks supports teh gays, and - according to Worldnutdaily - markets "anti-God coffee cups." Shockingly, in a rare display of temporary near-sanity, the WND article notes that the "anti-God" messages were submitted by Starbucks customers, and the line of coffee cup quotes also included blatant pro-God messages. That hasn't stopped the foaming-at-the-mouth Jeebus freaks from deciding to boycott a company they don't buy coffee from anyway.
I'm sure the pain will be profound. I'll have to start buying Starbucks again to counterbalance the drastic loss to their profit margin. After all, in this shaky economy, losing that lone rabid Christian customer could spell the end.
Meanwhile, Arizona's keeping up the fine tradition of dishing up some right-wing conservative crazy in my absence:
Federal tax law, as it relates to tax-exempt religious ministries, is pretty clear — houses of worship may not legally intervene in political campaigns, either in support of or opposition to a candidate or a party. Those who violate the law run the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. With some regularity, the IRS reminds houses of worship about this, warning them about the dangers of ignoring the law.
A far-right group in Arizona, however, has an idea: conservative churches should ignore the law — and in the process, test the law — on purpose.
In other words, the Alliance Defense Fund wants these churches to commit an act of civil disobedience. According to the WSJ report, ADF hoped to find as many as 50 ministries to take part in the project, and the group has heard from about 80 ministers who expressed interest in
Those ministers need to think long and hard about this, because they’re playing with fire here. Worse, this is one of those huge-risk, low-reward situations.
Aren't they precious? I'd be more than happy to see them fuck up their tax-exempt status, so they have my wholehearted atheist blessing in this. By all means, go forth, preach politics, and get your perks yanked by Uncle Sam. You can pay up with the rest of us, you annoying little prayer-pushers.
The beauty of this is, only the churches stupid enough to participate will suffer. The churches that are wise enough to keep their noses clean of political preaching will survive with their exempt status perfectly intact. That's survival of the fittest, that is.
Continuing with our parade of the pathetic, even students are getting into the spirit of intolerance:
Some Plano students who are Jewish say they were pressured or taunted to pick up copies of the New Testament from school display tables during recent weeks.
Their parents have called for changes in district policies that allow outside groups to distribute materials on campus.
"Probably the one I heard the most was, 'If the Bible touched you, like, will you burn or something?' " said Jeffrey Lavine, 16, a sophomore at Vines High School. "I sort of played it down as a joke and everything, which it was, but it was definitely a meaner comment than what we're used to."
Do I have to tell you how sad it is that a Jewish student is "used to" comments that are less mean but no less ignorant? And so the grand tradition of Jew-hating Christianity goes on.
It's not limited to Texas, either. Ohio's having it's own fun:
Many Mount Vernon Middle School students have been vocal in their support of science teacher John Freshwater in his claims to a First Amendment right to display a Bible on his desk. But are those students willing to grant someone else equal rights to remain neutral or to disagree?
Several comments from students and parents indicate that acceptance and religious tolerance is a one-way street for many concerned.
You mean you cottoned on? When a fundamentalist Christian bleats about religious tolerance, you can take it for granted they don't mean any religion other than theirs. You can tell from the way their kids behave that they have no fucking clue what the First Amendment really means:
“You’re either for Mr. Freshwater or you’re against Mr. Freshwater. There’s no in between,” Murdoch said. “In the kids’ minds, I think, it is just the Bible issue. And who is going to go against the Bible? Nobody. But it seems like the ‘Christians’ are using that as an excuse to gang up on the ‘atheists.’
“My daughter Arie told me about a Jewish child who brought his Torah to school when other students brought Bibles in support of Freshwater,” she continued. “He thought he was supporting freedom of religious expression, and the other kids just ripped him apart. ‘What are you doing?’ they asked. ‘You can’t support Mr. Freshwater, you’re Jewish.’ So they don’t get it."
No, they really don't. And their parents don't want them to. There's no room in their world view for anyone who steps outside their narrowly-drawn lines of religious belief, not even their fellow Christians:
Murdoch said one of Arie’s friends wore a T-shirt to school that read, “I don’t need to wear a special T-shirt to be a Christian.” That individual was reportedly pushed into the lockers and called a “stupid atheist b****.”
This shows not only a dramatic lack of tolerance, but the typical lack of reading comprehension displayed by most fundies. I think we're looking at the future fellows of the DIsco Institute, here.
Beth Murdoch certainly isn't one of them. She's breathing fire and brimstone all over the intolerant assclowns masquerading as Christians. She appears to have a perfect grasp of what it really means to be Christian, and she seems just a wee bit outraged that the zealots have twisted the message beyond all recognition.
I have to say, that's the best thing about all these flare-ups: the moderate Christians suddenly come out swinging, and it's a beautiful thing to watch. If they can drown out the fundies, we might have a chance at peaceful coexistence here.
That's going to be damned difficult if some moderates don't get control of the airwaves soon. PZ Myers recently liveblogged an evangelical radio show on KKMS. Their topic was Refuting the Arguments of Atheists:
The host claims that it is important to understand the perspective of the "New" Atheists…so why are they inviting this Aikman clown on, instead of an actual atheist?
Aikman claims the atheists are bringing "pestilence", and claims that we only pick on Christians (what? What about Hitchens?) because Christians are so good and kind and generous and won't blow them up. We're already in stupid territory: the atheists criticize Christians because they are the dominant element in our culture.
We get some whining about how Christianity is portrayed in the media (ubiquitously?), and an uncontested claim that the religion is a benefit to society.
You have to go read about how they failed to refute the atheists who actually called in. They're fine with the uncontested claims, but the second you contest them, they freeze. It's adorable.
All right, my darlings. That's about all the religious malarkey I can handle in one night. I'm going to go plunge myself into a nice, warm bath of godlessness, accompanied by a nice glass of Pinot Immorality Noir.
Tip o' the glass of the wine of the passion of her immorality to Ed at Dispatches, Steve at Carpetbagger, and PZ at Pharyngula for pointing the way to today's Intolerancia. Anyone else care to join me in a toast?