Eeek! Sharia!!

Miss Tulsa, Miss Oklahoma City, Miss Norman (from left to right)

A federal judge has, at least temporarily, blocked a voter-approved initiative in Oklahoma to ban any consideration of Sharia law in Oklahoma courtrooms.

“State Question 755”, which garnered 70% approval from Oklahoma voters amends Oklahoma’s constitution to bar courts from considering “the legal precepts of other nations or cultures”.  Specifically, it “forbids courts from considering or using Sharia law.”

Good for Oklahoma.  I mean, Sharia law is very scary.  And the impact it’s having on the day-to-day lives of Americans is really astounding.  I mean, just today I had to stone a woman I saw at the Beverly Center.  And I wasn’t the only one!  Good thing that America accepts Sharia law or I’d be in jail right now!

Oh, no…wait.  That would never happen.

So far, zero cases in Oklahoma have been decided with consideration given to Sharia law.  If the block to the amendment is removed, we’ll have to overturn all zero of them.   Imagine the red tape and bureaucracy!  And you know who pays for that!

Pssh…the taxpayers of course!  Let’s have a tea party!

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Read It…

Have you read it? No? Then shhh...

Hey Christians, this is the Bible.

Read it before you ever preach to me or anyone else about what Jesus thinks I should do.

If you, as a Christian, haven’t read the Bible from cover to cover, you have no right to ever tell someone else they should be finding Jesus or acting in any certain way based on your Christian “beliefs”.

This is particularly true when I, and most other atheists, have studied your religion more than you have, generally speaking.

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Pulpit Freedom Sunday

More money, please...it's for god. He's broke.

This past Sunday, pastors from nearly 100 churches around the country participated in an event called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” where they willfully broke the law to preach to their congregation about politics, endorsing policies and candidates.

They do so in protest, because the law that allows religious organizations to have tax exempt status also requires that they refrain from taking political stands in church.

There are churches that have exploited their tax exempt status to become truly rich organizations whose pastors lead lavish lifestyles, to say the least.  But then again, churches have never been shy about taking money from the members of their congregations after convincing them that their “generosity” will help them find their god’s favor.  People used to be forced to pay tithes…now it’s just “encouraged”.

The pastors involved in Sunday’s initiative do so on the basis that the law violates their First Amendment right to freedom of religious expression.  They claim that free speech cannot be limited…

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Burn Her!

“If she weighs the same as a duck, then she’s made of wood!”

“And therefore…?”

“A witch!”

Christine O’Donnell is a Tea Party wacko who won the Republican Primary for Deleware’s upcoming Senate election in November.

She’s unquestionably outside of the mainstream on almost every issue, but guess what?  She says “freedom” and “liberty” a lot, and converted into an Evangelical Christian.  She’s 98% Palin and she’s young and pretty (enough).

On the season premiere of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”, Maher showed a clip of O’Donnell, who used to be a frequent guest on “Politically Incorrect”, as she detailed a date she had gone on with a “witch”.  She said she “dabbled in witchcraft”, but it kind of sounds more like she went on a date with a crazed Satan worshipper.

We could get into some details regarding “witchcraft” and how what she described clearly isn’t that, but let’s just address something else…like why people care.

I personally think it’s hilarious that Maher did this, because anything that keeps this woman out of office is a good thing, even if it’s something that shouldn’t disqualify her, like this.  And it’s definitely funny watching a woman go from being Catholic to “dabbling in witchcraft” to becoming an Evangelical, all with a straight face.  If you can change your “deeply held beliefs” that easily, then you don’t really have deeply held beliefs.

But the bottom line is that people shouldn’t care at all.

People are worried about her beliefs because she looked into witchcraft?  “Witches” believe that the moon affects the tides and crops and moods.

Christians believe in talking snakes and that some guy put two of every species on a boat to avoid a flood.

One of those sounds way crazier than the other…and the crazy one is…drum roll please…Christianity!!!

The silliest thing about this whole story is that O’Donnell has plenty of other beliefs that should be more than enough to disqualify her from being taken seriously.  She’s running for the United States Senate for fuck’s sake, not Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.  If elected, she’ll be involved in debates over some of the most important issues affecting the country.  She shouldn’t be involved in a discussion about the most important issues affecting a neighborhood watch program.

Because her crazy train doesn’t only stop at the religious station.  Those beliefs play out in her policy stances across the board.

She has crazy beliefs of every variety:

O’Donnell is against stem cell research and worries about cloning.  She actually said once, “American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they’re already into this experiment.”  What would it take for a normal person to believe this is true?  Mice with “fully functioning human brains”?  I doubt that I could get a ten-year-old comic book fan to believe this.

She believes that the United States is a socialist economy.

In 2006 she claimed that she heard “the audible voice of God”.  Either she doesn’t know what the word “audible” means, or maybe she’s confused about a different word in that sentence, because otherwise she’s just fucking nuts.  We’re going to have a Senator that hears voices?  I’ll pass.

O’Donnell believes that evolution is just a “theory” and that creationism should be taught in schools.

She believes that masturbation is adultery, because it requires lust in your heart, and because she’s crazy.

It doesn’t take claims of witch craft to think this woman is nuts and unfit for office.

But it does take some people who are (literally) “holier than thou” to think that their crazy religious beliefs are somehow better than hers.

Hellfire, Continued

God changed his mind.

So the crazy religious zealot with the mustache who has turned his congregation of 50 other insane people into the #1 national news story by launching a proposed “International Burn A Koran Day” has yielded to outside pressures and made the smart move and abandoned his radically stupid idea.

Kudos for not being a complete and utter fuckface, Terry Jones.

It’s funny that just the day before, he had prayed to his god and was told to go ahead with the book burning.  Now he’s either defying his god by canceling the Koran burning or his god has changed its mind about it, which seems unlikely due to his god’s obvious infallibility (that’s how we invented him, remember?).

Times like these are when it’s important to notice that even those who claim to be the most religious really just aren’t.  If he (or you) was half as devoutly religious as he (and you) pretended to be, the obvious contradiction would be way too much to deal with.

It is unquestionably good that he has decided not to go through with his idiotic and destructive plan, if for no other reason than it would put US soldiers in immediate danger.  Being that there’s no positive impact to be had, it’s simply not worth the risk.

That said…

Last night on Larry King, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York, appeared to address this situation and of course, the proposed building.

During his appearance, the Imam declined to budge on canceling the building project or moving the community center further from Ground Zero.  I’m not bothered by that decision, because, as I said yesterday, I’m neither for or against the building, except to the extent that I don’t want to see any more religious buildings built anywhere.

His reasoning for the decision was problematic though, and I think it’s time that, as a leader in the Muslim community, he begins to take responsibility for that community, even on the fringes.

He warned that moving the site of the proposed mosque and community center would be seen as an affront to the Muslim community abroad and that it would surely be responded to with acts of violence against Western targets, likely in more extreme ways than their reaction to the cartoon depiction of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper.

When is this going to stop?  When is it going to start being condemned in a major and public way by men like the Imam?  Moderate Muslims owe it to the Muslim community at large to do everything in their power to condemn this sort of behavior.

It simply isn’t okay, no matter how devoutly religious or how completely insane you are, to want to kill people because they drew a cartoon picture of your prophet or because they burned a “holy” book.  It’s not okay to threaten the lives of the creators of South Park and the people at Comedy Central for talking about Mohammed in an episode of the show, and it’s about fucking time we stop excusing it.

As a religious person, you have to respect your religion.  I don’t.  You already think I’m going to hell for not believing what you believe.  You think I’m going to go to fucking double hell if I make fun of it too?  That’s so fucking stupid.

This means war!

Like in all religions, the moderates ask for respect and tolerance of their beliefs.  In this argument, we hear that we must accept and respect the beliefs of all people. It’s no surprise then that this respect is expected to be extended to those with more extreme beliefs (except of course when people act on their extreme belief because, well, that’s just going too far!).  This has to stop.  It’s hard to argue that these religions are solely “religions of peace” when so much of what their “holy” books describe and prescribe is incredibly violent, prejudicial, and extreme.

People with those beliefs do not deserve their beliefs to be respected by the community at large.  Unfortunately, once we accept that truth, it puts the beliefs of “moderates” in jeopardy, and they don’t like that.  So they cry and complain and demand respect and in turn, they allow what should be an intelligent civil discourse to devolve to the point where we must pretend that those who hate gay people, or those who think murder over cartoons is okay, become acceptable.

It’s not enough to say that the fringes are distorting the true meaning of the religion.  They’re not.  They’re distorting what the modern, moderate followers of those religions would like for the true meaning of their religions to be.  The problem is that their more moderate interpretations aren’t, provably, any better a representation of what the true meaning and intent of those books was than the interpretations of “extremists”.

The Imam simply cannot continue to argue that his religion be allowed to do whatever it wants due to the possibility that the extreme segment of the community will react violently.  The only argument for the building of the community center should be that it’s their right to build it, and under the Constitution, it is.  Arguing that we should bow to the fear imposed by Islamic extremists is a tacit acceptance of their behavior, and this can’t be denied.

When will that become the central issue?