Good Christian Man

Pat RobertsonThis morning, Pat Robertson was speculating about why people are always shooting up “houses of worship”—as though people shot in movie theaters don’t count. He wondered aloud, “What is it? Is it satanic? Is it some spiritual thing, people who are atheists, they hate God, they hate the expression of God?”

I think he is mistaking atheists with Christians and oh some many other people of faith. We atheists[1] don’t hate God, because we don’t believe in it. I don’t hate God any more than than I hate Frodo Baggins. Actually, I am rather fond of both. They are major characters in books that I like. (I’m speaking of the biblical God here, although I’m fond of the many other gods in other books, even if I don’t know them as well.)

By “the expression of God,” I think that Robertson is referring to the worship of God. Again, atheists don’t hate such expressions. We may find it silly. But most of us look at it with a kindly disregard, “Whatever floats your boat.” What we do hate can be seen in all its glory by Robertson in this clip:

Why are we being attacked for this? And who exactly are “we” anyway? Atheists aren’t exactly in agreement about much other than that God isn’t this thing that if pleased will take us to the land of fairies and elves where we can have all the cotton candy we want.

We now know that the shooter of the Sikh temple was a white supremacist. That doesn’t mean that he was a Christian. But the vast majority of white supremacists are Christians. Now I know what Christians will say, “He wasn’t a Christian because Christians don’t do things like that!” To that I have one article to say: I hear you but I ain’t buying. (Also: the vast majority of hardcore Christians don’t accept this argument when applied to Islam.) What’s more, there are explicit indications that this guy was a Christian.

I remember after Mother Teresa died, a lot of born again Christians claimed that they didn’t know if she was going to heaven. If she had that “born again” experience (indigestion?) then she went; if not, she didn’t because no amount of good works makes up for that special personal relationship that God demands one have with Jesus. It works the other way around. Maybe the the shooter was just having a bad day. Maybe he held God in his heart and got it back right before he died. Maybe he’s playing pool, talking smack, and chillin’ with Jesus at this very moment. And if that doesn’t make him a Christian, I don’t know what else does. I can tell you this: if I died right now, there would be no arguement—I’d be in hell, how ever you wish to define it.

So Robertson can take his ignorant attack and shove it where the savior don’t shine. One of the best things about not believing in heaven is that I know Robertson will soon be dead and forgotten. There will be no bar where there is nothing happening and yet is so much fun.[2] We can file his obituary under W for wasted lives of privilege. But perhaps he can take solace in the fact that his hate speech will live on in countless other Good Christian Men.

[1] I still don’t feel very comfortable with that word. One thing I do know is that there is no such thing as God the entity. Theism implies that one believes that there is some thing that exists that needs worshiping. This is clearly not the case. There are, however, profound spiritual questions, which I’m afraid most religions only obfuscate.

[2] It is hard to imagine that nothing at all, could be so exciting, could be this much fun:

Great song. Studio version is better. David Byrne is a dick. Just saying.

Republican Whining

Mitt Romney - No We Can'tJonathan Chait has a good article this morning about how Romney’s entire campaign is based upon a lie. He starts by noting that Obama’s campaign is not exactly snow white: his attacks on outsourcing as simplistic and perhaps even misleading. I would add that they are somewhat hypocritical, because Obama basically agrees with Romney on this issue. (Reason number 5382 to not like Obama.) But Romney’s campaign is based on making this election a referendum on the economy and Obama’s handling of it.

Chait shows that in 2004, Romney argued that Bush should not be held accountable for the bad economy. If it is true that Bush was not responsible for the bad economy then—Chait believes he was not—then Obama is even less responsible for the current economy. I would argue that Bush was responsible for the economy (at least to some degree) because he was able to get his policies passed; Obama has been stymied—especially during the last two years.

We know that Obama at least disagrees with Romney’s idea of what should be done about the economy. Romney’s whole argument is that the voters should judge the President entirely responsible for the economy—and that’s all. And we know that isn’t what Romney really believes.

What I find most interesting is how the entire Republican chattering class is whining about all of Obama’s attacks on Romney. They are in effect saying, “Obama should only talk inside our frame for the campaign!” Susan Del Percio is an excellent example of this, “This campaign is a referendum on the economy!” Really?! This reminds me of those who said all through the 2008 campaign that the central issue of that campaign should be Jeremiah Wright.

The difference is that in 2008, it was only those on the fringe who publicly complained that if Obama wasn’t talking about what McCain wanted to talk about, Obama was being unfair. In 2012, it is the whole Republican establishment that is saying this.

Komodo Dragon

I got into bed this evening and put on Lizard Kings: On the Trail of the Monitor Lizard, a NATO program about this very intelligent genus of lizards that includes the Komodo dragon. This reminded me of an old Bob and Ray routine that is one of the funniest things ever. So I got out of bed and listened to it. But I couldn’t go to bed without sharing it with all of you.

Good night!

Update (19 August 2012 4:20 pm)

I just noticed that this album was directed by Joseph Hardy who directed the original Off Broadway production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Broadway production of Play it Again, Sam.