Friday, March 28, 2014

“The Death Penalty Honors God!”: Screw God…sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.

Fundamentalist Christians, and a significant portion of mainstream Christianity, are largely death penalty advocates.  The Bible, mostly the Old Testament, gives countless examples of God demanding the death penalty for various trespasses.  While more difficult to uncover, even a verse or two in the New Testament implies capital punishment is justified. At worst, it doesn’t speak directly against it.

Here’s a link that spells out the biblical justifications for the death penalty:

I’ve had people ask how it is I can possibly side with the death cultists of Christianity and Islam (Jews being too mixed on the subject to easily cubbyhole).  For surely, if the blood thirsty hallelujah and jihad bunch see the death penalty as God’s will it must be inherently wrong.  They go on to insist that in the very least, being a free thinker, a modernist, a man of reason, that surely I must  be more progressive and morally advanced than those who’d take a fellow human’s life irrespective of how heinous his crime may be.  Yeah, well … No.

The fact that the majority of the most religiously afflicted and I agree on this issue doesn’t trouble me in the least, because while we are in some level of agreement, we reach the same conclusion for totally different reasons. 

I imagine that at this moment my more genteel, socially evolved and progressive readers are horrified and champing at the bit [’s “champing” not “chomping”] ready to post a comment declaring me a troglodyte and throwback.  But, before you lambaste me let me be more specific as to my position so you can lambaste me for the right reasons and with full understanding.  

First:  I do not applaud Texass [not a misspelling] for holding the country’s title for most executions of any state. I condemn them.  In 2006 Texass accounted for 60% of the nation’s executions. They currently represent somewhere about 35% of annual US executions. It is obscene, wanton. It is disturbingly applied more often to minorities, and is virtually necessitated by certain laws and by certain politics not the least of which is the unique way appellate judges find themselves in office in that state. Here’s the whole ugly story about why Texass is the capital punishment capitol of the nation, if you’re interested:

I do not endorse capital punishment for every murderer, or even most murderers.  Shooting your spouse or neighbor during an argument; killing someone during an armed robbery; a gang banger or drug dealer blowing away an opposing gang member, or competitor drug dealer; and others, are all run of the mill examples of murder.  Life behind bars, with or without the possibility of parole works fine for me. Maybe they can be rehabilitated, and the likelihood of their committing additional murders while in prison is low or moderate.  As far as I’m concerned candidates for execution by the state must be exceptional by virtue of their depravity.   

What’s depraved enough in my opinion to justify the death penalty? Here are a few examples, not necessarily a complete list:
-Home invasions where the victim or victims are raped and/or tortured and killed.  -Wanton intentional mass murder of innocent people by arson or any method.
-Acts of terrorism where WMDs indiscriminately kill innocents.
-Murder in the course of a kidnapping, or to cover up a rape, or child molestation.
-Serial murderers and serial child rapists.

And in all cases the fact of the defendant’s guilt must be totally beyond reproach ... that is, the trial is on the level of a formality. Examples: the Aurora, CO movie theater murderer. Or the Boston marathon bomber.  Or the confessed Connecticut  home invasion perpetrators a few years back, who tortured, raped, burned alive and murdered an entire family … save the father who survived.

You see, to me these people have no reasonable chance for “redemption.” I have zero interest in pursuing their rehabilitation.  Am I seeking revenge for their crimes?  Yep…guilty!  Revenge is a normal human emotion, I feel no need to suppress nor deny it.  The death of society’s most horrific fiends is cathartic. 

Am I devaluing human life? On the contrary. The proper application of the death penalty reinforces the value of those human lives that abide by societies mores, who respected the right of others to live ones life well and to its full term / natural conclusion.  It only devalues the lives of those to whom societies mores and the societal convention of living a good life means less than nothing and worthy only of their contempt, or just utter disregard. Thus those criminal’s lives ARE of less value. People who oppose the death penalty for these uniquely grotesque deviants are the ones devaluing the lives of their innocent victims, in my opinion of course.    

I don’t care that capital punishment is more expensive than incarceration. It’s only more expensive because we let it be more expensive.  I do not hold the lives of such people to be special by virtue of their specie. They deserve no more consideration than would a rabid dog terrorizing your neighborhood; indeed, perhaps less so, since the dog isn’t acting out of malice or for its gratification or a political or religious agenda.

Yes, I understand that among many atheists this position - while not truly unique - is harsh &  unpopular, considered something of an anomaly. But atheist means “having no belief in God/gods” period.  So, I respectfully invite you to lambaste away – I’m good with it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Americans Don’t Like Atheists, Even Those That Died on 9/11

[ NOTE: The following is a "Guest Article"  from Rachel Harger, a friend and atheist activist with Texas Theocracy Watch. Readers who'd like to post an article on religious subjects can send their submissions to me at for consideration. ]

There has been a lot of hoopla recently about American Atheists suing to keep a giant cross out of the National September 11 Museum. They want to keep the cross out of the museum because it would be a religious symbol on government property which violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, but they seem to be willing to settle for being included in the museum along with Jews and Hindus who will have their religious symbols represented.
Most of the hoopla is decidedly negative and not in support of American Atheists. Even one self-described atheist from New York has called them “ingrates” and “truculent” for wanting a plaque in the museum that would say “Atheists died here, too”. One article on this subject stated that “Not all atheists have a pathological need to be hated”, but apparently American Atheists does. They are also apparently “mean-spirited and obnoxious” for taking the issue to court. On FOX News, Megyn Kelly was practically giddy that they had lost in the initial legal stage.
What hasn’t been reported by the media, is that American Atheists made numerous requests to be included by the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, but were ignored.
As is usually the case, public opinion is running against atheists requesting to be recognized as a part of American society, and they probably couldn’t have picked a tougher fight. The events of September 11 are still emotionally wrought, and they are also intimately intertwined with American religious sensibilities. When even an atheist considers Ground Zero to be a holy place and atheist intrusion there a degradation, I would say you’ve hit a particularly raw nerve.
But the sensitivity of the situation makes it even more important to be included in the museum. In fact, that is the very reason American Atheists is asking that Americans who died on 9/11, and who also happened to be atheists, be recognized by their country. Atheists were just as impacted by it as any other group in our society. There are some Americans who gave up their religion or realized for the first time that they were atheists because of the nature of the attack.
Judge Deborah Batts ruled that the cross and its display “help demonstrate how those at ground zero coped with the devastation they witnessed during the rescue and recovery effort.” Yes, it demonstrates how Christians coped with the devastation which is something that should and is being observed and honored. It doesn’t demonstrate how non-religious, atheists, and agnostics coped with the devastation. And apparently nothing that would demonstrate that is allowed in the museum. That is if a majority of Americans who are religious continue to deny the rights and humanity of the minority of Americans who are not.
Atheists serve and die for their country just like other Americans. They pay their taxes just like other Americans. They participate, or at least try to participate in government and perform their civic duties just like other Americans. And some of them died tragically on September 11, 2001....just like other Americans.   But since it is generally okay to characterize atheist Americans and American Atheists as ingrates, mean-spirited, and obnoxious, it’s also okay to not only exclude them, but also to berate them for even asking for inclusion.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Savoring the long awaited death of America’s #1 Hater: Keep your hypocrisy to yourself.

”The thing is, as much as I hate everything Fred Phelps has stood for and instituted, I remain firm in my stance that I will not be happy about anyone's death…”

So sayith an atheist commenting on  Hemant Mehta’s “The Friendly Atheist” blog article on  Fred Phelps’ illness and soon to be dead condition …according to his estranged son.
Fred Phelps, the founder and patriarch of the Westboro Baptist Church, has made life miserable for thousands of people. The homophobic shenanigans at soldier’s funerals, et al, have alienated them even from the other fundamentalist Xtian groups.  If you are unfamiliar with the depth of sickness of his hatred and how far his “church” of family followers takes it, Google him…I won’t go into further detail here.

So, what’s behind this sanctimonious holier than thou, ‘any man’s death diminishes me’ bullshit?  Frankly I think it’s a bold face lie, hypocrisy, espoused by those who want to appear to be on a higher moral plane than us mere normal humans.  And by normal human I mean people whose emotions are appropriate for the situation, not masked /suppressed /and denied because by so doing it is evidence of a more advanced, more evolved humanity.

I'll never understand the mentality of "never happy about someone’s death".  I will avoid the inevitable invoking of "you know who" (that German guy from the early-mid-20th century), lest I be accused of employing Godwin's Law.  But, the reality is- unlike John Donne's famous quote - there ARE in fact people whose death does NOT diminish me / us; indeed, their deaths enhance society and contributes to civilization.  

"Oh my …   Torquemada is dead?? I am wracked with grief! What a loss! I am diminished! Oh the humanity! He was such a Grand Inquisitor.”   Please.

Look, if you genuinely can’t experience the full range of emotions death naturally evokes in normal humans – inconsolable grief, sadness, relief, neutrality, happiness, and perhaps others-  then you’re not more morally evolved than me, you’re either a phony, catatonic, or an automaton .  If you think “all life is precious” tell it to the flesh eating bacteria, brain boring parasites, and deer ticks – no doubt they’d agree if they could.

Fred is near death?  Good!  I hope his death is slow, prolonged and painful … as he prolonged and intensified the pain of the victimized targets of his hate. Feel free to demonize me for my lack of humanity, my not quite as advanced evolution and my lack of respect for the life of certain humans. I’m comfortable with it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see THIS coming!

Last week Mrs. Hump and I were sipping our morning coffee and watching the Today show when we heard the story and watched the tape of a woman in Florida driving into the ocean with her kids on board.  Once the incident was stated to be clearly not accidental, I turned to Mrs. Hump and said these words (or words to this effect): “I’d bet my hump God or Satan told her to do this…she’s got to be a religious nutter.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if you came to a similar conclusion, since the incidents of mothers killing or attempting to kill their children at the behest of a religious supernatural entity is hardly unusual.  

Sure enough it seems she heard demons, and was blabbering about Jesus, and was suddenly immersing herself in the bible according to her kin and children.  In what was intended to be the family’s last moments alive she told her three kids to close their eyes as they were going to “a better place.”   Bingo!!  Religion strikes again.
Whole story here, if you’re not familiar with the details:

I mentioned this on someone’s fb posting and was met with objection by a devout Catholic who said the woman was clearly not in her right mind, and   ”… you’re just out to bash Christianity.”  He’d have much preferred her insanity be left at that, and the religious aspects ignored. Naturally, that is either self imposed ignorance, or intellectual dishonesty on his part, since the prevalence of the religious aspect cannot simply be ignored. Besides, any opportunity to bash religion and its unhealthy effect on society is worth taking advantage of.

I do not doubt for a minute the woman was mentally unstable.  In fact, the onset of her sudden religiosity implies she is suffering from schizophrenia which is often accompanied by  “hyper-religiosity,” a clinically recognized symptom.

But, how can that religious element be ignored? After all, it isn’t as if schizophrenia invented religion and the specific elements of demons, Jesus and the bible and implanted it in the woman’s mind.  The woman herself had carried the religious meme with her from childhood as part of her cultural indoctrination.  The disease simply ignited that training in the brain - rekindled it, so to speak- and magnified it to inflame her and justify if not provoke her murderous action. If she had never been exposed to Christianity, never heard of Jesus, or demons, or heaven (that “better place”) at least that justification for her murderous act would never have existed in her psyche.  What then would she have resorted to that would have justified attempted murder of her children? One can only wonder.

As I stated in The Atheist Camel Chronicles … there is no clinically recognized mental disease/disorder which makes one more secular / atheistic / rational - not surprisingly.  I never heard of an insane atheist who was prompted by the voices/spirits of Sagan, Darwin, O’Hair, Russell, or Hitchens to commit heinous crimes of passion.  If that were the only reason people should avoid infecting their kids with religious fable, it would be grounds enough.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Pity the sensitivities of the put upon Muslims: The horror of cartoons!

The headline in the Huff Post reads:  “Why Muslims Don't Like Cartoons”.
In the article the author bemoans the “thuggish” behavior of those who willingly insult the Prophet Muhammad; while she calls radical Muslims who demand their beheading “slightly loopy”.  She’s not entirely enamored of the Jesus and Mo cartoons, as one might expect. 

Whole, story here:

Hmmm… “thuggish” for  committing blasphemy, “slightly loopy” for promoting beheading.
  I detect a slight disconnect there. Not surprisingly the wide variance in the descriptors bestowed on the two conditions is totally lost on the Muslim woman.  This speaks volumes of how Islam, and /or the cultures that embrace it, view the value of human life.  It is this very obliviousness to that disconnect that makes religion so dangerous and devout religionists so difficult to reason with.

If only one person was murdered for blasphemy by Muslims, or Christians, it would be one too many.  The fact that many thousands, perhaps millions have been dispatched for their words or thoughts is the grand obscenity of religions and reason enough to work toward their demise. 

Blasphemy is a victimless crime.  Whether it is Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, Allah, God, Moloch, Horus, Isis, et al, ...none of them deserve anymore respect than the charlatans who founded Scientology or Mormonism - L. Ron Hubbard, and Joseph Smith- or the millions of other fictional literary personages, gods, or entities like Moby Dick, or Hans Solo.

So, to the sensitive and peace loving followers of the pedophile Mohammed I say issue your fatwas, threaten your jihad, hold up your signs, promote beheading, demand sharia law, blow yourselves up in crowded markets... do what you have to do in the name of defending your "profit" and your absurdly referenced "religion of peace."   Time marches on, it's the 21st century in the rest of the civilized world; society is no longer a slave to the absurdities of religious dogma and delusion; your sensibilities do not take precedence over our freedom of expression;  nor are your antiquated beliefs due my respect because they are your delusion.

Anyone who kowtows to such demands, or professes that we bow to the sensitivities of religionists who hold superstitious delusion more dear than human life, go stand in line with the other appeasers, pucker up, and affix your lips to my ample camel’s ass.