Former congressman Allen West encountered one of our “millions of people are living happily without religion” billboards in the subway in Washington, DC. He was so bothered by it that he posted it to his Facebook page, which has gotten almost 10,000 comments as of this writing. You can only imagine the quality of the comments from his followers. Here’s West’s statement:
I had a meeting in downtown DC and am standing at the McPherson Square METRO and an advertisement caught my eye saying, “Millions of Americans are living happily without religion.” The ad is sponsored by the Center for Inquiry at www.livingwithoutreligion.org. America has a Judeo-Christian faith heritage and promotes the free exercise of religion. However, it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy. After all, as it says in Joshua chapter 24, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Yeah, we do need a Values Voters Summit and probably another Great Awakening in America.
What does that second to last sentence have to do with the one before it? Atheists must be miserable because “As for me and my house we will serve the lord”? Wha? Some of the comments:
Your civil liberties are based upon religious principals. To espouse a religion-less life and impugn those who do believe is tantamount to unraveling our republic and invite future anarchy.
Civil liberties are based on religious “principals” (sic), which is why religious people spend so much of their time attacking civil liberties. Makes total sense.
Its not about religion, it about relationship!!!!
On the local media reports on the billboard, there must have been at least 50-100 comments left with that tired and ridiculous claim that Christianity is “not a religion, it’s a relationship with Jesus.” On one long Facebook thread for a local radio station, there were at least a dozen such comments. But there was also one guy very loudly and repeatedly arguing that atheism is a religion. I asked him several times for a definition of religion that would include atheism and he finally (and predictably) offered one that was so broad — any gathering of like-minded people — that it would include a football tailgate party or a book club. I finally left a comment that said, “Things I’ve learned in this conversation: Christianity is not a religion, but everything else is.”
And of course:
BS..the woman in the pic is obviously a Muslum…and last I checked that was still as religion.
There were a whole bunch of comments like this. The woman in the picture is dark-skinned, therefore she must be a Muslim. Because all dark-skinned people are Muslims, dontchaknow.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: