Colbert and Atheist Crosses

This post is by Jesse Galef

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Salazar v. Buono, the case about an 8-foot-tall cross erected as a war memorial on government property.  Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State had a great write-up on it last week on the AU blog.

Last night Stephen Colbert weighed in on the issue with a great segment:

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word – Symbol-Minded
www.colbertnation.com

I loved “America may be a deeply Christian nation, but people of all faiths are welcome here to worship Jesus in their own way.”  (This is silly, but often used with ‘God’ replacing ‘Jesus’.  Suddenly it’s not quite as absurd, is it?)

Colbert, riffing on Justice Scalia, also made a point to say “Since [the cross] represents everybody, shouldn’t we use it to represent every religion?  Or symbolize no religion!  Atheists can have crosses too – they can use them to replace whatever traditionally represents their lack of belief!” as the side text read “A Smug Look?”

Enjoy.

About Dr. Denise Cooper-Clarke

I am a graduate of medicine and theology with a Ph.D in medical ethics. I tutor in medical ethics at the University of Melbourne, am an (occasional) adjunct Lecturer in Ethics at Ridley Melbourne, and a voluntary researcher with Ethos. I am also a Fellow of ISCAST and a past chair of the Melbourne Chapter of Christians for Biblical Equality. I have special interests in professional ethics, sexual ethics and the ethics of virtue.

  • Moxiequz

    …but people of all faiths are welcome here to worship Jesus in their own way

    Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ. — Bart Simpson

  • http://thesciencepundit.blogspot.com/ The Science Pundit

    That was brilliant!

    The only part that I found scary was that even after all these years, I was still able to follow along as he recited the creed. *shiver*

  • http://jessicasideways.com/ Jessica Sideways

    Yeah, I worship Jesus in my own way, by revealing him to be as phony as L. Ron Hubbard.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    They should have the justices take a recurring basic logic test. It seems that Scalia is starting to lose it. (as I say this with a smug look on my face)

  • Spurs Fan

    I’ll take a smug look on my tombstone!

  • Amyable Atheist

    @Science Pundit – me too! And it’s never sounded creepier or more brain-washy, culty, batsh*t insane to me as it did last night…

  • http://www.rationalitynow.com Dan Gilbert

    Once again, Colbert shows that he’s made of PURE AWESOME! LOL!

    (and I agree with Jeff)

  • Matt

    Those soldiers didn’t die for Christ. They died for their country. The most appropriate way to honor them would be to use the existing cross functionally as a cross-brace to support a giant plywood American flag.

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Victor

    Justice Scalia would be hilarious if he weren’t serious.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Colbert, riffing on Justice Scalia, also made a point to say “Since [the cross] represents everybody…

    This reminds me of the 2008 campaign season, during which Tina Fey of Saturday Night Live felt that the best way to parody Sarah Palin was to quote her verbatim.

  • lneely

    my favorite part was when he said something about agnostic reptiles. “christopher hitchens?”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    The “atheist cross” could be the circle with slash, which ironically appears as part of Colbert’s logo for his “Word” segment.

  • Claudia

    My personal favorite was “What, will it offend some agnostic reptile?” With the bullet point “Christopher Hitchens?” Classic.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Claudia, likening “Christopher Hitchens” to an “agnostic reptile” is an insult to both agnostics and reptiles. Since when has a reptile ever said that women aren’t funny? :P

    Seriously, the “smug look” bit is actually a real insult to atheists, if you think about it. Not sure if that’s just Colbert being in character or not.

    Oh, and Jeff, what do you mean by Scalia starting to lose it?

  • thilina

    Ah. Classic.

    Maybe we should have a smug look represent everybody and every religion. Better yet see how the christians defending this would feel if it was a star of david instead.

  • Jen

    I thought the smug look thing is hilarious, and if I could somehow make that be a necklace, I would wear it everywhere.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Oh, and Jeff, what do you mean by Scalia starting to lose it?

    Perhaps I was being too generous.

  • MH

    I read some of Colbert’s book and the chapter on religion was a riot. I loved his definition of atheism.

    The ironic thing about the cross lawsuit is that Frank Buono is a practicing Catholic.

  • Brian Westley

    The ironic thing about the cross lawsuit is that Frank Buono is a practicing Catholic.

    Doubly ironic is, so is Stephen Colbert.

  • MH

    Let’s go for the irony triple play and point out that Antonin Scalia is also Catholic. Is this some kind of Dan Brown conspiracy or something?

  • JJR

    I sometimes like to jack with Christians and say “I was deeply inspired by a man who died on a Cross…y’know, Spartacus…”

    Antonin Scalia is a disgrace. He may rule to affirm my 2nd Amendment Rights in a manner I basically like, but I don’t like him crapping over our 1st Amendment freedoms like this.

  • Claudia

    Claudia, likening “Christopher Hitchens” to an “agnostic reptile” is an insult to both agnostics and reptiles. Since when has a reptile ever said that women aren’t funny? :P

    Seriously, the “smug look” bit is actually a real insult to atheists, if you think about it. Not sure if that’s just Colbert being in character or not.

    Actually my first reaction (after laughing my ass off) was to proclaim “That’s ATHEIST reptile!”

    Yeah the “smug look” is (very) mildly insulting, but we dish it out plenty and we should learn to take it in when it’s done in good fun. How many Jewish jokes do you hear on average a NIGHT between Stewart and Colbert? I’m guessing they have a huge Jewish audience and 99,99% take it as good fun. Colbert is Catholic, but he’s also secular and clearly one of the good guys. I think just as gays let straight-allies like Stewart and Colbert get a pass at making fun in good humor, we should take the ribbing in stride, or we risk becoming the humorless Bill-Donahue types we all abhor.

  • http://www.CoreyMondello.com Corey Mondello

    ACLU honors Scalia all the time…no more support for them please, atleast not economical.

  • JustinTempler

    Let’s test Scalia’s theory, let’s turn that “non religious” symbol upside down and wait for a reaction.

  • Pingback: Colbert on Crosses | Unreasonable Faith

  • http://samizdat.woofkitty.co.uk Samizdat

    “sorry. Videos are not currently available in your country.”

    :(

  • muggle

    LOL! Thanks for posting that. Only things I miss about not ponying up for cable are Colbert and Stewart.

    Leave it to Colbert to show me I can still laugh at myself. That smug look thing was priceless and he wasn’t poking fun of disbelievers so much as he was stereotypes of them.

    Likewise with the bit at the end which seems a bit of a dig at Christians who rattle off their beliefs without thinking. Methinks this was one Christian who was a little ticked at the cross being rendered meaningless.

    Oh, the backlash, Scalia, poor baby. It hurts! Especially when it comes from one so adept at lashing back.

  • Buddykins2001

    Seriously,
    How many times have I marveled at all the useless prayers that are lying dormant in my brain from my Catholic School childhood… I too can still rattle them off, and it would seem that Mr. Colbert is in the same book. Catholicism cured me of religion…


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