Proposed Ad: ‘It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church’

This is the full-page ad the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to place in the New York Times:

They’re looking for contributions to run the pricey $52,000 ad:

If the response is enthusiastic enough, FFRF will book a full-page ad. If we don’t meet our $52,000 quota, we’ll go with a smaller ad. We can get the full-page ad in next week. The smaller stand-by ad could take up to 3 weeks to run.

(Before you start complaining about how that money could be used for X, Y, and Z, realize that, unfortunately, many donors *love* giving money for purposes like this one. They don’t get very excited about whatever X, Y, and Z are. FFRF — and every other atheist group — knows that very well by now. Billboards and in-your-face ads are usually more exciting for the membership than the alternatives. That’s why they raise money for them. It gets their name in the press, gets members excited, and spreads the message.)

The idea for the ad came from an open letter to “liberal” Catholics published last week by FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor:

You’re better than your church. So why? Why continue to attend Mass? Tithe? Why dutifully sacrifice to send your children to parochial schools so they can be brainwashed into the next generation of myrmidons (and, potentially, become the next Church victims)? For that matter, why have you put up with an institution that won’t put up with women priests, that excludes half of humanity?

No self-respecting feminist, civil libertarian or progressive should cling to the Catholic faith. As a Cafeteria Catholic, you chuck out the stale doctrine and moldy decrees of your religion, but keep patronizing the establishment that menaces public health by serving rotten offerings. Your continuing Catholic membership, as a “liberal,” casts a veneer of respectability upon an irrational sect determined to blow out the Enlightenment and threaten liberty for women worldwide. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they raised that money by early next week…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    I’m in. Even though they don’t seem to take paypal.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a little too confrontational and therefore wont be as effective. Perhaps an ad persuading liberal catholics to join the Episcopal Church would be better. Baby steps. Baby steps. Many people have a very deep emotional connection to those rituals and the music and pomp (which the Episcopal Church still has without most of the stupid dogma).

    • Atoswald

      afornase, I agree. If they go at catholics with this “in your face” ad (although I agree whole heartedly with the message it contains!) the catholics, even the more liberally minded catholics, are going to bristle in reaction. This ad may even have a negative effect. Catholics will view this as an attack and their support for the catholic church, and all its harmful doctrines, will increase. Having been raised catholic, there are times that I still miss the “incense fogged ritual.” The comfort and security it provided were initially difficult to walk away from. I would hazard a guess that, due to all the ritual and tradition, catholicism is exceedingly difficult to walk away from, and any threat to that, even for a questioning catholic, will be enough to push catholics securely into the arms of their waiting priests.

      • Anonymous

        I see that we are both coming to the same conclusion due to our similitude backgrounds. I too was raised Catholic and sometimes miss the “incense fogged ritual” (still!!!!) even though I have become wholeheartedly atheistic. The ritual, symbolism and “ancientness” definitely kept me in the church much longer than I think I would have been had I belonged to a mega church.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

    Wow. First attacking only one religion, and now you’re singling out one denomination. To use a phrase from the 90′s. Classy. NOT!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EAIHLUU3JSTIB3D2OWHGYN5PHA Ingen

      Seriously? You’ve never seen Hermant criticise Muslims, Jews or Hindus? What blog have you been reading?

      • http://www.twitter.com/a_okafor007 Anthony C. Okafor

        I’m sure he or she doesn’t read this blog regularly lol!!!

    • Piet Puk

       One step at the time..

    • Anonymous

      This is not very different from the tactics used to try and poach Anglican believers and priests into  a special order in the catholic church when the ordination of women was first introduced in the UK. The catholic church can hardly complain if the same tactics (an open letter) are used against them. They will complain of course but that will make the watching that more sweet.

    • Scott-K

      Attacking?  I didn’t know we were attacking today.  Dammit, I left my pitchfork at home!

      Seriously, since when does honest criticism constitute an attack?

    • TiltedHorizon

      This is ‘criticism’ not ‘attacking’. Read the proposed again then read the article linked below and tell me which one is more respectful.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-doyle/the-jesuseating-cult-of-r_b_1296358.html

  • 1000 Needles

    The concept is great. I like the idea of a concise, itemized list of reasons that a particular religion is harmful.

    However, I have an issue with the general wording. With a full-page ad, you could make a crazy-awesome case against the Catholic church. Devote one or two items to birth control, and use the remaining space to list other criticisms, such as protecting child-molesting priests.

    The wording, as it exists now, is redundant and sometimes confusing. I’ll use the fourth item as an example.

    ——–

    Think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of your church’s pernicious doctrine that birth control is a sin and must be outlawed.

    ——–

    Any newspaper copy editor knows that words like ‘pernicious’ are far above the reading level of your target audience.

    I’d rewrite that item to say this:

    ——–
    By declaring birth control a sin, the Catholic church is causing more abortions and more deaths by unsafe, “back-alley” abortions.  This, in turn, increases poverty and suffering around the world.

    [Insert URL to relevant study or statistics.]

    ——–

    Also, the fixed-width font makes the content more difficult to read.

    I know that I’m nitpicking, but such a controversial and expensive ad ought to be refined and refined until it is flawless.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002889235227 Garrett Sheehan

      Wow, really? The Catholic church does not protect child molesting priests. In fact, other religions have more problems with child molestation than the Catholic church does. The news just does not report the crimes, and inflate the problems in the Catholic church to make it look bad. I am a 13 year old Catholic, and I would not be afraid to be locked in a room with a Catholic priest. Really, learn you statistics before you post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jared.scheib Jared Scheib

    I could make 4 or 5 viral-potential videos with the same message for the same budget, if they’re looking to finance some more commercials instead of going with old media.

  • Ratsnake

     The reaction to this from Catholic leaders and pundits is going to be priceless. Bill Donohue will most likely shit himeslf.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Venhartly/100003164475597 Sarah Venhartly

    I think it is great.  Given the rigid stance of the Catholic Church, which goes so far as to deny employees the right to make their own decision about basic health care, it is completely appropriate to say enough is enough. 

  • Fester Sixonesixonethree

    If I could afford it I would pay for the whole thing myself! 

  • Anonymous

    I like the idea, though I would quibble with a few details.

    - I would shorten the text and enlarge the font. The contraception rule in the healthcare law takes up two paragraph-sized bullet points. Surely the point can be made in less space.

    - The part that says “Your church hysterically claims…” rubs me very much the wrong way. By using “your” you are including the reader in the institution and therefore in the culpability. People will naturally get defensive about that. You can make the very same point by saying “The church hysterically claims…”. This wording tells them “This is not you, you are not them. Look at what they are saying!” which distances them from the organization, instead of including them in the accused.

    - I would nix the part that says “Every Sunday you’re being lobbied against the Administration” or at least once again de-personalize to “Every sunday, they use the pulpit to lobby against the Administration”. We’re talking to liberal or nominal Catholics. It’s very likely that those who still go to church on Sunday go to liberal Catholic churches that quietly ignore most of the hysterics from the bishops and try to teach love thy neighbor. Even those who are mandated to read a letter can make it abundantly clear by their tone or the context that they disagree with it, even if they don’t say it out loud. By telling the reader that they are being lobbied every Sunday, you are begging for him or her to say “What the Hell do you know? Father Matthew does no such thing!”. By making it inpersonal, you once again make it about the larger efforts of the Bishops, which the reader will likely already have in low regard.

    -The part that says “Apparently you’re like the battered woman who..” Uh yeah, please don’t do that. Again you are accusing and berating the reader, the kind of reader who is likely the go along to get along type and will not take kindly to an abrasive tone. Also plenty of people will find the comparison to domestic violence offensive all by itself. You can make it more caring and warm by imploring “Please don’t keep returning to a church that keeps mistreating and disrespecting you and your choices”.

    I love the idea generally, but I think you’ll do a lot more good with the “You’re better than your church, they don’t deserve you” tone than with the “Your presence in this organization makes you stupid and complicit in their evil” tone.

    • Anonymous

      I love the idea generally, but I think you’ll do a lot more good with the “You’re better than your church, they don’t deserve you” tone than with the “Your presence in this organization makes you stupid and complicit in their evil” tone.

      Great point(s) Claudia………you should think about offering your ‘tweaking’ services for all such campaigns :)

      The greater (emotional) distance you can put between someone and their beliefs, the more open they’ll be to looking at those beliefs critically.   

    • walkamungus

      Totally agree. The wording throughout is too confrontational — YOU do this, YOU do that. “The Catholic Church” or “the Church” would be more persuasive, as that wording addresses Catholics outside the context of the institution.

      I also don’t like the layout, which looks like bulleted paragraphs, but does not read like bulleted paragraphs (see alleged paragraph 2). The spacing between paragraphs sets them off, so they should also not be indented.

      And they have permission to use the cartoon?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

         I think making it personal is important. I remember being a liberal catholic. My mental defense was that I was not like those bad religious people. Saying “by attending church on Sunday you are enabling this” is important.  You are being swallowed by the Bishops and spat out in a form more suited to their needs.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

       I like “including the reader in the institution and therefore in the culpability.” They are culpable as long as they keep associating with the church. That’s kind of the whole idea.

  • Kai Price

    I like the letter from Annie Laurie Gaylor MUCH better…

  • Kai Price

    The goal here should be to actually help people to quit the Church, not just to attack the Church with a “so there, nyah!” attitude that makes US feel good. I like the idea of this, but I think it falls very short of the goal.

  • Anonymous

    Waste of time. Too much text. Nobody will read it.

    • FSq

      wow. Great attitude. Yes, too much ext….how dare we attempt to turn the tide of American Idiocy by using multi-sylobic words in text form….for SHAME….

      • Anonymous

        It has nothing to do with any “attitude”. 
        I just don’t think reading is a strong point of the target audience of this ad.

        • FSq

          Right. So let’s continue to add to the idiocy of the nation by using crayons and large print.

          • FSq

            And oh yes, I forgot….those “New York Times” readers are a knuckle-dragging demographic, aren’t they….yep, best not to use too man y words for them….

            • Anonymous

              The New York times may not be the right venue either.

              • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

                Well is it? And of so, why?

              • FSq

                What do you do for  living? What is your degree, if you have one, in? What qualifications do you have to explain complicated demographic issues?

                I am guessing not many. You are one of a million Internet experts, who feels because they can type into a “comment” box, they must have some sort of insight into every issue.

                I am a journalist. I work in the newspaper industry.  I happen to have a tremendous amount of experience and professional insight here, and “Internet” experts simply trod upon the credibility of those with true experience or expertise.

                It is the furthering of Idiot America.

                • Anonymous

                  So Mr. Journalist can’t handle a difference of opinion without resorting to belittling remarks and snide comments?

                  You don’t have to be an expert in anything to know that most people simply don’t read walls of text. That is why news stories use the inverted pyramid structure. Most people stop reading after a few paragraphs.

                • FSq

                  No, what I “can’t handle” is how every Internet idiot with a search engine thinks their opinion is worthy, or even worthy or equal soundings. They are not. And it is this mentality that contributes to the dumbing down of the country.

                  When everyone is a self-professed expert, no one is. And the experts get crucified.

                  ANd go back and read the OP. Didn’t it say to NOT get caught up in “well….it would be better if you only did_____” but you chose to either not read, ignore it, or could not comprehend it.

                  Again, the dumbing down of America. Well done, you have contributed.

                • Anonymous

                  Dude, you’re also just another guy on the internet. Let it go.

                • FSq

                  And the invert is pretty outdated. You must not have caught up on the latest since you took that elective class during your run at a degree.

                • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

                  “most people simply don’t read walls of text”

                  True, but then we’re not talking about ‘most people’, we’re talking about the subset that’s chosen to buy a copy of the New York Times. What do you think they’re doing with the rest of the paper – wrapping their chips in it?

                • Nordog

                   I would love to read some of your professional work.  How about some links?

          • Anonymous

            I like crayons.

      • Nordog

         Gee, you always criticize my use of polysyllabic words.  Glad to see the change of heart.

        • FSq

          Look at you go, getting all sassy-pants….Don’t you have a bible study to attend, or a rally to try and subjugate women?

          Or perhaps an anti-choice session? 

          • Nordog

            Don’t you have an article to finish for the junior high paper?

    • starskeptic

      The amount of text is definitely an  important factor to consider- most readers browse ads, not have a relationship with them… 

      • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

        If the ad is interesting, I like for it to have more text. What do you mean “most readers browse ads, not have a relationship with them”?

  • Kataton

    This ad is a good idea, but needs some serious re-design. Right now, it looks like a high school photoshop project, and reads a little like it, too. I’m not trying to be snide, it’s genuinely how it comes across to me, and and makes me take it less seriously. There are too many visual elements mashed together, and too many words. Does the FFRF ever consult with graphic designers? Again, not snide, a genuine question.

    • Kataton

      Ugh. Comment typos. :P

      • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

        Do other people not see ‘Edit’ links on their posts? I know I do and it seems to work for me.

        • Aurelia

          If you don’t have an account, but enter in a name and e-mail each comment, you don’t have access to editing.

  • Richard Hughes

    This is a terrible plan. Overt confrontation over this sort of thing just solidifies peoples convictions, even if you hammer out a giant list of very good reasons why they are wrong. Humans aren’t rational enough for this to be sensible.

    • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

      Exactly how many previous successful campaigns, whether women’s suffrage, black civil rights, gay rights, or anything else have convinced people that they were wrong without having to actually tell them that they were wrong?

      You’re right that people don’t like being told they’re wrong, but the alternative is to have them be happy, and carry on exactly as they already are.

    • Kataton

      Hm, I disagree. It’s important to confront terrible beliefs head-on. Abolitionists did it, Suffragists did it, and in the long run they won their causes. Marriage Equality activists are going it right now, and they’re ultimately going to win their cause, too. I’m sure many people’s pro-slavery and anti-suffrage convictions were solidified in the short term when confronted because, yes, you’re right. Humans are’t always rational, and that is a human’s knee-jerk response to confrontation. Look at the current backlash against gay rights-that’s how these things play out. But, after the knee-jerk, be it weeks, months or years, people do think  through these things, and they very often change their minds. I’ve read about many atheists in this community who did exactly that. We’re playing the long game here, and this is good long-term strategy. (If only they’d clean up the design of the ad! :P)

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      That there are people for which overt confrontation doesn’t work doesn’t mean there aren’t people for which overt confrontation does work. Make sense now?

  • FSq

    I just made my donation.

  • FSq

    And jesus people, give it a goddamn rest. All of you “well, this would be better if you only….” yes, that is why you all have degrees in marketing and advertising, isn’t it?

    The thing about the Internet – everybody is an expert, except the actual experts.

  • Wasd

    I agree strongly with every word but the text doesn’t look quite ready for a campaign.

    As others have said, there is some redundancy making the text TL;DR

    It does include a clear call to concrete action that is easy to participate in, a call not to attend mass… But the Church still counts everyone who was ever baptized as followers whether they care for, let alone attend, catholic churches or not. I suspect the campaign might have a bigger impact if it called on people to make sure they were actually removed from church membership rolls trough the formal act of defection. From what I understand the process is a little bureaucratic but otherwise painless.

    A while back the always incredibly insightful Zinnia (youtube`s queen of atheism) explained the process. Basically you just write what is called a formal letter of defection. In this you say you no longer want to be part of the church. Americans can find the address of the local parish and the parish in which you were baptized at http://parishesonline.com the Irish http://countmeout.ie/international/ has example letters as does the Canadian http://www.apostasie.org/ Zinnias letter is a pretty awesome example as well. There is an interesting personal response which shows archbishops actually read these letters. I imagine they kind of have to, its a day-to-day part of keeping church records. I understand some churches will send over someone to talk to you so its probably smart to mention that this wont be necessary. You know, unless you are into that kind of thing I guess. I am sure that if I think hard enough I can come up with an appropriate establishment for having this conversation.

    Its a little more work, but I suspect hundreds of letters explaining the consequences of the churches positions and/or actions and/or lack of action and/or leadership choices and/or priorities and/or history would have a higher impact than even thousands of people not showing up for mass. That would just get blamed on the weather or something. And since the campaign is aimed primarily at people who are already not that enthusiastic about going to a catholic church, why not ask them to do something they were not doing already?

    A more minor point. I would move something like the Amish horse carriage analogy to earlier in the text. People who have never heard of the FFRF need to know what it is FOR pretty early in the piece if the are gonna keep reading on and on about all the things FFRF is against. As is the text makes this all about a zero sum game between obviously reasonable womans interests vs reasonable sounding “religious freedom”. IMHO it should be clear from the start this is about defending crystal clear longstanding traditional secular principles that have protected peoples essential freedoms for many many years against a foreign new theocratic idea that serves no purpose whatsoever. That should take care of explaining what it is the FFRF actually does. People reading or discussing an open FFRF letter in the nytimes already know about the recent catholic contraceptive brainfart, the question is what does the FFRF suggest people do about it. Whats the point if all you are saying is “this controversy is controversial”?

    Finally the current ad design includes as coupon for contacting the FFRF. I suspect including a “I no longer want to be a catholic because” form letter would be even better and reinforce the message. Making sure there is a a US version of the Irish website countmeout.ie ready before the campain might also help a lot of people. You enter your zipcode, get the right address for your diocese, tick the box or boxes for the reasons you are leaving the church, print, stamp send and done… for the ever skeptical me the FFRF membership coupon kinda sorta smacks of using emotional issues to do fundraising…. which is okay but it muddies up the message a little in my book.

    All in all it sounds like an awesome campaign that I hope stirs up plenty of well deserved debate.

    (Yes I am aware this is officially the world longest complaint about how a text by someone is TL;DR)

    • Wasd

       Well what do you know, the catholic church quickly and swiftly modified its global canon law in 2009. This, incidentally, appears to be within months of countmeout.ie going up. Apparently churches all around the world quickly fell into line with the new orders and its now impossible to formally leave the catholic church.

      Aren’t I the idiot that I didn’t expect them to swiftly change their canon laws in response to a problem in the church that had the potential to become a a bit of a PR pickle.

      The Holy See confirmed at the end of August that it was introducing changes to Canon Law and as a result it will no longer be possible to formally defect from the Catholic Church. This will not alter the fact that many people can defect from the Church, and continue to do so, albeit not through a formal process. This is a change that will affect the Church throughout the world. [... ]. Last year [2009?] 229 people formally defected from the Church through the Archdiocese of Dublin. 312 have done so, so far this year.

      Gee, new canon law being passed without too much effort, Apparently within a short period of time of new facts coming to light. And churches around the world lining up to follow orders quickly and effectively…. one wonders in which other circumstances the church could act like that.

      A couple hundred boring half joking letters and BOOM the holy see changes its laws
      Thousands of kids raped around the world for decade after decade after decade, and the pope could decree its every catholics duty to testify in such cases so what is the response? Well what response really? The motherfucker just sits there in his palace.
      Millions of people dying from HIV/AIDS, some could be saved with thousands of dollars worth of medical care but the pope holds the power to save millions of lives (like literally) for free with the stroke of the pen simply by saying condoms are okay…. and the motherfucker just sits there in his palace.

      He can change laws if he wants to… news facts do reach his office, he knows whats going on out there yet the motherfucker just sits there in his palace.

      Forget everything I said, I clearly haven`t got a clue how to deal with these people. I live in protestant Europe, there is a beautiful park nearby. It used to be a monastery all that remains now is the iconic shrubbery, one saved statue and the tombstone of a some big priest which has been hoisted on a rock to serve as a table…. how in the hell do these people expect to keep this up without people one day tearing down the Vatican brick by brick?

  • Tom

    I LOVE the ad, being an ex-Catholic myself.  GIVE IT MONIES

  • http://twitter.com/TweetThatSheet Daniel Brown

    Don’t care for the cartoon. Just because the pill is small doesn’t mean that what we’re talking about is insignifigant. After all:

    1) Many tiny things can be hugely effective. A single keystone can keep an entire archway in place. A single chromosome change can have major effects. A single tiny sperm is all that’s needed for an egg to become a full on human.

    2) If something so small doesn’t constitute such emotion – why are people on OUR side so adamant about it? Shouldn’t both parties not care because it’s so insignificant?

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

       I don’t care for the whole “something so small” lines, either.

  • Nordog

    The problem with the text is not so much that it’s too lengthy.  It’s that it’s too divorced from reality.

    Whoever wrote it seems to love good snarky rhetoric over facts.

    Probably the biggest factual problem is this:

    “Every Sunday from the tax-free pulpit you’re being lobbied against the Administration’s contraceptive policy.”

    You know, that just ain’t happening.   What’s worse, the people this is being addressed to know better than anyone that it isn’t happening.

    I’ve been a Catholic for 16 years and have been to Catholic Mass from coast to coast and back again.  The fact of the matter is that one would find it very difficult to find any homily at a Catholic Mass that talks about sin, any sin.  Or contraception.  Or abortion.  Or Homosexuality.

    Instead, the homilies tend to be the most toned down insipid blather one can imagine.

    Granted, recently there was a bishop’s letter to have been read at Mass regarding the current controversy.  But guess what.  It wasn’t read everywhere.

    And the idea that the US Bishops are waging a war is lunacy.  As is the idea that they seek to prohibit everyone’s access to contraception.

    Of course, in the liberal’s mind (and face, most atheists seem to be far left liberals) if someone refuses to pay for something they are waging a war against it.

    The liberal and nominal Catholics who go to Mass KNOW this.  When (IF) they read this screed from FFRF they are going to roll their eyes and recognize blatherskite when they see it.

    We often here the imperative, “Stay out of my bedroom!  Stay out of my womb!”

    Fine.  You want the Catholic Church to stay out of your bedroom?  Fine.  Just don’t call it war when the Church doesn’t want to pay for your party supplies.

    • Anonymous-Sam

       Um. So when the pope specifically refuses to grant contraception to AIDS-suffering regions…

      • Anonymous-Sam

        Actually, no. That was petty of me. I have a far better argument for this.

        The Catholic church relies utterly upon a strict hierarchy system. When one member makes a statement of policy, that statement applies across the board. To convince me that the Catholic church is not, in fact, trying to deny people access to the items listed above, it would be a simple matter for the pope to make a statement to that effect. It’s even warranted, considering the recent uproar about the healthcare law in the United States.

        A law which, mind you, allows churches and religious organizations to opt-out of providing services they disagree with.

        Which hasn’t satisfied them. There continues to be an outcry about how this law cannot be tolerated, even though religious organizations would not be required to acknowledge it.

        The pope remains silent. Apparently he agrees that it is immoral to allow contraception in any form. All he would have to do is make a statement to the contrary and it would be passed down through the hierarchy and this outcry would have to cease.

        He doesn’t.

        • Nordog

          I think you have a fever.  The pope doesn’t grant or refuse to grant contraceptives.  Not sure what that means anyway.

          Show me where the US Bishops, as charged by FFRF, has sought to force anyone, Catholic or not, from access to contraceptives.

          It hasn’t happened.

          The controversy is that the Church doesn’t want to pay for certain services and products.  The governement says they must.

          This really is a separation of church/state issue and I find it very interesting that those who champion that separation the most, atheists, seem to be on the side of obliterating that separation because it works against an organization they don’t care for: the Church.

          But when that separation has been obliterated, what will the atheists do when the Christianist whackjobs get in power?

          Face it, this controversy is not good for anyone, no matter where you stand on the issues of faith, atheism, contraception, health care, etc.

          You guys are a minority, and what you see happening here should scare you.

          • Anonymous

            And the Junior Pharisee demonstrates once again why he can’t be taken seriously.

            This is indeed a church/state separation issue – but for a reason exactly opposite of what you’ve stated.

            Religious institutions are being told that *because* church and state are separate, they have to play by exactly the same rules as everyone else; and that lack of distinction has your Christian-privilege panties in a bunch.

            Oh, and the guy who thinks he talks to invisible flying zombies has absolutely no room to tell others that they’re divorced from reality.

            • Nordog

              “Religious institutions are being told that *because* church and state are separate, they have to play by exactly the same rules as everyone else…”

              Well, actually, no.

              Be that as it may, if you’re okay with the federal government dictating what you must buy with your own money then I can undestand how you would be happy with this.  Still, this is a can of worms that is being opened and it doesn’t bode well for anyone not in power (and that would be most of us).

              Pharisee again?  Really?  Whatever.

              • Anonymous

                Gasp! What an amazing discovery you’ve made: that governments make rules which all citizens have to follow! Such insight!

                This would indeed be unfair if: 1. The U.S. government was some alien Thing imposed upon us, in which we could not participate and which we could not influence; and 2. If those rules were not made to apply to everybody – you know, such as if hospitals got special exemptions from employment law because they stick a cross out front.

                And yes. Really.

                • FSq

                  Don’t waste your time with this guy. Logic left the building the first time a priest’s phalange went up his anus…

                • Nordog

                  Do you have any idea how sick you are?

                • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

                  It’s a bit insensitive of you to make that assumption, isn’t it? What if Nordog was the priest?

          • FSq
    • FSq

      “Fine.  You want the Catholic Church to stay out of your bedroom?  Fine.  Just don’t call it war when the Church doesn’t want to pay for your party supplies.”

      No, as usual, you have it inverted and twisted.

      You say it is “war” when in FACT, it is nothing more than you asswipes not getting privileged treatment or preferential treatment. That isn’t war Hoss. That is LAW, and it is the legal and moral thing to do.

      Also, before you start claiming you are footing the bill for the wanton carnality alleged to be taking place, don’t forget that your pedophile hiding, evil, women subjugating organization has tax free status and enjoys privilege the likes of which even a white man in the USA doesn’t get.

      So take your butt-hurt bullshit somewhere other than a realm of rationality and reason.

      • Nordog

        FSq, I’m sorry you were raped by a priest.  I can’t imagine how warped and perverted your thinking has become because of it.  Child rape is an evil thing, even if you don’t believe in evil.  It really is a terrible crime, and you not even out of junior high school yet.

        But politically far left looney atheists like you are really beyond hope.  Your hatred and bigotry, combined with your socialistic left wing politics, make for an world view that is, well, twisted.

        What you call preferential treatement is really the 1st Amendment.  The tax exempt status that fires up the bigoted imagination of your ilk is indeed an example that there are different rules: Churches do not pay taxes.

        But still, the whack-a-doodle liberal mind can see no difference between taxed and untaxed income.  There seems to be this idea that all income belongs to the government anyway.  So if someone has money that hasn’t been paid to the government, then the taxpayers are subsidising whatever that individual spends that money on.  It’s a “logic” that no one really has the right to own anything.  It’s marxism really if taken to its logical conclusion.

        Regarding pedophile priests, most weren’t pedophiles.  Most of the victims were well into puberty.  These were cases of gay priests “awakening” the “gay” in boys.  Gross I know, but in some quarters the “awakening” concept is held in esteem.  Go figure.

        In any event, hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear at least one news story of a teacher being arrested for having sex with a student.  These are good old fashioned public school teachers.  Why don’t I hear an outcry against the evil pedophile teachers in the world?

        It would be interesting to do a statistical study to find out how the teachers stack up against the priests.

        I also find it funny that yesterday I think it was you were giving someone a bunch of your usual FSq bile.  You were telling them that they didn’t know jack just because they can google.  Then today you post a bunch of links you had googled in what I can only presume was to be some overwhelming show of, I don’t know, google superiority.  You are funny sometimes.

        But mostly you are a pathetic hatefilled bigot.  And the bile in your heart is going to harm you more than any harm you may ever wish upon those you hate.

        • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

          Regarding capitalism, you appear to be misinformed. Religious organizations that aren’t churches frequently compete with other legitimate businesses. $43 to your theme park is fair? Not a subsidy because it was based on a tax-break? When the economic environment involves everyone else paying a fair tax, and one group is given a unique tax break, that is money the group is not entitled to. It is not a logical precedent of Marxism. It is a logical precedent of a free market.

          One example not enough? Need more? What do you know, Google can be your friend, too.

          Regarding rape and homosexually, you are pathetically misinformed. I hope you were simply wearing your Freud hat when you tried to psychoanalyze a child rape of Fsq. I hope you didn’t find it funny or think it somehow clever.

          • Nordog

            A theme park is not a church.  And states give deals like this all the time in an effort to stimulate business.  But for the record, I’m against it.  In any event the story offers nothing in opposition to my point regarding the liberal mindset that thinks that we own simply what the government allows.

            Yeah, I think that FSq’s fixation with priestly rape, combined with his completely unhinged hatred for people of faith, makes it reasonable to think he was probably “awakened” by a priest himself.

            But you hope I didn’t find it funny or somehow clever.  Do your hope run in a likewise direction when FSq spews his bile on the subject?

        • RESCRIPT

          You were raped by some religious leader and had your free will screwed entirely from your brain. Learn to think with reason, not emotion.

          • Nordog

            Good reply.  Very on point.  Did you come up with that one on your own?  Alinsky would be proud.  (You have read your Alinsky haven’t you?  Or have you just picked up the technique by a passive social type of osmosis?)

            And, oh, hadn’t you heard, there is no free will.  Or so I’ve read in these parts.

      • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

         Ask them to take their bullshit into a realm of rationality and reason!

      • RESCRIPT

        There is a problem with churches not paying tax and then trying to influence public legislation. Religions are void of morality in the way they treat their flock, why should sane citizens be subject to their lunacy? They occupy prime real estate and collect billions from many different sources. Why are they not contributing to society like all other organizations?

    • RESCRIPT

      The Catholic church pays for everything with what they take from parishioners. Their money is tied up in church opulence and greed. They should treat people with common respect. Imagine how many starving could be fed with their blood money.
      This is war, on religion.

      • Nordog

        Yeah, whatever.  Good luck with that.

        • RESCRIPT

          And good luck to you sir. I am sure your religious hell here on earth will not improve much in your non-existent after life.

  • RESCRIPT

    Think of nature as your God. A God whose purpose and intelligence is far beyond our comprehension. A God without favor or prejudice. A God who just keeps on creating & destroying life and is oblivious to our individual or species survival. A God who through an eternity has and will create life trough constant rebirth and death. Not a God of human creation yet one we all know well. A strange paradox where madness reigns and purpose is fleeting. A universe teeming with life all vying for survival.

    Such a universe must be totally void of morals, purpose or reward. But, for the species lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time; a species with the intelligence to unlock the secrets of God himself, this species may be able to survive in the universe through future eternity. If humanity is to survive we first have to save our planet, then explore the universe while spreading the seed of mankind to insure our survival from natures eventual destruction.

    This view of God  comforts me greatly when I realize that I could be a part off, or maybe a contributor to the immortality of such a species.

  • Bob Becker

    FFRF does some very good work, particularly challenging theism in public schools and the like.  Nevertheless, I began to become a little uneasy when the organization put up bill boards about a year ago during the holiday season showing a jolly Santa saying “Yes, Virginia, there is no god!”  That was targeting children, and I didn’t like the FFRF doing it any more than I like the fundies doing it.  
    Began to get just a little uneasy about my membership,  wondering whether to renew it or not.  Had decided to [it's renewal time now], until I saw the ad and ad fund drive.   Taking a stance for atheism and against theism is fine. It’s what the organization ought to be doing.  Going after the members of one particularly denomination is quite another. The ad nudged me back over the line and I’m not renewing my membership.  I’ll up my contributions to the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State instead.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

       You have an interesting point. If in pursuit of secular freedom, we work against one denomination to some benefit of the others, we have reduced ourselves to discriminatory  oppression.

      On the other hand, how do you tackle religious arguments and tactics that aren’t used by all churches? Do all denominations have the same influence in politics? Spend the same amount of money lobbying? The only nuanced or specific rebuttal you ever make will be just that: a response. You will always be taking a defensive position, waiting for each denomination to make their own mistake.

      I would worry if the FFRF makes a pattern of only things to say to Catholicism. I don’t think the entire nature of the organization is based on a single  denominational/non-denominational effort.

  • RESCRIPT

    Has your site been compromised? Since I posted to your site several days ago, feedback from all blogs on my device has been suspended. Are you running security against Zitmo/Zeus Trojan horse?

  • AlGarnier1

    All religions are an abomination on the human psyche. They limit your clear view of reality by filling playable minds with whimsical nonsense to maintain the master/slave relationship between the church and sheep. If church leaders had any moral fibre they would be able to recognize the Santa aspect of the madness they hold true beyond death. Reality awaits you.

  • RESCRIPT

    People are free to believe in whatever nonsense they want and until today can even order the faithful to defy democracy. When it comes to the public health and safety, especially of the young men and women in our society, it’s time we drew the line in the sand. Luckily most youth of today’s youth have enough common sense to reject stupidity.

  • Anonymous

    I am proud to say I contributed to the fund to run this ad. The money was raised in record time;  maybe that says something about how fed up rational Americans are with the Catholic church and religion in general keep[ trying to meddle in our private affairs.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone see a connection between the Obama administration attack on religious liberty guaranteed in our constitution and the most recent effort by the FFRF to exercise their right to free speech? I do. Feel free to believe in nothing and do not infringe on my right to believe. 

  • balayogi venkataraman

    also please read http://www.evilbible.com and stop funding the church and church related activities especially those diverted to Asian countries like India and Srilanka to convert people these are totally misused and may gradually lead to even formation of terrorist groups by the churches 

  • Williamcarter666

    I recieved this email from Jihad Watch

    Dhimmitude at the WaPo: Anti-Catholic ad OK, truth about Islam nixed
    Jun 20, 2012 12:07 pm | Robert
    Pamela Geller has the story: Dhimmitude in the West. On May 8, The Washington Post ran a hate-filled attack on the Catholic Church, the same ad that ran in the NY Times. But unlike the New York Times, the Washington Post ran the anti-Catholic ad with no changes; the Times…

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/06/dhimmitude-at-the-wapo-anti-catholic-ad-ok-truth-about-islam-nixed.html


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