Vero Beach Mayor: ‘I Refuse to Support an Organization That Does Not Believe in Jesus Christ’

The Vero Beach City Council (in Florida) had an easy task at yesterday’s meeting. The Humanists of the Treasure Coast asked them to proclaim June 16-23, 2013 as “Humanist Recognition Week.” The language was innocuous, calling for “compassion guided by reason” and the like. Normally, these proclamations get passed without much thought. This one, however, only passed by a 3-2 vote and it’s worth discussing what happened.

First, take a look at the 2:23 mark in the video below.

Mayor Craig Fletcher is going over the agenda at the start of the meeting and says that he wants to remove the item about the proclamation entirely. When asked why, Fletcher says, “I refuse to support an organization that does not believe in Jesus Christ. I’ll have nothing to do with it. If you want to outvote me, that’s fine.”

The way he responded, you would think someone tried to get him to denounce Jesus! It’s the biggest overreaction I’ve seen since… whatever’s on the front page of Charisma‘s website today.

Councilmember Jay Kramer, hearing Fletcher’s words, got this look on his face that screamed What the hell?!… he said that this was a freedom of speech issue and all religious beliefs had to be treated equally under the law.

Councilmember Jay Kramer (center), clearly wondering how Fletcher got elected mayor

Councilmembers Pilar Turner and Dick Winger (surrounding him in that picture) joined him in approving the proclamation, so it passed by the narrowest of margins. You can see the proclamation being read at the 17:55 mark in the video.

During public comments immediately after that, Phil Katrovitz of the Humanist group spoke in support of the resolution, saying that by signing this proclamation, the City Council was showing that they represented “all of this community’s citizens.” He expressed his gratitude to the Council for their support, smiled, and stepped away from the microphone.

And then the opposing City Council members moved on to more pressing issues lost their shit.

Vice Mayor Tracy Carroll said that she looked up this word “Humanist” on the Internet and found out it had something to do with atheism, which is why she, like Fletcher, couldn’t sign it. She went on to say that Katrovitz had expressed disapproval at the City Council for approving “Christian Heritage Week” back in November so that’s another reason she couldn’t support his group. (Actually, Katrovitz was saying that the Christian proclamation had factual errors in it and he suggested replacing it with something more accurate.)

Katrovitz tried to correct Carroll’s misinformation (not all Humanists are atheists, after all, and this proclamation was not about promoting atheism) when Mayor Fletcher piped in and said, “I’m telling you now, you can sit down or I’m gonna have you [sat] down.”

Katrovitz pointed out that it was a secular government and went to shake the hands of the council members who approved the proclamation. It must have pissed off Fletcher, though, because he told Katrovitz to sit down again… Katrovitz did, but only after saying, “I don’t want to go to jail.”

Can we back up? What’s this fight all about again?

It’s over a document that said “cultivating intelligent and ethical interactions among people with tolerance and respect” is the best way to solve our problems. That’s the thing Fletcher and Carroll refused to support.

I imagine they got together after the meeting and deemed this just another example of “Christian intolerance.”

(via Inside Vero — Thanks to Eric for the link!)

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.

  • C Peterson

    Well, any voters in Vero Beach who deserve to be U.S. citizens have an easy decision: “I refuse to support a mayor who does not believe in the U.S. Constitution”.

    • Joe Walsh

      sadly, In the “minds” of many the bible trumps the constitution. :’(

      • C Peterson

        Yup. Which is why I qualified my comment with “deserve to be U.S. citizens”. Anybody who places the Bible over the Constitution doesn’t deserve that.

      • mcquestion5000

        By jove, I think Joe has hit the proverbial nail on the head.

        • meekinheritance

          Heh. By Jove, I see what you did there.

      • rustygh

        Indeed, the bible, religions, the saddest trick ever played on humans, by humans.

    • Rain

      “They Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger do not recognize Jesus Christ as Saviour.”

      • Christopher Mallard

        Poignant

  • Goape

    I would think that one would have to be of another species to dislike humanism. Mr. Mayor, take off that human suit!

    • Lou

      he thinks he has an angel suit underneath, who cares about humans when you dealing with deities

    • C Peterson

      What human suit?

  • TheG

    Did an elected official just physically threaten a citizen over his religious beliefs?

    • The Other Weirdo

      Looks that way.

    • https://agoldstardad.wordpress.com/ Fozzy

      That would never happen.. this is the United States… *scoff

    • Dave T

      Nah, he was threatened for not knuckling under to the elected official’s power trip. Just as bad, but very common.

    • kaydenpat

      Yes.

  • Pluto Animus

    Vero Beach City Council email address:

    cityclrk@covb.org

    Let’s all send them a nice email.

    • Spazticus

      With an emphasis on “nice”, too, I should hope. Just because they choose to be less than civil, should not remove our ability to stay that way.

    • Julie Ann Harmon

      We can start a petition on Change.org. I bet we can get at least a FEW people to sign it….

    • Aslan Balaur

      Thank you. I sent them an email to let them know that the insulting and unconstitutional words of the Mayor will have me and my friends spending our shopping and vacationing dollars elsewhere, and that his attitudes have shamed the whole town. Politely, of course.

  • Matt

    Replace “Jesus Christ” with “Muhammed” in that clip and maybe Christians might realize how terrifying it is hearing someone say something like that (in a supposedly secular position of power no less). I mean his face is just filled with anger and malice. It’s fucking scary.

    • Spuddie

      They sorely lack irony. Its not that morons like this oppose religious domination of the political. They just want their religion to dominate.

      • baal

        I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t some aspect of human brain biology that makes it impossible to be a true believer and be able to detect (understand) irony. The other choice is that the folks who are without the apparent ability to get irony are something like sociopaths (they can get it but actively don’t care or ignore it).

        • Aslan Balaur

          The truer fact is that to desire elected office takes a high degree of sociopathy. Elected officials, especially those like this mayor, are in it for the power trip, not to help the people in their district. Welcome to the modern GOP.

  • Mark Nebo

    Vice Mayor Tracy Carroll said that she looked up this
    word “Humanist” on the Internet and found out it had something to do
    with atheism, which is why she, like Fletcher, couldn’t sign it.

    Classic.

    • Malcolm McLean

      Humanism is atheism with a bit of sanctimonious guff about “respecting human dignity” attached. British humanists appointed a known adulteress, Polly Toynbee, as their president, despite the fact that this caused considerable hurt and distress to the injured party. So they’re actually an anti-human dignity organisation.

      • corhen

        And there it is! the sweeping unfounded statement!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

        Humanism addresses ethics; atheism addresses metaphysics.

        And if adultery is the worst sin you can find in humanism, I really suggest you reread Matthew 7:3 — http://biblehub.com/matthew/7-3.htm

      • Sven2547

        ‘A humanist was an adulterer! Therefore they are anti-human-dignity!’
        Imagine if we applied this same standard to religions? Oh man!

        • Malcolm McLean

          A known adulteress was appointed as president. it wasn’t a case of something far in the past, and forgotten, either. The wife was extremely upset about it, and even more upset that Polly was being set up as some sort of ethical authority.

          Bishops are often caught committing adultery. There was a similar case with the Scottish cardinal recently. But when it came out, he was asked to step down, and didn’t attend the conclave. Big difference.

          • baal

            And David Vitter? Jerry Falwell? Ted Haggard? Give me 2 minutes on google and I’ll have a rather long list of church leaders who were doing adultery and more.

            Also, repetition for emphasis, extra-marital sex doesn’t always imply lack of fitness for a position.

          • Spazticus

            Yes, because entire organizations should be sweepingly judged and dismissed outright, based solely upon the alleged actions of just one of their members.

            • Malcolm McLean

              No, their president, not “just one member”. And it’s not as if it was an embarrassing scandal for them either. All we can conclude is that they are a pro-adultery organisation.

              • baal

                ” All we can conclude”

                nope. Not even close.

                You’re also not addressing the complaint that you’re a hypocrite or holding a double standard for humanists vs christian groups (who are arguable more into the whole no cheating thing). Endlessly repeating your self and not dealing with the replies to you is the hallmark of a troll. You are hereby derided as such.

                • Malcolm McLean

                  It’d a different situation. Poly Toynbee was a known adulteress. She had a column in the Guardian (a leftie British paper) in which she pontificated about various issues. The wife was very bitter, and The Times ( a rival British newspaper) gave a her a space where, for one time only, she complained bitterly about the way Polly was being treated as some sort of moral authority.
                  The British Humanist association still made her president. So they are pro-adultery. There’s no other reasonable way to describe it.
                  Totally different is the case of Scottish cardinal. He was found to be sexually abusing seminarians (trainee priests). But no-one knew, when he was appointed. When the truth came out, he was asked to step down. Completely different situation.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  So the BHA doesn’t conduct background check interviews with the enemies of its prominent members to make sure they never engaged in any voluntary activities with other consenting adults over whom they had no power or authority . Likewise, they don’t accept angry letter columns as evidence. THOSE FUCKERS.

                  Please stop begging the question. It’s pathetic, it’s boring, and it isn’t fooling anyone here no matter how many times you stamp your foot.

                • bismarket 1

                  I think (what should be) the private lives of people who are not breaking any laws are irrelevant in this case. While i personally don’t agree with a lot of what Toynbee says her own business is just that HER OWN & other than our “Moral guardians” (snark) people are not (& should not) be in the business of judging anyone, especially when we couldn’t possibly know ALL the facts.

                • Zaydin

                  So by the Catholic Church shielding child molesting priests and protecting them from law enforcement, therefore, using your own logic, the Catholic Church supports the rape of children.

              • Spazticus

                No, I specifically stated, “just one of their members”, and did so intentionally. Because the actions of one do not reflect upon the actions of everyone in that organization, no matter how much you or others like you would like to dismiss them with such a broad statement. Just because this is what you can “only conclude,” does not change the nature of the organization, any more than someone believing that “all Catholics are pedophiles,” “all Muslims are terrorists,” or “all Germans are Nazis” would make those statements true. If it only takes the actions of a single person to discredit an entire organization, that also speaks volumes for any organization of which you are a member.

                • Malcolm McLean

                  Germans chose a Nazi as the their political leader. Once that happened, effectively all Germans were Nazis, with the exception of those who actively dissociated themselves from the regime. The leader is not “just one member”. He decides what sort of country Germany, in this case, is going to be.

                  Humanists chose an adulteress as their leader. So all humanists should be considered pro-adultery, unless they can somehow give evidence that they are not. Since it’s easy to leave the organisation, we can reasonably ask, if they don’t approve of adultery, why do they remain members?

                • Beth

                  I better tell my husband that even though I have never cheated on him, I am an adulterer now. lolz…and because our president is a democrat we are both democrat, we’ll need to change our voter registration.
                  What should someone do when they fail: MENTION HITLER!

                • Spazticus

                  To be somewhat fair, I brought up the Germans first, just not in the same context in which he twisted the statement.

                • Beth

                  I did see your comment, but he spun it.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

                  You talkin’ bout Hitler? Because Hitler wasn’t elected.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Uh, well, yes he was. He later assumed dictatorial powers and dismissed the Bundestag (Congress), but his initial rise to power was through electoral victory.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

                  He was appointed, not elected, Chancellor.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You are correct that he was appointed Chancellor, but incorrect to say he did not win electoral victory. He did very well in elections in 1932 (came in second) and was thus appointed due to his strong electoral showing. His party (then called the NSDAP) won elections 1933 and allied with a minor party, putting Hitler in charge of Germany. I’d call that elected to power; technically, people vote for party instead of PM in Britain too, but everyone knows who the PM will be if such-and-such party wins.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

                  Fair point, and it’s more than I ever knew about 1930s German politics. However, in the context of the original point, the fact that he only got to power through a coalition government makes the idea that the German people are to blame for everything the Nazis did a bit of a stretch, if we’re going only from his rise to power. (I am not touching the question of turning a collective blind eye during his reign.)

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Heh. Wikipedia for the win! And I agree with your main point, but I think it’s also important to be aware that at least at the beginning, Hitler did have a lot of popular support (not nearly universal, but a lot).

                • usclat

                  “… effectively all Germans were Nazis”

                  You truly are an idiot McFly! Truly. So, let’s see …

                  If we had elected Mitt Romney as President, all Americans would have “effectively” been Mormons? You are a serious moron McFly.

                • Whirlwitch

                  As is, all Americans are Black.

                • Cheese

                  that’s just dumb. by that logic, we have a democratic president, so all americans must be democrats? you’re stupid, and you’re a troll.

                • Aslan Balaur

                  “Since it’s easy to leave the organization, we can reasonably ask, if they don’t approve of adultery, why do they remain members?”

                  Maybe because they are smart enough to know that adultery is the business of the involved persons, and NOBODY else? And that adultery is no measure of a persons leadership ability?
                  Bill Clinton was a rather exceptional President, despite his “indiscretions” with Monica Lewinsky. Hillary dealt with it at home in her own way, I am sure. If you aren’t the one being cheated on, or with, or doing the cheating, it’s not your business.
                  As for Germany “choosing” a Nazi leader, with all the voter and candidate intimidation, and election fraud, (just like the GOP is trying to do now) they had little, if any, choice.

                • RobMcCune

                  So has Tonybee changed the official policies of BHA to support adultery? You can’t compare official policies to personal choices.

                • Jen L

                  Yes, the leader of Germany was a Nazi, therefore all of the German Jews in concentration camps were also Nazis.

                  By the way, the previous Pope literally was a Nazi, so by your logic, that makes all Catholics Nazis.

              • Space Cadet

                And Ratzinger was complicit in the cover up of child rape. All we can conclude is that the RCC is a pro-child rape organization.

                • Malcolm McLean

                  No, if you cover something up, then that indicates you don’t approve of it. People don’t cover up things they are proud of.

                • Yoav

                  If poop ratzi really disapproved of priests raping kids he could have thrown them out and call the police which is what any half decent human being would have done. The church covered it up and moved the rapists into new positions where they have fresh set of victims because they knew that the public at large, unlike the catlick hierarchy, would strongly disapprove.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  That was an incredibly stupid thing to write.

                • Space Cadet

                  That’s not necessarily true in the RCC situation. All it indicates is that the church hierarchy thinks they are above secular laws.

                • Aslan Balaur

                  No, but he ensured by complicity that it DIDN’T END. His cover up allowed the perpetrators free to go victimize kids in another parish, rather than face the consequences of their actions. SO he KNOWS it’s wrong, but enables it ANYWAY. SO yeah, the RCC IS by definition Pro Child Rape.

                • RedGreenInBlue

                  If it were possible to facepalm and headdesk simultaneously, I would have just done so.

                • Jen L

                  So your argument is that because someone who leads a group that is effectively a different religion than you have does something that is against your religion and then takes responsibility for that publicly, they bring shame to their organization.

                  OK, let me just clarify this for you: people of other religions do not feel ashamed that they failed to uphold the moral code of the religion of third parties. Some people actually prefer that people take responsibility for bad behavior rather than cover up misbehavior so that it can continue.

                  I guarantee you that a humanist organization doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your opinion of them based on your moral code, especially when you are such a hypocrite about it.

                • Steve Darnell

                  No, you cover up things you have no intention of ending or dealing with. It is an iron clad indication that you condone it. You just know that *others* don’t approve of it and/or would seek criminal and civil penalties if discovered.

              • Beth

                It’s not *my* job to forgive her for adultery, it’s her partner’s job. Just because she wasn’t faithful to her partner doesn’t mean that she is a bad leader.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                The first President of the United States was a slave owner who evaded taxes with armed violence. For that matter, you can’t name a major two-term national leader who hasn’t presided over murders.Likewise, you’d be hard pressed to find a bishop not in some way associated with covering up child rape and even blaming the children. The last pope covered up for pedophiles. The CURRENT pope is apparently an accessory to murder.

                Your hypocrisy and inability to logic are noted, as is your desperate raging need to find something, anything to latch onto to libel those you hate for ideological reasons.

              • usclat

                STFU McFly!

              • randomfactor

                If that’s all you can conclude, your powers of reasoning might need an overhaul.

                • Maureen Mower

                  Might??

              • Christians are Hypocrits

                Mark Sanford, republican, christian, forced to resign because of extramarital affair, spent tax payer money on his mistress. The very same Mark Sanford runs for congress a mere 4 years later on the same family values platform, his mistress at his side, not his wife. So by your logic both the republican party are pro-adultery organization. Better be sure you are fully aware of all facts before you shoot your mouth off, you ignorant fuck.

              • Steve Darnell

                More ad hominem attacks. You still don’t get the meanting of ad hominem, do you?

            • Maureen Mower

              I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at that kind of thinking. After all, didn’t the primarily Christian GOP actively force ACORN out of business because of the alleged actions of a couple of it’s employees (who were later exonerated as the tapes used against them were proven to have been edited to show them in the worst possible light).

              And the Democrats aren’t much better… look at how Shirley Shirrod was vilified – again over a heavily edited tape – and forced out of her job long before the accusations against her could be substantiated.

              At least in those cases, there was some actual evidence, even if it had been substantially manipulated to present the subjects in the most egregious way possible. Here, we have accusations about the private conduct of someone, with no proof whatsoever – not even the kind of fabricated “evidence” that was used in the ACORN and Shirrod cases.

          • Spuddie

            You do not understand the difference between an ad hominem attack and criticism of an entire group.

            1) Attacking the credibility of an organization based on the personal aspects of its leader = ad hominem

            2) Attacking the credibility of an organization based on the organization’s actions as a group, within its own functions = legitimate criticism.

            Your argument is purely #1. A rhetorical fallacy based on what could be considered either conjecture or fiction that an entire organization lacks credibility because of the personal life of its current leader.

          • Aslan Balaur

            And what about all those priests caught molesting children, and the “punishment” they receive? Being transfered to avoid prosecution. Religion has no superiority on morality over Humanists.

          • randomfactor

            Yeah. Usually they just shuttle their problem clergy around to find new victims.

        • Steve Darnell

          Actually, Sven, you can.

      • JustSomeGuy

        Nobody is perfect. You’re seriously suggesting that the marital difficulties of one Humanist means the whole organisation is a lie?

        I’m an agnostic Humanist. That’s different from being an atheist by the way, but I still manage to be a Humanist. I must be amazing!

        Sadly, I don’t think it’s lack of knowledge that lead you to say what you did. I’m pretty sure you just want to be a judgmental prick. So, good job I guess. (but who am I to judge?)

        • Malcolm McLean

          If you choose a known adulteress as your president, then your organisation approves of adultery, and any sort of claim to be carefully weighing difficult ethical issues is just a hypocritical lie. if one member turns out to be an adulteress, that’s rather different. All that might mean is that the membership can’t live up to the standards set for them.

          • Spazticus

            That premise assumes that part of the platform of said group is a staunch anti-adultery stance. However, that isn’t the point of the organization, and whether or not the allegation is true, it is absolutely irrelevant to the circumstances of this particular incident.

            • Malcolm McLean

              Ok, that’s legitimate. We can say that we are an organisation which is “cultivating intelligent and ethical interactions among people with tolerance and respect”, but we don’t consider adultery to be an “unethical interaction”. But that’s got to be made absolutely clear, as any person from outside would assume that promoting adultery isn’t what that sentence suggests the organisation stands for.

              • Spuddie

                Any organization which you are stumping for lacks any credibility or ethical content given your support consists largely on defamation and ad hominem attacks.

              • onamission5

                Cheating on your spouse is not a crime. Nor is it really the business of anyone except the spouses involved. People are allowed to make non-criminal mistakes in their personal lives. If they worked it out, that is between them, if they get a divorce over it, again, that’s their private business, if they decide to open their relationship to include a poly lifestyle, that’s also not a crime and none of my concern.

                I’ll be concerned about the Christian sin of adultery when there’s a reputable study (or six) which shows that people who cheated on their spouse once are a multitude of times more likely to, say, be embezzlers or stage military coups. In other words never.

              • Maureen Mower

                I don’t think anyone is “promoting adultery”. Rather, the personal interactions of members of the group, regardless of their position in the organization, are between them and their own consciences (or the law, depending on the action and applicable laws in the location where it took place).

                By the way, those of you who consider yourselves Christian might do well to remember that Jesus said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. I’m seeing a lot of stones being lobbed at someone who doesn’t even have anything to do with the story we are all commenting on… so I must ask how many of you are truly “without sin”?

                I’m fairly sure the answer would be ZERO, since none of us is ever perfect.

              • Maureen Mower

                PS Malcolm…. You recently proclaimed in a post above that you are “not a Humanist”. So why exactly were you using “we” in this post?

                If you’re not a Humanist, who is the “we” you are talking about? Or have I found the “evidence” for my earlier suggestion that by your logic, I can post on every comment board I come across that “Malcolm McLean is a troll AND a liar” based on the fact that you claim (by use of the word “we”) to be a part of the Humanist community at large, and then deny being a Humanist in another post? (Which, by the way, would be far more evidence than you have presented to support your claims.)

                And should I then assume that every person who aligns themselves with you in any way (nationality, religious views, political views, family, coworkers, neighbors, or just fellow members of the human race) must also be trolls and liars because you have proven yourself to be both?

                After all, that IS what you have been promoting in regard to how the world should view Humanists based on the alleged actions of one person in another country, right?

          • ukvillafan

            I was going to consider a full response to your rather inane and fatuous remarks, but frankly, it’s not worth the effort.

          • bluesman

            or…all catholics approve of pedophelia

          • JustSomeGuy

            You are comic gold. Your inability to look into the minds of people you’ve never met is astounding.

            Being unfaithful is not something I support, yet I’m still a Humanist. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

            • Spuddie

              He owes me a new irony meter.

          • tracy two crows

            Well Malcolm,you have yet to show ANYTHING that proves your Assertion.Incredible Claims require Incredible Evidence,so either put up,or shut up.What you are engaging in is called SLANDER,and unless you’d like to get the pants sued off you,I suggest you give Infallible Sources to link what you spew here.How hard is that,unless like ALL other Christian Taliban Members,you’re LYING?Which,you folks take to a new Art form.

          • Spuddie

            If you act like a lying defamatory sanctimonious fool, you waive any pretense of moral authority and any discussion of ethics is rendered laughably meaningless.

            • Yoav

              Lying for jesus™ is not really lying.

              • Maureen Mower

                Actually, yes, it IS “really lying”. And while I am a Humanist now, I was raised Catholic, and I can guarantee you that my Catholic instruction says that Jesus himself would tell you the same thing.

                • Spazticus

                  You’re correct, though the mentality Yoav is describing is one that fundamentalists use quite often. It’s their way of reconciling how they willfully distort or ignore the facts, in order to push their particular message. For just one example, see the video titled “The Thaw”.

                • Maureen Mower

                  Yes, I’ve run into that kind of reasoning before. However, the only ones being deluded by this claim are those who make it. I’d love to see one of them try to use that as a justification defense for committing perjury… and be there when the judge or jury convicts them because there is not now and never was any justification for lying.

                  I’m sure that, like the lunatic fundamentalists who think it’s okay to murder abortion doctors to “save” fetuses, they will have a lot of years in a small cell to realize that the only voice they’ve been hearing is their own and NOT that of Jesus or “God”. ;)

                • Yoav

                  Apparently Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, David Barton and many other christians never got the memo.

                • Maureen Mower

                  Oh dear – if those are your examples of moral authority, you’ve got far bigger problems than I thought!

                  Let me clue you in on something… the Jesus I read about in the Bible would spit on the list of people you just named, and toss their respective desks on the ground as he did with the tables of the money-changers in the temple.

                • Yoav

                  So I guess none of these people or the millions who follow them are TrueChristians™, I’ll go fetch my bagpipes.

                • Maureen Mower

                  Actually, yes, you would be correct, at least in regard to the individuals you named (I refuse to pass judgment on every person who listens to them – some are just not capable of knowing they are being fooled).

                  Jesus promoted peace, love, forgiveness, and both compassion and generosity to the poor and disenfranchised. NONE of the names you listed follow Jesus’ teachings in those areas. In fact, they have practically rejected everything Jesus said in one way or another. As just one example, let’s remember that Glenn Beck told his followers that if their church leaders (priests/ministers) started speaking about “social justice”, they should reject that church immediately. Well, contrary to Mr. Beck’s claim of being a Jesus-lover, Jesus himself promoted “social justice” with just about every word he spoke.

                  Limbaugh, who has had multiple marriages and infidelities, not to mention drug addiction and gluttony, labeled a young woman as a “slut” for wanting her birth control covered by insurance. Meanwhile, Jesus said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Since Limbaugh is far from being “without sin”, he has no business passing judgment on ANYONE else.

                  So yeah, these folks are definitely NOT “true Christians”, because every one of them has lost sight of what Jesus (the source of Christianity in all it’s forms) actually taught. Most have reverted back to an Old Testament view of the world and of “God” that is as far away from anything Jesus taught as one can get.

                  And if you doubt my view on this because I’m a Humanist, I would invite you to visit The Christian Left on Facebook. They have over 150,000 Christian members who will be happy to outline for you all the ways in which the people you listed have abandoned any semblance of real Christianity in favor of promoting an agenda of hate, bigotry and selfishness.

                • Yoav

                  Most have reverted back to an Old Testament view of the world and of
                  “God” that is as far away from anything Jesus taught as one can get.

                  You mean the same old testament that was supposedly written by jesus, while acting in the role of his own daddy, and which is still officially part of the magic book christians claim to follow and which is quoted extensively by christians when it happens to align with their agenda of the moment.

                • Maureen Mower

                  The Old Testament “written by Jesus”?? That’s news to me, and would be to most Christians as well. What I was taught as a child going through Catholic CCD was that Jesus did not become part of the “Holy Trinity” until AFTER his crucifixion, and did not exist at all until Mary was magically impregnated by an “angel”.

                  Needless to say, the entire story is too fantastic for anyone with a modicum of skepticism in them to believe – but the idea that Jesus himself “wrote” the Old Testament is a new one in my experience. I can’t think of any Christian religion that embraces that particular idea, although things may have changed since I was on my journey of exploring numerous religions to figure out my “place” in the spiritual smorgasbord (ending when I became a Humanist – or rather, discovered I had always been one, but just didn’t know what to call it – back in the mid-90′s).

                • Yoav

                  The standard christian position is (simplified since I really don’t give a rodent’s donkey about how each one of the 68348246 flavors of christianity explain the whole trinity BS)
                  1.Jesus=god
                  2.God wrote (or at least inspired the writing) of the bible, OT included.
                  Therefore jesus wrote the bible is a good enough approximation.

                • Maureen Mower

                  Actually, you are only partially correct. SOME versions of Christianity conflate Jesus with God (as in either one is both) – but even those who do this do not think it was “always” that way. The “God” figure has always existed (in their view), but the Jesus figure was a CREATION of the God figure, which did not exist until put into the body of “Mary” to be born as a human man.

                  It is only AFTER the crucifixion, “resurrection” and subsequent “joining” with “God the Father” that they become one. Therefore, all that is written in the Old Testament is from a time BEFORE Jesus, and not from his hand.

                  This is an important distinction to most Christians, because the God of the OT was often cruel, vindictive and brutal. Yet Jesus depicts a God of love, forgiveness and compassion. The only way to reconcile these rather bipolar visions of “God” for most Christians is by thinking that somehow having his “son” go through the life of a human did “God” understand what that was like and become more compassionate to his “creation”.

                  Personally, I always thought it ironic that “God” supposedly had an “epiphany” that took him from being a jealous, mean-spirited jerk to being a loving, forgiving and doting “father” – but then there is very little in any religion that makes much sense when looked at objectively.

                • Nate Frein

                  *snort

                  Jesus promoted death worship and idolized suffering.

                • Maureen Mower

                  I’m not sure I agree with that interpretation. Then again, I don’t believe that “Jesus” was actually a single person either. I think there may have been people LIKE the Jesus figure, and that those who wrote about them combined the attributes of several into one character (the way authors of memoirs often do when simplifying a story by making one character a compilation of several real people). Or they could have made him up out of whole cloth as well. None of us will ever know, but I am not sure that matters.

                  Obviously, I also do not believe that he was the “son” of any “God”, since I do not believe that any actual “God” exists.

                  However, the character of Jesus was depicted as a good and kind person who presented a message of hope, forgiveness, love, compassion and, quite frankly, humanism. Therefore I find *most* of what that character allegedly “taught” to be lessons worth emulating in my own life – regardless of the fact that they are presented as something more “mystical” than just a set of good ideas for how we should treat each other. I value the ideas presented as his as much as I value the vision of a better world presented by Gene Roddenberry in his depiction of the future in Star Trek. Neither has any specific moral authority over my life – but both present ideas that I find valuable and inspirational.

                • Nate Frein

                  Yeah, no. Jesus taught the “meek” and “poor” to bend over and take it. Jesus (and Paul) were more focused on worshiping “the hereafter” then on fixing anything in reality.

                  Jesus, quite honestly, would have been the enemy of every civil rights movement in the United States.

                • Maureen Mower

                  Again, I think that is your personal interpretation, and not one that is widely held. However, you speak as if, were Jesus a real person living in the era presented in the Bible, he actually COULD have changed anything “in reality”.

                  So okay, I’ll play along. Here we have a man who saw a vision of a better world, where people cared for each other, took care of each other, and did the right thing. But he was living in an era of extreme superstition, where almost no one did anything (good or bad) unless they thought it would please “the gods”. It was not solely Jesus, but everyone living in his time, who spent every waking moment thinking about what would happen after they died (an event that happened at a much younger age in those days, for a variety of reasons from war to illnesses). Everything the people of his time did was either to win the favor of whatever deity they believed in at that time, or to earn “points” with that deity so that when they died, they would not endure unspeakable punishment. Every mythology of the time (and for eons before it) related to good vs evil, and some version of “heaven vs hell”. So it’s not surprising that Jesus would use the vernacular that those he spoke with were used to in spreading his message.

                  I disagree, however, with the idea that he taught the poor & meek to “bend over and take it”. Rather, he tried to teach those in power to stop being so cruel and imposing such misery on the poor and meek. For those who were suffering, he offered the only thing he could give them at the time… hope. Although he was certainly trying to change the world, he could not do so from his position as a poor wandering minister. He held no power or authority in any land, so he could not effect the kind of changes you suggest by decree – he could only do so by trying to change the minds of those who had the power he lacked.

                  Again, I’m not even sure that the historical “Jesus” was one actual living person at any given time. That character may have been a compilation of many, or simply a figment of some Biblical author’s imagination. In the end, what matters is the lessons they were trying to impart, not whether or not the “teacher” was a real person.

                • Nate Frein

                  Ahahahahaha.

                  How the hell else do you “translate” “Slaves, obey your masters”?

                  Anything else is mental masturbation or cognitive dissonance.

                  I know “Jesus” wasn’t “real”. But the words in the bible are.

                • Maureen Mower

                  That’s cherry picking…. you leave out the myriad instructions given to those “masters” about how they should treat those “slaves”. Again, he could not change the way things were by decree. Had he “ordered” every man who owned a slave to give them their freedom, he not only wouldn’t have been listened to, he probably would have been killed a lot sooner.

                  The idea was to get the message out, and to protect as many of the “meek” as he could until the changes he advocated started to take place. So of course he would tell those who were slaves to “obey” – so that they would not be beaten or starved or killed while he tried to convince the “masters” to be better human beings and to treat even their slaves the way they wanted to be treated by others.

                  All that is assuming, of course, that we are talking about an actual person and not just a creation of the authors of the New Testament. There is also the fact that everything written in the Bible – Old and New – is flavored by the prevailing beliefs and attitudes of the times in which the authors lived. Slavery was an accepted practice at that time – and for the most part, no one even questioned its legitimacy – so they would not have seen the inherent problems with appearing to condone slavery by having Jesus make that statement that we see today. But they would – and obviously DID – portray Jesus as ultimately against the subjugation and torment of ANY human being, for any reason (which eventually led to our collective agreement that slavery is wrong, even if it did take more than 2000 years for us to get there).

                • Aslan Balaur

                  I think Yoav was being sarcastic. We need a universally recognized sarcasm font.

          • Maureen Mower

            Do you realize how antiquated you sound – and how foolish? We chose a “known adulterer” for our President back in 1992 and again in 1996. So by your definition, that means the entire country is incapable of “weighing difficult ethical issues”.

            And before you claim that was just the Democrats, don’t forget that Newt Gingrich was very close to becoming POTUS just a year ago… and he may be even more infamous for his adultery than Clinton.

            Even the guy that did end up becoming the GOP nominee wasn’t far from being an adulterer, since he belongs to a religion that only gave up on the idea of polygamy because they didn’t want their entire male congregation to go to prison.

          • RobMcCune

            Has any one you supported ever told a lie in their life time? If the answer is yes, then you and everything you believe support liars.

          • TCC

            No, it means that adultery is not a deal-breaker for leadership. You might not approve, but you’ve already admitted that you’re not a humanist, so I doubt that anyone is going to pay much attention to your opinion.

          • Maureen Mower

            As I just stated in another post to you above (and something we all should have picked up on sooner, but we were too busy trying to educate you on the difference between fact and fancy), even if everything you said were absolutely correct, INCLUDING the affair with a married man… so what?

            You are talking to AMERICAN Humanists. We do not know or have any influence over who runs Britain’s Humanist organizations. We have no input in the decision process, no vote for candidates, and little to no interaction with that organization at all.

            So, regardless of what you think of this woman and her personal choices, it is completely IRRELEVANT to any discussion about Humanists in America.

            Basically that leaves you with two choices. You can either:

            a) Go troll some British Humanist comment boards with your accusations and judgments;

            OR

            b) Say something relevant about the article above, which is the ONLY reason we are all here having this conversation in the first place.

            Of course, there is a 3rd choice as well, but it’s one I doubt you will be interested in:

            You could admit that you’ve been making a complete ass of yourself & behaving like a troll; apologize for your actions, and then shut the hell up. But I certainly won’t be holding my breath waiting for you to choose that route.

      • Psychotic Atheist

        Do you have a source for Toynbee’s adultery? I can’t find one. I find some comments and forum posts, but no reputable media source, not even the Daily Mail seems to know anything of it that I can find.

        • Malcolm McLean

          I’ve tried to find the piece but to doesn’t seem to be on the web. Polly’s new husband is David Walker, his wife is called Karen Irving. I believe Irving’s protest was published in both The Times and the Daily Mail, in 1992.

          The bare facts don’t seem to be in dispute.

          • Maureen Mower

            Well, if you cannot back up your assertion with any actual evidence, then “the bare facts” ARE in dispute. So far all you’re giving us is repeating what appears to be an ugly rumor.

            One thing you will need to learn about Humanists is that we put our “faith” in science and facts/evidence. So if you can’t back up what you say with proof, we are not going to just take your word for it.

            Basically, as of now, you’ve wasted everyone’s time for the last couple of hours chasing down a rumor about someone who has absolutely NOTHING to do with the story at hand anyway, and for which you cannot produce any actual facts. We usually view that kind of behavior as being a ‘troll’.

            • Malcolm McLean

              You’ve got the names of the people involved, the name of the paper where the allegations were published, and an approximate date. Humanists aren’t very good scholars,obviously, because that’s reasonable evidence. It would be nice to link to the piece, I agree, but I can’t find it on the web.

              • Maureen Mower

                You call names evidence? So in other words, if my next post says: “Malcolm McClean is a known liar and Internet troll who should never be allowed to hold a position of responsibility or authority for the rest of his life.”, then that’s okay because I used your name, and can tell anyone who asks that I’m basing my accusation on things you said on this day in this comment forum?

                Hell, even that is more evidence than you have provided, since I can at least link back to your actual comments. But it still doesn’t fly as actual proof. I would have to go back through each one of your comments here, and then provide independent evidence that those I deem to be false actually ARE false, in order for my accusation to be borne out.

                If I could not do that, then I would be slandering you… and that is EXACTLY what you are doing to Ms. Toynbee.

                Do yourself a favor and expand your mind today by understanding the difference between rumor and facts.

                Here’s a hint: an allegedly angry editorial by the jilted wife of someone who may or may not be romantically involved with the subject of your post is NOT proof that an affair actually took place. It certainly would not be the first time a spouse THOUGHT their husband or wife was having an affair with someone and was dead wrong either because there was no affair at all or the affair was actually with someone other than the person they accused.

                Right now, all you have is the memory of an accusation that may or may not have been accurate, but both the accusation and your memory of it, as well as your assertions that any of it reflects poorly on the Humanist community at large, are worthless without proof that ANY of it has a basis in fact.

                • Malcolm McLean

                  I’m saying that such and such a thing happened.I give names,approximate dates, and a source.
                  So there are several possibilites. Does Polly Toynbee exist, and is she president of the British Humanist association? Is this claim true of false? Does David Walker exist,and is he a sexual partner of Polly Toynbee? True of false? Was David Walker married to Karen Irving? True or false? Did Karen Irving complain about Polly Toynbee’s predatory behaviour, true of false?
                  If you can prove false to any of those statements, the case falls.
                  Now we’ve got the difficult question.If the complaint was made,was Karen Irving lying?Can you advance any evidence to show that she might not have been telling the truth (e.g. a denial by Polly Toynbee). Until you can do that, the suggestion that I’m spreading false rumors has no merit. None whatsoever.It does show that at bottom you know that adultery is evil.

                • Nate Frein

                  No. You gave names, but no verifiable source.

                • Maureen Mower

                  You give names, but cannot provide the actual source of the allegation (neither the article you claim was written by the rejected wife nor any statement by Polly or the allegedly unfaithful husband that would back up your claim). For all we know, you made up the whole damn thing EXCEPT the name(s).

                  Furthermore, as I said in a previous post to you, the “fact” (in quotes because we still haven’t established this as a fact) that the man’s ex-wife accused him and Polly of having an affair does NOT constitute proof that the alleged affair actually took place. It is entirely possible that the wife was just paranoid and convinced herself he was having an affair with Polly. It is equally possible that the husband actually WAS having an affair (or more than one, for that matter), but that NONE of the mistresses involved were Polly.

                  This is why, even if you could produce the editorial written by the wife, the only thing that proves is that the wife made an unsubstantiated accusation. It does NOT prove that the accusation is true – and therefore does NOT prove that Polly was an “adulteress”. Therefore, your claim remains an ad hominem attack against Polly – and even more egregious because none of this, and none of the people under discussion, has ANYTHING to do with the subject of this article.

              • Aslan Balaur

                “It would be nice to link to the piece, I agree, but I can’t find it on the web.”

                So you admit that even your “evidence’ is that we have to take your word for it as “proof” so no, there IS NO evidence. I did search for evidence in several areas, including trying to find the Daily Mail article. Unless you have the 21 year old paper to scan and upload the article from, lacking ANY other evidence that it ever existed (let alone the fact that the Daily Mail is hardly a reliable news outlet) your “facts” are anything but. They are just hearsay and accusations, not proof of wrong doing, not “reasonable evidence.”

                • Malcolm McLean

                  You’ve got three names, a title, and a date. So you’ve got two options. You can accept that what I’m saying is likely to be true, or you can investigate the matter to your satisfaction. The latter will involve some time and effort, but you will almost certainly find that these people exist, and that the piece was published, unless a) my memory is playing tricks on me and b) a few other people are independently and falsely claiming the same thing. That’s unlikely.

                  It is “hearsay” of course. I’ve no direct knowledge and my testimony wouldn’t be accepted in court. But I don’t think Polly herself actually challenges Karen Irving’s account. It’s common ground.

                • allein

                  So you can’t find the article to provide a link but you think other people are going to magically be able to find this article to substantiate your claim. That makes sense.

                • Malcolm McLean

                  I’m not a Humanist. So for me, a suggestion that a known adulteress was appointed is all I need to know. That tells me what type of organisation it is. I just briefly check that they’re not denying it.
                  Someone who is a Humanist might be deeply disturbed by this. Probably is deeply disturbed, judging from the number of responses to a fairly simple point. So all I can say is establish the truth yourselves. You’ve got enough information to follow the matter up. I don’t have any more, if I did I would give it to you.

                • allein

                  I don’t personally care to follow the matter up. I’m neither British nor a member of any humanist organizations. I just think the idea that she is unfit because of something that allegedly happened 2 decades ago (according to yourself, and this seems rather important to you considering how many times you’ve repeated it here) is ridiculous and wonder why you think other people are going to be able to find this mysterious article you can’t even find yourself. (Unless, of course, you didn’t even look, which would give us even less reason to take you seriously.) Aside from that, people can change, and something someone did a long time ago does not necessarily reflect on who they are now. Sometimes people learn from mistakes and become better people for it. I imagine there is more to Ms. Toynbee than this one alleged incident. You seem to want to make it the one and only defining charastistic of her life and why you think that’s fair, I can’t fathom.

                • Matt D

                  “I’m not a Humanist”.
                  No, you want to be a diety.
                  Someone who condemns others on the actions of one and then tells them how they should feel about it, is definately not a humanist.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Are you aware that Ken Ham is now a known piglet molester for doing exactly the same thing you are doing now?

                • Maureen Mower

                  Well, the fact that you aren’t a Humanist was obvious from your first post – no announcement needed.

                  By the way… you keep talking about this person’s elevation to a particular office as a sign that all Humanists are collectively “guilty” of whatever you think the transgression here is supposed to be. However, I’ve never heard of that woman until you brought her name up today, and I certainly never voted for her (or anyone else, for that matter) to lead any Humanist group. In fact, the ONLY Humanist groups I have any affiliation with at all are AHA (American Humanist Association) and a small group of “Spiritual Humanists” that I previously interacted with regularly when their forum was online, but the leader of that group decided to take the forum down because of the constant influx of religious trolls who hijacked every thread and turned it into an argument about whether or not we were all “going to Hell”.

                  There are MANY Humanist organizations – some local, some national, and even a couple that are international. None of them speak for “all” Humanists. So quite frankly, along with all the other problems with your assertions that have already been pointed out, there is the FACT that whatever position this woman held (or holds) and whatever happens in her personal life, NONE of it is a fair reflection of the morals, values and/or views of EVERY Humanist on the planet.

                  Basically, this woman you keep carping about has about as much influence over Humanists as the Cardinal of New York has over Southern Baptists in Tennessee… which is to say, NONE whatsoever.

                  Now, did you have anything relevant to say about the article at hand, or do you want to continue making a complete fool of yourself?

                • Malcolm McLean

                  Well yes. If you’re going to throw up a smokescreen by claiming that assertions are “unsubstantiated”, might be being spread by liars with agendas, and so on, that’s going to tend to lengthen the thread.
                  Wouldn’t it be easier to acknowledge that what I say is commonly accepted, apologise for wasting everyone’s time, then discuss whether maybe we should see humanists in a different light because of this?

                • Spazticus

                  “Wouldn’t it be easier to acknowledge that what I say is commonly accepted, apologize for wasting everyone’s time, then discuss whether maybe we should see humanists in a different light because of this?”

                  No, it wouldn’t be easier, because as you stated yourself, you couldn’t find a link. The burden of proof for that assertion was on you. And as I and others stated earlier, even if true, it bears no relevance whatsoever to the circumstances of this article.

                  You’re trying to dismiss an organization based on the alleged actions of one person, when that one person has no more direct involvement on the events of this situation than you personally do. Yet somehow, the rest of us should be as dismissive as you are, and if we fail to do so, then we are the ones throwing up a smokescreen. What logic is this again?

                  If anything, it is you I’m seeing in a new light, and it is by no means a positive one. You’ve also proven that “the only thing we can conclude” in regards to you, is that you are a troll.

                • Malcolm McLean

                  I’m not directly involved. I mentioned something which is common knowledge, generally known and accepted. And you’re still messing about demanding a burden of proof. The details have been given, if you don’t accept what I am saying, it’s now your job to establish the facts of the matter to your satisfaction.

                • Spazticus

                  Please, enlighten us as to how her possible indiscretion has ANY direct effect on the circumstances of the meeting in this article. You are asserting that we should be dismissive of the organization based on this possible indiscretion…but you have yet to conclusively prove that there is ANY link between your assertion, and what happened in this meeting.

                • Malcolm McLean

                  “Humanist Recognition Week.” The language was innocuous, calling for “compassion guided by reason” and the like.

                  Fletcher says, “I refuse to support an organization that does not believe in Jesus Christ

                  It’s over a document that said “cultivating intelligent and ethical interactions among people with tolerance and respect” is the best way to solve our problems. That’s the thing Fletcher and Carroll refused to support.

                  But actually the British branch has a president whose status as moral pundit is a source of distress and upset to her victim. Fletcher probably didn’t know this. But his instinct was right.

                • Spazticus

                  That’s not a direct effect, those are two unrelated circumstances, that you’re attempting to tie together into conclusive evidence. Which it really isn’t, unless everyone else starts to see things the way you seem to.

                  By that same logic, we must also apply that same reasoning of dismissal to any religious group who has a leader that has ever lied, even if they were a child when they did it, because they aren’t capable of living up to the moral character they espouse. By that same logic, a large number of Republicans should be ineligible for public office, because they’ve been divorced and/or unfaithful, and we all know that the Republican Party is the party of “family values”.

                  Your moral compass is quite selective, isn’t it?

                  But we should definitely point out the politicians, regardless of their party affiliation, who blatantly attempt to undermine the Establishment Clause, and by extension our Constitution. And we should show how they discriminate against the minority voice, just because they want their personal flavor of religion to be the law of the land. Likewise, we should make sure they aren’t able to cover up these incidents, because they should not go unchallenged. You have been blaming the victim since your first post in this thread, and it shows the content of your character quite clearly. You have availed yourself of the moral high ground to speak about anyone else, because you are a troll and a hypocrite.

                • Malcolm McLean

                  There’s a difference between adultery which is secret, and that which is paraded. As I said, if you cover something up, then that usually means that you disapprove of it. People hide what they consider to be their faults, not what they regard as their virtues (normally).

                • TCC

                  Those aren’t actually the only options, but I found this Telegraph piece which alludes to the Daily Mail article by Karen Irving, and it does seem to corroborate the essential charge of homewrecking. (This seems to be an excerpt from the DM article in question.) I think the whole deal is a tempest in a teapot, though.

          • Psychotic Atheist

            I’m not disputing facts, I’m asking for sources for something I cannot verify on my own. I’m sure you agree that’s not an unreasonable thing to do.
            The only information I’ve been able to find based on what you said are the claims made by Irving that are reported second hand by hostile (to Toynbee) writers. On that basis, I can’t condemn her sufficiently to warrant being bothered she currently serves as a vice president of the BHA.

          • Aslan Balaur

            Yes, the bare facts ARE in dispute. I searched for information on the supposed adultery, and found Christian sites ACCUSING her, and one that after accusing her, said he regretted it, because IT WAS NOT BASED IN FACT. So, if even an accuser of Polly backs off of it as unfounded, what verifiable, testable source is there that she did, in fact, commit adultery? And since even here in the United States we know the Daily Mail is a horrid scandal tabloid as devoid of facts as Fox “News”, saying that there was an article in there 21 years ago affirming she committed adultery, an article that now nobody can find, isn’t exactly proof of anything.

          • allein

            So, lemme get this straight. She’s unfit to be president of the BHA because she may have had an affair with a married man 21 years ago?

      • Bolan

        What makes you think Polly Toynbee is an adulteress? I’ve gone through several Google search pages looking for any reference to this, and don’t find anything approaching this accusation.

        I’m suspecting that this is some weird kind of combination of ad hominem attack, strawman and red herring.

        The simplest view of Humanism is that it is the belief that the needs of Humanity have been, are, and shall be, met from within itself. This doesn’t require Atheism, though neither is the God Hypothesis needed. (see Laplace).

        Similarly, Atheism is either the lack of a belief in god(s), or the belief there is no god, depending on the definer, and makes no claim about hope or ethics. Though the sets of Atheists and of Humanists probably has a very large commonality, an Atheist could be a nihilist or simply convinced that humanity shall actually destroy itself.

        Whether some British humanist organization is “anti-human dignity” is beside the point of the definition, besides being being a doubtful claim.

      • Anna

        I’m not even going to address your ridiculous comments, but I’ve just got to say…

        known adulteress

        What is this, the 19th century? I feel like some character in a Victorian novel.

        • Maureen Mower

          Sadly, for some, it is even earlier than that…. 17th century would be about right for them.

          • Anna

            Shades of The Scarlet Letter!

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Christianity is egotistical totalitarianism with a bit of sanctimonious guff about “respecting and loving one another” attached. God appointed Noah, a known drunkard, as his representative and murdered everyone else. This was before he made a covenant with a sister-screwer, appointed an adulterer and murderer king of the Israelites, and called someone who tried to hand his own daughters over for gang-rape and then screwed them himself a righteous man. But it’s okay, because God found religion and pretended that he had to do that stuff because humans back then were too stupid to understand had he told them to not rape their daughters*. So Christianity is actually an anti-human, pro-daughter-fucking organization.

        That was fun! Wanna play again?

        *Too primitive to understand God’s “real” morals, so he didn’t bother to teach them… and yet at the same time, wicked because they’re not adhering to the morals he didn’t teach them. Interesting.

      • Spuddie

        So how are you respecting human dignity by flinging scurrilous ad hominem about a group’s leader’s personal life?

        You aren’t. You are just being an asshole like the Vero Beach Mayor.

      • oldwiz65

        “known adulteres” or “known adulterer” would exclude a lot of current members of the U.S. government.

      • phantomreader42

        Malcolm McLean is an escaped mental patient who rapes farm animals. I won’t even bother trying to substantiate this, but according to Malcolm I have no obligation to do so and everyone should believe me without question, because making shit up about people is the essence of dignity and moral rectitude!

      • rg57

        I am not a humanist, but your description doesn’t match any of the humanists I have met here in Canada or the US. Some are religious, some are atheist. They have been uniformly caring, trustworthy people.

        I don’t know anything about Polly, but if someone has made a bad choice in one area of their life, I don’t think that should bar them from leadership positions in other areas. I am wary of “perfect people” because they never are.

      • Hess

        And countless numbers of religious organisations have paedophiles as their leaders And follow a book that advocates rape torture murder

  • randomfactor

    There are probably lots of organizations in Vero Beach which do not “believe in Jesus Christ.” Just ask around at the local Synagogues, they can direct you.

    • Eli

      I live in Vero. I and many others, both christian and non-christian were very upset when we saw the meeting and what was said. We have a large synagogue here, a Unity group, as well as a large community involved and active Unitarian Universalist congregation. Most, but unfortunately not all, in our community are open minded tolerant people. Sad the ignorant received the press, versus the open minded. Hoping some good comes out of this in our community.

      • Spazticus

        It’s a national embarrassment, but I don’t think either the mayor or vice mayor have any remorse for their actions in this incident (aside from the fact that it shows them both to be the bigots they are.) I share in your hope that something positive will come from this – the least of which being that neither of them serve in any public office ever again.

        • Kaddy

          Actually, it’s an international embarrassment, reinforcing the view that much of the world is starting to hold: that except for a shrinking minority, the US is becoming a theocracy controlled by corporations who are more than happy to have the population believe in such nonsense unquestioningly.

          • Spazticus

            I concur, and I must reluctantly stand corrected.

  • Space Cadet

    The part at the 2:23 mark looked like the beginning of an epic temper tantrum.

  • Dee

    Geeze, wonder if there are any people of the Jewish faith in Vero Beach. This guy is and should be toast.

  • Buba Einstein

    Religion, Kills people dead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/therealkatmandew Daniel Lasris

    This is appalling and shows a lack of Tolerance for any other belief or non-belief! They don’t even know what a Humanist is. Maybe the Freedom From Religion Foundation should be involved in this as they should not be having prayer during there sessions either unless they allow others faiths to do the same! Complete and utter intolerance!

  • gallowaygrumblefield

    That was like something out of an Humberto Ecco novel. Did you notice the crazy look the mayor gave as he was explaining his “Jesus Christ” position? It was that look bullies give to intimidate weaker people into persecuting the hapless victim. Wow, scary to think people like that shape public policy. And that is exactly the reason why we have a separation of religion and government.

  • BobaFuct

    “I refuse to support an organization that does not believe in Jesus Christ.”

    Shopping trips must be a real bitch with those kinds of constraints…

  • Jim Olson

    Ignorance is a harsh master.

  • Rain

    This is ironic because they got all “hissy-fit” about atheism but then they have dumb beliefs that don’t make sense.

  • breesus

    Religion poisons everything.

  • JA

    This was a strangely entertaining read for some reason.

  • tracy two crows

    This is my Home Area,The humanist Group there are my friends,and I’m just sadly appalled.Before 2008,this was NEVER an issue here,I mean NEVER.But once the Black POTUS got in,Zero Beach lost it’s dam* MIND(John’s Island is where all the super rich arseholes live),and The Teabaggers took over.This used to be one of the few places left where folks of all stripes mingled&religion was rarely brought up,but now thanks to Racism&idiotic Dominionists taking over because of it,we’re stuck&fighting back HARD.RIP My beautiful Home,I can only hope a CAT 5 comes through&wipes every single one of them off the Map(they all live Oceanfront,the rest of us poor folks live MUCH farther inland).

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    When writing to this slimeball mayor, let us not neglect to ask him why he hates Goodwill and the Red Cross.

  • Abram Herman

    Emailed them:

    Bravo to those on your city council who voted to approve the measure declaring a Humanist Recognition Week, and shame on you to the opponents, and in particular the mayor, for mixing your religion with your job, and failing at both.

    Your job is to serve your constituents, including atheists, agnostics and humanists; your job is NOT to use your position as a platform to proselytize. If you could live in Iran or Turkey for a year, and see what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a government forcing religious beliefs upon you with which you don’t agree, you might change your tune and remember that our country was founded on freedom of religion—including freedom FROM religion.

    If you are so sure that the beliefs you have chosen (yes, belief is a choice) are the correct ones, you should be able to let those beliefs speak for themselves, rather than having to resort to pushing them upon others through your political office. You are fortunate to have three intelligent voices of reason on your city council to counteract the ignorance of the two members, who couldn’t separate their own imagined reality from the job they were elected to do.

    Best,
    Abram Herman
    Golden, CO

  • busterggi

    Mayor Fletcher can always leave the non-Jesus endorsing USA, I’ll be glad to help him pack.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      I hear Uganda is lovely this time of year. That seems to be the theocracy that the Christianists long for. They should move there.

  • cipher

    When emailing the city council (cityclrk@covb.org – oddly, there is no mention of the mayor’s office at the Vero Beach website), we may want to ask if the mayor disapproves of this Vero Beach organization and plans to have it removed from his jurisdiction: http://www.tbsvero.org/tbs/

  • Psychotic Atheist

    So the mayor is an anti-Semite, apparently. That is, he’d vote against a proclamation on the basis that the proposer was a Jew, not due to the contents of the proclamation. I might write to them to let them know…

  • Rain

    I refuse to support an organization that does not believe in Jesus Christ.

    Half of Vero Beach are religious, most of them at least pretending like Jesus is a magic being/thingy that talks in non-sequiturs and does dumb things like making up dumb rules for no reason. So good luck in the next election not supporting half of the population and the ones that only pretend-believe. Oh yeah, and the other religions too. Good luck dude.

  • Cyanmoon1

    My email to cityclrk@covb.org

    Dear Mr. Fletcher and Ms. Carroll,

    It is the responsibility of those elected to public office to represent their entire constituency, not just those with whom they agree or sympathize. You are the mayor and vice mayor not only of Vero Beach’s Christians, but also of its Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and yes, its humanists and atheists. None of these groups accept Jesus as their Lord and savior, and yet you are obliged by law to defend and protect their right to religious freedom. If you don’t feel you can do that while maintaining the integrity of your personal beliefs, you should step down.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Re: “Can we back up? What’s this fight all about again?”

    It’s about sanctimoniously-enraged Christianists using public office to pound their dour religionism into others, and petulantly refusing to obey the clear instructions of their own religion’s founder, as recorded in Matthew 6:1-6.

    That’s what it’s about.

  • edb3803

    Vice Mayor Carroll says that humanist is just another word for atheist, and that seems to settle it for her. As if just the idea of supporting anything to do with atheism is inconceivable! So, in her mind, and the mayor’s apparently, it is okay to discriminate against atheists and treat them as non-citizens.

    And they don’t see the intolerance?!?

  • Eldergothfather

    You Mayor…you are an elected official and you have sworn yourself to represent ALL people and you are also in violation the separation of church and state…

  • David Wood

    I live 10 miles from Vero Beach which has a large Jewish community. They are not happy about the comments for their own reasons of course.

  • Shayna2

    I seriously believe there’s going a religious war in this country.

  • sjkfromthebellyoftheplane

    “…..no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Period. End of conversation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/geraldrreynolds JstNEarthling

    You do reallize you are breaking the law and by doing so all business within this councel chamber is moot.

  • michael cole

    Does that mean that the mayor is going to resign?

  • ant-eye-christ

    once in awhile i’d like to read comments that actually discuss the topic at hand. not 15,000 posts about some random topic because some troll made one little comment & suddenly everyone is sucked into a black hole of nonsense.

  • rg57

    Not that I watch a lot of city council meetings, but I do watch a few. That is the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen a mayor do. He won’t care, but I’ll write a letter anyway.

  • Invisible Pink Unicorn

    I
    always substitute the words jesus christ with easter bunny. Try it. . .
    . . ” I refuse to support an organization that doesn’t believe in the
    Easter Bunny” . . . Or substitute and fictional character of your
    choice. . . Such VERY silly people lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/stooshie.wilson Andrew Wilson

    Oh the irony when the lady who opposed it said “this is not a pulpit”.

  • Secular Advocate

    I’m sure he would have been happy to support the Westboro Baptists.

    I wonder how many generations it’s going to take before all this nuttiness is done with.

    • Spazticus

      Too many, unfortunately. This has gone on long enough.

  • USA MRIID

    So the Christian fascist hates everything our country stands for. Wonderful. Looks like we need to mandate tests for politicians before they can run for office, make sure these fucking Christofascist Repu7blican god fuckers understand the contents of the U. S. Constitution.

    Always a filthy Christian or Islamic shit bag committing treason against our country. Always.

  • kaydenpat

    So does Vero Beach have a “Muslim Heritage Week” or “Jewish Heritage Week” to go along with its “Christian Heritage Week”? Seems like a lot of pushing of religion in the public square.

    • NavinJay

      How about Satanic Heritage Week or Pagan Heritage Week?

  • dtalbot34

    As a resident of Vero Beach, im glad to witness someone like him who publicly would disregard 1st amendments rights in lieu of his religious beliefs. This is why separation of church and state should be taken seriously…im happy to see he got outvoted.


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