A Blow to Christian Privilege

(In response to this post)

About M J Shepherd

Matthew graduated Louisiana State University in 2009 with a BA in studio art and a minor in art history. He has been drawing cartoons and comics online for several years.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Sit for a while. Take a load off your feet and think. It’ll be good for your soles.

  • Michael

    I can’t help but think that, if I were God, I’d have made this atheist monument happen to punish the people who decided to use my name as an excuse to push their own self-importance onto the local government and to rub it in the faces of the local population. They’re not called God-botherers for nothing.

    • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

      If you were God, why the hell would you care what some apes do on a speck of dirt spinning through space in a remote corner of an unremarkable galaxy in the inconceivable vastness of the universe?

      • baal

        This is the guy who set himself up to be killed just so you’ll love him and see that he is wise and just and ….

      • Michael

        Because they’re blaming me for it.

        • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

          Pretty petty reasoning for an ‘all powerful god’… If you left a plate with some food on it out and three days later some mold started growing on the food, would you care what it thinks?

          • Michael

            If it evolved a voice and went out telling everybody that I was a dick I might.

            • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

              Then you’d be just as petty of a god as the one you claim to worship. Good thing that’s all a hypothetical situation and god doesn’t exist, right?

              • Michael

                Sorry? What the hell made you think I worshipped something? The acknowledgement that if it existed I’d pity it?

                • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

                  I’m sorry, I thought you were assuming his existence from the start.

                • Michael

                  It is always worth turning conventional wisdom back on itself. When someone asks Why, ask Why Not?

                  In this case, Christians ask what God would do if he were them, so I ask what I would do if I were him. I would be pretty pissed off about what mainstream religions say about me is the answer.

      • islandbrewer

        Personally, if I were God, I’d make little hats for all the apes, and make it so that bananas played polka music when peeled.

        And I still think I’d make a fuck of a lot better God than the Abrahamic one.

  • Nathan Longhofer

    I don’t get it. Are those supposed to be space aliens?

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      You can assign several meanings to any artistic decision. The ones I go with when looking at MJ’s characters are (a) that they’re presented as being not human so the reader won’t be distracted by trivialities like gender or ethnicity and wonder why people with X features were given Y opinions, and (b) that he hopes the alien characters will help some readers look at the issues from “outside” and maybe understand them better than they would just reading a cartoon mocking their own arguments.

      But he might also just like drawing snail-eyed aliens. I couldn’t argue with that.

      • Nathan Longhofer

        I still don’t get the joke, though.

        • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

          Well than there just isn’t any helping you. You either get it, or you don’t.

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

          I shall try to explain, though like any joke it loses its humor when explained.

          Christians are not used to religious equality. They are used to religious privilege. They’re used to being more special and more equal than everyone else. Having an atheist or other religion’s monument next to a Christian monument is what equality looks like; having just a Christian monument is what establishing religion looks like.

          The talking alien-thing is deeply offended and hurt in his religious fervor that another group dares to put up a monument next to hir sacred symbol. It’s a play on the absolutely clueless privilege most Christians in the US evince- they whine about being oppressed by being forced to see evidence of others’ religious beliefs or lack thereof without ever realizing that their displays of religiosity make other people feel just as bad. It’s the absolute lack of any empathy or awareness of the irony that makes it funny, in the “laugh so you don’t cry” sort of way.

          • Nathan Longhofer

            But this isn’t a joke, just a fair description of Christian worldview or opinion.

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

              Have you never heard of dark humor? It’s funny only because it’s true; your options are to laugh, weep, or punch something. So we find humor in the absurd, in the irony so thick you can touch it, in mocking a ridiculous trait that deserves to be mocked. We laugh at the inherent absurdity of the situation, because life is stranger than fiction.

              • Nathan Longhofer

                I love dark humor. Humor usually involves irony, exaggeration, or the subversion of an expectation. This is like saying “Want to hear a joke? 45% of Americans believe Genesis to be literally true!” This is absurd, sad, ridiculous and true. It is not a joke.

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

                  But it is funny! In the sad, sad sort of way.

                • Nathan Longhofer

                  More work needs to be done to make it funny is what I am saying. This may be agree to disagree time.

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

                  Yeah. Humor’s very personal. Whatevs, it’s not a big deal if you or I find something funny or not!

                • Renee Reinhardt

                  Why does art have to be funny? Maybe it’s supposed to be sobering, contemplative even. If you want it to be different or you think you know how it should be… draw your own, but don’t steal the idea of another to do it.

                • Nathan Longhofer

                  Its a comic, so I assumed it was supposed to be funny. Mr. Shepard can do whatever he wants. He is apparently pioneering the form of the intentionally humorless single panel comic. Good for him.

                  Who’s idea did I steal exactly?

      • Nathan Longhofer

        Having looked at more of his work I see my mistake. There are no jokes here.

        • M J Shepherd

          None of them were ever intended to be gut-busting funny. To be frank I don’t find many of them to be jokes.

          • Nathan Longhofer

            Yeah, I understand that now. I didn’t have context when I first commented.

      • M J Shepherd

        I like drawing snail-eyed aliens. Or trashcans with eyestalks, as one of my earlier detractors called them.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Or surgical scissors jammed into potatoes!

          • M J Shepherd

            Hot dog damn, that works too!

  • Tainda

    I saw so many posts about this on other websites. Most of the comments were asking if atheists don’t believe in god why are they so offended. They HONESTLY have no clue why we get upset about this sort of thing. It’s like separation of church and state doesn’t even register with them.

    • C Peterson

      It’s regrettable that this bench is being presented as something atheist. That is a mistake. Once again, atheism is being conflated with secularism, to the detriment of both. I don’t find it surprising at all that many people are confused.

      • Ewan

        Surely the point is that it IS something atheist – there’s no problem with secular monuments, only ones that are not.

        • C Peterson

          No, it has nothing to do with atheism. Most secularists in the U.S. are not atheists. When we conflate secularism with atheism, we tend to push away all the religionists who quite validly are concerned with the separation of state and church. That is not a good thing.

          A monument that does not mention atheism at all, but focuses on secularism, is something that speaks to a much larger audience. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be subject to First Amendment controls, and could arguably be placed in any governmental location without problem.

          • Ewan

            Are we talking about the same thing? The atheist monument has an American Atheists logo on it, and section of text starting ‘An Atheist believes…’, and is explicitly an atheist monument.

            The entire point is that it’s been erected next to a christian ten commandments monument, on the basis that, in a secular society, the government may not favour one view of religion over another, but may allow several to be expressed equally.

            The secularism doesn’t come from either one of the monuments, it comes from the fact that they’re both there. Of course, if the christian one wasn’t there in the first place, there’d have been no issue, and no atheist response.

            • C Peterson

              Yes, we are talking about the same thing. It contains a mix of atheist and secularist quotes, which seriously conflates the two concepts, causing confusion in many people’s eyes.

              This monument should not have “American Atheists” on it (indeed, American Atheists should change its name). It should not have the word “atheist” on it. It should not be an atheist monument at all, but a secularist one.

              Both monuments together do not promote a secularist viewpoint. We still have government apparently endorsing religion, now it’s just two viewpoints instead of one. That is not particularly inclusive, and still violates the spirit of the First Amendment, if not current the strict legality of it.

              • Ewan

                “It should not be an atheist monument at all, but a secularist one.”

                OK, you’re clearly entitled to your own view of what it ought to have been, but are we in agreement that as it stands now, the monument is indeed an atheist monument, not a secular one?

                • C Peterson

                  Honestly, I don’t know what it is. It is placed by an atheist organization (whatever that is), and contains a mix of atheist and secularist quotes. The actual message is unclear.

                  If it just said “Fuck Christians”, “Religionists are idiots”, etc, I’d take it as atheist. I’d still consider that a violation of the First Amendment in spirit, but so be it. If it had nothing but secularist sentiments, it could remain even if the Ten Commandments monument was removed or found unconstitutional.

                  My initial comment was in response to Tainda, and the fact that so many Christians don’t understand what this is all about. And my point was that as long as we continue to associated atheism and secularism, that confusion is going to remain. On the whole, I consider this new monument a setback for both atheism and secularism.

  • Guest

    Why is it next to the Ten Commandments? It’s as if these particular atheists just want to ride Christianity’s coattails instead of relying on their own appeal.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Consider actually reading about something before complaining about it.

    • Mario Strada

      Because it was built to protest the presence of the 10C monument. If they put it two blocks away it would have served the purpose very well.
      I suggest reading the news you comment on before making inane statements.

    • UWIR

      It is the Christians who, instead of relying on their own appeal, have commandeered government resources promote their view. They do not trust in their ability to win in the marketplace of ideas, and so they seek every opportunity to acquire government-granted monopolies on speech, and “ride on the coattails” of government. It’s truly amazing how you people are able to twist everything to a criticism of atheists.

  • http://uncensored.citadel.org/ IGnatius T Foobar

    The inscription on the monument is not merely atheist, it is outrightly bigoted and hateful towards Christianity.

    Atheism is now the second most oppressive religion in the world.

    • islandbrewer

      Won’t someone think of all those poor poor oppressed Christians in Starke, Florida! They’re being forced to acknowledge that non-Christians exist!

    • Ewan

      “it is outrightly bigoted and hateful towards Christianity”

      Goose, gander, sauce. How do you think non-christians are supposed to feel in the face of the ten commandments? Things like “I am the lord thy god” and “Thou shalt have no other gods” aren’t exactly embracing diversity, are they?

    • RobMcCune

      Atheism is now the second most oppressive religion in the world.

      Because of a bench? You need to read up on religious oppression throughout the world. Even if atheism were a religion, which it isn’t, that pales in comparison to what christianity does.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Poor lying angrums. Jesus must be so proud.

    • M J Shepherd

      I’ve read your other comments and have come to the conclusion that you don’t actually have anything of value to add to the conversation, on anything.

    • Mario Strada

      What would be a “merely atheist” monument Mr. Foobar? This one happens to have a quote from the founder of AmericaN Atheists and the rest, if I recall correctly, are quotes from the founding fathers.
      Since AA actually paid for it, I think they are entitled to put their name on it. They are also entitled to put their founder quote on it. The rest of the quotes are from revered historical figures.

      Regardless, you could stop the atheist oppression in that park very easily: remove the 10C monument. AA will remove theirs. How oppressive is that?

    • Matt D

      Atheism is no more a religion than “bald” is a haircut.
      And saying it’s “oppressive” is irrelevant. That’s a personal observation you’ve made, and creating enemies out of strangers is your doing, not ours.

    • closetatheist

      Is no one curious as to his opinion on the most oppressive religion in the world? What could it be? Science? Secular governments? Aggressive cheeseheads? Cause really, equating those to a religion makes as much sense as saying that atheism is a religion.

      • JohnnieCanuck

        In the world? For him, my guess would be Islam.

        Not sure what he’d say if the question were limited to the US. Catholicism perhaps, assuming that’s what he isn’t. He might still go with Islam, given how badly the US has been oppressed by Al-Qaida and that B. Hussein Obama guy.

        I am curious to know just what he did to get himself labelled a Site Administrator. Surely not for this or any other Patheos blog.

    • Renee Reinhardt

      What makes it humorous? Your response. Otherwise it is just a slice of reality. Sad really. That you think less of anything and anyone who has a different view from yours? You even talk down to them. Some of us have put our lives on the line for your freedom to do so, but you call us bigots and hateful. No sir. I have the utmost respect and wish you did too! That is why, even though I am not atheist in my being, I stand with them. I will defend their right to not have religious tyranny and biblical sharia law over them just as I defend people to have a personal choice in what they believe.

  • Robyman4

    Stop believing and start thinking and all will be well!


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