NY State Senator Says Times Square Atheist Billboard is Religious Persecution Like the Kind That Led to the Holocaust

New York State Senator Andrew Lanza is outraged by American Atheists’ billboard in Times Square:

He’s so outraged that he’s linking the sign to the Holocaust:

Senator Lanza said, “Just as millions of Americans are preparing to celebrate Christmas, this intolerant and hateful group deliberately ridicules the solemn beliefs of millions of New Yorkers.”

Not only do the people behind this group not believe in God but they obviously don’t believe in decency, civility and kindness to fellow human kind either. This is part of a continued “War on Christmas” and also upon the belief and value system of millions of Christian, Jewish and Muslim people who have faith in God. Religious persecution of the kind that similarly lead to the Holocaust began with small evil baby steps of ridicule and hatred of the religious beliefs of others.

Godwin’s law is still in effect.

There’s no hatred with the atheist billboard. There’s not even ridicule. AA President Dave Silverman has said repeatedly that the purpose of the billboard was to let closeted atheists know that they don’t need to go to church or pretend to worship Jesus in order to enjoy the holidays. That’s it. Furthermore, saying a religious belief is untrue is not at all the same as saying you “hate” religious people.

It must be Republican logic. After all, this is a guy who voted against marriage equality but has the audacity to believe AA’s billboard is an example of “religious persecution.”

State Senator Andrew Lanza

Of course, Lanza wasn’t done yet. He still had to bash atheists as a whole:

While it is not surprising to me that people who do not believe in God are hateful and malicious, I would have hoped that the people who own this billboard, those who live in Manhattan and around Times Square and the community’s political leaders would have decried this hate speech as something not to be tolerated or allowed.”

… the fuck?

In what world does spending time with family and giving to charity and drinking hot chocolate — all of which American Atheists’ billboard offers up as ways to spend the holidays — amount to “hate speech”?

And how does Lanza not see the hypocrisy in his own words? If I said the following, you all with rightfully condemn the hell out of me:

While it is not surprising to me that Jews are hateful and malicious

You’d call me a bigot. You’d tell me I’m unfairly painting all religious people with a broad (and untrue) brush. You wouldn’t stand for that sort of blatant prejudice. But this guy’s in elected office?!

Of course, Lanza wasn’t done yet. He still had to take one last swipe at American Atheists:

Senator Lanza is also calling for the revocation of the American Atheists’ 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status because he doesn’t believe that tax dollars should be used to spew religious hatred.

If non-profit status was revoked for something as innocuous as AA’s billboard, every church in the country would start paying taxes immediately — and that’s not even getting into groups that fight to block certain groups of people from getting equal rights like Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.

Lanza also called for a boycott of Times Square in protest. In the weeks leading up to New Years Eve. Because that’s gonna work. He wants you to sign a petition, too.

This is so over-the-top ridiculous that it’s apparent Lanza doesn’t understand the Constitution or how the marketplace of ideas works.

Yesterday, American Atheists responded to him with a letter that I don’t even know how they wrote without strings of expletives because I’m seething with rage just typing this:

Does our billboard infringe on anyone’s rights to do as they see fit? Can our billboard affect your life if you don’t want it to do so? One could ask the same question about Christian billboards threatening non-Christians with hell.

The answer, of course, is no. Billboards don’t infringe on people’s rights.

You are the one attempting to infringe on others’ rights. You are petitioning, on your official government-hosted website, to suppress our Constitutional right to freedom of speech. This is truly an act that should frighten Americans. Your abuse of your office to attempt to silence a minority group is not only un-American, it is the antithesis of the ideals upon which our nation was founded.

You should be ashamed of yourself, and all New Yorkers should be ashamed to be represented by you. In your press release, you defame the character of the tens of millions of atheists, agnostics, and nontheists by saying, “[I]t is not surprising to me that people who do not believe in God are hateful and malicious.” That is bigotry, plain and simple. You smear the nearly 3 million non-religious New Yorkers with your hate. You are unworthy of the office you hold.

Our billboard, which points out that Christmas is better without the religious baggage, is not hate speech nor persecution, Senator. Critique is not persecution. Demanding our equality is not an attack on your rights. It is an assertion of ours.

Make no mistake: We do not fear you. The more you attempt to silence us, the louder you will hear us rise in opposition to your posturing. You are so damaged by your religion that you can’t obey your own oath to uphold the Constitution when it conflicts with your dogma and pride.

Enjoy our current and future awareness-raising projects. It could not be more clear that you need them.

Okay, maybe they were seething a bit, too. But you can understand why. You expect this sort of ratings-induced vitriol from Rush Limbaugh or a talking head on Fox News.

There’s simply no justification, though, when it comes from an elected official who is speaking as a government representative.

Let Lanza know this is completely inappropriate. If you live in his Staten Island district, tell him you won’t be voting for him next year — and then spread the word so that no one else in your community does so either. His email address is lanza@senate.state.ny.us.

Sen. Andrew Lanza’s district

Don’t let him get away with this.

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.

  • Eric

    To be honest, I feel like some of these billboards are unnecessarily mean and because of that ineffective. I feel like something talking about pagan holidays and winter solstice or pointing out that Santa and Reindeer have nothing to do with Jesus would be more effective than just saying “nobody needs Christ.”

  • Frank Mitchell

    The screen-grab reproduced below does give the impression that that’s all to the ad (and yes, the “Nobody” [needs Christ] is a little confrontational.) … but it’s an animated billboard. One would think a Senator would take five seconds to watch the whole thing before spouting off. Then again, there are people who see the word “atheist” and think it’s time for the Two Minute Hate.

  • Terry Firma

    I agree on that point, but it has nothing to with what a giant douche Lanza is for reacting the way he did. His behavior needs to be called out.

  • Castilliano

    Yes, but what if these reactions are the whole point?
    My initial reaction to the sign was, uggh! & ugly, but as more and more media attention gets heaped on it, and people like Lanza out themselves as unable to function in a secular capacity, I have to wonder if Silverman is a marketing guru.
    I mean, it worked last year too, right?
    Admittedly, other than the media attention, I’m not sure who he’d be targeting in terms of persuasion.
    But maybe… fencesitters also say “Uggh!” but then since they’re thinking about church & Christmas come to say, “Yeah, that church part is extraneous, isn’t it?”

  • Richard Thomas

    There are those of us who like the outspokenness of the billboard. The messages you describe are good as well, but for every 5,000 frothing, seething, hate-spewing “TURN TO CHRIST OR PERISH” messages, it’s nice to have one that says “NO.”

  • Randay

    I agree and I think that both tactics should be used. Xians sometimes have lovey-dovey billboards “Jesus loves you” and other scary ones that say “Accept Jesus or you are going to Hell”.

  • WalterWhite007

    No one does need christ. If he had had a clear message that made sense I could see a case for belief in him. But the messages attributed to him are contradictory. So no, nobody does need christ, or the bible. You can throw the koran in there too.

  • tsig

    He’s not screaming that loud because it’s ineffective.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    While we all know there’s no “war on Christmas”, what these guys don’t get is that it wouldn’t matter if there was. It would just be a war of ideas: may the best win. If I want to try and convince people to give up Christmas, that’s as much my right as it is his to try and make me into a Christian. Where’s the “persecution” in either case? What could be more in the tradition of America, from day one, than the free exchange of ideas in the hope to persuade?

  • rwlawoffice

    Of course it is a war on Christmas- specifically the Christian Christmas. To say that there isn’t a move to diminish the Christ portion of the holiday and increase the secular presence is disingenuous at best.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Those who believe religion is harmful seek to convince more people to believe that. Those who believe religion is valuable seek to sway more people to their view.

    To treat competing ideas in the public marketplace as a “war” is absurd. No secularist or anti-religionist seeks to use the force of law to change how people observe Christmas. At most, they ask that existing laws be obeyed. It is only Christians who actually seek legislation that attempts to force their view.

  • Neko

    People routinely use war metaphors to describe heated conflict. Culture war is in the vernacular no matter how absurd. That train left the station.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    But there’s no heated conflict here. Zip. Atheists, secularists, and anti-religionists are just laughing. The only heat is coming from Fox and a handful of batshit crazy professional Christians and incompetent politicians.

    If this is a “war”, it only has one side fighting. And it isn’t us.

  • tubi11

    And yet, we seem to be winning.

  • Neko

    Well, now I’m laughing, anyway.

    Right, the conflict is a model of dispassionate debate. The AA “Who needs Christ during Christmas? Nobody” holiday season billboard is really just a Silverman & Co. knee-slapper. ho ho ho

    It’s true the “War on Christmas” was a crazy right-wing invention (apparently way back in the late fifties). But now organized atheism is in the game, and to pretend otherwise, as rwlawoffice noted, is “disingenuous at best.”

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I don’t buy it. The sign is an advertisement. It says “buy into our idea”, and that’s all it says. And if you look at the sign in context, its primary target isn’t the religious- they obviously aren’t buying- but the people who want an excuse to celebrate Christmas in the absence of any religious reasons (which a study reported on today indicates is 50% of Americans).

    There is no atheist war on Christmas. Most atheists celebrate the holiday themselves!

    To the extent there is an organized movement to turn people away from religion (which isn’t an atheist movement), signs like those by AA (not an atheist organization) are simply utilizing Christmas and the Christmas season to leverage their message. It’s not really about Christmas as all.

  • Neko

    if you look at the sign in context, its primary target isn’t the religious- they obviously aren’t buying- the people who want an excuse to celebrate Christmas in the absence of any religious reasons

    Because they need David Silverman and American Atheists to tell them they don’t have to be religious at Christmastime. Seriously? People ambivalent about religion respond to being patronized by a ham-fisted piece of ugly?

    Now let us turn to the semantics game where atheists can never in all justice be associated with anti-theism and other isms because what does disbelief in gods have to do with isms. The fact that the billboard in question is sponsored by AMERICAN ATHEISTS (which of course is not an ATHEIST organization) is mere coincidence and anyone who suggests a connection is being unreasonable. I see.

    It’s not really about Christmas at all.

    And yet in the real world far away from the magical land where all the atheist children are above average, the billboard will be perceived as a culture war volley in the “War on Christmas” and a diss on the birthday celebration of the baby Jesus. Naughty or nice?

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I didn’t say that atheists can’t be associated with anti-theism. They can be, and often are. What I said is that anti-theism isn’t an atheist movement, and AA isn’t an atheist organization, even if they choose to mistakenly characterize themselves as such.

    And yes, closeted atheists and those ambivalent about religion do benefit from hearing that they are not alone.

    I don’t doubt there are idiots who will take the billboard as some sort of personal insult to themselves or their god. Who cares? These people represent the past, and are a declining demographic. I couldn’t care less if they are offended.

  • Neko

    What I said is that anti-theism isn’t an atheist movement, and AA isn’t an atheist organization, even if they choose to mistakenly characterize themselves as such.

    Go on…

  • Brodestar

    The only “war” that your referring to is christians asserting that christmas is a solely christian holiday and that atheists are trying to change that. The truth is that christians essentially hijacked the winter solstice back in the 4th century a.d. when everybody else was already recognizing this time of year in their own non-christian ways. The AA is not trying to take christmas away from christians as what is being asserted. They are only trying to say that there are clearly non-religious aspects of christmas that makes up the bulk of this holiday season and should not be seen as solely christian.

  • Carmenalex

    Let me know when atheists start demanding at gun point that you can’t celebrate Christmas any dang way you please. You can go to church for 24 hours straight if you want to. There is nothing wrong with the secular portion of the holiday…its been like that since Santa and his reindeer and elves where put on the forefront of the holiday. This is a secular country, not a theocracy. Me and a whole bunch of people celebrate it as a secular holiday, and the same way we cant stop you from going to church, you cannot stop us from celebrating it as a secular holiday. War? You demean the real meaning of the word war. Not following your religion and being vocal about it is not persecution or war. You diminish and slap in the face those Christians, jews, atheists, gays, Muslims etc. who truly are persecuted, murdered, maimed and jailed for their beliefs or lack of them around the world. They would only be so lucky to be ‘persecuted’ like you claim to be.

  • TheHabMan

    “Christmas” was the church’s attempt to win over converts by co-opting a Pagan holiday so in all reality Christ never was in Christmas

  • Neko

    Nonsense. The history is more complicated than that. There’s always Wikipedia.

  • Neko

    Lanza is indeed unfit for office; his remarks are outrageous.

    But what did AA expect with that volley? This is war.

  • toth

    We’d expect it from Fox News pundits, but not from elected representatives.

  • Neko

    What country have you been living in?!

  • toth

    Touche, but most of the time the idiots in the government only go so far as saying stupid things, not calling for boycotts and revocation of non-profit status.

  • Neko

    I’d cite an example, but my memory is shot from my head exploding so many times over things politicians have said ever since…well, ever since I can remember.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Christine Quinn, Thomas Menino, Rahm Emanuel, and Joe Moreno all say hello.

  • toth

    I’m not familiar with any of them doing that. What examples are you thinking of?

  • The Starship Maxima

    Google their names all together, it should pull up the Chick-Fil-A fracas.

  • toth

    They asked to have Chick-Fil-A’s tax-exempt status revoked?

    Chick-Fil-A has tax-exempt status?

  • The Starship Maxima

    Okay, okay, let’s not get all “technical” here. :)

  • Brodestar

    It’s one thing to get this hate speech from bigots like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and all those “opinionists” as Bill O’Reilly calls them over on Fox News. It’s entirely different to get this obvious attempt to infringe on their 1st amendment rights of free speech from a seated N.Y. state congressman.

  • Robster

    Seems the silly senator is helping the cause by alerting millions, through a pandering media, to the fact that the billboard is there and causing some of the deluded a wee bit of angst. He’s also alerting voters with a brain to the fact that he is without. Can’t be all bad.

  • quasibaka

    Seems to be that the billboard is getting more views than it otherwise woould have .
    The extreme right would probably be irritated by this ad no doubt , but the centre is where this ad is targeted at . So thank you Lanza

  • The Starship Maxima

    If ONE person equates disagreement with Gestapo tactics, I’m gonna puke.

    Of course Lanza is full of shit. But let’s be clear here, his faux pas is indicative of the current climate of politicians of ALL stripes trying to equate personal outrage with actual legally recognized criminal acts.

    I was having a rather educational and insightful debate on the Chick-Fil-A controversy. And many people present a valid theory that it doesn’t matter if Chick-Fil-A discriminates against gays themselves, as long as they are giving to groups that oppose gay rights.

    That thinking is absolutely valid in the confines of personal outrage. It is completely INVALID in matters of the law and public policy. Lanza’s stunt is no different than Speaker Christine Quinn wanting to play the part of the brave gay activist and “shutting down CFA”, or Rahm Emanuel in Chicago or Thomas Menino in Boston, or Alderman Joe Moreno in Chicago trying to pull the same stunt. I can already here a bunch of people saying “You dumbass, it’s not the same thing.” Only because you agree with one side and not the other.

    Simply put, you don’t get to use your power of office to silence the speech of others. You don’t. That’s not how business is done here, and the sooner all politicians realize that, the better off we’ll be.

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

    You’re right. And I was outspoken at the time of the whole controversy about people trying to prevent CFA from opening new stores. That was completely unacceptable, no matter how nasty CFA’s donations were. It was an abuse of power through and through and I’m glad it didn’t go anywhere.

    But you know what? I made a challenge then, and I repeat it now (not to you, but in general. You’ve already risen to this particular challenge). I challenged conservatives and religious people to speak out whenever their representatives said or did something like that. I told them their silence was deafening. I challenged, and I still challenge, people to speak out against the Andrew Lanzas and Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells and Ted Cruzes of the world. I’ve been disappointed overall in the continuing silence.

    It is the same thing, and it’s not acceptable. Period. I just wish as much attention would be paid to Republicans doing it as the much rarer instances in which Democrats do it, but I guess it happens too damned often to point out every instance.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Sadly you are right. The religious right and their Republican cohorts crap on freedom of speech so often, it would take a week just to nail the ten most egregious examples from among the scores of examples.

    Few people do like this Lanza joker and go all the way to Nazi parallels.

  • Wildcard

    It concerns neither of you that CFA donates to Uganda hate groups? The ones that are fully okay with their kill/arresting gay people for existing? Their gets to a point where it isn’t an issue of speech but instead clear and present danger. By contributing to that danger they are effectively encouraging this behavior.

    If the KKK had any sort of hold on America and Arby’s decided to donate to a chapter of them that had started chasing Asian families out of their homes.

    It is the difference between me saying Ivan the Russian actor saying “Put the gays in ovens” and funding people dedicated to actually achieving it.

  • Red-star

    *Me saying “Fuck you” to Ivan the Russian actor. I should check these more before I post them.

  • Randay

    Not to worry, I missed the post about what CFA meant so I looked it up. Nothing relating. I did find The Cat Fanciers’ Association, but I didn’t see how that could be the point of dispute.

  • The Starship Maxima

    I’m capable of being concerned with more than one issue at a time.

    The criminalization of homosexuality both here and abroad should be opposed in the court of public ideas and the court of public opinion.

    The minute we allow one group to simply win by default vis-a-vis “silencing” the other group, there’s nothing to stop conservative politicians from blacklisting businesses that support Planned Parenthood under the guise of defending human life.

  • Wildcard

    This isn’t about silencing a group with an opinion. This is about cutting off funding to a group with deadly intentions. If he had just said “I don’t like gay marriage and think it should be banned” I’d just call that stupid, maybe even a boycott. Once you get into helping somebody who threatens another life this has nothing to do with buisness or free speech anymore.

  • The Starship Maxima

    The exact same logic could be used to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

    Personal opinion, no matter how justified, doesn’t count as a legally recognized concept. Furthermore, the way you defeat an idea, is with another idea. You battle Focus on the Family, and Planned Parenthood through policy and through advocacy.

    Trying to claim victory by declaring the other “illegal” is facism, plain and simple.

  • Wildcard

    No it isn’t. There is no debate that gay people aren’t worthy of the same protection as others. There is still a debate about abortion.

    When real harm is being done it isn’t facism to step in. It isn’t fascism when a cop discovers a guy building a bomb to set off in the city and arrests him and the guy funding his weapons collection. It is fascism to search people’s houses for no reason. If there helping to fund those groups in Uganda they deserve to be investigated. I say the same about Nike and their manufacturing sweatshop deals, the tv station that literally worked their intern to death, and other company that are allowing human lives to be risked so carelessly.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Nobody said gays aren’t worthy of the same protection. But you did on the very reason we don’t allow your (or mine, or anyone else’s) personal indignation determine the limits of the law.

    “There is no debate gay people aren’t worthy of the same protection as others. There is still a debate about abortion.”

    The law makes no recognition of “popularly held, widely agreed upon belief” and “beliefs that are in dispute”. We agree upon a set of rules, and set procedures in place for when we disagree about the rules. Then, we follow the rules.

    If you oppose FOF and NOM, you outlobby them, you speak against them, and you boycott the people and business that support them. You DO NOT get to punitively shut down business that support them without just cause. “Just” as in, legally agreed upon law.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Although, I must say Card, the abject horror of realizing that the Uganda bill and the Jamaica bill have direct help from the likes of FOF and NOM make me say that, yes, perhaps we need to get a bit more stringent on libel and defamation laws.

    FWIW, FOF and NOM, I think, backpedalled once they realized what kind of effect their rhetoric was having in less-enlightened parts of the world.

  • Fred

    “The exact same logic could be used to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.”

    Analogy Fail.
    One organization is having deleterious effects on actual people, the other is not.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Going by your logic, yes. Going by the logic of others, not so much.

  • Fred

    Spell casting isn’t a type of logic.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Your point being?

  • Fred

    Wooosh, right over your purposeful ignorance again.

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

    And I agree completely with the boycott. I don’t eat there either, for that very reason.

    But elected officials must not prevent CFA from opening restaurants due to their hateful speech. That says that government officials have the right to prevent anyone from opening a business if they don’t like what you say, and that’s a scary power to hand over like that. If Arby’s donated to the KKK, I would equally both support a boycott and decry governmental suppression same as I do with CFA.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Were I a constituent of his, and needed his help, would I worry that he would treat me unfairly if he knew I was an atheist? Would I have to be careful with what I say so as to make sure he doesn’t know? Would I be silently thankful that my atheist status isn’t immediately visible?

    And he’s talking about religious persecution?

  • Richard Thomas

    I know I’ll probably catch some flak for this, but I can totally see his comparison with Nazi persecution. I mean, you guys all remember how much Hitler pandered to the jewish base to get elected, right? /sarcasm

  • Richard Thomas

    P.S. I really hope the good senator checks his own email. He doesn’t represent me, but I have no qualms giving him a piece of my mind.

  • Whitney Currie

    Since he’s clearly not using his own mind, that might be helpful, thank you!

    Oh, and I really love it when someone tells me what a hateful person I am. I don’t have the time or energy to hate much of anyone these days, I’ve got a life I’d rather be living.

  • Randay

    I too get a chuckle when I am accused of being a hateful person. It is like water off a duck’s back. It is also funny how I can get the faithful riled up, not by talking about them personally, but by exposing the nonsense in their book. Sometimes they even threaten violence against my person.

  • Portaloid

    This level of exaggeration is utterly foolish on the part of Lanza. Atheism is about distancing oneself from hateful, radical religion, yet realizing the good that some religious folk can do. It’s also plain to see that Lanza is in a state of denial about the meaning of Christmas; in America, Christmas is based mostly around giving and receiving gifts, and Santa Claus. While Santa Claus (Sinterklaas or St. Nicholas) has Christian origins, the holiday itself has become largely secular. Besides, painting all atheists as hateful, malicious, and ignorant, reflects on one’s judgmental nature and possibly idiocy.

  • WalterWhite007

    This is so strange. The highly religious are usually clear headed, rational and forgiving.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Why thank you, that was so nice of……(pause)…..oh. I see what you did there.

  • LDavidH

    Yeah, well, the highly religious were the ones who put Jesus to death…

  • WalterWhite007

    IF he even existed. Either way it was a human sacrifice (story). Then the cathlicks turned it into cannibalism. Nice people.

  • klishnor

    If you believe the bible and its Catholic interpretation (I’m not saying which side of THOSE fences you will find me on), Christ himself set up the “Cannibalism”, actually “Transubstantiation”, at the Last Supper, which (obviously) occurred before his crucifixion,

  • WalterWhite007

    Reasonable people think cannibalism is abhorrent. Unless you’re cathlick and even then most cathlicks haven’t thought it through….like many aspects of their ‘faith’… so aren’t really aware of what it is they are condoning.

  • Andy Reid

    Libertarian, military vet, atheist and ex cop here. Screw both sides. Both hinder progress. Guys, don’t pick a side. Stand up. It takes balls to stand up. Do you have them?

  • Helix Luco

    i have a problem with your rhetoric here, i’m sure that you don’t actually believe that moral courage is anatomically derived, right? it probably doesn’t seem significant but these little things have a way of adding up.

  • Andy Reid

    I agree, the rhetoric was seemingly anatomical. It was not. I am sorry for the confusion. Gender does not matter. Thanks, for correcting me.

  • onamission5

    Well I guess the important thing is that you’ve found a way to feel superior to everyone without actually taking a stand for anything.

  • CanuckAmuck

    You beat me to the xkcd reference.

  • Sven2547

    Guys, don’t pick a side. Stand up.

    Vague platitudes aside, what do you mean by “stand up”? And if you “stand up” for or against something, how is that not “picking a side”?

  • Spuddie

    Don’t give me that both sides bullshit.

    Only one “side” is asking to suppress freedom of speech and religion. You want to act like you are somehow above the fray, but obviously you lean towards one side by making phony equivalence arguments. It takes no guts to sit back with disapproval without bothering to figure out the situation.

  • Pitabred

    That’s a false equivocation. Yes, there are problems with “both sides”, but they are not the same problems, not in magnitude nor character.

    This is no the echo chamber you were looking for.

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

    Stand up for what, precisely?

    And if you don’t pick a side, you’re de facto picking the status quo. That’s not okay either. The status quo is fucked up and what we’re trying to change.

  • Brodestar

    When you think about it Lanza has a point. We atheists hate theists, specificly christians, so much that we have burned down 0 churchs. Our hatred has lead to 0 deaths in heavy christian communities. We have lobbied congress so much that 0 laws have been changed to support our evil atheistic views. How else is Lanza supposed to react but with rage and obvious hate speech to stop us? Afterall thats all that extremist christians know how to do when faced with an aggressor who does 0 to infringe on his freedom to practice his religion however he chooses.

  • Lilly Munster

    He’s always been a dipshit.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I think David Silverman is going to have to send a personal thank you card to Andrew Streisand- I mean Lanza. Maybe some chocolates too.

  • Mick

    Don’t let him get away with this.
    I’ll bet he does get away with it though.

  • invivoMark

    Lanza… Lanza… I feel like I know that name.

    Oh, wait, that’s this guy, isn’t it?

  • Brodestar

    Yes that guy but with more hair(maybe cough… cough…) and more hatred.

  • baal

    I thought you were going to put up the newton shooter, adam lanza. OTOH B5 was a great show and Londo had the best way to cheat at cards.

  • Courtney

    I’m surprised no one has pointed out the largest irony here: Hitler, as a Christian, believed he was doing God’s work in persecuting the Jews.

  • Brodestar

    But didn’t you hear? Hitler was an atheist even though everything he did and said would clearly mark him as a catholic. How christians can even think that he and the nazi party were anything but heavily catholic is beyond me.

  • Dave The Sandman

    actually the German forces would have been made up of both Catholic and Protestant Christians.
    The forces oath included references to God, at least in its early Nazi regime format.
    And then there was the belt buckles….. “Gott Mit Uns” is a pretty clear indication that the guys wearing them were not atheists.

  • Brodestar

    Yes the German military was a mix of catholics and protestants. The nazi party however was made up of mainly catholic extreamists same with the S.S. This would not have set well with Hitler if he was the atheist that christians say he was.

  • Dave The Sandman

    As usual the charge is easy to refute using acts and words.
    Shortly after the Enabling Act was passed in 1933 the Nazi Party, under orders from Hitler, cracked down on and broke up Freethinker and Atheist groups, including seizing office and meeting facilities. These anti-nones actions were actually reported in the USA press.
    Then there are Hitler’s own words:
    “For this, to be sure, from the child’s primer down to the last newspaper, every theater and every movie house, every advertising pillar and every billboard, must be pressed into the service of this one great mission, until the timorous prayer of our present parlor patriots: ‘Lord, make us free!’ is transformed in the brain of the smallest boy into the burning plea: ‘Almighty God, bless our arms when the time comes; be just as thou hast always been; judge now whether we be deserving of freedom; Lord, bless our battle!”” – Mein Kampf
    “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith” – Hitler, 1933
    “We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” – Hitler, 1933
    “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” Hitler, 1944

    Seems pretty conclusive.

  • Randay

    Sandman, I agree with you, but there may also have been a propaganda point that the simple people needed to believe these things but not the ruling elite. That is the current case with American neo-conservatives. From their mentor Leo Strauss they learned to promote American supremacy myths that they themselves did not believe. They think the myths are necessary to keep the masses in line. For a good analysis, see the BBC documentary, “The Power of Nightmares”. On YT and elsewhere on internet.

  • diogeneslamp0

    No, this is not true that Nazis were Catholic. As Richard Steigmann-Gall documents at great length in “The Holy Reich”, the Nazi party was officially Christian (Point 12 in the Nazi party platform) and officially “above” the confessional divide between Catholics and Protestants, but unofficially and systematically they strongly favored Protestantism. This is even true of Hitler, nominally a Catholic, but who in private hinted Protestants were racially superior to Catholics.

    However, in all the countries around Germany, the fascist movements were officially Catholic, like the notorious Croatian Ustasha who converted or killed Orthodox Christians at gunpoint.

    Let’s get our facts straight please!

  • Spuddie

    Except for the collaborationist Bosnian SS units, they were Muslim. But it is true for the overwhelming majority of collaborators.

  • Brodestar

    We are quibbling over semantics. Yes the party was “officially” christian. However most of, not all mind you, the party, including Hitler, were catholic extreamists which is why their atrocities were not just targeted at jews and other non-christians but also orthodox christians and moderates who spoke up against the regime. I think you need to read Mein Kampf and find out just how extream Hitler’s views were before talking about facts here.

  • diogeneslamp0

    No, we’re not quibbling over semantics, you’re just wrong, and I’m getting downvoted because I wrote something accurate based on a reliable source, and some people can’t stand that.

    You say: “most of, not all mind you, the party, including Hitler, were catholic extreamists” which is false as I’ll now prove.

    Let’s prove it. Let’s run the numbers and do a comparison of Protestants vs. Catholics among Nazi Party leadership. Here I’m getting the religious beliefs of Nazis NOT from Wikipedia, but from Steigmann-Gall’s book “The Holy Reich.”

    Nominal Catholics: 6 (Hitler, young Himmler before he went pagan, Goebbels, Julius Streicher, Franz Stangl, Franz Ritter von Epp.)

    Protestants: 8. (Hermann Göring, H.S. Chamberlain, Dietrich Eckart, Hans Schemm, Erich Koch, Walter Buch, Wilhelm Frick, Bernhard Rust.)

    Also, Alfred Rosenberg promoted not paganism (as he was accused) but a highly reformed, dejudaized Protestantism, he’s hard to classify.

    Artur Dinter and Hans F. K. Günther are hard to classify, but certainly Christian.

    Besides these, people who embraced monotheism and the afterlife: 2 (Rudolf Hess, Robert Ley.)

    “Pagan Sympathizers”: 4. (Older Himmler, Richard Darré, Hans F. K. Günther (accused), General Lüdendorff (he was expelled from the Party because of his paganism.))

    Atheists: 0.


    Adolf Hitler- Nominal Catholic until death; in his private attitudes always opposed to Catholic clergy, but his religious beliefs in public and private were certainly Christian, until about 1938 or ’39; afterwards privately disagreed with (mostly unspecified) aspects of Christian or Catholic doctrine (in the Table Talk); but always admired Jesus, asserting he was not a Jew; always fanatically anti-atheist.

    Hermann Göring- Lifelong Lutheran; apparently genuine. Lutheran wedding, Lutheran baptism for his daughter during the war.

    Joseph Goebbels- Nominal Catholic; in his private attitudes opposed to Catholic clergy, but his religious beliefs were apparently sincerely Christian. His novel “Michael” expresses profound Christian feeling, but not loyalty to the clergy.

    Heinrich Himmler- fervent Catholic in his youth and for a short while after joining Nazi Party, remaining so until about 1924 or 1925; then abandoned Catholicism for a mishmash of spiritualism, “pagan” Germanic monotheism, and pseudoscientific beliefs. One of the few real pagans in the Nazi Party, the paganism of which is greatly exaggerated.

    Houston Stewart Chamberlain- Early and influential anti-Darwinist, anti-Semitic Nazi philosopher and ideologue; made early prediction that Hitler would be savior of Germany; sincere Protestant; wrote at great length praising Jesus, attacking Darwinism and the Jews.

    Dietrich Eckart – Hitler’s wealthy mentor; tutored him in anti-Semitism; devout and genuine Protestant.

    Hans Schemm- Devout Protestant, in public and private. Head of Nazi Teachers’ League, Gauleiter and Kultusminister of Bayreuth. Died 1935.

    Erich Koch- Devout Protestant; elected president of president of the provincial church synod in East Prussia. Infamous for his brutality in the Ukraine; killed perhaps one million people. Recognized as true Christian by conservative German Christians.

    Walter Buch- Lutheran, geniune. Head of Nazi Party court.

    Wilhelm Frick- Protestant, apparently genuine. As interior minister, he implemented mandatory Christian prayers in public schools.

    Bernhard Rust- Protestant, apparently genuine.

    Franz Stangl- Catholic. Ran T-4 euthanasia program; later commandant of Treblinka and other death camps; killed perhaps 900,000 people. After the war, he escaped with the help of a “ratline” run by Roman Catholic Bishop Alois Hudal, a Nazi sympathizer.

    Julius Streicher- Catholic; opposed to Catholic clergy, but Christian beliefs were genuine. Early Nazi supporter, editor of the fanatically anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer, and later Gauleiter. Asserted in public and in private that Nazi racism was derived from the Bible, from Mosaic law, and the writings of Martin Luther.

    Hans F. K. Günther- Notorious race theorist, professor at University of Jena; accused of paganism, but he was also a Christian theologian, writing under a pseudonym. Arguably, should be included in Christian category.

    Artur Dinter- Early Nazi Party member and anti-Semitic novelist; when he attempted to turn Nazi Party into new Christian sect, Hitler expelled him, determining that Nazism must be based on non-denominational Christianity [“above the confessions”].

    Franz Ritter von Epp- Catholic. Steigmann-Gall calls him philo-clerical; frequently received letters from clergy. Participated in Herrero massacre in Africa pre-WWI.

  • Brodestar

    The nazi party, by the way, was not just these leaders. Your disregarding the hundreds of catholics that made up the bulk of the party. Hitler knew that he had to pander to the rest of christians in Germany or the party he was made the public face of would not have had the support of the populous when they attempted to take control of the political system. This speaks of his intelligence but doesn’t say that he was secretly sympathetic of those christians that did not share his extreamist views. The nazi party had to be a christian party and not just a catholic party or it would never have risen to prominence in the heavily moderate christian Germany.

  • Guest

    “I think you need to read Mein Kampf and find out just how extream Hitler’s views were before talking about facts here.”

    Duh, I did read Mein Kampf and took detailed notes. I have 2 different English translations and the original German as PDF files on my hard drive right now. So if you’ve got a page number or citation to prove your point, then fork it over. No citation, no evidence.

  • Brodestar

    I have better things to do with my time then to find page numbers in Mein Kampf just to end up in some philosophical debate over what you think Hitler was trying to say. Thanks but no thanks.

  • Randay

    Also, in Hitler’s Germany it was the majority, or at least those in power like Lanza, who persecuted minorities for religious, racial, and political difference. The first to be arrested and sent to a camp were union leaders, socialists, and communists. I dare say there must have been many atheists among them.

  • Georgina

    Sorry, Hilter was himself a socialist – or it least his party was a left wing socialist party:
    NSDAP: National Socialist German Labour Party.

  • dandaman

    Sorry, socialism is a political philosophy, not a religious orientation (ie. one can be socialist and a catholic, atheist, protestant, etc.) See the difference?

  • Brodestar

    Yes the nazi party was a socialist party. But we are not talking about world views. We are talking about religious views and the persecution of others religious or non-religious views. For example we as atheists are being persecuted for being atheists not for being humanists, which many of us are, just like most christians are. It’s not humanists that extreamists like Lanza target even though most atheists have a humanistic world view.

  • Spuddie

    No he wasn’t. Socialism was purely in name only. Hitler was an oligarchic corporatist. He allowed big companies to buy into power and to buy people as slave labor. See the “IG Farben” case for how that setup worked. Corporations were hauled in front of the Nuremberg Trials for their cooperation in crimes against humanity.

  • diogeneslamp0

    The Nazi Party under Hitler was not socialist. They borrowed money from capitalists; thanks, Deutsche Bank led by Hermann J. Abs! The Party was named “Socialist” before Hitler joined; he joined early (badge number #50, about, IIRC), became the leader and changed the Party’s stance and policy, but not the name. Under the Nazis factories were owned by private entities, not the government, and most of the big corporations and banks sailed though World War II unscathed and unpunished– and capitalist valules played a major role in helping them get off without punishment.

    These corporations were never punished because of capitalist values, not socialist values: Volkswagen (Hitler’s fave), Krupp (slave labor employer), IG Farben (manufactured Zyklon B for gas chambers), Deutsche Bank and Deutsch-Asiatische Bank A.G. headed by Hermann J. Abs, “Hitler’s Banker” who funded the building of concentration camps. Thanks, capitalists!

    To the extent that Hitler gave any thought to the word “socialism”, he redefined it to mean racial patriotism. Goebbels was perhaps the only major Nazi leader to be a real socialist (Darre was another, but he was fired after the Machtergreifung), but Goebbels was disappointed that Hitler gave socialism no though at all.

    This is from Wikipedia on Krupp: “The family company, known formally as Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, was a key supplier of weapons and materiel to the Nazi regime and the Wehrmacht during World War II. In 1943, [Alfried] Krupp became sole proprietor of the company, following the Lex Krupp (“Krupp Law”) decreed by Adolf Hitler. Krupp’s wartime employment of slave labor, resulted in the “Krupp Trial” of 1947–1948, following which he served three years in prison…

    During World War II, the company’s profits increased and it gained control of factories in German-occupied Europe.

    …Under Alfried [Krupp], the company used slave labor supplied by the Nazi regime and thereby also became involved in the Holocaust, assigning Jewish prisoners from concentration camps to work in many of its factories.[5] Even when the military suggested that security reasons dictated that work should be performed by free German workers, Alfried insisted on using slaves.[6]

    He officially replaced his father as head of the family firm under the Lex Krupp (“Krupp Law”), proclaimed by Adolf Hitler… which set aside the usual laws of inheritance and preserved the Krupp firm as a family business… The transfer of ownership was a gesture of gratitude by Hitler and was to be one of only a few major Nazi laws that survived the fall of the regime.

    …Krupp worked closely with the SS, which controlled the concentration camps from which slave labor was obtained. In a letter dated 7 September 1943, he wrote: “As regards the cooperation of our technical office in Breslau, I can only say that between that office and Auschwitz the closest understanding exists and is guaranteed for the future.”[7]

    According to one of his own employees, even when it was clear that the war was lost: “Krupp considered it a duty to make 520 Jewish girls, some of them little more than children, work under the most brutal conditions in the heart of the concern, in Essen.”[8]

    After the war, the Allied Military Government investigated Krupp’s employment of slave laborers. He was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and the forfeiture of all property. However, after three years, New York banker John J. McCloy,
    serving as American High Commissioner for Germany arranged for Krupp to be pardoned and the forfeiture of property was reversed.”

    Thanks, capitalists!

  • Spuddie

    Actually several corporations were punished. IG Farben was one of the most famous corporate defendants at Nuremberg. They got broken up for it (Bayer and BASF were formed from that). Krupp armaments was also a big defendant.

    (most of this is referenced in several university sites which have Nuremberg Trial records, Nizkor.org and HDOT.org)

  • diogeneslamp0

    OK, you’re right about IG Farben being broken up. But who wound up in control of Krupp? Hermann J. Abs, Hilter’s banker!

    And off-topic: Hermann Abs, “Hitler’s Banker” was a member of “the Family” aka “The Fellowship”, the elite Christian fundamentalist organization/cult that runs the Presidential Prayer Breakfast once a year, and that for decades introduced right-wing dictators to American congressmen, presidents and military contractors, to facilitate genocide e.g. Indonesia and Somalia in the 1970’s. The Family runs a sex dorm for senators and congressmen on C Street in Washington DC (it’s designated a “parsonage” for tax evasion purposes) , where Rep. Chip Pickering [R-Miss], creationist congressman, cheated on his wife.

    Read Jeff Sharlet’s “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.”

  • Dave The Sandman

    Georgina you dont have a clue what a “socialist” is, so please stop making yourself look stupid eh?
    His party was NOT a left wing party. Fascism is a right wing ideology. A clue to even the most stupid would be the Nazi Party rants and propaganda against Communism….and the war they fought against communist Russia, which was pitched as an ideological struggle between two diametrically opposed political philosophies.

    The Socialist part of NAZI was that it represented (on paper anyway) the interests of working class people.
    So go over there into the corner, wear the conical Dunce hat, and dont talk about politics until you can think beyond the back of a cornflakes box where you seem to get your education from.
    Hitler and the Nazi Party were authoritarian right wing Christians who used religion in a cynical, opressive and exploitative manner… like the US GOP and to a lesser degree the UK Conservative party.

  • diogeneslamp0

    Right. Hitler said he was going to raze Moscow and St. Petersburg to the ground to destroy Communism and Atheism forever. In his Table Talk, Hitler makes it clear that he loathed communism because it was atheist and he equated atheism with cannibalism.

    Hitler: “It’s folly to make man believe he is the conductor [ein Dirigent], as a pushy liberal science of the last century had done. The same Man who, to move forward quickly, mounts upon a small-brained dinosaur! That’s what I think is the most terrible. The Russians could turn against their priests, but they had no right to turn that into a fight against the Higher Power [höhere Gewalt]. The fact is we are weak-willed creatures; but nevertheless there is a Creative Power [schöpferische Kraft]. Wanting to deny that is stupidity.

    He who believes something false still stands higher than he who believes nothing at all. That’s how a Bolshevik professor imagines himself to triumph over Creation! Set against people like that, we will be Masters: whether we now draw from the Catechism or from philosophy, we have the possibility of going back, while they, with their merely materialistic worldview, in the end just eat each other.” [Adolf Hilter, Table Talk, Oct. 24, 1941, my translation]

  • Dave The Sandman

    Incidentally Georgina, if you want to know what actual practical real world socialism is, read Franklin D Roosevelt’s State of the Union address for 1944 and his proposed Second Bill Of Rights.
    Or look up what giving subsidies to farmers and oil companies is.
    And bank bail outs
    And auto industry bail outs
    And Medicare/Medicaid
    And Social Welfare payments
    then ask yourself what socialism is.

  • Randay

    Hitler was a catholic fascist like Mussolini, only more extreme. His party was anything but left wing, as others have pointed out. What did I say that was wrong in my previous post?

    In America, the fabled “Pledge of Allegiance” was written by xian socialist Francis Bellamy who did not include “under god” in his text and had “my flag” in it. It is quite different from that of today. “he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity[5] but decided against it – knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans”–Wiki.

    Francis was the cousin of socialist Edward Bellamy who wrote “Looking Backward”. “Bellamy’s vision of a country relieved of its social ills through abandonment of the principle of competition and establishment of state ownership of industry proved an appealing panacea to a generation of intellectuals alienated from the dark side of Gilded Age America.”–Wiki.

    Just two examples and you should try to learn what socialism really is, not the Fux News version.

  • primenumbers

    Not forgetting he was basically following Luther’s plan to persecute the Jews.

  • WoodwindsRock

    But Hitler was not a True Christian™!

  • LDavidH

    I’m sorry, but Hitler was not a Christian (although the Catholic church might have thought he was). He pretended for a while, to get the church’s support, but then he had hymns and carols rewritten to praise him as the Saviour, instead of Jesus, so I think it’s pretty hard to argue that he was a Christian. Yes, I know he was baptised in the Catholic church; but I imagine that a fair few of the atheists reading this also were.

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

    Since he said, in 1944 (after the war was nearly over), “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”, I think there was no pretending involved. Hitler saw himself as Catholic his whole life, and it was as a practicing Catholic he did everything he did.

  • LDavidH

    From Wikipedia: “The words to “Silent Night” were changed so it made no reference to God, Christ and religion.[5] Words were also changed to the hymn “Unto Us a Time Has Come” so as to remove references to Jesus.” If that’s the action of a devout Catholic, then the Catholic church is not a Christian church.
    Yes, he remained a Catholic (it’s very hard to de-Catholic yourself), but he was never a Christian. As everybody who thinks about it will realise. (And yes, I have heard of the “True Scotsman” fallacy.)

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

    If you’ve heard of it, then why are you still using it?

  • LDavidH

    Because I think it’s flawed – or maybe I should say misused. There are limits to what can be accepted as “Christian” / “Catholic” / “Democratic” / “Humanitarian” / “Science” etc.
    The last one is a good point: non-creationists keep saying creationists aren’t scientists, they keep claiming they are. So is there such a thing as a “true scientist”, and who decides that?

    Basically, there are things that most, if not all, practising Christians would say are incompatible with Christian faith. Hitler’s actions fall squarely in that category – just as I would say that an atheist going to church is not acting as an atheist. There may be a fair few who do, but then they’re not doing it as atheists, since going to church is (or should be) incompatible with atheism.

    So I think the “true Scotsman fallacy” is in itself a fallacy – otherwise I could call myself an atheist, since who is allowed to say that a “true atheist” can’t be a pastor?!

  • Rob P

    If the Atheist billboard leads to the Holocaust, then the Theist billboard (“Thank God atheists are wrong”) must lead to the Inquisition.

  • David McNerney

    When Dave Silverman was on with Sean Hannity the other day, I obviously wasn’t impressed by Hannity’s explanation for this ad – but equally I don’t believe Dave Silverman either.

    I don’t think the purpose of these ads is to inform people that the don’t need Christ to have Christmas (except to spell it) – although that might be a minor side effect.

    I think the real reason for these ads it to lure out the hate filled fools like Hannity and Lanza and make them stand up and say :”Yes I want my beliefs protected and yes, I also want them imposed on you! And the more you don’t like it the smugger I will be.” – and then you can hold them up for the hypocrites they are.

    And when you do that – other people who just want to spend time with their families and friends, see that these guys are just self-serving tossers who want to protect their privilege at the expense of everyone else.

    If that is the real reason – then it’s a damned good one.

  • tubi11

    Most offensives in war have collateral damage. Usually we would try to mitigate it, but in this case…

  • GuestT

    Needless to say what the senator is spouting is nonsense.

    Slightly off-topic:Still, as an atheist, I can’t understand what good these kind of billboards will do. They certainly won’t turn Christians away from their faith. Silverman’s statement “the purpose of the billboard was to let closeted atheists know that they
    don’t need to go to church or pretend to worship Jesus in order to
    enjoy the holidays” doesn’t make much sense, either. Don’t atheists, whether in the closet or in the open, already know that they can enjoy this time of the year without religious connotations ? I’m inclinded to agree with the critics who say that money spent on (these kind of) atheist billboards is wasted money.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    The billboards got people talking. They got David Silverman time on Fox News to be calm and make sense in the face of spluttering ranting ignorance. So they worked. (This is kind of like a resume, in that it’s purpose is not to get you the job, it’s to get you the interview.)

  • Brodestar

    I personally like that the billboard pissed off the extreamists to the point that they had David Silverman explain it on their shows. They essentially got the word out on a national scale that the AA is out there fighting for our liberties and that closet atheists are not alone in their scepticism of religion. If anything this was a win for the AA and atheists everywhere in my opinion.

  • Ann Onymous

    I still don’t understand how “challenging a belief”, “telling a minority they’re not alone/reaching out to a minority”, and/or “saying that not everyone needs X in their celebration of Y” = “hateful&malicious” “ridicule and hate” of the holders of that belief/the majority/those who do use or need X in their celebration of Y.

  • captainthecapn

    The first sign is kinda crummy, not going to lie. The rest of them are totally fine. It was inappropriate for this Lanza fellow to say it’s anything like the steps that led to the Holocaust, and it’s equally inappropriate to switch the words “atheist” with “jew” to make a point. Atheists are not at all like Jews, either and it is not okay to use the racism and general bigotry that Jews face to prove any sort of point about people whining about atheists.

  • Pitabred

    Blacks then? Catholics? Fat people? Atheists are one of the few groups of people that you can openly discriminate against.

  • captainthecapn

    You see, this is exactly why people don’t like atheists- because most of you are racist, sexist, bigoted fools who disguise yourselves as “good guys” because “omg, the christians r making fun of meeee!”

    No. Using other marginalized people is NOT okay. A clue: racism, sexism, fatphobia, homophobia, queerphobia, islamophobia, and antisemitism are all very real things. These are things that people STILL openly discriminate against.

    I’ll grant you that, as atheists, we do get shit on quite a bit, but oh my god, shut up forever about comparing it to the struggles faced by other marginalized people. Not only does it completely erase people who are both black/culturally jewish/fat/queer/female/etc. and atheist, but it also makes you sound like you’re trying to compare a few crummy things with systemic oppression.

  • Pitabred

    There’s almost no social problem with marginalizing atheists, though, unlike with every other group. If that senator said the same things about ANY other group than atheists, he’d be front page on CNN.

    You’re trying to claim a special place for Jews, which is bullshit, because anyone expressing antisemitism is met with exactly your kind of pushback, with an almost universal revilement. Not so with atheism (who are still put to death in other countries, so no, not a special case for Jews). That’s the comparison that was being made, that went over your head.

  • Katie B

    This trans woman gives a bitter, bitter laugh at the idea that a white cissexual male thinks he’s the most oppressed group because he has one identity that’s sort of unaccepted in general society.

  • Pitabred

    My goodness, I am so sorry! I had no idea that because you were oppressed, nobody else could have any societal issues! I guess people here in America aren’t hungry because there are people starving in Africa, right? And here I am, the kind of person who’d stand up for you with what privilege I do have, I guess I’m not allowed to have any problems of my own?

  • Katie B

    You said, and I directly quote, “There’s almost no social problem with marginalizing atheists, though, unlike with every other group.” Which is completely self-serving and wrong. You started off not by saying “I have problems too” but “I have the ONLY problems,” which is absolutely indefensible.

  • Pitabred

    So you would assert that if the senator had said “Not only do the people behind this group not believe in the gender they were born, but they obviously don’t believe in decency, civility and kindness to fellow human kind either.”, you think he wouldn’t get any kind of repercussions? You think he wouldn’t get more flak from that than from what he did say?


    I’m not saying in daily life terms that you have fewer issues. Quite the opposite. But there is a difference between how an atheist can be referenced in the media and by politicians versus the instant taboo there is for the same marginalization of anyone’s sexual/identity preferences. I’m standing by that.

  • Katie B

    Look up “AB 1266” to see exactly how much pushback there is against demonization of trans people. Or maybe Joe Rogan’s profane rant against Fallon Fox. Or watch a half-hour of the Colbert Report. Or the Daily Show. Or take note of the fact that “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” was the highest-grossing comedy in its year of release. Or the fact that “YOU DATED A TR***Y” is considered a joke of itself.

    Or the fact that with rare exception, the “trans panic” defense has consistently gotten reduced or entirely dismissed charges for murdering trans women for decades.

    Or the entire tradition of the “panto dame” in British comedy going back a couple of centuries.

    Trans women’s identities are not just considered fodder of comedy. Transmisogyny, and the enthusiastic acceptance of same, is baked into our society.

  • Pitabred

    And yet you aren’t compared to Nazis because of that, as a group.

    I’m not saying you don’t have it hard, harder than I do in daily life. It’s easier for me to hide in my daily life than it is for you, I’ll give you that.

    Atheism holds a unique place in society at the political level, but not at the individual level.

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

    I completely disagree. The reason people sub in another marginalized group for “atheist” in some of the things people say is that marginalization and discrimination against atheists is still so normalized. If it sounds bad to say something about Jews or blacks or lesbians, it’s probably not okay to say it about atheists (or really any group of people at all). Subbing in a known marginalized group brings out the horribleness of the statement in a way that can’t be ignored.

    I’ve done that with purity culture and submission posts before. You take what people write about men and women, and everywhere the person says “men” you sub in “white people”, while every time the person says “women” you sub in “black people”. It brings out how horribly misogynistic submission doctrine really is- for some reason, people will smile and nod if you say “men and women are equal, they just have different roles in life, and men are supposed to lead” but they understand how horrible that really is if you change it to “white people and black people are equal, they just have different roles in life, and white people are supposed to lead”. If it’s not okay to say it about people of different races, it’s not okay to say it about people of different sexes. If it’s not okay to say it about Jews, it’s not okay to say it about atheists. That’s why the rhetorical strategy of subbing in other marginalized groups is both effective and appropriate. It in no way appropriates or invisibles the marginalized group in question.

  • Pitabred

    Much better phrased than my reply

  • Katie B

    “Identity substitution” is bigoted because it’s privileged people trying to arrogate marginalized people’s suffering to explain why they shouldn’t be called on their BS.

  • Laura Osborne

    Hi, great blog, I thought you might be interested in a video the Citizen TV Channel Worldbytes has recently made about New Atheism. We would love to hear your comments on this subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mRPZ_O9bUU

  • Neko

    Thank you for posting this thoughtful discussion. I hope you get thoughtful discussion in return.

  • $925105

    All the Jews had to deal with were some billboards from the Nazis? Guess all this whining about the Holocaust was over nothing. Either that or the Senator is a Holocaust Denier. That sort of thing probably doesn’t go over well in New York.

  • Sallie

    I realize the far right on the political scale is very religious, but I wish we could discuss the problems with all religious people and their discrimination of atheists without invoking the Republican party. I am a Republican and an atheist. They are not mutually exclusive. There are plenty of us in the middle/right politically who are offended by the constant slam on Republicans. There are also Democrats who believe atheists are evil, they are just less vocal.

  • Spuddie

    Your party has been taken over by religious wackadoodles. Either call them out on behalf of sane moderates or shut up. If you are not willing to curb the excesses of your own people, you are supporting them. You can take your smug disapproval and disavowal and stuff it.

    The democrat wackadoodles are less vocal because their party puts the reins on them for the sake of appearing sane in public. Republicans seem to welcome the wackadoodles and court them openly.

  • Brodestar

    The reason why the republican party in particular, and not the democratic party, is being bashed is precisely because they are far more vocal in their disdain of atheists(you included). If it were the democratic party being this vocal I would be ashamed of being associated with them and would speak out against them. I wouldn’t go onto an atheist blog and complain about atheists bashing my political party however. I think you need to get your priorities straightened out before you decide to do this again. Just my opinion.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    So, you’d rather people ignore the correlational elephant in the room?

  • Sven2547

    For a number of years now, the Republican platform has been one of religious privilege, and more recently it’s getting specifically Christian-supremacist.

  • A3Kr0n

    Who keeps electing these fuckers?

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    I suspect this one is largely a result of the remnants of the old Irish and Italian immigrant Catholic neighborhoods in that part of Staten Island, but I’m just guessing.

  • Phlobis McJordan

    Wow. Well, I’m a Brooklynite, but I wrote to him. The whole NY Legislature is a joke. They’ve done the whole ‘lock the doors’ bit, there’s been scandal after scandal…it’s a circus. I wish there was a way to start over with new candidates from both sides. The people of SI deserve way better!

  • Josh Nolan

    This guy is an absolute joke >> We need more people calling people out on this kind of political nonsense for the nonsense it is.

  • OCRazor

    I signed his petition. “Senlanza Isanidiot, 143 Atheists are People too by the Way, Fantasyland, NY”.

    I hope he sends it in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/prototypeatheist Prototype Atheist

    These are the same type of people who get all butthurt when someone labels the Bible “fiction”. Sorry, if you can “hate the sin, love the sinner”, then we can “hate the belief, not the believer”.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Oooh. Well played Proto. Well played indeed.

  • Asherah Sarasvati Athena Siri

    While I appreciate the sentiments of the billboard I can see how Christians would take offense. In their eyes it is just as bad as taking a picture of the baby Jesus in the nativity scene and putting a big X over him. I think there are better ways to get our support across to those who are closet atheists. I completely disagree with Senator Lanza’s response to the billboard. I continually try to remind my overly fanatic Christian friends that there really and truly is no war on Christmas, but when signs like this go up, my arguments go by the wayside.

  • Fentwin

    So publically stating a difference of viewpoint/opinion is now considered blitzkreig level interaction?

    Billboards, the new Sudetenland.

  • The Starship Maxima

    With all due respect, speaking as a Christian, then your fanatic Christian friends have a tenuous grip on reality.

    There is no war on Christmas. The mere fact that the “nuclear option” in the atheists arsenal is a disrespectful picture of Jesus is proof there is no war.

  • alex

    Merry Christmas AA! And may god bless you! :)

  • James

    Thanks for his e-mail, I will write to him and let him know how great he is doing and to keep up the good work!

  • Fentwin

    Exactly, because anything you may see and not agree with, or anything you may hear and disagree, well its just like the holocaust.

    I remember going into my local coffee house one day and they were out of light roast coffee. I thought, this must what the holocuast was like.

    I recall ordering a macaroni side salad at dinner one night and I got the garden salad by mistake. Holocaust.

    I remember once I overheard a conversation about who was the best jazz musician. Kenny G? Holocuast.

  • Ella Silver

    What I don’t get is how they say in one breath “You can’t celebrate our holiday if you’re not Christian” but then in another breath “Not celebrating our holiday with our exact beliefs is like all that stuff that started the holocaust.”

    A million jews have thrown their voices up in fury at this extraordinary claim.

  • Erin

    Here is the message I just emailed to the senator:

    Senator Lanza,

    I am both ashamed of and hurt by your comments about atheists in your response to the American Atheists’ billboard in Times Square.

    I am an atheist and am also a decent, kind human being. These attributes are not mutually exclusive and your belief that “people who do not believe in God are hateful and malicious” is offensive and untrue.

    These billboards are not an attack on Christianity, but rather point out the concurrent cultural significance of the holiday for millions of Americans who do not believe in Christ. The billboards do not have a problem with those who choose to believe in Christ. They simply offer another point of view on the significance of the holiday season.

    Through this display of religious bigotry, you have lost my vote. I hope that in the future your personal religious convictions do not impede your ability to serve ALL of your constituents as you have sworn.

    Erin P

  • The Starship Maxima

    Erin, is there any way you can make it a petition that can gather signatures? If so, I’d happily sign it.

  • Erin

    I’m not sure there is a way to turn this into a workable petition (petition to end his petition? ;), but you are more than welcome to use this letter in your email to the senator. I think the more people that speak out against this to him directly, the better.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Cool. Thanks.

  • MrTweej

    Godwin’s law. Lanza loses.

  • http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/ Seth Andrews

    As religious individuals and groups becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the information that debunks their myths, expect Victim Mode to go nuclear.

    Unable to answer the charges on merit, they’ll act like their feelings of offense should somehow insulate them from all challenge. (“My joy has been stolen!”) And, of course, they’ll insist that all in disagreement are agents of Beelzebub himself.

    Personally, I rather like the idea of seeing the public tantrums, the wailing, the Shakespearean diatribes, etc. It reveals the level of batshittery we’re dealing with, and it gives us even more excuses to catch the highlights on Jon Stewart.

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

    I only wish the diatribes were Shakespearean. Then they’d at least be entertaining and have pointed turns of phrase. Iambic pentameter is pretty cool, overall. These diatribes are very incoherent and ungrammatical, and FULL OF CAPS, which is just unfun.

  • Irina Tavera

    Joy! I actually do! I’m totally doing this!

  • steveorevo

    Who needs the notion of a quite possibly fictional character that spoke on the mount about the golden rules of not judging, being kind, and loving thy neighbor? NO ONE NEEDS TO BE REMINDED OF THIS. Thanks Atheists! While being at the bottom of the list as the least giving (next to Christians according to recent British polls), your logic is infallible. #sarcasm

  • Edward Baker

    The man is a Loonie Toon ….We Atheists get off our buts to help all of our fellow humans while this guy sits on his butt and prays for them .Its people ,doctors ,teachers ,policemen and firefighters that help you not an imaginary god …..

  • nlpnt

    “Christmas didn’t get to be the number one holiday by being about love” -Milhouse.