Dear Atheists

This is why people can’t stand you. You’re welcome.

  • http://irishpapist.blogspot.com/ Maolsheachlann O Ceallaigh

    This reminds me of a question that’s been on my mind recently but to which I can’t really find the answer. To what extent can a business be a “Christian business”– or indeed a Muslim business or an atheist business? How does Chick-fil-A manage to retain such a Christian profile? Could a boss institute prayers before a business meeting? I guess the law might be different in different countries.

  • James H, London

    “I did this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion, particularly in Lancaster County,” said Wolff, a retired electrical engineer.

    Yes you did; and, Pot, meet Kettle.

    sphinctre.

    • Qualis Rex

      You eccoed my sentiments precisely to the word.

    • ds

      sphinctre: a combination of sphincter and spectre, or the ghost of an asshole.

  • Bill

    Wow. People can’t stand atheists because one engages in a petty suit against a resturant discount? If that is the standard I guess you are ok with people not being able to stand Catholics because some of you members molest kids and your church covers it up? Your welcome.

    • Chris M

      Can we not stand schoolteachers, relatives, scout leaders too? Oo! I love this game! Let’s call it… THE TU QUOQUE SHOW!

      • Bill

        I wasn’t making a Tu Quoque argument at all. Merely using a malicious example of the ridiculousness of judging a group by the actions of a few individuals.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Um, yes you did make a tu quoque. Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

          • ivan_the_mad

            Which isn’t to say that I disagree (what I surmise to be) your point that entire groups ought not to be written off because of the actions of some of its members. I’m just saying … totally tu quoque.

          • Bill

            Not really applicable. I didn’t say the position was wrong because of any action or contradictory statement of Mr. Shea’s. I simply used an equally wrong illustration to show judging the group by an individual is flawed. In essence I was pointing out sampling bias.

            • ivan_the_mad

              “I didn’t say the position was wrong” … “I simply used an equally wrong illustration”

              lol ok. Whatever.

            • Joseph

              Another reason people can’t stand *new* atheists is because they are so arrogant and speak as if they actually have a shred of intelligence… until they inevitably reveal their shear ignorance. You just happened to do it instantly when you displayed to the world that you don’t know what a *tu quoque* is. With all of the talent and energy it took for you to google “atheist” and land on this blog to troll it, you could have actually found out what *tu quoque* meant… using google. LOL.

              • ivan_the_mad

                Eh. Bill seems ok. He’s probably more denying it because it seems reasonable and right in his mind than because he’s ignorant. Everyone is susceptible to that to some degree or another.

    • Adolfo

      “Your welcome”

      My welcome what?

      • Sal

        Um, Mark. You wouldn’t know this, b/c you’re a guy, but that sort of use of “you’re welcome” is
        the trademark of a particularly obnoxious, scam-meister mommy blogger of terrible repute.
        Since I don’t want to have her and you on my mind at the same time, would you consider dropping it? Thanks.

        • Mark Shea

          No.

          • Joseph

            No, *thank you*, Mark. Come on, now. Where are your manners?

    • ivan_the_mad

      And atheists in China and the USSR killed a combined 110mn people. I WIN THE TU QUOQUE WAR! ALL HAIL ME, THE BEST EVER!

      • Chris M

        Well, we all know if the Crusaders had modern weapons .. ;)

        • ivan_the_mad

          LOL!!! Yes, and rode on dinosaur hover tanks!

        • Ted Seeber

          The Crusaders were trying to free a city full of historically important (from their point of view) artifacts from the Sacrens. Why would they use modern weapons, which have a tendency not to discriminate between say, stones and people?

    • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

      Never seen this come-back before. Nope.

    • Ted Seeber

      Let me know when the Atheists stop covering up the abuse in the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

  • http://gloriaromanorum.blogspot.com/ Florentius

    “I did this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion,” he says.

    Riiiight. Just so, when you hear someone say “It’s not about the money,” you can be sure, it’s about the money.

  • http://nogodsallowed.com Rick DEan

    Mark –
    I am an athiest/agnostic when it comes to a personal god and I have to agree with you on this one. It’s not indicative of everyone who holds a different belief however. Just like you many of us are charitable and care deeply about those we love and our neighbors.

    Rick
    http://nogodsallowed.com

  • Atheist Guy

    This is exactly what atheists are trying to prevent. Religion should be kept in your home and in your church. It should NOT be in the hallways of a state building, it should NOT be in the Public schools, and it should NOT be in a resturant.

    The problem is that most religious people assume that EVERYONE in the country is religious and therefore they won’t “mind” things like this. However , the truth is that 1 out of 5 people DO NOT HAVE A RELIGION in this country. So please … please … can everyone have a little more respect for the 60 MILLION atheists, agnostics, and non religious people in the U.S. … Thanks.

    • Chris M

      I don’t even know where to begin. 4/5 of the population should lose their 1st Amendment rights because you don’t like it or find it offensive?

      Really, though, you’re just claiming atheism should be the only permissable public ‘religion’. Have you even TRIED to think this through? Our entire legal and social structure is BUILT around religious (specifically Judeo-Christian) suppositions. You want a society built on atheistic ones? Well, we’ve pretty much done away with them since they had an unfortunate tendency to slaughter their own populations wholesale. How’s about we just allow a free exchange of ideas in the public square? Y’know.. free speech? You bring your ideas.. we bring ours, the Hindus, Pagans, Jews, Muslims, Agnostics and everyone else bringe theirs and as a society we decide how best to move forward.

      • Atheist Guy

        I am not saying that your first Amendment rights should be taken away. All I am saying is that people should respect the fact that not everyone thinks like they do. What if the discount was only for White people, or only if you obtained a napkin from a Gay Strip club … well then you can clearly see that it isn’t right.

        I’m not saying that you can not have your own religious beleifs .. feel free to beleive whatever you wish … but please do not try to push them off onto me, my children, or anyone.

        I know … your’e going to say that I am the one pushing MY beleifs onto you … but that is NOT the case. I am asking for a NEUTRAL stance on religion in all aspects of life. … Neutral … I am not asking for them to allow discounts ONLY to atheists. I am saying that religion should play NO role in the discount. Religion should play no role in our country’s motto, Religion should play NO role as to what decorations are placed in my town hall.

        • ivan_the_mad

          What you’re saying is tantamount to inciting religious intolerance.

        • Chris

          But this is a private business. Where’s the beef?

        • Chris

          Atheist restaurateurs can offer discounts to people who recite passages from Voltaire, for all anyone cares. All I care is if the food and service are decent. Does it bother you that the guy in back ladling out sauce on your spaghetti might have said a prayer over your food? How on earth do you go anywhere without knowing if someone has imposed their religion on your dining experience?

        • Faramir

          A discount for white people would, I imagine, be illegal under the Civil Rights Act.
          A discount for bringing in a gay strip club napkin seems perfectly legal to me and is just as valid as a discount for bringing in a church bulletin. Of course, whether that is a smart business decision or not depends on the social makeup of the area. If a restaurant wants to give a discount for bringing in a copy of “The God Delusion”, that’s perfectly fine by me. The whole point is people should be free to express and act on their beliefs (in Jesus, Buddha, Zeus, the FSM, or nothing), whether you agree with them or not. This whole idea of keeping religion locked away in private homes and churches and not letting religion have any voice or any influence on public life (such as the discounts a restaurant owner chooses to offer) is most emphatically not what is meant by freedom of religion, or even by separation of church and state.

        • Richard Bell

          How is this suit not about forcing a christian restauranteur to conform to athiest beliefs?

          America is the land of the free, if you do not like a business, you take your custom elsewhere.

          • Thomas R

            I’m hesitant to say this here, but I don’t think it requires them to “conform to atheist beliefs.” Giving people the same price for a Sunday meal, regardless of religion, is not specifically an “atheist belief” so far as I know.

            I think maybe you have to be of a minority religion to kind of understand the guys issue here. Catholic in Arkansas, my birth state, was very much a minority religion. And it wouldn’t surprise me if such a restaurant, in some parts of rural Arkansas, would not consider a Catholic bulletin as being of a legitimate church. So one group is being advantaged over another in terms of price.

            To be honest of atheist lawsuits this sounds more legitimate than many. If he were suing to ban people from praying in the restaurant, or ban the restaurant from having Christian icons or art, I’d think he’s crackers and a bigot. But wanting to pay the same price as Christians doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me. I mean I think it’s a little petty, but I kind of understand it. Although maybe he should have discussed a compromise first. Like say ask if they could make it “church bulletin or charity center bulletin” or something.

        • Chris M

          you’re assuming there’s such a thing as neutral for one.. two, you’re assuming your position IS the neutral.

        • Ted Seeber

          “I am not saying that your first Amendment rights should be taken away.”

          Is not compatible with

          “Religion should be kept in your home and in your church. It should NOT be in the hallways of a state building, it should NOT be in the Public schools, and it should NOT be in a restaurant.”

          Which do you believe? There is a good deal of intellectual dishonesty coming out of your posts.

        • Barbara B.

          The restaurant offers many different discounts, of which the church-bulletin is only one. Methinks the gentleman was looking for a reason to be offended. That his life was saved by Christians during the Holocaust, and he takes this position, leaves me speechless.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Just a minute… It appears that the restaurant owner might have paid for some advertisement in the church bulletin (like many people do on the church bulletin in my own parish). Other advertisers might print a discount coupon in a newspaper. Should people complain because only the people who have purchased this particular newspaper can get the discount? Even if it is possible to cut out the coupon from an issue of that newspaper that has been thrown into the recycling bin? Same thing for the church bulletin – strictly speaking, it is just another newsletter or publication that accepts ads.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “Religion”. You keep using that word. But it does not mean what you think it means.

    • Qualis Rex

      Yeah…regardless of whether or not your are trying to prevent religion from trespassing over some imaginary thresh-hold between society and government, you would have an equal amount of success stopping gamma rays from striking the earth. If you want “respect”, then people like you and the Wolff in sheep’s clothing should stop being so militant and trying to make everyone as dour and unhappy as you are.

      I have nothing against atheists, and in fact have some as friends. But they are some of the inwardly unhappiest people I know in general. You can tell by the way they feel the need to impose their beliefs on anyone in a conversation, regardless of topic, simply so they can get the instant gratification of feeling superior to anyone in the crowd who claims to believe in God. If religion is the opiate of the masses, atheism is the crystal-meth of the insecure and dour.

      • Atheist Guy

        Um .. there is not “Imaginary” thresh-hold between society and government. This is called the “Seperation of Church and State”, perhaps you have heard of it.

        I am not a “dour” person … wow, I’ve never heard that word used outside of my 12th Grade English class. I am not unhappy. In fact, I lead a VERY happy and fullfilled life. However, there are times when I hear about an injustice which is brought on because of religion.

        The best way to think about this is to pretend that you a a Black person in the U.S. in the mid 1900s. Would you say that they were being “dour” because they complained that they could not eat at certain resturants? Would you say that were Unhappy people because the were not allowed to vote? Would you say that being black was the crystal-meth of the insecure and dour?

        This is not about being upset and angry … it is about being treated FAIRLY. Atheists and other non-beleivers are not being treated with respect. Just imagine … imagine if you can … how much controversy there would be if the Pledge stated … “One Nation, Under White Rule …” . As soon as you can imagine how you would feel if that were in the Pledge … you can begin to see how atheists feel having “god” this and “god” that in our schools and public places.

        • Qualis Rex

          Please show me where in the constitution or any legal document there is such a thing as “separation of church and state”. This is an ideal that many would like to champion, but it is not codified anywhere in our constitution, therefore it is an imaginary thresh-hold that people like you like to throw around as if it were some law.

          Secondly, your analogy of being a “black person” (as if you knew any) falls embarassingly short since a) no one is denying atheists the right to eat anywhere, legally or otherwise in this case and b) no country in the history of the planet has ever created an “anti-atheism” law to segregate atheists from public office, restaurants, voting etc. As much as you would like to ally yourself with the down-trodden and those who fought valiently for civil rights, there is just no merrit to it at all. In fact, the body count this last century at the hands of atheism is possibly the largest of any point in our human history; Mao, Pol Pot and Stalin (to name a few) had strict laws that persecuted non-atheists (i.e. believers) and kept them from public office, teaching positions, and in extreme cases, the right to exist.

          So, if you are not a dour person, why are you whining and boo-hooing about a non-issue here?

          • Bill

            Qualis Rex,

            You need to check your facts.

            “Please show me where in the constitution or any legal document there is such a thing as “separation of church and state”. ”

            How many Supreme Courts opinions would you like me to cite?

            “no country in the history of the planet has ever created an “anti-atheism” law to segregate atheists from public office, restaurants, voting etc.”

            Except of course … these United States.

            Constitution Of The State Of Arkansas Of 1874.
            Article 19. Miscellaneous Provisions. § 1. Atheists disqualified from holding office or testifying as witness.

            No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.[2]

            Article 37 of the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.[3]

            Pennsylvania

            “No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.”[7]

            North Carolina State Constitution, Article VI, Section 8:
            Sec. 8. Disqualifications for office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office:

            First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.[6]

            Need I go on?????

            For the record I think the guys complaint against the resturant is bogus but you can’t make up facts.

            • ivan_the_mad

              Bill, you’re answering the wrong challenge. Qualis Rex is correct that “separation of church and state” as not codified in the Constitution. You are correct in that SCOTUS decisions have established precedents; but SCOTUS decisions are juridical review, not law. I say precedents because their is not a unified consensus on what exactly this means. It remains highly disputed.

              Many of the constitutions you cited (in particular the Maryland and NC ones) aren’t fair examples. They’ve been to court and been overruled by the federal Supremacy clause. While they are still in the document in question, they’re considered infeasible provisions.

              • Bill

                Ivan,

                I don’t disagree with you.

                Note what I was responding to: “or any legal document” while not law, judical review are certainly legal documents.

                and

                “no country in the history of the planet has ever created an “anti-atheism” law to segregate atheists from public office, restaurants, voting etc.”

                You are correct these many (although not all) of these have been (rightly) overruled. His assertion however was that none had ever been created.

            • Qualis Rex

              Bill, as Ivan very rightfully and appropriately pointed out (and thank you, Ivan) I chose my words very carefully in both points:
              1. I asked specifically where “separation of church and state” was codified in the constitution or a legal document (i.e. a law). A SCOTUS opinion is a “legal document” as is a birth certificate, driver’s license etc. Obviously we were talking about LAWS. If you can find me a law that specifically mentions “separation of church and state” then you would have a case (no pun intended).
              2. I said specifically “no country in the history of the planet has ever created an “anti-atheism” law”. A US state is not a country; this is civics 101. Cities, counties and states can have very bizarre ordinances and laws, but they are not representative or enforcible by the government of the entire country.

              You would do very well to never accuse me of “making up facts”, because I never enter a conversation without an opinion based upon facts, and you are the one who will look stupid for making a baseless assumption on my character.

              • Jon

                I think the point is that your tone was that there have never been any laws that were anti-atheist. Bill correctly pointed out that in fact there are laws which ban atheists from holding public office. The fact that these are state laws and not federal laws is quite irrelavant.

              • Jon

                In Muslim countries which adhere strictly to Sharia law, being an “unbeliever” is illegal, these include Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Egypt.

                • Mark Shea

                  You are aware we are talking about America, right?

                  • Bill

                    Actually Mr. Shea we are talking about Qualis’ hyperbolic claim that no country in the history of the planet has ever created such laws.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      Much like the hyperbolic claim that not having a church bulletin for a discount on Sunday qualifies as religious discrimination ;)

                • Qualis Rex

                  I think the point is that your tone was that there have never been any laws that were anti-atheist.

                  No, I made my point very clearly and even re-stated it for the more feable-minded.

                  Bill correctly pointed out that in fact there are laws which ban atheists from holding public office. The fact that these are state laws and not federal laws is quite irrelavant. Unless you are trying to contradict my point about there being no COUNTRY with laws as such, in which case you are still looking kind of like a moron.

                  In Muslim countries which adhere strictly to Sharia law, being an “unbeliever” is illegal, these include Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Egypt.

                  You are as ignorant as you are tedious. You have no clue of what Shari’a law even is. There is nothing in Shari’a law that says being an “unbeliever” is illegal. Totally and utterly stupid and baseless. Stupid, stupid and WAY stupid. What I think you are trying to get at is the Shari’a law which allows anyone who converts FROM Mohammedanism to be killed; and FYI, such a person is called a “Murtad”, which is different than a “Khaffir” which simply means “unbeliever”. And a “Murtad” can be an atheist, Christian, Buddhist or whatever…it just means someone who converts away from Mohammedanism.

                  Please, PLEASE do yourself a favor and quit while you’re (a) behind.

              • Bill

                Sir,

                1. you are nit-picking. The fact that a law was passed at a state level does negate that it is a US law.

                2. Three of the examples I cited North Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania date back to before the US Constitution. Had you looked beyond Civics 101 you would know that “free and independent states” as Jefferson put it, meant countries or nations. Which were not codified into a single nation until years later. I can nitpick too.

                3. You made that response to AGs comparison of atheists to African Americans (which I also disagree with btw). The repressive Jim Crow laws against African Americans were… wait for it… state laws. In fact, African slavery was largely based in state law.

                You could just say, “Bill you are right, I was exagerating to make my point and I stretched the facts a bit.”

                • Qualis Rex

                  NO! You are being obstinant and looking ridiculous. Did you read what you just said? “The fact that a law was passed at a state level does negate that it is a US law.” a US law is different than a STATE law! A a COLONY is different than a COUNTRY. You are really outting yourself as someone who is in dire need of a remedial high-school education.

                  I never made the claim “no society on earth…” “no human life-force…” etc. I chose the word country, as in laws of the entire country, for a reason.

                  My point stands. You are wrong.

        • Meggan

          There’s a separation of church and state, not church and restaurant.

          • Thomas R

            Yes. I mean I’m more sympathetic than most here, I think, on the particular atheist’s complaint but this isn’t a “separation of church and state” issue. The State is not everywhere and everything except in a totalitarian system. So Thai-Buddhist restaurants can have Buddhas or even shrines to Buddha and Christian-owned restaurants can have Christian imagery or prayer or what have you.

            I do think he might have a point this is a form of private discrimination though. How far you’re allowed to discriminate in the private sector is kind of uncertain to me or maybe just uncertain in general. Obviously you can discriminate some or there could be no “exclusive clubs” of any kind and no women’s colleges. Still what if a restaurant gave 10% off to those who can prove they’re registered Republicans? Or that they’re freemasons? Or Humanists?

            I do think the most obvious way of dealing with this, if it troubles you, is to go to the media and encourage boycotts. People have a right to criticize restaurant policies as long as they’re not engaging in libel or slander. If he had brought this to the attention in a nicely worded letter to someone that would be something.

            • ivan_the_mad

              Argh. Because you don’t have to be Christian, or go to church at all, to obtain a church bulletin. You don’t have to prove your membership in any group – you just need a piece of paper. That’s a big difference from your what ifs, where you have to prove group membership.

              • Thomas R

                Taking bulletins from a group you don’t believe in to get a discount could feel like lying. In my experience of them many atheists are, if anything, honest to the point of rudeness.

        • Faramir

          Um .. there is not “Imaginary” thresh-hold between society and government. This is called the “Seperation of Church and State”, perhaps you have heard of it.

          Based on the sentence above, it looks like you’re equating “society” with “Church” (assuming “government” goes with “State”). But that’s not what you mean. What you mean is that “separation of church and state” means there is a barrier between religion and society (and I hope you would agree that society is more than government). I don’t think you’ve thought through what it would look like to attempt to separate all aspects of religion from all aspects of public society, and what a bad idea that would be. For instance, why should I have to be subjected to atheist propaganda on the internet? Isn’t the internet a free, open, public space? Religion and any religious discussions have no place here! I’m suing you and every religious or atheist blog and/or commenter for bajillions of dollars!

          • Mark Shea

            AG’s equation of “society” and “state” such that Joe’s Diner can’t have a coupon for local churchgoers, or little league teams or whoever is a perfect illustration of the atheist totalitarian itch. Everything within the State. Nothing outside the State. Nothing against the State. He is a tyrant who lack only power to make life hell for his neighbors. And like so many atheists, he seems to lack the normal complement of social and affective abilities that allow him to even see how clueless he is about normal human interactions.

        • Jared

          “The best way to think about this is to pretend that you a a Black person in the U.S. in the mid 1900s.”

          No. They’re not. The situation of genuine injustice through racial discrimination is nothing like atheists having to make an extra stop if they want their coupon. Are you seriously so lost in self-pity that you would equate this story with the civil rights movement? Dour is the perfect word to describe someone like you.

        • Ted Seeber

          “Um .. there is not “Imaginary” thresh-hold between society and government. This is called the “Seperation of Church and State”, perhaps you have heard of it.”

          Prove it. Show it to me in the CONSTITUTION, not in some campaign letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Baptists.

    • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

      So basically what you want, AG, is for religion to be under house arrest.

      • Atheist Guy

        NO. I just want to make public places secular as they SHOULD be, as the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States states they SHOULD be.

        • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

          Show me the text.

          • ds

            “Diners shall make no discount respecting an establishment of church bulletins”

            it’s the 38th amendment

        • ivan_the_mad

          The Establishment clause, to wit: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”.

          There is nothing in there about making public places secular. It means that the *federal government* cannot establish a national religion or church and that the *federal government* cannot prefer on religion over another.

        • john

          So athiest guy, you are telling me that I should not be allowed to express my beliefs in any public place? And are you seriously comparing your choice to not believe in any religion to the struggle of African Americans in this country? That is…unbelievable. When was the last time an athiest was denied a vote, a job, a marriage? When have athiests been sytematically oppressed? I’m sure that this claimed connection to the real suffering of African Americans make you feel morally superior…but it is simply not there, and to make this claim…is just pathetic.

          • Jon

            If you are not atheist, you would not uderstand the oppression. I know people who were fired because their boss found out they were atheist. Of course trying to file a lawsuit against that is very difficult. Many priests in the U.S. will perform a marriage if one of the couple is an atheist! There was a well documented case of a girl in Rhode Island who was denied service by Flower Shops because she had taken an atheist stand against something at her school. There have been many cases of atheist teens being bullied into committing suicide. There are still laws in several states which has religious qualifications to hold public office! … the list goes on and on.

            • Jon

              … that should say “priests in the U.S. will NOT ..”

              • Jared

                Are you serious? Next you’ll tell me they won’t Baptize a non-believer, or they won’t knowingly give Holy Communion to one!

            • ivan_the_mad

              Oh woe is me, the sacrificial victim to the Reasonable Non-Deity! Seriously, spare us the oppressed victim lament.

              “There are still laws in several states which has religious qualifications to hold public office!” And as I pointed out above, these are infeasible provisions because they’ve been overruled by the Supremacy clause in court. So thanks for that worthless point.

        • Mark Shea

          There is no such thing as separation of Church and chicken wings in the Constitution. Try using your intellect instead of worshipping it.

        • Bill

          AG the establishment clause applies to government. Not to private resturants. Would there be the same problem with a military discount? Senior citizen?

        • Ted Seeber

          The establishment clause, when interpreted strictly literally, only covers “Congress”, not “all public places in the United States”.

    • Meggan

      I don’t subscribe to the newspaper because I can’t afford it, yet my store keeps giving discounts to people who bring in coupons from the newspaper. I think that’s discrimination against non-subscribers and poor people!!

    • Mark Shea

      Thanks for making so clear the draconian atheist desire to micromanage the lives of your fellow citizens. It is not merely state institutions you would purge. It is everything beyond my front door, including the private businesses of other citizens. So much for kosher restaurants or halal stores.

      Clues for the clueless: there is no “separation of Church and Everything” in our civil law.

      • Jon

        No there isn’t. However, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibits restaurants from refusing service to patrons on the basis of race, color, religion, or natural origin. In addition, most courts don’t allow restaurants to refuse service to patrons based on extremely arbitrary conditions. For example, a person likely can’t be refused service due to having a lazy eye.

        • Mark Shea

          And if somebody had been refused service, you’d have a real point. What in fact happened, however, was that the restaurant offered a discount to people with a coupon that looked like a Church bulletin. If the kosher diner across the street from my parish offers a discount to anybody who’s been to synagogue I say “More power to ‘em”. It’s their diner. They can offer what sales they like. If I have a burning desire for the discount, I can go to synagogue. If not, I’ll pay full price. Or go to a different diner. I don’t need to piss and moan and be a human toothache demanding Caesar punish the diner because my precious feelings were hurt. They don’t owe me a discount. They owe me service. And they give it. Very good service, in fact. Get over yourself. Get some insensitivity training. http://www.mark-shea.com/insens.html

          • Thomas R

            It is unlikely, I’d think, that the Jewish population so vastly outnumbers the Catholic population in your area that discrimination is an issue. You’re likely in a situation where one Jewish diner giving discounts to synagogue-goers doesn’t do anything to you.

            There are places in this country where if you’re of a minority religion, or no religion, you are reminded of it in highly negative ways. If one restaurant can make it advantageous to customers to be a churchgoer all, theoretically, can and in some places that could be more than theory. And if they can do that they can make it specific to what kind of churchgoer. Would I like it if when I visit “home” in Arkansas I’m reminded by restaurant discounts that I’m “not a real Christian”? No. Maybe they have that right but being reminded “we really prefer this kind of people to your kind” can be a bit hurtful.

            You’re in a fairly multicultural part of America. It’s unlikely one group would have the power to use this in a systematic way to your disadvantage. If you can’t imagine an atheist is in a different situation consider that my family was in a different situation as Catholics in rural Arkansas.

            Am I saying the restaurant should be forbidden to do this? Not really, but I don’t think this complaint is as ridiculous as most of you think.

    • Ted Seeber

      Thanks for proving Mark’s point and being a bigot.

    • Joseph

      What kind of respect do you speak of? Would you like us to sue atheists every time they open their ignorant mouths in public? If this good buddy of yours, who decided to sue a restaurant because he didn’t get 10% off his eggs benedict for being an anti-theist, is a model of respect then I suppose that’s what you want in return… right?

    • Adolfo

      Am I allowed to pray in a restaurant or, like second hand smoke, will it somehow affect you?

  • Bob

    Dude, the guy can go walk in a church and get a bulletin. Easy enough, right? And I take it you’re clearly on the side of the religious whose churches don’t have bulletins with the 10% discount? B/C, you know, they’re obviously being discriminated against too!

    • Atheist Guy

      Why should he have to do that? A business that is open to the public can not discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. This resturant is clearly discriminating.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Nope, it’s not clearly discriminating, and you clearly don’t know what discrimination is.

        • Atheist Guy

          The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

          • Adolfo

            It’s a coupon. That’s all. A privately owned business can offer a coupon to whomever it wants. The sensitive atheist in question was not refused service nor was he treated poorly. He just didn’t have the coupon. He could have walked into any church, swiped a bulletin, and gotten the discount. Heck, then he could have blogged about it and given himself a pat on the back for sticking it to those silly thesists and you could have read all of the comments praising him for his subversive victory over the Christianists. Instead, he (like most of you, sadly) is too big a ninny for that so he had to whine and stamp his feet like a petulant child.

      • Sal

        Oh, for heaven’s sake. They can refuse you service if you’re not wearing a shirt. They’re not refusing him service, he’s not getting a discount. Just like I’m not quite eligible for the senior discount yet.

        • ivan_the_mad

          THAT’S AGEISM! OH ATHEIST GUY, SAVE ME FROM ALL TEH AGEISMZ!

          • Joseph

            If they had their way they’d eliminate *ageism* by killing off the elderly and calling it merciful and dignifying… oh wait, they’re already doing that.

      • ds

        Bring in a bulletin from your atheists meeting, or whatever. I’m sure they’d honor it if you come in to eat food and pay for it, even with a discount.

      • Dean

        Do you mean like a bar cannot have a women’s night and charge women less for drinks during that time? Or a business can’t put a coupon in a gay-oriented paper, which hetero’s do not read, offering a discount that only gay people would take advantage of?

        • A Philosopher

          “Ladies’ Nights” at bars have been found in violation of equal protection rights in a number of states — the Wikipedia article contains reasonably full details.

          • Mark Shea

            The people who bring suit about that are human toothaches too.

          • Jared

            We are a nation of cry-babies…..

          • Ted Seeber

            Reading that wikipedia article, publication of a coupon in a limited distribution publication does not apply.

          • Joseph

            At least this *new* atheist is taking his position to its logical conclusion. Dammit, ban birthday parties too.

        • Bobby

          Actually, in my state (Connecticut) there is a statute explicitly outlawing “ladies’ night” at bars. Our state legislators are bigger busybodies that the US Congress.

      • Maiki

        He doesn’t *have* to do anything. That is the point of a discount. It is optional. He isn’t being told: bring a church bulletin or no service! He is being told: service open for all. But hey, if you drove by a church today, I give you a discoun.

        • Maiki

          They don’t even require him to attend a service or claim any religion. Just bring a bulletin. It is discrimination against laziness, not against religion. Yes, religious people are more likely to be at a church service as part of routine. But I don’t know any religion (or non-religion) where it would be counter to some virtue or ethic to walk up to a church and ask for a piece of paper (one that normally has announcements and advertisements, not bible verses).

        • Joseph

          I don’t think he can put two and two together. The restaurant paid to have their advertisements placed in the church bulletins (duh). This is how they get their return on investment. It’s not discrimination because the owner didn’t put his ads in “New Atheist Weelky” (the largest collection of suicide photos in one magazine).

      • Ted Seeber

        Is Carl’s Junior discriminating against people not wearing SpiderMan Outfits today?

        • Mark Shea

          O the (genetically altered) Humanity!

  • Nate

    So I’m curious if anybody else has noticed this too…

    Ever notice that angry atheism is at its angriest in the hot summer months? Just think of some of the anger seen on this blog and others during this hot stretch of late. And then do a mental tally of some of strange atheist tantrums and displays through the years. Many ‘incidents’ happen during the hot part of the summer, right?

    I wonder why this is….

    • Qualis Rex

      I’ve always found atheists are at their angriest at the times leading up to any celebration leading to happiness, such as Easter or especially Christmas. Witness the billboard campaign.

    • http://stevenadunn.wordpress.com Steven Dunn

      Sexual repression.

    • Ted Seeber

      I find that with all of the anger-based philosophies. Feminism also jumps up at this time of the year (one of my favorite recurring motifs in religious political cartoons is the American Woman in a bikini and the Afghani in a burka, both thinking “Poor lady, she’s such a victim of male lust”).

  • A Philosopher

    Look, I agree that this is petty and annoying. It reminds me a bit with the interest some of my co-non-religionists have with getting “In God We Trust” off the coins — I have a bit of trouble understanding why they care enough about such minor issues.

    On the other hand: I’m no legal scholar, but I think it’s not completely impossible that they’re in the right about the legal issue. Religious affiliation is often a protected category, and price discrimination is a rcognized form of legally prohibited discrimination. (One which is a much bigger issue, for example, for women.) The usual disclaimer apply, but: imagine a restaurant with a policy that blacks were charged twice as much for their meals as whites.

    So then there’s a strategical question: what’s the best response to minor infringements of important rights? I’m tempted by the “let it go” approach, but I can certainly understand those who worry that the minor accumulates into the major.

    • Atheist Guy

      Well … since you brought it up. “In God we Trust”, and “One Nation Under God” … are two HUGE points. They are both CLEARLY religious. “Under God” was ADDED to the pledge in 1954 for PURELY religious reasons (in a nutshell to make our country look “better” than the Pagan commies).

      Around the same time, “In God We Trust”, was adopted as the countries Official Motto. Again this was done for RELIGIOUS purposes.

      Neither of these changes should have been made in the first place. Think about it the Motto of our Country was changed to “In Nixon we Trust” … or “In Whites We Trust” . The Motto of this country should be one which does not have a religious message!!!

      A friend of mine had a daughter who actually asked him … “Why does my money say ‘In God We Trust’ … when I don’t trust in god?”. That’s a very good question. Why should a non beleiving parent have to explain to his children why this country .. which is NOT a religious country .. has those words on it’s money. Why should MY kids be shunned because they feel uncomfortable saying “Under God” every morning IN SCHOOL? RELIGION SHOULD NOT BE IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS and clearly, the term “Under God” is VERY VERY Religious …. The funny thing is the people we claim that it isn’t a religious statement are the ones who are religious themselves … Well .. if it’s NOT a religious statement …then why not just take it oout of the pledge????

      • A Philosopher

        Well, they’re two points, but they look more like two tiny points. I have a bit more sympathy for the pledge issue, because the “preserve historical custom” argument is much less applicable there, and because there is some prospect for a minor coercive element. (If your children have, in fact, been shunned due to an understandable willingness to recite the full pledge, that is quite unfortunate. I would take it up with the school system — a responsible and competent teacher will find ways to avoid such things happening.) But, while I tend to agree that the presence of “In God We Trust” on the coins is unconstitutional, I just don’t see why I should care enough about the issue to take action on it.

        • Atheist Guy

          Well thank you for tying to understand … and for being honest about your feelings. My children have been shunned … and we talked to the teachers about it … all they can say is that they can leave the room during the pledge .. or just not say those words … but either way, the other kids are going to know that something is different … and you know how kids can be. The solution that we came up with was for them to say “Under Dog” instead … at least they don’t stick out. However, the point it that they shouldn’t have to do something different!

          • http://stevenadunn.wordpress.com Steven Dunn

            Teach your children to embrace the shunning like The Jehovah’s Witnesses. Your beliefs are fringe, if growing, and that means you and your children are going to be put apart. That’s how it’s always been, and has nothing to do with the particulars of your belief system.

      • Oregon Catholic

        AG, I’m wondering why you still live in the US. The Declaration of Independence, which set the stage for the Constitution that followed, states that all of your unalienable rights as a human, as far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, come from your Creator. I would think it would be a daily offense to your sensibilities to be living in such a God loving, God reverencing country. It’s definitely hypocritical to talk about a violation of your rights that our country says are God-given.

    • Ted Seeber

      The big difference is that the atheist can *act* like a coreligionist any time he can profit from it; the black can’t become white (well, unless you’ve published a song called Billie Jean and have more money than sense).

      • Thomas R

        But by the same logic a Baha’i can *act* like a Christian any time he or she can profit from it, I picked Baha’i as they’re a pretty multi-racial religion, but we usually allow him or her not to have to do so.

        What if a restaurant said “Anyone with Ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday has to pay 10% more”? As Catholics how would we feel? I mean I believe in the right of private entities to run as they will, even to discriminate, but I also believe in the right of private individuals to complain about same. If instead of suing he was boycotting I think I’d support his right to do so and not see him as a “human toothache.”

        • Ted Seeber

          “What if a restaurant said “Anyone with Ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday has to pay 10% more”? ”

          Then I wouldn’t do business with that restaurant. I certainly would NOT take them to court over it.

          “If instead of suing he was boycotting I think I’d support his right to do so and not see him as a “human toothache.””

          Me too.

    • Meggan

      “On the other hand: I’m no legal scholar, but I think it’s not completely impossible that they’re in the right about the legal issue. Religious affiliation is often a protected category, and price discrimination is a rcognized form of legally prohibited discrimination.”

      It would be very different if that restaurant charged the religiously inclined a discounted rate all the time. That would be discrimination based on religion.

  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

    So here we have another example of how atheists are such a bunch of big freaking pussies. PUSSIES. Little freaking girly men. You know what? Grow a pair. Christianity started when our founder was nailed to a cross in the most gruesome method of death-by-torture ever invented. Yet instead of cowering in fear over that, we adopted that cross as our symbol, putting it in our homes and atop our buildings.

    Our history is filled with men and women, boys and girls, who had their eyes gouged out, their breasts cut off, were beheaded, burned alive, skinned alive, beaten to death, disembowled, beheaded, strangled, eaten alive by wild animals, shot, starved to death, and killed by those and many other torments too numerous to list. Did we ever go crying to the local human rights commission? Hell no. We sing sings about it. We depect these tortures in our art, celebrate them with special feast days and with special foods — like eye-shaped candy on St. Lucy’s Day.

    Bl. Jose Sanchez del Rio shouted “Viva Cristo Rey!” as a torturer cut off the soles of his feet, and then he walked barefoot to the place where he was killed by firing squad. He was 14. And here, 80 years later, we have a grown man crying to the local human rights commission because he can’t get a freaking 10 percent discount on a cup of coffee. And other atheists rally ’round this fine specimen of manhood because his rights are violated. You know what? Go to another coffee shop!

    Forgive me if I hold you all in utter, complete contempt.

    • A Philosopher

      Sean,

      You are forgiven.

    • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

      LOL, thank you.

    • Atheist Guy

      Wow … sounds like a great thing to teach your children !!! Oh Daddy tell me again about the man who let someone cut his feet off so he could walk somewhere to be killed! WTF????

      • ivan_the_mad

        It’s a slightly better story than “Oh daddy Atheist Guy, tell me again about the brave man who didn’t get 10% off his Sunday wings!”

        • Chris M

          Just to be pedantic:
          1- they don’t have wings
          2- they aren’t open on Sunday
          I know.. I know.. I’m a borderline human toothache now.

          • Bill

            The do have wings and are open on Sundays. In fact they have 1/2 price wings on Sunday no bulletin required.

            • Chris M

              oh, I thought we were discussing Chik-Fil-A again. My mistake.

          • Chris

            I take exception with the term “Buffalo” wings. Buffaloes don’t have wings. This is discrimination against the dull-witted.

            • http://stevenadunn.wordpress.com Steven Dunn

              When I was a kid I knew buffalos didn’t have wings but it never dawned on me that buffalo wings were chicken wings. I thought: “Why call them buffalo wings when we already call them chicken wings?” I thought it was another bird.

              Now as an adult I still find the name stupid.

        • Rachel K

          Ivan, this made me spit-take. Thanks for brightening my day. :D

        • Joseph

          They were Eggs Benedict, and he was doubly offended that they named his eggs after the Pope.

      • A Philosopher

        Kids love this stuff, you know. Most of the traditional fairy tales are at least as gruesome.

      • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

        Our children are strong and brave and can handle it.

      • Rachel

        The point is, he was merely saying that our saints and many others who have been actually persecuted (ie. tortured and murdered) didn’t complain to some legal group about it, etc. Nope, they took the abuse and actually used it for good. Eventually, the tortures in the Coliseum stopped and many were converted. What he means is that it shows a profound lack of maturity to complain to some kind of legal/human rights group because they didn’t have the coupon to get 10% off their meal because they are atheist. I know not all atheists are this way but the loudmouths, like certain loudmouth homosexuals, wants everything to be about them. IF they are upset then no one gets to have fun and that has been done over and over again, usually by whining to a black robed nanny. So, please show some tolerance. I know it is very difficult for you to show ANY tolerance in the PUBLIC square toward religious people but try to open your mind just a bit.

      • Chris

        Beats the pants off of “One girl, Five gays”

        • Joseph

          That sounds like a sitcom.

      • Ted Seeber

        Yep- and when my son is old enough, I’m going to buy that movie on DVD so that we can show it in secret as drones take aim at our house. Viva Christo Rey!

    • Atheist Guy

      Do you know how many FRIGGIN religious people here in Connecticut got pissed off when they voted to allow Liquor Sales on Sundays???? Who is the pussy?

      Well … I’ll leave you to your nice little religion. Have fun toturing your children with vision of Hell and people’s feet being cut off … you might also want to tell them not to marry if they aren’t virgins … otherwise you might have to kill them yourselves, according to your bible … and oh yeah … keep your children away from those priests … you know how well that usually turns out.

      • john

        And athiest guy has just lost the argument and has gone into ant-Christian rant mode. If you cannot maintain a valid arguing point when dealing with religion simply start slinging insults and accusations: Torturing children, Old Testament laws (as opposed to the Law)-showing a lack of knowledge and undestanding of the religion and its primary text (because accuracy and understanding are irrelevant when you want to hate) and of course you must always bring up the child abuse by priests because they are the only group of people to have ever in all of history included some people who did something horrible to children…and obviously the moral superiority of athiests prevents any of them from doing such a thing.

        • Atheist Guy

          Just pointing out some imperfections with what most religious people see as a perfect little world. The only reason that I got a little heated here was because Sean called me a Pussy.

          No, I don’t understand the difference between the Old Testament stuff and the New Testament stuff … but um … if it’s written in your perfect book, that was written about your perfect god .. shouldn’t it all be perfect??

          The reason that atheists always bring up the preists issue is because soooooo many religious people think that thier world is perfect and all religious people are goody-goody law abiding citizens. When in reality …. even some of thier “leaders” are committing horrible, horrible acts.

          • Qualis Rex

            FYI, NO CHRISTIAN THINKS THIS IS A PERFECT WORLD. That is Christianity 101. Our believe is that due to original sin we are indeed living in a “fallen” world. You are severely lacking in understanding here, on both religious and political issues, as has been rightfully pointed out.

            On the other issue, you are correct; you should not have been insulted ad hominem regardless.

          • ivan_the_mad

            Sean’s choice of language was poor. But I find just as insulting your demand that I should hide in my house or church to practice my religion. It’s part of who I am. If you can’t understand that, you have no business crying about discrimination.

            • http://stevenadunn.wordpress.com Steven Dunn

              I just want to say you’ve been spot-on throughout this entire thread.

          • john

            Actually from my experience many religious people clearly recognize that this world is not perfect that we ourselves are not perfect. That is pretty much the point…we are imperfect and can tend toward sin…we are sinners in need of redemtion. We believe that it is only through Jesus that we can have this redemtion. And yes we believe that the whole world is in need of this redemtion.
            The Bible is a perfect telling of God’s relationship with humanity…or rather about our relationship with Him. This relationship developes over time so some things within the Bible do develope over time. We recognize this development over time.
            We Catholics are fully aware that some within our ranks have commited horrible, horrible acts. we are aware that all of us are not goody-goody law abiding citizens. Your bringing the abuse into the discussion seems to me to be an attack that is meant to distract from the topic at hand, and to discredit the Church and any arguments made by its members on any given topic. An ad-hominem attack which does nothing to further this discussion.

          • ivan_the_mad

            Yup. And Stalin and Mao killed 110mn people. So I guess that “many atheist people think that thier world is perfect and all atheist people are goody-goody law abiding citizens. When in reality …. even some of thier “leaders” are committing horrible, horrible acts.”

            Man, ridiculous tu quoque is a fun game, especially since it’s the only game you have!

            • Bill

              Actually the “Stalin, Mao” argument is a bit stale. They did not kill 110 million people in the name of atheism.

              Hitler and Stalin both had mustaches. So are world leaders with mustaches now suspect?

              • Mark Shea

                If you are going to try that stunt, then it’s equally true that priests did not rape and bishops did not cover up rape in the name of God. The former acted out of lust and the latter out of cowardice and in defiance of what the Church actually teaches.

                But, of course, the atheistic regimes *did* kill for atheism and *did* direct their murders at believers precisely because they were believers. The great atheist regimes were utopian and needed clear the old theistic dead wood out of the way in order to build their gleaming godless paradise. Everyone–except a large percentage of atheists in total denial–knows that.

                • Bill

                  No everyone doesn’t know that and no mainstream historian I am aware of even alleges it. As to the priest issue I have been consistent in stating it is wrong to judge all catholics by that standard.

                  • Mark Shea

                    Thank you, Bill.

                  • Ted Seeber

                    Really? NO mainstream historian noticed the entire reason for the formation of the State of Israel? NO mainstream historian knows that President Calles of Mexico was an Atheist who considered Catholicism to be a foreign invasion into his land?

              • Thomas R

                Enver Hoxha is probably a better example. Although Mao’s Cultural Revolution did have a specifically atheist/anti-religion aspect and there was the “Society of the Godless” in the USSR. In some ways though Lenin might have been a worse persecutor of religion, or at least as bad, as I believe Stalin was more willing to co-opt the Orthodox Church as much as he could.

                Adding up the specific religious persecution of Ukrainian-Catholics under the Soviets, religion in general under the Cultural Revolution, the atheist state of Hoxha, and the anti-clerical Mexican states I think we might reach over 10 million anyway. Granted this is more anti-religion than atheism, but it is cases of regimes preferring atheism based on an ideology. I differ from those here in that I agree atheism in itself is what it says it is, a non-belief. In itself it says almost nothing and does almost nothing good or evil. The atheist ability to not do things is something I agree with them on and I don’t think that makes me overly appeasing of them.

          • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

            I called all atheists a name. Go and cry to the local civil rights commission. Here’s a tissue.

          • Mark Shea

            A religion which begins with “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and which contemplates a God who was tortured to death by us is not a religion that maintains we live in a perfect little world.

            I think before you talk about a book you should understand it.

            I defy you to find a single Catholic who is ignorant of or approves of the horrible sins of these priests or the bishops who covered it up.

            • Bill

              I agree Mr. Shea. It is certainly wrong to judge all Catholics by the actions of a few.

              Almost like “Dear Atheists, This is why people can’t stand you.”

              • Mark Shea

                Catholics hear every day about the priest scandal and will continue to do so for centuries. Why? It was a failure on their watch and they are responsible to keep their communion clean. We take our lumps because we are, in fact, a communion with each responsible for all (whether we like it or not). Atheists need to face the fact that lots and lots of their tribe are irritating assholes whose irritating qualities are due, not to their righeous committment to Truth and Justice in a world of Religious Darkness, but to the fact that they are socially unskilled jerks and arrogant utopians. Some atheists have tried to take that reponsibility and tell their fellow atheists not to be such dicks. http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=ie7&q=phil+plait+don%27t+be+a+dick&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&rlz=1I7ACAW_enUS400 Result: tons of denial from huge number of atheist dicks. Heck, Christopher Hitchens was in such denial about the atheist propensity for butchery he actually tried to claim it was due to religion. I’ll take atheist moralizing more seriously when atheists grow just a little humility about the failings of their own tribe. I can tell you all about the failings of mine. I don’t need atheists to bring me the news flash. People who are all about telling you your failings yet who never seem to be able to acknowledge their own are no fun at a party. We Catholics begin our worship by acknowledging we have sinned through our own most grievous fault. Where, I wonder, do atheists ever sit down and offer a serious public acknowledgement of the huge legacy of death (and the much more common legacy of being socially unskilled and arrogant dicks) that is the public face of atheism, particularly on the Internet?

                • Bill

                  Please sir no lectures about the virtues of Catholic life. I was raised in a Catholic home, went to Catholic School and count myself fortunate to have escaped. Suffice to say I know Catholics from an insider perspective.

                  And if you wish me as an atheist to “offer a serious public acknowledgement” of the actions of everyone whose only commonality I hold is not believing in a god. I invite you to lead by example and offer a public acknowledgement for everyone with whom you hold the reverse commonality. Are you prepared to answer for all theists?

                  I didn’t think so.

                  • Mark Shea

                    I’m the last to lecture on Catholic virtue:

                    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/07/the-bishops-have-lost-their-moral-authority.html
                    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/07/you-cant-make-this-stuff-up-2.html

                    I don’t need to answer for all theists. The Christian community has quite enough dirtbags, thank you, and I’m the worst of them.

                    Atheists, however, who are often so eager to tell theists what’s wrong with them and to lump them, as Jon does, into a giant pile including crusaders, 9/11 bombers, and witch doctors (while studiously ignoring the St. Francis’, Albert Schweitzers, and Louis Pasteurs) should deal with the fact that their community is primarily represented in the public eye by judgmental fundamentalist jerks who tend to worship rather than use the intellect, while bragging they are Brights. Or they can go on play the the “I’m an atomized individual and have nothing to do with all those appalling people who speak for me” game.

                    • Bill

                      I am not a member of the Brights or any other organization for that matter. So those people don’t speak for me. Consider for a moment that by saying I am an atheist, I am only telling you what I am not that is to say a theist.

                      If I were a member of such an organization then yes some accountabilty would go along with it. I as an individual would have chosen to associate with their actions.

                      I have considered joining but I have some fundemental disagreements. I consider some actions (the subject of your post is a good example) frivilous and stupid. Of course a discount doesn’t apply to everyone, if it did it isn’t a discount it is the price. I do agree with some actions, Jessica Ahlquist’s suit comes to mind.

                      The fact is you are judging people by those who get the most press. A preponderance of which are going to be jerks. Sampling bias.

                    • Mark Shea

                      The fact is you are judging people by those who get the most press.

                      Which is why I said, “Dear Atheists: This is why people can’t stand you.” I know there are nice atheists. Leah Libresco used to be my favorite atheist till she screwed everything up by becoming Catholic. :) But Leah Libresco’s tend to be completely drowned out by the considerably large cohort of atheist dicks who totally dominate the conversation. And because they dominate the conversation, lots of people can’t stand atheists. Which was my point.

                      It’s not a question of being a member of an organization. It’s a question of subscribing to an idea which has consequences, but refusing to face those consequences when they are carried out precisely in the name of that idea. It’s one thing, for instance, for a Catholic to say that Catholics have erred by trying to impose the Faith by force. This is what is called “sin”. The proper response to sin is “mea culpa”. JPII offered a big fat mea culpa for the sins committed by Catholics in the lead up to the new millennium, because the reality is that solidarity exists and we are all involved with the sins committed by others. An atheist who simply ignores the fact that one huge consequence of atheism is “If there is no God, then everything is permissible” and mass murder is therefore very much on the table and has been done by atheists precisely because they considered themselve the authors and editors of the Moral Law–such an atheist is simply refusing to take responsibility for his own philosophy and hiding behind individualism. It’s a fiction libertarians enjoy, but it’s not in touch with reality. Solidarity is the inevitable companion of subsidiarity. Libertarians dislike that truth, but truth it remains. No man is an island.

                      By the way, let me hasten to add that I do not think you are a dick. You seem to me to be quite reasonable and thoughtful and I appreciate it. I have in mind more the Pharyngula crowd or Jerry Coyne’s cult.

                  • Ted Seeber

                    I don’t believe for a second that having a Catholic education and being raised in a Catholic Home equates to actually learning about Catholicism. I too survived CCD in the 1970s when “All you need is Jesus” and liturgical abuses and sometimes child abuse was the norm.

                • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

                  “Some atheists have tried to take that reponsibility and tell their fellow atheists not to be such dicks.”

                  Okay, wait a minute! Now who needs to Play Well With Others??

                  • Mark Shea

                    Don’t be a dick. :)

                    Seriously, Phil Plait gave a lecture to atheists called “Don’t be a Dick”. He was, of course, roundly jeered by the atheists–because so many of them are more interested in being dicks than in persuading anybody of the alleged truth of atheism.

                  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

                    LOL! :)

                    Is there a link to that lecture? I’d love to read it. Atheists can believe whatever they want, I suppose, but what makes them all so exasperating is their utter lack of social graces.

                    That, and the fact that they’re all such a buncha crybabies. St. Lawrence, while being burned alive on a gridiron, said, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side.” But an atheist has to make a federal case out of being denied 10 percent discount on chow.

                    Who would you rather have backing you up when the zombie apocolypse comes?

      • Chris

        It must really suck when you look in the mirror and realize that’s all there is in your world.

        • Jon

          No, actually it doesn’t.

        • Thomas R

          I think atheists aren’t all inevitably narcissists with no friends. Most atheists I think even believe in invisible forces they don’t fully understand. (Gravity, Quantum Mechanics) So although one seemed to confirm that their world is what they see in the mirror he might have just been being flip.

          Granted I’d think atheism, when I looked into it and I mean the metaphysical naturalist kind, is unpleasant because it seems to lead to the idea the whole Truth is unknowable, our emotions are simply biochemical reactions, Nature is amoral, and Evolution has no direction. All morality, all we likely will ever know, comes from a hairless ape on a tiny blip in the Universe. Due to the relativistic limitations of the Universe even if there are aliens we will likely have little or no contact with them, except for maybe our probes meeting their probes. And if that’s what you mean, yeah I’d think that’d suck.

        • Ted Seeber

          What I think sucks is the belief that people do bad things, but no forgiveness is ever possible. You make one mistake in childhood, and you are guilty of that mistake forever. The End.

      • Bobby

        I don’t know who you have been talking to, but I live in Connecticut and I did not hear a single religious person complain about it. The ones complanting were the owners of the liquor stores who didn’t want to stay open on Sundays.

      • Ted Seeber

        The stories are warning about what idiots like you do- it was an atheist government that cut the feet off of Bl. Jose, not a Catholic one, and it was punishment for shouting “Viva Christo Rey!”

      • Joseph

        Hey anti-theist guy,

        I’m sure they weren’t Catholics. Not only do monks brew the best beer in the world (and always have), we drink of the Cup during Mass. Catholics have nothing against the drink.

        Just like there are some intelligent atheists (though none spamming this combox), there are some Christians that don’t fit your one-size-fits-all anti-theist stereotype.

    • Qualis Rex

      Dude, see what you started? You need to clean up the language or it will very rapidly degenerate the discussion.

    • ds

      So here we have another example of how atheists are such a bunch of big freaking pussies. PUSSIES. Little freaking girly men.

      Sub in Jews for atheists and I think that’s a quote from chesterton.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Sub in Christians for atheists and I think that’s a quote from Atheist Guy. This is a fun game!

        • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

          I know you are but what am I.

        • Patrick

          Sub in “female genitalia” for atheists, and you have a funny bit of circular logic. Haha. This *is* a fun game!

      • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

        Sure, go and find a GKC quote where he calls Jews pussies. I’m waiting.

        • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

          Must be from one of his more obscure works.

        • ds

          Of course I was paraphrasing. The complete quote was something more like:

          Then, what we should ask ourselves is not “are all Jews pussies?” but “are all pussies Jews?” For if Jews were not pussies, they would wear Arab dress in England, as they are a nation of foreign pussies. And if pussies were not Jews, Henry Ford would not say “there is a Jewish problem” but “I have a problem with Jewish pussy.”

          And who could argue? If you can’t take Henry Ford’s word on the problem of conniving Jews, who can you believe? The prophetic Chesteron recognized this. Gotta love the way he turns the question on its head! I just love when he does that. All. The. FREAKING. TIME. Such wisdom! Spewed from between crooked yellow teeth by a man with the fashion sense of Theodore Roosevelt!

          • ivan_the_mad

            If you’re going to make the accusation, the least you can do is back up your claim. This is pathetic.

            • ds

              OK fine. I am sure Chesterton never used that term. But he did:

              Accuse Jews of being a foreign nation in England and say they should wear arab dress to publicly admit they were not Englishmen but (I guess) some kind of desert people.

              Say Hitler went way too far over Jews, but still insisted “there is a Jewish problem.”

              visit America and then write that if Henry Ford says there is a problem with Jews, then you better believe there is a problem with Jews. (Cause we all know that Ford wasn’t any kind of anti-semite or anything.)

              • Ted Seeber

                Yes, direct quote and citations. I’m sure you’ll find that Chesterton’s “Jewish Problem” is not the same as Hitler’s “Jewish Problem”, and is much closer to George Armstrong Custer’s “Sundance Alliance Problem”. And to be fair, I’ll provide my source if you’ll provide yours:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Little_Bighorn

                • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

                  Ted, what are you talking about?

                  • Ted Seeber

                    Custer’s “Sundance Alliance Problem” was literally about a tribal nation displaced by nationalism. Chesterton’s “Jewish problem” was quite literally about a tribal nation displaced by nationalism (albeit an entirely different nation, Pagan Rome, than the nation lived in, England). To claim that there isn’t a problem with this, is to not only be bigoted and ignorant, but actively *against the tribe in question*.

            • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

              Direct quotes and citations please, ds.

              • ds

                Why don’t YOU provide them. Do you doubt those are true statements? If you know chesterton as well as you should, you would know the references yourself. Are you honestly saying you don’t recognize any of those statements as chesterton’s, or reasonable paraphrases thereof?

                • ivan_the_mad

                  ds, that’s not how argument works. If you make a claim, it’s up to you to prove that claim. It’s not up to someone who disagrees to prove your claim is not the case. The fancy term for this is “quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur” – “that which is asserted without reason may be denied without reason”.

                • Mark Shea

                  Are you serious? You get to put words in GKC’s mouth and somebody else has to provide evidence you are wrong? Man. And you were scolding me about close-mindedness for being too busy to read Savage. At least I don’t slander him and then demand you prove me wrong.

                  • ds

                    The reason I asked Sean Dailey to cite them is because he is the Chestertonian, Editor in Chief of Gilbert Magazine, I wanted to know if he really was unaware of such statements by Chesterton.

                    The New Jerusalem, ch 13:
                    But let there be one single-clause bill; one simple and sweeping law about Jews, and no other. Be it enacted, by the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the Commons in Parliament assembled, that every Jew must be dressed like an Arab. Let him sit on the Woolsack, but let him sit there dressed as an Arab. Let him preach in St. Paul’s Cathedral, but let him preach there dressed as an Arab. It is not my point at present to dwell on the pleasing if flippant fancy of how much this would transform the political scene; of the dapper figure of Sir Herbert Samuel swathed as a Bedouin, or Sir Alfred Mond gaining a yet greater grandeur from the gorgeous and trailing robes of the East. If my image is quaint my intention is quite serious; and the point of it is not personal to any particular Jew. The point applies to any Jew, and to our own recovery of healthier relations with him. The point is that we should know where we are; and he would know where he is, which is in a foreign land.

                    GK’s Weekly:
                    In our early days Hilaire Belloc and myself were accused of being uncompromising Anti-Semites. Today, although I still think there is a Jewish problem, I am appalled by the Hitlerite atrocities.

                    What I Saw In America, Presidents and Problems:
                    Mr. Ford is a pure product of this pacific world, as was sufficiently proved by his pacifism. If a man of that sort has discovered that there is a Jewish problem, it is because there is a Jewish problem. It is certainly not because there is an Anti-Jewish prejudice. For if there had been any amount of such racial and religious prejudice, he would have been about the very last sort of man to have it.

                    As everyone knows, Henry Ford was of course free from all racial and religious prejudice.
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_International_Jew
                    To side with Henry Ford on “The Jewish Problem”, I’d think you had to have a bit of anti-semitism at heart, even in 1922.

                    Chesterton was not a virulent hateful violent anti-semite. He strongly opposed Hitler way before anyone had any idea about the Holocaust (in fact GKC died before anyone knew about the Holocause, before WWII even started). His anti-semitism was somewhat mild and could probably be assigned to ignorance and being a product of his times. He didn’t want Jews exterminated, but wanted them to know their place. But Chestertonians, in my experience, would prefer to have his anti-semitism buried and forgotten rather than exposed and excused as a mistake by a mostly brilliant mind.

                    How about you, Sean Dailey, are these really unfamiliar references to you? You are conspicuously silent since I asked if you knew about this stuff.

                    • Mark Shea

                      Actually, he wanted their place to be Palestine, since he thought people should have a home. And he died in 1936, while the Holocaust didn’t start till 1942, after the Wannsee Conference settled on the Final Solution. It’s perfectly true, I think, that Chesterton was an ordinary Edwardian with ordinary Edwardian prejudices against Jews.

                      Oh, and I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that the passage from the New Jerusalem is not serious. It sounds like the sort of thing he says when he is writing for comic effect to make some other point. In context, my money is on his argument (made elsewhere that I have seen) that Jews are not English any more than the French or Germans are. It’s an odd point, particularly for a man who was friends with somebody named Hilaire Belloc.

                    • ds

                      Mark if you had read my whole comment you would’ve seen that I said Chesterton died before WWII started and way before anyone knew of the Holocaust.

                      And if Chesterton was a garden variety Edwardian bigot, then why can’t Chestertonians just say so, admit it and truthfully state is a a sad error from a otherwise brilliant, rather than becoming apoplectic or trying to ignore it?

                      The passage from new Jerusalem obviously makes much comedic effect, but the man said with dead seriousness that Jews should know they are in a foreign land. He wanted to Jews to know their place and that it wasn’t England. I know he was a big advocate for a Jewish state, but it seems it was as much for their own good as he thought it would be for the good of England if Jews stopped mucking about in English politics and bugged out to their own homeland.

                      And will you admit that I did not, as you said, put words in Chesterton’s mouth? (It’s hard to put anything in there, what with all the beer and meat pies constantly entering.)

                    • Mark Shea

                      Because he wasn’t a bigot. He was too smart and too good to be a bigot. He wrestled with his prejudices. Bigots don’t wrestle with their bigotries.

                      I think the main problem is that whenever you mention Chesterton–every. single. time–you always reduce everything to “Chesterton was a jew-hating bigot” and that pretty much exhausts the subject for you. For some reason, that gives Chestertonians the sense that you don’t really have a measure of the man.

                    • ds

                      It is my hobby to make fun of Chesterton and to taunt his fan-boys. How dare you criticize my leisure activities?

                      Actually the real reason I dislike Chesterton so much isn’t his mild and excusable bigotry (that would be like hating your grandpa for making weird statements about japs or something), is a combination of how annoying his prose is (the problem isn’t x is y, but that y is x, he’s some kind of recursive Xzibit, and using five words when one would suffice) and how much his fans adore him, call him a prophet, when I have yet to see anything he has written that is the least bit impressive.

                    • Mark Shea

                      De gustibus. You’re missing out. Too bad for you.

                    • ds

                      And maybe he’s in the bathroom or otherwise occupied but Sean P. Dailey has yet to reply or tell us if he knew about such statements or not.

                      How about you, Mark, did you know of those Chesterton statements about Jews?

                    • Mark Shea

                      I’m familiar with some of them. And I find it non-controversial to say that Chesterton disliked Jews. You, in contrast, seem to find it the only thing worth talking about. Ever. when Chesterton is mentioned.

                    • ds

                      Chesterton was so fat, they had to baptize him at Sea World.

                    • ds

                      Chesterton was so fat, he fell down and broke his leg and gravy came out.

                    • ds

                      Chesterton was so fat, his blood type was Ragu.

                    • Ted Seeber

                      There’s another word for that. It’s called ZIONISM.

                  • ds

                    If I don’t have a measure of the man, it’s only because it’s difficult to find a large enough tape measure.

                    • Mark Shea

                      Um, you do realize that quite a number of readers here struggle with obesity, right? Do you tell thigh slappers about drunks and addicts too? If you are going to be a scold when somebody’s too busy to read a book, you might examine your glass house as you deliver those hilarious roundhouse punches to some anonymous reader’s solar plexus cuz he’s such a worthless fat slob.

                      Not that Chesterton would have minded. He had the humility to know that “to be fat is to be laughed at”. But that’s no great credit to the person mocking the fat guy.

                    • ds

                      Oh and if we r playing the citation game, quotes of where GKC challenged his own bigotry, preferably his anti-semitism in particular. Or was your statement that the rotund prophet was immune to bigotry some kind of reverse no true scotsman thing.

                      Btw, GKC was so fat that he ate lots of food all the time and had to have great big clothes to cover his blubbery girth.

                    • ds

                      Im just havin you on about GKC. The fat jokes were stupid cheap shots. Girth does not preclude genius, of course. And my sveltness does obviously preclude my own idiocy.

                      A drunk walks into a library and orders a big mac. The librarian says “this is a library”. The drunk apologizes, leans in and whispers “could i have a big mac please”

                      A drunk walks into his house and yells at his son and shoves his wife to the ground. Then he goes and drinks more and ponders taking his life, HAR HAR HAR!!!

                • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

                  ds, this is freaking asinine. No. You made the accusation. You back it up. Otherwise, shut up.

                  • ds

                    See above, backed up. So please, now do not shut up, please acknowledge that I did not slander your great, fat, dead boyfriend and tell us all if you were ignorant of these statements, or just one of the many Chestertonians who’d prefer to quietly sweep them under the rug.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      You really didn’t “back them up”. Quotes ignorant of their context prove nothing.

                      But here’s from a source more authoritative than you, “the Wiener Library (London’s archive on anti-semitism and Holocaust history) that Chesterton was never seriously anti-semitic: ‘he was not an enemy, and when the real testing time came along he showed what side he was on”.

                      I remember from a post a few days ago where you took strong issue with people imposing their morals on others. What do you think you’re doing when you judge people long-dead against the values and mores of your own time?

                  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

                    “your great, fat, dead boyfriend”

                    Well that’s nice.

                    Prefer to weep them under the rug? Hardly. I wish to broadcast them across the Internet and all the TV stations as examples of Chesterton’s gift for rhetoric and paradox, which you apparently do not comprehend.

                    Really, is this the best you can do? All of your “proofs” of Chesterton’s anti-Semitism are, to begin with, taken out of context. Those who wish to see the full context of the excerpt from The New Jerusalem can go here: http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/New_Jerusalem.txt, and they will find that Chesteton was not after all advocating that Jews be dressed as Arabs. He was agreeing with the Jewish Zionists, that Jews needed their own homeland, and that that homeland should be the one that God set aside for them since time immemorial. But if you want to argue that being a Zionist makes Chesterton an anti-Semite, sure, give it a go. Have fun telling Jews to dismantle the state of Israel.

                    Anyone who wants to see the context of the excerpt from What I Saw in America can go here: http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/27250-h.htm#Presidents_and_Problems

                    Again, ds reads Chesterton without really reading Chesterton. He seems to pick through him looking for anything to confirm his preconceived prejudices, much like Michael O’Brien reads Harry Potter. In a paragraph where Chesterton pretty much denounces Henry Ford for being a lunatic and a fairly stupid one at that, ds thinks Chesterton is praising Ford for his racist views.

                    ds, again, you seem incapable to grasp Chesterton’s talent at paradox, and in this case, irony.

                    I don’t have access to the GK’s Weekly essays, but ds apparently has no idea what Chesterton means by “Jewish problem,” or the historical context in which Chesterton was writing, or his sense of humor or wit (hint: if Chesterton mention’s Belloc, he’s probably having you on).

                    This is freaking stupid, but I don’t expect much better from people who think saying “your great, fat, dead boyfriend” is smart or witty. Thanks for your distortions, ds, your dishonest methods, for your attempt’s to hijack a thread, and to make it all about you, simply because I used off-color language to call atheists exactly what they are. How, exactly, did that effect you?

                    If you don’t like Chesterton, that’s your business. I really do not care. But the “anti-Semite” smear is exactly that: a smear. People who say it either know better, and enjoy lying, or they don’t know better, but are too lazy to find out the truth. Both reasons are inexcusable. Nobody, but nobody, defended Jews more than Chesterton did in the years leading up to WWII. When nearly everyone in Engalnd’s ruling class and intellegencia thought Hitler was modern and fashionable and trendy, Chesterton, almost alone, saw him for what he was, and denounced him for it.

                    He also recognized the obvious fact of his time that, yes, there was tension between Jews and non-Jews in just about every society. Anknowledging that fact, and writing about it makes him an anti-Semite? Being a Zionist makes him an anti-Semite? Please. You know nothing of Chesterton. You know nothing of real anti-Semitism. And you know nothing of the times in which Chesterton lived and the issues he wrote about.

    • Mark Shea

      Ahem. The language we can do without here. Also, holding people in utter contempt is not squareable with “Love your enemies.” I know it’s super hot where you are, so tempers are running high. Run some cool water over your head and Play Well with Others, Sean.

      • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

        Ok, ok, I will. Is this going on my permanent record?

        • Mark Shea

          Just issue the requisite apology and be good.

          • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

            Okay then. I am sorry.

            • ds

              Way to wimp out dude. Your vagina is showing.

            • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

              I”m the one in trouble, but your “quote” is waaaay over the top & beyond anything I wrote. 0_o

              • ds

                yeah I probably went too far, I think I’ve been banned.

                • ds

                  Oh, maybe not. Phwew! Mark I’m sorry about all the genital humor. I get a little crazy at times, but that’s no excuse. Even if it was funny. (it is funny. and Chesterton sucks.) Please delete any offending comments if you like, as that kind of stuff really isn’t appropriate to your blog.

                  And Sean you know I just to tease you about being such a Chesterton freak. I’m sure you are a good guy and not wimpy or wussy or pu…. at all.

                  • Confederate Papist

                    I hope Mark *doesn’t* delete your comments so all can see what a poor example of a human being you are.

                    I don’t pity you, but I’ll pray for you.

                    • Mark Shea

                      ds is okay. He just has a perverse love of getting a rise out of people.

  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

    *YAWN*

    Oh, and teetotaling fundamentalism is just one step away from atheism anway, so pretty soon those folks will be in your camp. Have fun together.

    • Qualis Rex

      Not sure what you meant by that. But on a Catholic blog, one which children might read, you should probably use language and tones that represent your faith and speak as if Our Lord and maker were present…because He is.

      Catholic blogs should not be used as a forum to vent your anger just because you are having a bad day.

      • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

        Don’t know how you can infer I’m having a bad day from what I wrote, but thank you for sharing. Mark is free to edit/delete my posts if he thinks they are inappropriate.

        • Patrick

          Hey Sean: I think your point is all-to-proven by folks getting the vapors over the word. “Mercy me, he said the ‘p’ word. Where’s my fainting couch?”

          Everyone who isn’t a closeted Puritan knows what you meant by it.

          • Qualis Rex

            LOL. Don’t you have some blacks or Hispanics to denounce on your own blog?

  • Pluto Animus

    And here’s why we atheists can’t stand Catholics:
    You protect child rapists. (And contribute money to help them avoid punishment.)
    We file lawsuits. You protect child predators. Who’s worse?

    • ivan_the_mad

      As I wrote above, “And atheists in China and the USSR killed a combined 110mn people. I WIN THE TU QUOQUE WAR! ALL HAIL ME, THE BEST EVER!”

    • john

      So all Catholics are guilty due to the actions of a very small segment of the population?

    • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

      Never heard the child molester objection before. Nope.

    • Chris M

      umm.. weren’t the lawsuits filed by Catholics, mostly? But, no, by all means, please continue embarassing yourself!

    • Mark Shea

      I’ve protected no child predator. Nor have the overhwhelming 99.999999% of Catholics. Atheists, on the other hand have, in addition to being annoying turds who file frivolous lawsuits, also created Himalayas of corpses in the past century.

      • Bill

        Actually the overwhelming majority of atheists (99.9999999%?)have harmed no one and filed no lawsuits. Why the double standard?

        • Mark Shea

          I suppose the millions and millions and milllions and millions and millions and millions and millioins and millions of dead just threw me off.

          • Jon

            What about your “god” who flooded the entire world because he didn’t like the way people turned out? What about all of the wars fought over religion, what about 9/11 ?? THESE were all done FOR religious reasons.

            The deaths you are talking about were not done FOR atheist reasons! Or could you show some facts ???

            • Mark Shea

              Oh please. The flood? What is this? A Fundamentalist Bible camp? Oh look! Wars of religion! Never heard of that. So then, it turns out Christians are sinners? Who knew? And 9/11 was clearly a Catholic crime, so you’ve really got me there. So that means the Himalayas of corpses created by utopian atheist regimes in pursuit of utopian atheist goals and inflicted on believers precisely because they were believers has nothing to do with atheism.

              And all this dudgeon is ocassioned because some atheist dick feels sorry for himself over a coupon discount at a diner. Nope. No utter lack of social and affective abilities here. The atheist subculture is populated by supermen of the future, not a disproportionately large sample of people who lack the normal complement of social and affective abilities that ordinary people possess. It’s that they are way Brighter than the common herd, not that they are disproportionately unable to form normal perceptions about normal human interactions.

              • Bill

                9/11 was in fact a theist crime. You demand that atheists take accountability for all atheists that ever lived. So by your logic you would be associated.

                I hold the view that individuals are responsible only for what they do. But that doesn’t fit well with your millions of dead does it?

                • Mark Shea

                  I am associated with 9/11. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. My species committed 9/11. We also tortured God to death. This is one of the reasons AG’s assertion that the religious people live in a perfect shiny happy world is, er, not in accordance with reality.

                  • Bill

                    Yeah ok. On a species level I suppose I must buy into that too. You say “sin”; I say the human animal is capable of great evil as well as great good. But I suppose it amounts to the same thing.

                    I don’t agree with the assertion that religious people live in a shiny happy world. As I said I grew up in a religious household. I can attest that they don’t.

                    • Mark Shea

                      It does amount to the same thing. And I’m sorry if you have suffered at the hands of Christians, by the way. My point is simply that atheism is not the medicine that will cure the source of the sickness, because the source was not God, but human sin.

                  • ds

                    I’ll take a little heat for 9/11 cause I support gay rights and as Pat Robertson told us 9/11 was God’s revenge for having the big old gay parade in New Orleans. Oh wait, God’s revenge for that was Katrina. It’s hard to keep straight all these times Pat Robertson has pointed out how we have caused our own smiting.

            • Qualis Rex

              Jon, to echo Mark here, your argument is unoriginal and was attempted by none other than the now-dead and rotting Christopher Hitchens in his debate against “Malleus Atheorum” Dinesh D’Souza, and he failed miserably. Trying to lump all Deists together (i.e. saying a Christian is responsible for a Mohammedan’s terrorist actions of 9/11 simply because we both believe in a higher being) is as baseless as an anarchist blaming you for the way the Vatican is run, since you both believe in some form of government (assumedly).

              And FYI, the Communists regimes absolutely killed in the name of atheism; they specifically targetted anyone who believed in a religion, namely clergy and anyone actively/visibly involved in religion. Hitler (also an atheist) knew this well, and some of his first victims sent to the concentration camps were priests and monks. These little facts may be inconvenient for your argument, but they are facts nonetheless.

            • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

              “What about your “god” who flooded the entire world because he didn’t like the way people turned out?”

              Did you lift this line from a Monty Python script?

              • ivan_the_mad

                If he had, at least the line would have been funny.

          • Bill

            Are you stating I am responsible for millions of dead? It is not the dead that threw you off. It is rather your own bigotry and prejudice.

            • Mark Shea

              No. I am saying ideas have consequences and one frequent direct consequence of atheism has been millions and millions of murders. Those who propose atheism as an improvement over the Christian revelation need to ask if perhaps a mistake has been made somewhere and if atheism is, in fact, an improvement–or even true.

              • Bill

                Atheism is the rejection of an idea. You haven’t made the argument that atheism is a direct cause of those or an murders. Communism, totalitarianism are the root of those murders. Tyrany throughout history has been religous, secular or a combination.

                Despite internet rumors Hitler was no atheist. He was born a catholic (and no I don’t saddle catholics with him either) and if not a christian later in life certainly an occultist. He killed plenty and who is to say he would not have killed more than Stalin? The only difference I can see is one was stopped and the other was not.

                You seem to want to focus on one aspect of those regimes and say “that is what caused it.” When reality is a little more muddy. Stalin may have been an atheist but he was no humanist.

                • Mark Shea

                  Atheism is the all but inevitable embrace of pride among those who really take it seriously. http://www.scifiwright.com/2012/07/confiteor-and-the-pride-of-lucifer/ And the astounding arrogance of evangelical atheists is the proof in the pudding. (I hasten to add that there are exceptions to this and I would, in fact, number you among them, since you seem to me to be thoughtful, civil, and generous). Trying to attribute the slaughters of utopian atheist regimes to “communism” or some other factor seems to me to be a total non-starter. The communiists killed believers *because* they were believers. One major outcome of atheism is the embrace of the idea that since we are the authors and editors of the moral law and the creators of the New Man, we have the right to kill the Old Man when he gets in the way of Utopia. It’s not an *inevitable* outcome of atheism. But its certainly been a common one.

                  And I agree that Hitler was not an atheist. He was, you are right, a screwy racial mystic (For a novel, I’m contemplating, I’ve been looking into some of the truly bizarre crap apostate Catholic Germans were into in the stew of nuttiness that produced Hitler before WWI. Oy!). Pinning him on the Catholic Church is about as plausible as calling Madonna a nun.

                • Qualis Rex

                  Bill – you are proving the point here. Atheism is the rejection of God. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Menghistu and like-minded atheists ordered their followers: “reject God as we do or we will kill/imprison/persecute you and your families”. How can you possibly say they did not do this in the name of atheism?

                  • Bill

                    How can I say that?

                    1. It isn’t entirely true. “Reject god” was not an objective. Marxism–Leninism was.

                    2. As Lenin put it “Religion is the opium of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class.”

                    3. Religion was never banned in the USSR. This is not to say religous persecution did not take place. It did.

                    4. To the Marxist, religion is a tool for surpression of the masses. Hence atheism was a tool to advance Marxism as religion was seen as an obstacle.

                    Atheism is not a doctrine, it is not set of values, it is the rejection of a single premise.

                    As Mr. Shea notes that believers were killed “because they were believers”. I can’t say that never happened, but I can say that it wasn’t solely because they were believers but because they were leaders and competition to the Marxist agenda.

                    I am not defending any of this, I am saying again reality is not as cut and dry as some would like it to be. The only thing the average atheist of today had in common with the Soviet marxist of the last century is that neither believes in a god. (although you marxist might but surpress it or subgegate it to his ideology) To equate the two is to equate the average christian of today with Jim Jones both share a belief in a god and nothing more. Not a fair comparison at all.

                    • Thomas R

                      I don’t agree with Mark here. I think atheism may make one more likely to become enthralled with grand utopian schemes because without a God justice has to be done by humans and limiting a system limits that. So I think a totalitarian ideology is a plausible consequence of atheism. However I don’t see it being quite as frequent or inevitable as in his view. For all its problems France, since WWII anyway, is not a totalitarian nightmare genocide world.

                      Still I think Enver Hoxha and Mexico under Calles, at least, were about anti-religion and atheism. Hoxha did declare Albania an atheist state and did truly ban religion. Also the Cultural Revolution in China did have a strong anti-religion vibe which nearly destroyed Taoism on the mainland. Ursula K. Le Guin, an atheist with Taoist sympathies, even wrote on that I believe.

                    • Dave G.

                      That’s a fair write up. There are a couple things, however, that should be observed in order to make what you say acceptable. First, you show that the situation in the USSR, just like Revolutionary France, China, or wherever ‘end religion’ mantras have been chanted, are more complex than ‘Atheism = mass slaughter.’ That’s not to diminish the terrors visited on people of faith by those who wish to eliminate religion, but it is more complex. First point? It’s more complex with religion, too. The modern atheist doctrine of ‘religion = evil’ is just as shallow, just as wrong. In both cases, it’s worth looking at the details. Or in neither case. It can’t be one and not the other. If you concede the complexities of religion and its problems through the years, then that’s fair.

                      Second, atheism as a non-thing. You can’t blame a non-thing for the acts of an atheist. Then atheism can’t get credit for the good things. I see that quite a bit. Atheists will run forth and say ‘look what this or that atheist did/said/accomplished – that shows how awesome atheism is by way of what atheists do.’ Well, if atheists/atheism gets the credit, then it gets the blame. Of course, again, same with religion. If religion gets the blame, then it should get the credit.

                      In other words, as long as you’re being consistent, then that works. You seem to be the type that would want to be, and that’s fair. Things are far more complex than internet rants, but it swings both ways. Being consistent, to me, is the main issue.

    • Ted Seeber

      Trouble is you’ve been protecting child rapists as well.

  • ds

    If you look at the menu, the drink discount clearly is a discriminatory against Mormons and other teetotaling sects. And look at all the shellfish on special! You might as well put up a sign that says “no Jews allowed.”

    • Qualis Rex

      And Cajun food is extremely spicey! What about all those people who prefer a low-sodium/bland diet? And if borscht and whale blubber isn’t on the menu, then Eastern Europeans and Inuits are CLEARLY being descriminated against! I have half a mind to call the ACLU! Oh, wait, I’m not an atheist, meaning I probably don’t have half a mind.

      • Adolfo

        That’s actually a misnomer about Cajun food. As a resident of southern Louisiana, I am offended by this culinary stereotype and DEMAND you apologize immiediately! (Hey…this is pretty fun. Now I know why they do it!)

    • ivan_the_mad

      Muslims don’t eat shellfish either, so the sign should really read “no Jews or Muslims” allowed. But some people also have allergies to shellfish, so the sign should really read “no Jews or Muslims or people with allergies to shellfish allowed”. And some people don’t like shellfish, so the sign should really read “no Jews or people with allergies to shellfish or people who don’t like shellfish allowed”.

      • Qualis Rex

        heh heh… I get the joke. But FYI, Mohammedans do eat shellffish. It’s only the Jews that do not. Mohammedans are only prohibited from eating anything with blood or pork (but most ignore the former). And of course drinking alcohol is haram/a no-no.

  • dpt

    Just stop by a church, grap a bulletinm and present it for your discount. How hard is that? By doing so you are not professing a faith.
    Geez, try being neighborly and a wee bit logical instead of angry and vindictive.

    • Jon

      I think the point is NOT how easy or difficult it is to come by a bulletin. The problem lies in the fact that the store can not give preferential treatment to people based on race, gender, sexual preference, or religion. The person who filed this lawsuit obviously beleives that religious people were being given preferential treatment.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Yeah. The popular understanding of “preferential treatment” is very different from the legal matters at play. You don’t have to be religious to have a church bulletin. The End.

      • dpt

        So is my local Chinese restaurant discriminating against me by offering coupons in the Chinese language local weekly and not the English one (or Spanish one)? Are they discriminating against me by posting signs inside their restaurant showing menu items in Chinese and not English? There are additional items listed in Chinese that are not in the English version.

        I don’t think so, and they are happy to accomodate me when I ask. Simple, logical, civil, and neighborly, no one discriminated against me and no need to “feel offended”.

        In our modern age, there seems to be a need to be a victim…to have attention brought upon oneself while trying to bring some perceived enemy down a notch. I don’t get it. Being nice is better in the long run and will help keep one’s blood pressure down.

      • Harpy

        The problem with your assertion is that the discount was given for having a specific *piece of paper*, not holding a specific *belief*. As long as anyone who wanted the discount could credibly acquire that piece of paper without holding any specific belief, there is no illegal discrimination. Stepping into a church and requesting a bulletin so you can obtain a discount does not obligate you in any way to change your belief system – does it? No.

        It is no different than placing a coupon in a local advertising circular that only has distribution racks at kosher butcher shops. You don’t have to be Jewish to swing by, get out of the car and grab the circular.

        Sorry, there is no workable logic behind the idea that this is illegal discrimination.

        • Meggan

          No one even has to step into a church to get a bulletin. Lots of churches have their bulletins online. Just print one out.

  • MG42

    Sal @ 7:45 said:

    “….the trademark of a particularly obnoxious, scam-meister mommy blogger of terrible repute.”

    I’m assuming he means the inimitable, irrepressible, and feisty Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle, of whom I’m a big fan (though, like Mark, I don’t always agree with her).

    • Peony Moss

      If he does mean La Shaidle, he needs to realize that she isn’t a mommy blogger. (To my knowledge, she’s not a scam-meister, either. She might be sad if I said she wasn’t obnoxious, but I wouldn’t say she’s particularly obnoxious.)

      • Sal

        Oh, mercy no. Not even familiar with Ms. Shaidle. The woman I refer to has no connection with Catholicism at all.
        Forget I said anything. Mark needn’t cater to my personal willies on his blog.

  • Bill

    Well I have enjoyed the debate here but life intrudes. As to the original subject I agree the guy is a jerk. In fact, if my wife is willing I may take a couple hour roadtrip to give that resturant my custom, express my support, and let them know not believing in a god does not equate to being a jerk.

    Besides I looked at the menu and the food looks awesome.

    • Mark Shea

      As I say, you seem like a reasonable person to me. Thank you.

    • http://family-centered.com/living Michele Q.

      I’ve eaten there and while the food’s pretty good it’s not totally “authentic”. Still, for Lancaster County it’s not bad.

      There IS a “prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion” here but unfortunately it’s directed at us Catholics too. This little section of Pennsylvania (a state that is predominately Catholic) is very anti-Catholic.

      I also happen to know there is a Catholic Church a block over where a bulletin could be easily obtained.

  • Dave G.

    That was strange. I was going to get on here to chide Mark for assuming that atheists want religion banished from the private sector as well as the government domains just because of a single, goofy lawsuit. Then what do I see? Atheists more or less saying that yes, ours is a country where it’s time religious people realize that they must convert to the modern notions of censorship in the name of diversity. Strange world we live in.

  • http://martinkelly.blogspot.com/ Martin

    Man, is all debate about atehism in the USA like this?

    • ivan_the_mad

      Oh no. It can be *much* less pleasant ;)

  • Dennis Goos

    Terrible lawsuit. Every christian knows that the correct methods of objecting to the erroneous beliefs of others is to wave signs a la Westboro Baptists or to shoot someone a la the right to lifers. Atheists are just lily-livered when it comes to standing up for the truth.

  • http://manalivethemovie.com/ Joey Odendahl

    I worked for Chick-Fil-A once upon a time. That particular location did indeed have a daily prayer. It’s a private business. If someone doesn’t like it, they can get a job somewhere else. Government certainly shouldn’t be allowed to tell private citizens when/where to pray. That would set a dangerous precedent.

    • Isilzha

      It may be a private business, but it’s one that falls under the Civil Rights Act rule of Public Accommodation. That means it CAN’T make employees pray because it violates the employees’ religious freedom.

      I’m amazed at how many people support the idea that “private business” means that the business can just do whatever the hell it wants and it’s just fine to abuse and trample the right of the employees because, hey, this ‘Merica and if you don’t like it don’t work their. It’s a very ignorant position to take because it ignores the reason why we put those laws in place to begin with.

      • ivan_the_mad

        “That means it CAN’T make employees pray”. That’s right. But that doesn’t mean that employees *can’t* pray at work. Big difference.

  • Confederate Papist

    The subject in the article did this intentionally to stir the puddin’…plain and simple. When one looks for trouble, they always find it.

  • Isilzha

    Because this is just as heinous an act as say…pedophile priests who molest children and the church covers for them.

    To say this is a very valid reason for people “not to stand atheist” is a great example of something that does not help atheists and does nothing to contribute to the discussion and elimination of religious privilege that’s rampant in the US.

    • Bill

      please
      spare me the “religious privilege” bullshit
      the only privilege today is for secular humanism

  • http://www.frenchcookingmama.wordpress.com frenchcookingmama

    This cranky sod is the type who would want the “kids menu” abolished because it’s ageism. See how ridiculous his argument is?

  • joe mc faul

    Dear Christians:

    Here’s why people can’t stand you:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/05/whites-only-christian-conference-alabama-william-collier_n_1651268.html

    I know, I know, you can’t judge an entire group by one weird nutcase.

    Unless that group is atheists. Got it.

  • Marcus Letz

    A stupid lawsuit to be sure. Still, how the actions of this one ignorant atheist impugn me, an atheist who thinks it’s stupid to sue a private business for offering a discount with a church bulletin, I fail to see.

    • Dave G.

      I think the point is, it’s not just this one case. You can’t turn on the TV or read a paper any more without seeing a story about some atheist group challenging the free and open exercise of religion somewhere. Those atheists who do not support the ‘eliminate religious rights’ movement would do well to stand up and make their opposition known. Focus on the ones doing wrong, not the ones pointing out that it is wrong, then it will be easier for folks to say ‘this is why people think atheists are bad, when it’s obvious that most atheists oppose this agenda as we do.’

      • joe mc faul

        You don’t want to get into that battle:

        More stupidity inaddition to the link I posted above:

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/06/evangelical-radio-host-tax-the-atheists-who-dont-go-to-church/

        Atheists do not have a monopoly on stupid ideas. I see no indication that their stupid ideas are worse or more frequent than Christian stupid ideas.

        I’d make the novel suggestion that we treat individuals as individuals and put away the broad paint brushes. I think the command was “Love they neighbor.” I didn’t get the corollary that we can dismiss entire groups of people based on the conduct of an outlier.

        • ivan_the_mad

          “Atheists do not have a monopoly on stupid ideas. I see no indication that their stupid ideas are worse or more frequent than Christian stupid ideas.”

          Corollary: I don’t follow this blog, otherwise I’d not trouble to don my Captain Obvious tights and post this.

          People are often stupid, yes. This blog has plenty of posts illustrating Christians being stupid (e.g. the brouhaha over Perry Lorenzo). Spend a little time acquainting yourself with a blog before you make rash conclusions about the intent of the blog post – the point here is not “all atheists are dumb”, but a call to police your own so they don’t tempt people to say “all atheists are dumb”. Which this blog does frequently for Christians (much to the consternation of those who think “all Christians are super”).

          • joe mc faul

            Actually I have followed this blog since Shanley was a priest in good standing and Law was a cardinal in Boston.

            The Lorenzo situation, the “Black Dog fiasco, the Leigionarries debacle and Robert Sugenis meltdowns all discussed here over the years all illustrate my point. In each of those cases, Mark criticizes only those Catholics who actually hold the views ascribed to them.

            In this OP, he paints all atheists for the dingbattery of a singe one. It’s like saying that al bishops are pronographic child molesters when only a few were.

            In short the comment is not “loving thy neighbor as thyself. There are other Leah Librescos out there. Don’t needlessly spit in their faces.

            • Mark Shea

              Joe:

              If somebody smart-assishly remarks of, say, the umpteenth story in the news of some brain-dead bishop reassigning a pedophile (though the thing hasn’t happened in years now) and said, “Dear Catholics, This is why people can’t stand you” I would nod. It *is* why people can’t stand us (along with a number of other reasons I could think of). It points to something systemic that needs addressing, not to individuals.

              When an atheist acts like a dick and I say something similar, my point is that the dick in question is likewise not an isolated event but a common enough occurrence that atheists have a reputation, even among themselves, for being dicks. Hence, atheist Phil Plait’s lecture, given to a roomfull of atheists, called “Don’t be a Dick” (widely excoriated by Atheists, not because they deny being dicks, but think being a dick is good). I realize not *all* atheists are dicks. But you are dreaming if you think that the jerk in the article I referenced does not represent such a huge sociological fact of the atheist community that he is not emblematic of a problem there. Just read the seething hive of jerks who infest Pharyngula (Home of Eucharistic Descecration for SCIENCE!), or Dawkins’ site or Jerry Coyne’s site. The atheist subculture has a massive problem in that its public face is not Leah Libresco’s or A Philosopher’s (or my new favorite atheist, Paul, in these comboxes), but is instead a bunch of jerks whose massive lack of basic social and affective and relational skills is exceeded only by their even more massive conviction that this gap in their psychosocial makeup is a sign of their superiority. Any group of people so fundamentally clueless as to embrace the name “Brights” for themselves has guys like that jerk in the story as a mascot, not as the exception to the rule.

              • joe mc faul

                I’m sorry Mark,

                You slam an entire group for one person’s goofballery. You then write this:

                “Um, you do realize that quite a number of readers here struggle with obesity, right? Do you tell thigh slappers about drunks and addicts too?”

                Mark, did you ever consider that some of your readers struggle with atheism–they have atheist family members and friends they are working with? Some of them may even have their own doubts and read this blog to get a sense of what being Catholic is all about?

                And then, you come along to make our life quite a bit more difficult.
                Those atheists certainly don’t want to belong to the religion that YOU belong to.

                If you wan to critique stupid things atheists say or do–a goofball in Pennsylvania, or whole groups at Pharyngula or at Coyne’s, then do so.

                But you didn’t do that. You said you can’t stand atheists. All of them. Without reservation, without qualification.

                That is not Christian love, it’s not what Jesus commanded and you are harming the church. Compare…

                Here’s Mark:
                “Dear Atheists: This is why people can’t stand you. You’re welcome.”

                Here’s Pope Benedict:

                “Today, in addition to interreligious dialogue, there should be a dialogue with those to whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown and who nevertheless do not want to be left merely godless, but rather to draw near to him, albeit as the Unknown. I think that today the Church should once more open a sort of Courtyard of the Gentiles.”

                I know you aren’t the Pope or Jesus himself, but can you at least make the effort to have a dialogue? I have family and friends on the fence. Their souls are at stake and you aren’t helping the situation. Stop telling thigh slappers about drunks and addicts.

                • Mark Shea

                  You said you can’t stand atheists. All of them. Without reservation, without qualification.

                  No. I didn’t.

                  Here’s Mark:
                  “Dear Atheists: This is why people can’t stand you. You’re welcome.”

                  You see?

                  I do, however, acknowledge that it was defective in love. And for that, I apologize.

        • Ted Seeber

          The difference being that we Christians actually have a word the atheists don’t for people who do stupid things: sinners.


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