The Last Gasps of a Desperate Man

Whether it’s criminals in need of cover, a politician (see previous), or somebody who needs the affirmation of the citizenry (see both previous), there is no more certain way to find refuge than by telling the believers that you love Jesus more than anybody else.  As my father always said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

Rich Perry has a new ad out.

In seven years of political and secular activism, entrenched amongst the most insipid ideas bouncing about society, I have never encountered anything that even approaches the stupidity of this 31 second clip.  In it he manages to attack gay soldiers, promise to fight for rights people already have (and which are being contested by nobody), and accuse Obama of waging a war on Christianity.

This guy lacks anything resembling a clue.  But, hey – if you have no qualifications to be president and are sinking fast in the polling, what better way to appeal to the ignorant for a vote?

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian

You’re not ashamed to identify yourself with the vast majority of Americans in a nationwide popularity contest?  Well aren’t you just bold as all hell?

Next you’ll really push the boundaries of societal acceptability and tell us all how you’re unashamed to admit you like puppies.

…there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military…

Yes, some people are just too gay to die for their country.  And our straight soldiers?  They may be forced into nightmarish conditions away from their families to watch their fellow troops die, to choke through sand as IEDs explode and as bullets whiz all around them, but Mr. Perry thinks they are too fragile to be able to handle their duties with a homosexual in their unit.  What an asshole.

…our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

Yes, yes they can.  Or, did you mean that the school can’t force everybody to pray?  Yeah, they can’t do that, but kids can pray til they’re blue in the face.

So here we have a guy who swears he’s going to fix something that isn’t even happening while assuring us he’s more informed than the general populace on what’s going on with the government.  Can’t wait to see what happens if he gets elected.  Perhaps he’ll fight for our right to eat pizza or to go on walks.  Way to throw that twelve gallon hat on your two gallon head, tighten your spurs, saddle up and fight the fascists, Rick!

As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion.

He’s going to end a Christian’s war on religion.  After that he can go after Michelle Obama’s war on women.

And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

What the hell does that even mean?  More Christian nation bullshit?  He’s already insulted gay soldiers (he’s also insulted the intelligence of anybody he thinks can swallow this ad without vomiting), why not insult the founding fathers too?  Do you really think they were so stupid that they wanted to put Jesus, the bible, and god into the Constitution but just failed/forgot to do it?  Not even the most brain dead Republican alive today would make that faux pas.  It’d be front and center John Hancock-style with RANDOMLY CAPITALIZED words.  Give me a break.

Faith made America strong.

Faith contributed to the defense of the institution of slavery and prolonged it, resulting in a civil war.  It was wielded to oppose women’s suffrage.  It was similarly the prime factor in the opposition to civil rights, and its stink still taints the most fervent of political Christians in the tea party.  How about on 9/11?  How did faith do at making us strong then?  The list of ways that the deeply faithful have had to be dragged into modernity kicking and screaming is long.  The list of ways it hinders us to this day stretches from anti-science to dumping inordinate amounts of money into buildings that are functionally and effectively derelict (churches).  Uncle Sam’s been dragging around the ankle weight of faith for 235 years, and it’s cost us in the race for development.  It has been as good for the progress of America as it was for ending droughts in Texas.

A friend of mine, Kim Long, put it perfectly:

You know there’s something wrong with America when willfully obtuse lackwits with bald-faced theocratic aspirations campaigning on demonstrable falsehoods can be legitimate candidates for the highest office in the nation, while those who publicly admit to suspending belief in absurdities or drawing reasoned conclusions about objective reality based on available evidence are among the very last people who would ever be granted eligibility for that office.

I’m JT Eberhard, and I approve that message.

You want proof that religion makes people dumber?  No sensible person would think this guy has the competence to serve them french fries, but there will be people who are going to lap up this slop like pigs at a trough and they will all be screaming how Jesus has transformed them the entire time.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • fastlane

    Wish I could ‘like’ this from work.

  • Mr. Upright

    Shorter Rick Perry:

    “Remember me? I was relevant once. I’m still relevant, aren’t I? Hey, who does a guy have to blow bash to get some attention around here?”

  • Sastra

    …our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

    What they mean by “openly” is “in a situation where everyone else is told by teachers and administrators to stop what they’re doing and care.”

  • raycomas

    We used to have a vibrant two party system. But now, we have one political party and one religious cult. This sucks, because it means we’ll end up either in a one party system, or in a theocracy. Neither of these is a good outcome. We should mourn …

  • Mike de Fleuriot

    Don’t worry Michelle and Barak will be spending another fours years at that place. 1,000 internets if they do not.

  • Glodson

    When I moved to Texas 5 years ago, I learned of Rick Perry and said “that man is fucking insane.”

    And now, I look at almost all of the GOP and I say “holy shit, they are trying to be just as fucking insane.” And ads like this only highlight what I’ve been saying. Hell, a number of people in Texas are embarrassed by him.

    I’m not talking about liberals either… I mean some conservative Texans would love to disassociate from him. He’s like a walking nightmare of Christian Conservative cliches.

  • Rasputin

    I’m pretty sure it qualifies as weapons grade stupid.

  • raycomas

    @Glodson: It’s even worse than that. Being batshit crazy is now a requirement for membership in the GOP. There’s no “trying” involved, it’s mandatory. It wouldn’t surprise me if their obsession with radical islam and the Taliban doesn’t spring from envy – “damn, why didn’t we think of that first?”

    • Derrik Pates


      That’s been my opinion of the whole “OMG WE NEED TO BAN SHARIA” thing for awhile now – it’s not that they dislike the idea per se, they just don’t like the competition, and they’re pissed that the Muslims thought of it first.

  • RhubarbTheBear

    Hey, hey, now, JT! There are PLENTY of ways church buildings can be put to better use. Particularly the ones with gorgeous acoustic properties. :)

  • lindavalentine-dean

    Wonderfully well put. As a Texan I an constantly bewildered by our selection of leadership, this includes all of them. But then that our Governors continue to run for President and the nation continues to believe they are qualified baffles me. I use to tell people Bush wasn’t qualified to tie his shoes, they didn’t listen. This one though, he is far more dangerous than Bush ever thought to be.

    So, again well done.

  • Matt Prorok

    Brilliantly put, JT! I just discovered your blog, and I like your approach of not pulling punches. As an atheist former music major living in Columbus, OH, it helps to know that I’m not alone in thinking that guys like Rick Perry are complete loons. I have to agree with Greta Christina; you sure can write.

  • Bobby

    You’re a fucking MORON!

    • ELBSeattle

      What great debating skills you have.

  • http://none Wayne Smith

    JT Eberhard, unless your father was H.L.Mencken, you shouldn’t attribute Mencken’s quote to your old man. I’m sure your father really did say it a lot, but credit where credit is due.

    The quote is from H.L.Mencken, which you really should know.

  • http://none Wayne Smith

    Clarification: I’m talking about “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” It’s a very famous quote by a very famous American writer, H.L.Mencken.

  • Sam Salerno

    Way to filet that nut job J.T. That kind of religious talk just makes me want to puke. What the hell is that? Doesn’t Perry know this is the 21st century. I mean Goddamn. How much of this non-realistic shit does he expect people to be suckered into.

  • Mr. E

    I’m not religious myself, and I agree with most of what this article says, but the history lesson here is way off base. I would say that faith played a much stronger role in the abolition movement in New England than in the defense of slavery. Similarly, I think it’s obvious that religion played a much stronger role in the civil rights movement than in the forces that opposed it. Don’t forget that it was the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. who was a driving force behind the civil rights movement.

  • Jurjen S.

    Faith made America strong.

    Did it, Hell. At the risk of committing a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, it strikes me that religious conservative wingnuttery (such as the Creationist movement) has gained way more traction since the end of the Cold War, and my hypothesis is that, as long as the U.S. had another superpower with which to compete, it could not afford to allow the pursuit of science to be subverted by religious faith: “Yes, your diorama of Noah riding a dinosaur is very nice, dear; now go play outside, the grown-ups are talking.”

    And WTF does Rick Perry know about military service, anyway? Driving a C-130 for five years isn’t exactly the most stressful of military jobs. Not that I’m knocking C-130 drivers: they do a necessary job, and there’s an inherent risk in operating any aircraft, but it’s not a job that typically puts you in close proximity to the enemy or requires you to live cheek-by-jowl with your fellow soldiers for prolonged periods of time. Whatever concerns Perry has about “gays serving openly in the military” carry as much authority as some chaplain pontificating that “there are no atheists in foxholes.”

  • GOD

    Religion is the cancer of society.

    • Richard

      …says a guy calling himself god. What.

      • JT Eberhard

        Must be true then. :)

      • hal1138

        Religion is a cancer to any society. Belief in a Supreme Being is not. I believe in God but I do not believe in religion. I am true to myself and care about others. I also believe in science… but hey, there had to be someone there to light the fuse on the big bang.

        • Phil Harmoniq

          If some one lit the fuse for the big bang then where did the fuse come from and how was there ” the thing that lit it” sure it too should have a creator..which would have had a creator… Or else lets simply accept that there was no begining and will be no end, not so difficult if you can overcome years of brainwashing.

  • Bean

    If Perry wins the election next year, Canada can always use a few more good atheists. Just sayin’.

    Not that it’s much better up here with King Steve. But at least he doesn’t go around talking about how much he loves Jesus.

    • setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry

      Not now and not him maybe, but have you heard some of the stuff from the backbench? Or from his mentor Preston Manning, or Preston’s dad Ernest, or the rest of the Social Credit/Reform movement?

      The nuttery is thinly veiled, mostly by ignorance.

  • troll

    I’m amemic. Is that supposed to be Neil deGrasse Tyson in the drawing?

    • Spencer

      That’s certainly what I thought

  • John Grafton

    Response to Rick Perry’s word vomit from The Second City. Very funny!

    • Phil Harmoniq

      Nice! For an american…. So there is intelligent life out there!

  • hockeybob

    Saw this at PZ’s place, and had to come over and thank you for it.

    These woo-addled talibangelicals like Perry (and Palin, Bachmann, Jindahl, etc.) need to be stopped, before they turn this country into a christian Iran.

  • hockeybob

    I just made a couple demotivators for you… enjoy.

  • Eric

    “As my father always said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” Unless your father was H. L. Mencken, you should give credit where credit is due over this quote.

    • John Eberhard

      You’re both correct. Mencken did originate the quote. As JT said, his father has always said this…..I often repeated a number of worthwhile quotes to my children, including this one by Mencken. Good words are meant to be used.

    • george.w

      My father said the same thing. Damn him, for not footnoting it each time!

  • mike

    Im a christian.

    And this dude is a nutbar.

    Faith has been a huge part of shaping our country. No question. Freedom to choose religion or to choose no religion at all is also something that has shaped us. We are free to believe in what we want and pray to any god we choose. I dont understand how this guy thinks that by shoving his personal beliefs down our throats that it will provoke anything but a negative backlash. I really hope that there was some sort of assistant to this guy just shaking his head, muttering “what the fuck….” while filming that ad.

  • hockeybob
  • Susan

    Wonderfully stated! I hate that any attempt to deny Christians’ control of our country’s schools and government operations is seen as a affront to Christianity in general.

  • hockeybob

    I hate that any attempt to deny Christians’ control of our country’s schools and government operations is seen as a affront to Christianity in general.

    To a dominionist like Perry, Palin and Bachmann, anything we do to stop them is an affront; not only to them, but to their flavor of sky daddy.

    (Which simply goes to show how ineffectual their omnipotent wizard really is in the first place – all we need to stop the bastard is an old piece of parchment paper – the US Constitution!)

  • Jak

    To be fair, kids aren’t allowed to OPENLY pray during lessons. Also, teachers are outright prohibited from being open about their religion during school time.

  • Ref

    I am a Christian. I am a conservative. I am neither stupid, nor gullible, nor uninformed. With that said, what I find rather odd is that the majority of athiests who are so vehement in their rejection of whatever hold they believe the Christian community has on this nation are the front runners in mankind’s intrisic ability, and, supposedly, inalienable right to believe as we see fit. Yet, there seems to be no boundary when posting one’s opinion of the stupidity of those that, for whatever reason, choose to espouse a belief in the divine. This is, in my opinion, rather ironic as a belief in some type of God is, bar far, the majority perspective. Is it that many of you see those inclined to believe in the divine as simply less intelligent than the elite minority of you that, somehow, happen to have had the restrictive veil of religion removed from their eyes and, now, see the truth? Thanks for your response.

    • hockeybob

      Your first two sentences make your third sentence a complete lie.

      Not to mention the rest of your rant is a logical fallacy – specifically, Argumentum Ad Populum.

      If you’re an American, you do indeed have the right to believe in any of the tens of thousands of gods that have been worshiped throughout the history of mankind; however, you do *not* have the right not to be mercilessly mocked over them.

    • Rumtopf

      Time to slightly mangle a Steven Weinburg quote:
      “With or without religion, you would have intelligent people doing intelligent things and stupid people doing stupid things. But for intelligent people to do stupid things, that takes religion.”

      It’s frustrating actually. Otherwise rational, intelligent people hit some mental block when it comes to religion, understandable considering children are indoctrinated and stupid ideas normalised, blind faith is sold as a virtue, aided by religious peer pressure etc.
      Think about the flood story. I remember the priest telling us about it(at lol christian school) with what appeared to be -joy- when he got to the worldwide genocide part, which did upset me until the adult in the room told me it wasn’t a bad thing. As a child, I was taught to overlook horrendous things in the bible, not to question it, because questioning is a ticket to hell and those sinners deserved it anyway, even the babies!! Ugh. Adults fool themselves when they believe in bigoted or plain stupid, wrong ideas, then justify these things with a 2000 year old book written by ignorant men. It’s messed up and sad.

  • Will

    You just put in to words everything I was thinking when I saw that ad.

  • Liam

    What a prick. How did the USA get so full of freaks?

  • Fyrehed

    Interesting that our politicians are better than our celebrities (more entertaining) and many of our celebrities would definitely be better than our politicians.

  • CreatureFeature

    There’d be something wrong with the country if gays couldn’t serve in the military, we look fabulous in uniform.