American Atheists: only people at the debate telling it how it is.

Oh American Atheists, you beautiful, beautiful people.  At the debate tonight there will be a truck circling Lynn University that bears the following uncomfortable facts about the Mormon church.

Freaking wonderful!

And it won’t end after the debate.  The truck will follow Mitt Romney’s campaign bus out of town and on the road for a few days.  Amanda Knief, one of our movement’s foremost experts on government, had this to say:

“Both the right and the left have hammered President Obama about his faith and policy decisions—many of which American Atheists has opposed,” stated constitutional law expert and Managing Director Amanda Knief.

Ms. Knief continued, “When President Kennedy was running for office, the American public demanded to know whether his first loyalty was to his Catholic church or his country, and he answered, in no uncertain terms, that he stood by this country and supported the separation of religion and government. All we are asking is that Mr. Romney address the same issue—as president, will he give his first priority to the U.S. Constitution or the Book of Mormon?”

It is a question Mitt Romney will not answer, which should be very telling.  The closest we have to an answer from Romney on this front is a video from 2007 when he declined to say the Mormon church was wrong for its racism (good find, Hemant).

And why would he?  How many of those colored folks are part of that 47% that are parasites, amirite?  I also note that Romney claims he wept when blacks were allowed in, just like his tearful account of meeting deceased Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, which was marked by more tears than truth.

If you believe that this man and his binders full of women (because how could he be expected to know qualified women on his own?) has any interest in promoting equality for women, for gays, or for racial minorities, then you’re probably gullible enough to believe in people rising from the dead and walking on water.  If you’re one of those people, then you should be ashamed, and I’m glad that American Atheists is helping to remind you of that.

Dan Merica has a post over at CNN about the campaign.

When he campaigns in southern Florida on Monday, Mitt Romney will have an unwelcome traveling partner: a mobile billboard attacking his religion.

Oh come on, Dan.  Pointing out the facts isn’t an attack.  By that logic, someone is attacking cockroaches by turning the lights on and CNN is attacking Lance Armstrong.  If the facts of Mormonism are unflattering to the church, then the church should at least share the credit for any “attack.”

Though the church did not allow black male members to be ordained before that year when the church head says he received a revelation to reverse the policy it did allow blacks and members of all racial and ethnic groups to be church members. According to The Second Book of Nephi, a part of Mormon doctrine, “Black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.”

Funny how god catches on long after the rest of the civilized world.  Almost as if god takes his moral cues from humanity, not the other way around.

Also, that quote from second Nephi, which is presented as though it’s a clear-cut revelation about god’s displeasure with racism (because FSM-knows we can’t just let compassion dictate our moral choices); did it just materialize in 1978?  Seems Mormons stared at it for a century and a half while being racist under the auspices of god’s will.  Doesn’t that make it just a little shady when you imply that god has been anti-racism since the beginning?

The billboard’s second line refers to what American Atheists President David Silverman says is the religion’s “intolerance” and “bigotry” when it comes to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

But the church denies such categorizations. It accepts gay members, though church doctrine condemning homosexuality has not changed and the church strongly opposes same-sex marriage. Some gay rights activists say the church is subtly growing friendlier toward the LGBT community, including voicing support for some gay rights.

So even though their stance that homosexuals are not equal human beings to straights and even though the church is still actively suppressing the rights of gay people, they’re slowly inching towards not being prejudiced and proud of it?  A few of them are even supporting some gay human rights for gay people?  Well shit damn!  That would’ve been progressive a century ago (read: not the century we’re currently fucking living in)!  If only I had known!

I don’t want to hear that one day Mormons might stop trying to control the lives of others and might, perhaps, consider stopping the practice of trying to legalizing their outdated morals.  I care that they’re doing that shit right now and that one of them is running for the office of President.

“People are surely free to disagree with us on the facts,” Dale Jones, a church spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “This group seems not to know that there have been black members of the Church since our earliest history, and there are many faithful gay members of the Church today.”

Jones continued: “We would be happy to introduce the (American Atheists president) to any of our millions of members of different ethnicity who would be happy to educate him on our racial diversity.”

Because clearly American Atheists meant you didn’t allow blacks to be members (where their tithes are as good as white people’s) and not that you didn’t allow them into the priesthood (even though that distinction is made on the frickin’ sign).  And you have racial minorities in the pews now?  I guess that changes the fact that their not Caucasian lot was barred from the priesthood until 1978, just like the Catholic prohibition on women in the priesthood shouldn’t be impact one’s opinion on how equally the Catholic church treats women, right?

The hubris of these people.  Does this guy want a cookie because now, in the 21st century, the Mormon church has been dragged into a state of being less prejudiced by a revelation from god pretty much every other civilized society on earth?  If keeping blacks from the priesthood is so wrong, as Jones seems to acknowledge, how about admitting the church was wrong for doing it for the vast majority of its existence?

Because that isn’t the church’s position.  But good job pointing out how the church recently switched gears.  That’s almost a rebuke of 150 years of racism.  Except it’s not.

The message from American Atheists is spot on the money: the Mormon church should be ashamed.  And this weak, misleading response from one of their spokespeople adds more shame onto an already ample pile.  Oh, and I used “spokespeople” but I wonder if “spokesmen” would have been more appropriate, since “Women do not hold positions within the priesthood, but may occupy leadership roles in Church auxiliary organizations.”  I’m sure eventually god will get around to telling you that the rest of humanity was right about discrimination once again, this time in the case of women, probably just in time for you to claim a revelation from god about what civilized society figured out ages ago.

Hint to Mormons: if the testimony of Jones is to be given credit, your god is a discriminatory flip-flopper with less moral sense than regular old humans.  Ditch the guy.  Anybody that incompetent couldn’t make a fried egg, let alone a tree.

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.

  • http://IAmDanMarshall.com Dan

    GREAT post, JT. Glad that the American Atheists are holding Mitt’s feet to the fire over the less than savory aspects of his cult. It’s a shame that this last debate is only for foreign policy issues. There definitely has to be a way to work this in somehow… maybe we can ask Mitt how he expects to be taken seriously by our allies (many of whom are non-white) when he participates in a church that up until 35 years ago excluded non-white from the priesthood?

  • Loqi

    Give it a couple of decades. Once rights for LGBTs gets to the point where suggesting gay marriage ought to be illegal causes awkward silence and nervous glances around the room (like when your great uncle makes a patently racist comment at a family gathering today), the LDS will have another “revelation.”
    I’ll bet Mitt Romney’s $10,000 that the church will not apologize for its discrimination, nor will it acknowledge that it was wrong.

    • Loqi

      That I just predicted LGBT equality will still have to be a discussion topic in a few decades is depressing. Same with the realization that in many places, a racist comment wouldn’t be met with disapproval. I’ve just ruined my own morning.

      • Anonymous

        this made me chuckle :)

  • Joel G

    He probably wept because his priesthood monopoly was finally being broken. (There goes the priestHOOD)

  • cag

    Well, there is one thing that the Mormons are better than the traditional christians. They have only been lying to the people since the 1820′s.

  • ACN

    Catholicism: Still not allowing women into the priesthood.

    BUT GUYS THAT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT BECAUSE JESUS WAS A MAN DUH

    • Azkyroth

      …what?

      • baal

        I”ll assume ACN is doing parody and actually is adding to the point that religions discriminate in fairly big ways. In this example, against women.

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