Comment roundup 12/7.

The other day I posted a letter to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette griping about how those mean atheists are insisting that a school/church in Little Rock, Arkansas obey the law.  I also posted my father’s submission rebutting said letter. Someone by the name of Ben Allen did not care for dad’s opinions and released his anger in the comments.

The lack of good sense, not to mention good parenting in your statement is mind boggling. So basically what you’re saying is we need to train our kids to be the non-thing auto-matons shown in 1984? That we just accept the gov’t line no matter what our beliefs. Why should a child not be able to choose to be different???? Being different is what made our country great???? Why should a child have to fear being shunned because of being different????? Difference is what has made our country great. This guy is a total fool and I truly hope that someone knows who this idiot is and directs him to my posts!!!! I would truly love to hear his defense as to why he believes this.

And the last comment maybe the stupidist!!! “Freedom of Legal Choices” Show me where it’s codified in USC (again look that up) where it’s defined what we can and cannot believe in? The whole response from the “father” was totally ridiculous. I wonder if he really is a “father” and I pity his kids if he is.

I think Linda was dead on point that our children will be called upon their entire lives to make choices that they will have to live with and defend and this “father” basically says “no our children should not be trained to make choices in the beliefs that are important to them, they should let big brother make those choices for them.” I just can’t understand his stand. I taught my son to make his own choices, to NOT let popular opinion make his choices for him and to, honestly, not give a damn if someone disagreed with his choice. I just totally can’t understand this “father’s” opinion. It seems to me he’s telling his kids to just sail with the popular wind and not have the strength to make their own choices and believe in their principles. And, again, I think this is, in the words of the bard, “Much Ado About Nothing!”

And as I said on my original posts on this Oh “father of the year” can you prove that they were provided an choices of “religiously neutral plays” that they turned down? I’ll await that answer with baited breath! LOL

“This guy is a total fool and I truly hope that someone knows who this idiot is and directs him to my posts!!!! I would truly love to hear his defense as to why he believes this.”  As the old saying goes; “Be careful what you wish for,” because you might just get a shitload of it.  Dad did come into the comments to respond.

Ben: Your wish has been granted…..

”I would truly love to hear his defense as to why he believes this.”

First, I believe very few of the misrepresentations which you have attributed to me, but will try address the bulk of your silly rants anyway.

“So basically what you’re saying is we need to train our kids to be the non-thing auto-matons shown in 1984?”

Why, No…I’m not basically saying that at all. Or anything even close to it. You obviously have reading comprehension issues.

“That we just accept the gov’t line no matter what our beliefs.”

Ummmm….NO, again. I am saying that the government has a legal obligation to be neutral regarding religion. I am saying that as an American citizen you should show a little respect for the Constitution and for established jurisprudence, regardless of your religious beliefs.

“Why should a child not be able to choose to be different????”

No one ever said or even implied that a child should not be able to choose to be different. Your reading comprehension issue is showing here. Allow me to find the exact quote and repeat it for you: “No child should have to choose to be “different” at a public school.” You obviously cannot differentiate between “be allowed to choose to be “different”” and “HAVE to choose to be “different”. You see, I was referring to the child being placed in a position where he is forced either to sublimate his beliefs or be held out as “different”.

“Being different is what made our country great????”

Good thing you put a lot of question marks after that bizarre claim. I can think of many things such as abundant natural resources and a favorable geographic situation that helped to make our country great, but in 60 years this is the first time I have ever heard the claim that being “different” (from mainstream religion or sociologically) is what makes our country great. I think you pulled that directly out of your ass, and the way it smells verifies that as correct.

“Why should a child have to fear being shunned because of being different?????”

Are you really that stupid? Because there are a lot of people, a good many of them being Christians, who use physical and social pressures against people who are “different”. The different can be bullied in many different ways. They can be punished by teachers, administrators, and classmates for being different. For a primer on this phenomenon, read about Jessica Ahlquist. Or leaf back through this blog for examples of students disowned by their parents and harassed out of their school district for being “different”. If you do not understand why students have legitimate fears of being shunned for being “different”, then you are just plain dumber than a stump. You would then be too fucking stupid to communicate with on any imaginable reasonable level. I also refer you to Drew’s post on Lee v. Weisman, which explains it so simply that anyone should be able to understand it.

“Freedom of Legal Choices” Show me where it’s codified in USC (again look that up) where it’s defined what we can and cannot believe in?”

WTF??? Believe in whatever you want…but understand that the constitution and established jurisprudence requires separation of church and state. For the school as an arm of the state to provide a religious activity at a religious site during school hours on the taxpayer’s dime is not a legal choice. I don’t have to show you where it is defined “what we can and cannot believe in”, as I never claimed that. I did claim some choices (by the state) are not legal, and I can provide plenty of examples of case law on what is not allowed under “separation”.

“I wonder if he really is a “father” and I pity his kids if he is.”

I really am JT’s father, and you will have to take the “pity” part up with him. I somehow doubt he will accept it, though.

“…..this “father” basically says “no our children should not be trained to make choices in the beliefs that are important to them, they should let big brother make those choices for them.”

On the contrary, I do in fact believe children should be trained to make choices in the beliefs that are important to them. And,I believe they should be able to do this without government coercion or by religions using the government as the proselytizing and enforcement arm for their religion……as is the present case.

“I taught my son to make his own choices, to NOT let popular opinion make his choices for him and to, honestly, not give a damn if someone disagreed with his choice.”

I’m glad I wasn’t your kid. I taught my kids to smart enough to not stick their head into a buzz saw for no good reason; that being a mouthy dumbass didn’t prove you to be either brave or smart. However, this really has nothing to do with the school, as an arm of the state, having no business arranging a religious outing. You want to make their error into a responsibility of the kids to stand up for whatever: to set themselves up to be shunned, bullied, maltreated by teachers, etc. You are wrong. Whether kids need to stand up for their beliefs and what you taught your kids are not issues here. The issue is the legality of the school’s action.

“And as I said on my original posts on this Oh “father of the year” can you prove that they were provided an choices of “religiously neutral plays” that they turned down? I’ll await that answer with baited breath! LOL”

The city of Little Rock has a number of theatres that annually manage in excess of a hundred productions together,plus your usual school productions such as Junior and Senior plays. Only a fool–yes, I understand whom I am addressing—would imply that a non-religious play couldn’t be found and attended among them. Even if there were no other plays available, it would still be illegal for the school to take the action it has with this one. But, again, as I pointed out before, your reading comprehension difficulties are surfacing. I don’t have to ” prove that they were provided an choices of “religiously neutral plays” that they turned down?” I said neither that they had nor that they could, but that “The school is more than welcome to provide legal choices of religiously neutral plays.” If the school has not been provided those choices to offer, it is up to the school to get them before planning a field trip to a play. It is welcome to do so. It certainly isn’t permission for them to break the law by taking the kids to some religious themed play at a church.

Have a nice day.

As for Ben pitying me for my father, I must consider the source.  Here is a guy who worships the guy who likely admires Abraham, who was willing to gut his son.  This is likely a guy who worships the god that commanded Jephtah to immolate his daughter, and who surely considers god fair and Jephthah right to have done so.  The pity for my father, who has loved and supported me in all my endeavors (even when I was a little shit to raise), comes from a man who considers a god who watched while his son was murdered painfully and did nothing worthy of the utmost respect.

Ben presumably pities me (though I’m fairly certain he was using manufactured pity as a put down, rather than as a display of empathy), but no pity can be found in his heart for the students in that public school who are given the option to pretend to be something they’re not or to be shunned and ostracized – and who thinks the government should be able to break the law to facilitate this.

Being offered pity from someone like Ben Allen for my parents is like a pauper pitying Bill Gates for his poverty.  And I certainly pity any child subjected only to Ben’s twisted definition of compassion.

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.

  • pjmaertz

    Bravo Mr. Eberhard. Good response to one of the more bizarre rants I’ve seen on this page.

  • Loqi

    The worst part about Ben’s posts, even worse than the completely disjointed thoughts and the inability to make a cogent point or stay on topic, was the timing. If he hadn’t posted that begging-to-be-torn-apart drivel this week, this comment roundup could have been the next chapter in (or the conclusion to) the Legend of Sir Uncle Bobolink. I hope you’re happy with yourself, Ben.

  • http://peternothnagle.com Peter N

    If anyone is skilled with meme generators, I suggest that “I think you pulled that directly out of your ass, and the way it smells verifies that as correct” would make a worthy caption. Perhaps two versions could be created, one with a tasteful photo, and, um, another.

    • Jasper

      After all, empirical confirmation is an important step.

  • phil

    I’m glad this came to a head before the fact so the foul-smelling pus could be squeezed out.

  • NotAProphet

    I wonder what Ben’s thoughts would be if his children made the “choice” to not go to school any more…

  • RuQu

    Where are these mental giants and defenders of children’s ability to make informed choices when kids are exposed to non-Christian ideas?

    One of Anne’s recent posts included news of a school banning all non-profits from handing out reading material after an atheist group decided to hand out books to counter all the Bibles. Where was Ben defending the kids’ right to choose then?

    Would Ben leap to the defense of atheists opposing a showing of “Happy Purim, Charlie Brown?”

    Or are these rights only there to defend Christian indoctrination?

  • http://hookungfu.blogspot.com Dustin

    Can we just rename all these posts “Comment Smackdown”?

    Please?

  • http://Reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    He taught his son to make his own decisions and stand by them? How much do you want to bet he taught his son to stand up for entirely safe propositions as if they were brave? Like all those xtians who think claiming alleigence with the majority faith is some sort of iconoclastic manuever against those oppressive minority faiths and that tiny percentage of shrill atheists.

    I’m sure it’s so tough courageously swearing to believe what most people also believe!

  • Baal

    Ben had a lot just wrong and more that was mean or bad. I found this sentence emblematic of his comments.
    “I wonder if he really is a “father” and I pity his kids if he is.”
    Um, if you’re going to call someone a liar, it’s best to do so with specificity or at least give a nod to evidence to that effect. If Ben had been around WWJTD for a while, it’d be abundantly clear that the elder JT and the younger JT have a father son relationship. It’s more than a little strange to talk about the owner of the blog, JT (the younger) as a pitiable kid of JT (the older). It’s like Ben didn’t release or care enough about a familiy relationship to use English in the usual ways. Ben was too busy ‘scoring points’.

    • EmuSam

      I think they’re calling one of them a sock puppet. It’s a bizarre thing to doubt – don’t most people have a father, many of them still alive, and some even multiple fathers if you don’t exclude them via strict genetic heritage? And wouldn’t some of the fathers have interests in common with their offspring?

  • Doris

    Can I just say “I love your parents”?!

  • Otrame

    Get in line, Doris. Some of us haved loved JT’s Dad for quite a while now.


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