Response to Vincent Findley.

I wrote a post the other day about how Christianity made a whole stadium of people unaware of their lack of empathy.  A man named Vincent Findley came storming in to defend the faithful:

I am so sick of the what fucking ifs!! The six words after the comma OR PROHIBIT THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF!!! What fucking part of that do you Godless Heathens not fucking understand!!! Get up you Muslims, Jews , Lutherans etc. etc. Instead of fucking whining about it all the fucking time, get up there and say your peace as to why there is no God. Also what if!!! a Muslim did it. Would you print “what if a Christian did it” I think not. You are all predjudice against one religion and one religion only.
Thank you for pointing out there is NO LEGAL VIOLATION HERE!!

You can tell he means business because of the random capital letters and the embarrassment of exclamation points.  I will be sure to watch my step as retort.

I am so sick of the what fucking ifs!! The six words after the comma OR PROHIBIT THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF!!!

Private citizens, in their capacity as private citizens, cannot have their religious practice reasonably restricted (the “reasonably” is important – if it’s your religious beliefs that your employees should never be paid overtime, then your religion clearly cannot give you carte blanche to break the law).  However, private citizens working as extensions of the government (such as principals and teachers of a public school) cannot endorse religion.  This is to ensure that all private citizens are treated with equality by their government and it is a very good thing.

And, Vincent, if you’ll read the post, you’ll see that I was not arguing that the student’s ability to talk about Jesus should be restricted.  What I did say was that the people in the stands cheering him when he lied to school officials (by saying he would deliver the speech they vetted, to make sure no legal violations took place) were lacking in empathy.  They were.  You don’t need to break the law in order to be an asshole (peeing on the toilet seat isn’t against the law, but you’re still a dick if you do it).  And, in this case, you had a whole stadium of people who would pitch an enormous fit if the positions were reversed, but don’t have any problem relishing it when they are in a position to flaunt their privilege.

All of them lacked empathy for others, and it’s clearly their involvement with the culture of Christianity in the United States that made them that way.  My point was that, far from making them more moral, in this case their Christianity clearly made them worse – even if the mob of believers in the stand wasn’t breaking the law.

What fucking part of that do you Godless Heathens not fucking understand!!!

If we were saying the police should arrest anybody for talking about Jesus, you might have a point.  As it stands, and if you read the post on which you commented you will be unable to deny, I was merely saying that the student was an asshole and that the Christians in the stands lacked empathy.  The inability of the government to prohibit religious exercise in private citizens does not come with the right to not be called an asshole or to have one’s lack of empathy pointed out.

Get up you Muslims, Jews , Lutherans etc. etc. Instead of fucking whining about it all the fucking time, get up there and say your peace as to why there is no God.

If a Muslim, Jew, or an atheist valedictorian took the podium, lied to his school administrators (before posturing as if their beliefs made them more moral) and subjected a captive audience to an assertion about their beliefs, I’d say they were an asshole.  And so would you.  First, lying isn’t noble no matter what you believe.  Second, if an atheist valedictorian took his time up there to say that all Christians are immoral or to congratulate his classmates on excelling despite the non-existence of any god to assist them, you’d say they were out of line.  And you’d be right.

A school is a government institution.  They can’t be held liable when one of their students lies to them and decides to use a government mic to evangelize to a captive audience using government facilities.  The argument could be made that they should’ve cut his mic, but it’s hard to react in the heat of the moment.  I don’t blame the school and I don’t think a court would.  But that isn’t the point.  The point is the lack of empathy in Christians that seems to be infused in them by their Christianity.

Also what if!!! a Muslim did it. Would you print “what if a Christian did it” I think not.

I don’t have to present a Christian doing it as a hypothetical because Christians actually do shit like this all the time.  There’s no need for me to ask “what if”, I can simply link to the articles about them doing it.  That’s the point.  If a Muslim used the time to evangelize about Allah, I wouldn’t have to complain (though I still would) because the Christians would be doing it already.  Christians seem to have no empathy for others sitting through a situation they would be furious about if it were happening to them.  That’s called a lack of empathy and it’s a bad thing.  It’s hard for anybody to say Christianity makes people better when Christians do stuff like this.

Everything you say either misses the point entirely or confirms it.  You’re like a running back sprinting toward their own end zone.

You are all predjudice against one religion and one religion only.

A brief perusal of my blog will find plenty of articles talking about the evil of Islam or the lack of reason incumbent in all religions.  I don’t like Christianity, but I’m not sure how you can call it prejudice.  I think empathy is good, and anything that diminishes empathy in people (see the stadium full of Christians) is therefore a bad thing.  It has nothing to do with prejudice (unless concern for a better world is now considered “prejudice”).

However, in the United States (where I live) it is not Muslims pushing for the passage of discriminatory laws.  It is not Hindus trying to keep the next generation ignorant by diluting science education.  It is not Jains who are parading their lack of empathy for the whole world to see.  No, in the good ol’ US of A it’s Christians doing these things, and so they get the bulk of my attention.  I can’t write about Muslims lying to school officials to evangelize to a captive audience arranged by the government because they’re not the ones doing it.  The way Vincent spins it, the FBI would be prejudiced because they spend more time investigating murderers than people who watch Oprah.

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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.


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