Religion panel on Fox News says a bunch of wrong stuff…again.

Oklahoma legislators allowed a ten commandments monument to be erected on government property.  Now every other religion is wanting their share of public land including the satanists.  But, for OK legislators, what’s good for the goose is very evil for the gander.  David Silverman went on Fox News to talk about this along with Bill Donohue and Shmuley Boteach, both of whom have a history of spewing a steady stream of wrong faster than Dave can mop up.

Anyway, they’re discussing the Satanists (who have hit their fundraising goal for the monument, w00t!) and their proposed monument for Oklahoma State Capitol.

She opens with Boteach who says there have always been statues of “devils guilty of genocide, tens of millions of people”…hi, I’m the biblical flood.  Hard to get more genocidal than killing virtually all humans.  If we’re looking for a true god of genocide, congrats, you already worship him.

Shmuley then says if the Satanists want a real Satan statue to let it represent child sacrifice and people being disemboweled – and to not use a goat head, because Satan doesn’t have a goat head.  Yes, and Santa Claus is for sure white.  What is it with people’s obsessiveness over the qualities of imaginary characters on Fox?

Shmuley goes on to call child sacrifice and people being disemboweled evil, but he’s ok with a monument to a religion where the greatest, most moral event in human history was a father sending his son to die.  As I said the last time these three tussled:

Yes, can you imagine how depraved we’d be if we started putting up monuments from religions where their god demanded blood sacrifices, found the aroma of burnt animal sacrifices in public to be pleasing, and even endorsed human sacrifice in the form of his own son (in public)?  You wouldn’t believe what I read in this one holy book just the other day: “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”  That’s some depraved shit.  Let’s make sure those loons don’t get a monument.

Shmuley himself is a follower of a religion that admires Abraham, a man willing to sacrifice his child at god’s command.  He’s a follower of a religion that considers Jephthah a good, religious man, even though he sacrificed his daughter at god’s command.  Ironically, Shmuley would later condescend Silverman by saying the one thing he does know is the bible a little bit (implying that Dave didn’t).  But it’s all irrelevant.  The content of the religion is not what guarantees it protection under the Constitution.  It doesn’t matter if Shmuley doesn’t like Satanism or if I don’t like Christianity/Judaism, all are protected and are to be treated equally by the government.

Shmuley then suggest that having this “evil” statue present would highlight what religion is.  He starts listing some of the ten commandments, don’t steal, etc.  You want to talk about evil?  Let’s look at the context of the ten commandments.  What is the penalty in the bible for, say, breaking the very first commandment and worshiping other gods?

If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the Lord gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lordyour God in violation of his covenant, 3 and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, 4 and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5 take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. 6 On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 7 The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting that person to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.

Or taking the lord’s name in vain?

 And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

Or working on Saturday (the traditional sabbath)?

For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death.

Or several of the others?  Hint: it’s not a fucking hug.

Shmuley then says he’s weirded out that atheists have a problem with it.  Well yes, we do.  Many of the ten commandments are offensive to our Constitution.  Have no other gods, no graven images, don’t work on the sabbath, if these were canonized into law it would seriously infringe on liberty, not to mention the religious freedom of others.  The ten commandments are not just “Don’t steal and kill”.  If they were, it wouldn’t be an issue since these are secular values shared by pretty much everyone (which is why it’s even more offensive when a cross is plopped over them and attempts are made to steal them in order to override the wanton racism and murder in the bible).

Donohue then tells Silverman that even he doesn’t object to many of the ten commandments.  So what?  If a birthday cake is 98% cake and 2% feces, nobody would want to eat that cake – and definitely nobody would use this to argue that feces is delicious.  The presence of good doesn’t make the bad any better.  Agreeing that stealing is bad is not the same as agreeing that your religion is true or, on the whole, moral, which is what Shmuley is trying to worm in.  Silverman even says that, in context, the penalty for breaking the first commandment is death by stoning.  Shmuley doesn’t respond with “yeah, that seems kind of fucked up”.  Instead, Shmuley glosses right over it with “what about the other seven?”  It’s really quite despicable.

And this is how much wrong Shmuley managed to cram into just his first few sentences.  The interview continues for six and a half minutes.  Gretchen then calls Shmuley’s point “great” before cutting off the subject.  I smell something…I can’t tell if it’s fairness or balance.

Gretchen then asks Donohue if the statue is a total affront to Christianity.  Of course it is, since it flies in the face of the first commandment.  But whether the Satanist monument is an affront to Christianity isn’t the issue.  The ten commandments monument is a total affront to America and her Constitution, and because America is governed by that Constitution, not by Christianity, the ten commandments must either go or the Capitol building must be made available to all other religions.

Then Bill Donohue, who supported the previous Pope’s war on condoms (as well as all of the pope’s factually errant statements about condoms) in areas devastated by AIDS and who defended the Church’s practice of shielding pedophiles from justice and shifting them from diocese to diocese, says his religion is about love.  Not true, ironically stated, and wholly irrelevant.  Even if his religion was entirely about love and not evil (and, let’s face it, telling people how to acquire and own slaves is pretty fucking evil) it’s still a religion and the government must stay neutral in matters of religion.  I feel like if Donohue and Shmuley ever learned what a red herring was then this Fox segment would last 20 seconds.

Donohue then invites people to look at the “great heroes of Satanism” and offers up Charles Manson (who also claimed he was Jesus) as an example because he claimed to be the devil.  I wonder how Bill would feel if Torquemada and Ratzinger were trotted out as examples of what Catholicism does to people… (no, I really don’t).  And what about all the people who claimed to be Jesus like Marshall Applewhite (prompted people to commit suicide as leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult), Yaweh ben Yaweh, David Koresh, and more?  Do they besmirch the good name of Jesus?  If not, why do a few loons besmirch the good name of Satan?  :P

Dave then finally gets a chance to speak and produces gold: “every religion wants to be special and none of them are.”  I’m so stealing that.

Shmuley then says “This is a democracy!  How many people are Satanists vs. believers in god?”  The right to religious liberty, to not have the government treating one religion better than others, operates regardless of which religion has the most followers.  If rights could be overridden by popular opinion, they’d be called privileges, not rights.  A democracy is not the same as mob rule.

And what’s more, I’m getting really sick of “This is a Christian nation” because most people here are Christian, with this implying that Christians should get to do whatever they want and create whatever inequalities they wish.  By that specious logic we’re also a white country and a male country.  Being part of a majority does not give you special privileges in this nation.

Shmuley, who clearly hasn’t the slightest clue what a democracy is, says Silverman doesn’t believe in democracy anymore.  Silverman rightly asks him the only question he can: “do you know what a democracy is?”  Shmuley, after spending the last few minutes being factually wrong on almost every point and being as oblivious as he is arrogant, then says atheism has been reduced to this level of intellectual debate.  My irony meter then exploded.  I now have to go to the store for a new one, so I won’t be deconstructing the rest of Shmuley’s dumbfuckery.

Jesus Christ.

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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