For reasons that passeth all understanding, the NYT pays me a fortune to say stupid things in print.
OK, indulge me for a moment as I try to scrap away the fatty, surplus verbiage from Nick Kristof’s imbecilic NYT column ("Modest Proposal for a Truce on Religion") to get at its absurd central tenet and illustrate a larger point.
If God is omniscient and omnipotent, you can’t help wondering why she doesn’t pull out a thunderbolt and strike down Richard Dawkins.
Or, at least, crash the Web site of www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com. That’s a snarky site that notes that while people regularly credit God for curing cancer or other ailments, amputees never seem to enjoy divine intervention.
“If God were answering the prayers of amputees to regenerate their lost limbs, we would be seeing amputated legs growing back every day,” the Web site declares, adding: “It would appear, to an unbiased observer, that God is singling out amputees and purposefully ignoring them.”
That site is part of an increasingly assertive, often obnoxious atheist offensive…
It’s a militant, in-your-face brand of atheism…
Look elsewhere on the best-seller list and you find an equally acerbic assault on faith…
The number of avowed atheists is tiny, with only 1 to 2 percent of Americans describing themselves in polls as atheists. But about 15 percent now say that they are not affiliated with any religion, and this vague category is sometimes described as the fastest-growing “religious group” in America today (some surveys back that contention, while others don’t).
Yet the tone of this Charge of the Atheist Brigade is often just as intolerant — and mean. It’s contemptuous and even ... a bit fundamentalist.
“These writers share a few things with the zealous religionists they oppose, such as a high degree of dogmatism and an aggressive rhetorical style,” says John Green of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “Indeed, one could speak of a secular fundamentalism that resembles religious fundamentalism. This may be one of those cases where opposites converge.”
Granted, religious figures have been involved throughout history in the worst kinds of atrocities. But as Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot show, so have atheists.
Now that the Christian Right has largely retreated from the culture wars, let’s hope that the Atheist Left doesn’t revive them.
We’ve suffered enough from religious intolerance that the last thing the world needs is irreligious intolerance.
So donning his deerstalker cap, La Dim Nikita has tirelessly scoured the foggy moors and mires of the American polity and exposed the real spanner in the gears of our civic discourse.
Turns out it's the fucking atheists!
Not sure from his column if it's all eleven of them that are the problem, or some subset, but thank Providence and the gods of deductive reasoning that Nick has a soapbox as enormous as the New York Times from which he can sound this Very Important Alarm!
Also I’m sorry, but I must’ve been on one hella fucking bender the weekend “the Christian Right…largely retreated from the culture wars”.
So remind me, Special K. When exactly did that happen?
To be sure, on November 7th, the Right certainly got their collective noses bloodied and asses sawed off and served to them on the good china.
This happened when a majority of the voting public finally showed its contempt for a clique that had literally done nothing with its One Party Rule but endlessly hector everyone else on morality, while happily giving aid, shelter and comfort to a menagerie of Pious, Jebus-luvin’ liars, traitors, briber takers, bribe makers, war profiteers, war criminals, looters, child sex predators and, just for goofs, gay-hooker-frequenting, meth smoking preachers…so long as they puked up the correct slogans or voted the right way.
Sure, that happened, but since when has simply being massively wrong about every single thing impeded the neutronium-clad belief in his own, invincible Rightness of single Conservative Evangelical troll?
Seriously, who but a Persistent Vegetative Pundit actually believes that the Terri-Schiavo-Died-For-Your-Sins Right has suddenly up and decided to fold its revival tents, deep-six its demands that the Ten Commandments be incised onto every flat surface in the Universe, eschew its Long March of Justice Sundays, embrace tolerance, Darwin a pair of opposable thumbs, clamber down out of the Stoopid Tree and walk upright like men?
These people don’t retire and reform -- They rearm and regroup.
And so it is well to remember that Kristof is not bystander in the culture wars.
His focus on Darfur has been resolute and laudable, but he has also been a consistently obedient disease vector for the Right’s perverse ideology. And here his facile assertions and his despicable conflation of genuine atheism with State Personality Cultism like Stalinism, Maoism (or Bushism) do little more that show his own positively Maoist loyalty to that all-purpose Conservatives firewall: The fake Centrism Fraud that Liberals/Atheists/Progressives/Whoever-is-Left-of-Dobson-today are always automatically, equally and oppositely as bad as the worst excesses of the Right.
Because they have nowhere else to go, although long discredited, this is still the emergency fallback position of Cornered Rat Conservatives everywhere. Their ridiculous, dogmatic assertion that no matter how much blood they have on their hands, somehow everyone on both sides is magically, equally wrong.
Their ginned-up “culture war” has been the maggot-riddled meat on which the Rightards have picnicked for at least thirty years.
Their raging paranoia and obsession with how terribly oppressed and culturally martyred they are is what gives the Christian Right its feverish energy and cohesion, and you can absolutely bank on the fact that it will continue to be the sole and cornucopic larder of rationalizations for their medieval, theocratic beliefs for the next thirty.
So frankly, Nick, it’s just too fucking bad that, like a lot of us, the evil atheists have developed, among other weapons, “an aggressive rhetorical style”.
Because I kinda understand how they might feel.
Because, just maybe, their attitude might not be some sinister, emergent property of their beliefs.
Maybe instead it comes from being called Culture of Death worshiping, un-American traitors for thirty years by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ann Coulter and the rest of the spokesrodents of the Conservative Right.
While people like you stood idly by and gave them a wink and a nudge and a pass.
Maybe, like me, the Evil Atheists have finally fucking had it with playing nice with the thugs and fake Christians that now comprise the majority of the Republican Party.
Maybe, like me, they just finally had it with being tolerant and forgiving of people who do nothing but insult and debase everything their own faith is supposed to stand for every time they open their mouths.
Maybe they finally got tired of being far, far better Christians in practice than Bible-pounding, scripture-mouthing hypocrites like James Dobson and Phyllis Schlafly.
Maybe they finally got tired of trying to reason with people who proudly reject reason, and trying to talk intelligently with people who consider stupidity a virtue.
And maybe, Nick, like most Conservatives, you just freak out when your victims finally stop running and turning the other cheek and decide to punch back.
Because what 30 years of Rightwing Christian activism has proven beyond doubt is that, far from tolerance and forgiveness and turning the other cheek, the ONLY thing the Red State Righteous understand and respond to is a rhetorical and electoral 2x4 upside the head.
Administered, I profoundly hope, repeatedly and precisely until they are the ones who make up nothing more than a cranky one percent of the population.