The controversy over Indiana’s newly signed-into-law Religious Freedom Restoration Act took an unexpected turn yesterday as Governor Mike Pence, widely perceived to have been backing away from the law as the howls of protest grew louder and louder, doubled down in his support of the act.
“I find it very sad how many Indiana business leaders proved themselves nothing but Republicans in name only recently, as they joined forces with the radical Gay agenda to launch an economic war against the great state of Indiana,” Governor Pence began after a tension raising 147 second pause between his taking of the microphone and his first words. After this admission of opposition however, the Governor was on the offense for the rest of the speech. “The public outcry and the business opposition is countered by the support of every Republican Presidential candidate, as well as the support of the Republican party itself. Yes, sometimes the people tell the party that it is wrong and needs to change, but this is a case where the party is right, and the people need to realize they are not being good Republicans if they do not support this act.”
After seemingly giving Republican identifying voters their marching orders, the Governor welcomed three men and a woman to the stage that no one in the crowd seemed to recognize. They were introduced as Adam Selfman, the new CEO of Salesforce, Joseph Fregalman, the new CEO of Yelp, Rogers B. Wigsley III, the new president of the NCAA, and Mrs. John Serimyer, new CEO of Angie’s List. Mr. Selfman read a prepared statement that claimed to speak for the four businesses represented on stage. The letter apologized to Indiana for any financial hardships caused by the actions of their previous CEO’s, and read in part:
“Furthermore, in order to compensate the great state of Indiana for any damages our predecessors may have caused, the NCAA has pledged to grant the Final Four and the College Football National Championship game to Indianapolis in perpetuity, while the remaining three pledge a full 10% of our profits to the Re-elect Mike Pence PAC. Our previous CEO’s must have been either possessed by Satan, or secret agents of the Homosexual Elite in order to oppose such an upstanding Christian Act. We further pledge to follow Governor Mike Pence in all orders or suggestions.”
At this point the Governor took back the microphone and opened the floor to questions. The first question was a reporter from the Indianapolis Star-Ledger, who asked the Gov. what happened to the previous leaders of the represented businesses. Gov. Pence did not hesitate when he answered, “they’re dead,” although quite a few reporters in the crowd took it as an early April Fool’s day joke. Gov. Pence was quick to squash that notion.
“The asked about Republicans in name only, or RINO’s, where taken care of by a crew of GOP security officers between 0300 and 0500 hours this morning. We were hoping to hold off until seeing the results in 2016, but it seems that this Act brought so many traitors to the surface that we had no choice but to act. While this press conference is taking place, groups of GOP S.O’s are arresting all known homosexuals in the Hoosier state for incarceration. The current plan is to relocate these deviants to San Francisco, although we are not ruling out more Biblical solutions. While the raids taking place today are only targeting sodomites, we reserve the right to eject other religious undesirables from our state. After all, there are a lot of us Christians who aren’t too fond of sharing the streets with Christ-killers and race-mixers.”
When asked if he really expected the rest of the nation, and the federal government to allow Indiana to basically turn into a Nazi state, Gov. Pence had an answer at the ready.
“Seriously, you are going to go all Godwin on us? Ha. But seriously, what is the federal government going to do? The GOP controls Congress and the GOP Representatives will be too afraid of getting primaried to do anything. Then because of Godwin’s Law, any member of the press that compares us to the Nazi party will be laughed out of town. Think about it. We’ve built such a “equal weight and time to both sides” political climate that Fox News will be praising us and anything MSNBC and the rest of the media says will be chalked up to “that left wing liberal media.”
The Governor then unveiled Indiana’s new state flag:Governor Pence ended the press conference by saluting the Indiana state flag, and then left the building, getting inside a replica of the General Lee that was parked outside, and sped off as the sounds of “Sweet Home Alabama” blared from his speakers.
Get the fuck over yourselves, okay?
The roads were horrid this morning, especially the roads along my delivery route (I have a newspaper delivery route for side income) that travels up the mountain to the local ski lodge. It honestly appeared as if the plow trucks had done nothing, which most certainly wasn’t true since I kept passing them on my route. It seems that it was just snowing too fast for the trucks to keep up with, and the temperature range during the storm was apparently perfect for the creation of dangerous roads. Needless to say, I was overjoyed once I slid my last paper into its tube a mere 4 hours late. Yes, my normal 2 hour route took me close to 6 this morning, as for all the snow my area has received this year, today saw the worst driving conditions.
Anyway, I called the newspaper quickly to report the 10 papers (a record this winter) that were undeliverable due to road conditions, and started to head home. Because of the snow and the simple fact that it is a winding road leading up to the highest local elevation, I was making the drive at 20 mph (in a 35 mph zone) with my flashers on because I was going so far under the limit.
Turns out 20 mph was probably too fast for conditions this morning. Rather than describing it, here is a visual aid:
Yeah. I ended up taking out a newspaper box (like a mail box only for…) right before I hit the embankment. The paper box left the only mark on my car, a small dent in front of the driver’s side door. This was literally the only spot on the road where I could hit an embankment instead of ending up in a ditch, or even worse, flipping the car down a hill. If a car would have been coming the other way, it would have been a bit messy as well.
After catching my breath, checking for damages, and leaving a “I will bring and install a new paper box in the morning” note on the destroyed box, I started to make a three point turn to continue on my way (since a 540 spin finishes with me facing the way I came…). While I was turning, a Sel-lo heating oil truck, driven apparently by a crack smoking junkie who just sold enough oil under the table to afford a fix, blew past me, very nearly into the side of my car, going close to 50 if not a higher mph.
If I was a believer, I am sure you could guess the direction this post would take:
“It was a miracle! Forget the starving children, the victims of sexual or physical abuse, the innocents caught in the way of violence, and the large number of people who die in auto accidents each and every day, God saved me, not them! I’m so special. God’s chosen. Suck it, dead people. Guess God didn’t love you enough to save your life.”
Of course, I’m not a believer, so rather than praising an invisible sky daddy for choosing to save me instead of the countless other possible accident victims today, I took a closer examination of what I am doing with this, my only life. One thing I think is impossible for believers to understand about atheism from the outside is the immense value the worldview places on life. We have no reincarnation to act as a reset button, nor an afterlife for us to continue on throughout existence. This is it, however many years we get on this planet before our body stops working. Some of us do not even get a day, if an hour, and others live past 110; no matter how you look at it, fair it isn’t. But no matter how fair or unfair it may be, it is still all that we get.
I can see how someone from the outside could look at this worldview and shiver. Belief in an afterlife didn’t spring out of nowhere, I can definitely see why many find the belief comforting. But without an afterlife, each and every minute we are alive gains infinite value. It is far too easy to forget this fact, to fall into a pattern of watching the days go by as we sleepwalk through our daily routine. I know that I had fallen into that trap.
My car has a dent from my journey spinning through the snow today. My car has a dent, and hopefully I have a rekindled appreciation for each and every day I continue to draw breath.
As I said, fun morning.
I am a firm believer that some beliefs and/or tactics are not only worthy of scorn and ridicule, but they actually require a healthy dose of mockery as the best way to combat them. While rational argument and debate are normally the best response, for some things you just have to point and laugh.
For example, while I feel intelligent design is sometimes worthy of legitimate debate, if only for the side benefits it brings to the theory of evolution by having scientists examining the theory from every possible angle for any conceivable flaw, young earth creationism is a viewpoint that deserves the “point and laugh” response. Debating a young earth creationist who has learned debate tactics at the knee of Duane Gish is pointless. Each of the 100 or so “fatal flaws” in evolutionary theory that he will point out have already been debunked countless times, it is just that while he can make a claim a minute if not more, explaining the actual science and evidence that deals with the point could take hours. If you try to counter each point, you will not only run out of time, but you will spend all your time dealing with your opponents assertions, allowing him to set the strategy of the debate. If you ignore his points, audience members unfamiliar with the tactic may think you are hiding something, or that you can not refute his arguments. That’s why the Gish Gallop is such a devastating effective debate tactic, and why so many intelligent scientists (especially those with no training in public speaking) get eviscerated in debate with a YoungEarther. Honestly? The belief in a 6000 year old Earth deserves nothing but outright mockery. Same with comments about “legitimate” rape, or the belief that gay marriage somehow destroys existing straight marriages. The denial of humanity caused climate change is teetering on the edge; some people seriously just don’t know the science and it is worth it to at least try to explain the scientific consensus, while the majority of deniers need some ridicule.
For a nice bit of time, I’ve lumped Fox News into the list of things to point and laugh at. Sure, it has a frighteningly large audience share, but that audience skews very elderly. Fox News has a distressing influence on US seniors, and seniors vote in large numbers, but hopefully any serious damage a propaganda station masquerading as a legitimate news channel can do to the electorate is limited to members of one generation. I’d like to imagine that most people, even most Republicans, realize that what they get from Fox may be entertaining but it isn’t news. It helps my contention immensely when the network spends a whole day talking about “no-go zones” in Europe where non-Muslims fear to tread, areas the police avoid, ruled over by shadowing Sharia courts, with teenagers wearing Osama bin Laden t-shirts enforcing Islamic dress codes, places like Birmingham in the U.K. and several neighborhoods in Paris.
Le Petit Journal on French television agreed with me that some good old fashioned pointing and laughing was in order.
For all the mockery thrown towards Fox News (including British Prime Minister David Cameron’s classic “When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools’ Day,”) some are steadfastly standing up for the existence of “no go zones.” Seriously, google “no go zone.” I’ll wait.
As you can see, in addition to the expected Breitbart links (and no thank you, I won’t link to breitbart,) you’ll see that Bobby Jindal apparently did the fear-mongering algebra and decided his only chance with the GOP electorate is to out-Islamophobe the more traditional (read whiter) presidential hopefuls.
Bobby Jindal refused to apologize Wednesday for calling certain areas in Europe “no-go zones” due to influence from fundamentalist Muslims.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” the Louisiana governor, who is eyeing a run for the presidency, reiterated recent comments he’d made in London and to CNN about supposed areas, where “women don’t feel comfortable going in without veils” and “where police are less likely to go in.”
- I wish to thank stripcreator for the ability to create these comics. Rather than fully creating them there and risking them taking the comics down, I instead created them and took a screen shot of each, allowing me to post and host them myself. (Also depicting Muhammed and offending potentially dangerous people is my call, not the owner of stripcreator.com. Seeing how they had multiple clip art pieces of Jesus but this tie wearing guy was the closest I could come to a Muslim has me thinking the owner would rather not offend Muslims.)
- I wish to thank Eddie Izzard for the term “Jeezie Creezie” and the idea that Jesus hates the nickname. If I was an artist, these strips also would have featured the Holy Ghost wearing a bed sheet over his head, and babies being put on spikes, both also gems from Eddie.
- Not one of these three comics are actually meant to be funny. They are however meant to be offensive. I am not anti-Islam. I am not Islamophobic. Anyone who believes they know the mind of God and knows that other people are wrong and must be enlightened is a problem. Too many American Christians seem to forget that Christianity was spread with the sword in the past. Taking writings from over 1000 years ago and trying to literally apply them to our modern society is a recipe for disaster and bloodshed. The offices of Charlie Hebdo was attacked because someone’s religious beliefs were offended. People died because someones invisible sky daddy got his fefes hurt. An invisible sky daddy who is supposedly omnipotent, who could have stopped each employees heart instantly if he so decided that he wanted them dead. If a cartoon drawn by a non-believer causes you so much rage that you not only want said cartoonist dead, but are willing to take the steps needed to make him or her dead, then you need to visit a mental hospital while you consider exactly how impotent your God is that he needs an insane believer to carry out his wishes.
- If you have gotten this far, you deserve a reward. Go listen to some good satire. Here is The Scathing Atheist’s 100th episode, Je Suis Charlie, and here is Cognitive Dissonance’s 201st, Je Suis Charlie.
- Yes, I realize I misspelled “Muhammad” every previous time on this page. It is on purpose, just another little attempt at offense.
- And finally, while I will again state that none of these comics are actually funny, “knick knack paddy whack, give the prophet a bone” is pretty fucking amusing.
As a site that traffics more in snark than cultured high brow discussion, I am choosing to wait rather than mouth off about an on-going crisis. (Although from following the news, it appears that the hostages are now free and the terrorists either dead or in custody.) At the same time, I didn’t feel right just ignoring the situation precisely because I traffic more in snark than cultured high brow discussion. Satirical social critics who refuse to declare religion “off-limits,” of whom I consider myself an insignificant member, open ourselves up to threats of violence from extremist believers of just about every faith. (Although I admit a death threat coming from an extremist sect of Jainism would be very unlikely.) Most of us who are critical of religion in a scathing manner have been recipients of a threat or two, most of which are obviously illegitimate. Some of us have unfortunately been on the receiving end of serious threats (a group I thankfully do not belong to), and have had to cope with not only the fear from the threat, but all the chaos and inconvenience dealing with the threat brings to their lives.
And for some, it is not a threat, but a horrifying reality. For some, their satirical criticism of religion has cost them their lives.
It is in their memory that the rest of our little club must carry on, with our cartoons or our articles, our skits and our songs, whatever our method of satire may be, refusing to let any religion silence our voices.
Now I am off to camp a certain persons Twitter account, because I can not wait to see how Reza Aslan absolves Islam of any blame this time.