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Songs of Sacrilege: Thank You God by Tim Minchin

This is the twelfth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Thank You God by Tim Minchin, a British-born Australian comedian, actor, and musician.

There is a comedy bit for the first 5 minutes. the song begins at the 5:25 mark.

Video Link

Lyrics

I have an apology to make
I’m afraid I’ve made a big mistake
I turned my face away from you, Lord

I was too blind to see the light
I was too meek to feel Your might
I closed my eyes; I couldn’t see the truth, Lord

But then like Saul on the Damascus road,
You sent a messenger to me, and so
Now I’ve have had the truth revealed to me
Please forgive me all those things I said
I’ll no longer betray you, Lord
I will pray to you instead

And I will say thank you, thank you
Thank you, God
Thank you, thank you
Thank you, God…

Thank you, God, for fixing the cataracts of Sam’s mum
I had no idea, but it’s suddenly so clear now
I feel such a cynic, how could I have been so wrong?
Thank you for displaying how praying works:
A particular prayer in a particular church
Thank you Sam for the chance to acknowledge this
Omnipotent ophthalmologist

Thank you, God, for fixing the cataracts of Sam’s mum
I didn’t realize that it was so simple
But you’ve shown a great example of just how it can be done
You only need to pray in a particular spot
To a particular version of a particular god,
And if you pull that off without a hitch,
He will fix one eye of one middle-class white bitch

I know in the past my outlook has been limited
I couldn’t see examples of where life had been definitive
But I can admit it when the evidence is clear,
As clear as Sam’s mum’s new cornea
(And that’s extremely clear! )

Thank you, God, for fixing the cataracts of Sam’s mum
I have to admit that in the past I have been skeptical
But Sam described this miracle and I am overcome!
How fitting that the sighting of a sight-based intervention
Should open my eyes to this exciting new dimension
It’s like someone put an eye chart up in front of me
And the top five letters say: I C, G O D

Thank you, Sam, for showing how my point of view has been so flawed
I assumed there was no God at all but now I see that’s cynical
It’s simply that his interests aren’t particularly broad
He’s largely undiverted by the starving masses,
Or the inequality between the various classes
He gives out strictly limited passes,
Redeemable for surgery or two-for-one glasses

I feel so shocking for historically mocking
Your interests are clearly confined to the ocular
I bet given the chance, you’d eschew the divine
And start a little business selling contacts online

Fuck me Sam, what are the odds
That of history’s endless parade of gods
That the God you just happened to be taught to believe in
Is the actual God and he digs on healing,
But not the AIDS-ridden African nations
Nor the victims of the plague, nor the flood-addled Asians,
But healthy, privately-insured Australians
With common and curable lens degeneration

The story of Sam’s has but a single explanation:
A surgical God who digs on magic operations
No, it couldn’t be mistaken attribution of causation
Born of a coincidental temporal correlation
Exacerbated by a general lack of education
Vis-a-vis physics in Sam’s parish congregation
No it couldn’t be that all these pious people are liars
It couldn’t be an artifact of confirmation bias
A product of groupthink,
A mass delusion,
An Emperor’s New Clothes-style fear of exclusion

No, it’s more likely to be an all-powerful magician
Than the misdiagnosis of the initial condition,
Or one of many cases of spontaneous remission,
Or a record-keeping glitch by the local physician

No, the only explanation for Sam’s mum’s seeing:
They prayed to an all-knowing superbeing,
To the omnipresent master of the universe,
And he quite liked the sound of their muttered verse.

So for a bit of a change from his usual stunt
Of being a sexist, racist, murderous cunt
He popped down to Dandenong and just like that
Used his powers to heal the cataracts of Sam’s mum
Of Sam’s mum

Thank you God for fixing the cataracts of Sam’s mum!
I didn’t realize that it was such a simple thing
I feel such a dingaling, what ignorant scum!

Now I understand a prayer can work:
A particular prayer in a particular church
In a particular style with a particular stuff
And for particular problems that aren’t particularly tough,
And for particular people, preferably white
And for particular senses, preferably sight
A particular prayer in a particular spot
To a particular version of a particular god

And if you get that right, he just might
Take a break from giving babies malaria
And pop down to your local area
And fix the cataracts of your mum!

Songs of Sacrilege: The Loophole by Garfunkel and Oates

This is the eleventh installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is The Loophole by Garfunkel and Oates. Garfunkel and Oates is an American comedy–folk duo from Los Angeles, California, consisting of actress–songwriters Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci. Warning! This song contains sexually explicit lyrics.

Lest anyone doubt the premise of this song, I know Christians who once believed anal and oral sex was not sinful. This is the natural conclusion of trying to develop a sexual ethic with a literal/fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible.

 

Video Link

Lyrics

All my life I’ve been good
Do what my mom and dad and God say I should
Go to church and Bible School
To live by God’s rule

So whatever people tell me
That The Bible tells me
I will do

Walk the halls of high school with my purity ring
Unlike those other girls, I’ve got my morals in check
It was easy to do until I got a boyfriend
And pardon my French, but he’s cute as heck

But I made a pact
To keep my hymen intact
And Jesus and I are tight

Never learned about the birds and the bees
I was taught to keep an aspirin in between my knees
Cause The Bible says premarital sex is wrong
But Jason says that guys can’t wait that long

I don’t want to lose him
To someone who’ll do him
I need to figure something out

Well there’s a loophole in The Scripture that works really well
So I can get him off without going to hell
It’s my Hail Mary, full of grace
In Jesus’ name we go to fifth base!

Oh, thank you for making me holy
And thank you for giving me holes to choose from
And since I’m not a godless whore
He’ll have to come in the back door
Therefore

Fuck me in the ass cause I love Jesus
The good Lord would want it that way
Gimme that sweet sensation of a throbbing rationalization
It’s just between you and me
Cause everyone knows it’s the sex that God can’t see

It’s hard to be as pure as me
To resist the urge to lose my vaginal virginity
To wait until my marriage bed
To give my husband my unsullied maiden head

So take your cock out
Shove it in my ass
Fuck me until you come

Oops! I mean let’s join our souls
And unite our bodies
And fly with the wings of God

Whatever you do, don’t touch my clitoris
If you ring Satan’s doorbell, God can’t ignore this
And no prophylactics when you put it in
Cause birth control’s for sluts and it’s a sin

I’ve emptied my bowels
And laid out the towels
I’m ready for romance

Now I’m praying to the Power that’s the Highest
But of all of my holes, this ones the driest
And we can’t procreate if we anally copulate
And God is OK with sodomy, but only if you’re straight

And I’m staying pure, no matter what
So I’m OK with everything butt
Everything butt
Everything butt

Fuck me in the ass cause I love Jesus
The good Lord would want it that way
Gimme that sweet sensation of a rock hard rationalization
It’s just between you and me
Cause everyone knows it’s the sex that God can’t see

I do whatever The Bible tells me to
Except for the parts that I choose to ignore
Because they’re unrealistic and inconvenient
But the rest I live by for sure

So let’s not talk about how the Good Book bans shellfish, polyester and divorce
And how it condones slavery and killing gays because those parts don’t count, of course
Let’s cherry-pick the part about losing my cherry and mine it for ambiguities and omissions
To circumvent any real sacrifice, but still feel pious in my arbitrary parroted positions

And don’t you dare question my convictions
And don’t look closely at the contradictions
Just focus on the sacrificial crucifixion
And have faith in its complete jurisdiction

As the only way to measure if you’re good or not
And in a debate, just say to “have faith”
Because when you’re up against logic, it’s the only card you’ve got

So close your eyes
Take a deep breath
And..

Fuck me in the ass cause I love Jesus
The good Lord would want it that way
Gimme that sweet sensation of an irrational rationalization
It’s just between you and me
Cause everyone knows it’s the sex that God can’t see

Yeah, my chastity belt has locks
But sometimes you need to think outside the box

Tennessee:Making the Bible the State Book and Teaching Bible Basics to Elementary Students

holy bible

Evidently, the enlightenment hasn’t made it to Tennessee. The legislature in the Volunteer state is considering a bill that would make The Holy Bible® the official state book.

Here’s the text from HB 615:

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1,relative to designating the Holy Bible as the official state book. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE: SECTION 1 and 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, is amended by adding the following language as a new section:

The Holy Bible is hereby designated as the official state book.

This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

Senate Bill 1108 says the same thing.

According to a Americans United for Separation of Church and State action alert, SB 1108 will be heard by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on March 31st and HB 615 will be heard on April 1st by the House State Government Subcommittee.  Americans United had this to say about the bills (link no longer active):

The Establishment Clause in both the U.S. and the Tennessee Constitutions requires the government may not convey a message that a particular religious belief is preferred. Officially designating the Holy Bible, a specifically Judeo-Christian religious text, as the official state book would place the State’s seal of approval on the Holy Bible and undoubtedly demonstrate the State’s preference for Christianity.

These bills could cause Tennesseans who do not subscribe to the Christian faith to feel like outsiders in their own state. The state should instead adopt a state book that makes all Tennesseans feel equally welcome in their state.

No need for further commentary from me. I agree with Americans United.

According to WBIR, (link no longer active) Tennessee lawmakers have delayed making the Bible the official state book; not out of concern over offending non-Christians, but because designating the Bible as the state book “cheapens” The Holy Bible®. Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville stated:

“We’re being asked to make the Bible, any Bible, any version of it, an object, like the state reptile. Like the raccoon, the salamander, the nut, the fish. I think it’s demeaning. I think it reduces the Holy Bible from scripture to a politically correct history book.”

Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, the sponsor of the bill, wants Tennessee residents to know that he isn’t out “to cultivate adherence to religious (practices) or aid in religious devotion.” Southerland, wink wink, just wants to “memorialize the role the book has played on Tennessee history.” Sure Steve, sure.

According to Southerland:

“The Bible is something to everyone. And each time you read it, it might mean something to you. Everyone has the right to agree or disagree, is one of the good things about the Bible. We’re not saying you have to take it and read it, it’s just giving recognition to it.”

In other Tennessee Bible news, parents in the Grundy County School District are upset because the school board ended a Bible study program designed to teach elementary school children “Bible basics”. According to the Christian Examiner:

Parents and other supporters are gathering signatures to petition the Grundy County School Board to renew a voluntary Bible study program which taught their children Bible basics at elementary schools in this district which is located between Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Grundy County School Board ended the program in March but not on its own initiative. The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based anti-Christian group that claims 21,500 members nationwide, complained that the program of instruction was “pernicious.”

FFRF complained that a “missionary was allowed to prey on a captive audience” that was “young and vulnerable.”

Many parents, however, announced they were only too happy for “Bible Man” Horace Turner to “pray” for their children and pass along some Bible basics that support what is being taught in the home.

According to the Grundy County Herald, the school board consulted with Alliance Defending Freedom and the Christian Law Association.

Board Chairman Tim Spicer said both groups were “surprised and thankful” the program existed this long without objection, and suggested to him simple adjustments could be made that would allow it to continue.

“The simplest way would be to make it an after school program just like any other club or activity,” Spicer said. “The second option is to have what is called ‘release time’. With this, parents would sign permission slips allowing their children to participate in Mr. Turner’s program during school hours.

“The catch is that the program must be conducted off school grounds,” Spicer added, “and someone other than the school system would have to provide transportation.”

I am sure that local Christians will turn this into yet another example of persecution. It really must be rough trying to be a Christian in Tennessee. (Please read previous sentence with the snarkiest voice possible)

According to the Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project, 51% of Tennesseans are Evangelical, twice the national average.

tennessee religion

78% of Tennesseans believe the Bible is the Word of God and 52% attend church on a weekly basis. Tell me again, why is it important for Grundy County School elementary students to be taught “Bible basics”? Aren’t they getting enough of The Holy Bible® at home and at church? Or is this more about making sure that everyone understands that there is only one God in Tennessee and his name is Jesus.

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Pastor Billy Ball Says Using Birth Control is a Sin

faith baptist church sign
Faith Baptist Church, Primrose, Georgia, Billy Ball, pastor

Billy Ball pastors Faith Baptist Church (Sons of Thundr), an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church in Primrose, Georgia. Ball and the church are noted for their hatred of Sodomites and abortion. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Faith Baptist as a hate group. As I was perusing the church’s website, (link no longer active) I came across a booklet Billy Ball wrote on the subject of birth control. Here’s some of what Ball had to say:

Do you remember when there was very little difference, if any, between common sense and what the Bible had to say? Well, today the phrase “common sense” seems to be a means of justifying ourselves in satisfying our own selfish plans and living a lifestyle contrary to the life of faith!

The above statement at face value is innocent. As a matter of fact, it is very true in some areas of our lives. There are many things in life for which we should certainly plan, and I believe the Scriptures would even support us in doing so. However, there are also some things in life which God wants us to trust Him with totally. His plan for bringing human life into this world would certainly be placed in this category, if anything would.

Now, let’s think for a moment about this thing called birth control. Even the term itself sounds odd to the ear. Birth control, controlling birth, no matter how you say it, the key word is still control. You will find as we continue on with this study that, Scripturally, the only control that God gives a man or woman concerning birth is the decision to marry or not to marry. Beyond that, the Bible teaches that birth control belongs to God.

I challenge you to search the Scriptures for this ideology that man is to control birth. The only person who ever made an attempt in the Scriptures to control birth was judged in doing so. Other than that one example, the Bible is silent concerning others who held this belief…

…There was a time when people understood that when you got married, you expected children to be the normal, natural result of this union. As a matter of fact, marriage itself was considered by most people to be “starting a family”. So, yes, plan, if you are a Christian! Plan to get married and receive God’s gift of children. Or, on the other hand, plan to stay single if you do not desire children at this time. As far as I see in the Bible, there is no other legitimate way of controlling birth…

…So then, if the Bible teaches us that children are a gift from God, and a reward from Heaven; and if we know that God killed the only Scriptural example of those who support this heresy. And if we also understand the fact that if a man knoweth to do good and doeth it not, it is a sin unto him. James 4:17, KJV “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”. Then based on the above argument alone, can we honestly say that birth control falls under the realm of personal liberty? Please explain how and where, by any stretch of the imagination, that any Christian can use the Bible to justify birth prevention as a personal liberty that is acceptable to God…

…”That’s the reason we have so much welfare now!” Yes, believe it or not, that is one of the common statements made by the modern day birth control advocates. However, this statement is actually a copout for not talking about the real issue regarding a lot of the welfare problems, which is abstinence. A good portion of those people should not be having sexual relationships anyhow! Sex, in the Bible, was reserved for those who were legally married. All other sexual behavior was, and still is, forbidden by the Scriptures…

…We are so used to implementing our “plan B”, while knowingly disobeying God’s “plan A”. So, instead of using man made birth control to solve the unwanted expense of unwanted children across this country, we should repent of the fornication and adultery that refers us to our “plan B” in the first place. That, my friend, will drastically reduce the dollars spent on those who don’t want to take responsibility for their lifestyles.

But to blame the welfare problem on those who let God decide how many children they have in a responsible Christian way is at best ridiculous! This is the same argument used for fixing your pet!…

…”It’s my body, so it’s my choice.” Now we really begin to see the thinking behind the birth control movement. If this statement sounds all too familiar, it is because you’ve heard it before from the abortion crowd. You see, the driving force behind the abortion proponents is this humanistic idea that we are our own gods and that we have the right to make our own decisions about our life and how we use our body. However, as Christians, our attitude should be that we are not our own, but that we have been bought with a price. I Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price:”. The rest of that verse says “therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”. Preventing children can never glorify God!

Now, please tell me how birth control, by any stretch of the imagination, can glorify God? You will say, “But preacher, we’re not talking about a baby, but a seed!” Exactly! But, did you know that the Greek word from which we get the word seed is the word sperma? This is where we get our word sperm. So, if the baby is a gift from God, according to Psalms 127, then the sperm also is God’s gift. God gave you the sperm to be used to bring offspring into the world. Now, we do know that there is a difference between the sperm and the baby after conception. But we must also realize that the potential for life is found in the God-given seed. Therefore, this shows that it is a very serious thing to interfere with His seed in any way.”

Ball wants readers to know that his booklet is straight from the Bible, an unassailable source of perfect truth, but only if it is a King James Bible. Ball wrote:

I know that there will be many who disagree with the contents of this booklet. However, as with any literature which I have written, I challenge any and all to take a King James Bible and Scripturally refute it. I’m still waiting!…

…It is disturbing to see the extent to which humanism has entered into our congregations. The sad part is, however, that many so called preachers will simply discount this teaching as “much to do about nothing.”…

…Finally, let me say that our church and my family have personally suffered for our stand on this clearly taught Bible issue. We know, however, that sound doctrine is about the only thing some men will not endure in these last days…

Poor Bro. Billy, persecuted just because he wants to keep women chained to the bed, submissive, ready, and willing for their husbands to come home and impregnate them. While Ball is not as eloquent as many of the spokesmen for the Quiverfull movement, his views are one and the same.

faith baptist church members
Faith Baptist Church, Primrose Georgia, members street preaching, calling on sodomites to repent
brandon wright crossroads baptist church
Brandon Wright from Crossroads Baptist Church, Zirconia, North Carolina, supporting Billy Ball after he was arrested for street preaching without a permit

Notes

According to a 2012 news article, Faith Baptist Church has about 130 members (link no longer active).

Wikipedia states the church is IFB. Several other news reports say it is Southern Baptist.

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The Sodomite Suppression Act or Let’s Kill All the Gays

sodomy sickest sin on earth dennis corle
Book written by Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Evangelist Dennis Corle

Matt McGlaughlin, a Huntington Beach, California Christian Fundamentalist, has submitted a ballot initiative calling for all known Sodomites (homosexuals) to be executed. Yes, you read that right. Finally, a Christian willing to publicly state what many of the followers of Jesus think: that homosexuals are an abomination to the Christian God and don’t deserve to live. According to the Christian Bible:

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13

But Bruce, that’s from the Old Testament and that law no longer applies. Well, you might want to let God know. God said,  “For I am the Lord, I change not…”  Isn’t Jesus (God) the same yesterday, today, and forever? If God approved of executing homosexuals thousands of years ago, what makes you think he wouldn’t approve of it now? Did God go through sensitivity training or did he find out that David, the man who loved God with all his heart, had a thing for Jonathan?

It looks that the State of California has pulled McGlaughlin’s ballot initiative. Fortunately, I was able to find a copy of it on the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News website:

a) The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

b) Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.

c) No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.

d) No person shall serve in any public office, nor serve in public employment, nor enjoy any public benefit, who is a sodomite or who espouses sodomistic propaganda or who belongs to any group that does.

e) This law is effective immediately and shall not be rendered ineffective nor invalidated by any court, state or federal, until heard by a quorum of the Supreme Court of California consisting only of judges who are neither sodomites nor subject to disqualification hereunder.

f) The state has an affirmative duty to defend and enforce this law as written, and every member of the public has standing to seek its enforcement and obtain reimbursement for all costs and attorney’s fees in so doing, and further, should the state persist in inaction over 1 year after due notice, the general public is empowered and deputized to execute all the provisions hereunder extra-judicially, immune from any charge and indemnified by the state against any and all liability.

g) This law shall be known as “The Sodomite Suppression Act” and be numbered as section 39 in Title 3 of the Penal Code, pertaining to offences [sic] against the sovereignty of the state. The text shall be prominently posted in every public school classroom. All laws in conflict with this law are to that extent invalid.

Previously, McGlaughlin attempted to get an initiative on the ballot that would require the King James Bible be used as a textbook in California public schools.

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Americans Love Walkers More than They Love Jesus

walking dead zombies

Last Sunday, the National Geographic Channel showed the movie Killing Jesus, a TV version of Bill O’Reilly’s book of the same name. According to Neilson, 3.7 million viewers watched Killing Jesus, giving National Geographic its highest total viewership ever. This means that about 1.25% of Americans watched Killing Jesus. According to Wikipedia, as of February 2015, the National Geographic Channel is available “to approximately 86,144,000 pay television households (74% of households with television) in the United States.” It seems that most of the people who could have watched Killing Jesus didn’t.

On the same Sunday, the season finale of The Walking Dead attracted 15.8 million viewers. Even the Talking Dead after-show garnered almost 8 million viewers. According to the Futon Critic, “THE WALKING DEAD” ENDS SEASON FIVE WITH ALL 16 EPISODES RANKING AMONG THE TOP 20 ENTERTAINMENT TELECASTS IN ADULTS 18-49 THIS BROADCAST SEASON.”

Based on the numbers, it’s pretty clear that Americans love Zombies a lot more than they love Jesus.

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Duck Dynasty Patriarch Phil Robertson, in His Own Words

phil robertson

I like Christian Fundamentalist Phil Robertson. Why? Because he is willing to say out loud what many Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Conservative Catholic Christians think or say in the safe confines of their churches.

Here’s Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson in all his glory:

“I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’ Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.”

“Have you ever heard this many lies coming out of Washington D.C. since you’ve been on the earth? Have you ever heard more? You say where in the world is it coming from? They champion perversion, they champion murder, aborting their children and they are champions of lies. I mean I’m listening to them and thinking, ‘dude, what?’ ‘Yeah, this bunch here, they’re the kind that clings to their guns and their Bibles,’ I’m thinking, yeah, we may need them.”

“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

“We murder each other and we steal from one another, sex and immorality goes ballistic. All the diseases that just so happen to follow sexual mischief… boy there are some microbes running around now.”

“Now to me either it’s the wildest coincidence ever that horrible diseases follow immoral conduct, or it’s God saying, ‘There’s a penalty for that kind of conduct.’ I’m leanin’ toward there’s a penalty toward it.”

” I am just reading what was written over 2000 years ago. Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom. All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it…

“Jesus will take sins away, if you’re a homosexual he’ll take it away, if you’re an adulterer, if you’re a liar, what’s the difference? If you break one sin you may as well break them all.”

“Women with women. Men with men. They committed indecent acts with one another. And they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”

“Why do they murder and why do they hate us? Because all of them … 80 years of history, they all want to conquer the world, they all rejected Jesus and they’re all famous for murder. Nazis, Shintoists, Communists and the Mohammedists. Every one of them the same way.”

“From one man God made all nations of men. We all came from the same dude, and I don’t know what color he was.”

A good woman is “hard to find. Mainly because these boys are waiting until they get to be about 20 years old before they marry ’em. Look, you wait till they get to be about 20 years old, they only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You gotta marry these girls when they’re 15 or 16, they’ll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that, of course.”

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field. … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word!

“They’re (homosexuals) full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, god haters, they are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless, they invent ways of doing evil.”

“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus — whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ‘em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

“All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s 80 years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”

“God says, ‘One woman, one man,’ and everybody says, ‘Oh, that’s old hat, that’s that old Bible stuff’ and I’m thinking well, let’s see now. A clean guy, a disease-free guy, and a disease-free woman, they marry and they keep their sex between the two of ‘em, uh, they’re not gonna get chlamydia and gonorrhea and syphilis and AIDS. It’s, it’s safe.”

“Our founding fathers started this country and built it on God and His Word, and this country sure would be a better place to live and raise our children if we still followed their ideals and beliefs.”

“I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater. … I have been immoral, drunk, high. I ran with the wicked people for 28 years and I have run with the Jesus people since and the contrast is astounding.”

“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television. You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”

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Dear Bill Maher, Stop Saying Creationists Believe the Earth is 5,000 Years Old

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Polly and I regularly watch Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. Real Time, along with John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, highlight the important news stories of the week, giving them a comedic twist. Sometimes, when these shows focus on American religion, especially Evangelical Christianity, I am often irritated when they play loose with the facts. Bill Maher, by far, is the worst.

Maher loves to bash creationists. I am all for him doing so, but I wish he would not distort their beliefs when he does. As an atheist and a critic of religion, Maher has the responsibility to speak accurately when critiquing, attacking, or ridiculing creationist beliefs. Look, they make it easy for us, so the least we can do is represent their beliefs accurately.

Over the years, I’ve heard Bill Maher repeatedly say creationists believe the earth is 5,000 years old. I know of NO creationist who believes this. None. Nor do I know any who think the earth is 10,000 years old. Adding another zero doesn’t make their belief any more rational or scientifically correct. Creationists are literalists. They believe the book of Genesis is a science and history textbook. When the Bible talks about Adam living  930 years, Noah living 950 years, Abraham living 175 years, David living 70 years, and Jesus living 33 years, creationists believe these ages are factual. They also believe the genealogies found in the Bible are factual. This is why James Ussher, a 17th century Church of Ireland archbishop,  was able to add up the ages and genealogies and conclude that the God created the universe on October 22, 4004 BC.

According to Wikipedia:

The chronology is sometimes called the Ussher-Lightfoot chronology because John Lightfoot published a similar chronology in 1642–1644. This, however, is a misnomer, as the chronology is based on Ussher’s work alone and not that of Lightfoot. Ussher deduced that the first day of creation began at nightfall on Saturday, October 22, 4004 BC, in the proleptic Julian calendar, near the autumnal equinox. He elsewhere dates the time to 6 pm. Lightfoot similarly deduced that Creation began at nightfall near the autumnal equinox, but in the year 3929 BC.

Ussher’s proposed date of 4004 BC differed little from other Biblically based estimates, such as those of Jose ben Halafta (3761 BC), Bede (3952 BC), Ussher’s near-contemporary Scaliger (3949 BC), Johannes Kepler (3992 BC) or Sir Isaac Newton (c. 4000 BC). Ussher’s specific choice of starting year may have been influenced by the then-widely-held belief that the Earth’s potential duration was 6,000 years (4,000 before the birth of Christ and 2,000 after), corresponding to the six days of Creation, on the grounds that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). This view continued to be held as recently as AD 2000,six thousand years after 4004 BC.

The universe then, according to creationists, is 6,019 years old not 5,000 years old. I sent Maher an email and a tweet about his inaccurate date. He did not respond.

Here’s why this matters. We who think the universe is 14 billions years old often criticize creationists for playing loose with the facts. I know, the difference between 6,019 and 5,000 is just 1,019 years, but we should do our best to accurately represent our enemy.  If atheists and scientists are going to do battle with creationists, then the least they can do is know what their enemy believes,  Far too often, atheists say things about Evangelical beliefs that are not true.  They read a meme or see something on Facebook or Twitter and they assume that what they read is correct. We make ourselves look bad when we misstate our opponents beliefs.

Signs of Religious Persecution in Defiance County, Ohio

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The overwhelming majority of Americans self identify as Christian. Here in rural NW Ohio, I suspect  there are few non-Christians. The number of public atheists I know number three. That’s right, three.  Christianity is on full display everywhere one looks. Churches on every street corner, Christian radio and TV stations, Christian book stores, Christian coffee houses, and business signs with the ichthys (fish) symbol, all testify to the fact that America is a Christian nation and rural NW Ohio is God’s Country.

Christians are free to start new churches and worship anyway they please. No matter how crazy their beliefs and practices are, there is no government or private agency  keeping them from practicing their form of crazy. From strict liturgical churches to snake handling Baptists, there is a flavor of Christianity for everyone. Christian sects, churches, religious institutions, and pastors are given special tax benefits, from real estate and sales tax exemption to the clergy housing allowance. Christian churches are considered by many to be dispensers of morality, and when bad things like a school shooting, tornado, flood, or hurricane hits a community, local Christian clergy are called in to calm fears and let everyone know God is still on the throne.

Someone visiting from another country would likely be amazed at the religiosity of Americans. I doubt they would see any signs of religious persecution, especially if they hail from a country where there’s real persecution. Thanks to fear mongering and lying  by Evangelical preachers, Catholic prelates and priests, Mormon bishops, Christian parachurch leaders, Christian college presidents and professors, Christian TV and radio programmers, and Fox News hosts, many Christians believe they are being persecuted by liberals, secularists, socialists,communists, abortionists, homosexuals, and atheists. The annual War on Christmas® has now morphed into the War on Christianity®.

There is not one shred of evidence to back up the claim that there is a concerted effort to persecute American Christians and keep them from worshiping their God. From my seat in the pew, I see government at every level bending over backwards to accommodate Christians. As a nation, we value religious freedom so highly that we grant sects, churches, and each Christian special privileges. There is no other nation on earth that has more religious freedom, yet many Christians still think they are being persecuted. Why is this?

Here’s my take. When people live in a country that values personal rights and freedom, especially religious freedom, they tend to see small accommodations or denials as frontal assaults on their rights and freedom. When groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), American Humanist Association (AHA), American Atheists (AA), or the ACLU demand that Christians abide by the Constitution and the separation of church and state, Christians see this as personal attack on their faith.

Let me give a local example of this. Recently, the ACLU of Ohio sent nearby Edon Northwest School District a letter about the school district’s core values statement found in the front of the student handbook:

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Graphic from The Friendly Atheist

Here’s what the Toledo Blade had to say:

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a request today to a Williams County school district to stop what it calls its “sectarian policies and practices that violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The letter to the Edon Northwest Local School district, which is near the Ohio-Indiana border, cites the school system’s student handbook, which references “Christian values,” and what the ACLU says is a practice of inviting ministers to pray at mandatory school assemblies. John Granger, interim superintendent who joined the district in January, said he has not witnessed some of the incidents referenced by the ACLU, but that if the allegations are true, the district should make changes.

”This has already been settled by the United States Supreme Court,“ Mr. Granger said. “I would make a recommendation to the board of education that if we are in violation of the law, we should stop.”

The district’s website includes a copy of the student handbook, and the first page lists the district’s “Core Values.”

As we strive to achieve our Vision and accomplish our Mission, we value…” the handbook states, with “Honesty and Christian values” as the second entry.

The ACLU letter claims ministers attended assemblies before the Thanksgiving and winter holidays, and that students need parent approval to opt out of the events.

“These reports also allege that the ministers pray aloud, ask the students to join in the prayer and recite homilies concerning upcoming holidays,” the letter states.

The ACLU in its letter, signed by ACLU of Ohio’s Legal Director Freda Levenson and staff attorney Drew Dennis, recognizes that Mr. Granger is new to the position and the started before his arrival in the district.

“We now take this opportunity to make you aware of the unconstitutionality of the described practices, and request that you investigate them and bring an end to them immediately,“ the letter states…

I have no doubt that local Christians are outraged over the ACLU’s demand that the Edon Northwest School District abide by the establishment clause and the separation of church and state.I am sure they see this as a sign of religious persecution. It’s not. This kind of stuff has been going on in rural schools since the days I roamed the halls of Farmer Elementary in the 1960’s. The difference now is that groups like  FFRF, ACLU, AHA, AA, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) are paying attention to what is going on in the schools and government and are willing to litigate any violation of the Constitution.

Today, Polly took me on a short nineteen mile drive on Route 18 between Defiance and Hicksville. The following pictures succinctly illustrate the religious climate in rural NW Ohio. They tell the story far better than I could.

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The Faith4Freedom signs litter the rural NW Ohio landscape. According to their defunct Facebook page, 20,000 of these signs were printed and distributed in Ohio and Michigan. This is primarily a Catholic endeavor. Based on the lack of activity on their Facebook page, Twitter account, and a no longer available website, I assume that local Catholics have lost their religious freedom and are living in nearby catacombs. Once the black anti-Christ, Barack Hussein Obama, is divinely removed from office, they will no longer fear persecution and return to the safety of Facebook, Twitter, and the internet.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser