This week's Freethinking News podcast:
Good evening and welcome to Freethinking News, September 11, 2011
I realize I’m getting this podcast out a little late and it might not actually still be September 11th in your time zone, but it’s Korean Thanksgiving and I am a friend of the grape.
I know you’re probably sick of all the news reports and video footage so I’m going to get this over with at the top of the news. This week marked an important anniversary for a key event in American history which changed our nation and the world irrevocably. The forty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek. Highlights of the show included the first interracial kiss on American television, shit tons of new slang, the introduction of a Russian crewmember to provide hope for a peaceful end of the cold war, and causing green Orion slave women to be the new sexual fantasy for every teenage boy. Former Trek cast member George Takei has allowed his name to become synonymous with homosexuality proving former senator Rick Santorum’s theory that the real cause of homosexuality is time in a Japanese internment camp. This explains why Pat Morita was buried in a studded dog collar. Santorum himself has dealt with his share of troublesome synonyms, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, do Google it...
What else happened this week in history? Oh yeah, on September 10, 1897 a 25-year-old taxi driver named George Smith became the first person ever to be arrested for drunk driving. But that wasn’t what I was thinking about...
President Grover Cleveland’s wife, Frances Folsom Cleveland—a woman who makes wedding/prison analogies way too easy—gave birth to their daughter Esther. She was the only child ever born in the White House.
Speaking of afterbirth, this week also marks the anniversary of Ford pardoning Nixon. Way to set that precedent.
Hmmm...something else important happened this week, but I’m sure it’ll come to me.
Anyway, in other news, after a 24-year-old Jordanian woman gave birth to twins she was promptly killed by her father in an “honor killing”. The suspect was quoted as saying “I was shocked that she was pregnant. I was enraged and shot her dead because she did something shameful.” I’m not going to imply that religion can make sane people do crazy things...I’m going to flat out fucking say it. In Jordan, the sentence for murder is usually death, but often in “honor killings”—whatever the hell those are—sentences can often be reduced or commuted, especially if the victim’s family asks for leniency. This sort of killing of women happens 15-20 times each year in Jordan. To hell with cultural relativism, this needs to stop.
Speaking of Muslims, President Obama turned fifty years old on Thursday. But then again, if he lied about his birthplace, he might also have lied about his age and...I don’t want to start any rumors here...but maybe he lied about NOT being a vampire! You can’t prove I’m wrong. This might be why every Republican looks as if they would love to stab him in the heart with a stake if they had the chance...or maybe that’s just because he’s Black.
Vampirism seems to be rising these days, at least in Florida. 69-year-old Milton Ellis fell asleep in his electric wheelchair, on a restaurant porch Friday. When he woke up, 22 year-old Josephine Smith was on top of him violently biting him. She said “I am a vampire. I am going to eat you.” Police found Smith bloody and half-naked nearby but she claimed to have no memory of what had happened. She is currently being held in a mirror-less room. Bail is set at $50,000.
Speaking of criminal elements of society, according on online pastor Mike Stahl—whatever the hell an online pastor is—atheists are in the same vein as “convicted sex offenders, ex-convicts, terrorist cells, hate groups like the KKK, skinheads, radical Islamists, etc.” He calls for a national registry to inform the public of outed atheists including a photo.
If this seems strange to you, Pastor Stahl explains:
Now , many (especially the atheists ) , may ask “Why do this , what’s the purpose ?” Duhhh , Mr. Atheist , for the same purpose many States put the names and photos of convicted sex offenders and other ex-felons on the I-Net – to INFORM the public ! I mean , in the City of Miramar , Florida , where I live , the population is approx. 109,000 . My family and I would sure like to know how many of those 109,000 are ADMITTED atheists ! Perhaps we may actually know some . In which case we could begin to witness to them and warn them of the dangers of atheism . Or perhaps they are radical atheists , whose hearts are as hard as Pharaoh’s , in that case , if they are business owners , we would encourage all our Christian friends , as well as the various churches and their congregations NOT to patronize them as we would only be “feeding” Satan. Frankly , I don’t see why anyone would oppose this idea – including the atheists themselves ( unless of course , they’re actually ashamed of their atheist religion , and would prefer to stay in the ‘closet.’ ).
This Stahl guy reminds me of someone...no...no...definitely not...no...oh yeah, that’s him. That guy also worked to needlessly destroyed the lives of innocent people by creating a similar list.
People who think that patronizing the businesses of those who do not believe in demons actively feed such demons belong in the same sort of rubber room as the chick who thought she was a vampire. There have been a lot of great videos and blog posts publicly reacting to this ass-clown, so I’m not going to go into great detail in my response, but this guy’s erroneous understanding of atheism shows why we need to educate the public about what we are and what we are not. We do not have an atheist dogma. We are not satanists. For the most part atheists are not criminals or cynics. We are, however, generally educated, creative, passionate, and humanitarian.
Mr. Stahl, as I am out as an atheist, by your definition I am evil. When you include my entry in your list of fellow evil atheists, please do not forget to mention my public support of humanitarian organizations, my years spent in Africa volunteering for the Peace Corps, and several more years spent as a teacher and a college professor. And as you want to include a photo, I’ll save you the trouble, and here’s mine. Oh, wait, that’s not me, just someone with the same name. Not me either. I suspect that people unable to distinguish between criminals and disbelievers won’t be good at realizing that there will be many people with the same names, they certainly had trouble with that during the McCarthy era. This is why people with the same names as the Dutch cartoonists are still under police protection.
In sad news, I’d like to report the death of Michael Hart, the founder of Project Gutenberg. He died in his home at 64. He is survived by his family, friends, and a legacy of over 100,000 books freely available online.
In the final news of the night, I would like to report on two separate stories. First, investigators are chasing a tip that Al Qaeda will detonate a car bomb in DC or New York on this 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The second story is the Saturday launching of twin lunar probes to study the interior of the moon.
These stories seem very different and that’s the point. We have a choice. We can exist in a world ruled by superstition, honor killings, sexism, and denial of reason, or we can put aside outdated beliefs and woo woo and explore the infinite natural wonders that exist around us and the equally infinite possibilities of human creativity. It is a fact that our ancestors survived to create us because they were the fittest in their local environment at that time. From the first molecules to form cells, the first fish to plop out of the water, the first ape to leave a tree, the first human to paint a picture on a cave wall, to the first modern man to set foot on the surface of the moon; our species is on a journey of creativity and understanding.
While we’re all still technically apes, there is a certain je ne sais quoi that defines us as human. The best I’ve seen is that the invention of art was the moment that separated us from what we now deem animals. Laughter itself evolved as a way to express a lack of danger in a situation. But there are those with Jesus-shaped holes in their hearts. Those who find so little joy in this world that they have to constantly dream up a better afterlife, one that is worth killing your own daughters for. One that is worth crashing airplanes into buildings for.
We can let ourselves be destroyed by belief in religion and other nonsense, or we can continue the journey our ancestors started and maybe one day explore strange new worlds and new civilizations, and boldly go where no man has gone before. This was the news for Sunday, September 11, 2011. Viva La Revolución.