First off, I’d like to be upfront about my attitude: I am an atheist, and a proud one. These last two weeks, however, I’ve been reading Christopher Hitchens’ “God is not Great”, which has upped my ‘militancy’ factor a bit. Having thus disclosed, I continue…
Yesterday’s Globe & Mail had a story about a community of Hutterites in Alberta who seek the right to possess drivers’ licenses without photographs, as that will violate their beliefs in regard to idolatry. Apparently, they had won their dispute on this issue back in May 2007, but Alberta has seen fit to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on this issue.
Ahem. “Idolatry”. Right. An interpretation of the term, apparently, that is not shared by the balance of Christianity (that I know of), and in any case derived from an inconsistent piece of badly-written fiction. To suggest that the superstitions of a small minority gives them some status not inherent in the remainder of the population is absurd, and frankly insulting. Other citizens of the province adhere to the rules, why should this or any other religious group be exempt?
The questionable practice of being ‘flexible’ in applying the law based on religious belief is offensive. The law is just that, the law. The Alberta Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Canada are independently established, legally recognized authorities in determining what must and must not be done within Canada. The abstract concept of ‘god’ has no legal validity and does not constitute a defense or excuse, to my mind. If religious belief can be used as a ‘get out of jail free’ card in this case, could we not consider a precedent to be set?
Tell you what: Zeus called me the other day and told me I don’t have to pay taxes any more. By ‘called’, of course I mean appeared in the form of a… swan, yeah, that’s it. He wanted to sleep with my wife, too, but I said no. That Zeus and his mortal women, I tell ya.
As I pointed out in a previous post, I am against religion as a concept, because it discriminates (and yes, I believe allowing concessions or privileges to a minority is discriminatory). The law, at least ideally, does and should not. Religion is about how certain people are special and preferred over other people, and that some omnipotent being is taking a personal interest in someone’s well-being and happiness. This idea alone should be sufficient to convince people that religion is a selfish and arrogant viewpoint. As a society that prides itself on helping others and having empathy for others, doesn’t religion seem out of place in this context?
Humanity needs to move past outdated, tribal superstitions, and to remove any religious justifications for ignoring or bypassing the law. As I pointed out here, I have exactly as much evidence as the religious zealots to support my Zeus story or any other argument I may choose to make.
If the law does not apply to everyone equally, without prejudice, or even try to do so, then it is of little use, in a practical, order-keeping sense.
It’s a Faithless Flash Fact.
I noticed that the guys here held off on posting to allow me the 1,000 post, and I fear they might have meant it. I’d like to thank those that have taken the time to read our scribblings and those that take the additional time to comment. Knowing that a few people out there agree with us and / or take umbrage with us makes it all worthwhile. Without further ado, I present, auspiciously, perhaps, “A plea for dirt…”
For the first time in recent American electoral history, the Democrats look like they just might be willing to get down and dirty and fight the Republican win-at-all-costs fight that is sadly necessary to win elections. This, despite Campbell Brown’s plea for sanity and decorum. It would be nice if decorum could reign during an election, but when one of the two candidates has openly decided to lower the bar because a discussion of important issues doesn’t benefit them, the other must follow to some degree or they will lose. They will lose and join the ranks of Al Gore and John Kerry. If the Democrats don’t want to watch from the sidelines for another four, then this is how they fight, and it’s funny that a newcomer like Barack Obama has to show them: when McCain comes at you with William Ayers, you come back with the Keating Five. And you don’t just mention it, when you have the facts on your side, you explain it. When they start raising questions of your choice in ministers, hit back with spouses in separatist groups, witch-doctors, and young Earth stupidity. (And don’t water it down, call stupid stupid. We’ve had enough presidents I could have a beer with, we need someone smart for a change. We don’t really want an average Joe, we want someone (to paraphrase Jon Stewart) whose face we could conceivably carve into the side of a mountain.) And most of all, attack using that which they hit you – elitism. Every time they say “east coast elites”, come back with “how many houses do you own, John?”. When they say Main Street, ask them their take-home salaries. You are all in the elite, don’t let them isolate you with it.
As the smears continue, both from the McCain campaign and from reactionary conservatives, John Kerry demonstrated in 2004 by losing an election that was his to lose, it’s stupid to try to stay above this stuff. You have to defend against the smears and more importantly, you have to attack, attack, attack. The only way to fight Rove is with Rove, and if He has taught us anything, it’s that no matter how unlikely the shit you throw, some of it sticks. If McCain worships anything more than power itself, he’s praying to that Thing right now, that some of this shit sticks.
Ultimately, the reason that McCain has dropped the gloves is that he, his campaign, and the public all know that Barack Obama seems better able to handle the economic crisis that is currently upon all of us, and that he has no chance of winning but through slime. It’s for exactly this reason that Obama must be ready to hit back, and hit back hard - the opposition has basically admitted they are incapable of handling the reality of government. Don’t do it for the sheer joy of doing it, Barack, do it for us! (Though I would think that smashing McCain about the head and neck with his voting record and Bush’s popularity must be fun as hell.)
It’s time that the Democrats took things seriously and stopped getting run roughshod by the Republicans – because you know goddamn well that if the Republicans were to win there would be no talk of “working across the aisle”, there would be only talk of “mandate”. While the Democrats squeak of bipartisanship, the Republicans shout “Fuck you!” and return to enriching the cronies and lobbyists that put and kept them in power. The Democrats have a chance to win an historic victory this November – Senate, Congress, and the big house; it is no time for mealy-mouthing. The Republicans have run the US into the ground; internationally they just short of pariah status, they are hemorraging cash and impoverishing the economies of their allies, and we’re on the brink of an environmental catastrophe – this ship needs to be turned, and turned NOW. If it takes mud-slinging and defamation to win, then start slinging. It is better to win and serve two for roughing than to lose and sit in the stands for four. I don’t like being put in the position of quoting Machiavelli, but the ends sometime justify the means, and if this is ever true, it is true right now.
Obama and Biden have the ideas, they have the promise, and now they seek control. McCain and Palin offer neither, they are simple ambition and lust for power, they are empty suits seeking soft chairs, capable of neither vision nor sensible action. They need to be kept as far from the halls of power as is humanly possible.
With what I think is a rather strong hockey metaphor (if I do say so myself), I conclude our 1,000 post. You may return to your regularly-scheduled blogging activities already in progress. Oh, and thanks for reading.
<Update: Just saw that the campaign is stoking the Obama = terrorist thing. Classy guy, this one. Douche-fucking-bag.>