The Raving Theist

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Atheists Fear Anti-Christmas Strategy May Backfire by Marring Holiday Season

December 18, 2006 | 43 Comments

Montgomery, Alabama, December 18, 2006
Special to The Raving Atheist

Public officials have chosen to tear down public holiday displays to short-circuit lawsuits demanding the inclusion of additional religious symbols, prompting alarm among atheists that their own litigation might dampen the Yuletide spirit.

In Seattle, Washington, airport officials removed all Christmas trees from the terminal when faced with Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky’s demand for equal space for a menorah. In Briarcliff Manor, New York, officials similarly removed a menorah and other holiday symbols from a village park after local resident Henry Ritell sued to include a Nativity scene. Bogomilsky said he was “brutally shocked and appalled” that the airport removed the trees; Ritell called the town officials “grinches” for their decision.

In view of these developments, American Atheists President Ellen Johnson expressed concern over the potential consequences of her organization’s pending lawsuit to place an obscenely blasphemous fecal sculpture next to a creche in an Alabama courthouse lobby. “We are hopeful that the judges will opt for peaceful co-existence rather than a spiteful, pack-up-the-marbles-and-go-home approach,” she said. “Our goal isn’t so much to drive the last traces of God out of the public square, as to express our desire to drive them out a few feet away from those traces.”

Comments

43 Responses to “Atheists Fear Anti-Christmas Strategy May Backfire by Marring Holiday Season”

  1. Godthorn
    December 18th, 2006 @ 9:19 pm

    A creche is one thing, but the “Christmas Tree,” unless it’s festooned with religious baubles, or topped by an angel, is really an innocuous symbol of what has become as much a secular celebration as a religious one. I think atheists, and members of other faiths, would be smart to lobby for the tree in any case where town officials want a Christmas display. Just make sure they keep the angels and virgins and mangers and Crismons off the branches–and don’t allow any priest or T-vangelist to try to sanctify the thing.

  2. Brian Macker
    December 18th, 2006 @ 9:27 pm

    What the hell is AA thinking? Are atheists feces worshipers?

  3. TheGayBlackJew
    December 18th, 2006 @ 10:10 pm

    I read most of the latest edition of the American Atheist magazine…and they need help. I have a degree in journalism, and it’s very clear that they lack editing talent. So I question the minds at the top of AA. It makes me cringe when an organization stakes out controversial ground and then muddies the waters with incompetence. I hate to say it, but Rational Responders is also guilty, IMHO, of just bad writing and bad thought processes. Oye vey, yo. At least The Raving Atheist consistantly displays a high degree of intelligence, thoughtfulness and general competence. WE NEED THAT to convince other minds that godless is the way to go!

  4. Cthulance
    December 19th, 2006 @ 12:18 am

    Wheeeeeeeere’s the link?

    where’s the link to Ellen Johnson and her concern over a planned atheist fecal display?

    You provided links to the Seattle and New York stories, please provide an informative link to the Johnson story as well.

  5. STC
    December 19th, 2006 @ 8:28 am

    Perhaps RA was being fecetious?

  6. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    December 19th, 2006 @ 9:05 am

    More of Raving Antiabortionist’s wonderful satire?

    Funny how the big news is that some rabbi complains about equal time with the ubitiquous christmas tree and the talk turns to the atheists —- as far as I can tell – those of other religions seem to complain more than the so called god hating atheists.

    Give us atheists a break – complain about us when it is actually warrented !

  7. Steve
    December 19th, 2006 @ 12:21 pm

    I’m an atheist but still find joy in the holiday season as a time to see family and friends and take a much-needed respite. It is really too bad that atheists are getting tangled up in this ‘war on the other guy’s holiday’ fiasco.

    I can’t help but think that the way to convert true believers or reduce the affect of religion on secular society is not to attack the most secular of their holidays.

  8. allonym
    December 19th, 2006 @ 9:07 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me, when RA posts anything subtitled “Special to The Raving Atheist”, that there are yet some commenters who take the wacky quotes and reports therein as fact. Some people just don’t understand RA’s satire, I guess.

  9. Cthulance
    December 19th, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

    It hit me the morning after that this was satire, but that’s what I get for reading these things while intoxicated. Plus, I’ve become somewhat suspicious of the Raving ‘Atheist’ lately, perhaps with some justification.

  10. Ron
    December 19th, 2006 @ 11:52 pm

    Satire, or not, it is a serious issue when a governing body has anything to do with a belief system. Any partaking in such events, that are part of any given belief system, is guaranteed to create unrest. Belief systems have nothing to due with “the right to liberty and the persuit of happiness”, except that you are free to believe what you wish. The governments only role is to protect the individuals rights. Not sanction or endorse any belief system!
    It is the same old problem. If you leave the realm of facts, and allow groups with beliefs to say their belief is correct while another group’s is not, you get trouble. Government participation of any kind, only exacerbates this problem.
    Were people to be mature about this they would demand that no government involvement is acceptable (those who believe things and those who don’t). Why?
    Think about this carefully. Any government that participates in anything other then the protection of individual rights, is cast into the role of coercive agent. Even if it seems benign, it is not, because of law enforcement (guns – physical force).
    Governments by their nature require physical force to back up their rules. If force is used, or threatened in any other way then protecting individual rights…get the point?

  11. Godthorn
    December 20th, 2006 @ 12:17 am

    That is precisely the point, and the hazard.

  12. Missy
    December 21st, 2006 @ 2:55 pm

    It’s just so stupid to pluck all the Christmas trees up….black and white thinking….I run into this silly style all the time…especially by no-thinking righties

  13. Michael Bains
    December 21st, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

    To Hell with teh Xmas!

    Warning: Strong profanity and exorbitant Peanut trashing!

    Disclaimer: I love Christmas and almost everything about it. That includes the silly li’l “virgin birth” story. That’s like seein’ a piece of ancient Greece alive an’ thrivin’ in our modern times.

    I just get a kick outta the whole satirical War Effort. It’s too bad/sad that so many folks take it all so seriously.

    RAmen and Happy Holidays to all y’all!

  14. JJ
    December 22nd, 2006 @ 1:50 am

    American Atheists President Ellen Johnson expressed concern over the potential consequences of her organization’s pending lawsuit to place an obscenely blasphemous fecal sculpture next to a creche in an Alabama courthouse lobby.

    Is RA insinuating that the AA’s equivalent of Jesus is a pile of shit? I’ve never known an atheist who was a shit-worshipper. Maybe I didn’t hang out with them enough.

  15. Kate B.
    December 22nd, 2006 @ 10:42 am

    I thought it was a reference to Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo, but I could be wrong.

  16. R H F
    December 23rd, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

    Virgin birth story makes more sense than my ancestor not being human.

    JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.

  17. Ron
    December 23rd, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

    “Missy said:
    1) It’s just so stupid to pluck all the Christmas trees up”

    You are the only one saying “ALL”. It is fine for people to have trees on there own. NOT government.

    “Missy said:
    2)black and white thinking….I run into this silly style all the time…especially by no-thinking righties”

    Rather then address the actual substance of the argument you attempt to create a pejorative (black and white thinking) and resort to an ad hominem attack.

  18. Cthulance
    December 24th, 2006 @ 1:02 am

    Satire or not, most people who breeze through aren’t going to understand this. They’re not going to ‘get’ the inside ‘joke’.

    I’m sure The Raving ‘Atheist’ knows this. This whole post bears a disturbing resemblance to his past claim that atheists wait until theists erect seasonal displays of their theism, then demand that their own displays be inserted in the hopes that the theists will abandon their attempts.

    This current claim–satire or not–is as false as his previous. It’s sad that he’s degenerated into this state of affairs. ‘Special to The Raving Atheist’ or not, it’s a lie intended to muddy the waters. It makes you want to reduce yourself to his own tactics just to defy him, but that would dirty one’s own self.

    I’m still awaiting verification of this claim, that atheists wait for theists to erect seasonal displays and then demand to insert their own displays in the hopes that the theists will abandon their attempt. A lie is a lie, a falsehood a falsehood.

    Just one verifying link, RA. Just one.

    People who work in law are good at that sort of thing, but it doesn’t change the fact of the lie.

  19. Kold_Kadavr, flatliner
    December 24th, 2006 @ 4:27 pm

    MAXIMS of ALTRUISM:
    1. Abortion, murder, or moolah won’t save thee. Only Jesus Christ;
    2. Life’s FAR too short to go to the abyss of Misery for eternity. But, yet, many people choose exactly that;
    3. Repent and believe! WWIII looms!! Bush’s a puppet for Satan, controlled by the Illuminati;
    4. Only 2 realms after our lifelong demise, our Finite Existence… and 1 of ‘em ain’t too cool.
    5. Choose: Our Mighty God vs. your wimpy ego;
    6. Never leave me, Lord Jesus, as I’ll never leave you.
    GOD BLESS!
    Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam:
    In Hoc Signo + Vinces

  20. Cthulance
    December 25th, 2006 @ 12:46 am

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the Raving ‘Atheist’. I just am highly suspect of his motives. It seems to me that so much of what he writes lately serves to muddy the waters and is a disservice to atheists in general. He strikes me as more an apologist for Christianity and as one who has a motive to disparage and obfuscate atheism, whatever that motive may be.

    I used to be able to come here and get a dose of clear and sharply reasoned atheistic thought. Now I’m not so sure. Recently, I get a lot of vague and non-committal doublespeak (occasionally peppered with outright falsehoods disparaging atheists, as previously mentioned), and I don’t get it.

    If the Raving Atheist were an atheist, I think he’d probably tie all his bullshit together in some overarching masterstroke of a point. It would probably only serve his ego to do so, but he doesn’t. If the Raving Atheist wants to be a watered down apologetic theist, that’s fine with me so long as he makes it clear that’s what he’s about. Yet he rambles on, not necessarily raving but more obscuring, libeling, confusing…

  21. Ron
    December 25th, 2006 @ 12:51 am

    There are a core group of people here that are fairly tolerant of religious people participating. That is as long as you stick to a topic and the rules of proper discussion.

    Proclamations are for idiots. Make a proper case. That said I am feeling generous, so here is a rebuttal.

    1. Abortion, murder, or moolah won’t save thee. Only Jesus Christ;

    1) To exist one must follow the dictates of ones environment … existence. Only knowledge will allow you to exist.

    2. Life’s FAR too short to go to the abyss of Misery for eternity. But, yet, many people choose exactly that;

    2) Life is far to short to remain ignorant. Learn the nature of your environment.

    3. Repent and believe! WWIII looms!! Bush’s a puppet for Satan, controlled by the Illuminati;

    3) Study and learn! Wars are a product of human behavior. If you need to something to represent evil, look no further then the behavior of those who do not respect individual rights, and seek to defraud others. Fictitious characters do not cause people to make these choices. Thought proceeds action.

    4. Only 2 realms after our lifelong demise, our Finite Existence… and 1 of ‘em ain’t too cool.

    4) Doom and gloom fiction devised to scare people into believing what the saleman is selling.

    5. Choose: Our Mighty God vs. your wimpy ego;

    5) This god fiction is yours (You have yet to prove), and your attempt at beating anyone down, who does not subscribe to beliefs, is wasted.

    6. Never leave me, Lord Jesus, as I’ll never leave you.
    GOD BLESS!

    6) OK

    Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam:
    In Hoc Signo + Vinces

    Mens sano in corpore sano

  22. Brian Macker
    December 27th, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

    I coundn’t find any such statement on the AA site on the 18th either but I did the search after posting my last comment. I think RA is just lying about this. Again, not living up to the standards of his vow to be a good and honest person.

  23. Godthorn
    December 28th, 2006 @ 12:15 am

    Are you referring to Cthulance’s challenge that “atheists wait for theists to erect seasonable displays and then demand to insert their own….”? The only thing I would challenge about this statement is the term “wait.” I don’t know that atheists lie in wait for such opportunities, but I’m sure that some pounce on them when they occur. And why shouldn’t they? I’m not attempting here to defend RA’s assertions; I don’t know whether his attribution to AA is accurate or not. But I also will not defend atheists in general in anything other than their denial of the supernatural. There is no greater percentage of saints among atheists than there is among theists. In fact, the percentage is probably far lower. A hell of a lot of atheists would slit your throat for a small profit. I am an atheist because I am convinced that all belief in the supernatural is nonsense, not because I think atheism is a beautiful fraternity and that atheists in general are nice, honest, honorable people. If you are defending atheism, you are justified; if you are defending atheists, you are off-track.

  24. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    December 28th, 2006 @ 8:31 am

    The only obscenely blasphemous fecal sculpture I see is this guy’s pathetic blog :)

  25. Cthulance
    December 28th, 2006 @ 11:49 pm

    Godthorn:

    If Brian Macker was referring to THE RAVING ATHEIST’S challenge–not mine–that “atheists wait for theists to erect seasonal displays and then demand to insert their own…” all he’s doing is looking at this from the same angle I have. The Raving Atheist made an apparently false (and certainly unsupported) assertion. He didn’t qualify it as a joke or satire. Perhaps RA is just mistaken, but I think he’s too smart for that.

    Saying that we should “wait” until the Raving Atheist’s lies or errors come true is beside the point. I’m not disputing the possibility of what might happen in the future. What I’m questioning is RA’s CLAIM, with absolutely no support, that this happens already, that it HAS happened. I’ve never heard of a single case which supports The Raving Atheist’s claim here.

  26. Cthulance
    December 28th, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

    I said, “I’ve never heard of a single case which supports The Raving Atheist’s claim here.”

    I’d like to add that I can’t even find one by searching. Can you?

  27. Thorngod
    December 29th, 2006 @ 9:00 am

    I have heard of at least several such cases. Unfortunately, since I was not astounded, or even mildly surprised, by such a human response, I took no particular notice of any of them, so I can’t offer any evidence. My point was that atheists in general behave very much like other human beings, and such a response should not be unexpected and is certainly no shame or insult to atheism.

  28. Cthulance
    December 29th, 2006 @ 11:05 pm

    Thorngod said, “I have heard of at least several such cases.”

    Then by all means enlighten me, as I’ve been seeking verification of this claim. Which cases, specifically, have you heard of?

  29. Cthulance
    December 29th, 2006 @ 11:33 pm

    Curiously, Thorngod can’t offer any evidence that atheists “wait for theists to erect seasonal displays and then demand to insert a godless symbol or slogan…” Neither could the Raving Atheist. Neither seem to think it’s very important but to me it’s very conspicuous.

    Here’s the Raving Atheist blog entry I’m referring to:
    http://ravingatheist.com/archives/2006/09/me_too.php

    I’ve been pestering the Raving Atheist about this claim since he first made it. He troubled himself to include a link to a godless symbol, he troubled himself to include a link to a godless slogan, but he provides no link to his claim that atheists demand insertion of these symbols and slogans into theistic seasonal displays in the hopes that theists will abandon their attempts. It is amazing to me, the apparent snowjob he tried to pull off here.

    Specifics, please. Of course atheists have symbols. We got a link for that. Of course they have slogans, we got a link for that. Is it really true that atheists “lie in wait for theists to erect seasonal displays” and then demand that these atheistic symbols or slogans be inserted, in the hopes that the theists will abandon their efforts? If it’s so obviously true, providing a link should be as easy as providing links to godless symbols and slogans.

    All I’m asking for is some evidence of a claim which I’m told is obviously true yet which no one can provide a single specific case to verify. I get this much from fundamentalist Christians. I expect better from the Raving Atheist.

  30. Brian Macker
    December 30th, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

    I just want to know if this lawsuit over a holiday shit sculputure exists or not. If not then this piece is a lie.

  31. Cthulance
    December 30th, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

    “I just want to know if this lawsuit over a holiday shit sculputure exists or not. If not then this piece is a lie.”

    I’m told it’s a joke, although a joke in which the vast number of those exposed to it don’t get the punchline and the author of the ‘joke’ likely knew that most wouldn’t, probably qualifies as a lie.

  32. Godthorn
    January 1st, 2007 @ 12:10 am

    And now the new year, reviving old desires,
    The thoughtful soul to solitude retires,
    Where the white hand of Moses on the bough
    Puts forth, and Jesus from the ground suspires.
    -E. Fitzgerald, Rubaiyaat

  33. Godthorn
    January 1st, 2007 @ 1:32 am

    This doesn’t qualify technically, since it is not a response to a “seasonal” display, but Google “Judge Roy Moore (And Other Sneaky Christians)” for one example of an atheist response to Christian displays.

  34. Evan
    January 1st, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

    Joke or no joke, someone needs to focus a little more clearly on constructing sentences properly. I stared at this one for a couple of minutes, trying to make sense of it, before realizing what was broken:

    “Our goal isn’t so much to drive the last traces of God out of the public square, as to express our desire to drive them out a few feet away from those traces.”

    I assume the last words were intended to be “from the public square”, which would make some degree of sense — although not a lot. Otherwise the sentence (with pronoun replaced) would read as:

    “Our goal isn’t so much to drive the last traces of God out of the public square, as to express our desire to drive the traces out a few feet away from those traces.”

    Hunh?? LOL

    Anyone else have a better take on this? Nothing worse than a flubbed punchline…

  35. Ron
    January 2nd, 2007 @ 12:54 am

    “Godthorn said:
    But I also will not defend atheists in general in anything other than their denial of the supernatural. There is no greater percentage of saints among atheists than there is among theists.”

    Atheism only connotes the dismissal of a belief in a supreme being. There are many other irrational things to believe. More over atheist are no less immune to “mob mentality”

  36. Cthulance
    January 4th, 2007 @ 12:01 am

    Godthorn said “This doesn’t qualify technically, since it is not a response to a ‘seasonal’ display”

    To me it doesn’t appear to qualify at all. Requesting parallel displays to those of theists is not at all equivalent to demanding that atheist symbols and slogans be inserted into theistic seasonal displays in the hopes that such projects will be abandoned.

    Examples that don’t qualify–technically or otherwise–don’t qualify. I see nothing wrong with atheists wanting parallel displays to theistic displays. What I’m seeking is one… just one… example of what the Raving Atheist claimed and seems to imply routinely happens: that atheists lie in wait for theists to erect seasonal displays of their theism, then demand that atheist symbols and slogans be inserted in the hopes that the theists will abandon their attempts. Just one example, anyone?

  37. Fred Bear
    January 5th, 2007 @ 1:04 pm

    Old Fred Bear says…..

    I yam a bear what was dopted by some human beans and living wit them and also to learn English.

    I canut figger out why soma yew human beans don’t believe in
    God……
    Yew all think everthing can be figgered out with brains.
    But that ain’t so.

    Fer instance………see……now you just eggspleen to me why yew love someone….yer mate…yer cubs…..whatever.

    And don’t be tellin me you loves them ’cause they’s nice to yew
    or bcause yer mate is a hottie in the den….when the cubs is sleepin….
    That don’t proof nuthin…….
    ’cause….theres still old peoples what don’t boggie no more and they still loves each other and don’t know why……
    An thats the turooth….for reals…

    And then when you sees the beyoutifull stuff in old mother nature….like sun sits or snoo on the winter morn all white an purty…..or you give an ear to some music what makes you shut up and listen and teers drip down yer nose and yew don’t know why but yew gotta buy that CD…….

    Dew you all smart ass humens what got collitch edgeecations
    think that stuff all hoppens by axe-ee-dent????

    Or bcause some chemocles done colluded tewgether and making the univerz with stars and black hulls and such????

    Well…..awl i got to say is………

    Yew Athee izts must bee turrible lonely in the night dark when yew thinkin and frettin bout some old medi-kull stuff what the vet….I mean the doctorr ….said……
    Or how you ghonna git you a nother…job now that they done
    down slided yer po…sition at work

    Old Fred Bear say…hope som days you wise up and find out that there’s som thin mush bigger than all of us all……
    And that He cars fer you
    And that He knows what the hell is a goin on wit you
    And thay He will help you get thru it but you just got tew axe him first for help on account old God , he got a big egg-o an He likes tew be axed fer help……

    And yew don’t need no pertickleyer church not even….
    Hell,,,,,us animalls prays to Him alla the time but don’t say out loud…on account can’t spik langage ( ‘cept fer me)…butt
    we jest pray in the woods or naturals elswhere.

    So, I tak tew much truly but ree mamber what old Fred says;

    God rilly hangs out up there and cars about yew too
    Can’t proof it no how with old sigh yance…..but is there and truoo also.

    Stay warm an Dry cause itss winder time wit snow also.

    Old Fred bear

  38. Thorngod
    January 5th, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

    Yep, it winter agin, Mister Bar, but de icekaps meltin an many ye kuzzin polar bars starvin from shortund winter feedz, an so far, Fred, Gitchemanitaw, He pay no tenshun. I gess it like de Good Bar Book say, “Observ the sparroes of the fild. Dey so not, neether do they reep, yit de lord thi god feedith dem to de kats.” Aant it always de way.

    De storee thred bar, Fred Bar.

  39. sam
    January 7th, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

    Well done Thorngod, I love your reply!

  40. oDd42
    January 10th, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

    The Raving Athiest is dead, long live

  41. Jody Tresidder
    January 11th, 2007 @ 3:11 pm

    Indeed he may be (#40) but Thorngod’s was worth dropping by for in any case. Well done from me too!

  42. June
    January 14th, 2007 @ 7:17 am

    Hey, ThornGodThorn, still here, I see, and doing good things for this “blog”. Happy New Year!

  43. Godthorn
    January 14th, 2007 @ 10:48 am

    Thanks for the pats. Where is everyone? It’s become a wasteland.

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