Are any of you familiar with "The Happy Heretic" aka Judith Hayes?  She's not exactly "happy," as in "carefree," but she can be wonderfully funny.  Here's her latest column ... which I love because whenever I hear anyone say "I'm so blessed," or something similar, I want to scream.  Whatever happened to "humility"? Or did it never exist?

I’m So Blessed

The trite, overworked cliché, “It’s a miracle!” has been replaced with the far more arrogant “I’m so blessed.” “Praise the Lord” has always been around but it too is gaining in popularity. We hear it all the time. “We’re so blessed.” People will say this when a tornado misses their house even though it wiped out the rest of their neighborhood. Blessed? A woman who recently told me her car loan had been approved was understandably happy, but she ruined the news for me by adding, “I’m so blessed.” I was tempted to say, “Did you know that over 6 million children younger than 5 die every year? Why aren’t they blessed?” But I bit my tongue. 

As recently as 2010 there was an article in the Los Angeles Times that read, “Underscoring historic recent gains in global health, the number of children younger than 5 who die this year will fall to 7.7 million, down from 11.9 million two decades ago, according to new estimates by population health experts.” Fall?! Is 7.7 million anything to be happy about? If we can say yes, then shame on us. 

This same article (May 2010) points out that the USA ranks 42nd globally in child mortality rates. That is inexcusable. If you want some eye-opening albeit depressing statistics, Google the World Health Organization and see how we are not taking care of each other. It’s very sad. I also think the constant praising of the Lord who helps us find a parking space or whatever, is distasteful and outrageously selfish. But hey! At least we’re approving some car loans. Thank God! 

On a recent “Judge Show” (Alex, Mathis, whatever) the litigants were fighting over a cell phone bill. After the ruling the winner said, “Praise Jesus. I knew Jesus was on my side.” Yes, thank you, Jesus! This time I didn’t bite my tongue. I yelled at the TV. Well, at least it was cathartic. 

Likewise, on The People’s Court a woman said on microphone, “God is good because I got my money!” Those were her exact, excited words. Good grief! My TV must have blushed at the outraged invectives I hurled at it this time. How can anyone be that selfish, especially in an economy that is circling the drain as millions are unemployed and in desperate straits? God is good? Well, he has a hell of a way of showing it. 

Blessed by Whom?

The eternally vexing problem of who is doing the blessing is naturally avoided, evaded, side-stepped and just generally ignored by all the recipients of all those blessings. And while I realize how often I pose this question, it is the Achilles’ heel of all religions so it must be asked: Which deity is blessing all those lucky enough to be blessed? The logically extended sentence about being blessed would be, “I’m so blessed by my God because my God is the only true God, which means that three-quarters of the world’s population are worshipping false gods, poor souls.” I ask you, blessed people, isn’t this what you’re actually saying? 

Here in the USA the Judeo-Christian tradition still reigns supreme. Jews and Christians alike often refer to “blessings” even though the two groups obviously disagree completely on the enormously important question of Jesus. Nevertheless, for any of you who believe in blessings, I ask again, loudly and clearly, WHO is blessing you? (Spoiler alert: I know the contradictory answer[s] to that question.) 

I live in a lovely part of California’s Central Valley, but here in “God’s Country” I am so frequently bombarded with those phrases “I’m so blessed” and “Praise the Lord” that I often want to smack someone. There’s nothing wrong with being happy. I would express joy or relief that a car loan had been approved for me, but I would not believe, at the same time, that there was an all-powerful God responsible for it. It would be my own good credit rating, or dumb luck, or both, but not a supernatural event. Why can’t True Believers see the problem with their God-helped petty accomplishments in a world filled with misery? What is wrong with these people? 

Like many atheists I bite my tongue too often. I’m afraid of offending someone as they drone on about their trivial triumphs and their talk of being so blessed. But these people are actually gloating, aren’t they? They are flat-out saying that they deserve to be blessed because they are so deserving. It really boils down to gloating, doesn’t it? I find it ugly. 

The occasional bake sales and soup kitchens are nothing more than a way of easing some guilty consciences. And guilty they should be! The term “homeless Vet” should be an oxymoron. It should not exist. What’s more, we (meaning the whole world) have the means of ending almost all of the poverty that exists. We just don’t care enough. Well, about others. We certainly care a great deal about ourselves though, and we praise God for bringing about a win for our favorite football team in the Super Bowl! Yes, indeed. Praise the Lord! We can be truly blessed on Super Bowl Sunday! 

Fighting Back

Since we are surrounded by all these self-congratulatory, “blessed” people, who are taking bows for their God’s blessings, why not point out what is obviously wrong with this picture? And that would be, How can an all-merciful God, one Sunday afternoon, offer supernatural help to a 6-million-dollar-per-year football player while allowing thousands of little children to die on that same day?  Hmmm? There is something drastically wrong with this arrogant arrangement, so why should we atheists be afraid of saying so? If we are afraid of offending the people doing the gushing about their many blessings, maybe we need different friends. I think it’s time to put an end to all tongue-biting. Enough is enough.

I have been asked many times how to avoid this ticklish social dilemma, since I have done my fair share of the Talk-Back thing (surprise! surprise!) and the results were sometimes disdainful disapproval; but more often than not the results were startled embarrassment—on the part of the “blessed.” Let’s see: million-dollar football players, starving children. Who should God be blessing? I honestly believe that many otherwise kind people have simply never looked at things in such a stark but honest way. We can always, calmly and gently, point a harsh spotlight on such subjects, can we not? We would only discuss such things after someone had thanked God out loud for a touchdown or whatever. And I think we should do so. Fair is fair.

You’re so blessed? Well, goody for you. Now take some of those blessings and donate them to UNICEF. Or someone truly in need. But please stop preening about your God-given blessings, will you? It is disturbing, offensive and puke-inducing. Its disappearance would be greatly appreciated. 

I am personally going to try to renew my efforts in this area and do a better job of practicing what I preach. I think . . . oh, damn! My printer is flashing a LOW INK message on my screen. And I don’t have a backup cartridge. Double-damn! Hey, just a minute here . . . Wait. Yes! I do have a backup cartridge after all. Thank God!

# # # #

Is she a hoot, or what?  She's had two books published.  The first one, In God We Trust...But WHICH One? is out of print, but you may be able to find it on  (I have two copies, but I'm not letting either one out of my hands because they're both signed!)  The second book, simply titled The Happy Heretic, is still available from Prometheus books.  I think. 



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I love Judith Hayes and I've visited her website frequently. Thanks for the post!

There are so many people who p*ss me off for publicly thanking or praising an imaginary friend for piddly little unimportant events...  As IF a) there really was a creator of the universe(s), and b) that creator has the time and the inclination to pay attention to everything that happens on this tiny mudball in space.

When I was still being dragged to Sunday school, and still semi-believing, we used to sing a song (which I've mostly forgotten) about "He who sees the sparrow fall, will hear my call," and there's another hymn titled "His Eye is on the Sparrow."  Yeah.  Riiiiiight.  So maybe the world if as f*cked-up as it is because Big Daddy is too busy watching sparrows.

I started to wonder who was watching what the day I woke up in a hospital after a driver ran a red light and knocked me about 8 feet across the street the day before.  (That was many years before somebody invented "Walk / Don't Walk" signals.)  I don't remember the impact, but that's how the brain works.  But I had positive proof that the only beings who gave a rat's a## about my welfare were my own parents, and not some supernatural superman in the sky. 

Took me years to figure all that out, though.  Stupid of me.

Hey sk8eycat, you found my sore spot! I don't know why, but it frustrates me to no freaking end when I'm trying to be polite and ask in passing, polite conversation "How are you?" and get the response, "I'm Blessed!" What the hell happened to being polite and returning the query, "I'm well, and how are you?"??? I have to bite my tongue so often to keep from asking when they exclaim "I'm Blessed!", "Did you say you were touched in the head? How awful!" I really hate when they tell me to "Have a blessed day!" what the hell does that mean?

LOL 'His eye is on the Sparrow' that reminded me... Recently my Mom and I were in the local thrift shop and that song was playing, I told her, that with him being the co-pilot in so many freakin' cars here in the south, he'd better keep his damned eyes on the road!

Touched in the head, or goosed by an angel....

That's what I used to call that silly TV show starring Rev. Della Reese.  Pissed my JW sister off whenever I said that...she thought the show was just wonderful. 

I think she used to watch "Highway to Heaving," too.  I don't remember the name of the actor who played Michael Landon's angelic sidekick, but his daughter was a member of my ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) 12-step group...if that tells ya something about Hollywood hypocrisy.

OMG LOL "goosed by and angel!" I will be sharing that one with the hubby! haha. I'm 100% with you on the Michael Landon show as well, my folks used to watch that and Little House on the Prairie, when I stayed with them for a bit that was the time I used to catch up on the housework.

I did watch the show little Nellie grew up to star in called 'Big Love' for its entire run though LOL, I think I just wanted to see how they would manage to kill off the prophet and Harry Dean Stanton played him to the hilt, very creepy!

Good point about gloating.

That's the whole thing about certain aspects of religions..."I'M important, and YOU'RE NOT.  And it's not just the "I'm so blessed" remarks. 

The other side of the coin is, "God is testing my faith" when something terrible happens.  Why would an all-knowing super-being need to "test" anything?  She/he/it (say that 3 times real fast) already knows what the outcome will be; the buybull says so.  (I started to become a little puzzled about that when I was a Jobie.  The initiation ceremony involves the recitation of the story of Job. Borrrrrinnnnng!)  But IMO the person who believes they are being tested is saying that they must be important, or a test would not be necessary.  Pitiful.

There is also the attitude that the entire vast universe (or universes, if some astronomers are correct) was all created just for us.  The moon and the stars were put in the night sky so we wouldn't trip over things on our way to the outhouse in the dark, and rainbows are a reminder that there won't be any more(?) worldwide floods, and other silly, ignorant examples of unreason.

And on and on.


Goodbye, my friend…

Posted by AnthonyP on June 30, 2012

Judith L Hayes
1945 – 2012 


I have NO idea what happened; I hadn't heard from her in a couple of weeks, but that was not unusual.  She was working on her July column about the Vatican scandals...titled, "The Butler Did It," and that's the last I heard from her.

Damn.  Damn.  Damn!


She lived a good life and she will be missed!

I'm fortunate enough not to live among religion-babbling people (except for Mom, who says "thank God," despite decades of Dad, then me, cutting in with "What's God got to do with it?").  As I get older, become more secure in my beliefs, and don't give a shit, I'm less likely to let religious language pass unnoticed (unless with strangers, whom I don't want to provoke - you do have to bite your tongue and pick your battles).

I like Hayes' writing.  "Happy Heretic" has another meaning to me: I always preach that atheism is a great liberation: you don't CARE what God wants or thinks, what his plan is, if he's watching me, etc., etc. 

Anthony told me that he's going to leave Judith's archives and web site up as long as possible, maybe make the archive into PDF files.  But I suggest that you should copy and save, or print, anything you want to keep permanently ASAP.

Things are a mess. Most of her family is Missouri Synod (fundamentalist) Lutheran, and they have been out of touch for 20 years or more.  ALL of them. But "next of kin" has/have all legal rights, unless she left a will, and her closest friends, except for Anthony, the webmaster, are scattered all over the country.

I just want to know WHY!  She'd been clinically depressed since her husband died 18 months ago, but recently she appeared to be getting her "groove" back...a little.  She phoned me on June 17th, and seemed to be excited about what she wanted to write next, and also seemed to be somewhat more like the person I've known for about 12 years.  I need to know what, if anything, pushed her over the edge.

There are a lot of us who tried to help her when Pat died, and we need to understand what happened, and if we failed her somehow.

I can't stand this.

I'll check out the website and download the files tomorrow.


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