AN: Am I asking for it? Read this here or at Good Reason News

This is a little out of character for this blog, but this guy from the New American, whatever that is, really needed a logical spanking. You can see several of my posts in the comments there, but I warn you, someone on there actually linked to the John Birch Society, who I am shocked to now know, have a Web site.

The logical fallacies peppered throughout the New American piece are multifarious and run so deep it's more of a challenge to point out each and everyone than it is just to realize the claim, that atheists are prejudice, is patently ridiculous. First off, it makes an assumption about atheism (you could say, that it pre-judges atheists). The writer assumes that 'atheism' has all these goals, like getting religion out of government. But this is a misunderstanding of the term. Atheism is a position on one proposition. It's not a set of beliefs. It's not an order, it's not a religion. It's not secular humanism. Atheists aren't liberals or conservatives, there's no shared theory about what place religion has in government or media or school, there's no
goals. Atheist don't necessarily believe there is no god, although some do. They just say they don't believe there is a god. Your baby is an atheist. He or she has no understanding of, and therefore no belief, in god. That's all it takes. Anyone who says 'I believe there is a god' is not an atheist. Everyone else is an atheist.

Through the treacherous forest of crummy reasoning and self-contradiction in this piece, the writer hopes to prove that the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which he conflates with all atheists, are driven by prejudice against Christians.

The latest attack is a lawsuit to prevent "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance from being engraved on the newly-built Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

USAToday published article
about this lawsuit today.

So far, I'm seeing an article that makes a pre-judgment about what atheism is, who represents them and what their goals are.

The FFRF's goal here isn't to undermine your freedom to celebrate a religion, but simply to prevent the government from making you believe something you don't want to.

I said in the New Americans comments:

One's right to practice a religion, or no religion, in most cases doesn't interfere with the rights of others, we have that freedom. However, when the government promotes a religion or no religion, it interferes with my freedom. This is why government should remain mute on religion. If I want to be oppressed by a religion, I'm free to seek one out, without government telling me how to think. If I want to write about all the aspects of religions I think are dumb, I'm free to do that, without the thought police coming to get me.

oh, by the way, in that USAToday articles comments there are a lot of comments like this one (posted at about 2:31 by andres4317):

Atheists are miserable and terribly misguided human beings. They should be IGNORED as they have ZERO CREDIBILITY.

So, I guess we can add vitriolic pity and calls to have our rights trampled among the ways that atheists are pre-judged.

Not to mention, of course, that since Christians believe God is always good and right, and that he sends people who deny him and his holy spook, specter or ghost to a lake of fire, I guess we can reasonably assume they think atheists deserve to burn in hell — based on a lack of belief, but not on the content of their characters.

Let me get this straight. So, all atheists, and by that I really mean the Freedom From Religion Foundation, are prejudice, and by that I mean looking to provide room for all views. Also, they are miserable and misguided, which (in the Christian tradition, I suppose) means ignore them, even though that will result in atheists roasting on an open fire, which they deserve, according to Christians, despite the way they live their lives.

Wait, who's prejudice?

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Comment by Jared Lardo on July 18, 2009 at 5:07pm
"Atheists are miserable and terribly misguided human beings. They should be IGNORED as they have ZERO CREDIBILITY." I lol'd. Stylistically, these are the words of someone not only with an agenda but with no confidence in it. I could break someone like that in only a few hours.
Comment by Daniel W on July 18, 2009 at 3:33pm

I perused the editorial policy on the New American's website and came up with this: "In addition to political topics, The New American also publishes articles about economics (from a free-enterprise perspective of course!), culture, and history. It is published by American Opinion Publishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of The John Birch Society."

So, you are right, it is the mouthpiece of the John Birchers.

I grew up among John Birchers. I don't know much about their present policies and beleifs, and I would rather forget about them. The local group in the town and church where I grew up (they dominated that Baptist church), had a bizaare beleif system. It went something like, "The Jews" were trying to take over the country, and ultimately the world, in order to become more rich. This somehow involved a conspiracy that was making the world communist. I don't know how they connected it all together, but they were somehow attributing racial strife and, what they regarded as rampant homosexual recruitment, to "the jews". They were rabidly racist, homophobic, and central to their cause, antisemitic. Basically, they were KKK or American Nazi Party without white robes and swastica tattoos, preferring to look more like Beaver Cleaver.

I am saddened to see that the John Birch Society survived the end of communism. Even if the hate that our local group preached was not a 100% accurate representation of the national group, they were part of it and passed out their tracts in our Baptist church. Today, I think that they were not representative of christianity, but rather christianity was one of the tools that John Birchers used, to spread hate. They were also in the local Masonic group, and I'm sure that the Masonic Lodge there was not particularly conscious of the John Birch element in their midst.

The main advice I have is it's best to stay away from them. They thrive on getting people worked up. If you directly argue with them, that gives them a thrill, of "fighting the good fight". They way to fight them is to be aware, don't get sucked into their vortex of hate, and hope that the economy doesnt continue to tank, giving these groups more recruits due to resentment.


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