The United States of Religious Freaks

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine

Or why The New Amerika scares the bejesus out of me.

I am not going to write about raging homosexual evangelical preachers. I am not going to write about polygamists that marry their step-daughters and sisters-in-law. I am not even going to write about Witnesses, Waco or Jonestown. I am just going to tell you about three things I read today that once again make me wonder what happened to Reason.

One – the creationist with the doctorate in palaeontology. Apparently, this young doctor of geosciences does not see palaeontology and creationism as being in conflict with each other. Rather, he sees them as two different “paradigms” we use to study the past. His dissertation gives us a view of the end of the Cretaceous era about 65 million years ago. Yet he believes that the earth cannot be more than 10,000 years old. How does he do that? Trying to reconcile those two opinions would give me the mother of all migraines. Even just sitting here and thinking about it is making me dizzy.

Two – the Inquisition. I thought I would catch up with my friend Miss Mickey so I went over to Future Corpse. Miss Mickey has a post about anti-atheist discrimination. Apparently, in the South, your neighbours treat you differently when you admit that you’re a non-believer. I can only imagine that treating you differently might mean anything from not inviting you to their parties (where there is probably no booze anyway) to tarring and feathering you and burning your house down. I don’t know because I’m at work and I haven’t yet watched the video.

I would not have bothered with the creationist palaeontologist and I would certainly have left the very capable Miss Mickey to deal with the Inquisition on her own, but then I found the icing on the cake, the cherry on the sundae, the multiple olives in my martini, if you will. I found Arkansas.

Three – Thomas Paine denounced. Thomas Paine – inventor, writer of Common Sense and Rights of Man, American revolutionary and libertarian. Thomas Paine whom nine states have honoured by declaring Thomas Paine Day. Arkansas too thought they might like to name a day after Thomas Paine, but in the end their legislature decided not to. Their reason? In addition to his more acceptable works named above, Thomas Paine is also the author of The Age of Reason, in which he wrote:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

Thomas Paine was an intellectual. He had his own opinions and beliefs and he exercised his freedom of expression. But the Arkansas House of Representatives doesn’t like what Thomas Paine wrote all those years ago. So the Arkansas House of Representatives denounced Thomas Paine as “anti-Christian and anti-Jewish” and therefore unworthy of being recognised for his great contribution to the establishment of what used to be the land of the free.

And once again, I thank god that I live in the most atheist country on the planet.


5 Responses to The United States of Religious Freaks

  1. Miss Mickey says:

    Max, as I read that heady bit of text you quoted, my response is to –once again– raise my hands high and plead with the heavens to help me understand why on earth religious folk find the fresh, breatheable air of mental freedom so absolutely terrifying.

    I’m embarrassingly ignorant about Thomas Paine (and many, many other people, places, things, concepts, theories, etc.), but this was a very inspiring post. I’ll be visiting soon to fill in one of my knowledge gaps.

    And I hope to one day fill in a travel gap and visit Prague. It’s been on my to-do list for quite some time.

    Oh, and fuck Arkansas.

  2. Max says:

    And, Asshole, your point is… That another idiot politician is talking about something about which he is totally ignorant? Shocking! I am going to beat you up when I see you in spring.

    Miss Mickey, thank you for the compliment. I love praise. I am ignorant about a lot of things too (everyone is) – the trick is to never lose the desire to learn. You should definitely come to Prague – you would like it a lot. See you then.

  3. Darmok says:

    That article is amusing! The Czech president complains that [the IPCC]] was a political authority without any scientific basis—despite it consisting of hundreds of climate scientists…and he himself seems to be a politician without any scientific basis at all. Oh, the irony!

  4. Max says:

    The moral of the story is: politicians everywhere should just shut the fuck up.

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