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It may not be a full frontal assault yet, but you are under attack. It may not even be a conscious decision by your theist family and friends, but there is a whispered conversation taking place. A conversation that excludes and demeans your thoughts.

Take for example the following: 

This week I am the bad guy. Actually, at this time of year, I'm the bad guy every fucking day. I get tired of religious bullshit assaulting my senses daily and am prone to take a stand. A portion of my family is in an uproar, I am persona non-gratis. Tempers have flared, verbal smack downs have been issued. The glove has been dropped by loved ones now lost, oh ye of little faith. The steps are being walked, the pistols loaded; death to anyone who would dare to offer an opinion that conflicts with this country's glamorous addiction to religion.

Some have to take themselves seriously, since anyone who opens their eyes once in awhile will not participate. At times, drama is all there is for the willfully ignorant.

A family member posted an image that she thought was honoring veterans. I looked at it and decided it slammed atheists that served in the military, so I left a comment. Always the same; we can to a certain point joke and tease, learn and teach, unless fantasy is the subject. I was lambasted for deciphering the anti-atheist code.

Now that we are firmly entrenched as a warrior country, when something pertaining to the military is discussed, we're supposed to jump up and salute. Americans are in a jam, hating war yet afraid to denigrate the soldier. The Vietnam backlash is so ingrained in our culture, that clarifying a thought about patriotism is not only unwanted, but an affront to all. Minds that babble bullshit will not be corrected; ever.

To frame the discussion properly, I do
have Vietnam vets in the family. I've heard the horror stories of their time in Vietnam and I know how they were treated when they returned. It is not their fault that our government went to war.

The person(s) that are upset with me are one of those vet's offspring. They post fairly constant memes that honor vets since they are proud of their father's service. Not a problem. Though I do not agree with the warrior culture, I understand. I have great respect for the gentleman, even though I disagree with almost everything that he says. Conservative christian of the Limbaugh type; you can smell the hate that oozes out of his enraged pores when he gets worked up about those traitorous liberals, and amusingly, any conservative that would work with them. He is the poster boy for the Tea Party, it's my way or the highway.

We don't talk politics, pretty much pointless.

Being a white male in a country that continually finds a part of the populace to oppress, the atheist putdowns catch me by surprise. Not the in your face slams, I can handle confrontations, but the sneaky little messages that are spread around by an unknowing or uncaring populace are starting to aggravate. I understand the message even if they don't.

My horrible comment on the cartoon in question was very relaxed. I only made the point that whether correct or not, some people find the pledge of allegiance to be a separation of church and state issue. Nothing more. Didn't get excited, it is after all, family. After my comment I was verbally smacked down for my audacity to start a conversation. I could tell that I had grievously offended the family member in question, so I removed my comment and apologized. I thought possibly the longwinded bitching by someone who doesn't understand how social networks operate would disappear, but it didn't. After a day or so I removed my apology as well; kiss my ass. Go ahead, post another atheist slam and see where it gets you.

Tis the season of course. I open up an email yesterday from another family member, who is closely related to the conservative faction of the family, that contains fantasy. Father from heaven coming down and saving their children nonsense. Of course, cannot ignore. I take it easy and replied, "look at this, a fairy tale in my mailbox." Nothing too dramatic.

I was informed that the email was intended for my wife. Guess they are still hoping she can be turned back to the nonsense.

My point is that as atheists, we are continually slammed by the theist community. They see absolutely nothing wrong in promoting their religion; in fact it's their right to brainwash the world. But don't dare promote reality since for a theist, reality is not only abhorrent, but is also a dire insult.

Now I'm not in any way comparing atheists and atheism to the denigration of those not white, or those that prefer their own gender as mates, or even the battles that women still are fighting; not yet anyway. Atheism, though targeted by the religious, hasn't seemed to be a problem that directly effects how this guy lives; but it's coming. It's been coming since the religious right took over conservative politics, and soon we will be the hot topic.

The battles that groups have had to wage to be included in American society will be our battles. You think atheism is frowned upon now, wait until the national debate centers around us as it has on women's rights, or any other battle for equal rights. Whenever one battle is won in the equal rights arena, another one will rise. It's coming to a town near you soon. We've been quiet and unobtrusive like other groups in the past. Everyone has been ignoring us. Now with the dawn of in your face atheism, I think that public attention is turning our way. It has always been there, but wait until you are the national topic.

It will be great fun.

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A black-capped kingfisher (Neil Fifer)

A black-capped kingfisher (Neil Fifer)

Cool man doone. =)


Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Arizona, nature is much better than an imaginary God anyway

One might go to another extreme and say that one's religion forbids all oaths.  I do not like the "to the flag" part because I read enough of the great semanticist Korzybski to agree with his statement that "the map is not the territory."  If the flag represents my country symbolically, it should be shown in tatters; if it be said to represent the People, then we have collective dyspepsia.  But the "God" part is equally troubling, since Lincoln himself pointed out the stupidity of promising or attributing anything to that guy: both the Northern troops and the Johnny Rebs said "God's on our side!"

Both sides could not be right.

Wait, I see football players thanking god weekly for that fine tackle they made, catch they caught, pass they threw; and only one team can win. Doesn't stop them.

Maybe the team that praises the most gets god's favor and the win. 

Makes sense to the terminally stupid.

Isn't it lovely that the same "God" who gets Mr. Tebow to kneeling at games now has him sidelined with injuries?  ROFL.

I find your comment to the cartoon to be extremely mild. For people who can't stop talking about "our American" freedoms, those that supposedly the mullahs hate, it seems to me they fail to see the irony in slamming people who are simply expressing a dissenting opinion. It doesn't even occur to them that the most important rights democracies protect are those in the minority, such as atheists, or the less powerful, such as women, or the poor. It could well be that those were the rights the soldier was defending when he lost the use of his legs. But that thought does not cross their mind. I think it is debasing to the soldier to suggest he became paralyzed to defend the right to keep saying a brainless pledge that is recited as a reflex and has lost any meaning because it is just a habit.

What would they do if you had actually wanted to discuss whether an actual war was a just war or not? Whether America was actually the aggressor instead if trying to defend ourselves? What about being angry at a government that sends young people overseas to lose their lives or limbs or mental health to defend corporate or political interests?

I feel very fortunate that the only times I fight with relatives over "religion" is actually mostly about won and spirituality, it doesn't get as nasty as in your case. Stand up for your right to have a dissenting opinion and to be an American just like the others even if you don't fit their narrow definition of American. you should tell them that dissent is patriotic.

Hear, Hear!

Yeah, I'm sure the poor soldier who walked on a mine was thinking of school children's right to pledge allegiance when he woke up from surgery... I wonder where the school keeps that soldier when they don't need him.

You would not believe the tirade my comment started. Unfortunately I did make an error by starting my dissent with the words, "it's not that great," then made the mild separation of church and state comment. Those first words seemed to be the catalyst for the flames.

Religion and patriotism is one and the same for many, you can't have one without the other. I should have told them about Pat Tillman. Worth millions, had a NFL contract worth millions more, joins the service and goes to war because he felt it to be his duty, dies from friendly fire; atheist.

You do not have to be religious to be patriotic, even though I'm not much of a fan of patriotism either. You are right when it comes to war. Rereading Vidal's essays, he puts into print every military operation since WW2, you'd be surprised, we are always at war. I doubt the vast majority of Americans have any clue as to how often, and continuously, we battle.

This post was almost exclusively about war and those that fight them. I think we have this "honor" thought so ingrained in society now that we will never stop the fighting. The government has made sure that the military is viewed as something almost holy. Put a soldier up on a pedestal and everyone is afraid to say anything that might denigrate the person. Keep fighting.


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