October 21, 2009
I guess I’m still a little steamed about that idiot Bill Donohue, but I think there’s a larger issue here on the romanticization of the 1950s Norman Rockwell-style faux Americana that so many on the Religious Right want to label as “authentic American culture.” (Here’s a particularly horrifying spectacle, replete with the breathy sigh that Rockwell “captured in intimate detail what America used to be.” No, no he didn’t. Rockwell painted an America that never was.)
Is there an authentic “American Culture?” I think there is — but not what the Religious Right wishes it were. Here, let’s try a thought expermient: you have to describe “American Culture” to an outsider, but you get just one word. What’s your word? Mine’s after the break….
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October 20, 2009
I frequently get this sort of question on this site and in my email: “Why do you spend so much time talking about something you don’t believe in? Why can’t you just live and let live?”
I usually answer this in two ways. First, I very much do believe in “live and let live.” When a Christian tells me that she just believes, that there’s a personal feeling or experience or history or whatever, I accept that. I’m not out to convert Christians to unbelievers; I’m out here to answer apologetics. By and large, my criticism kicks in only when your mindset shifts from “Hey, I believe in Christianity, but it’s cool if you’re an atheist” to “I believe in Christianity and so should you.”
But there is a second reason, and it’s powerfully illustrated by the latest missive from Bill Donohue. To be sure: Donohue is low-hanging fruit (probably in the same genus as our old friends Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort). But this bigoted moron is given space in the New York Times to peddle his unadulterated hate speech — that tells me that we atheists still have a ways to go before things are right with the world.
Donohue tells us:
Today’s radicals are intellectually spent: they want to annihilate American culture, having absolutely nothing to put in its place. In that regard, these moral anarchists are an even bigger menace than the Marxists who came before them.
If societal destruction is the goal, then it makes no sense to waste time by attacking the political or economic structure: the key to any society is its culture, and the heart of any culture is religion. In this society, that means Christianity, the big prize being Catholicism. Which explains why secular saboteurs are waging war against it.
So apparently this blog and thousands of others like it are all frauds; we’re all part of the Vast Conspiracy to Destroy American Culture. It isn’t that we don’t believe in an invisible man who lives in the sky; it’s that we know that the secret shortcut to destroying American Culture is to give polite, logical arguments against the religion that ~70% of its inhabitants profess (and perhaps 20% believe quite fervently).
Welcome to the Conspiracy, my brothers and sisters!