Fellow Atheists/Agnostic Atheists - Let's Chat: Do you feel it is risky being "out" these days?

We're getting our Yule tree this weekend

It's not a real Hannukah Bush unless Hannukah Harry leaves presents under it each day.

Robear wrote:

It's not a real Hannukah Bush unless Hannukah Harry leaves presents under it each day.

Hanukkah Harry wrote:

Stop it. You're embarrassing me!

Bill O'Reilly has a unique view point on Christianity.

Good lord. I can't even watch all of it.

So this makes Islam a philosophy too right?

Rallick wrote:

Good lord. I can't even watch all of it.

Heh, I watched it all primarily because Bill O'Reilly is so entertainingly absurd. Also, Silverman messes up on the Happy Winter Solstice bit. To wish someone a happy solstice should be no more forbidden than saying "have a good day."

Basically, and I might be granting more credit than is due, but to classify Christianity as a philosophy (like separating intelligent design as a philosophy) one may how to avoid any tricky first amendment establishment issues.

Doesn't work with ID, not sure how it will work with the Babeh Jesus.

NSMike wrote:
Rallick wrote:

Good lord. I can't even watch all of it.

Heh, I watched it all primarily because Bill O'Reilly is so entertainingly absurd. Also, Silverman messes up on the Happy Winter Solstice bit. To wish someone a happy solstice should be no more forbidden than saying "have a good day."

See, entertainingly absurd is fine. Twisting innocent facts until they scream in pain, getting hostile and generally being a dick, to me, is not entertainingly absurd. Either he is sincere in his beliefs, making him more detached from reality than a rainbow-pooping unicorn, or he knows he's full of sh*t, in which case he's a lying scumbag. In any case, the fact that so many people seem to take his word as gospel scares the bejeezus out of me.

Of course, I may just have a low tolerance for that kind of thing, and I'm not in any way judging you for thinking he's entertaining. If I wasn't so incredulous and worried I might find it funnier.

KingGorilla wrote:

Basically, and I might be granting more credit than is due, but to classify Christianity as a philosophy (like separating intelligent design as a philosophy) one may how to avoid any tricky first amendment establishment issues.

Doesn't work with ID, not sure how it will work with the Babeh Jesus.

Do philosphies even have holidays to attack?

What's funny about this is that I think this may actually lose Bill some street cred with conservatives. Yeah, he's attacking Atheism again... but he's also suggesting that Christianity isn't a religion (which kind of an elevated position as compared to a philosphy or cult). I feel like this should also put off some Christians who watch his show... actually I take that back, the people watching this show seriously were probably cheering for him for taking down Athiesm a few pegs. *rolls eyes*

Oh hey, if Christianity is a philosophy, does this mean that all churches and denominations lose their tax-exempt status?

I make note of Darwin's Birthday like any good atheist; and Int'l Talk like a Pirate Day. May Day could be seen as one, if you lump communism and socialism in as a philosophy.

As far as state recognized? No. And you cannot take time of of work for them under US law.

Rallick wrote:

Oh hey, if Christianity is a philosophy, does this mean that all churches and denominations lose their tax-exempt status?

By my understanding of the tax code, many should lose it based on their political speech. Based on the current composition of the Supreme Court, that is iffy.

KingGorilla wrote:

Basically, and I might be granting more credit than is due, but to classify Christianity as a philosophy (like separating intelligent design as a philosophy) one may how to avoid any tricky first amendment establishment issues.

Doesn't work with ID, not sure how it will work with the Babeh Jesus.

Jon Stewart dealt with this pretty well!

West Point cadet five months from graduation throws it all over in protest:

These (officers) are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against the non-religious and establishing formal policies to reward, encourage and even at times require sectarian religious participation. These transgressions are nearly always committed in the name of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity.
H.P. Lovesauce wrote:

West Point cadet five months from graduation throws it all over in protest:

Makes me kinda sad, because he accomplished so much already that I think he could, in the long run, have accomplished even more reform as a West Point grad.

There are benefits to both things. I think it's best for most people to try to change the system from within, but there's a certain air of acceptance that comes with that even when you're speaking out. So, every once in a while it's a really good thing to have someone who is doing well step out in protest in order to make a clear statement.

Oh, totally, and I admire him for standing strongly enough for his ethics that he is willing to take an action that will be detrimental to himself in order to take a stand. I just also wish he could've gotten the success he so clearly earned, and still managed to help change things from within. Make it a win/win rather than a lose/win.

Maybe he can write a book or something.

Demosthenes wrote:

What's funny about this is that I think this may actually lose Bill some street cred with conservatives. Yeah, he's attacking Atheism again... but he's also suggesting that Christianity isn't a religion (which kind of an elevated position as compared to a philosphy or cult).

I am pretty sure the True Believer followers of O'Reilly will smugly laugh at the "gotcha!" and not think too hard about the absurdity what he's actually saying.

Ranger Rick wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:

What's funny about this is that I think this may actually lose Bill some street cred with conservatives. Yeah, he's attacking Atheism again... but he's also suggesting that Christianity isn't a religion (which kind of an elevated position as compared to a philosphy or cult).

I am pretty sure the True Believer followers of O'Reilly will smugly laugh at the "gotcha!" and not think too hard about the absurdity what he's actually saying.

I feel like I should get an achievement with TannHausering you in my own post that you quoted.

I'm less inclined to take the Army guy seriously, as he had already done poorly enough to be rejected for his commission, which if you're in as a career soldier and get to the Academy is pretty much the goal. I know that he is correct; the officer corps as a whole (infantry and armor) is overwhelmingly conservative Christian, according to my brother (who is one of them, btw) and to my own personal experience in the 90's. West Point and the Air Force Academy are regularly accused of religious bias. But the circumstances of this person's exit seem to leave questions about his personal reasons for doing this being perhaps more self-interested than he states.

Robear wrote:

I'm less inclined to take the Army guy seriously, as he had already done poorly enough to be rejected for his commission, which if you're in as a career soldier and get to the Academy is pretty much the goal.

Wow, yeah, if that's the case I'm thoroughly unimpressed that he's falling on his sword.

Page, for his part, says he decided to go public with his resignation after learning that he would not receive a commission for the US military. Because of his struggle with depression, he received a medical waiver.

“When I knew I couldn’t commission, I knew that there was something I could do. I had such limited time remaining in the system, I thought that by doing this I could get people to think about it as well,” he says.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Militar...

Basically, he had some academic difficulties due to events in his personal life.

Hypatian wrote:

There are benefits to both things. I think it's best for most people to try to change the system from within, but there's a certain air of acceptance that comes with that even when you're speaking out. So, every once in a while it's a really good thing to have someone who is doing well step out in protest in order to make a clear statement.

This reminds me of a certain Lt. I knew during my last deployment. He started an atheist/agnostic study/discussion group on the aircraft carrier I was on. I joined to show my support and get an hour out of work (since we weren't busy anyway). Lots of interesting discussion and he had a couple of chaplains show up to talk and we watched shows (cosmos, hitchens, etc) and read short stories from out coming atheists from places that tend to murder atheists and others.

He tried to get the nightly prayers over the 1MC to stop. He was always told "No." mainly because it was a "tradition" to hold nightly ship-wide prayers and that they were "non-denominational" prayers (99% christian). You were called out if you didn't bow your head to pray at the end of every muster/meeting. If you weren't christian or at least jewish you were considered to have "problems with authority." I wonder what ever happened to that Lt. Probably shunted off the career path into some out of the way place.

Some good came of it all. I found this site due mostly to all the crap that went on in that place, looking for other gamers that had day jobs and such.

Demosthenes wrote:

I feel like I should get an achievement with TannHausering you in my own post that you quoted. :D

I guess I'm failing, I read your quoted comment as the opposite of Tannhausering; I thought what you were saying is that this could backfire because Christians who watch Fox News could get annoyed by him saying it's not a religion, whereas I was saying they wouldn't get annoyed because they wouldn't think about it that hard, and only laugh that he made an atheist squirm.

*edit* I am in fact an idiot, who missed a sentence when quoting! RangerRickhausered!

Ranger Rick wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:

I feel like I should get an achievement with TannHausering you in my own post that you quoted. :D

I guess I'm failing, I read your quoted comment as the opposite of Tannhausering; I thought what you were saying is that this could backfire because Christians who watch Fox News could get annoyed by him saying it's not a religion, whereas I was saying they wouldn't get annoyed because they wouldn't think about it that hard, and only laugh that he made an atheist squirm.

*edit* I am in fact an idiot, who missed a sentence when quoting! RangerRickhausered!

"NGUYEN!" Or is it "WIN!"?

Freedom of Thought 2012 Report (PDF)

Report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

In 8 nations, you risk the death penalty by expressing religious doubt.

Here's what it says about the United States, after describing the constitutional articles on Free Speech and Freedom of Religion:

Yet while the rights of all Americans to freedom of religion and speech are protected, the U.S. has long been home to a social and political atmosphere in which atheists and the non-religious are made to feel like lesser Americans or non-Americans. A range of laws limit the role of atheists in regards to public duties, or else entangle the government with religion to the degree that being religious is equated with being an American, and vice versa.

In 1954, the Pledge of Allegiance was amended to add the phrase “under God,” so that it would read, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Most states have laws that require public schools to recite the pledge at the start of the school day. Several different courts have ruled that students are not required to stand for or recite the pledge. However, many students have been ostracized for exerting their right to sit out the pledge.

In 1956, Congress adopted “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. This phrase is posted on all U.S. money and in courthouses at every level of government.
A 2006 law in Kentucky requires the state Office of Homeland Security to post plaques acknowledging that Almighty God has been integral to keeping the state safe. The penalty for breaking this law is up to 12 months in prison. The Kentucky State Supreme Court refused to review the law’s constitutionality. Through tradition both houses of Congress, most state legislatures, and most city and local council meetings begin with prayer.

At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place constitutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial. The Supreme Court effectively struck down these kind of provisions as unconstitutional in 1961. However, their continued existence is a reminder of the pervasiveness of the idea that atheists are untrustworthy, and perhaps even not truly American.

The prevailing social prejudice against the non-religious reinforces, and is reinforced by, the political support for religious, especially Christian, privilege. While there is some legal remedy for clear religious discrimination by the government, it can often go unchallenged in situations where it is personally disadvantageous or even hazardous to take a stand against authority, for example in prisons, the military, and even some administrative contexts.

Bolded the 'wtf?!' parts.

Belgium is not mentioned in the report. Vrijzinnig Humanisme (Translated by Wikipedia as Cultural Liberalism) in Belgium is considered to be a state-recognized 'religion' (conviction), on the same level as the recognized religions (Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, Greek-Orthodoxism).

dejanzie wrote:
At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place constitutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial. The Supreme Court effectively struck down these kind of provisions as unconstitutional in 1961. However, their continued existence is a reminder of the pervasiveness of the idea that atheists are untrustworthy, and perhaps even not truly American.

Bolded the 'wtf?!' parts.

There are tons of old explicitly racist, sexist, or religious-ist laws out there that were simply never changed since SCOTUS invalidated them. Invalid laws are often left on the books since they don't actually do anything, and there's no reason to go back and change these things other than as a symbolic gesture (or sometimes to bury other legislative goals in what appear to be symbolic gestures).

I mean, that's not to say these invalidated laws are good or anything, but they don't necessarily reflect the current state of public opinion simply because they haven't been purged.

There's also a danger in trying to change a state constitution that it might open up more than just the issue at hand. It depends on the process.

Robear wrote:

There's also a danger in trying to change a state constitution that it might open up more than just the issue at hand. It depends on the process.

Indeed, although one man's "danger" is another man's "opportunity" to bury legislative land mines. The Alabama amendment to remove Jim Crow language which I linked to above was seemingly crafted to allow for gutting Alabama's public education system (parts of the guarantees for education that state has were buried in Jim Crow language, and the proposed amendment just slashed it all). That amendment was defeated (it's unclear to me whether it was defeated because people were educated about its real intent, or because Alabama is still full of racists).