In case you’re not already sick to death of the Gelato Mio story, this radio show out of Springfield will make you want to puke.
The part we’re interested in begins at about 9:30.
Things I learned from this show:
– Atheists are angry inside for no reason at all.
– Banning one group of people from your store based on their beliefs is perfectly okay, but making fun of someone’s beliefs is HORRIBLE.
– There’s no tangible difference between ridiculing a belief and banning a group of people from a business.
– Andy should not have apologized because a) He did nothing wrong and b) It just emboldens the atheists.
– Atheists only chose to have the convention in the Bible Belt to piss off Christians.
– All Christians should frequent this store because Andy stood up for what he believed in.
– It’s not about atheists, it’s about the Left. Leftists think being open minded is to believe whatever a leftist believes.
– The sign didn’t violate the Civil Rights act because atheism isn’t a religion. So, Religious people should get protection from discrimination, but non-believers shouldn’t.
– Springfield citizens should not donate money to the Gilliioz Theater because they let Skepticon happen.
My friend Jason Bathon wrote the radio host this letter in response:
I recently listened to your radio program and wow do you have everything backwards. I am WAY more offended by your insults, comments, and ignorance about the SECULAR/SKEPTICAL community than I could have ever began to have been by the sign at Gelato Mio’s. Do you happen to have the same fact checkers as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and Bill O’Reilly?
So allow me to break down your commentary:
1. Skepticon was not just for “atheists, non-theists, religious skeptics”. It is a SKEPTIC convention. Since you obviously do not understand a skeptic or skepticism “refers to any questioning attitude of knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.” -Wikipedia
2. Your mocking of the term “Skepticon” is completely unwarranted and juvenile because what other simplistic way would there be than to call a convention of skeptics “Skepticon”. If you are so original, please tell us your best, most accurate proposed titles for us. I would also like to know what specifically you “feel sorry for us” about for “a number of reasons”.
3. You claim that the owner “Andy” was “out in front of his store and hearing people… and they were just being nasty and hateful about Christians and Christianity. Ripping Christianity, mocking it and using language thats highly offensive. This is what they do, they get together and just bash Christians”. According to the apology letter that Andy sent, he walked down to the Gilioz Theater while the convention was in progress, particularly while a speaker by the name of Sam Singleton was on. Sam Singleton was having an Atheist Revival to point out the ethos of religious indoctrination and proselytism. Pointing out how the use of language, neuro-linguistic programming, anchoring, guilt, tone, etc can be easily used to manipulate and persuade religious believers. What Andy heard was the use of the word “goddamn” in place of the word “amen” to point out the same as above. I might also mention that the entire reason people were going to his place of business to being with was because he was getting many people from Skepticon due to the agreement that he made with the Skepticon organizers to give patrons 10% off while they were there for the convention. Lastly, we do not mock christianity, Sam Singleton was just illustrating the tactics used by the heads of congregations to influence its members. It does not matter what religion they were from. We are equally offended by ANY religious group that uses these techniques.
4. Andys sign “Skepticon is not welcome at my christian business” is NOT freedom of speech. It is discrimination. It would be the same if it said “Blacks are not welcome at my white business” or “People attending the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure are not welcome at my cancer free business” or “Gays not welcome at my straight business”. If you do not have a problem with this sign on sheer principle then you should at least be able to look at if from a legal and moral perspective and understand the implications. If he would have been outside protesting with a sign that said “Skepticon is not welcome in this christian community” THAT would have been free speech, but when one takes on the responsibility of a business owner there are more implications than that.
5. You claim that “our sole purpose is to get together and talk about how moronic and foolish people who believe in god are, have their sensitivities ruffled”, again, I’m afraid you are missing the point entirely. We have many goals and objectives, none of which are to “talk about how moronic and foolish people who believe in god are”. If we talk about religious people, it is usually in the context of how detrimental religion is on the world. I believe it is more of a learning disability, or a learning incorrectly disability because once you stop believing in reality, you are entering the realm of psychosis.
6. You talk about our “belief system”. Being non-theist or atheist or poly-atheist is NOT a belief system. It is a LACK of a belief system. You are an atheist just as much as any of us, we just happen to believe in one less god than you. You do not believe in Zeus or Dionysus or Allah or any other of the gods throughout time either.
7. We did not go on line to “destroy his business” or “trashing online his business” or “destroy this guy”. We got online because that is how most of us communicate and it is the fastest. We wanted to warn other skeptics that we were not welcome and also talk about his lack of judgement and the possible legal implications of his message, thats it. The overwhelmingly negative response from the skeptical and secular community was not only warranted, but justified. The reaction was not our fault for talking about it, the reaction was his for posting the sign. If you want to assess blame, blame it on the person discriminating against a huge minority of the US.
8. As for the apology, I feel it was sincere but still wonder if it was because he really felt that he had made an error in judgement or just because he got caught being a bigot? If it was sincere, then I accept his apology, but I will still never spend money at his place of business. If it was because he got caught, then the ramifications of his misjudgment will be of his own doing. When I first saw the sign I actually respected him for at least letting us know where we should not spend our money unlike other business that felt the same but realized that money doesnt discriminate, people who have the money do, and continued to take our money.
9. As for skeptical “morals”, we get our morals from the same places you do. We get them from our friends, our family, our environment, etc. YOU DO NOT GET YOUR MORAL FROM THE BIBLE YOU RETARD (well at least not all of them). If you did you would be cool with things like slavery, rape, murder, incest, sexism against women, genocide, stoning, ritual sacrifice, etc etc etc. You can get just as many, if not more, of your morals from reading Aesops Fables. Religion, or in your case, Christianity does NOT have the patent on morals, nor does the bible clearly define or stick by them.
10. Making fun of someones name, again juvenile, nothing more needs to be said about that, grow the fuck up.
11. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Church of the FSM was created in conjunction to the argument of “intelligent” design. From Wikipedia: “The “Flying Spaghetti Monster” first appeared in a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson in 2005, protesting the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to permit the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes. In the letter, Henderson parodied the concept of intelligent design by professing belief in a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs. Henderson further called for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism to be allotted equal time in science classrooms alongside intelligent design and evolution”. As you can see it was not made up specifically to make fun of other religious gods, it was made up to point out the silliness of a deity in regards to needing a “designer” and how you can not prove that your “god” does not look exactly like the FSM, i.e. the FSM could be argued to be THE “god” just as easily as any other deity. As for the “flagrantly unamerican” part, what is more unamerican, keeping the separation of church and state as our forefathers intended or forcing your religious beliefs on the rest of the country?
12. The Golden Rule, or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” did not have its beginnings in the bible as many may believe (as with almost everything else in there). It is probably the oldest philosophy known to man about how we should treat each other. It has been found in many different texts hundreds, if not thousands, of years before your precious bible stole it as well. From Wikipedia “Statements that mirror the Golden Rule appear in Ancient Egypt in the story of The Eloquent Peasant. Rushworth Kidder states that “the label ‘golden’ was applied by Confucius (551–479 B.C.), who wrote a version of the Silver Rule. Kidder notes that this framework appears prominently in many religions, including “Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world’s major religions”, and Simon Blackburn states that the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”.
13. We can “dish it out”, but we “cant take it”. We can “take” anything, as long as YOU and anyone else who also dishes it out can take it. Why? Because we have SCIENCE to back us up, not faith. You talk about “hypocrisy” in reference to us, but what is more hypocritical, us dishing it back to Andy when he dished it out to begin with or you calling us hypocritical for doing so? WE TOOK it when Andy posted the sign. That doesnt mean we can dish it right back to him, or in my case, more to you because as bad as Andy’s sign was, it pales to the line of filth and lies you dished out on your program here. IT IS THE RELIGIOUS that can dish it out and not take it. You want to be able to talk shit about all the non-believers all day long, tell us we are going to hell, have your kids tell our kids they are going to hell, try to make us feel like you can talk about us all day long, but as soon as we start to give it back you ack all “how dare you insult my faith” and run away with you fingers in your ears screaming “LA LA LALALALA lalala “…. THAT IS HYPOCRITICAL.
14. The continual reference to us akin to “liberals”. Being skeptical does NOT make someone liberal. While some of us may be liberal, that does not mean that we do not have Conservative as well. Being liberal or conservative are personally held viewpoints and are not all inclusive with being a skeptic. Skeptics follow where the science takes us. If following the most current and accurate science makes someone a liberal then I guess you are correct, but of course that is not the case.
15. Christianity vs. Muslim faiths. Again, we do not discriminate against religions. We equally dislike ANY religion that teaches immoral, dangerous, and unscientific lessons. Christianity and Muslim faiths are more alike than they are different. If any of you had taken any time to read about them you would understand that. Now I will say that, as Americans, we are more concerned with Christianity because it is the most dominaent religion of the US and it is also the largest religious group trying to influence politics in the US.
16. You will probably never hear a skeptical person defend ANY religion, let alone the Muslim faith. You build up this straw man “leftist” argument so you can tear it apart and claim victory over your easily defeated foe, but we are SKEPTICS, that doesnt automatically make us “leftists”. If you believe, as Jesus claimed to in the bible, that we should take from the rich and give to the poor, you are still a christian, but that does not automatically make you a socialist too. I also do not feel like even real “leftists” defend the Muslim faith. I do not know where you are getting your “information” from, but man, I honestly do not know how you can get SO many thing wrong in such a short period of time. I dont know if it is willful ignorance or just plain stupidity, but either way, you are really good at whichever.
17. You (the Springfield area) have a “level of respect for each other” that we dont? IF that were the case, sir, we would not be having this discussion. Having a discriminatory sign up at a place of business because of what you heard at a convention you walked into IS NOT RESPECT. Or at least not the respect that I am aware of. Maybe that IS the definition of “christian” respect, but not the traditional one. If your definition of respect is “let my and my fellow Christians talk shit about you and dont try to say anything back or I will feign persecution” gambit then I guess you are correct again, but as with EVERY other point you have made, you are WRONG.
18. Location of skeptical conventions. Skepticon is in Springfield because there is a NEED for it in the midwest and a lot of the people involved are from the area. You have TAM is in Las Vegas, Skepticon in Springfield, Texas Freethought Convention in Dallas, FreeOK in OKC, American Atheists Reason Rally in DC, American Humanist Association meeting in New Orleans, etc etc. Skepticon is not the only skeptical convention in the US.
19. Telling us that WE are the ones that are like “believe what I believe” or we are not open minded. Are you effing kidding me? Talk about the big HUGE pot calling the kettle black. I am not sure if you know what the definition of being a hypocrite is, which is dumbfounding to be because specifically of how many times you are guilty of being one.
20. As for the parts about not wanting non-theists in your business because someone may overhear us talking about something that may offend the other people, let me as you this. Would you be ok if ANY business had the right to kick you out of there place because you and some friends were talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ? How in your sick demented mind can you justify that retarded comment? OF COURSE it is not ok to ask people to leave for talking about ANYTHING, unless it is illegal or causing a disruption. Talk about persecution… Jesus… Do you people even know what that means anymore? I could not have THOUGHT of a better description of persecution that to tell a group of people they have to leave because of their beliefs (or lack thereof)…
21. For a book you seem to believe in, let me tell you a little bit about a man called Jesus. You see there was this man called Jesus that had all these decent ideas about how to treat each other. In one of the stories Jesus met a prostitute and he let her wash his feet. And even though she was a sinner, he accepted her and did not turn her away just because she was a sinner. IF you (or Andy) were “good” christians you would already know this story. I do not think either of you know, understand, or follow the bibles teachings, so I would not call you good christians, but if you were you would understand that according to your religion you are expected to accept all sinners and the bigger the sinner the more you should accept and try to witness to them, not put a fucking sign out turning them away. You are just a typical example of a horrible christian, that is all. Maybe you should read the story for your self, it is Luke 7:36-50.
In closing, I hope that you read every word of this. I hope that you respond. I hope that you invite me onto your show so I can prove what an ignorant, close-minded, discriminating, childish, bigoted, ass hole you really are. Somehow I doubt you have the balls to do so though, so I wont be holding my breath. Regardless, we know who is right and who is just a slimy commentator on a small town radio station who probably leads a more “sinful” life than his atheist countrymen.
Congratulations on being this weeks biggest douchebag on the radio.
I’ve spent the last several years trying to build a good group of atheists in my small community. I’m not an activist. I just want to be able to talk to people without having to walk on eggshells all the time. I want to speak my mind and have it be okay, even if my friends disagree with what I say. I’m done with taboo subjects.
So, it’s been especially rewarding and therapeutic to spend the weekend with my friends and the hundreds of other atheists at the Skepticon conference. I find myself making obscure jokes to my friends, and strangers standing next to us will laugh and join in on the conversation. It’s great to feel like I’m part of a community, rather than some ostracized freak.
The Creation Museum was fun, even if it was just a rinky-dink hole-in-the-wall. I’m not sure dinosaur toys and a projector in the back room really qualifies as a museum. Those poor people probably didn’t know what to think. The little snippets of conversation I keep hearing at this convention are priceless. I heard the following at the museum:
Creationist: “If you just studied genetics, you’d see it was true”.
Skepticon attendee: “Actually, I am a geneticist.”
Creationist: “Well! Good for you. Congratulations.”
Holy crap, I just about died. Man, I wish I could listen in on every conversation. Lots of interesting people here.
We also were treated to a screening of the movie Give A Damn. I have to give respect to the guys in this film. As someone who typically never gives a damn, this movie made me question that.
Afterwards, my friends and I joined the convention crowd at Farmer’s Gastropub and talked late into the night.
To everyone in attendance, thanks for making me feel like a part of something. And to everyone not in attendance, wish you were here.