Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It Halloween as and in the spirit of trick or treat I thought to take this oppurtunity to advertise the goodies on my side bar. Just a quick, what they do and why I've linked them.

Fundie Watch

An absolutely hillarious blog, mostly picking apart a man named Matt J Barber who seems to be the only member of Concerned Women for America (Go figure!).

Bay of Fundie

A slightly more in depth analysis of fundie propeganda from all over the spectrum. Check out Kook Watch while you're there!

Christopher Hitchens (a.k.a. build up that wall)

The author of the wonderful book: 'God is not great'. If you have a few dollars lying around I suggest you buy it! Posting on the forums here is another great way of spreading the message and getting people motivated!

Richard Dawkins

The much publicized book 'The God Delusion' brought atheism to the publics attention, with some hillarious results on Bill O'Reilly. The site has some great resources too!

Carnival of the Godless

Carnival of the Godless is like a magazine. The content varies from week to week and it covers a broad range of tones from deadly serious to absolutely hillarious. They update every 2 weeks and it is definitely a must read!

Atheist Blogroll

Its over 400 blogs dealing with atheism and agnosticism in one place! What could be better? I've pasted the link above and to the side, please look through and if you see anything you like click on it!

Reply from Barack Obama

Reply from Barack Obama! Obviously I wrote him off too soon for which I apologise. Please enjoy.

Dear .......,

Thank you for contacting us about faith. We encourage you to read the full Call to
Renewal speech where Barack explicitly addresses people of all faiths, and people of
no faith. You can read the full text of the speech here: e_address.php
Again, ......., thank you for writing and for your support.

Obama for America
This speech is rather long so for those of you with less time on your hands I think the next

few paragraphs sum the whole speech up. If you feel I've taken this out of context please let
me know.

Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to "the judgments of the Lord." Or King's I Have a Dream speech without references to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible, and move the nation to embrace a common destiny.

Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical, though. Our fear of getting "preachy" may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems.

After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness - in the imperfections of man.

Solving these problems will require changes in government policy, but it will also require changes in hearts and a change in minds. I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturers' lobby - but I also believe that when a gang-banger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels somebody disrespected him, we've got a moral problem. There's a hole in that young man's heart - a hole that the government alone cannot fix.


In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they're something they're not. They don't need to do that. None of us need to do that.

But what I am suggesting is this - secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of "thou" and not just "I," resonates in religious congregations all across the country. And we might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of American renewal.


So the question is, how do we build on these still-tentative partnerships between religious and secular people of good will? It's going to take more work, a lot more work than we've done so far. The tensions and the suspicions on each side of the religious divide will have to be squarely addressed. And each side will need to accept some ground rules for collaboration.


For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. Folks tend to forget that during our founding, it wasn't the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of the First Amendment. It was the persecuted minorities, it was Baptists like John Leland who didn't want the established churches to impose their views on folks who were getting happy out in the fields and teaching the scripture to slaves. It was the forbearers of the evangelicals who were the most adamant about not mingling government with religious, because they did not want state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their faith as they understood it.


And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their bibles.

This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.


But a sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation - context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase "under God." I didn't. Having voluntary student prayer groups use school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats. And one can envision certain faith-based programs - targeting ex-offenders or substance abusers - that offer a uniquely powerful way of solving problems.


And that night, before I went to bed I said a prayer of my own. It's a prayer I think I share with a lot of Americans. A hope that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the beliefs of each with the good of all. It's a prayer worth praying, and a conversation worth having in this country in the months and years to come.

Make of it what you will.

Reply from Ron Paul

Ron Paul is our first replier and I would like to thank Chris Robertson for getting back to me so swiftly.

Here is the email:

Dear .....,

Thank you for taking the time to write the campaign to personally find out more about Dr. Paul's view on the role of faith in his life. One of Dr. Paul's primary messages is about personal freedom and liberty, meaning that government should not dictate individual behavior to people so long as they are not engaging in activity that harms others. A person's faith is a deeply personal and private issue which the government should never dictate. Dr. Paul supports personal and economic freedom, including the choice to not engage in organized religion. Let me also refer you to this link, it outlines Dr. Paul's position on racism and prejudice which I think outlines his position rather well. I'm sure you will understand the relevance as it relates to your question.

Yours in Liberty,
Chris Robertson
Ron Paul 2008

Please leave a comment for Mr Paul and the rest of us! Free speech and discussion, you've gotta love 'em!

The Candidates

To find out what the heck is going on please go here: How this all began

This is just a list of presidential hopefuls with links to their: Contact Me pages so you can send them your own letter! Show the polititians we have a voice! Regardless of your political stance, we should NOT be a silent minority. Please send any replies you receive to us here at GodlessHeathen so others can read!

(I oppose using capitals to accentuate a point however I'm unable to use Italics on this thing at the moment, please ignore it)

The Democrats

Joe Biden
Senator of Delaware
Status: Has not replied

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Senator of New York
Status: Has replied with an apology. "Your query cannot be answered"

Chris Dodd
Senator of Connecticut
Status: Has not replied

John Edwards
Former Senator of North Carolina
Status: Has not replied

Mike Gravel
Former Senator of Alaska
Status: Has not replied

Dennis Kucinich
Representative of Ohio's 10th District
Status: Has not replied

Barack Obama
Senator of Illinois
Status: Has replied! Read it here

Bill Richardson
Governor of New Mexico
Status: Has not replied

The Republican Candidates

Rudy Giuliani
Former Mayor of New York
Status: Has not replied

Mike Huckabee
Former Governor of Arkansas
Status: Has not replied

Duncan Hunter
Representative of Riverside, California
Status: Has not replied

Alan Keyes
Former Reagan diplomat
Status: Has not replied

John McCain
Senator of Arizona
Status: Has not replied

Ron Paul
Representative from Texas
Status: Has replied! See it here

Tom Tancredo
Representative from Colorado
Status: Has not replied
(Please note Mr Tancredo's email link does not work, I had to fax him.)

Fred Thompson
Former Senator of Tennessee
Status: Has not replied

Happy emailing!

If you would like to contact Mitt Romney please do so here. I personally don't trust myself to write to him in a pleasant and inquisitive manner, as I hope I have done all the others, and as such will not be expecting a reply any time soon! If any of you write to him and receive a reply please send it in!

How this all began

In February 2006 Mitt Romney said: "Well, I think people in this country want a person of faith to lead them as their governor, as their senator, as their president" Effectively stating that anyone who didn't have faith in their imaginary friend wasn't fit for office.

This enraging/insulting/hopelessly misguided point has been put to my 11 year old sister on a number of occasions by adults. However, as I was out of the country at the time it didn't come to my attention until I started reading backlogs of The Carnival of the Godless. Unfortunately the exact article I was reading eludes me, if it was you please let me know! But the blog entry I read basically encouraged readers to do the following: Ask Mitt Romney what message he wants to send to godless children? And why does he think they'll never be qualified for office?

I decided not to ask Mitt Romney anything, as I feel even buying a ticket to one of his events qualifies as a statement somewhere along the lines of: Joseph-Smith-though-he's-dead-should-still-have-an-influence -over-policies. Instead I sent an email (and in one case a fax) to all presidential hopefuls, except Mitt Romney, asking what they thought of us "Godless Heathens" and how they would try and curb our villification.

I wasn't exactly sober when I did it, but the letter went something like this:

Dear Senator,

As a first time voter, I am delighted that on looking through your website and throughout internet, I am provided with a vast wealth of information regarding your opinions and beliefs about almost every problem facing America, and the world today.

I have a concern regarding your lack of opinion, and policy ideas, regarding faith and the lack thereof. I have yet to find a candidate who will address the issue of non-believers. Mitt Romney is quoted as saying: I'm convinced that the nation . . . needs a person of faith to lead the country. A statement basically telling me and my younger brother and sister that just because we don't believe in God, we are not authorized to be president. This is regardless of our compassion for humanity, knowledge on foreign policy or any other distinguishing feature which may qualify us for the job.

Mitt Romney received a standing ovation for that statement, and it gets worse. Atheists are said to be less trustworthy than any other group of Americans. My 11 year old sister has been told, by grown women, that she is going to hell. Parents have told their children to deliberately ostracize my siblings due to their lack of belief. A teacher, in a public school, mentioned God and that evolution was "sinful" to a classroom and when we protested were told that, as the minority, we were unable to have a voice on the matter. I will be contacting the ACLU about this.

So my question is: What do you plan on doing to ensure that we have freedom 'from' religion. And how will you help others understand that atheists are not "the anti-christ" and not out to get Christians, or Muslims, or Hindu's. We want what the religious want, tolerance and understanding.

I look forward to your reply,

Not the best worded letter, and yes it's presumptuous of me to say We want... but I'm sure you understand the general premise, and hopefully the candidates will too!