Friday, May 04, 2012


april 7, 8 2012

Issue Two: Listen to Reason.

The Washington, D.C. National Mall recently was the site of an assemblage that named itself, quote-unquote, "Reason Rally." Twenty thousand atheists showed up to celebrate nonbelieverhood, reason. This self-described Woodstock for atheists was co-organized by David Silverman, the president of American Atheists, an organization that protects the civil rights of atheists.

Here's President Silverman urging atheists to come out of the closet.

DAVID SILVERMAN (president, American Atheists): (From videotape.) The message is that if you can come out, you can come out. And if you can't come out, at least you'll know you're not alone. And maybe sometime soon you'll be able to come out of the closet to your family.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Of the 535 members in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, currently there is one -- that's one -- declared atheist. His name is Fortney Hillman Stark Jr., aka Pete Stark. Pete is a Democrat from California who has served consecutively since 1973, 40 years. He's now in his 20th term. His district, the 13th, is Alameda County, California's Bay Area. Congressman Stark wins the election every two years with a bold mandate, if not a landslide. In the last election, 2010, he was reelected with 72 percent of the vote.

Question: The Secular Coalition for America claims that 28 atheists are in the U.S. Congress, though the coalition does not name names. Why are those atheists all still in the closet except for one, Pete Stark? I ask you, Tim.

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think that Americans realize that we don't really have the ability to hold our politicians accountable. I mean, Congress, you get these districts where you win with 73 percent. And so, for a lot of Americans, one thing that does keep them accountable is the idea that there are repercussions for your actions.

I think that a lot of people think that if you don't believe in an afterlife, if you don't believe in eternal implications for what you do, that if you could just get away with stealing and ripping people off, and as long as you don't get caught, you're fine, I don't think somebody would trust somebody who didn't believe in an afterlife with so much power over them. So I think it is an important consideration.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think you have to a theist to believe in an afterlife?

MR. CARNEY: Yeah. I mean, I think -- yes, you do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think you do.

MR. CARNEY: You think you can believe -- who controls the keys?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And also, don't confuse immorality and morality --

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- with atheism.

MR. CARNEY: No. And --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can be perfectly moral --

MR. CARNEY: But it's hard to trust --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can be obviously moral and you can be accepted as being a truly moral person and be an atheist. Correct?

MR. PAGE: Right. I think we need to talk about public perceptions. Religiosity is still a strong enough force in American politics --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you sure? Are you sure? MR. PAGE: -- that people -- if you want to talk about why we don't see more out-of-the-closet atheists in Congress, yeah, it's because you lose votes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think if you are an admitted atheist and you come out of the closet, you're not going to be reelected.

MR. PAGE: Well, what's important here, John, is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Except for Pete Stark.

MR. PAGE: -- that it's coming out of the closet in recent years, I believe, because of Christopher Hitchens and various other bestselling authors writing about it very boldly. People say, oh, you don't necessarily break into flames if you announce that you're an atheist. And so especially some young people, it's become chic to say you're an atheist, whether they're really sincere about it or not.

MS. CLIFT: My late husband was an atheist. My late husband was an atheist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And publicly so -- publicly so.

MS. CLIFT: Well, publicly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tom told me he was an atheist.

MS. CLIFT: Yes, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it was in a -- it was a group like this.

MS. CLIFT: Yes, but he didn't like his mother to know, who lived in Cleveland and played the organ in the Catholic church every morning. (Laughs.) So there are some people that you feel more comfortable. I think there's a false assumption that if you go to church and you profess a religion that somehow you get a pass when it comes to morals and ethics, when, in fact, you can go to a website called and they are saying that atheists need to change their image.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. CLIFT: And they are seen as sort of this gloomy bunch, when, in fact, they believe you should build a hospital instead of a church and you should help people in the here and now --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they politicized --

MS. CLIFT: -- as opposed to praying to some hereafter.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that a public -- political group? MS. CLIFT: No, they're not political. But I've been to -- I went to a number of events with Tom, humanist events. There were a lot of former clergy in their numbers.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, the believers.

ARIS, A-R-I-S, stands for the American Religious Identification Survey -- ARIS. It works with a sample of more than 54,000 American adults.

ARIS says traditional religions in the U.S. have lost a sizable number of members, 1990 to 2008.

So here's a snapshot of where our religious bodies stand as a percent of the U.S. total adult population. Methodists comprise 5 percent of the U.S. adult population; Lutherans, 3.8 percent; Presbyterian, 2.1; Episcopalian, Anglican, 1.1 percent. In the Catholic Church, immigrants sustain membership, but the U.S. church still fell to 25.1 percent of the population. The survey also found that those with no stated religious preference grew from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008.

By the way, many Catholic Hispanic immigrants joined the U.S. Catholic population, but the Catholic population nevertheless dropped 1.1 percent, despite the Hispanic influx. Do you want to speak to that?

MR. PAGE: Well, you're seeing not just Hispanics but Africans, many immigrants are populating our churches now at a faster rate than the old-school families whose younger folks are drifting away from organized religion. This is giving the church new life in America, I think, and it's affecting --


MR. PAGE: -- a lot of our perceptions of the (future ?) America.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, the immigrants -- if it weren't for immigrants, the Catholic Church would have lost one fourth of its membership in the last half century. Catholics are 25 percent of the population, John, but only one fourth of them attend church regularly. One in every 10 Americans is a lapsed Catholic.

You mentioned Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians; used to be the dominant force in America. They're 12 percent of it. Protestants, who were 99 percent of the country, are now at 50 percent and falling.


MR. BUCHANAN: Atheists are about 16 percent. MS. CLIFT: People are shopping around.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a change --

MS. CLIFT: People are shopping around everywhere.


MS. CLIFT: They're changing religions. They're looking for choice. It's like at Starbucks.

(Cross talk.)


MS. CLIFT: There are all these different varieties.

MR. CARNEY: I think you'll see the Catholic numbers turn around, because you go to mass -- go to St. Mary's, where Pat goes; go to St. Bernadette's or St. John's, where I go, and you see a lot of families, like mine, with three, four, five, six, seven, eight kids.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: When will America have --

MS. CLIFT: You're in the minority.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- its first out-of-the-closet atheist president? Kindly give me the year. Pat Buchanan, quickly.

MR. BUCHANAN: It would be after 2050, after mid-century.

MS. CLIFT: After the demographics change. And I think religious identification --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When is that?

MS. CLIFT: -- is not going to be --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When is that?

MS. CLIFT: Well, after 2050. I'll go for 2080. I won't be around to be accountable, so --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh. You're -- (inaudible) -- yourself.

MR. CARNEY: By 2080, everybody will be named Carney, Cuccinelli or Mohammed, so I don't think -- it'll have to happen before the growing Catholic bubble takes over the population. MR. PAGE: 2074. I'm not sure if that's a presidential election year, but sometime around there. But one thing -- you know, church attendance is going up among the more educated folks. This is an interesting demographic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is 90 years from now, the turn of the century.


LIFE 2003

I wish they will stop whining once and for all, about the liberal media and its whiners. First the media in the US has been rooting for a war for months. Of course if a war happens, it will be a ratings bonanza for the net work TV. With the Dan Rather and his ilk getting free trips to the Mid East and expanded news budgets. Why else would the talking heads be talking up our military prowess every night, how our bombs are now smarter, (may be even more so than some of our commentators, cause the bombs seem to find their mark).

Have you heard about the Saddam's torture chambers? How about the torture chambers in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan and Israel? Have you heard about the democracy we shall bring to Iraq, and the pigs will fly and the above mentioned regimes will just walk away from their power, the oil billions and the whore houses? And we thought the messiah has yet to arrive. Actually the whores in power there are already clamping down on their populace worse than they ever did.

With his declaration of war on terrorism, Mr. Bush actually delegetimized the aspirations of millions of Muslims, from Palestine to the Philippines. Thus probably increasing the chances of terrorism around the world more than ever before.

It is not news that the one fifth of the population of this world that calls itself Muslim actually lacks basic human rights because of their own leadership that is made of liars, thieves and whore mongers that steal their monies and leave their countries poor. And now they are again selling out their own to save their asses. And it is also no secret that the poverty and the ignorance and lack of human rights are the basic root cause of terrorism, not Islam.

As far as he media are concerned, the right can no longer whine about the liberal media. Now that we have a conservative Geraldo Rivera, Bill O'Rilley, (the living proof that Yale is not the only place for idiots to get an Ivy League degree). A most sincere Jerry Springer of the right, Rush Limbaugh, (an out of work comedian). And a conservative Donohue, Sean Hanitty. Even the MTV jack ass is being countered by the right's own Mike Savage, you too can be stupid and on TV at the same time.

In the "no spin zone" if you are for trying to save untold number of innocent lives, you are labeled to be for Saddam. And the guy, who lost election to a dead man in his home state, has no axe to grind against the wild and woolly left. And while they try to protect us from the untold EVIL, we are busy fornicating, and having too much fun making babies, (of the Mexican and Black, and Asian and the Muslim kind).

In this new world disorder, (the war between the Saddam and the Bushies), the Bible and the Koran are being quoted and misquoted liberally. The mullahs from their minbers and the preachers from their pulpits are again forecasting the end times, and the Armageddon and the rapture, selling heavens to the believers. Forget it; it has been the end of times for the last six thousand years.

And poor me, I am probably the only person living, that has family in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kurdistan ( Iraq), U.K., Canada and the United States, and a few friends even in Germany. And you could not pay me off, like some other ex soldier, to change my mind and favor a war. Not even the one between the good and the evil.

The idea of a hell is common to all three monotheistic religions of the East, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The basic concept is that if you live an immoral and sinful life (I have no idea what that means), then you will go to hell, (A place of great fires where one will burn for ever!).

Now, if nothing else will work, the idea of burning in a fire for ever (a very long time), should keep one on the "straight and narrow."

It is also a common tenet of these religions, that if you do good deeds you will go to "paradise"

(Once again please make up your own mind what paradise is). Secondly, that only a few are ever good enough to be able to go to paradise, at least on their own.

All my life, I have lived mostly among the Christians and the Muslims, and a few Jews and others. And yet I have never heard anyone say, or heard of anyone one says that they KNOW they will go to hell when they are dead. Even Hitler did not seem to be consumed by this fear when he decided to take his own life, Timothy McVeigh did not ask for a delay in his execution for the fear of these great fires. Far as I know, Osama bin Laden is not too worried about per chance arriving at the same locale. Seems like, no one ever thinks that they will go to a real hell to be over cooked, so the idea seems to have lost its flavor.

I think many of our world leaders today have more faith in the mercy of their God, than they have a fear of His wrath.

Does any one really know their book?

According to the testaments, when God wanted to destroy the world, he did not ask Noah to burn down his village or the crops, or to throw rocks at the people, God told Noah to make a boat and escape when the floods came.

When a Pharaoh boasted of being able to grant life or impose death, God sent a gnat in his nostril to cause his death.

When God became angry at the people of the Sodom and Gomorrah, he did not ask Lot to destroy

The towns, he told Lot to escape, with his family, and then He brought His wrath upon the people for their transgressions.

How many times have we seen people, who think they are guided by the God to do his dirty work?

Be wrong and cause more suffering. Think about the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the KKK, the lynching.

Does God really talk to the people? Let’s see. How do you tell a prophet from a heretic? Most of the people that claimed to be the messengers of God have been accused of being the opposite. Was Rasputin being guided by the Holy Spirit? How about John Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church? Or Jim Jones, or Timothy McVeigh, or even Osama Bin Laden. They all claimed to have a divine connection.

Or is it that some people suffer from delusions, or at least self -hypnosis and start to believe in their nasty motives as to have been divinely inspired. How do you differentiate between a Tim McVeigh and a David Koresh and Ted Bundy and a Charles Manson?

Or do you believe that a mass murder of the innocent in the name of a God is justified, be it in Tel Aviv, or The West Bank, or Baghdad.

Or may be you should go back to your God and tell him to do his own dirty work.



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