Gene's next monthly chat is Tuesday, May 27 at noon. You may submit questions here.
Although this weekly edition provides an update between live chats, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.
Before we begin today's chat update, I'd like to offer a brief invocation. Please bow your heads, but only so much as it permits you to keep reading.
"O Heavenly Father, we ask you to forgive and even celebrate the words of bigots and the deeds of child molesters and rapists and people who bury other people alive, and that welcome them into your Kingdom, same as the rest of us, and kiss them all over, and also, while you are at it, we ask that you bring Hitler into Heaven at long last because I mean, come on, how long are we going to hold a grudge?"
What? You got a problem with that? Take it up with the Supreme Court. SCOTUS has decided that this sort of thing is fine, that you have no cause to feel coerced or manipulated in any way by a prayer in the first person plural, even if it formally recognizes a deity in Whom you do not believe, officially endorsing a worldview and a set of principles with which you might disagree.
Still reading? Good! Then you must be with me on the child molester - Hitler nexus! Why else would you still be reading? Or, for that matter, still be in attendance at a city council meeting that began with a prayer? We're a team here. Remember, please, we remain "We."
"We request that you visit a plague of boils on the kiester upon every person who purchaseth a car with automatic transmission because he or she is a big, fat lazy American incompetent.”
What? I don't have a right to make you a party to this sort of thing? It sorta makes you feel left out of this update, as though it’s not really written for you? Hey, you're free not to read this, just as you are free to walk out of a city council meeting after the politicians you elected go out of their way to declare that they are fundamentally different from you in their single most important core belief. But, really, ask yourself why on Earth would that influence how they rule on your piddling request for a zoning variance? Heathens destined for Hell are entitled to the same sort of fair considerations from their government that decent pious people are, and why would you think you would get any less? Does your Hell-bound Godlessness actually make you that suspicious of the goodness of your fellow man? Or perhaps it’s just that your quaint belief in the wisdom of Buddha (I mean, really, a fat god? Ours isn’t fat!) leaves you naturally gullible.
“We call upon your Divine Guidance to help institute honor killings, since they do so much to keep our womenfolk pure and dainty, as You so intended. We …
What? Oh, wait, I think I get it. You feel that humorless and marginally offensive political screeds don't BELONG in a newspaper humor column. That it’s not what newspaper humor columns are for. That it seems shoehorned in here, for no reason other than to foist my beliefs on you, whether you want them or not, implicitly suggesting that if you don't want them, there is something wrong with you, that you are not my kind of person.
Fortunately, you can just click on something else, and not read me again. It’s not like you need me to issue your driver’s license or approve an addition to your house. In that case, when I start spouting off about how we must hate people who ride bikes on sidewalks, you just bow your head and keep your big fat mouth shut if you want your damned new patio.
This is a terrible Supreme Court decision. Terrible. And it’s not just the conservative majority. By 9-0, the justices ruled that nonsectarian religious speech (“Dear God,” instead of “Dear Jesus, Son of Man, expunger of our sins… ”) is just peachy. (The five righties are fine with the Son of Man stuff.) So, it’s fine for the city council to tell atheists they are misguided fools.
Ask yourself this question: Why would anyone WANT to say a sectarian prayer in a legislative session? What would their motive be? And if it is anything other than defiantly sending an exclusionary message to nonbelievers or Other believers, in violation of decency as well as the Constitution, I'd like to hear it.
Okay, that’s it for today. Please join me in the newly religious updates next week when I patiently explain why Jews are hotter than Christians, and you'd better listen up.