Christian Supremacy:
Dangerous Thinking
Chris Basten

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Cliff had responded to an article Chris had sent speculating as to what kind of government President Bush had in mind to replace the Taliban in Afghanistan. (The blasé and accustomed attitude about this practice is deliberate sarcasm, continued from the previous round.)

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine"
To: "Chris Basten"
Subject: Re: Holy war
Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001 04:35:19 +0100

If Bush fudges for the missionaries, there will be pandemonium in the West and in the Middle-East, because he'd be showing favoritism for Christianity and because he'd be instrumental in allowing blasphemers to escape their just punishment (which is intricately tied in with justice, the Muslim equivalent of redemption, much the way the firing squad is tied into the Mormon idea of a criminal redeeming himself through his own blood being literally spilt). Executing blasphemers is not about punishment or retribution but about justice and redemption. It pays to know a little about how they think. My grandma wanted to be a Muslim but she couldn't because they won't let atheists join.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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"The more I study religions, the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself."
     -- Sir Richard Burton

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Chris Basten"
Subject: Re: Holy war
Date: October 07, 2001 7:14 AM

I think it's amusing that both Richard Burtons said pretty much the same thing!

Kathleen Parker claims that she was commenting on all the (plastic?) religiosity to come about since September 11 (if this quip is accurate):

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Why take it so personally? It wasn't about atheists. It was about the fact that everyone is talking about God all of a sudden when no one would have mentioned the word before Sept. 11. That was my real point.
     -- from a post on her web site; the person posting was allegedly quoting a private e-mail sent to that person; thus, this is only hearsay: Parker never made an official announcement as far as we can tell

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Assuming this is real (for a moment), I wouldn't expect a higher degree of honesty from someone who would write something like the very article she here defends, "God, Country Gain Fragile New Toehold." She must think we're monumentally stupid to think we'd buy that one! I included my reaction to this in my response to the letter, "Kathleen Parker's Website Abuzz With Furor About Her Article" with Kenneth Paolini, which is, for the most part, an exhortation to use our meager resources very wisely.

The only thing I might add to that exhortation (at this point) is to mention that some ideological opponents have been known to waste your time and resources by "forcing" you to respond to baseless and piddling criticism, or distracting you from the main point in similar fashion. She could be doing this with us, prompting us to jump up and down about her remarks when we have more serious matters to attend to, but I don't see her as being that sophisticated. While I don't think this is the weightiest matter before us, we do well to respond "hard, fast, and repetitively," as they say, but only to a certain extent.

This does happen, however. I have openly suspected that some of George Bush's Faith-Based Rigmarole may be partially about keeping us busy fighting on that front while he's off causing problems in Defense or Foreign Affairs. Who's to say he doesn't realize that his Faith-Based Hoopla doesn't have a snowball's chance in the Sahara of passing, but we can't simply let this go without a response. Similarly, I've caught more than a few Christians sending us page after page after page of mindless, baseless creationist drivel, cloaked in challenging sounding introductions which make it appear as if I don't believe in my position unless I respond to their attacks. They were just doing this to waste my time.

I've personally watched Bush Senior getting funny with his opposition: The first time Bush Senior came to Portland, they had it at the Downtown Hilton and it was pure pandemonium. I was even ashamed of some of the stuff that went on in the name of protesting this thing, but was still proud of the turnout. Bush dubbed Portland, Oregon, "Little Beirut." The second time they had it at the spacious Convention Center, where crowd control became not only possible but easy and (I'd wager) rather fun. Just when the crowd became big enough to do some small-time disruption, about fifty cops decked out in riot gear went running over past the north end of the property, as if something was going on over there. I knew nothing was happening, because that area was completely secure. I saw that it was a trap. But most of the youngsters didn't see this and followed the cops to go do some gawking. Sure enough, it was the ol' divide and conquer bit! The cops rushed in between the two segments of crowd and there was really nothing that could happen after that.

In the paper, they'd announced they were going to try out this newfangled juice on the crowd: Pepper Mace! Sure enough, the experiment went down on the curious kids who went and followed the cops running to the north. I'll bet that in-between the time Bush Senior got there and the time he spoke, they showed him footage of the "riot" as a way to pep him up for the speech. That's just like him, and I doubt Bush Junior is any different from his father except, of course, that he's much less sophisticated. He could never appreciate what those riot cops did, and they definitely wouldn't have bothered him with footage, but I promise you that Bush Senior saw footage of this action. He loves that kinda stuff, especially since the cops pulled such a stunning fast-one on the kids and especially after the serious problems the cops had the previous year at the Hilton.

Similarly, when Bush Junior mentioned in a campaign speech that there was a parody of his web site (making sure to mention the URL, of course), so many people logged on to the parody that the poor guy was hit with a bill for several thousands of dollars because of all the gigabytes he uploaded that weekend. Do you think Bush had been told that this would be a possibility if he merely mentioned its existence in a speech? I don't doubt it for a minute.

We've got to be very careful "stewards" of our resources (to use a Christian metaphor). Part of this is being on the lookout for them pulling stunts that are designed to get a reaction from you. One could be trying to get you to jump up and down just to make you look like a chump. Another could be egging you on to make a different mistake. A third could be distracting you to get your letter-writing campaign up and running on this issue while they're quietly off doing something that really warrants a letter-writing campaign! This happens, and we all do well to study how activism works and what has happened so we don't get caught off guard.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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