Positive Atheism Forum

Certificate of Religious Bigotry?

Question by Gregory Tinkler

From: “Positive Atheism”
To: “Positive Atheism List”
Subject: Certificate of [Religious Bigotry]?
Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 5:52 PM

Okay, thinkers! Let’s put our heads together for a little fun in our outspokenness:

Subscriber Gregory Tinkler has suggested a novel idea, and we’d like to at least try it on for size if we don’t actually go for it. Last year, when Miami Mayor Joe Carollo vilified Elian Gonzales’s INS captors with the words, “These are atheists. They don’t believe in God,” he deserved nothing less than a backhanded award along the lines of former Indiana Senator William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award or numerous journalistic "ButtHead Awards" bestowed upon various bunglers of the public trust. The same goes for this Congressional delegation who issued the Congressional Medal of Honor to Pope John Paul II: our government honored the pope (!) for using “his moral authority to hasten the fall of godless totalitarian regimes.”

This morning, Gregory suggested issuing a “Certificate of Religious Bigotry and Willful Misrepresentation of Voters” to lawmakers who “do stupid shit like give that golden hockey puck thing to the pope, or other people that have a message that they deem the rest of us ought to be listening to.”

I like the basic idea, but would like to see something a bit more focused than that, and would like, also, to take advantage of the precedent set by Mencken, Voltaire, Twain, Krassner, and others who have cloaked their statements in a twist of humor.

We are willing to establish such an award, issued specifically to those who use atheism as a symbol to vilify something that is genuinely evil. And while I do not claim to have the sense of humor that Senator Proxmire enjoyed, I suspect that if we all put our heads together, we can come up with a name for our “Certificate.” I would send one to Mayor Carollo retroactively, and another to the members of the recent delegation to the Vatican.

Please send us any suggestions you might have for describng or naming a backhanded “Certificate” or “Award” that we can issue to those who vilify genuine evil at atheists’ expense or who commit other social crimes against our kind.

Finally, we’ve posted our comments on the Medal of Honor fiasco. At the top is a link to the story of, and our readers’ responses to, the Mayor Carollo .

Cliff Walker
“Positive Atheism” Magazine
Five years of service
      to those people with
            no reason to believe


From: “Kevin Courcey”
To: “Positive Atheism”
Subject: Re: Certificate of [Religious Bigotry]?
Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 5:59 PM


The award would have to be for the most outrageous vilification of atheists, with or without a connection to “genuine evil.” (I would suggest there is no such thing, since it is a concept rooted in the errant Christian world view.) George Bush might have received the award for saying atheists are not patriots. That has nothing to do with “evil” but should certainly be in the running.



From: [unsigned]
To: “Positive Atheism”
Subject: RE: Certificate of [Religious Bigotry]?
Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 6:00 PM

How about the Torquemada Holier-Than-Thou Medal, to honor those who would love to burn all heretics (as the honorees would define them) at the stake, if they only could?


From: “Prescott, Andy”
To: “Positive Atheism”
Subject: RE: Certificate of [Religious Bigotry]?
Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 6:02 PM


Great Idea! There is a major goof in your text though. The Pope was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award it can give out. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest military honor, and not one a modern day pontiff would qualify for (some of his predecessors might have been in the running though).





However, I’m not sure that a pope qualifies for either award: he’s not part of our military, and as the head of state of a foreign nation (recognized as such by the UN), he is, by definition, a military leader, according to the American government’s way of thinking.



From: “Victor Gijsbers”
To: “Positive Atheism”
Subject: RE: Certificate of [Religious Bigotry]?
Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 6:33 PM

That’s a tough one.

The Modern Inquisition Award?



From: Carey
To: “Positive Atheism”
Subject: Re: Certificate of [Religious Bigotry]?
Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Mr. Walker,

Cold air and paint fumes have me hiding in my home office all day. Painting in January was not my best idea. I was very glad to have an extra project to keep me here. Below is my submission for the certificate. I suspect some recipients may have to look up some of the words, assuming they own a dictionary (wow, the fumes are making me mean too). Please feel free to correct any errant punctuation, tone it down a bit, and format it however you like. I started using the "Award Wizard" in MS Word, but all the options turned out a little cheesy.

+++ Certificate of Membership +++


Congratulations! Your recent public prevarication has qualified you to become a member of one of th e world’s least exclusive clubs: Bigots International Group -- American Sedition Section.


As a BIG-ASS, you will enjoy the adoration and respect of millions of other members who likewise canot be bothered with the chore of thinking for themselves and researching their own public statements.


Rest assured, being a BIG-ASS is as easy as spilling pie on your tie. There are no meetings to attend and no dues to pay. Your continued membership is guaranteed simply by speaking out about things about which you do not understand and misrepresenting groups of people whom you do not know.

-- Carey Sherrill
Urban Forest Craftsmen



This is wonderful! It’s leveled specifically against those who would speak for us all.


PS: The “Award Wizard,” eh? What next!?

Could this explain why I’ve used WordPerfect since the week 5.1 was released?


From: “George”
To: “Positive Atheism”
Subject: re:Certificate of [Religious Bigotry]?
Date: Thursday, January 11, 2001

Dear Cliff,

I wish to introduce the Islamic Jihad, KGB, and Holy Inquisition "Golden Rack": an annual award to anybody who doesn’t notice the resemblance between these three organizations.

I hope you got a lot of responses.

Bethesda, MD


From: “Cardigan”
To: “Positive Atheism”
Subject: Re: Certificate of [Religious Bigotry]?
Date: Thursday, January 11, 2001


I like the idea a lot, and agree that the name of the certificate should be something less blatant, and a tad humorous.

However, I also think we should not restrict ourselves. Let’s have a few different awards, for different things.

For example, back when I was doing the FSNU thing in Utah (as you might recall from our newsletter), we had a county clerk who refused to perform a fully secular wedding ceremony for folks because she felt God is important in a ceremony.

A local radio station there has what they call the Boner Award, which is just for stupid actions. She won that day’s, and the one for the week.

Her actions wouldn’t qualify for the award you describe. She did not portray atheism in an evil light at all. But she did deserve something for violating her oath of office, I think.

I’d like to see maybe three different types of awards. One as you describe. One for those who abuse their positions in ways like the above-mentioned clerk. And one that would be for something else.

I’ll give some thought to these and maybe email you some names and stuff -- though we’ve had another death in the family, and it’s crazy with relatives here. My computer time will be quite limited for the next week or so.

Also, who would be the one(s) who decide(s) on the recipients?

Take care.




We would, if it’s our award!