WTF, Sully

This is the kind of thing that makes the areligious think all believers, even the modest ones who aren’t in your face evangelicals, are proselytizing dicks:

May the God he believes poisons everything be with him.

Hitchens is an atheist. Wishing God be with him during his illness is like wishing COBOL on a caterpillar or bequeathing morals to Newt Gingrich. None of them have any use for what you are wishing on them.

Jeebus. Hitch will be going through chemo- may his friends with kickass weed and good jokes be with him.

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287 replies
  1. 1
    Catsy says:

    It’s more than pointless, it’s offensive. If you want to pray for someone who doesn’t share your belief, fine, that’s your prerogative. But making a point of telling them that and/or broadcasting it in public is just dickish. Ask a Christian how they’d feel if someone came up to them and said they would pray to Satan to take their soul for safekeeping.

    Yeah, I thought so.

    may his friends with kickass weed and good jokes be with him.

    Now that, on the other hand, deserves a hearty “amen!”

  2. 2
    fucen tarmal says:

    i’ve had this debate with religious folks who couldn’t understand why saying “i pray for you” is offensive…i mean, its saying, i judge you to be wrong about x, so i pray for you because you are wrong about that too…

    bless their hearts.

  3. 3
    FlipYrWhig says:

    In addition to the weird sentiment, that is one bizarre sentence. Grammatically valid but _very_ hard to parse.

    ETA: I read it the first time through as “May the God he believes poison,” like Sullivan was wishing for God to poison Hitchens, and had flashbacks to the whole Weigel brouhaha.

  4. 4
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Sully and Hitch deserve each other.

  5. 5
    Darcy says:

    Ummm, Amen?

  6. 6
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    I don’t think God would help a blood thirsty warmonger like hitchens.

  7. 7
    zed says:

    I’m with you on wishing him the best in these times. Kickass weed and good friends to be there when the going gets rough. Don’t care what his religion or politics are, that’s just a load of crap anyway. Beat the C, Hitch.

  8. 8

    I look forward to an even more liberated Hitch.

    Dear gawd! Well, what else could be expected from a couple of British Iraq War cheerleaders. One an atheistic leftist lush, the other an excitable Tory republican. Both have always seemed only a breath away from needing a net thrown over their bizzare selves. But both can be entertaining, and the show must go on, clowns and tigers, elephants and rattlesnakes. They all belong in our national political circus. I suppose.

    And I think using the word “poison” for anyone starting chemotherapy for cancer, may not be all that comforting.

  9. 9
    El Cid says:

    So, God could maybe be with him to help strengthen him through chemo, or even help him do better, but couldn’t do much on the ‘not getting cancer’ in the first place?

    And God needs other people to beg him to be with you? I mean, shit, what, can he not go out on the job without a formal work order?

  10. 10
    Vince CA says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That’s my big complain, too. That, anybody would want to pray for Hitchens’s well being.

  11. 11
    Corner Stone says:

    I just don’t see a problem with this.
    My mother prays for me all the time. If it gives her comfort to call on her faith, how does that hurt me?
    Similarly, Hitchens is a right bastard. How could anyone say anything to offend him, even now in his struggle?
    And why should anyone else care?

  12. 12
    Sirkowski says:

    surviving a potentially fatal disease can be a form of liberation.

    That’s stupid.

  13. 13
    fucen tarmal says:

    @El Cid:

    you want to take on the all-powerful’s union.

    i said that right.

  14. 14
    jeffreyw says:

    You cannot petition the Lord with prayer!!
    /Jim Morrison

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    I don’t think God would help a blood thirsty warmonger like hitchens.

    I think you’ll find that covers a lot of ground round these parts.

  16. 16
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    I hope hitchen has some dignity left and refrains from filming a public service announcement lecturing people not to chain smoking and guzzling booze.

  17. 17
    beltane says:

    Ha, I was hoping someone would advise Hitch to use cannabis to cope with the chemo.

    What gets me about the God crowd is that they cannot accept that sickness and death are normal parts of life. In churches, they gather in groups to pray for God to cure their Aunt Millies of cancer with the idea that if they nag the almighty enough, he will give them what they want.

    I hope Hitch is well enough to tear Sullivan a new one.

  18. 18
    bleh says:

    Yes, well, de mortuis — or nearly so — nil nisi bonum.

    But the SMUGNESS of Sullivan’s comment is so typical of the religious. “Just to let you know how superior I am to you, I wish you well, even though you are evil.”

    We really need to bring back the lions.

  19. 19
    Svensker says:

    Really? If you really do believe in God, then of course you want God’s power and beauty to be felt by a person when they are suffering and you pray that God will heal them. Why is it wrong to say that? If a Hindu, upon hearing that I was ill, said that he would pray that Krishna would help me, I would not be offended at all. Why should I be, even if I don’t believe in Krishna? Or if an atheist said that she hoped that whatever good there was in the universe would comfort me in time of need — why would that be offensive?

    Saying you hope that Satan takes care of me has a slightly different meaning, so that might upset me.

    Why is wishing another person well, even if you don’t share the same belief system, wrong? Obviously, Andrew was tweaking Hitch a bit, but in a friendly way.

    Jeez, peeps, lighten up.

  20. 20
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Sully and Hitch deserve each other.

    I couldn’t have said it better.

    Imagine, these guys saying gratuitous cruel things to each other? Whoodanode?

  21. 21
    beltane says:

    @El Cid: Maybe Sullivan will circulate an online petition demanding that God cure Chris Hitchens’ cancer. That will surely get His attention.

  22. 22
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    Sullivan is a dick. Water is wet, also, too.

  23. 23
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Well, what else could be expected from a couple of British Iraq War cheerleaders. One an atheistic leftist lush, the other an excitable Tory republican.

    And they share an apartment! Comedy gold!

  24. 24
    freelancer says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    I’m Bill Hicks and I’m dead now. Cigarettes didn’t kill me, a bunch of nonsmokers beat the shit out of me…

  25. 25
    El Cid says:

    @beltane: What color will the website be?

  26. 26
    John Cole says:

    @Svensker: It was the in your face way he said it- “I HOPE THE GOD HE HATES IS WITH HIM ANYWAY.”

    If he’d said “Hitchens is in my prayers,” no one would have flinched. It was him being such an asshole about it.

  27. 27
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @Corner Stone: really, there are neo-cons here who used to hold seminars calling on the U.S. to “liberate” syria and Iran by bombardment?

  28. 28

    @Svensker: Yea, I’m mostly with you and don’t agree this is proselytizing. Just a couple of goofy wankers sharing the love the best they can. I suspect Hitchens would agree.

  29. 29
    Interrobang says:

    Why is it wrong to say that?

    Maybe because some of us feel that your religious beliefs are between you, your deities, and any designated intermediaries.

    I’m an atheist, personally. I don’t mind if someone asks “May I pray for you?” and I’ll probably say yes, although I might say, “But I’d prefer if you [fill in something actually useful here]” as well, if applicable. But to come out and say something like that is just rubbing someone’s face in your religious beliefs, and, as far as I’m concerned, your right to believe in whatever stupid crap you want to believe in ends at my arm’s length.;pki

  30. 30
    beltane says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That is a weird grammatical construction. It implies that Hitchens really does believe in God, but that he thinks he is poison. Sullivan still cannot accept that there are those who really, truly do not believe in his personal God.

  31. 31
    El Cid says:

    @John Cole: I HOPE THERE’S SO MUCH FUCKING GOD AROUND YOUR FAITHLESS ASS THAT IT’S LIKE BEING WATERBOARDED BY HOSTS OF ANGELS!

  32. 32
    williamc says:

    This might be the best thing that ever happened to old Hitch: he gets sympathy from folks who loathe him, will probably use the cancer as a reason to be even more of an insufferable asshole, and I’m sure the cancer pain drugs prolly kick the buzz from booze to a whole other level of drunkenness.

  33. 33
    Interrobang says:

    Hm, I see Miss Gypsy the Tortie Terror added a few extra characters to my comment in passing between when I hit Submit and when the post went through. :)

  34. 34

    @FlipYrWhig: Felix and Oscar or pundits.

  35. 35
    AhabTRuler says:

    But the SMUGNESS of Sullivan’s comment is so typical of the religious Sullivan.

    Fixeteth. The man is a walking example of how a lack of empathy in conservatives is a feature, not a bug.

  36. 36
    Mark S. says:

    @Svensker:

    If a Hindu, upon hearing that I was ill, said that he would pray that Krishna would help me, I would not be offended at all.

    I wouldn’t either, but that’s not exactly what Sully said. It was more like, “May Krishna, who you stupidly refuse to believe in, help you.”

  37. 37
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Svensker:

    Why is wishing another person well, even if you don’t share the same belief system, wrong?

    I think, especially in this case, it’s not so much an issue of wishing someone well, but the manner that you are wishing them well in. The well wishes were phrased in the sense of “Even though you refuse to acknowledge and respect the awesomeness of God–which, it should be pointed out, is integral to who you are as a person–I will still ask him to make you whole once more. Even though you reject him and his splendor.”

    That’s a rather demeaning and pretentious statement.

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America): The Iraq War is all the bloodthirst I need my friend. It actually happened and actually killed hundreds of thousands of people.
    No need to get creative.

  39. 39
    AhabTRuler says:

    atheistic leftist lush

    I’ve always liked ‘drink-soaked, ex-Trotskyist popinjay’. As much of an asshole as Galloway is, he nailed Hitch to a fair-thee-well.

    ETA: some might quibble with the ‘ex-‘ part, I’ll leave that to others to decide.

  40. 40
    Violet says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    And they share an apartment! Comedy gold!

    Reality show?

    I’m sort of two minds. I’ve got one atheist friend who finds it offensive if someone announces they’ll be praying for him. But other atheists I know don’t care one way or the other. And a couple atheist/agnostic friends appreciate the gesture, even if they don’t believe it will make any difference. They seem to recognize that the believing person is doing what they think is something helpful for them (the atheist), and take it as kindness and thoughtfulness.

    Andrew’s “God who he believes poisons everything” is a bit gratuitous, although that kind of thing between friends can be taken differently from what we, the public, might think it.

    I hope Hitchens does have good weed and good friends to help him. And some excellent doctors.

  41. 41

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Yeah, pretty much so. Along with Alec Cockburn.

  42. 42
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    well, I don’t know why you would so much time on a board with people you dislike.

  43. 43
    Violet says:

    @John Cole:

    It was the in your face way he said it- “I HOPE THE GOD HE HATES IS WITH HIM ANYWAY.”

    If he’d said “Hitchens is in my prayers,” no one would have flinched. It was him being such an asshole about it.

    But maybe since they are friends they tweak each other like this all the time? It seems rude to me. But it’s impossible for me to know how they communicate with each other. The English do seem to take the piss out of each other all the time about practically everything. Perhaps this was Andrew’s way of doing that? If so, it didn’t work for me. But I’m not in their friendship.

  44. 44

    @AhabTRuler: He’s kinda like Saul on the road to Damascus: He changed his allegiance, but not his personality or methods.

  45. 45
    beltane says:

    @Mark S.: How would Sullivan feel if he was on his deathbed being taunted by a Buddhist who kept telling him he was going to be reborn as an Afghan girl?

  46. 46
    AhabTRuler says:

    @beltane: Make it an Afghan lesbian and you’ve got a winner!

  47. 47
    Violet says:

    @beltane:
    He’d get all pretentious and tell the Buddhist he was praying for him.

  48. 48
    jl says:

    I am a religious person. I think the statement was insensitive as a public statement about Hitchens, and would be offensive if it had been personally addressed to Hitchens.

    From traditional Christian (and I am not a traditional Christian) point of view, “the god he thinks poisons him” is with him anyway, so making a public point about it is unnecessary for either Hitchens or Sullivan. So why say such a thing that is offensive to some and unhelpful according to one’s own purported belief?

    Very sad news for Hitchens. Hope things go well. Cancer of the esophagus is very bad news. And regular drinking plus smoking is an excellent recipe for it, though in an individual case one can never be sure.

  49. 49
    John Cole says:

    @AhabTRuler: There actually used to be a blog named that.

  50. 50
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Phoenix Woman: Internationalize the Marxist Capitalist revolution, w00t!

  51. 51
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @AhabTRuler: yeah, but his victims say otherwise.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    P-Dog says:

    Quick question: what is it meant by COBOL? The only COBOL I know of is the obsolete programming language.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America): I’m a Mormon and this is my Mission.
    My humble penance before God. May She have mercy upon my soul.

  55. 55
    WereBear says:

    God is not a concept to be ground in the face of the unfortunate.

  56. 56
    MK says:

    OT but I came across this article in regards to the recently noticed Harvard study on the use of the word torture by the media and the NYT response:

    Study: Newspapers stopped describing waterboarding as ‘torture’ during Bush years

    The study also noted a disparity in how newspapers defined waterboarding when the United States employed the practice versus its use by other nations — in the latter instance, newspapers more readily called the practice torture.
    But the New York Times doesn’t completely buy the study’s conclusions. A spokesman told Yahoo! News that the paper “has written so much about the waterboarding issue that we believe the Kennedy School study is misleading.”
    However, the Times acknowledged that political circumstances did play a role in the paper’s usage calls. “As the debate over interrogation of terror suspects grew post-9/11, defenders of the practice (including senior officials of the Bush administration) insisted that it did not constitute torture,” a Times spokesman said in a statement. “When using a word amounts to taking sides in a political dispute, our general practice is to supply the readers with the information to decide for themselves. Thus we describe the practice vividly, and we point out that it is denounced by international covenants and in American tradition as a form of torture.”
    The Times spokesman added that outside of the news pages, editorials and columnists “regard waterboarding as torture and believe that it fits all of the moral and legal definitions of torture.” He continued: “So that’s what we call it, which is appropriate for the opinion pages.”

    Apologies if this has already been posted but this is honestly one of the most pathetic things I have read all year. Also, in the grand tradition of showing appropriate “balance” that our media so desperately worships, I figured the article would show the other (read: good) side of Sully to everyone that’s pissed by his faith-based comment. You can see his comments towards the end of the article.

  57. 57

    The Passive-Aggressive is also strong in this one:

    I hope you will join me in praying for his healing, body and soul. Somehow, I doubt the author of “God Is Not Great” would object; cancer has a way of humbling one in this regard. Anyway, …

    Rod Dreher. Read the comments for his great comeback to complaints: “aren’t militant atheists such special people?” and “another classy atheist militant, I presume. ” He actually came up with “classy” in the less-than-two-hours between comments. Nice!

  58. 58
    kuvasz says:

    Mr. Cole, would you please stop being such an ignorant git. I find it incredible that a raging agnostic like myself defend religious folk, but the remark you criticized is not an attempt at proselytizing or even a tongue-in-cheek put-down.

    Your remark exhibits a only a pedestrian understanding of these people and the metaphors they use that describes their reality, based mostly upon some of the behavior of their most bizarre adherents and your knee-jerk FU is more a negative reflection on your own lack of understanding of their culture than the person whose words you quote so derisively.

  59. 59
    AhabTRuler says:

    @John Cole: What? Galloway is an Asshole? Yeah, it was a good, topical blog, but too narrow in focus and tastes. Inside baseball never really seems to keep them clicking in from Peoria.

  60. 60
    The Dangerman says:

    Perhaps saying that to an atheist is disrespectful…

    …but the lack of respect cuts both ways. If one is an atheist, saying things like praying to the FSM (unless one truly believes in a flying spaghetti monster, in which case, cool) or dissing people that have “invisible friends” is equally disrespectful.

    Both sides should be more careful; bottom line, live and let live (and no Bogarting the kickass weed).

  61. 61
    Sly says:

    Apart from being mean-spirited, its also rather pointless. That’s not how you wish someone well. You don’t invoke a possibility (e.g. the existence of a forgiving deity, in Sullivan’s case) that makes you feel better. You invoke a possibility that makes them feel better.

    If he honestly cared for his health, he would have said something along the lines of “It would be a terrible disservice to humanity if you died before Henry Kissinger.”

    Plus there was an interesting study done a few years ago that showed a possible correlation between a sick person who knows someone is praying for them and a decreased chance of a complication-free recovery. Because, you know, you are insinuating that they might die.

  62. 62
    Svensker says:

    @John Cole:

    If he’d said “Hitchens is in my prayers,” no one would have flinched. It was him being such an asshole about it.

    Yes, but Sully is an asshole. What’s new about that? You expect him to stop being an asshole even when he’s wishing someone well?

  63. 63
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Phoenix Woman: Obvious joke, but Cockburn is the most aptly named columnist/pundit ever. Just roiling with rage and exasperation at every possible moment. But he hates Hitchens now, no? I mean, more so than he hates everybody else?

  64. 64
    John Cole says:

    @kuvasz: I’m praying for you.

  65. 65
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Svensker:

    if i said to you, i hope that you one day find enough logic and reason in the universe to replace those things you currently deem to be matters of faith….

    even were i sincere and non-confrontational, i doubt you would feel particularly good about my statement. replacing jesus with krishna, or xenu or whatever isn’t exactly the same contextual difference, you and persons of those faith are still believers in something somewhat similar…even saying i hope the god of on street parking blesses you with a wide birth, is closer than what you are saying to a non-believer.

  66. 66
    EconWatcher says:

    By the way, I’m the self-designated Hitch defender around here, so I’ll say this: I wish the Hitch of 20 years ago were on the scene now. You really can’t imagine how good he was if you weren’t following him then.

    Can’t defend him much at least since the late 90’s, when Hitchens attacked Clinton so hard from the left that he became a darling of the right. And he really went off the deep end after 9/11, of course.

    The old brilliance only peeks through occasionally now. And whatever worthwhile stuff he does write now tends to be a recycling of what he wrote long ago (I was such a fan then that I recognize it now).

    But this was once the man who described 1970s Britain as “Weimar without the sex.” After Paul Johnson wrote a salacious book about the personal lives of famous leftie intellectuals, Hitchens wrote drily, “I would not have done that if I were he,” and proceeded with one of the most brutal tell-alls I’ve ever read about Johnson himself. This man was a marvel. He is mostly long gone.

  67. 67

    @Svensker: If you want to pray for him fine pray for him. Broadcasting that you are praying for him or telling an avowed atheist that you are praying for him is being a f**ktard.

    Maybe I should baptise you posthumously into the LDS?

  68. 68
    beltane says:

    @Norwegian Shooter: Shees. People like Rod Dreher are the reason we laugh at righteous pastors who are found with two wet suits and a dildo. His response to several thoughtful comments was awfully sanctimonious and snippy. If his faith were stronger, he would not feel so threatened.

  69. 69
    kay says:

    @Sly:

    That’s not how you wish someone well. You don’t invoke a possibility (e.g. the existence of a forgiving deity, in Sullivan’s case) that makes you feel better. You invoke a possibility that makes them feel better.

    Exactly. Not all that surprising, though.

  70. 70
    Calouste says:

    @bleh:

    We really need to bring back the lions.

    These days, it is considered animal cruelty to throw the lions to the Christians.

  71. 71
    John Cole says:

    @EconWatcher: Link to the Johnson piece, pls.

  72. 72
    Corner Stone says:

    @Duncan Watson:

    Maybe I should baptise you posthumously into the LDS?

    I’ll make you a deal. You can do this to me and if I object in the slightest I will wake up and tell you.

  73. 73
    Svensker says:

    @fucen tarmal:

    if i said to you, i hope that you one day find enough logic and reason in the universe to replace those things you currently deem to be matters of faith….

    No, because that is hoping that the person will change. In Sully’s case, he is hoping that God will help Hitch — he’s not hoping that Hitch will change. So, quite different.

  74. 74
    The Dangerman says:

    OT, but Tunch’s long lost twin has been found at long last!

  75. 75
    Svensker says:

    @Duncan Watson:

    Maybe I should baptise you posthumously into the LDS?

    Why? Am I dead to you already?

    If you survive me, feel free to posthumously baptise me. Won’t hurt me none.

  76. 76

    These two are friends, are they not? They both emigrated from the UK at the same time, or thereabouts. Sully’s comment overall seemed one of genuine worry and sympathy. So why would Sully throw in something that to a stranger would obviously be an insult? In a comment otherwise positive. Could it be the religion and prayer thing has been a long running good natured debate between friends. Something Sully knows Hitchens would not take as an insult, but rather needling arising from affection from two ornery cusses. Just because it offends you, doesn’t mean it offends Hitchens, which is all that matters here, really.

  77. 77
    AhabTRuler says:

    @John Cole: LOL. Well, bless your heart!

  78. 78

    Well… if Christopher understands that Andrew means “I know you don’t believe in God, but I do – and so wishing for God to be with you is offering you the fondest wishes I can” then it’s a cute bit of well wishing. If he doesn’t, then it’s snarky, at best, and it’s risky in any event.

    Herm. Another side of this: if Chris doesn’t like it, he may not be able to say anything for fearing to seem ungracious – so by you saying something, he can be gracious and someone can still tell Andrew that he’s risking stepping over the line.

  79. 79
    beltane says:

    @The Dangerman: Tunch is a Saudi airplane? I never would have guessed.

  80. 80
    Kered (formerly Derek) says:

    @P-Dog:

    Exactly John’s meaning, I’m sure.

  81. 81
    mclaren says:

    @General Crackpot Fake Name:

    Both have always seemed only a breath away from needing a net thrown over their bizzare selves.

    As usual, General Crackpot Fake Name maintains a perfect record of posting nothing but accusations that other people are mentally ill.

    He has nothing — literally nothing — to offer other than name-calling. In every single post, this guy always accuses someone of mental illness.

    Change the record, guy. It’s getting tiresome.

    @P-Dog: COBOL is far from obsolete.

    50 years on, COBOL is still going strong

  82. 82
    Calouste says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    Fixeteth. The man is a walking example of how a lack of empathy in conservatives is a feature prerequisite, not a bug.

    Double-fixeteth.

  83. 83
    Mark S. says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Is that the one where he divulged how much Johnson liked being spanked?

    @AB:

    Laughter is the best medicine. A couple more jokes like that and Hitch will be all better.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:

    @beltane:

    Sullivan still cannot accept that there are those who really, truly do not believe in his personal God.

    That’s exactly right. Sullivan doesn’t get the distinction between “belief in an imaginary god as a way of justifying hateful and irrational beliefs poisons the world” and “god poisons the world”. He just can’t accept that somebody could refuse to buy into the whole idea and think it’s stupid.

  85. 85
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Svensker:

    the change from atheist to believer is implicit in the notion that god would be with him, because the god that poisons everything is one that has an ultimate judgement. that judgement may or may not be delayed, but ultimately it would be looming, if hitchens doesn’t change to meet it now, then it will be something to be reconciled later.

    the god hitchens believes poisons everything is specifically the one of the abrahamic religions.

  86. 86

    @mclaren: LOL,

    Why, Mclaren. You are as normal as Sunday Bacon, grease fried. Does that sooth your savage soul?

    So your real name is simply Mclaren. Why don’t you have a first name? It ain’t natural.

  87. 87
    jayjaybear says:

    That’s what I call the Passive-Aggressive Blessing. You don’t really mean it, because if you did you wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to get a little dig in.

  88. 88
    JenJen says:

    …may his friends with kickass weed and good jokes be with him.

    Why I love this place. Couldn’t agree more, Cole.

  89. 89
    AhabTRuler says:

    @EconWatcher: I will grant that Hitch was quite good in the
    Intelligence Squared debate
    .

    I’ll be honest and say that the ‘drink-soaked’ part of the description is the least objectionable of his flaws.

  90. 90
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Cole, here’s that link you were looking for. Hitchens de-pantses Johnson

  91. 91
    EconWatcher says:

    John Cole:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think the original Paul Johnson skewering is available on-line. I found a much inferior, recycled version that Hitchens submitted years later for salon, which mostly just illustrates the degeneration of Hitch’s writing style after an additional decade of drink:

    http://www.salon.com/media/1998/05/28media.html

    The old Paul Johnson article is in one of Hitch’s earlier published collections of essays, either Prepared for the Worst or maybe For the Sake of Argument.

  92. 92
    Svensker says:

    @fucen tarmal:

    What? What are you talking about? Hitchen believes that the idea of a “God” poisons everything. Fine. Sully believes in God. Fine. Sully wants the God that Sully believes in to help Hitch. Hitch does not need to do anything, change anything, believe anything. There is no threat involved. There is no “judgment” involved.

    All Sully is saying is, “I know you don’t believe in God but I do, and I want God to heal your disease.”

    Apparently many atheists are suffering from PTSD about religion or something.

  93. 93
    silentbeep says:

    Um, John I see your point, I really do. But you know they are great friends right?

    From Sully:

    ” was trying to make a joke/tease. Not very well, it appears”

    And he said he was devastated.

    John, maybe it’s you that needs the weed.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlan.....r-ctd.html

  94. 94
    jayjaybear says:

    @Svensker:

    Can’t imagine why…

  95. 95
    EconWatcher says:

    Humboldt Blue:

    Your article is the same one I linked to, but it’s a mere shadow of the original, I’m afraid.

  96. 96
    freelancer says:

    @P-Dog:

    Lords of COBOL, hear my prayer,

    Please smack Sully upside his monotheistic head.

    So say we all.

    ETA: Now he can get back to more pressing issues he’s been covering lately, like pron and jacking off.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @freelancer: So shall it be done.

  98. 98
    EconWatcher says:

    Mark S.:

    The original article I was referring to had that and much more, including his brutal misogyny, spousal abuse, behavior at dinner parties, personal hygiene–on and on. They had apparently traveled in the same circles in Britain, and Hitchens had the goods.

  99. 99
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    O.T.

    Dems have narrowed down their choice for the 2012 convention to: Minneapolis, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Charlotte.

    I’m thinking they’ll want to have a outdoor stadium event like they did at Mile High Stadium, which would knock out Minn and STL as they have indoor stadiums.

    Charlotte and Cleveland are intriguing.

    Anyone have a preference?

  100. 100
    Svensker says:

    @jayjaybear:

    Can’t imagine why…

    Don’t worry. Atheists are doing their best to be just as obnoxious as the God-botherers. Given time, I’m sure they’ll catch up quite well. I mean, look at Hitch — a real asshole of an atheist. Still, there’s quite a pendulum swing to go, I know.

    Bottom line is, humans just like to form groups and try to have their way over other groups. Religion’s not special that way.

  101. 101
    beltane says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America): My hunch is with either Cleveland or Charlotte. Cleveland needs the business more.

  102. 102

    I was barked at by numerous dogs who are earning their food guarding ignorance and superstition for the benefit of those who profit from it. Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional “opium of the people”—cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims.

    Albert Eistein

  103. 103
    moe99 says:

    As someone with stage IIIB lung cancer, I’m not so much interested in smoking dope these days even to fend off the side effects of chemo. Maybe toasting it lightly and additng it to spaghetti or marinara sauce might be a better use for Hitchens, since he has esophageal cancer and that’s problemmatic as well.

    ps–there’s some new research out there that CMV may be a cause of head and neck cancers. Perhaps a reason to expand the vaccinations beyond women.

  104. 104
  105. 105
    maus says:

    Sully’s not a “moderate”, but he seems one by comparison.

    Also, what a passive-aggressive slight at Hitchens. Saying “I’ll pray for you” to someone who you know doesn’t want you to is more of an attack than a compliment.

  106. 106
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Oh Svensker that’s such bullshit. The theists in this nation squeal like they’re being tortured when rational, reasonable people request that they keep their silly superstitions in their fucking churches.

    But no, the sanctimonious brigades are whipped into a frenzy that someone has the gall to point and laugh at their raving lunacy, after being repeatedly and politely asked to keep it to themselves.

    You religious beliefs get no respect, none, zilch, nada. You’re free to worship as you wish, but claiming you are to be free from ridicule as well as reasonable criticism takes the cake.

    We’re atheists because we find theism utter bullshit. We’d show a little more respect if there were actually something about the tenets of religion to respect. Add in your god-bothering nutcases and their daily litanies of “we need more god, more jesus, more — insert god name here — or else we’re doomed” gets awfully fucking tiresome.

  107. 107
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @beltane: How about this: Cleveland can get it if the local Dems manage a GOTV effort that results in the elections of Fisher and Strickland?

  108. 108
  109. 109
    frankdawg says:

    wait, wait . . . you are surprised that Sully is a dick? Disappointed hes a dick? What?

    You may want to sit down but the sun rises in the East every morning & sets in the West.

  110. 110
    MikeJ says:

    @freelancer:

    Lords of COBOL, hear my prayer,

    000100 IDENTIFICATION DIVISION.
    000200 PROGRAM-ID. PRAYER.
    000300
    000400
    000500 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION.
    000600 CONFIGURATION SECTION.
    000700 SOURCE-COMPUTER. MORTAL.
    000800 OBJECT-COMPUTER. COBOL-LORDS.
    000900
    001000 DATA DIVISION.
    001100 FILE SECTION.
    001200
    100000 PROCEDURE DIVISION.
    100100
    100200 MAIN-LOGIC SECTION.
    100300 BEGIN.
    100400 CALL ‘smack’ USING ‘Sully’
    100500 STOP RUN
    100600 MAIN-LOGIC-EXIT
    100700 EXIT

    Damn wordpress didn’t preserve my whitespace. WP is anti python.

  111. 111
    The Dangerman says:

    @beltane:

    Cleveland or Charlotte

    Not sure about Cleveland; during a Yankees game a while back (was it in the late Summer and the playoffs?) they had a pestilence problem. That would suck massively to hold an outdoor event and be invaded by little black flying things again.

    Minneapolis just had a convention (if a sucky one).

    St. Louis sounds hot and humid as Hell (is Hell humid?).

    Charlotte sounds fine.

  112. 112
    beltane says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Don’t laugh. I think November’s outcomes will play a huge roll. If Marshall wins in NC and Fisher wins in OH, then I really have no idea who gets it. A coin toss?

  113. 113
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Svensker:

    “the God he believes poisoned everything.”

    its the God that Hitchens rejected.

  114. 114
    MikeJ says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America): STL and Minneapolis do have baseball stadiums that hold 43k and 53k respectively.

  115. 115
    Svensker says:

    @fucen tarmal:

    “the God he believes poisoned everything.”
    its the God that Hitchens rejected.

    So? I’m not getting the point here.

  116. 116
    BombIranForChrist says:

    I am shocked that Sully is a self-aggrandizing and histrionic dickhead.

  117. 117
    Svensker says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Me likey da Einstein.

    Skritch Charlie for me.

  118. 118

    @Svensker:

    Skritch Charlie for me.

    Done/

  119. 119
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Svensker:

    Bottom line is, humans just like to form groups and try to have their way over other groups. Religion’s not special that way.

    I think religion is a little different set of circumstances than high school goth cliques and the NRA.

  120. 120
    Ken Pidcock says:

    Jesus Christ, John, what’s the problem here? Andrew Sullivan wants to express his support for Christopher Hitchens, and he thinks of a clever way to do it. From what I’ve seen, Sullivan has never expressed the contempt for new atheists that the accommodationists have.

  121. 121
    Tom Hilton says:

    Sullivan’s just doing for Hitchens what he would want done for him if he were ill.

    Which is kind of the problem. A lot of Christians understand the Golden Rule to mean you should treat others the way you yourself would want to be treated (which justifies shit like praying for atheists and trying to convert people), as opposed to trying to figure out how they actually want to be treated and acting accordingly.

  122. 122
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    i will take st louis, and if you are giving longer odds i will appreciate the generousity.

    1 swing state so are nc and ohio, but
    2 st louis has the home state of obama across the river. which creates a narrative vibe.
    3 st louis has the cardinals ballpark for the stadium effect, ed jones dome for the sign wielding. the mississippi has its own set of dramatic narratives from new orleans, to mark twain, et al…

  123. 123
    MikeJ says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Rituals with incense and candles? Check.
    Totemizing murder weapons? Check.

  124. 124
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo:

    Another side of this: if Chris doesn’t like it, he may not be able to say anything for fearing to seem ungracious – so by you saying something, he can be gracious and someone can still tell Andrew that he’s risking stepping over the line.

    I’m sorry, but I’m giggling at the thought of Hitchens being afraid of being thought ungracious. Are we talking about the same Christopher Hitchens?

    The reason that this particularly dickish construction is hitting people even though it looks like it’s a jab between friends is that we’ve all had people say equally (if not more) dickish things with a straight face. I am not an atheist, but I do find it offensive when (some) religious people decide to use your tragedy to proselytize. There’s a difference between, “I’ll pray for you to get better” (doing something you feel is helpful) and “I’ll pray for God to open your heart” (trying to proselytize someone when they’re at a low point and ignoring, you know, the whole cancer diagnosis thing).

  125. 125
    Svensker says:

    @HumboldtBlue:

    Hmmm, apparently you are quite pissed off at the religious.
    Can’t say I blame you, since many religious folks are pretty much assholes and pretty in-your-face about it, which is a shame.

    I used to be quite the atheist myself, so I can understand your feelings. But I had a conversion and now believe in God. Speaking for myself and my own history, I prefer being a believer to being an atheist — it’s more pleasant and fulfilling for me, personally.

    We all do the best we can to make sense of the universe. But no matter what any of us think, feel or believe, the universe is what it is. Maybe some day, we’ll all really KNOW what it is. Until then, we each choose our own way to organize our thoughts about it all.

  126. 126
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Svensker:

    sullivan is specifically invoking the god that hitchens has rejected, the ascribed god. the abrahamic god. the one that judges you, the one that lives by the dictum, believe or else.

    therefore whether god is with him or not, he his hoping that god judges hitchens for his non-belief

    this is all in response to this,
    No, because that is hoping that the person will change. In Sully’s case, he is hoping that God will help Hitch—he’s not hoping that Hitch will change. So, quite different.

  127. 127
    Joel says:

    On the scale of douchbaggery, this rates as “very slightly douchy” in my book.

  128. 128
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MikeJ:

    I think religion is a little different set of circumstances than high school goth cliques and the NRA.

    Rituals with incense and candles? Check.
    Totemizing murder weapons? Check.

    All right, maybe not that different…

  129. 129
    sherifffruitfly says:

    (shrug) It’s just how religious people are.

  130. 130
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    O.T.

    Does Mel Gibson own a white bronco?

  131. 131
    Chad N Freude says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: This was not a get-well card. It was a posting in an online publication read by a lot of people who aren’t in on the supposed relationship.

    @LongHairedWeirdo: Right, Hitchens is well-known for his reluctance to seem ungracious.

    Nobody here seems to have picked up on the implication of “the God he believes poisons everything be with him”. This can easily be read as a wish that Sully wants Hitchens to believe that he (Sully) wants to poison him (Hitchens).

    And one final note: I reserve the use of “Hitch” for Alfred Hitchcock, who AFAIK was neither Christopher Hitchens nor Alexander Cockburn.

  132. 132
    Svensker says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    I think religion is a little different set of circumstances than high school goth cliques and the NRA.

    Well, it’s bigger and has more power. But it tends to be tribal, and anything tribal usually turns into an us-them situation eventually. Like patriotism, ethnic pride, nationalism — they can be fine in measured doses, but when the tribalism gets too strident, ya get trouble.

  133. 133
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Midnight Marauder: I’m pretty sure religion has a higher body count.

  134. 134
    Svensker says:

    @fucen tarmal:

    sullivan is specifically invoking the god that hitchens has rejected, the ascribed god. the abrahamic god. the one that judges you, the one that lives by the dictum, believe or else.

    Has Hitch rejected the abrahamic god but accepted another god? I believe in the same God Sully does and I’m not seeing what you’re seeing.

    I don’t believe in the kind of “judgment” you’re talking about, nor do many Christians or religious folk. I compare God’s “judgment” more to reality — you don’t have to “believe” in reality, but it exists anyway and if your actions don’t accord with reality, you’ll probably have some negative consequences. Reality is not being mean or stern or judging you by giving you those consequences.

  135. 135

    “We are all the same person trying to shake hands with our self.” ~~Wavy Gravy

    Don’t step on my peace leaf – Gen Stuck

  136. 136

    @Chad N Freude:

    This was not a get-well card. It was a posting in an online publication read by a lot of people who aren’t in on the supposed relationship.

    I say it was a get well card. And what does Sullivan posting it on his site have to do with anything? It was addressed to Hitchens, not a lot of people. Who, by the way, ought to mind their own fucking business, if you ask me. And even if you don’t ask me.

  137. 137
    stuckinred says:

    It don’t mean nuthin.

  138. 138
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    asked to comment, former co-star danny glover said “mel’s getting too old for this shit”

    the racist stuff we already knew, those tapes would be gold if mel got off a “give me back my son!”

  139. 139

    Bunch of fucking busy bodies looking for someone to pitchfork. Jeebus, is that what we’ve come to? No thanks, I have better things to do.

  140. 140
    TomG says:

    I’m an atheist too, and I totally understand why many of us are irritated at the type of well-meaning disrespect that Sully demonstrated. John, you nailed it.

    BTW, although I think Hitchens is completely wrong about the need for the US to have invaded Iraq, his in-your-face anti-theism is refreshing and, imho, necessary.

  141. 141
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @fucen tarmal:

    I swear he’s close to double homicide. That transcript sounds like sequel to the nicole brown 9/11 tape of Juice sprinting to DefCon 1.

  142. 142
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Svensker:

    no, i’m pretty sure there is an afterlife in all judeo-christian sects, one that hinges upon what you did in life, including whether or not you were a believer, consequences may vary, check with your dealer for more details.

    just as an aside, if this is how atheists view such a comment as “i will pray for you” does it matter how you mean it?

  143. 143
    Roger Moore says:

    @Svensker:

    Atheists are doing their best to be just as obnoxious as the God-botherers. Given time, I’m sure they’ll catch up quite well.

    Not a fucking chance. I’ve never heard of an atheist who’s remotely close to as big an asshole as Fred Phelps. And that’s just on the rhetoric side of things. There are plenty of crazy, evil things that people do in the name of religion- everything from genital mutilation to murder to genocide- that nobody would ever do in the name of atheism. There’s just no comparison.

  144. 144
    Origuy says:

    @mclaren: I should hope COBOL’s not obsolete, I spent three years on the ISO Standards committee.

    Telling an atheist you’ll pray for him is like telling a Christian that you hope Odin will let him into Valhalla. A lot of Christians don’t see it that way, though. They think that atheists, deep down, not only believe in God, but hate and fear him because they’re sure they’re going to Hell.

  145. 145
    Chad N Freude says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Point taken. People who read personal messages intended for a single recipient with a personal subtext posted on widely read public websites are intruding on other people’s private business.

  146. 146
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Both sides should be more careful; bottom line, live and let live

    That would be a fine sentiment if religion were a benign influence, along the lines of, oh, say, belief in pink unicorns. There aren’t too many pink-unicorn fanatics out there blowing themselves up in suicide bombings, or holding Fred Phelps-style protests at soldiers’ funerals, or murdering gays, etc.

    As Dawkins puts it (and I paraphrase), religion is a dangerous delusion, and it must be resisted. I don’t agree with Hitchens’ in-your-face insulting approach to that resistance, but I do think that people with firmly held religious beliefs should seek counseling, just as I would think that the aforementioned believers in pink unicorns should seek counseling. And if someone gets in my face to try to witness to me, or asks me if I’ve been “saved,” or sneeringly wishes me well in the manner that Sullivan did to Hitchens, then I will tell them that.

    And it’s really hard to not sound insulting when you tell someone that.

  147. 147

    Painting all theists with the fanatical brush, is just as fanatical as fanatical theists.

  148. 148
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    i would hope not, and that mel gibson is just being a diva, trying to impress her with conjured fury.

  149. 149
    scarshapedstar says:

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    Let he who is without HIV throw the first stone.

  150. 150
    bago says:

    Jesus, dry British humor seems to escape a lot of you.

  151. 151

    @Chad N Freude:

    People who read personal messages intended for a single recipient with a personal subtext posted on widely read public websites are intruding on other people’s private business.

    No, but
    For a personal message intended for a single recipient, made public, only the recipient can judge it’s meaning. With any accuracy.

  152. 152
    demimondian says:

    @Catsy: Actually, I would have no problems with that — from a sincere Satanist. (And, yes, they exist.) I have no problems with the idea that my Pagan son will make a small sacrifice to the Earth Mother after my death; in fact, I confess to being very curious about what he’ll sacrifice. Seeing as how I won’t be around to find out, though, I’ll never know.

  153. 153
    Jared says:

    Hitch’s brand of cancer has a five year survival rate of, like, seventeen percent.

    Not promising.

  154. 154
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America): I would love to see it be Charlotte. NC is the sole even remotely blue potato in the otherwise bright-red broth that is the southeastern US.

  155. 155
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @fucen tarmal: it’s more than that, read to the bottom, he actually knocked her teeth out. That’s not an easy thing to do.

  156. 156
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    May the God he believes poisons everything be with him.

    In the larger context Sullivan thinks he is wishing Hitchens well, but I’m afraid he doesn’t quite understand. A paraphrase would be, “even though you don’t believe in my deity I wish you well and hope you come around to my way of thinking.” This is not only insulting but ignorant of Christianity. Insulting for obvious reasons. Ignorant because the New Testament teaches that well wishes should not be conditional. I never cease to be amazed at how frequently unbelievers such as I tend to be more conversant in the teachings of Christianity than professed Christians such as Sullivan.

  157. 157
    Corner Stone says:

    @scarshapedstar:

    Let he who is without HIV throw the first stone.

    Ummmm…
    {throws stone}

  158. 158
    Chad N Freude says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: General, that’s the point. People who read it will assign their own interpretations to it, and those interpretations will color their perceptions of the author.

    ETA: Either Sully isn’t sensitive to that or he doesn’t care, but it’s a certainty.

  159. 159
    Corner Stone says:

    @Joel:

    On the scale of douchbaggery, this rates as “very slightly douchy” in my book.

    Or as Tom Tucker on Family Guy says, “Only slightly, only slightly.”
    Or IOW, about a 1/8 of a normal Sully doucheosity scale.
    Because that POS is full of douche normally.

  160. 160

    @FlipYrWhig: I don’t think they share one anymore, since Sullivan got married. OTOH, they are pretty close friends, right?

  161. 161
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): I’m still hung up on “poison”: “You believe God poisons everything, and I want him to be with you.” Maybe God poisons everything except my friends… I dunno.

  162. 162
    The Dangerman says:

    @James in WA:

    There aren’t too many pink-unicorn fanatics out there blowing themselves up in suicide bombings, or holding Fred Phelps-style protests at soldiers’ funerals, or murdering gays…

    Should I explain the concept of “live and let live” in additional detail? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

    Lots of awful things happening out there for lots of reasons, some tied to religion, some tied to other factors (for example, invading Middle Eastern countries that have Oil; do you still drive a car?).

    Bottom line, the number of suicide bombers and protesters at funerals is such a small percentage of the Faith population that if Religion ISN’T benign, it’s pretty damned close. Me thinks you paint with too broad of a brush.

  163. 163

    @Chad N Freude: I agree. Sully can be an odd duck sometimes. Maybe purposely, maybe not. Who knows.

  164. 164
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Over the years I’ve had lots of people say they were praying for me. When I had quadruple bypass surgery. When my dad died. When I lost a job. I’m an unbeliever but I was never insulted by the well wishes. I expect I’ve probably even said that to other people. The words are about as meaningful as “Happy Easter” or “Merry Christmas.”

    I’m not privy to Hitch’s inner thoughts (not through his lack of trying!) but I suspect he’s grateful to know that his friend Sully is thinking about him with love and concern. Sully was a bit artless in the words he chose, but so what? There are lots of things more deserving of *all* of our attention and worry and outrage.

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Origuy:

    Telling an atheist you’ll pray for him is like telling a Christian that you hope Odin will let him into Valhalla.

    It’s not offensive to tell a Christian that you’re going to pray for him/her to your particular god if you’re not a Christian, so that seems like a weird comparison.

  166. 166
    Anya says:

    @beltane: I guess you’ve never met Muslims, then. They are the most fatalistic assholes you’ll ever meet. When my grandfather (I adored him so his death was hard on me) passed away, everyone I met, kept telling me that “it was his day”, “it was inevitable”, “I should not be sad because we are all heading there”. and many more crap like that, I was so annoyed that I was ready to murder someone.

  167. 167
    Ash Can says:

    Wishing Hitchens all the best, but really, fuck all of this; I’m mixing myself another martini.

  168. 168

    St. Louis’ stadium is very nice. And it would be only a few hours drive for me. But that said, pretty much anywhere outdoors in August will suck.

  169. 169
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Bottom line, the number of suicide bombers and protesters at funerals is such a small percentage of the Faith population that if Religion ISN’T benign, it’s pretty damned close. Me thinks you paint with too broad of a brush.

    Using the metaphor of the flu, only a small percentage of those who get sick actually die. That doesn’t mean that we don’t try to prevent everyone from getting sick in the first place, though: you can’t die from the flu if you don’t contract it in the first place. And you can’t turn into a religious fanatic if you’re not exposed to religion.

    And I disagree with you with respect to religion being “pretty damned close” to benign. Significant swaths of the US and world population were and continue to be affected by W’s faith-based administration in areas ranging from diluted scientific standards to the Iraq war itself — remember, he prayed for guidance, and trusted his “gut.” (Presumably, that’s where God deposited His answer to the prayer.)

    And W was a pretty mild case of religious delusion.

  170. 170
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    Understand that believers often can’t deal with the atheist position on its own terms. If an atheist says, “sorry, I don’t believe in your deity,” believers will frequently take this as an insult to the deity, not as a simple position statement. It would be like someone saying, “sorry, I’m not a fan of football” to John Cole, and John taking that as an insult to the Steelers and all of western Pennsylvania.

  171. 171
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ash Can:

    Wishing Hitchens all the best, but really, fuck all of this; I’m mixing myself another martini.

    I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.
    Does it come with a coupon for two free martinis?

  172. 172
    scarshapedstar says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Haha. That was directed at Sully. I feel it’s unseemly for him to be commenting on God’s potential involvement in other people’s terminal illnesses. But what the hell do I know.

  173. 173
    MikeJ says:

    @Corner Stone: Just made myself a martini whilst I wait the caramelizing of the onions. Tragedy tomorrow, frittata tonight!

  174. 174
    The Dangerman says:

    @James in WA:

    …and you can’t turn into a religious fanatic if you’re not exposed to religion.

    Good luck with the goal of preventing people from being exposed to Religion; it appears you like Sisyphean challenges. “Live and let live” sounds much more reasonable to me.

    Significant swaths of the US and world population were and continue to be affected by W’s faith-based administration..

    From my viewpoint, W’s wasn’t a Faith-based administation; sure, he CLAIMED to be Faith-based to gain the support of his base, but his actions spoke louder than his words. I can claim to be as wealthy as Bill Gates; doesn’t make it so.

    Basically, he was a fraud; the people that were swayed by his Faith declarations were dupes. Same thing as before; in the big picture, the percentage of these “dupes” is small compared to the entire Faith population (but, perhaps, large enough to swing elections).

  175. 175
    Corner Stone says:

    @MikeJ: I’m having tostadas redux tonight and they will rock.
    Queso with hot rotel mix, ranch sour cream dip, Mrs. Renfro’s Habanero salsa and fresh sliced jalapenos outta the garden. And God Herself help me tomorrow when I hit the john.
    As you say, tragedy tomorrow, tostadas tonight!!

  176. 176
    Anya says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I second Charlotte, NC. I was there during the primaries and it’s a lovely place. I think long term politically, it’s good support for the Dems in NC. But I think they might not have enough hotels and the traffic will be a nightmare.

  177. 177
    Corner Stone says:

    @scarshapedstar: I gotcha at the time.
    I just can’t stand Sully, and anyone who reads anything that POS says has real issues with actual life.

  178. 178
    Graeme says:

    El Cid nailed it, given an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You’d think god would know that.

    As for Sully: I think he probably gets pretty good weed. He’s rich.

  179. 179
    Svensker says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’ve never heard of an atheist who’s remotely close to as big an asshole as Fred Phelps.

    Well, the name Pol Pot comes to mind. And on a lesser level, some of the folks spiking trees in the NW forests in the 70s, so that loggers would get maimed.

    But, I know what you mean and in general agree with you. What I meant is that being assholic is not reserved for the religious, all kinds of humans are prone to being assholes. The fervent, whether religious or political or whatever, tend to be bigger assholes than the mellow. And a lot of religious folks are fervent.

  180. 180
    Ash Can says:

    @MikeJ: Sounds delish. I threw a campanelle primavera together tonight that didn’t turn out half-bad, even if I do say so myself. Broccoflower and an extra clove or two of fresh garlic work wonders, to say nothing of good bay scallops. Buon apetito!

  181. 181
    Ash Can says:

    @Corner Stone: Whoa, that’s some seriously hot shit. I hope your plumber is wearing asbestos overalls tomorrow.

  182. 182
    mattt says:

    I’m an atheist (who’s open to new information). When my mother or others of the faithful say they’ll pray for me, I take it to mean that I’m in their thoughts and they’re doing what they can. Which in a lot of circumstances isn’t much more than including my name in their rituals of recitation. I’m glad to know they care enough, and don’t see how it’s offensive.

    Of course, like most phrases, it can be flung offensively….

  183. 183
    Silver Owl says:

    Pity the God subjected to all those bitter arrogant assholes for eternity. No one, not even a deity, deserves their hate filled presence. One can thank the religious leaders for spreading their flaws so far and wide.

  184. 184
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    I don’t think God would help a blood thirsty warmonger like hitchens.

    I guess it’s lucky for flawed people that you are not God.

  185. 185
    celticdragonchick says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    For a personal message intended for a single recipient, made public, only the recipient can judge it’s meaning. With any accuracy.

    I agree. Hitchens and Sully are long time friends. Hitchens is better qualified to react to a message meant for him then any of us are.

  186. 186
    burnspbesq says:

    @HumboldtBlue:

    Glad to see that tolerance continues to be one of your strong points.

  187. 187
    Corner Stone says:

    Can you imagine being John Wayne’s grandkid?
    What a load to carry.

    I guess there’s worse, but that seems like a real hassle.

  188. 188
    Mark S. says:

    @Silver Owl:

    Pity the God subjected to all those bitter arrogant assholes for eternity.

    That reminds me of a passage from Nietzsche:

    How can people make such a fuss about their small vices, the way these devout little men do? No one – and certainly not God – could care less about it. Finally, they even want to possess “the crown of eternal life,” all these small people from the provinces. But what for? What for? It`s impossible to push presumption any further. An “immortal” Peter – who could endure him?

    (I hope it’s okay to quote Nietzsche here; I don’t know what his thoughts on the Iraq War are)

  189. 189
    Chad N Freude says:

    @MikeJ:

    Tragedy tomorrow, frittata tonight!

    This is good! The variations are endless and the cultural nudge-nudge-wink-wink helps establish our superiority to the small people.

  190. 190
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Corner Stone: I just got done reading Nixonland. Fuck John Wayne. Funk him in his dead eyehole with dead Nixon’s dick.

  191. 191
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ash Can:

    Whoa, that’s some seriously hot shit

    Ba-da-dum!
    Thank you! You’ll be here all week!

  192. 192
    Corner Stone says:

    @AhabTRuler: Well, it’s interesting.
    It’s not like he was a Brando, or a Jackson, or other freak-esque peoples.
    So, you go to normal schools and you see your grandpa on TV at night and you’re like, WTF?
    And he’s the American icon of old school toughness, and honor and general badassery.
    But then you learn a little about that image, and the real person.

    IMO, it would probably be pretty damn hard if you were a real person.

  193. 193
    MikeJ says:

    @Mark S.:

    I hope it’s okay to quote Nietzsche here;

    Phil Spector’s arranger for the Wall of Sound? Anytime!

  194. 194
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mark S.:

    (I hope it’s okay to quote Nietzsche here; I don’t know what his thoughts on the Iraq War are)

    Beats me. It seems to be off limits to quote Glen Greenwald on odd days, John Aravosis on any day but the second tuesday of the month or anybody from FDL except as approved by the management.

    Other sites, authors or academics are strictly at your own risk, and may subject you to pitiless mocking, questioning of your character, and insults unrelated to anything you actually were talking about.

  195. 195
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Good luck with the goal of preventing people from being exposed to Religion; it appears you like Sisyphean challenges. “Live and let live” sounds much more reasonable to me.

    I have no such goal, I was merely pointing out the obvious, that people don’t turn into fanatics over nothing. My original response to you was simply to point out that not engaging is a not an effective strategy in life. Sure, you can not vote, for example, but then you really can’t complain about who gets elected or what their resulting policies are. You read BJ, so surely you must care about politics, and hence you probably vote. I am a scientist who cares about the inroads being made into scientific education and funding by well meaning non-fundamentalist theists in this country, and hence I exercise my voice to dispute them. It’s the same thing. Saying “live and let live” is simplistic and even somewhat patronizing. When I tell people to seek counseling (and ONLY those people who get in my face first, as I mentioned), I do not do it with rancor, Hitchens-style.

    From my viewpoint, W’s wasn’t a Faith-based administation; sure, he CLAIMED to be Faith-based to gain the support of his base, but his actions spoke louder than his words. I can claim to be as wealthy as Bill Gates; doesn’t make it so.

    This is beside the point. In 2000 the “faith community” voted for him and supported him en masse because he claimed as his own the born-again evangelical christian faith. If he’d come out calling for pink unicorns, they would not have done so.

    Basically, he was a fraud; the people that were swayed by his Faith declarations were dupes. Same thing as before; in the big picture, the percentage of these “dupes” is small compared to the entire Faith population (but, perhaps, large enough to swing elections).

    Again, beside the point. Even if you’re right — and I disagree that you are, having been living among a huge population of such believers at the time who still ardently supported Bush in 2004, when presumably they should have known better — even if you’re right, all of the really bad shit that he did like the Iraq invasion happened in the years from 2000 – 2004. So it was too late. The appeal to religion and faith in 2000 was all that was needed.

  196. 196
    Mark S. says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Can you imagine being John Wayne’s grandkid?

    What brought that up?

  197. 197
    Chad N Freude says:

    @celticdragonchick: It’s OK to quote anybody at any time. Just wear a raincoat, a poncho, and armor, and carry a gigantic umbrella.

  198. 198
    celticdragonchick says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    Fuck John Wayne. Funk him in his dead eyehole with dead Nixon’s dick.

    So what was John Wayne’s unforgivable atrocity of an outrageous outrage?

  199. 199
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    It’s OK to quote anybody at any time. Just wear a raincoat, a poncho, and armor, and carry a gigantic umbrella

    Heh!

  200. 200
    Chad N Freude says:

    @celticdragonchick: I forgot to mention ducking and covering also too.

  201. 201
    celticdragonchick says:

    @James in WA:

    I am a scientist who cares about the inroads being made into scientific education and funding by well meaning non-fundamentalist theists in this country, and hence I exercise my voice to dispute them.

    I can’t say “Thank you!” enough for that. I may well end up teaching, since I am too badly broken up to be able to do much field geology…and science education (along with history) always seems to be right in the crosshairs of the fundamentalist camp.

  202. 202
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    I forgot to mention ducking and covering also too.

    Yeah, I have found that out… ;)

  203. 203
    gil mann says:

    @bago:

    Jesus, dry British humor seems to escape a lot of you.

    I know, right? To be fair, though, the last 5832 times this came up, it really was about a believer being a sanctimonious ass toward a nonbeliever.

  204. 204
    AhabTRuler says:

    @celticdragonchick: You mean besides being an authoritarian douchebag? Stumping for Nixon’s reelection in ’72. And, of course, supporting the war. Sure, there are many other people who need to be dicked by dead Nixon’s dick, sadly, only after Dick Nixon dicked us.

    But John Wayne was just the one who was brought up.

  205. 205
    Wannabe Speechwriter says:

    While I do think the quote is offensive, I would point out that Hitch and Sully saying odd things to each other is not new:

    http://mediamatters.org/research/200804070005

  206. 206
    Mark S. says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    So what was John Wayne’s unforgivable atrocity of an outrageous outrage?

    Maybe this?

  207. 207
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Mark S.: That is so…gay! I mean, not Do-mi-do duds gay, but pretty gay. Especially for Marion.

  208. 208
    celticdragonchick says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    Just wondering, since you seem to make a very personal expression of hatred for a person dead some thirty years who did little more then be on the other side of the political fence from you.

    He was an actor. Nothing more. The right wing is the side that “loves the country” but hates half the people in it. We don’t need to emulate that.

  209. 209
    Cassidy says:

    I’m pragmatic. Most of what Christianity touches turns to shit. Good intentions sure, but keep your voodoo off me. I got better odds that way.

  210. 210
    Catsy says:

    @demimondian:

    Actually, I would have no problems with that—from a sincere Satanist.

    While this is great, do you really think this is likely to be the reaction of the vast majority of Christians? Or do you think it’s more likely to at best make them uneasy or put off?

  211. 211
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mark S.:

    Oh. My. God.

    I stand corrected.

    That was absolutely unforgivable.

    Of ourse, there was also this…

  212. 212
    eco2geek says:

    So Hitchens writes a book named God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Then he gets cancer. Andrew “fifth column” Sullivan, who’s a devout Catholic (however the hell that works, since he’s also gay), basically wishes Hitchens well and needles him at the same time by saying “God be with you,” knowing full well what Hitchens feels about the notion of divine providence.

    This is somehow controversial.

    Yawn. Time for a nap.

  213. 213
    Lee Hartmann says:

    Without wishing Hitchens ill… he was a big Iraq war supporter, a GWB supporter, called all of us DFHs traitors who thought it was a bad idea.

    So I don’t care what happens to him. Any more than he cared about the ‘abstractions’ who were the pawns in the game of self-righteousness…

    And in his memoir, he conveniently ignores or downplays his drama queen moments.

    no particular sympathy, any more than a half-way decent human being would get.. which he isn’t.

  214. 214
    MNPundit says:

    Not hard to get.

    Sully thinks there is a Christian God. Despite the fact that Hitch is probably damned to hell, he wants God to make things better for Hitch. Because God still has power over Hitch regardless of what Hitch believes, it’s construed as a benefit. He shouldn’t SAY it out loud, but there’s nothing wrong with thinking it.

  215. 215
  216. 216
    beltane says:

    @eco2geek: I’m just hanging around waiting for someone to break out the kick-ass weed.

  217. 217
    Cacti says:

    You can always count on some “loving Christian” to get sanctimonious about the suffering of a non-believer.

    Sullivan unintentionally proved Hitchens’ point.

  218. 218
    James in WA says:

    @celticdragonchick: John Wayne was a pretty adamant and vocal supporter of the Vietnam war. I believe that he filmed The Green Beret as a very specific measure of support for it. To a lot of people, that makes him pretty repulsive.

    That being said, I like me some Rooster Cogburn movies, myself. But then I was just an infant in 1968 when vietnam and the protests against it were really starting to hit the fan.

  219. 219
    Roger Moore says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Bottom line, the number of suicide bombers and protesters at funerals is such a small percentage of the Faith population that if Religion ISN’T benign, it’s pretty damned close.

    The problem is those are just the most egregious examples; there’s a lot of other vile stuff that gets done in the name of religion. For example, opposition to contraception and abortion is predominantly religious and does a hell of a lot of damage. As an example, the Catholic Church is fighting tooth and nail to prevent condom distribution in Africa, even though it would help enormously in preventing the spread of HIV. Religion is also at the core of most anti-LGBT discrimination; here in California it was almost exclusively religious groups that fought against marriage equality by supporting Prop 8. And it’s mostly religious groups that fight to gut school science curricula.

  220. 220
    Cacti says:

    As an example, the Catholic Church is fighting tooth and nail to prevent condom distribution in Africa, even though it would help enormously in preventing the spread of HIV

    If they were only opposing condom distribution, that would be bad enough.

    The RCC has engaged in an active campaign of lies and disinformation about the utility of condoms in stopping the spread of HIV.

  221. 221
    celticdragonchick says:

    @James in WA:

    John Wayne was a pretty adamant and vocal supporter of the Vietnam war.

    Well, so were my parents. I don’t tend to let that get in the way of how I feel about people. I personally think the war was badly mishandled (McNamara and the “whiz kids”) and that it would have been a good think to have stopped communist expansion at the time, along with the accompanying re-education camps and atrocities that followed.

    It didn’t go that way, and the wildly corrupt South Vietnamese government didn’t help.

    Now, the recent coments by Mel Gibson really are something to be truly angry about. I wonder if the man is actually mentally ill, given how erratic his behavior seems to be.

    I really love many of his movies, and this just ruins them for me. Sad and apalling.

  222. 222
    AhabTRuler says:

    @celticdragonchick: I did just finish reading Nixonland. It angrys up the blood. And Wayne had some, errr, controversial thoughts on race equity and America’s relationship with it’s native peoples, to put it mildly. And of course the above featured movie poster has some backstory to it, &c. &c. So I think Marion has done enough to earn opprobrium thirty years dead or no.

    Then take a dash of hyperbole and a pinch of idiom, add one Nixon-era pun (delightfully resurrected for the Cheney pere), and you get the internets.

    ETA: Really? You only realized that about Gibson now? It’s been clear for at least five years that he is a whackaloon, as well as extraordinarily hostile to certain groups.

  223. 223
    suzanne says:

    Um, John Wayne bought the property of Japanese-Americans who were forced into internment camps at pennies on the dollar and profited mightily from it. He’s an asshole.

  224. 224
    celticdragonchick says:

    @James in WA:

    It also looks we are about the same age. I was born in 1967. My first memory is the moon landing!

  225. 225
    bago says:

    Oh, his comment could be seen as insulting? Gosh, I wonder what catty commentary would sound like.

  226. 226
    The Dangerman says:

    @James in WA:

    My original response to you was simply to point out that not engaging is a not an effective strategy in life.

    Sure it is; indeed, it’s the American (don’t tread on me, etc.)

    I am a scientist who cares about the inroads being made into scientific education and funding by well meaning non-fundamentalist …

    I’d debate them being “well meaning”; the politicization of science is very short sighted. Yet, once again, you are looking at the micro and ignoring the macro (easy to do given the micro makes all the noise).

    Saying “live and let live” is simplistic and even somewhat patronizing.

    Perhaps, but I just don’t care about what other people Believe, what other people put in their bodies (indeed, please pass that kickass weed, tyvm), what other people do with their bodies (I feel life, at least in a legal sense, begins at Birth, so I’m farther left than most), or how people choose to get off. Sure, it’s simplistic – but it is the only reasonable solution. I choose fights that I can win; I have no time or energy for Pyrrhic victories.

    In 2000 the “faith community” voted for him and supported him en masse because he claimed as his own the born-again evangelical christian faith.

    True, and it WAS almost enough for him to swing the election (it is fairly clear that he lost the Electoral as well as the Popular). I said as much in the last post; it was a great strategy. Unfortunately, in our system, even stupid dupes vote.

    Now, from my view from the very cheap seats, far more dangerous than Religion is the fact that the population has completely split into roughly equal tribes, each with their own truth and media (see Fox News). This split isn’t based only on Religion; sure, it’s a contributor, but it’s mostly in the noise. I don’t foresee a happy resolution to that horribly fractured split; indeed, I expect very, VERY bad things, none of which are the fault of Religion, but the lies told in the pursuit of political and economic (as if there is a distinction between the two) power.

  227. 227
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mark S.: I’m not right…in the head.

    Plus, I was flipping through while waiting for an Astro’s West Coast game and Hondo was on. And during a break they had 3 of his grandkids on saying things. And one of them was smoking hot.
    And I think that’s really all that I need to think about things that I think should be thought about, by myself and sometimes I think by others as well.

    ETA – I like to share what’s going on in my head sometimes. For the betterment of you all.

  228. 228
    Mark S. says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    I once read that Wayne was drunk for most of the filming. I didn’t know about the nuclear testing stuff.

  229. 229
    celticdragonchick says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    And Wayne had some, errr, controversial thoughts on race equity and America’s relationship with it’s native peoples, to put it mildly.

    That is rather upsetting to hear, and I hoped he would have been more forward looking, especially given his long relationship with John Ford.

    I can understand the regressive nature of social attitudes at the time. For instance, you would not find hardly anybody at the time who would consider working with openly GLBT people or defending them in any public venue, much less supporting actual GLBT rights

    It is still a disapointment, nonetheless.

  230. 230
    celticdragonchick says:

    @The Dangerman:

    …the fact that the population has completely split into roughly equal tribes, each with their own truth and media (see Fox News). This split isn’t based only on Religion; sure, it’s a contributor, but it’s mostly in the noise. I don’t foresee a happy resolution to that horribly fractured split; indeed, I expect very, VERY bad things, none of which are the fault of Religion, but the lies told in the pursuit of political and economic (as if there is a distinction between the two) power.

    That.

    Robert Kaplan’s The Coming Anarchy touches on that tangentially.

  231. 231
    eco2geek says:

    @beltane: I’m right there with you!

  232. 232
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mark S.:

    Yeah. About half the cast and crew died of cancer, which is wayyyy above statistical average. I had heard about that since the 80’s.

  233. 233
    stormhit says:

    @bago:

    This. This post and comment thread is pretty ridiculous.

  234. 234
    Mark S. says:

    @suzanne:

    Really? Do you have a link?

    Huh, reading Wayne’s wikipedia link, he seems pretty damn racist even for his time. I find it interesting Stalin wanted to kill him. Personally, I think he had slightly more range than Steven Seagal.

  235. 235
    James in WA says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    It also looks we are about the same age. I was born in 1967. My first memory is the moon landing!

    Yup. 1966. I don’t remember the first moon landing, but I do remember the last apollo mission splashing down, and Cronkite with his black-and-white vietnam war reports. And John Wayne may indeed have been an asshole IRL, but the man is dead now, and I still used to love watching his westerns with my dad when I was a kid so… meh.

  236. 236
    cay says:

    Sully is a Christian who writes like a “Christianist”–shallow, certain, and mocking of atheists. He does fear death more than anyone I have read, so it all makes sense. Peace be with him.

  237. 237
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Now, from my view from the very cheap seats, far more dangerous than Religion is the fact that the population has completely split into roughly equal tribes

    Wouldn’t be the first time. Out this way, there’s a minority (but very popular) movement to secede and form a “Cascadia” union with BC, Oregon, and northern California.

  238. 238
    fucen tarmal says:

    @bago:

    americans do like something we can sink our teeth into, i guess we are doomed to never understand each other.

  239. 239
    The Dangerman says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The problem is those are just the most egregious examples; there’s a lot of other vile stuff that gets done in the name of religion.

    Of course; yet, once again, I feel it is practically in the noise. Pulling numbers completely out of my ass, there’s somewhere well north of 5 billion Believers on the planet…

    …of which there IS a population that serves to fuck things up fairly well here and there (even though Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe in the same God; as a Christian and a Buddhist – yes, I’m a little confused, but, since Buddhism has no God, I see no problem there – anyway, I’m profoundly sad that the Abrahamic Religions have caused such grief through history).

    Yet, if Religion was inherently bad, I submit this world would be far more fucked than it is; again, I think we’re arguing about the noise in the bigger picture (political/economic power).

    P.S. I find Dangerman arguing with Roger Moore rocks…

    …and where is that damned kickass weed?

  240. 240
    celticdragonchick says:

    @suzanne:

    Um, John Wayne bought the property of Japanese-Americans who were forced into internment camps at pennies on the dollar and profited mightily from it.

    Damn. I just looked around and saw something that Bob Hope did also.

    I won’t even remotely attempt to defend that. I do wonder what future generation will think of us, in truth. We have managed to do things that even the WW II generation would blanch at.

    Sometimes I just think that humans suck.

  241. 241
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Yet, if Religion was inherently bad, I submit this world would be far more fucked than it is; again, I think we’re arguing about the noise in the bigger picture (political/economic power).

    There’s no way to test that assertion, but I (among many) assert that religion is fundamentally bad, and that’s a significant part of the reason why the world is as fucked up as it is. I agree with you that it’s not the only driver — not by a long shot — but that’s not the point. You’re arguing that there are grander reasons why Bad Things are going on in the world. I agree. That is a logical fallacy when taken in the context of the argument that religion is a subversive influence, however. And it is definitely not of the order of “noise” — name one significant political debate of the last decade that is not rife with religious social conservative talking points, for example — talking points which go far towards persuading people who otherwise know very little about the argument at hand, and care very little, but will tend to vote with the person who seems to be a good believer.

  242. 242
    handy says:

    Saw Sully and Hitch go at it on MTP a couple years ago. Oh My Mother of Me, worst “debate” ever. Those two bores raised tedium to the googolethed power.

  243. 243
    celticdragonchick says:

    @James in WA:

    name one significant political debate of the last decade that is not rife with religious social conservative talking points, for example—

    The taxes/class warfare/welfare debates come to mind. The social religious types haven’t yet figured out how make a convincing argument that Jesus hates poor people, so they get stuck with “trickle down” talking points and “pull yerself up by yer bootstraps” frontier mythology. All those parables about poor widows and the rich man/camel and the eye of a needle story do get in the way.

    It isn’t like thy haven’t been working on it, though. Just world theory is soooo American.

  244. 244
    The Dangerman says:

    @James in WA:

    …name one significant political debate of the last decade that is not rife with religious social conservative talking points…

    Wouldn’t think of trying; again, there is a voting block large enough to at least potentially swing an election and they make a lot of noise.

    But, in the very big picture, the patient is hemorrhaging on the table and the problems from Religion are a hangnail (ok, the Middle East conflict is more than a hangnail, but I’d still argue, at most, secondary to the hemorrhaging that has other root causes). Yes, and to start another metaphor, there are trees that may be diseased, but cutting down the forest to eliminate those trees seems suboptimal.

    …and, with that, I bid adieu. Time for something else.

  245. 245
    James in WA says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    The taxes/class warfare/welfare debates come to mind.

    That’s a good point. I would counter by saying that it is my belief & opinion that this is due to the holdover-from-medieval times that wealth and position is equal to blessing from god. Atheists tend to look at the world through a moral lens that was formed from the axiom that all people are in fact born equal, whereas in (my admittedly subjective) experience, believers are much more amenable to the idea that someone’s position or wealth is the result of their greater worth in god’s eyes. God blesses the worthy, after all. An insidious viewpoint, and just another example of the subversiveness of it all. Once you start thinking of someone as being less worthy, or even unworthy, it’s easy to marginalize and dehumanize them. And christianity (among others) is all about the idea of us versus them, the saved versus the damned, and those who will be taken at the rapture versus those of us who will be left behind to tend to their pets.

  246. 246
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Yes, and to start another metaphor, there are trees that may be diseased, but cutting down the forest to eliminate those trees seems suboptimal.

    A poor metaphor, Dangerman. In nonmetaphorical language, you’re saying that “some people may be religious, but killing everyone to eliminate the religious seems suboptimal.” That is not at all what I suggest. Rather, I say: treat and cure the diseased trees.

  247. 247
    gex says:

    @Svensker: I object to your example of an atheist who is just as bad as any religious figure.

    Religion is an organized thing where the people all believe in the same world view and act according to rules agreed upon/imposed by the group. Atheists do no such thing, or at least not based on ancient myths.

    The Pol Pot/Stalin arguments bother me because the atheist side is this: religions claim that their God is the source of morality. Yet we see non-believers who are moral and we see believers who are not very moral.

    You can’t counter that by saying that some atheists are also immoral. Yes, they are. Because they are people. But that is the point. Religion is treated with respect and is deferred to and is generally assumed to be good while atheism is believed to be immoral, but really what reason is there to think that there is anything special about religion?

    Put it this way. Teachers, therapists, and people who work with kids professionally are mandated reporters. If they suspect a kid is being abused they must call the authorities. It appears that religious leaders who work with kids are not subject to the same secular rules simply because of the respect with which religion is treated.

    Atheists in general do not impose their beliefs on others. The religious vary, but many do impose their beliefs on others. It is part of the evangelical roots of Christianity. Whatever Pol Pot did, it was not in the advancement of an agreed upon atheistic dogma. He was a madman.

  248. 248
    celticdragonchick says:

    @James in WA:

    God blesses the worthy, after all. An insidious viewpoint, and just another example of the subversiveness of it all.

    Yes, that is the summation of Just World Theory I mentioned in the link above. It is pernicious and very, very dangerous. It also is at absolute odds with actual historical Christian doctrine, and that fact is what ties many “Prosperity Gospel” types into knots when they try to justify Just World via some Biblical route. You can’t really square that circle.

  249. 249
    John Cole says:

    @HumboldtBlue: “But not all the perfumes of Araby can sweeten that spanking hand; nay, not all the genius of the Pfizer Corporation can make this Johnson rise again. ”

    That made me erect.

  250. 250
    John Cole says:

    When I announce I am dying, all you sanctimonious believers can save your prayers and instead tell me you are having one on me but would rather be having one with me. Thank you very fucking much.

    Praise Allah.

  251. 251
    celticdragonchick says:

    @John Cole:

    I’ll think positive thoughts about you and then send you a bill. No free energy! ;)

  252. 252

    @John Cole: I am not a religious person, what I believe is a cobbling together of various spiritual concepts. Reading this thread, where I see most of the sanctimony, is coming from self proclaimed non believers, who are conflating and confusing atheism with anti religion sentiment. they are not the same things.

  253. 253
    Ash Can says:

    @John Cole: Deal. No better prayer was ever uttered.

    And cool it on the Allah stuff if you want to be taken seriously as an atheist. Same God and all, don’tcha know.

  254. 254
    The Dangerman says:

    @James in WA:

    In nonmetaphorical language, you’re saying that “some people may be religious, but killing everyone to eliminate the religious seems suboptimal.”

    Not at all; my Forest is all Faith…

    …and the diseased trees are those that abuse Faith. There aren’t enough diseased trees in my Forest to cut it all down.

    The thought of trees reminds me of the mighty Sequoias; very tall, but with shallow root systems (at least in relation to their size). They gain their stability through the interlocking of those root systems. In a sense, they are all in it together…

    …which seems an apropos learning point. I find these learning points indicative of a Greater Intelligence (note I didn’t say Intelligent Design; a pox on their houses, since my Greater Intelligence was also responsible for creating the evolutionary forces that truly created what we have).

    And, with that, really, I’m checking out…

  255. 255
    The Dangerman says:

    @John Cole:

    That made me erect.

    Don’t forget to turn over that 4 hour hourglass (although, truth be told, at about 3:45, I’m getting nervous).

  256. 256
    James in WA says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    You can’t really square that circle.

    What a timely comment! I’ve recently begun reading this.

  257. 257
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Not at all; my Forest is all Faith… …and the diseased trees are those that abuse Faith. There aren’t enough diseased trees in my Forest to cut it all down.

    Ah, then I have now indeed brushed you with too broad a brush. My mistake. Yes, there are plenty of mild mannered believers.

    But really, the world would be a better place without superstition. Religion is superstition. It’s possible to believe in the incredible and marvelous majesty of life, in all of its manifold forms, and to appreciate it all with a sense of deep feeling and true appreciation, and to have that appreciation fundamentally affect your outlook on life and your desire to help your fellow human, without having to appeal to the supernatural.

    I know, because it happens to me regularly.

  258. 258
    James in WA says:

    @celticdragonchick: Ah, I didn’t notice your link at first. Woah. “She deserved it.”

    Kinda sums up a major chunk of fundamentalist thought.

  259. 259
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Mike Kay (Team America):

    i read the article, which being radar online, didn’t have much, but it was her accusation. it seems it would be easy to prove or disprove. if its true they should lock him up, if not true(and they were seen together since, romantically) then they are made for each other.

  260. 260
    thejoz says:

    Regardless of what Hitchens doesn’t believe in, he’s an asshole. He should be happy that anyone has taken a minute or two out of their day – poorly phrased or not – to wish them well.

    I personally would not have used the turn of phrase Sullivan used, I’d have gone with the “kept in my prayers” because those are my personal feelings and beliefs and I’ll be damned if a raving antitheist is going to stop me from having them.

    But really Chris Hitchens has done very little to elicit sympathy from anyone, so…kudos to Sullivan for being a decent man, even if he picked his words a little poorly.

  261. 261
    Mike D. says:

    I agree Sullivan is typically off-base here, but in all likelihood he’ll be one of the friends there with good weed, not any of us. They are good friends.

  262. 262
    suzanne says:

    @celticdragonchick: Yeah, I haven’t been able to stomach either John Wayne or Bob Hope after learning about that. I heard Danny Kaye did it, too.

    I learned about it from a research paper in college, and I can’t find the sources I used (really because I’m too exhausted to dig the thing out of the garage). If you have a link, I’d really appreciate it.

  263. 263
    James in WA says:

    @thejoz:

    Regardless of what Hitchens doesn’t believe in, he’s an asshole. He should be happy that anyone has taken a minute or two out of their day – poorly phrased or not – to wish them well. I personally would not have used the turn of phrase Sullivan used, I’d have gone with the “kept in my prayers” because those are my personal feelings and beliefs and I’ll be damned if a raving antitheist is going to stop me from having them. But really Chris Hitchens has done very little to elicit sympathy from anyone, so…kudos to Sullivan for being a decent man, even if he picked his words a little poorly.

    But if you’re a christian, you should at least publicly try to keep the faith, right? Even if inwardly you don’t feel that way?

    You seem to be a christian, since you mentioned your preference regarding prayers. Or, at least, religious. And yet you’ve made pretty clear in your comments that Hitchens doesn’t really deserve sympathy. He’s done “very little to elicit (it),” after all. Hrm. What does a person have to do to elicit sympathy? Be quiet and unobtrusive? Embrace your faith? What did the whores and the thieves that Jesus accepted do to elicit his sympathy?

    See, this is what atheists like me really don’t get about you modern-day faithful. You’re quick to condemn, and you really don’t live by your supposed principles, among other things. By my reading of the new testament, Jesus would have embraced Hitchens, without reserve, without any “but…”.

    Yeah, Hitchens is an asshole, I agree. I’d rather be around assholes like him than assholes like you and Sullivan, though.

  264. 264
    The Dangerman says:

    @James in WA:

    It’s possible to believe in the incredible and marvelous majesty of life, in all of its manifold forms, and to appreciate it all with a sense of deep feeling and true appreciation, and to have that appreciation fundamentally affect your outlook on life and your desire to help your fellow human, without having to appeal to the supernatural.

    All of that quote, for me, doesn’t appeal to the supernatural; it defines the supernatural. From there, it’s but a small step to where I’m at; I can’t believe (small b here) that it’s all happened by accident. Too much has to be perfect for it all to exist; I just don’t see that being by chance.

    It is interesting that another of our party here tonight is celticdragonchick; the Celts have a concept called “thin places”, where the distance between you and whatever there is “out there” is compressed. In your neighborhood (roughly), for me, that would be Moraine Lake near Banff. In my neighborhood, Yosemite (plus some spots on my beloved Central Coast that I just can’t share; never said I wasn’t selfish!).

  265. 265
    Sharl says:

    The Almighty thanks everyone for their interest, and would appreciate it if you took a moment to fill out a short survey, so that He may improve His service to you, His follows.

    Please click here to open the short 1-page survey form.

    Thank you. Have a nice day.

  266. 266
    celticdragonchick says:

    @James in WA:

    Very cool. I am a huge Hobbes fan. I am putting that book on my to get list for the summer.

  267. 267
    celticdragonchick says:

    @suzanne:

    None yet. What I saw was anecdotal in a comment thread.

    It turns my stomach, regardless.

  268. 268
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Okay, Dangerman, I give you points for sticking with it! You’ve signed off twice and are still here. No doubt you’ll check this thread tomorrow, too. I blame a linux upgrade for my late night blog-commenting.

    All of that quote, for me, doesn’t appeal to the supernatural; it defines the supernatural. From there, it’s but a small step to where I’m at; I can’t believe (small b here) that it’s all happened by accident. Too much has to be perfect for it all to exist; I just don’t see that being by chance.

    Okay, we’re getting into the correctness of atheism vs. theism arguments here, and really I don’t want to go there. I was only initially arguing that religion is a bad thing in a very real and human sense, and I stick by that position. You disagree. Fair enough.

  269. 269
    The Dangerman says:

    @James in WA:

    Nope, still here; other evening opportunities just aren’t grabbing me. So, I kill time around here.

    I don’t know about “correctness of of atheism vs. theism”; far too left brained (right brained?) for me. I’m a (tired) techie, too.

    Anyway, we agree to disagree without being disagreeable; now, isn’t that where I started tonight with my first post in this thread? I think so, though YMMV.

  270. 270
    James in WA says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Anyway, we agree to disagree without being disagreeable; now, isn’t that where I started tonight with my first post in this thread? I think so, though YMMV.

    Heh. Yeah, well, if by that you mean “live and let live,” then at least insofar as our debate goes here tonight, then perhaps the answer is yes. But ask me again tomorrow, and I will reignite the debate, so maybe no. And ask the christian who rings my doorbell to witness, and the answer is definitely no.

    Be that as it may, it was interesting chatting with you tonight, and I’m sure that I would enjoy the same discussion in person. I may think that you’re mildly deluded, but what the hell, most of my friends are, anyway. Given the preponderance of evidence, I’m sure that I have my own delusions. Sleep well when you get there, Dangerman — my linux install is done.

  271. 271
    binzinerator says:

    @John Cole:

    It was the in your face way he said it- “I HOPE THE GOD HE HATES IS WITH HIM ANYWAY.”

    If he’d said “Hitchens is in my prayers,” no one would have flinched. It was him being such an asshole about it.

    Agree with this a hunnert percent.

    Sullivan’s response seemed to me to have a connection to his whole cosmology built into it. As if you accepted his good wishes you had to accept his religious view of the world.

    Ah, Andrew Sullivan. The poor schmuck.

    Sullivan can be a twit (when it comes to religion) and a tool (when it comes to politics). He’s maddening because one would expect he would have a lot more self-awareness than he seems to have.

    It’s like he’s perfectly aware of the Charlie Brown/Lucy/football thing, he can even analyze it and draw metaphors from it himself … and then when he’s actually out there on the lawn, he can see there’s a Lucy out there, and there’s this football, but then perversely he says he’s not going to try kick it he’s just going to try to strike it with his foot, that’s all.

    And he never seems to get he’s playing Charlie Brown. And he still thinks highly of Lucy for doing the estimable service of holding the football for him.

    Sullivan, I can’t hate him. He’s kinda tragic. All I can say is I thank the goddess he’s not the one I’m in love with. Can you imagine being so wrapped up in someone like that, such a person who your own happiness would be so wrapped up in and yet who just can’t help himself from being so much less than he could be, someone you can’t do a damn thing to save him from his foolish and often dickish other self?

  272. 272
    hamletta says:

    Sorry, but I’m late to the party.

    Speaking as a believer who adds friends to the prayer list all the time, Sully’s little invocation was passive-aggressive as all get-out.

    God loves atheists, too, and of course I’ll pray for them in their time of trial. But I wouldn’t tell them about it, much less sneer about it in public like that.

    Of course, I’m Lutheran, and we’re generally kinda tight-lipped. I personally find public displays of religiosity more distasteful than PDOA.

  273. 273
    slightly_peeved says:

    A side note; if one was to survey the current world population of atheists, what percentage of that would be doctrinaire communists? Certainly a very different kind of atheist to your usual US atheist, but the variety of people under the “religious” or “atheist” classification is part of the argument here.

    Not because I want to get into any atheism vs. religion fight; in fact, because I think that there are so many doctrinaire assholes on both sides that trying to distinguish between atheist doctrinaire assholes and religious doctrinaire assholes is actually missing the forest for the trees. Religious and non-religious people should be teaming up together to fight all brands of doctrinaire assholery, from the Crusades to the Cultural Revolution, under the banner of Letting People Believe Whatever The Fuck They Like. I noticed people were discussing the previous US administration as an example of the dangers religion can do, but a large number of that group were actually radical trotskyites in college. They switched from atheists to christians, but in both cases enforced a rigid ideological doctrine.

    A perfectly valid response to the question “Are you on the side of the atheist asshole (Hitchens) or the Catholic asshole (Sullivan)?” is “I’m on the side of the people who aren’t assholes.” Also, add space aliens and you’ve pretty much the conclusion of the main plot of Babylon 5.

  274. 274
    swalker says:

    Aw, maybe give Sully a break. He’s really neurotic when it comes to religion, but so are a lot of other people. And Hitchens says some pretty awesome things, he also says really dumb shit that isn’t particularly helpful in a debate. But they both can yell as loud as they want, who gives a damn?

    Sully’s one of the few people calling bullshit on the media’s treatment of Palin, not to mention he slices and dices the torture memes the government has presented the past 10 years, and he does that well. Hitch has done some righteous slicing and dicing of his own when it comes to the darkness presented by modern religion.

    Credit where credit’s due, and leave the other stuff behind.

  275. 275
    brantl says:

    I sometimes think that Sullivan gets a wild hair up his ass, and says “Why don’t I just veer out into the boonies, and say something stupid? Just for kicks?”

  276. 276
    El Cid says:

    As an agnostic atheist, I will pray for all you believers to someday join me in the one true lack of faith.

  277. 277
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Sharl: Forever in your debt. I couldn’t get that link out to my snarkfriends mailing list fast enough.

  278. 278
    Svensker says:

    @Cacti:

    You can always count on some “loving Christian” to get sanctimonious about the suffering of a non-believer.
    Sullivan unintentionally proved Hitchens’ point.

    Oh piffle.

  279. 279
    Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    I’m impressed any cancer cell has survived in Hitchens, given the heavy boozing.

    Anyway, I hope the chemo kills them off and Hitch survives.

  280. 280
    bemused says:

    Sullivan was over the top nasty. He is a tiresome, snotty little shit most of the time which is why I don’t read his stuff. Everything is all about him.

  281. 281
    Svensker says:

    @gex:

    My response would be that I agree with most of what you said, especially religious organizations getting a pass on child abuse. What’s that about?

    But as far as trying to impose religion on others: of course, atheists don’t impose atheism on the world (altho the communists tried), but in general, atheism is not a movement or a unified belief system. But I think that humans have a need to believe in something — if it’s not god, it will be a political system or cult of personality or some screwy idea. Of course, not everyone will be involved or feel it, but a large group of people will. Then they will try to impose that belief system on others — you saw that with all the totalitarian movements of the 20th century.

    Religion has been used by humans throughout our history to justify some pretty awful things, can’t argue with that. But humans have also figured out all kinds of ways to justify doing awful things to others. If there were no religion I very much doubt a peaceful paradise would ensue. We like screwing up each other’s shit.

    One of the good things religion does is organize people into communities — and those communities then organize to do good works. Churches I know are still sending work groups to rebuild in New Orleans — one of my nieces just returned from her church youth group service project there. The shelter in this area feeds 120 homeless folks every day, 365 days a year, all done by volunteers who pay for and cook the food themselves. 90% of those volunteers are local religious groups. That’s the quiet stuff religious communities do day in and day out.

  282. 282
    Svensker says:

    @slightly_peeved:

    Thank you. Yes.

  283. 283
    gex says:

    @Svensker: Okay, I guess that’s where we’ll leave it. I’ll note some observations about how society treats atheists versus the religious, and you will counter with “I think that humans have a need to believe in something”. I’ll read that as you needing to believe in something and projecting that onto everyone else, including me.

    My point is that people would do all the things religions do without religion, so I don’t understand why religion gets the credit. Would people really not form communities and do good works? And you seem to want to give religion credit for the good works, but then when we describe the bad parts of religion, you dismiss that as just being what people do. God gets credit for the good, people get credit for the bad. That is a very familiar theme with some American Christians. It is useful in blaming people for their poor circumstances, see previous discussions of Just World Theory.

    I just really feel that if people without religion can do all the things people with religion can do, then all religion adds are the weird superstitious hazing rituals meant to distinguish between us and them.

  284. 284
    GeorgeFromNY says:

    @19

    Svensker totally nailed it.

    Prayers of supplication and well-wishing are part of the Christian religion. If Sullivan is a Christian, then there is nothing untoward about this at all.

    Getting mad about it is like responding to someone saying “Have a nice day!” with, “HOW DARE YOU! Who are you to give me orders?!”

  285. 285
    slightly_peeved says:

    God gets credit for the good, people get credit for the bad.

    Any atheist who suggests that not believing in god implies a lack of gullibility or a resistance to indoctrination is applying similar reasoning. They’re giving the rejection of a deity credit for instilling more rational thought, while ignoring the large number of people who took up other forms of irrational, dogmatic thought that reject a deity – objectivism, communism, blind patriotism, etc.

    Whenever an atheist person judges a religious person as “deluded” or “rational”, purely based on whether they believe in god or not, they’re skirting pretty close to a religious person judging a person as being “good” or “evil”. They’re judging the value of people based on what they say (and a very small subset of what they say), rather than what they do.

  286. 286
    gex says:

    @slightly_peeved: I’m not saying that atheists are immune from anything. It would be interesting to get a comment that is more response than assumption (when exactly did I say atheists are not gullible?). One that didn’t just take use an out of context line.

    It is also interesting that when I point out a specific ways in which religion exacerbates a lot of not-so-good stuff in the world, all I get back is some version of “atheists do it too”. I’d like you to point out a specific way in which atheism consistently and predictably lead to similar behaviors. I brought up the example of how non-believers versus believers have evolved in their thoughts on gays.

    Organized religions have been the people and financial power behind the 30 states that amended their constitutions to ban SSM. Keep in mind, the constitutions had to be amended because courts were finding that the ban violated equal protection and due process. It is the religious in this country that want to formally declare the end of equal protection and due process because of their religious beliefs. Do you see atheists fighting against the government to the basis of democracy?

    As awful as slavery and it’s consequences are, it is interesting to note that officially, the Constitution never contradicted the equal protection concept. Public life clearly did, but not the Constitution. After the Civil War we added the 14th amendment to reiterate the equal protection concept. And while we still had a battle over civil rights, super majorities of Americans never said we prefer to ditch the idea of the rule of law than grant these people their rights. (After declaring some Americans exempt from the equal protection clause, they exempted terrorists from equal protection and due process. Americans like Jose Padilla. Largely this is applied to Muslim terrorists which, yes, I think is largely driven by religion in this country.)

    In my other posts I gave a really good example of how the Catholic church is somehow above the law with respect to the abuse scandal. And they are above the law SPECIFICALLY because they are religious. Religion specifically conflicts with secular society because unless the rules of society specifically match your beliefs, there is the potential that you have to decide between following your faith or following the law. What can secular society do to compete with the threat of eternal hell? The Catholic church specifically is fighting against the abuse scandal, not because they are pro child rape, but because they refuse to answer to secular authority.

    It was really interesting to see Svenkster’s response to my point about the Church. I mean, I wonder if this born-again Christian who is fervently defending religion against my very specific complaints about religion ever wondered that before. Why don’t the cops just bust down the doors and arrest these child rapists?

    My response would be that I agree with most of what you said, especially religious organizations getting a pass on child abuse. What’s that about?

    “What’s that about?” seems a really weak response to what is really a centuries long sustained campaign of abusing children. I explained my theory of what that is about in relation to this debate. Svensker asks a rhetorical question and then continues to avoid the point that I made regarding the scandal.

    What that is about is because they are RELIGIOUS they are given special deference. Their assumed morality exempts them from having to actually behave morally. That is my specific complaint about religion. I guess I haven’t been satisfied with anyone’s examples about how it is the same for atheists.

    I’ve been saying repeatedly that if it does boil down to “well some people are gullible/believe irrational things/do bad”, then what exactly does religion add to the equation? The single line you’ve pulled would be better contrasted with “atheists look for reasons that good things happen and look for reasons bad things happen”. They don’t just attribute goodness to God and badness with anyone but God. That is my only point. There isn’t a rote, agreed upon answer. The answers we arrive at may be irrational, but they are at least not foregone conclusions. Religion seems to insist upon acting as if we know something we do not really know.

    I doubt I will comment on this any more. I fear I will only receive variations of “atheists do it too” and No True Scotsman responses. But I don’t want to assume you guys won’t surprise me.

  287. 287
    gex says:

    @slightly_peeved: Also, I take issue with this statement:

    They’re judging the value of people based on what they say (and a very small subset of what they say), rather than what they do.

    I guess you really didn’t read any of my posts. I’m not judging the Church on what they say about child rape. I’m judging them on the fact that 2/3 of the bishops were found in a 2006 study to be involved in covering up abuse accusations. I’m judging society not for saying that child rape is bad, but for exempting the Church from the same standards that we’d hold anyone else to. I’m not judging Christians for their beliefs about homosexuality, I’m judging them for changing 30 state constitutions to ban me from living according to my beliefs. I’m not judging the religious’ commitment to serving the poor, I’m judging them on throwing a hissy fit and refusing to help the poor if they had to operate in a jurisdiction that allows SSM. I’m not judging them for saying God punished New Orleans with Katrina because of the gays. I’m judging them for refusing to attribute the lighting strike that destroyed the giant Jesus statue to an act of God. Etc.

    My complaint is actually the opposite. That the religious are assumed to be more moral than atheists because of what they say, not what they do. Why did the police in Ireland just let the Church do whatever the hell they want? Well, what is the point of having the state oversee the church if you believe the rule of law is based on the teachings of the church? It’s the church! Read Dan Savage’s Youth Minister Watch and follow the links. So many of the parents whose kids are abused by someone with their church talk about how they would just drop their kids off. They never worried because that person is with the church. Away from a religious context, what parents just unthinkingly dump their children with adults they don’t really know?

    Yes, I fully understand that I am judging the beliefs of the religious just as they judge me. But if we posit that I may be right or I may be wrong with my stance on SSM and gays. Perhaps the religious would posit that too. So why do they need to ban SSM? Why are two states trying to ban same sex sodomy? What good does it do for me to admit I might not be right when they will assume they are and impose upon me? Oh right, to the religious allowing me to marry is “forcing” them to do something. It’s live and let die.

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