The Washington Post had a fascinating series last weekend discussing the rise of a movement representing "nonbelievers." The trend is worldwide, but is also taking root in America, one of the most religious western nations. As radical fundamentalism has spiraled out of control, many people are standing up and loudly declaring that there is simply too much God permeating our society.
According to the Post, the Atheist Alliance International's membership has almost doubled in the past year to 5,200. Its membership is mushrooming to the point where its national convention in Crystal City later this month has a 500-person waiting list.
The article also points out that five books promoting atheism have hit the bestseller lists in the past two years, outpacing even The Pope's latest book on Jesus. That is enough to make even an atheist scream "holy cow."
Additionally, the Post states that the Council for Secular Humanism's budget has climbed to $8 million, a 40 percent rise in two years. The group now has a think tank in Washington to promote the humanist principles of "science, reason and secularism." This movement of nonbelievers has formed American Atheists in Washington, which administers the Godless Americans PAC.
The surge in political atheism is clearly a reaction to the utter obnoxiousness of today's fundamentalists. No matter what the religion, these fanatics have made it clear that they have a God-given right to rule the earth and subjugate anyone who does not sing from the same hymn sheet.
The Middle East, of course, is the manifestation of such sectarian madness. The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thinks God wants his country to have a nuclear bomb. This may lead to George W. Bush, who has his own messiah complex, to bomb Tehran. In Saudi Arabia, the government lops off peoples' heads if they are deemed to have pissed off Allah (homosexuals make the list). In Iraq, it seems everyone is tuned into the God channel and speaks on his behalf. In Israel, meanwhile, ultra-orthodox Jews believe that God has given the "chosen people" all of the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. But, Palestinian fanatics swear that Allah intends for Muslims to eradicate Israel. With so much God, peace doesn't stand a prayer.
Either some of these people who are hearing God's voice are delusional, or God is a diabolical troublemaker. Is He whispering it the ears of radical Jews, "hey, you're the chosen people, keep every inch of the land," and then turning around and telling Palestinian Jihadis, "you know this is Muslim territory, now go out and blow yourself up for it." And when the big fight God instigated is about to break out, does he call his bookie to place bets?
This week, our homegrown fundamentalists took center stage with two creepy events in Florida, an important swing state. On Tuesday, they hosted the "Values Voter Presidential Debate," where lunatics were allowed 24-hour leave from the asylum to ask presidential also-rans their plans to bring our nation back to the Stone Age. I was fully expecting an impassioned argument to break out on whether the moderator's title should be changed to "agitator," because the proper term sounded too much like "moderate."
I suggest that in the next election cycle, the Democratic National Committee sponsor this debate, so all Americans can watch self-righteous buffoons turn the Republican candidates in to puritanical cartoons. The only thing worse than the political pandering, was watching the loopy activists act so demanding.
It was also quite clear to me that these activists did not look like happy people. Each one was more dour than the next, hardly advertisements for the joys of fundamentalism. They seemed unusually grumpy, which was odd, because the majority of Republican presidential candidates were playing their tune on issues like evolution, so as not to offend their senseless sensibilities.
The candidates weren't much better. While they all sucked up to the overblown legend of Ronald Reagan, they looked more like the Grim Reaper than The Gipper. Maybe they were afraid to laugh because they would reveal fangs? The only one that exuded humor was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who often seems more suited to a gig on Comedy Central, than to playing a central role in the presidential primaries.
The second event is the Family Impact Summit, a three-day hate-a-palooza in a Tampa suburb where a throng of right wing ideologues will mix with ex-gay leaders to plot how to take control of America. To counter the event, Equality Florida will hold a press conference and a rally outside the church where the Summit is being held. (I will participate)
While the fundamentalists fulminate in Tampa, the Post article mentioned one statistic that should worry them. While six percent of people over 60 have no faith in God, one in four adults ages 18-22 have no such faith. I believe this number will only grow as long as "Crazies for Christ" whose main value is vindictiveness represent "God's people."