I have mixed feelings about religious people, mainly because I have had mixed experiences with religious people, mainly because religious people are so damn mixed. Some very rough numbers put the number of religious people (technically, people who picked a religion on a recent survey) in the US at around 255 million, so there’s probably nothing that they all have in common besides being religious. And being human beings.
The problem is that “being religious” can affect people in very different ways. Some people will pray while their loved ones are in surgery, some will pray instead of letting their loved ones go to surgery, or get a blood transfusion, or sometimes even get an oral vaccine. Some people don’t support abortion and will talk about it with their friends over dinner, and some people will kill abortion doctors or bomb clinics.
Depending on how entrenched a person is in his or her beliefs, that person can range from a quasi-religious suburbanite who Attends Church On Sundays and prays before bedtime to a megalomaniacal money-sucking fraud.
I’ve personally always felt bad for religious people, because I think the majority of them are trapped, or at least feel that way. They’ve heard so much about their religion from so many people that they know and trust and love and fear that they have to believe it. They get solace from church and prayer, even if it’s not really doing anything, and don’t know where to get that elsewhere. Or even that it can be had elsewhere. They don’t know where else to make friends, or how else to be a part of a community. They have been lied to their entire lives. But I can’t even be mad at the people lying to them, because they believe it too. It’s everywhere.
Some religious people are mean, some are nice, some don’t let it affect them, some do only to the point of being annoying about it. Some haven’t really thought about it. Some are actually angry, or malicious, or even violent about their beliefs, but it’s because they believe them. And in that respect they have been conned. It’s not their fault. They’re all wrong—every one of them—but I’d hesitate to call them stupid.
This woman is an exception. Watch the video all the way through.
That woman is deluded, yes. But it’s so much more than that. The things she’s saying make so little sense that it’s nearly impossible to address them. This happens every time some catastrophe (and I’m not sure this can even be called that) happens. The birds fell from the sky because we allowed gay people not to lie about being gay people? Here’s some issues I have with that.
- Gay people in every other context in this country are legally allowed to be open about it. Why wait till the military allowed it?
- Why is openness the problem? God already knew they were gay, why not do something about it before now?
- Why kill the blackbirds? Were they gay? If God’s so damn pissed off by all this, why didn’t he, I don’t know, kill all the gay people?
- And lastly, why do people think God would be so fucking vague about these kinds of signals? Picture God’s thought processes here.
“Let’s see, some people in Washington said that other people stationed all over the world can’t be honest about being gay. I already knew they were gay, but before, if they told anyone that, they’d get fired, at which point they’d promptly tell everyone anyway and probably get more attention for it. Now, though, they can stay in one place, go about their day-to-day lives, and tell fewer people about it, and that really pisses me off. But how do I let them know that I’m upset? OH HEY I KNOW, I’ll kill 5,000 of the 150 million members of a certain type of bird that doesn’t have symbolic meaning and that no one cares about and that farmers are actually encouraged to kill by the hundreds anyway. That’ll show them.”
Really? That’s what he’s using to show his wrath?
You know what God did when Adam and Eve sinned?
Punished all humankind forever.
Know what he did when humans fucked up in the days of Noah?
KILLED FUCKING EVERYTHING.
Remember what he did when some townspeople tried to rape angels in Sodom?
RAINED FIRE FROM THE MOTHERFUCKING SKY.
Lot’s wife looked back while he was doing that, and guess what happened to her?
The people of Egypt, just because their pharaoh was a dick?
Ten plagues, then dead.
The soldiers of Egypt who were chasing Moses, presumably because they had been told to do so?
Here, have a FUCKING OCEAN on your head.
Hell, God gave Job hideous boils and killed everything he owned and also his whole family, and Job didn’t even do anything. That was just Satan egging God on.
And now, rather than simultaneously striking down every homosexual in the world, or burning the White House to the ground with lightning, or writing letters of fire in the sky saying “YOU HAVE DISPLEASED ME; PREPARE TO FACE MY WRATH” or anything remotely to the point, he did something that had literally no effect on the human race or the people responsible except to cheer up a bunch of farmers who otherwise would have had to shoot those birds themselves. Seems a little out of character, doesn’t it?
And I know that everyone can immediately pull the ultimate cop-out card, “We don’t know why God does what he does.” Well what’s the fucking point of that? If we’re supposed to be following God’s rules, and spreading his message (for some reason) to our fellow man here on Earth, why would he not just TELL US what to do? You can’t create a species, then tell them that their job is to spread the one and only truth on pain of death, and then not tell them what it is or how to actually spread it.
This is like if your wife told you to take out the garbage, and you didn’t, so she killed an ant and left it on some random other person’s doorstep and then didn’t tell anyone. It’s the mother of all subtle hints, and we know from the story of the Garden that even when we’re told outright not to do something or we’ll definitely die, we still do it. Subtle hints won’t work, and God should know that.
And this is where it becomes an issue of respect and tolerance. Not for gays, that should go without saying because they’re human beings and thus just as inherently worthy of respect as anyone else. For Cindy Jacobs, who is not. See, she deserves a little bit of respect, as does anyone, for being a person. But she is not a reasonable person. I might even argue that she is not a sane person. She is stupid, she is batshit crazy, and she is delusional beyond measure, and as such does not deserve respect. Anyone who can say those things with a straight face has lost their right to be taken seriously in any context, because they clearly have no system for examining what makes sense and what doesn’t. Respect is earned, and she hasn’t earned it.
She also does not deserve to be tolerated, and why should she? What she is saying is at best stupendously idiotic, and at worst it is irrational homophobic paranoia running rampantly through the twisted brain of a woman who has long ago lost her grip on reality. Should we be tolerant of homophobes because “they’re people too”? Should we be tolerant of the Muslims who think that sewing young girls vaginas shut is their duty, or that murdering authors who make fun of them is not only acceptable but necessary, all because “that’s what they believe?” Should we be tolerant of Christians who let their children die because God told them not to get blood transfusions, or Muslims who firebomb schools wherein Christians dare to use the word “Allah,” or Hindus who attack Christians for celebrating Christmas, or Protestants who shoot Catholics for being Catholics, or Hitler for killing millions of Jews because he thought it was his God-given duty?
There will always be people in this world who are determined to avoid reason at all costs. People who think “atheist” and “liberal” and “scientist” are interchangeable and mean “person who wants to take away my guns and corrupt the values my family is built on.” But every advancement that has ever happened to the human race, every piece of technology that has elevated us from hairy beasts in caves to the dazzling array of knowledge we have today, every single thing that has ever contributed to the collective elevation of the human race has come in spite of those people. It has come in spite of the dogma and the fear and the hatred and the insanity, and it will continue to do so. And it will be fought every step of the way by the ignorant masses, the moronic hordes that think that because a man in a robe read to them from a very old book, they know exactly what the Universe wants from them. True progress has been suppressed by the religious for millennia, until the evidence becomes so strong that religious leaders just plug their ears and pick someone else to yell at.
We can move on as a species without those people’s help. We can realize that they will always be there, and we can ignore them as long as they stay our of our way, and we can work around them when they don’t, and we can fight them when that doesn’t work.
But respect them? Tolerate them? Embrace their differences?