Sunday, February 05, 2012

Maher debaptizes Romney’s deceased atheist father-in-law

| »

What does the “atheism is a religion!” canard and the ghoulish Mormon tradition of post-mortem baptism have in common? They’re both extremely annoying, they represent the core of what is so detestable about religion (particularly the latter one), and both are the subject of Bill Maher’s latest brilliant rant:

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

BILL MAHER: And finally, new rule: Until someone claims to see Christopher Hitchens’s face in a tree stump, idiots must stop claiming that atheism is a religion. There’s one little difference: Religion is defined as the belief in, and worship of, a superhuman controlling power, and atheism is … precisely not that. Got it? Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.

Now, believe it or not, I don’t really enjoy talking about religion all the time. In fact, not only is atheism not a religion, it’s not even my hobby. And that’s the best thing about being an atheist: It requires so little of your time. But there is a growing trend in this country that needs to be called out, and that is to label any evidence-based belief a “religion”. Many conservatives now say that belief in man-made climate change is a “religion”. And Darwinism is a “religion”. And of course, atheism, the total lack of religion, is somehow a “religion”, too, according to the always-reliable Encyclopedia Moronica.

Now, it’s a dodge, of course, straight out of the grand intellectual tradition of “I know you are, but what am I?”. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, we all believe in some sort of faith-based malarkey, so let’s call it a push.” No. No-no-no-no-no. It’s not fair that people who can’t defend their own nonsense get to create a fake “fair and balanced” argument, the way they do when asserting that Evolution and Creationism are equally valid.

I’m not saying that atheists are perfect thinkers. Everyone has blind spots. I’m sure there are atheists who think ponytails look good on a man; pineapple belongs on a pizza; Ayn Rand was an important thinker. But when it comes to religion, we’re not two sides of the same coin, and you don’t get to put your unreason up on the same shelf with my reason. Your stuff has to go over there, on the shelf with Zeus and Thor and the Kraken, with the stuff that is not evidence-based. Stuff that religious people never change their mind about, no matter what happens.

That’s not atheism. I’m open to anything for which there’s evidence. Show me a god and I will believe in him. If Jesus Christ comes down from the sky during the halftime show of this Sunday’s Superbowl and turns all the nachos into loafs and fishes[sic], well, I’ll think two things. First: How dare he interrupt Madonna; she is gonna be pissed. And two: Oh, look at that, I was wrong. There he is. My bad. Praise the Lord.

But that’s not gonna happen. And short of that, if you still insist that atheism is a religion, then it’s only fair that we get to do all the loony stuff that you get to do. And I’m going to start tonight by unbaptizing Mitt Romney’s dead father-in-law.

In case you didn’t hear, it was discovered last week that Edward Davies, Ann Romney’s father, an enthusiastically anti-religious scientist who called organized faith “hogwash”, was posthumously baptized in the Mormon tradition, fourteen months after he died. They tried to do it sooner, but he wouldn’t stop spinning in his grave.

Maher puts out a B&W photograph of Edward Davies.

MAHER: So here, then, is history’s first unbaptism ceremony, right now …

Maher puts on a star-and-moon-adorned wizard’s hat, takes out a candle, and grabs a magic wand.

MAHER: … for the late Edward Davies.

Maher pretends to blow out the lights in the studio, which all go dark except for one illuminating him from above. An ethereal chorale starts chanting.

MAHER: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of math, gravity, Evolution and electricity to honor Brother Edward and to send the powers of Seal Team 666 to rescue him from Planet Kolob so that he may spend eternity with the kind of freethinkers he chose to hang out with on Earth. So, by the power granted to me by the Blair Witch: Schlemiel, schlemazel, e pluribus mumbo-jumbo, Expecto Patronum, sususurio, yo momma, I call upon the Mormon spirits to leave your body the fuck alone.

Brother Edward, in this world, you had to put up with Mitt Romney. You’ve suffered enough.

Come to think of it, the rest of religion as a whole should leave everybody else the fuck alone, too.

(via Pharyngula)