Saturday, January 05, 2008

Top Ten Religious Idiots #7

(Previous List)

  1. Christine Lutz, annoying her fellow passengers with her Bible reading
    (; via Matt)
  2. Atheist Christopher Nolan, alleging religious discrimination for refusing to dress as Santa
    ( via Mojoey)
  3. Dr. Paul Schum, Catholic High School Principal cum transvestite prostitute
    (Crime Library via Himself)
  4. Pope Benedict, stepping up the Catholic Church's efforts against demonic possession
    (Daily Mail; [NOTWD])
  5. Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests, fighting a pitched battle with brooms in the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity
    (BBC News via Himself)
  6. Iraqi Muslim extremists, eradicating the threat of beauty parlors
    (Yahoo News; [FARK])
  7. Ian Davidson, excluding a nine-year-old boy from his class Christmas party
    (Daily Mail; [NOTWD])
  8. British Muslim extremists, producing a children's DVD glorifying suicide bombing by their mothers
    (Daily Mail; [FARK?])
  9. Wiley Drake, cursing with "imprecatory prayer" those who exposed his illegal use of a tax-exempt organization for partisan political purposes
    (Christian NewsWire via Sara)
  10. Charles Eugene Flowers, dragging a 15-year-old girl behind his van to demonstrate his Christian love
    ( via digby)

Bonus idiot: Pat Robertson, joining the Ric Romero school of prophecy
(; [NOTWD])

NOTWD: News of the Weird Daily

This list: Religion 9, Nontheism 1
Previous ist: Religion 10, Nontheism 0
Total: Religion 68, Nontheism 2)


  1. It's not clear to me why Chris Nolan's behavior earns him the title of "Religious Idiot". I, personally, don't feel strongly enough about it to refuse to dress like Santa; indeed, we are currently still celebrating Christmas, and continue to call it "Christmas".

    But I can understand and sympathize with those who feel strongly enough about it as to wish to avoid it; and particularly who wish to avoid promoting what still amounts to a Christian holiday, whether you're focusing on Santa or Christ. Why is standing up for your beliefs, in the face of threats to your livelihood, to be considered a flaw of character (or, as you suggest, intellect), rather than a strength?

  2. I don't think it's religious discrimination to participate, especially in a work-related way, to an existing holiday, unless we want to claim the entire holiday in itself as as somehow "establishing" religion.

    The Lemon Test does not prohibit government (or regulated private) activity associated with religion, so long as there's also a clear secular purpose. Hence it is legitimate to for a government recognize Saturdays and Sundays as days off so long as there's a clear secular purpose in doing so.

    Presumably Mr. Nolan did not object to other activity "promoting" the holiday, such as stocking toys, perhaps working overtime to meet the anticipated demand. Since Santa is not itself associated with any religion (it's a marketing device to sell toys, the clear secular business purpose of the organization Mr. Nolan works for), his complaints of religious discrimination fall on deaf ears.

    By precisely the same token we expect pharmacists, regardless of their religious beliefs, to dispense contraception.

    You don't get to pick and choose which secular activities you perform on the job. You either do the the whole job, or you voluntarily find another job.


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