Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Another Goddamned Podcast #1:
January 31, 2008

THIS WEEK - Barack Obama: Pandering to the Pious

Exterminator expresses outrage over Barack Obama’s “Committed Christian” flyer. Do we vote for a Democratic candidate when he or she openly panders to religious voters? OG vigorously agrees with Ex and says “no way.” But Evo thinks this is not a time for anyone to take that stand. SI and Babs, although outraged by Obama's posturing, are ambivalent about what to do.

Is Obama going to be a Faith Warrior for Christians, or is his talk just to cover his ass with Muslim-haters in America? Evo thinks it’s the latter. OG doesn’t trust Obama for a minute.

Should atheists take a long or short political view? SI puts the question to Ex. Oddly, despite being the old fart on the panel, Ex argues for long-term success, even though that will surely mean some immediate failures.

Is Babs a Southern Lady or not?
Listen to the outtakes and decide for yourself.

Opening Music [00:00]: excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [14:30]: excerpt from "Jesus Loves Me feat Satan"
Bridge Music [33:00]: excerpt from "As Jazzy As I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)





This Week's Goddamned Links
Obama’s "Committed Christian" Flyer
Christian Coalition Agenda
Obama interview with Christianity Today
Media Matters on "Islam Smear" on Obama
Obama’s religious webpage
Religion and the Constitution
Abe Lincoln on God
Barry Lynn
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Babs' Stinky Penis video
Fiddle-dee-dee

60 comments:

Urban Viking said...

Hey Guys - nice work!

I enjoyed listening to this and will certainly continue to do so. As requested though, I do have some feedback:

Names. Use them more often please. Without visual cues it can get really difficult to keep track of who is speaking (maybe that's just me and my goldfish brain).
This confusion can be exacerbated I think by the format you've chosen of a round table with limited moderator input. I don't necessarily think this format is wrong or won't work but I think you need to be more aware of making sure your listeners know who is speaking. Radio announcer tricks like "So, John Evo. What do you think of that?" are the kind of thing I'm thinking of.

Is it possible to add the show to the iTunes store so people can subscribe to it that way? Speaking for my goldfish-brained self and others like me I can tend to forget to check a web page each week for updates.

The above notwithstanding, I think it was a sterling first effort and I enjoyed it immensely. It's nice to put voices to names as well of course.

I wanted to talk about the content a bit as well but I'm going to put it in another comment so I can subscribe to the thread.

Urban Viking said...

So. I was born in the States (thus I hold American citizenship) but have never lived there. Because of this I haven't taken a huge amount of interest in previous presidential elections beyond the level of finding out who is going to be leading one of the most powerful nations in the world for the next 4 years.

I am however, following this one much more closely. At least in part because the Viking family is seriously thinking about emigrating there next year.

Currently I find myself in agreement with Evo. I do agree with Ex et al. that Obama's pandering to the christian vote is pretty repulsive but I think voting for someone like Huckabee because of it is just too much like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I haven't seen any compelling evidence so far (please point me to it if there is) that Obama would be relying on supernatural advice to inform his decisions. Unlike, say, the current clown-in-chief. Declaring "I am a committed christian" does not equal such evidence in my mind. Especially in light of the (I think extremely reassuring) statements Evo quoted from his website.

I was listening to Edward Tabash on the Point of Inquiry podcast yesterday and he was making the point that it almost doesn't matter who the president is in and of itself except insofar as it bears on who ends up on the Supreme Court. That's the real crux of it from his point of view. If another conservative judge ends up on that bench then it will give them the majority (this is as I understand it of course) and could lead to really Bad Things(tm). Ranging from the quite likely (like the overturning of Roe vs Wade) to the less likely but still distinctly possible (such as not only banning same-sex marriage but actually allowing states to criminalise homosexual behaviour). Surely the type of judge Obama would be likely to put there would be preferable to the kind of judge Huckabee would?

On a separate point. Ex: Surely merely having a presidential religious adviser doesn't violate the "no religious test" rule? I would have thought it would only break it if that adviser was required to undergo such a test? As long as said adviser wasn't required to be, for instance, a member of the religion they were an expert on it should be OK I would have thought. The question of whether we should have such religious advisers at all is, I think, a different one.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Alright! Our first comment! Thanks.

UV, I'm told by our resident technical guru (OG) that iTunes won't do our podcast until we have at least three. So you may have to wait a few weeks.

Dr. Brainiac said...

The outtakes at the end were hilarious. Is Babs a Southern Lady? Southern, most definitely...Lady? Dunno 'bout that (love ya honey!).

Sometimes it's difficult to get my head around all the issues, but I agree that religion isn't the only one. Unfortunately, our Constitutional Rights, and quite possibly the very Constitution itself, are enmeshed with religion under the current regime. We are inching down the dark path toward a theocratic military state - not far off from the evil Muslim hordes our government has decided represent The Mother of All Bad Things. The only difference I can see is the name of the imaginary friend in question.

I also agree with (was it OG?) that I'm tired of feeling like I'm having to choose the lesser of the evils when I vote. I don't have a problem with people who think they need religion, I just resent their forcing it on others and their insistence that life begins when we agree with them.

At any rate, nicely done.

/babbling incoherently

The Exterminator said...

Viking:

Hey, thanks for being our first commenter AND our second commenter. As your reward (maybe as your punishment), I'm going to address your second comment.

Our Supreme Court already has a conservative majority, and -- perhaps not so oddly -- all five of them are Roman Catholics. Just so you know which Justices they are, here are their names in order of their appointments: Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Samuel Alito. Kennedy might be called the most "moderate" of that bunch, and is certainly better on most civil liberties issues than, say, Thomas, who's outrageous.

And, just so you know, the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is not entirely at the president's whim. The Senate must give its "advice and consent," which basically means that the president's nominee must win a majority vote in the Senate before securing the appointment.

As to your point about a religious adviser, here's my argument. Article VI of the Constitution says: ... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. My position is that a religious adviser is in a position of public trust, because, assumably, the president relies on him or her for counsel about how to govern. Since a religious adviser, would, by definition, have to fulfill some religious test -- for example, no one would dream of naming an atheist to such a position -- the very fact that one or more persons act in such religious advisory capacity is a violation of the Constitution.

It's a stretch, I'll admit.

Urban Viking said...

Ex:

Thanks for the Supreme Court explanation. Like I (think) I mentioned: I am a long way from being expert about these things and I may have to listen to the Tabash interview again because the impression I got from it was that things were more finely balanced and (he thought) in danger of tipping dangerously towards the conservative.

I can see what you're getting at with the adviser thing. The example I was thinking of in my head was that, if I were president, I would certainly want an adviser on Islam and Judaism (for instance) when I had to deal with issues in the Middle East. I also, just as certainly, wouldn't necessarily want these advisers to be members of the respective religions.

I concede that I may be using "adviser" in a stricter sense (ie. "one who offers advice") than may be appropriate when speaking of the presidential type. I can certainly see the possibility that someone in such a position may actually wield a significant amount of weight in the decision-making process.

Actually, I just had a flash of insight about how I (suspect) you were using the term. You meant an adviser to the president on any and all matters who is also a religious authority, yeah? Whereas I meant it more along the lines of a subject-matter expert called in to offer advice on specific situations like my example above.
In which case, I agree with you in that I think that would be a bad thing as well but I'm still not sure you could use the religious test bit as an argument against it.

PhillyChief said...

The time's past for voting conscience.
I don't like Obama's brochure, but I agree with Evo that I think he felt compelled to do it in light of the right wingnutty smear tactics of painting him a muslim. I shared a link with Ex some time ago to a forum where people were discussing an email that was being passed around saying all that shit. The most telling response for me was some idiot who said the idea of him maybe being muslim "gave her pause". Wtf?! THAT'S what he's up against, the same fuckers who smeared McCain before about having a bastard black baby or that a vote for Kerry was a vote against the bible. It's despicable to think that he'd HAVE to produce a brochure like that, but maybe he did have to.

Question: Should an atheist pretend to be christian in order to get elected?
Followup: Could you vote for him if you knew the truth?

I'm not suggesting Obama is an atheist, but I think that brochure is an overstatement of his religious sentiments. It's like kissing babies at a rally. Who REALLY wants to kiss those filthy, snotty stinky little things if they're not yours? Come on! To one degree or another, every candidate is disingenuous in order to get elected. It sucks, I know.

I do agree that I don't like the idea of rewarding the Dems for going this religious route and I can accept to some degree taking a hit for a few years in order to right the ship and get a candidate more to our liking but there is that Supreme Court issue. Yes, the person the Pres picks needs confirmation by the Senate but the Pres still makes the nominations and, if anything is learned from Bush, impose such a choice. A leadership hit for a few years is one thing, but a conservative Court could be a disaster for generations to come, first with rulings then with establishing precedence which will be harder to overturn later. The catholic 5 are dangerous enough. There doesn't need to be a new wingnut villain added to turn it from the Justice League to the Legion of Doom.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Don't forget. Justice John Paul Stevens, the most liberal member of the current court, will be 88 years old in April. I get the sense he's hanging on till the end of Bush's term, because he knows if he goes now, Bush will pick his replacement. He won't last another 4 years.

John Evo said...

After reading Viking's points, I'm sort of sorry I didn't bring up the Supreme Court situation. Then again, I think it's an bit of a tired bogey that liberals always trot out(not that there isn't a lot of potential truth to it). But I recall hearing it when Mondale ran against Reagan, when Gore ran against Bush, when Kerry ran against Bush.

I guess my problem with it is that we never KNOW when Justices will step down or drop dead. It may happen. It may not. Even Stevens might stay on the court until he's 98. We don't KNOW. Other issue are more certain.

__________________________

Great comments and suggestions so far. Viking, in particular we will take your advice about "identifying" very seriously. It's an important point that we hadn't really discussed.

The Exterminator said...

Speaking of Supreme Court appointments, let's not forget that one of the arch-conservatives of our lifetime, Byron White, was appointed by John F. Kennedy. And one of the liberal champions, Harry Blackmun, was appointed by Richard Nixon.

And both John Paul Stevens and David Souter, arguably the two most civil libertarian justices currently on the bench, were appointed by Republicans, Ford and Bush I.

There are plenty of other examples like this throughout Supreme Court history.

PhillyChief said...

Reagan gave us Scalia, Clarence Thomas came from Bush I and Alito and Roberts from Bush II. That's 4 of the catholic 5, no?

Clinton gave us Ginsburg.

So Bush I picked one that doesn't suck. Whoop-d-fuckin'-doo.

The Exterminator said...

Philly:
Well, Clinton also gave us Breyer, who isn't as liberal as the others.
My only point is that you can't always tell about Supreme Court nominees until they're actually up there on the Bench.

And even when they fall into specific "liberal" and "conservative" camps, you still can't tell.

Here's an important case in point: Texas v. Johnson (1989), which asked the question, "Is flag-burning protected as free speech under the First Amendment?"

No:
Rehnquist (Nixon appointee, elevated to Chief Justice by Reagan)
White (Kennedy appointee)
Stevens (considered one of the "liberals," even though a Ford appointee)
O'Connor (Reagan appointee)

Yes:
Brennan (Eisenhower appointee)
Marshall (Johnson appointee)
Blackmun (Nixon appointee)
Scalia (Reagan appointee)
Kennedy (Reagan appointee)

I'm just sayin' ...

Lifeguard said...

First off, GREAT JOB AND I LOVED IT!!

Second, regarding Supreme Court Justices, it's always been a little bit of a crap shoot as far as what a president "gets" from his nominee as many of you have pointed out. That's the problem though-- in uncertain political climates, where a president might owe a certain consituency, the odds become greater that that consituency will get what it wants. Just look at what happened between Harriet Meyers and Sam Alito. Bushed owed the fundevangelists, and they cashed in.

Lastly, you all discussed Nader in the election. I voted for Nader in 2000 and I HOPED Gore would lose precisely because I felt like the party needed a wake up call and a shift back towards the left. While I agree we don't always want to throw elections to the other side, I think the party basically learned the lesson and has been moving, slowly, back towards the left.

Then again, I think it depends very much on the times. Honestly? I'm not so sure I would vote for Nader or some third party this time, because I think the stakes have gotten higher.

And LASTLY, lastly... it was great to hear all your voices!

Spook said...

Hey,

Sounds like this might be a good show. Could you tell me where the podcast feed is?

the chaplain said...

I'm listening now. I love the discussion. It's interesting hearing your voices. When I've read your posts, the voices I've heard in my head haven't always matched what you actually sound like. Don't get worried now, they haven't sounded like God either!;) Now I'll be able to read and apply more accurate voices.

I'm looking forward to hearing more of these. You're off to a great start.

PhillyChief said...

Hmmm, I think somebody was supposed to post a direct link in order to download. Oh well, try this Spook.

Bob said...

Candidates must appear to the main stream or they will not be elected...So you can feel strongly in all your thoughts be they liberal or atheist but the reality is if you don't appeal to the mainstream you will end up voting for nater every year and basically be a non entity...The slightest things done or said can cost thousands of votes...If you are liberal or atheist or extremist and you expect candidates to conform to all your ideas and thoughts ....you are delusional...

Bob said...

This is meant to be constructive and not smart ass....but do you really think that any candidate gives any thought to how anything he or she says affects what a small contingent of people who are atheists think?....They would be fool hardly to say they didn't believe in god.....Yet you believe they should not pander to religious types?...Be real...

Ordinary Girl said...

Dr. Brainiac, if you click on this link and then click on the orange Podcast button it will launch iTunes and subscribe you to the podcast automatically.

Once we get a few more episodes I will also add it to iTunes so people can stumble on it there. Right now it's giving me an error that there are no episodes.

PhillyChief said...

You're missing the point, Bob. The issue isn't having a candidate running around proclaiming there's no god and pandering to atheists, the issue is wanting a candidate who doesn't run around proclaiming his faith or lack thereof and who doesn't pander to ANY view on religion. If that Obama brochure was all about him being a committed atheist, it would be just as bad. It's the religious pandering that's the first problem. The 2nd problem is what they might do if elected. Once again, it's not about wanting a candidate to push an atheist agenda, it's about wanting a candidate that preserves the Constitution and the separation of church and state so that EVERYONE'S right to worship what they want, how they want or to choose no worship is preserved. I goal is to have a President WITHOUT a religious agenda, No christian, muslim, jewish, atheist, or FSM partiality should be guiding the decisions and policy of the President or any elected official of the US.

John Evo said...

Bob (my friend) said: but do you really think that any candidate gives any thought to how anything he or she says affects what a small contingent of people who are atheists think?

Philly gave you a much fuller explanation and I'll mainly say that I agree with his answer to you.

But on this one point that you make - You would probably be surprised at how many Americans are either (a) Atheists (b) Agnostics (c) generally disinterested in religion and ALL of these groups would prefer a government that reflects what it says about religion in our Constitution. This may one day a formidable group to simply turn your back on.

John Evo said...

By the way, Bob... thanks for stopping by and listening. I'm sure we will be able to count on you as a regular listener! (OH, and please spread the word). Your comments in dissent are quite welcome here (as opposed to on a Mormon blog, Jehovah's Witness blog, Baptist blog, etc).

the chips are down said...

I like hearing everyone's ideas, it's less frustrating when there is debate and arguments.
So good job.

I'm an atheist who is sick of public religious displays, but at the same time, I don't want to get drafted to kill Iranians. So go Obama!

grumpylion said...

Can someone explain to me how this podcasting works. How to do one, how to listen to one? As if explaining to a six year old.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Excuse me if I am being thick, but am I able to download the podcast rather that listen to the live stream?

Ordinary Girl said...

Sean, an mp3 version of the podcast can be found here.

The Exterminator said...

grumpy,
Can someone explain to me how this podcasting works. How to do one, how to listen to one? As if explaining to a six year old.

I can't tell you much; some of the others can, but the technical stuff is way beyond me. I'm satisfied knowing there's a magical elf inside my computer who sometimes plays atheists talking and sometimes plays Bob Marley.

I do know how to listen, though:

Move your cursor down the page until you see a little rectangle that has scrolling words at the top. Perhaps you can get someone to read those words to you. Below the words, you'll see three little buttons. The one in the middle looks like an arrow pointing to the right. Ask the person who's reading to you which direction is right. Click on that button. If you can't hear anything look at the button to the right of the arrow. It looks like a sideways lampshade. Actually, it's the speaker button. You don't have to click on it unless there's a line through the lampshade. If there's no line through the lampshade, just move your cursor over to the right to the thing that looks like a carpenter's level with an air bubble in it. If you move your cursor onto the air bubble, you can move that air bubble to change the sound. Right = louder and left = softer.

Try it! It's fun!

Bob said...

All candidates pander to religious groups and non religious....They appear in front of farmers....woman's groups and feminist groups as well...trying to get their vote...You may not like them pandering but they are doing what will get them elected and that is why they do it...so as much as you don't like it ...the reality is they don't care as it won't have a negative affect on the bottom line..Their winning.....your numbers may be growing but as of right now your voice is not big enough to influence a presidential race..Tell all atheists not to vote for one candidate and do you think this will cost them the election....No Chance...Have an atheist run for president and see how many votes they get....these comments aren't meant to be criticism but more of a reality check...

Bob said...

I asked evo how the podcast worked and he indicated it was too time consuming to explain so per5haps someone can explain how all of you spoke like you were in the same room?...thank you....bob

PhillyChief said...

Bob: First, I agree they all pander. The problem is when the pandering crosses the line. There's pandering to farmers without making comments that disparage city folk, there's pandering to women without putting down men, pandering to gays without putting down straights, pandering to blacks without putting down whites, and so on. Obama at least isn't putting down atheists, but Romney did in his "look, I'm just like JFK" speech and McCain did as well with that christian nation crap.

2nd, despite the pandering, the test is trying to decide if that pandering is harmless pandering (ie - bullshit), serious pandering (ie - quid pro quo, where the candidate will have to return the favor of the support in some way) or the worst, not pandering at all but actual belief and drinking the kool aid. As was stated earlier, at least one Supreme Court Justice position may be up for grabs.

As for the podcast, they used Skype.

Grumpy: I'm a Mac guy so I probably can't give the best explanation to you since I' think you said before you're on a PC. For playing, you can click the thingy on the page and have it play here in your browser or you can install iTunes and click that tag on the right of the page to subscribe (free) to this and any future podcasts. For producing your own, well, get a mic and find some recording software and start talking. From there to having something online for others, someone else will have to take over for me.

John Evo said...

Bob, what you're doing is called "creating a straw man". You are trying to frame what we are saying (mostly incorrectly) and then successfully knocking the straw man to the ground.

Bob's first sentence: All candidates pander to religious groups and non religious....

My first comment in the podcast of course it bothers me that he [panders], but they all do it

Further, you make statements that you don't have evidence to support. You say: Tell all atheists not to vote for one candidate and do you think this will cost them the election....No Chance...

Al Gore (after winning the majority of total votes cast) lost the election due to razor thin margins in a handful of states. Nonbelievers in America is in the neighborhood of 15%. I personally know some who voted for neither candidate (some even regret that now). But if they had all decided that it was just too dangerous to sit it out or vote for a third party candidate, thrown their support to Gore, he would have won.

So, you are wrong. In a reasonably close election, atheists, agnostics and others disaffected by religious pandering have a better chance of effecting the election than a number of other minority groups that candidates DO INDEED pander to.

As I told you, give me a call and I'll be glad to explain all about podcasting to you.

Lynet said...

It's kinda cool hearing your voices.

That flyer stinks, I agree. I don't think it amounts to any sort of promise to enact religiously-motivated legislation, but I agree that it perpetuates the de facto religious test for office in the worst possible way.

The strongest thing I know of in Obama's defence is this quote (via Letters From A Broad):

What our deliberative, pluralistic democracy does demand is that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals must be subject to argument and amenable to reason. If I am opposed to abortion for religions reasons and seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or invoke God's will and expect that argument to carry the day. If I want others to listen to me, then I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

Let me say this. Obama didn't say that to get elected. I think he said it because he believes it. That's the way I call it. He might just be pandering to those who support separation of church and state, I suppose -- but since when does that ever happen?

Oh, and does anyone know which, if any, of the other democratic candidates have made a statement like that?

To answer Ext's question: no, I don't think movement atheists are numerous enough to band together to insist on secularism. But if you try for a broader church/state separation movement that can include religious people, you might have a chance.

PhillyChief said...

This is the sort of thing that we need: Science Debate 2008.

Did anyone catch Huckleberry's speech this morning? He hit all the conservative hot points then had the balls to bring up this sanctity of life amendment thing and pass it off like it was a civil rights amendment instead of what it really is, an amendment to ban abortion. Well that's taking Obama's message to heart, right? Don't pass off your craziness as biblically mandated, pass it off as an extension of the wishes of the Founders.
Asshole.

Bob said...

Evo said:

"So, you are wrong. In a reasonably close election, atheists, agnostics and others disaffected by religious pandering have a better chance of effecting the election than a number of other minority groups that candidates DO INDEED pander to."

I am wondering if any candidate says after losing by a small margin...."wow I guess I didn't get the atheists and agnostic's vote and that was the difference...or how about the feminist's vote?...I seriously doubt it...The fact is that it doesn't account for a significant amount of votes...You can be strong in your beliefs but still you remain a minority......all votes count but to think that they count more than they actually do is delusional....Obviously if one was to lose by a few thousand than ANY group's vote would be important but presidential candidates do not pander to atheists and agnostic's and WHY because they would lose votes from the majority of voters they seek....It would negate ANY chance of winning the election....so as much as you want candidates to conform or lean to your thoughts and or beliefs they won't do it if it will alienate the consensus of votes they wish to attract.


Lynet puts it well:

To answer Ext's question: no, I don't think movement atheists are numerous enough to band together to insist on secularism. But if you try for a broader church/state separation movement that can include religious people, you might have a chance.

The Exterminator said...

Bob, you said: I am wondering if any candidate says after losing by a small margin...."wow I guess I didn't get the atheists and agnostic's vote and that was the difference...

No, of course no candidate says that. Yet. But my argument is that we atheists (and agnostics, and skeptics, and doubters, and heathens, and freethinkers of all persuasions) ought to position ourselves so that a candidate SHOULD and WILL say that in the future. You can bet your ass that the Republicans would miss the "fundamentalist" Christian vote if they didn't get it, or that Democrats would wonder what happened to the "Secular Jewish" vote if it suddenly disappeared.

PhillyChief said...

That's an important point, that we're not part of or are ourselves a recognized voting block at this time. The link earlier calling for a Science debate is a move in that direction. Certainly you don't hear about 'the science block'. You hear vague references to intellectuals, but there's no recognized science or intelligentsia block. Perhaps there should be. Perhaps if more and more interest groups sprung up and became recognized rather than just falling in line with others it might be not only the first steps in getting a broader range of opinions heard but also the first steps in moving beyond having just a two party system.

Lynet said...

You want more than just a voting bloc, though, don't you? I mean, sure, having a unified voice is great (gotta love Lori Lipman Brown and the SCA, for example), but there's a broader issue here to do with wanting to create a political environment in which atheists and religious people try to avoid mixing religion and politics. Right? I really do think that where things like Obama's flier are concerned, what you need is not a special interest group that will react badly but rather a stronger culture of secularism that people will avoid violating. And for that, you need to pull the religious on board.

The Exterminator said...

Lynet said:

... what you need is not a special interest group that will react badly but rather a stronger culture of secularism that people will avoid violating. And for that, you need to pull the religious on board.

So are you saying we should "play nice" with the religionists? I'm tired of doing that, over and over and over and over. Maybe it's time for them to play nice with us?

What I'm saying, Lynet, is that atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, doubters -- specifically all those NON-RELIGIOUS people who don't choose to be ruled by superstition -- band together and refuse to vote for anyone who tries to pass off his or her religion as a "qualification" for office. Because you know what happens? When those people get elected, they give special favors to religious institutions. They violate the spirit of the Constitution again and again. Worse, though, they help to create a national atmosphere in which bible-quoting bigots feel empowered to take away women's rights, persecute gays, trample on science, and find religious rationales for holy wars.

So my solution would be pretty simple. You mention "god" or "faith" or "prayer," you lose our vote! I'm not saying that we should insist on an atheist candidate, mind you. Our candidate can pray all he or she wants to. In private. The minute that private prayer enters into public political dialogue, though -- we're not voting for you!

Fuck, Lynet. The Christians have been pulling that kind of stunt for years: We're not going to vote for you if you ain't Jesus-y enough. Well, it's high time to throw their bullying back in their faces.

John Evo said...

Ex said: What I'm saying, Lynet, is that atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, doubters -- specifically all those NON-RELIGIOUS people who don't choose to be ruled by superstition -- band together and refuse to vote for anyone who tries to pass off his or her religion as a "qualification" for office.

While I agree with this statement, I also agree with what I think the gist of Lynet's comment was: that you can include a LOT of theists on to your list. They are the ones who equally dislike candidates strutting their religion. I'm for making a block out of ALL of these like-minds and if they are personally religious, that's fine with me.

The Exterminator said...

Evo said:

I'm for making a block out of ALL of these like-minds and if they are PERSONALLY religious, that's fine with me.

I've emphasized the operative word. Given that emphasis, I agree. Remove that emphasis and I say "Fuck 'em." I don't feel it's in my best interests to make common cause with any theists who are advertising their religion. So it's fine with me if their god is confined to their homes, private cars, and churches. If they're out there pushing their "values" in a store, or in my kid's school, or at the library, or on the street corner -- I'm not interested in being associated with them.

Ordinary Girl said...

Spook, the podcast feed is here.

EnoNomi said...

PODCAST! Fantastic! Havn't listened yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Especially to being able to put voices to the words on the blogs.

yinyang said...

Ex, et. al:

Can and will atheists band together in some way to insist on having a political voice? And if so, when?

I think that an atheist movement is unlikely. Between the “but atheism is just non-belief in god, it’s not protection of the First Amendment or pro-science necessarily” and “I don’t think atheism should be in politics anymore than religion should,” it would be a mess. But, a strong secular movement - which would probably be largely comprised of atheists - is possible.

And in the meantime, do we just absolutely refuse to vote for any candidate, left or right, who panders to the theocrats, and who -at least I think - seems to imply that they will have a respected position in his or her administration to offer to some of those theocrats?

With the bold, yes. But I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with general pandering to the religious, a reassurance that secularism doesn’t mean they’re going to turn around and discriminate against the religious, or that a lot of the values of a particular faith community are those shared by people outside of it. Basically, I’m not against the use of religious language by politicians wholesale, but there should also be emphasis on the separation of church and state and how that benefits everyone (which Obama has done, though Kucinich did it better, I think).

Although I will say, politicians giving speeches inside churches bothers me – there’s no reason to be in a church instead of a school or town hall unless there’s some sort of message being sent. It’s like being a Christian organization vs. just being an organization – there’s no reason for it except to send a message (Christian organizations are superior, maybe).

Speaking in churches also blurs the line between separation of church and state, especially in the minds of the ignorant.

Or, alternatively, do we just bite the bullet and say “Well, atheism isn't my only issue, there are many other issues I care about, so I'm going to find the lesser of the evils and vote for a candidate who represents me more often than not?”

I think that’s what we do with almost every other issue – “Well, I don’t agree with these couple of policies, but almost everything else is good” – and I don’t think there’s any reason to make religion this special thing, unless it’s really blatant and there’s cause for concern (I agree with OG, a Huckabee presidency would scare me).

I have one suggestion for a topic. I don’t know if it would fill the whole time, but I’ve read stuff like “these people [people who identify as atheists yet say or do stupid things] are bad for our cause.” What the hell is “our cause”? What should atheists be concerned about, in politics and outside it?

P.S. The outtakes were really funny.

The Exterminator said...

Yinny:
What the hell is “our cause”? What should atheists be concerned about, in politics and outside it?

We like this idea a lot, and will definitely discuss it in the future. Thanks.

EnoNomi said...

I've listened now and ready to comment. Overall you guys did a really good job. I like the round table conversation. I agree with Viking that it was difficult to distinguish who was talking.

I also felt at the beginning of the podcast I had entered in the middle of a conversation. I'd like to see you guys borrow from the format on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe. They start with an introduction to the show, an introduction of the individuals that will be talking followed by their greeting (so we know who is who) and an introduction to the topic. For this show I would have had Ex or Babs read the article (or part of it) that got the conversation going. While it was obvious you all knew what the article said, you left the audience behind. One last thing, I think this is particularly for Ex, slow down, don't talk so fast. I'm thinking your day job is as an auctioneer.

I really loved the bloopers at the end. Everyone seemed more relaxed and laughing and I'd like to hear more of that feel in the rest of your show.

As for the topis itself; I'm taking the Evolutionary approach. You can't wait around for the animal (or polician) that you want to spring forth fully formed. You have to naturally select, with your vote, the one that is closer to your ideal. Staying home and not voting leaves all the culling to the Christian Right who are organized and voting and lobying. They've been more successful which is why we now see the Dems playing that game. But people are also seeing the pendulum shift away from the right which is why Mittens and Fuckabee arn't doing as well as McCain.

Looking forward to the next show guys (and gals).

John Evo said...

Yinyang - Great points and good topic suggestion.

Eno - Thanks for coming by and commenting!

On your comment about kind of being out of the loop with what we are discussing, you have to remember that podcasts give you a lot of options that aren't available if this was, for instance, a radio show. We will always include links to every important thing we talk about. You can pause the podcast, read the article, and come back to the podcast!

Anyway, some of both of your suggestions are well taken and please don't hesitate to let us know what you don't like. It's important to us.

And I know what you mean about that one member of the Herd who talks too fast. Imagine trying to get a word in during a podcast! Good luck to me....

Spanish Inquisitor said...

I also felt at the beginning of the podcast I had entered in the middle of a conversation.

That's kind of funny, because, in some ways, you did.

The Exterminator said...

Eno:
Thanks for the critique and keep 'em coming. I'm going to address a few of your points, but feel free to fight me if you think I'm wrong. I hope that other listeners will weigh in on these matters as well.

I agree with Viking that it was difficult to distinguish who was talking.
We'll be trying to remember to introduce ourselves at least the first time any of us says something each week. We did decide that a formal introduction at the start of every show was just too -- formal. And tight-assed. And not in the spirit of what we're trying to do.
If enough listeners disagree with that decision, though, we'll be happy to begin each podcast with a "howdy" from each of us.

I also felt at the beginning of the podcast I had entered in the middle of a conversation. ... For this show I would have had Ex or Babs read the article (or part of it) that got the conversation going. While it was obvious you all knew what the article said, you left the audience behind.
Believe it or not, we want you to feel as if you're overhearing a casual conversation at a cocktail hour somewhere. That's why we decided to keep our reading aloud to a minimum. However, we'll always have a link to any reading material or picture that we're discussing. The first link of last week takes you right to the flyer that had me so pissed off. As Evo pointed out, one of the beauties of a podcast is that you can pause it while you look something up. We'd love it if you have the flyer right in front of you while we talk about it.

One last thing, I think this is particularly for Ex, slow down, don't talk so fast. I'm thinking your day job is as an auctioneer.
Going, going, gone, sold to that woman with the funny hat. Now that you've figured out what I do for a living ... you're just going to have to listen faster.

Seriously, I think your criticism about my rate of speech is dead-on. But these are unrehearsed conversations, recorded in the heat of the moment. So I don't think I'll be able to censor myself and still stay spontaneous. Sorry. If you're really struggling to understand what I'm saying, maybe we can publish a weekly translation from Exterminese. But, really, if you must know the truth: You probably didn't miss much.

EnoNomi said...

pause and look it up? hahahaha

I put a podcast on my pod player and then go on my merry way; shopping, working, maybe even laying in my bed waiting for sleep to come. (Ex's fast talking kept me awake though) I bring you peoples with me, untethered to my puter.

...look it up... that's a good one.

The Exterminator said...

Eno:

Well, I guess we're gonna have to do a better job putting our listeners to sleep. We mistakenly hoped they'd stay awake.

Is there any particular lullaby you might like to hear me sing in a sped-up version?

John Evo said...

Good point, Eno. I'm not used to the idea of people picking it up on I-Tunes or downloading it from here.

We'll try to be as clear as possible what we are referencing but, like Ex said, I don't think we want to do much beyond short quotes from other materials.

lateralus said...

How do you guys record your conferences? Via Skype? You can't be in the same room, right? If you need a THIRD WORLD perspective, I'm always happy to help. :p

And wow, 51 comments?! Kudos!

Ordinary Girl said...

How do you guys record your conferences? Via Skype? You can't be in the same room, right?

We all sit on Evo's lap. It's cozy and it's easier to pinch SI that way.

affablerogue said...

I heard Obama describe his mother as a Free Thinker on the Charlie Rose show a couple of years ago.

It is disturbing to think that Obama is claiming to be a Christian as a political calculation. It is more disturbing that he professes to be a Christian in the first place.

As an Atheist, I can vote for a liberal Christian. I hope his mother's influence will be seen in Obama's critical thinking.

affablerogue said...

On another one of my favorite podcasts, The Non-Prophets (http://www.nonprophetsradio.com/), they discussed Obama's campaign in depth.

PhillyChief said...

Which one was that? I don't remember

affablerogue said...

I'm listening to the latest episode of the Non-Prophets right now, episode 7.4.

It leads off with a discussion of politics.

PhillyChief said...

Ok, thanks. I haven't had a chance to listen to that one yet.

affablerogue said...

I like your show, as well.

Actually, I've been planning on putting together a best of the free-thought/atheist/agnostic/science podcasts, like the Best of the Left podcast (http://www.bestoftheleftpodcast.com/).

I probably won't have time to work on it until the Spring or Summer, but it is encouraging that new free-thought podcasts are appearing. If there's enough interest now, I'd be happy helping someone else run with it.

John Evo said...

Rogue - I think it's a great idea. I'm busy enough with what we have going here, but I hope someone steps up to the plate. That would be a great resource. And thanks for giving us a listen!